Sunday, November 30, 2008

Food Lines, and More Needy Families A Part of our Future

Photo/ Ricky Carioti-The Washington Post

This is a shot of a part of the line up for the 90,000 lbs of food distribution organized in DC by the Redskins and Fedex. This Thanksgiving effort is likely to be something we will need more and more of in the coming months/years. The economic outlook is bad as we all know, and in times like these, families who are already struggling are the most vulnerable.

So as we wrap up this Thanksgiving weekend, and we thank the fates for our family, friends and the food on our tables, I would ask you all to add a new charitable effort to your plans for the holidays and the new year. I know many of you already help in local efforts-- But we are all going to need to do even more. Think about it and commit yourself now. It is only by coming together and supporting each other that we are going to make it through this.

What do you do now to help your community or the world at large?
What new thing can you commit to for the months ahead?
Share your thoughts here.

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Interesting Articles


I found these articles interesting.

Not enough to give them their own article. At least not on a holiday weekend when I'm all about resting and reading. And folks are mostly taking it easy. But enough to post them up together.


Bothell High School, Seattle
Sued over Nude Cheerleader Photos

This is total sexist bullshit. Welcome to the Seattle School District.

Two cheerleaders took nude (topless in one case) photos of themselves, one for her boyfriend, one just goofing around with another cheerleader. As tends to happen -- and here at GNB we have warned y'all about before -- the photos got out...

The football team enjoyed them.

Therefore, naturally, the girls were suspended from cheerleading. One for 30 days, one for a year. The PI story didn't say, but I'd assume the topless photo only got 30 days. Nudity is worth an entire year, I'm guessing.

The football players? A stern talking to, then back to the gridiron.

The girls are suing the hell out of the Seattle School District. Can you say Equal Protection Violation?

Can you spell S-E-X-I-S-T P-I-G-S-? Oink, oink.


King argues the district's student handbook didn't specifically prohibit the girls' behavior, and didn't outline potential consequences for a case like this.

"My clients fully realize what they did was stupid," King said, adding that the girls never intended for the photos to be distributed and have been mortified by the entire incident.

He wants the disciplinary action expunged from the girls' school records, the remaining teen reinstated to the cheerleading squad and some form of apology from district officials for neglecting to discipline other students in the case.

Northshore officials, however, believe the girls clearly violated the district's athletic code, which students must agree to in order to participate in school activities. The girls understood that as athletes, they would be held to higher standards of behavior, Stoltzfus said.

"When you sign up to be a cheerleader -- or for any student activity -- you agree to certain codes of behavior," she said. "We consider them student leaders, and we want them to be role models."

Teen Sex = Sex Offender = Eviction =
Georgia Remains a Totally STUPID State

Two kids had sex ten years ago.

The girl was 17. The boy was three weeks shy of 16.

In its infinite wisdom the great State of Georgia -- motto: even stupider than Mississippi -- convicted her of sodomy which ended her up on the registered sex offender's list for life.

People on said list can't live within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, school bus stop, and so on. Even if they own a home or are renting, if a school bus changes its route, if a new school or a church gets put in, they are hosed. For life.

Because of a teenage blowjob when they were less than two years apart.

If you gave/received head to/from someone while you/they were under 16 years old (yes, that means you or they were 15 or younger), raise your hand. Feel free to tell us the entire story including ages, and how totally bogus Georgia's bullshit law is. Do remember however there are Statute of Limitations regarding Age of Consent laws. We're not lawyers; don't ask us.

Federal Way, Washington Teen Returns Ten Large.

A 17 year old grocery bagger, Moisei Baraniuc, a Ukrainian immigrant, found $10,000 in unmarked cash in the bathroom of the grocery store where he works. The young man and his parents came to the United States five years ago with $300.00. The kid works for minimum wage.

The boy turned the money in.

The cash belonged to a -- seriously -- Mr. Smith. It was his life savings. He was moving, so instead of hiding it at his home, he had it on him. Mr. Smith satisfied the police it was his and they returned his money to him.
Tacoma News Tribune

“Besides being really, really shocked, I had an overwhelming sense of pride for Moses for doing the right thing,” said Schafer, the store’s guest services manager.

“You always hope that people would do the right thing,” she said. “He didn’t even think twice.”

Federal Way police are also praising Baraniuc.

“That was great,” said Cmdr. Stan McCall. “I think that’s very honest and shows a great deal of integrity.”

Baraniuc works 15 hours a week after school to pay for gas and other expenses. He earns minimum wage.

Baraniuc said he and his family came to the United States five years ago with $300.

He teaches 10-year-olds in Sunday school at First Ukrainian Baptist Church in the Federal Way area. That’s another reason he knew he had to return the money.

“I can’t be teaching little kids not to do it if I’m doing it,” he said.
Baraniuc's promised a reward, but says he's fine: “Right now I have everything I need.”

Lots of people might mock this. I think it's just great.
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Obama: Barbara Walters Interview

Barbara Walters Interview with
President-elect Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama
November 26, 2008

Part 1 - President-elect Obama

Part 2 - President-elect Obama

Part 3 - President-elect and Mrs. Obama

Part 4 - President-elect and Mrs. Obama

Part 5 - President-elect and Mrs. Obama

Part 6 - President-elect and Mrs. Obama

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Morning

Open Thread

Sorry for the dearth of posting, I won't be at my main station computer until tomorrow afternoon. I'm gigging in Palm Springs and couch surfing a few days every week. Friday though, I took a break from the after Thanksgiving kitchen scrub (people not me in my kitchen always seem to leave a mess, that happen to you too?) to take the Sgt Major's delightful twin daughters and Dani out to see my horses and take a quick ride.

One of the Sgt Major's girls, in a very matter of fact voice, while we were tacking up the horses said "My friends at school told me that only rich people have horses. Are you rich?"

I was taken aback. I've been feeling very poor lately, hell, if not poor, at least greatly diminished. Then, I looked at the grand vista near where my horses are boarded, I looked at the adoring faces of three little girls who were excited in ways that only little girls about to ride horses can be.

"I'm richer than I ever dreamed of being my dear."

I meant every word of that. How's your morale holding up under all the assaults?

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Open Thread - Mumbai Fighting Continues

Policeman outside Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. November 27, 2008. photo Sajjad Qayyum/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images.
Policeman outside Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. November 27, 2008.
photo Sajjad Qayyum/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images.

India Terrorist Death Toll Over 150

Commando teams are working to clean out the last of the terrorists. The evidence seems to indicate the attacks came from a group in Pakistan.


How's your world going?

Open Thread.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ten Myths Conservatives Believe About Progressives

Sara Robinson wrote a wonderful article at Campaign for America's Future:

Talking Turkey: Ten Myths Conservatives Believe About Progressives

Highly recommended.

