Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Walt Whitman/Max Cleland/Kerry and McCain

(P1) Poetical

Words From A Giant

"Of all nations the United States with veins full of poetical stuff most need poets and will doubtless have the greatest and use them the greatest. Their Presidents shall not be their common referee so much as their poets shall. Of all mankind the great poet is the equable man....He bestows on every object or quality its fit proportions neither more nor less. He is the arbiter of the diverse and he is the key. He is the equalizer of his age and land...he supplies what wants supplying and checks what wants checking. If peace is the routine out of him speaks the spirit of peace....If the time becomes slothful and heavy he knows how to arouse it...he can make every word he speaks draw blood."
(Walt Whitman)

(P2) Philosophical

Senator Max Cleland is the Answer to Our
Great American Hero #3 Quiz

Congratulations to Roy Fulton for being the first to identify Senator Cleland from the earlier November 8th photo. By the way, for some reason or other, that Nov. 8th posting fell off the blog for awhile. I'd strongly recommend that you take a look by scrolling down to Nov. 8 with Max Cleland's other picture and especially to read Poet Sharon Olds' wonderfully measured letter to Laura Bush as well as the painstakingly annotated piece about Voting Machines and who owns them.

Anyway, according to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia,

Joseph Maxwell Cleland (born August 1942) is a Democratic former US Senator from Georgia and critic of the Bush Administration. Cleland also served in the Vietnam War where he was awarded both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for bravery in combat, including during the battle of Khe Sanh in 1967 where Cleland was severely wounded while attempting to pick up a grenade dropped by another soldier. He lost both legs and part of one arm in the accident.

Cleland served for several years in the Georgia state legislature, and became an advocate for affairs relating to veterans. He was the administrator of the United States Veterans Administration under President Carter , a fellow Georgian, from 1977 to 1981. He then served 14 years as secretary of state of Georgia from1982 to 1996, working closely with his future Senate colleague, Zell Miller. Cleland ran for and was elected to the United States Senate in 1996. The Democratic nomination became available because of the retirement of Sam Nunn. He was defeated while running for a second term in 2002 by Saxby Chambliss.

During that election campaign, the Republicans smeared an authentic American hero and did so beyond belief. All this was directed at a man who fought, was a hero, and lost 3 limbs fighting for his country. The Vietnam War may well have been a horrible mistake and the product of lies, but Max Cleland, like so many, answered the challenge based upon the knowledge he then had. The shame inherent in smearing such a man reveals the current administration for what they are, shameless self-promoters who use the concept of patriotism to hide behind and to advance corrupt schemes. The cowardly smears certainly have not stopped our hero from becoming a very forceful advocate for national security, veterans' benefits, human rights, and truth in government.

(P3) Political

...and while we're on the subject of real heros and my outrage over how they get smeared,

How about John Kerry and John McCain for starters.

When Silver Star and Purple Heart winning veteran John Kerry returned from Vietnam and turned anti-war protestor, he testified eloquently before the Senate Foreign Relations committee in April 1971 saying that

"We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" (Press this link to read complete Kerry text. I believe you'll be impressed)

My best educated guess, is that with that testimony, Kerry actually
saved many American lives. He shortened many POW sentences. He saved Vietnamese lives as well. We'll never know how many lives John Kerry saved, but people who say that he was a "traitor" that he did not "support" the troops, this is a total lie or at best a total misapprehension. The troops were fighting in a war that virtually every historian and straight-thinking person realizes was a total mistake. Lyndon Johnson knew it was a mistake, but didn't know how to pull out. Richard Nixon didn't want to become the first American President "to lose a war." The Gulf of Tonkin lie resulted in me serving one year of my own life (1966-67) in Vietnam. Sure I volunteered. That's the same thing as our young men and women today volunteering for duty in Iraq based upon lie upon lie upon lie. The "support the troops" ploy is just that. The nonsequitor is that by supporting the troops, they will redeem the mess which George W. Bush has wrought. It also implies that by opposing this immoral mess, we are not supporting the troops. We are thus asked to buy the lie and keep our young people there for false reasons. It also denies the obvious fact that many fewer of them will die if they are not there.