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Thanksgiving- Your Turn

Dear Community, Happy Thanksgiving! Hope yours was wonderful. (And did not involved anything like the vintage scene above- lol.)

What did you eat?
Who did you eat it with?
What are you thankful for today?
How will you spend your weekend?
Any black-Friday shopping planned?

Happy Bountiful Fall Feast Day!

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Family Prayer

By Robert Louis Stevenson

LORD, behold our family here assembled. We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell; for the love that unites us; for the peace accorded us this day; for the hope with which we expect the morrow; for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful; for our friends in all parts of the earth.

LET peace abound in our small company. Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge. Give us grace to accept and to forgive offenders.

ourselves, help us to bear cheerfully the forgetfulness of others. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare us to our friends, soften us to our enemies. Bless us, if that may be Thy will, in all our innocent endeavors. If it may not be, give us strength to encounter that which is to come, that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate with wrath, and in all change of fortune, and down to the gates of death, loyal and loving one another.

AS the clay to the potter, as the windmill to the wind, as children of their sire, we beseech of Thee this help and mercy for Christ's sake.

My very best wishes to you all on this day.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Checklist III

Apple, Pecan, and Pumpkin Pies are made

It's time to turn our thoughts to Cranberry Sauce. That essential condiment to save your overcooked turkey breasts.

First zest, then squeeze the juice from two navel oranges, add in a couple tablespoons of minced crystallized ginger. (although you can use half the amount of grated fresh ginger, or 1/4 the amount of ground dried ginger)

Place the juice, ginger, zest, along with 1 1/2 cups loosepack brown sugar in a non-reactive heavy saucepan. Stirring constantly over a medium flame with a wooden spoon, dissolve all the sugar until the mixture is smooth, glossy, and hot.

Add in 4 cups of fresh cranberries, and here, just because I have them on hand I tossed in 1 cup of pomegranate seeds too boot. Bring the heat to high, stirring constantly boil until all the cranberries have burst and the mixture begins to thicken.

Stir in 1 cup of dry pan toasted pecans or walnuts, chop them after toasting. Cool in the pan, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.

Not only is this a delicious side for fowl and venison, it is absolute heaven on a toasted bagel, with cream cheese.

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Me, Liza, and Herr Issyvoo

Christopher Isherwood (Christopher Isherwood; photo from an exhibition at The Huntington)

Me, Liza, and Herr Issyvoo

I tape the Rachael Ray show each day because, while I vastly enjoy her quick meal preparation tips, I usually cannot abide the rest of what she airs. Taping lets me fast-forward to the EVOO section, as I think of it.

This week, however, she's had Rosie O'Donnell on a couple of times, and I've been watching them interact, thinking about how much Italian and Irish immigrants shaped American culture and g*d bless us all for their contributions. Rosie is hawking a prime time variety special tonight. I hope it works. I grew up on variety shows and miss them. I also miss Hollywood musicals. Maybe once we fix the economy, stop the wars, and get us all health care, we can outlaw most so-called reality TV and bring back intelligent TV on a grand scale.

I heard this week they've canceled Pushing Daisies. Figures, they also canceled Dead Like Me and Firefly.

Rosie glowed as she announced the opening number would be with Liza Minelli. I was glad to see Liza not treated like a joke for once. It was hard to suffer through the whole David Gest debacle. I feel a special kinship to Liza Minelli because my mother felt a special kinship for Judy Garland and I more or less inherited cutting these women some slack. When I was 14, I was present at the birth of a hyperactive puppy whom I named Liza and who became my devoted companion for 15 years. I went to more than one Liza Minelli concert, back in my stomping dyke days (on the quiet, of course). When Rosie burst out into "It's Liza with a Z, not Lisa with an S -- " I knew all the lyrics. I have every Heloise book, and when I use the word "rawther", I imagine Liza as a frantic, neglected child trying to garner adult attention with hypervolubility.

Then in 1972, my senior year in high school, Liza won the Oscar for Cabaret. I drove to Wichita Falls, an hour away, to see it with an older woman I was soon to seduce. It was my first time to see an openly gay character on screen -- even though Cliff Bradshaw, as butchered by the screenplay, was a watered-down version of gay. I was electrified. The earth's axis tilted in a new direction.

Liza Minelli in Cabaret It wasn't simply the queerness. It was the entire portrayal of a so-called decadent culture (but one I would have given my eyeteeth to live among) right before Nazis commenced their slaughter. And, in particular, it was how Art could be used to comment on what was happening, to laugh in the face of fascists, with survival of ideas if not individuals. My 17-year-old self could not shut up about it.

Also, when Liza as Sally Bowles sang about her former roommate Elsie (with whom she shared four sordid rooms in Chelsea), when she talked about the death of the druggie whore and how "the neighbors came to snicker", the bitterness of her voice flooded me with the realization that Liza was defending her mother. Standing up for Judy. Of course they gave her the Oscar for that.

My closeted English teacher, Miss Duff, informed me the screenplay was based on a short novel by Christopher Isherwood, who had in fact known the real Sally Bowles and lived in Berlin as an out gay man as Hitler rose to power. She also told me Isherwood had been friends since boyhood with W.H. Auden.

I knew about Auden. My mother had read me his poetry since I was a baby, and only a couple of years earlier, I'd read an article about him in The Saturday Review which hinted strongly that he was a Homosexual. I felt something like a divine hand, leading me.

Somehow I found The Berlin Stories at a library in that exceedingly rural, exceedingly fundamentalist region of North Texas.

There are some books whose opening lines create such emotion in you, it's possible you would wipe their memory from your brain in order to experience them for the first time again. Like:


No answer.


No answer.

"What's gone with that boy, I wonder? You Tom!"

No answer.

Or: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

Well, among those eternal openings for me is the plunge into The Berlin Stories:

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.”

I knew, in every cell of my body, what he was talking about. He was an Outsider, who accepted his exile but would not cede his dignity or his right to witness, and who was now exercising his right to tell the tale. He handed me a way to live, in that instant. I wasn't going to be Sally Bowles, and certainly not Elsie -- I was going to be the camera, the one who got out alive with a record to give the world later.

Thank you, Herr Issyvoo. Thank you, Liza, and Rosie, and Miss Duff. It's time for me to make a meal and go watch a variety show, thinking about the possibilities of cabaret and commentary. Thank you all, for not snickering.

Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy (Christopher Isherwood, left, and Don Bachardy, a couple chronicled in "Chris and Don", in the early 1980s; photo by Jack Shear -- Zeitgeist Films)

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A Thanksgiving Song

"The Vacant Chair"
by Washburn and Root performed by Kathy Mattea

As we prepare for our sixth Thanksgiving while we have soldiers and marines fighting two wars, half a world away, let us pause, and reflect a moment.

If you know a family with a vacant chair at tomorrow's feast, give them a call. Tell them you remember too, tell them you love them.

We shall meet but we shall miss him,
There will be one vacant chair;
We shall linger to caress him
While we breath our evening prayer.
When one year ago we gathered,
Joy was in his mild blue eye,
Now the golden cord is severed,
And our hopes in ruin lie.

We shall meet but we shall miss him,
There will be one vacant chair;
We shall linger to caress him
While we breath our evening prayer.

At our fireside, sad and lonely,
Often will the bosom swell
At remembrance of the story
How our noble Willie fell;
How he strove to bear our banner
Thro' the thickest of the fight,
And uphold our country's honor
In the strength of manhood's might.


True they tell us wreaths of glory
Evermore will deck his brow,
But this soothes the anguish only
Sweeping o'er our heartstrings now,
Sleep today O' early fallen
In they green and narrow bed,
Dirges from the pine and cypress
Mingle with the tears we shed.


I will be remembering my friend the Sergeant Major Larry, currently serving in Afghanistan. His wife, and their two lovely girls are honored guests at my table. Keep your head down Larry, come home to us.
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Jeb Bartlet and C.J. at Thanksgiving

Every year since Chimpy McFlightsuit has taken office, I've avoided watching him speak, no matter what national circumstances we find ourselves in: Too painful. This is particularly true for events like the Easter Egg Roll (a.k.a. keep the kids of dykes and faggots off the White House lawn) or meeting horrified foreign dignitaries who must wonder how low we have fallen as a nation. But they flash by on the screen as I hit mute. And this year, our local news anchor had a knowing grin on his face when he began "In what may perhaps be his last official pardon, President Bush..." as footage of two befuddled creatures rolled, one of them in a suit.

Once again, my longing for Josiah Bartlet to be REAL stirred my viscera. And I was reminded of my favorite West Wing character, Claudia Jean Cregg, when she had to handle turkey pardoning in the Bartlet White House. For your early holiday pleasure, below are three videos from an era when we still believed in a Presidency that was not tainted by fanaticism and greed (restoration underway, giving thanks early I am):

C.J. meets the turkeys to be pardoned (poor quality video)

C.J. must ask the President to pardon another turkey

President Bartlet on the Butterball hotline

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Obama: Press Conference

Press Conference with the President-Elect - November 25, 2008

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Richard Pryor: First Black President, Press Conference

Can't. Stop. Laughing...

h/t Huffington Post.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Checklist II

Roasted Chestnuts (sorry, no open fire involved that's another holiday)

It's a very simple, straightforward process. Some of the best chestnuts I've had were from a street vendor in Athens who cooked them on the top of a cut out 55 gal drum. Of course I was in the grip of a Raki run and probably would have eaten toenails with glee.

Use a very sharp knife to cut an "X" into the flat part of the shell.

Place the chestnuts with the cut side up on a foil lined (don't know why but the reflective nature of the foil enhances the finished texture)

cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Peeled and diced these greatly enhance the wonderfulness of a dressing. Once it is fireplace season they roast up beautifully in a fireplace popcorn popper.

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Tuesday Open Thread

Everyone's busy right now.

Talk among yourselves.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Important Decision Coming on the Gay Adoption Ban in Florida

The patriots and heroes of the ACLU have been fighting hard to overturn the florida ban on Same sex, or gay individuals adopting. The case they have laid out is serious, well researched and strong.

There is an excellent diary about it on Kos. The gist of it is;

To make the case that Florida’s ban was based not on science but on ignorance (at best), we assembled what is probably the finest collection of child welfare, psychology, sociology and medical experts on these issues ever presented to a court. They included (among others): Dr. Michael Lamb, a world-renowned expert on children’s development, who is formerly the Chief of the Section on Social and Emotional Development at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and now chair of the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University; Dr. Anne Peplau, a Professor of Psychology at UCLA and a leading authority on couple relationships; Susan Cochran, a psychologist and epidemiologist at UCLA's Department of Public Health, and a leading authority on the demographics of health and psychology; and Dr. Frederick Berlin from Johns Hopkins, probably America’s foremost authority on child sexual abuse.

We used this remarkable cast to establish not just that the state was wrong about gay people as parents, but that no thinking person who understood the science does — or could — disagree. In that, our experts were materially aided by the experts for the state.

Here’s what our team established: The science does show that while gay people as a group have higher rates of depression and substance abuse, other demographic characteristics (including ethnicity and income) correlate with similar or even higher rates. However, these groups are not excluded from adopting. Those problems occur in every population group. That is why adoption systems are designed to screen individuals and not to rely on group generalizations.

This has to be overturned. It is the worst kind of legislation based on fear, ignorance, and bigotry. If you are as proud of the ACLU and their efforts as I am, send them some love today.
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Princeton Proposition 8

The Princeton Sidewalk Protection Act is Born

Protestors held up signs sporting tongue-in-cheek slogans such as “This is Where the Sidewalk Ends,” “Keep on the Grass,” “Defend Our Sidewalks” and “Sidewalks are a Serious Business.”

With Borchard leading on guitar, the group periodically struck up the protest’s anthem, “This Walk’s Not for the Freshman Class” to the tune of “This Land is Your Land.”

The song ended emphatically on the group’s underlying message: “We love all Freshmen, but we all understand / This walk’s not for the Freshman class!”

Ridicule of intolerance is almost always an effective tactic. Showing them to be the shallow blowhards that they are, even if it doesn't change the minds of the bigots, makes me feel better.
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Kattie and Dave Talk Palin Interview

From the interview:

I started by asking her who most impressed her as Vice President and why, what was the best and worst things Dick Cheney had done as Vice President, why was Roe v. Wade an ill-conceived or a bad Supreme Court decision.

"And I think she really hadn't anticipated those kinds of questions, so I think it might've thrown her off a bit. And then we got into foreign policy -- because, after all, she was at the UN meeting with world leaders -- and clearly she was struggling with some of those answers.

"We we were doing one of these walk-and-talks, it was a casual part of the interview, and I just said, 'I'm curious, what do you read? What has helped you shape your worldview? What do you read to stay informed?'
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Holiday Checklist

It's Brining Day For All Good Turkeys

Disregard if you're using a Butterball® or other saline injected turkey. If you are using a fresh, or otherwise never frozen bird, like one of the Heritage strains, today is when you need to brine.

I brine my bird in a cold drink container. I used to use a plastic bucket, but the drink container has a handy nozzle at the bottom for draining the brine when the deed is done. Taking out the brine makes for easier lifting.

First, make the brine. This is an all purpose brine that works for most poultry. It is not engraved in stone or anything so please, feel free to adjust it for your personal tastes. Our turkey this year is a once wild Royal Palm. Poor guy wandered right in front of my shotgun muzzle. He was a noble fellow. We will say a blessing to his honor on Thursday.