Instead, the smears perpertrated by this administration, do not support our troops and veterans but instead smear our heros such as John McCain ( they actually called him "crazy"), John Kerry and Max Cleland. Support our troops by ending the support of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, and their ilk. These are people who never served but revel in dangerous adventure games of war which result in our young troops becoming daily cannon fodder.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Why Roe is Safe/Pandemic Humor/Fat Poem

(P1) Political

Why I Believe Roe v. Wade Will Not Be Overturned

There are so many single-issue voters out there that if suddenly the entire abortion issue were taken off the national stage, many Christian and conservative voters would look around and quite possibly start noticing the plight of the poor and switch their allegiance to candidates like John Edwards who are addressing that or, they might suddenly start noticing the totally immoral war in Iraq, find real distaste in their government's use of torture and white phosphorous, and look toward candidates who develop ways to end America's huge mistakes made in their name under the current administration.

So it doesn't take a great leap to see that the religious conservatives need the abortion controversy to stay center-stage. Let's face it, nobody likes abortion. What we accept and forward is a woman's right to choose and see it as an issue of privacy restricted to the woman and her doctor. But nobody, except the truly nutty, would say, "I want to have lots and lots of abortions."

So then, isn't it possible that, with the issue of abortion and Roe v. Wade in the forefront, the Republicans have a target and a rallying cry? Without it, what do they have? 1. Spending issues? Bush is the biggest spender of all time, much to the chagrin of his own conservative base. 2. The Patriotism Issue? This war is wildly unpopular. 3. Scare Tactics? This is beginning to work against the administration. Bush's "I'll keep you safe" has turned into a joke.

Thus, Roe v. Wade will be kept constantly dangling before us and especially before the Christian conservative "base" like an ugly multicolored pinata that they love to beat on and extract some candy from but which they've molded with a very thick unbreakable hide and a gordian rope. Roe belongs more to them than to us.

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(P2) Poetical

this rendering

by Edward Coletti

in process

growing old and fat

62 and 6 foot 2

some special symmetry

this numerology

stretching out

this frame of me

blending edges concealing

adipose poundage

(Young girls die

for breasts like mine)

While some men eat to live,

I live to eat.

I’ve tired

of too much exercise.

I’m bored with dieting.

I’m 62-years-old

for God’s sake!

Haven’t I earned the right

to enjoy myself?

Yes, I’ll die

better for having enjoyed eating

than for hosting a somber party crashed

by obnoxious cancer cells,

and which is more fun

a calorie-counting

weight lifting runner

filled with theory and fact

and self-righteous virtue

or a beer-guzzling,



haute cuisine and


funny boy?

Which one would

you want for a lifelong friend?

So perhaps I won’t live forever

or even to be a hundred and thirteen

but, hey

neither will I,

like Jackie Onassis

ever regret having wasted my time

“on all those extra situps”

Better another Guinness,

a full-bodied old vine zin,

a perfectly thin blackened

brick oven pizza crust,

a fat-marbled angus

juicy with varietal flavors,

gelato so dense that

its fruit

under pressure

turns to diamonds

(but french fries

may only be sampled with prudence

since my gall bladder refuses

to welcome them comfortably home)

(P3) Philosophical

A Bit of Pandemic Humor

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hero#3/Poet Denies First Lady/Voting?Machines

(P1) Philosophical

Can You Identify Our Great American Hero #3 ?
Number 1 was ex- Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neil. Number 2 was Air America commentator Randi Rhodes. I believe today's hero will be easy, so I'll skip the hints. Please give your answer by entering a comment (by pressing the link below).

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(P2) Poetical

Poet Sharon Olds' Letter to the First Lady

Laura Bush
First Lady
The White House

Dear Mrs. Bush,

I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House.

In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who need the pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers.

And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been dear to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women's prison, several New York City public high schools, an oncology ward for children. Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now for twenty years, creating along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates and their students--long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor, courage and wisdom, become our teachers.

When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and essentialness of writing. When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story and song.

So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture and another country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" and forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to.

I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.

But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.

September 2005

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(P3) Political

20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA

A reader of P3 sent this to me. It's scary as hell. If you have any idea how to repair or insure the voting system, please let us know by your comments below.

By the way, while not all of the links work, most of them do.

Did you know....

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the
U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping
Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the
U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.,2645,61640,00.html

13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used in most of the
United States.

14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in

California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here:,2645,63298,00.html

17. 30% of all
U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in
Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.,2645,65757,00.html

19. The governor of the state of
Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in
Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.,10801,97614,00.html

(Uitpers, nr. 69, 7de jg., november 2005)


NOTE: Please copy the above list and distribute freely!
Thank you!

Want a cheap, fair, reliable, and efficient alternative? It exists!
Check out the Swiss Voting System

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Three Women

(P1) Poetical

To My Surprise

When the Houston announcer summoned the crowd to stand, remove their caps, and sing "God Bless America" at the 7th inning stretch of the 3d game of the World Series (Oct. 25th), I braced for the usual dose of jingoism. Instead, large on the screen, came a beautiful picture of the truest of American heroes, Rosa Parks, who was the first of her race to claim her rightful seat on a southern bus. This singular act of bravery changed history by igniting the fire of civil rights in our nation. It was the first step in our country's most telling act of redemption. Rosa Parks did what no one had done, and she will live forever. I even forgave the producer who, for some misguided reason, focused a camera on Barbara Bush in the stands. Rosa Parks' achievement and memory will forever transcend politics. It is emblematic of what we each can accomplish as citizens if we seize the significant moments that may come our way. You may ask, "Why is this in the 'Poetical' section? Simple. Rosa Parks IS a Poem!

(P2) Philosophical

Answer to our New American Hero #2 Query

So here is the answer to our October 19th Guess-This-American-Hero "Contest." It's talk show host Randi Rhodes of Air America Radio. Randi was born in 1959. Let's see...that makes her 46. Because she spent her childhood in Brooklyn and Queens, she has a self-admittedly abrasive tone of voice. She had the courage to keep hers...I didn't. Interestingly, when left wingers attack her "patriotism," they forget or lose sight of the fact that she enlisted in the Air Force and served as a mechanic for 4 years. She's spent 20 years in radio in Texas, Florida and New York. No matter what you think about her irreverence and style of humor (which I find vastly refreshing), the most important truth about her is that she is a stickler for facts and, unlike her counterparts (O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and Hannity) on the right, offers citations to a wide array of newspapers, magazines, websites, government documents and electronic media reports. Rhodes takes on the roles of editorialist, satirist, comedian and news analyst. She is a leading activist for accountability and standards in the media, and has spoken at congressional hearings about creating a framework of national standards for what can be labeled "news." She also has won the American Women in Radio and Television award for Best Entertainment Programming.

A Few Pithy Randi Rhodes Comments From Nov. 2d

Nov. 2, 2005 - Just before I went to press with this post, I listened to Randi Rhodes' show and will paraphrase a few things I heard:

..."Every last Republican in the Senate(congress?) takes his marching orders from Cheney and Bush exclusively, and that, my friends is fascism and nothing less." Makes sense to me. What, after all is the need for a legislature if it follows the executive branch in lockstep?

George W. Bush (quite some time ago) "Over time, the truth will come out."

"Democrats want to find out 'who lied us into this war?' It's not America when people are scared to death of dissenting from the opinion of the president...It's not America when an ambassador tells the truth, and then his wife and her entire CIA network are compromised in retaliation....2032 dead American soldiers, and, as far as I know, that hasn't upset any Republican senator as much as the Democrats dragging them into a meeting to try to find out the true cause of the war." - RR

(P3) Political

Progress in Our Oprah 2008 Campaign
This is the October 24, 2005 cover of Newsweek. The article features Oprah Winfrey, her leadership style, and her current efforts in the fight against child predators and toward education in Africa. This woman is a lot more than a TV personality!

And lest we forget the incumbent and his words,
"It’s time to restore honor and dignity to the White House." Bush said that many a time during the 2000 presidential campaign, and in at least one ad pledged to "return honor and integrity" to the Oval Office... and "Hypocrisy's" just a 9-letter word.

Gradually, however, another potential candidate is beginning to assume the ascendancy in my thinking. The main reason is due to Oprah's obvious reticence. Unless a groundswell bordering on acclimation develops, the Oprah candidacy, once again, as in 2004 may well not come to pass in 2008. Therefore, in a backup position, I'm looking seriously at John Edwards. The true dream ticket would be John Edwards with Barack Obama. However, more on this following a final two month burst of positive thinking directed at Oprah Winfrey.

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