1 gallon vegetable broth
1 cup kosher or sea salt (NOT IODIZED)
1 tablespoon each
*you can also add in any onion skins, celery tops, apple peel, or other vegetable scraps which might occur during your holiday prep work. None of them hurt a thing, and flavors in the brine transfer themselves to the bird and bring about a wonderful complexity.
1 gallon ice water (adding more to cover the bird completely)

Heat the broth to just below boiling, dissolve the salt completely, toss in the herbs, cut the heat, allow to cool to room temperature.

Mix in the ice water and transfer to the container. Remove giblet bag from the bird and pat dry with paper towels. Place the bird into the brine breast down, add as much cold water as needed to completely cover, cap tightly and store in a cool place at least overnight.

To cook the bird, remove the turkey, dry it thoroughly, discard brine (this is a wonderful herbicide so a perfect place to discard it is sidewalk cracks).

Remember that a brined fowl cooks faster. Keep a close eye on your meat thermometer during the roasting.

Interesting additions to the brine include Worschestershire sauce, vinegar, hard cider, tobasco, tapatio®, garlic salt, onion salt, or really anything that strikes your fancy. Be bold and creative, you can't really fuck it up at this stage. Besides, you're throwing it out in a couple of days so nobody will ever really know.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Open Thread

What ONE QUESTION would you ask the President-Elect?

  • In public at a press conference.
  • In private just the two of you.
  • Or if you like, you, Obama, and the First-Lady to be. (You can double-date. Heck, bring the kids.)
What ONE CHANGE would you have the President-Elect make?
  • That everyone knows.
  • Privately (Must be a change that can be done in private.)
What ONE POSITION would you take in President Obama's Administration?
  • That you're qualified for. (By experience. College isn't an issue.)
  • Your dream job. (Don't worry about vetting...and spoil your dream?)
  • What's your Fantasy job? Chief of Staff, Secretary of State or Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Secretary of Defense or the President's Body Man. First Lady's Chief of Staff. Secret Service Agent. Head of the President's Detail. Or even the Undersecretary of Agriculture who gets stranded in Iowa and meets a corn-fed blond twenty-something farmer's daughter who is (as Aaron Sorkin put it) "wholesome but not too wholesome..."
  • What is your fantasy job in the Obama Administration... and WHY? *grins*
What ONE BRIEF SENTENCE/PARAGRAPH would you send the Transition Team?

Also, Open Thread on Sunday food.

I'm going to go have waffles, bacon and a Coke Cola. In a little while. And probably a BLT and a quart of potato salad for dinner. Hopefully with pie. The lemon pie I had yesterday was delicious. Mmmmm. (I had two slices.) Yummy.

First however, you should know I've been trying to post this since 8 am pacific, and keep falling asleep, four or five times at least. I'm going to publish it quickly, even if I'm not sure I have all the typo's out or have it quite right yet, because I just can't seem to stay awake.

Yes, my sleep schedule is weird. If you're going to call me today however don't worry, just go ahead and call anyway; I wake up quickly.
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View From Ground Zero

Tip O' The Tinfoil Hat to My Friends at Blondesense

They had a very good thread the other day around this beautiful song, by Paul Simon. I've been lucky enough to work for him a few times. Not enough on account of he's a New York City type to the bone, and I'm allergic to the entire east coast, but the times we've been together have been incredible.

I was able to tell him about how he completely disrupted my world when he released Graceland. I had to walk into my house full of instruments and shake my head in amazement and tell them "OK folks, we're starting over." The injection of the African players and arrangements, using the bass guitar as a melody instrument, placing the rhythm chops on the accordian, the astonishing rythmic nuance and harmony, all changed the way I approached my own playing.

Over and over in the music business I have heard the old refrain of "It's all over, because they invented. . ." The stuff they have said about Napster and Peer to Peer systems destroying music is the same stuff they said about CD recorders, Cassette tapes, Reel to Reel tape systems for the home, vinyl records, and even the wax and foil cylinders of Edison. Everything that advanced the technology was going to "end music as a business or profession." None of it did. Things changed, that's all.

I'm in the middle of change myself. I'm having to do some serious financial reorganization. It galls me. Not because I am opposed to change. My life is better because I made the decision to change not only my life, but the fundamental ways that I look at and approach my life. I did it by getting clean and sober through AA almost seventeen years ago. Not only do I know how to change and adapt, I know that it is something that often must be done.

What galls me is that this is being forced upon me because I played by the rules. The foundation of my investment is in commercial real estate. Most of that around San Diego. I wasn't one of the wild eyed speculators who leveraged and mortgaged myself to the hilt. I did it slow and steady. I invested in viable properties, with solid businesses in them. When profits were high I would do things like resurface the parking lot, or put in greener infrastructure like solar panels and things to make the place more sustainable and profitable.

The foundation of the whole system was in equity and sound business. That equity has disappeared. Poof! Vanished. Gone. Maybe forever. Nobody knows. What is certain is that value and worth that I invested in believing it to be conservative, prudent, and sound has evaporated as surely as the blips and pixels of the wildest crackhead Wall Street suits. Gone. All. Gone.

Normally, in a situation of temporary downturn it would be a simple thing to take some of that equity, use it to raise some temporary cash and weather the storm. That's changed. Not only has the majority share of the equity been magicked away, nobody's lending on the weather the storm basis. They don't know how bad this storm is going to be yet.

Frankly, if instead of trying to be a good steward who built wealth on a solid, stable and enduring platform, I had instead flashed blips and pixels around the internet on wild ass schemes that made the boom look sedate I would have been better off. If I had been a grasping gimme it now greedy son of a bitch who cashed out at every opportunity and stashed the loot offshore I would be in fine shape right now.

That's the galling thing, I'm in trouble because I believed and followed the rules. There's another front that taking place too. San Diego is trying to reconstitute its government after nearly a decade of corruption and looting. Yes, it was done by a series of republican mayors and city council members. They wrote in hefty, rich pensions for themselves and their cronies that were vested in as short as three months. Then, they all cashed out bigtime. At one point the city bonds of San Diego (and normally munis are another investment that is considered to be sound and safe) were downgraded to nearly junk levels. They stole so much upsteam that there was barely enough flow to make mud in the delta. Just like our national, and world economy, the bills came due and there wasn't anything left to pay them with. After wild fantasy games of the rich and famous, reality came to call, and reality is hungry and has teeth.

Now San Diego is having to raise cash for day to day operations. Properties like mine are ripe for governmental takings. I'm not mortgaged to the hilt so there is a strong profit motive to the takers. If my property was taken the takers wouldn't have to share with mortgage bankers and investment types. The margin of say, yet one more property assessment or another increase in trash, and other utility services would be small compared to the value of the siezed property. The very good and sound practices that made me vulnerable to this, are also what make it even more attractive to the vultures. There's a lot of flesh on the bones, all they have to do is manage the death of a thousands cuts and then all the scavengers get to feed.

I'm in the process of writing a long series about Afghanistan. I intend to focus on Alexander the Great and his three year campaign there. We'll start with Epaminondas, because he was the general who, more than anyone else, taught Philip of Macedon. Then, we'll talk about Philip, because without him and the innovations he brought one really cannot understand the revolutionary innovations of Alexander. We'll also talk about Darius and Cyrus of Persia, we'll spend some time with "Chinese" Gordon, Kublai Khan and the Russians. What I hope to demonstrate with this is that we are about to barge into making the exact same mistakes that conquerors and invaders have met in Afghanistan for the last 2,500 years.

Here's the lyrics to Paul's great song. I've been singing it a lot lately.

Words & music by Paul Simon

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's all right, it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest

It's alright, I'm alright.

How 'bout you? Commence the open thread.
There's more...

I Yam What I Yam

Mashed sweet potatoes, photo by Michael Akcin

I Yam What I Yam

A few years ago, I watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen that gave me a recipe for cooking sweet potatoes which I've used ever since, producing the kind of dish people rave about. I'm sharing it on here. I won't be giving exact quantities because it's the technique that works, not amounts. This will NOT involve marshmallows, by the way, if you're from that school of sweet potato eaterology.

Note: Most of what we call "yams" in this country are another variety of sweet potato. Real yams don't show up in our supermarkets and are not as nutritious as sweet potatoes anyhow.

Use at least one large sweet potato per person who will be eating. Peel or don't peel, depending on your preference. Cut them into thin uniform slices. Place them in a saucepan with a lid, along with at least half an inch of half and half, cream, or milk to cover the bottom of the pan. Add butter to your preference. (Note: I always use unsalted butter, not just for baking -- control of salt is important to good cooking.) Turn the heat on low and allow them to simmer for a long time -- the sweet potatoes will release their liquid, and that combined with the milk will steam them, but they'll take in flavor as they lose moisture. If you are the type to add sweetening, add it now -- brown sugar, maple syrup or molasses. Plus a dash of vanilla, if you want. After at least half an hour, check the potatoes, and add more liquid to keep the bottom of the pan covered. When they are completely tender, add salt, pepper and other spices to taste, plus more butter if you want. Mash them. They'll be unbelievably creamy, full of flavor, and have retained all their excellent nutrition. You can make these in advance and refrigerate them.

A trick I learned from cooking with Julia and Jacques is to keep mashed potatoes (and sweet potatoes) tasting "fresh" and non-oxidized when made in advance of a meal, hold back a little on the milk or cream you add when you mash them. Spread them in a deep bowl and pour a thin layer of milk on the top, enough to cover all the exposed potatoes. Cover and refrigerate up to a day in advance. When it's time to serve, mash the milk back into the potatoes and warm them in the microwave. You'll be surprised at the retention of flavor.

One year my partner and I hosted a potluck Thanksgiving where we demanded that our guests bring dishes using only foods native to the New World. Turkey, pumpkin, cranberries and corn were easy choices. However, grains, eggs and milk necessary for some dishes proved problematic. We bought a few Native American cookbooks and spent several days experimenting. We discovered that filberts ground into meal and then boiled produced a nutty "cream" that was heavenly when used in place of milk. We allowed wild rice, sunflower and corn oil, manioc flour, and duck eggs (the latter was stretching it a bit). The resultant menu was staggeringly good. It's impossible to imagine world cuisine without maize, tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate, and the wide variety of beans and spices which have fed the globe for centuries now. Here's a list of crops given to the rest of the world by the Americas.

Feel free to use this thread to share tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes, your planned menu, etc. Are you of the stuffing-in-the-bird school or stuffing in a separate pan? Do you brine your turkey? Here's my planned line-up: Brisket (much preferred by me to turkey), sweet potatoes as above, cornbread stuffing outside the bird with hazelnuts and blueberries, whole-wheat rolls, green bean casserole, spinach, and peach cobbler (I prefer pumpkin as a vegetable).

There's more...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Times, They Are A-Changed

In Forty Five Years, bmaz describes his experience of the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated:

I can't remember what subject we were working on, but the principal's voice suddenly came over the loudspeaker. This alone meant there was something important up, because that only usually occurred for morning announcements at the start of the school day and for special occasions. The voice of Mr. Flake, the principal, was somber, halting and different; perhaps detached is the word. There was a prelude to the effect that this was a serious moment and that the teachers should make sure that all students were at their desks and that all, both young and old, were to pay attention.

There had occurred a tragic and shocking event that we all needed to know about. Out attention was required.

Then the hammer fell and our world literally caved in.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated. Shot and killed in Dallas Texas. Then without a moment's pause, we were told that the nation was safe, Vice-President Johnson was in charge, the government was functioning and that we need not have any concerns about our own safety. We were not at war.

Twenty four some odd little hearts stopped, plus one from Mrs. Hollingshead. You could literally feel the life being sucked out of the room like air lost to a vacuum. Many of us began looking out the window, because no matter what Mr. Flake said, if our President was dead, we were at war and the warheads were coming. They had to be in the sky. They were going to be there.

Then the hammer fell and our world literally caved in.

Can you imagine the nation feeling that way if President George W. Bush were assassinated? I'm sure some of the authoritarian Right would have that reaction. Even some of the progressive Left would be worried about civil unrest (not to mention the prospect of President Dick "Go F*ck Yourself" Cheney).

But no significant portion of the population would be worried about warheads or tanks coming. I don't think any substantial portion of the population would be worried about America's survival (indeed -- some might be relieved). If someday President Barack Obama is assassinated (a prospect that seems frighteningly possible), the political response will reverse sides and I suspect there will be more upset, but still no one will be worried about warheads flying or about the survival of the nation.

The times, they are a-changed.

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Obama: Weekly Address

Weekly Address from the President-Elect - November 22, 2008

I love that President-Elect Obama speaks to us through this new-fangled Intertubes and not that Marconi device.

He's so dreamy. And techno-hip.

Although he doesn't have to give up his Blackberry. What's that you say?

MSNBC and The New York Times/AP say President-Elect Obama is concerned he will not be able to use his Blackberry once he is President, due to the Presidential Records Act.

This isn't an issue.

I have over a quarter-century experience in Enterprise IT Messaging. (It's not as much fun as being a paramedic was, so I don't talk about it as much. *smiles*) Once President-Elect Obama is President, he can use a Blackberry to:

I'm one of the technical experts which Mother Jones magazine used to vet their series of stories about the Bush Administration email problems. I read ALL the depositions on the current White House messaging system setup for the Executive Office of the President.

Bottom line: The President-Elect does NOT have to give up his Blackberry. Anyone who tells him otherwise is incompetent. Any competent senior-level IT team could handle this routinely.

Obama has said he's going to appoint a CTO.

Who should the CTO be and what should be her priorities?

And what about today's Weekly Address, hmmm?

I'm off to breakfast. So feel free to talk about food and the weekend also.

Ah hell, just call this the SATURDAY OPEN THREAD.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Backyard Apples In Pie

I Found a Box of These Babies

On my porch. They are straight up backyard apples from a friend's house. I called to ask about what kind of apples they were and was told "They came from Dad's old tree out by the gate."

Faced with that, it's time for a real application of the cook's art. First, I ate one. There was firm texture, lots of crisp, a sudden tart bite which was followed by a delightful apple flavor. It was wonderful, I took another bite and said "Pie."

When making a pie out of apples this way, from a box on a porch I figure it's time to use every sense at my command. This won't be a recipe listing ingredients and proportions. I was going on taste, smell, feel, and looks. When it tasted, smelled, felt and looked right I said "Ok," if it didn't I tried to figure out what was lacking.

Assembled on the counter were Wondra® gravy flour, distilled vinegar, almond extract, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, whole nutmegs, white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup (the real stuff from a tree yo), unsalted butter. I know there's a can of butter flavor Crisco® sitting there. That's leftover from making the crust dough.

Which means, of course that the first thing to do is to make up enough dough to make two crusts. Once it's mixed up stick it into the fridge to keep it cold.

Peel, slice, and core the apples. These felt like they were fairly firm fleshed so I went with slicing about eight slices to an apple. Thinner slices cook faster, but I was loving the secondary wave of great apple flavor from these so I wanted fairly thick slices. I wanted them to hold the integrity of their applehood. At the widest part they were about 1/4". As soon as I turned them into the bowl I sprinkled them with the distilled vinegar. This was because I was out of lemons, a little vinegar, a little lemon juice keeps the apple slices from discoloring. It also provides a nice countrpart to the sweetness of the ingredients to follow. Toss the apple slices with the flour, sugars, spices and such. Again, I was going totally by feel, so I'm not sure what the measures were. Flour was the most, I wanted that to soak up the juice as the apples baked, the sugars were about even, more cinnamon than nutmeg, more nutmeg than ginger, more ginger than cloves. A splash or two of almond and vanilla extract. Taste and adjust.

Then, a moment of inspiration. I don't get those that often, when they occur, I try to follow my muse where ever it takes me. I was futzing around the pantry and I came across a bag of petrified caramels. Rock hard they were. Then, I had that moment. The internal dialog was like: Dude, caramels, whoa, hard, I can chunk them though, that's right, mix in caramel chunks with the pie, it'll be the bomb and stuff.

I think that's eight or something like that. I zapped them in the microwave for fifteen seconds, and diced them. Then, into the bowl for a nice little tossing.

When I had the top crust in place I brushed it down with a mixture of 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 2 tablespoons water, sprinkled that with a little fine granulated sugar (C&H Baker's Sugar). Baked at 425° for 30 minutes, put a foil ring on top of the crust edge, baked for another 10 minutes.

Et Voila!

After that it was off to Dani's school to watch her get her Honor Roll Certificate, and her award as "Student of the Month."

As she was tearing into her slice of still warm from the oven pie, Dani said "You should call this Caramel Apple Pie."

Good enough for me.

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Day Of Remembrance

Photo Downloaded from linked site, of Lawrence King

Memorializing Those Transgendered People

Who have been murdered in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

The Picture above is Lawence King, who was shot to death by a classmate because he liked to wear women's clothes. He was 15.

Many of the assualts, rapes, and murders of transgendered people go either unreported, or if reported, go uninvestigated. Police officers don't like looking into things that make them feel all icky inside.

Elsewhere, the amazing Earl Pomerantz writes in his voice of Uncle Grumpy on the subject of race. It also applies here. Like the discovery of Black Swans, centuries and millenia of custom and presumption can be overturned in an instant by a simple willingness to notice the obvious.

I will reproduce the short essay in full here. I encourage you to examine the writings of Mr. Pomerantz. He is one of the finest television writers who ever worked. You only think you do not know his writing. He wrote or created many of the classic shows. A brief listing: The Cosby Show, Major Dad, M*A*S*H*, and many, many others.

In today's post he writes:

Here we go, boys and girls. It’s Uncle Grumpy – on race. Please, always remember. It’s Uncle Grumpy talking. Not me.

Uncle Grumpy. Not me.


My grandmother was left-handed. She told me how, when she was a kid, the teachers would strap her left hand to her side, and force her to write with her right hand.

Why did they do that? Because the culture of that time believed that left-handed people were biologically inferior. Worse than inferior. They were bad. Do you know what the Latin word for “left” is?


Left-handed people were considered to be sinister. Why? It was never explained.

Wherever you looked, the interests of left-handed people were ruthlessly ignored. The world belonged to the right-handed, and everything was tailored to their needs. Scissors. Can openers. Notebooks. (The coiled wire rubbed on the lefty’s arm.)

Negative messages insinuated themselves into the language. You’ve heard of a “left-handed” compliment? That is not a good compliment. “Southpaw?” I don’t know its derivation, but just the sound of it – “southpaw” – it doesn’t make you wish you’d been born one. In the reactionary culture of baseball, left-handed pitchers were viewed as unstable, bordering on crazy.

Left-handed children were stamped as a lower category of humanity, suffering treatment consistent with their status. Throughout in the culture, the message was crystal clear:

Right-handed. Good.

Left-handed. Bad.

At some point, maybe science had something to do with it, maybe folks just came to their senses, there was a liberating change. The “handedness” issue became irrelevant. It was as if a light had been turned on. “That stuff is all wrong!” People thought back on the demonization of the left-handed and it was like,

“What were we thinking?”

Finally they had realized the obvious: “Handedness” was something you were born with. Valuing one hand as being superior to the other hand was ridiculous.

After centuries of misbehavior resulting from a mistaken belief, the concept of “handedness” came to be seen as what it had always been:

A meaningless distinction.

I thought you were talking about race, Uncle Grumpy.

Uncle Grumpy?


The California Supreme Court moved swiftly Wednesday to tackle the latest legal showdown over gay marriage, agreeing to consider three lawsuits that challenge the legality of Proposition 8's abolition of same-sex weddings.

At the same time, the state's high court rejected a bid to put Proposition 8 on hold while the legal struggle unfolds, postponing indefinitely any new wedding vows for gay and lesbian couples. The Supreme Court indicated it is likely to rule by June.

Uncle Grumpy?
I thought you were talking about race?
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Stop HHS Promoting Religious Minority Beliefs Ahead of Medical Care and Science

Street graffiti, unknown source
Stop HHS Promoting Religious Minority Beliefs Ahead of Medical Care and Science

Back in July I wrote about Bush's attempt to redefine contraception as "abortion" and allow any health care worker in a business receiving federal funding to refuse medical services to women if they find such care "objectionable". Despite rigorous effort by Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray, and public action facilitated by activists such as those on this blog, the Department of Health and Human Services under Michael Leavitt has rolled on like a tank to enact this new rule. You can read more about it at Planned Parenthood's action site, where you can speak out yourself. I'm also copying in below the press release sent out about this travesty.

It reminds me of the lowest form of home invasion, where after everything valuable is stolen and a house is trashed, on their way out the door the criminals take a dump in the corner. That's what the Bush regime is doing these final days.

Hurry, Tom Daschle. Hurry.


WASHINGTON, DC — In light of reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is preparing to enact a rule that would undermine critical health care services for women and families, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) today introduced legislation that would prevent the HHS rule from going into effect. The proposed HHS rule would require any health care entity that receives federal financing to certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable. The proposed bill would keep HHS from moving forward with this rule.

"In the final days of his administration, the President is again putting ideology first and attempting to roll back health care protections for women and families. The fact that the EEOC was never consulted in the drafting of this rule further illustrates that this is purely a political ploy. This HHS rule will threaten patients' rights, stand in the way of health care professionals, and restrict access to critical health care services for those who need them most. Senator Murray and I are standing up once again to the administration against this rule and will continue to fight for women's reproductive rights. President Bush is making a last-minute attempt to undermine women's health care, but our legislation will stop this rule and ensure that women can continue to get needed health care," said Senator Clinton.

"It's now clear that the Bush Administration is so desperate to move their political agenda forward that they are even willing to ignore the advice of their own appointed lawyers. But patient protection and access to care should never take a back seat to politics," Senator Murray said. "Senator Clinton and I are introducing this legislation to ensure that the health of patients always come first. For eight years this administration has worked to undermine women's health but they won't get away with it on their way out the door."

"This midnight regulation is another outrageous attempt by the Bush administration to deny women access to vital health care information and services," said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards. "Planned Parenthood applauds members of Congress for taking on the task of undoing the abysmal policy mandates and we stand ready to work with them to ensure women have access to the full range of reproductive health care options."

Senators Clinton and Murray have led the effort to block HHS from implementing this new rule. Following a meeting with HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt on September 23, Senators Clinton and Murray led a group of 28 Senators urging Secretary Leavitt to halt the proposed HHS rule. Senators Clinton and Murray on called for the meeting with Secretary Leavitt on August 8 after Secretary Leavitt failed to reply to several letters from the Senators and instead defended the proposed HHS policies on his personal blog.

The senators have worked in the past to stop efforts by the Bush Administration to put in place ideological barriers to women's health. They successfully led the fight to secure an administration decision on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B emergency contraception after more than three years of Administration delay.

There's more...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Breaking: Attorney General Mukasey Collapses

Mukasey Collapses While Delivering Keynote At Federalist Society

Reports are coming in by from people who are still at the annual Federalist Society gathering at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., that U.S. Attorney General Mukasey collapsed while speaking tonight.

Paramedics are reportedly working on him on stage, while a human shield of audience members has been placed in front of him for privacy.

The audience is praying. The early word says this is a stroke, although we emphasize nothing official has been released.


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Levity? Really?-- Well Gov. Palin is a Joke, But She's Not That Funny

In a truly bizarre moment, Gov. Palin, did a press conference in front of a turkey pen where the birds were being slaughterd as she spoke. She is seemingly unaware of anything going around her. When the reporter asked if she enjoyed the event (which was a Turkey pardoning) She said how nice it was to bring some levity into the political process. Meanwhile- a thrashing turkey was being killed as the machine jerked and bucked behind her.

Warning, the video is certainly a cringe creator- and animal rights folks should maybe not click play. Also Maybe not work safe.

Levity? really?
h/t The Huffington Post
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Klan Takes $2.5 Million Dollar Beating

Jordan Gruver at 16. He was beaten by the KKK. Photographer/date unknown.
Jordan Gruver at 16. He was beaten by the KKK. Photographer/date unknown.

Young Man Awarded $2.5 Million After Beating by Imperial Klans of America

The KKK tried to kick Jordan Gruver to death. By mistake.

They thought he was an illegal immigrant, just another Hispanic.

Actually Jordan is an American citizen. His parents were Native-American and Panamanian. Just a case of mistaken identity.

Not that anything helps when big people are kicking the shit out of you.


An all-white jury of seven men and seven women deliberated for five hours after three days of testimony. The suit alleged that Edwards, Hensley, and the Imperial Klans of America as a whole incited its members to use violence against minorities.

"The people of Meade County, Kentucky, have spoken loudly and clearly. And what they've said is that ethnic violence has no place in our society, that those who promote hate and violence will be held accountable and made to pay a steep price," Dees said.

According to testimony, three members of the Klan group confronted Gruver in July 2006 during a recruiting mission at the Meade County Fair in Brandenberg, Kentucky. They taunted him with ethnic slurs -- inaccurate ones -- spat on him and doused him with alcohol .Two of the men, including Hensley, knocked Gruver to the ground and repeatedly struck and kicked him.

"All I could see was a bunch of feet," Gruver, now 19, told the jury. "As they were kicking me, I prayed to myself. I said, 'God, just please let me go. Please let me make it home.' "

When the blows stopped, Gruver had a broken jaw, broken left forearm, two cracked ribs and cuts and bruises.

He testified that he has suffered permanent nerve damage and psychological trauma. He doesn't leave his house and rarely sleeps more than two hours at a time because he has nightmares, CNN affiliate WLKY reported.

There's more...
Thank you Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC stands up to bullies, they stand up to racists.
Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center today won a crushing jury verdict against one of the nation's largest Klan groups for its role in the brutal beating of a teenager at a county fair in rural Kentucky.

The $2.5 million verdict will likely cripple the Imperial Klans of America, which has 16 chapters in eight states.

Several Klansmen were at the fair on a recruiting mission when they spotted Gruver, who is a U.S. citizen of Panamanian descent. They threw whisky in his face and called him a "spic." Gruver, who stood 5-foot-3 and weighed just 150 pounds at the time, was surrounded, beaten to the ground and kicked by the Klansmen, one of whom was 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds. He was left with a broken jaw and arm, two cracked ribs and multiple cuts. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and has permanent arm and jaw injuries.

The attack on Gruver is symptomatic of a rising tide of hate and violence directed toward Latinos in the United States. The SPLC has documented at 48 percent rise in the number of hate groups since 2000 — an increase fueled by the anti-immigration furor. Recent FBI statistics show a 40 percent increase in hate crimes targeting Latinos between 2003 and 2007.

Former Klansman Kale Kelly testified at the trial that Edwards instructed him to kill Dees during the SPLC's lawsuit against the Aryan Nations in the late 1990s. Kelly said he planned to track Dees in Idaho, where the trial was held, and that Edwards would supply the weapon. But in April 1999, within days of the plot being executed, an FBI undercover operation foiled the plan. Kelly served time in federal prison on weapons charges. Edwards was never charged.

Over the past 25 years, the SPLC has crippled some of the nation's largest and most violent hate groups by helping victims of racial violence sue for monetary damages. Its victories include a $7 million verdict against the United Klans of America in 1987 for the lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Ala.; a $12.4 million verdict against the White Aryan Resistance in 1990 for the brutal murder of an Ethiopian student in Portland; and a $6.3 million verdict against the Aryan Nations in 2000 that forced the organization to give up its 20-acre compound in Idaho.
The SPLC does amazing work in the face of violent, ignorant people.

I'm a big fan. Well done.

David Neiwert has been speaking of this.
Crooks and Liars

As we predicted before the election, Barack Obama's victory has loosed a flood of hatefulness from the racist right in America. Digby yesterday had a detailed post laying out some of the cases that have erupted so far.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

In rural Georgia, a group of high-schoolers gets a visit from the Secret Service after posting "inappropriate" comments about President-elect Barack Obama on the Web. In Raleigh, N.C., four college students admit to spraying race-tinged graffiti in a pedestrian tunnel after the election. On Nov. 6, a cross burns on the lawn of a biracial couple in Apolacon Township, Pa.

The election of America's first black president has triggered more than 200 hate-related incidents, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – a record in modern presidential elections. Moreover, the white nationalist movement, bemoaning an election that confirmed voters' comfort with a multiracial demography, expects Mr. Obama's election to be a potent recruiting tool – one that watchdog groups warn could give new impetus to a mostly defanged fringe element.

I talked to the SPLC's Mark Potok this morning, and here are his observations:

I think there's something remarkable happening out there. I think we really are beginning to see a white backlash that may grow fairly large. The situation's worrying.

Not only do we have continuing nonwhite immigration, not only is the economy in the tank and very likely to get worse, but we have a black man in the White House. That is driving a kind of rage in a certain sector of the white population that is very, very worrying to me.

We are seeing literally hundreds of incidents around the country -- from cross-burnings to death threats to effigies hanging to confrontations in schoolyards, and it's quite remarkable.

I think that there are political leaders out there who are saying incredibly irresponsible things that could have the effect of undamming a real flood of hate. That includes media figures. On immigration, they have been some of the worst.

There's a lot going on, and it's very likely to lead to scapegoating. And in the end, scapegoating leaves corpses in the street.

Gun sales are up.

Threats against the President-Elect are up. (Thank you Sarah Palin.)

And 2nd & 3rd graders in Rexburg, Idaho repeatedly chanted on their school bus, "Assassinate Obama".

The people who have spent their lives in service of the 28%, do NOT want to live in reality. They will FIGHT to live in the world where whatever fantasy they make up is true.

Jury Verdicts of $2.5 million dollars are good. They help...
  • Wake people up.
  • Fund good education.
  • Shutdown bad people.
Well done, SPLC.

Hang in there, Jordan.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Art on the Walls Open Thread

Hi All, here is part 2 of Home is where the art is.

I have a new piece of art! I got a signed copy of the Shepard Fairey Rock the Vote poster when we were at the convention. Finally got the framing done and it is proudly on my wall.

Send me a pic a favorite piece from your home/ home office? Office?

And I will post them up and we can all get a glimpse of each other's art-diggs.
Take a look back at our previous thread on GNB home art here.

ps. for any Japanophiles out there, I also have a good post up today about Japanese bath culture over at Fighting Liberals (shameless self-promotion)

***(click on the pics for bigger versions***

Sherry has a great vintage game (her uncle joe's) hanging on the game room wall! Cool.

From Carl; silkscreen by Dutch artist Jacqueline de Jong (b.1939). She was associated with the Situationist movement from about 1957 to 1962, but has gone her own way since. This is called Pistol, from 1983.

And from Steve K we have this one, framed and hanging.

Doug shares 2 goregous paintings done by his wonderfully talented wife;

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Wild Horse Annie, reborn as Madeline Pickens

(Photo: Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Bronn Johnston's grave, Find A Grave)

Horses are emblematic of America. Wild horses, from Assateague Island in the east to California in the west, are living descendants of iconic American images. They are living symbols of our pioneer heritage, from wagons crossing the midwest to cowboys crossing the western plains. Horses crossed America before trains did, carried mail before we had a true national postal service, deployed soldiers to protect settlers, and carried many of our ancestors from east to west. Mustangs represent the indomitable individual spirit of the American soul. The most famous car chase ever filmed included a Mustang. We call enlisted men who become officers Mustangs because of their presumed wild and untamed nature.

When I was a kid, I was a voracious reader. One of my favorite authors was Marguerite Henry, and one of my favorite books was Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West.

Yes, it's true. When I was a child, I was an 11 year old girl. :-)

(Photo: Velma "Wild Horse Annie" Bronn Johnston, South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

Mustang tells the story of 'Wild Horse Annie' (aka Velma Bronn Johnston), who led the fight to pass legislation prohibiting motorized and aerial hunting of wild horses and burros (the 1959 Wild Horse Annie Act) and to protect wild horses and burros (the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971). It is a story of tenacity and courage, with a bit of community organizing thrown in, and I always loved that it showed how citizens can influence the legislative process in a wholesome 1939 "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" or 2003 "Legally Blonde 2" kind of way.
(Photo:Mustangs in Utah [possibly Skull Valley], Jaime Jackson, found on Wikipedia)

Since 1971, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been responsible for maintaining and protecting the wild horse and burro population on federal land, and they presently have about 30,000 animals in holding pens. These animals are available for adoption or purchase so long as assurances are provided that they will not be sold or slaughtered. Under 2004 legislation, animals over 10 years of age or which have failed to be adopted three times can be sold without restriction. In July, some 2000 healthy horses were scheduled for euthanasia because of crowding and cost considerations (and perhaps because they occupy land and resources that could be used by cattle).
“living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West,
which ... enrich the lives of the American people.”
-- Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971

(Photo:Mustangs, Hidden Trails, Ltd.)

Yesterday, Madeline Pickens, wife of T. Boone Pickens, announced that she and her husband would buy the 2000 condemned animals and were planning on adopting most or all of the 30,000 animals currently held by the BLM.

T. Boone may be a blowhard and a rich SOB who wants to make huge profits off green energy the way he did on oil, but this is a great thing to do -- and only the money made on oil makes it possible.

Thank you, Madeline and T. Boone. From all of us.
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