Saturday, October 22, 2005

Maybe we aren't so different after all

One of my goals in the past few years has been to become more aware of the limits of my ethnocentric world view. After all, It's a great big universe and we're all really puny. Anyway, I'm definitely making an effort to learn more about other cultures and faith traditions, so I appreciate learning opportunities like the Ramadan series over at Street Prophets and the interfaith prayer forum I attended in Columbus this summer. Another window on the world that I can access, when I think of it, is a blog called nmazca. It's run by Damon Taylor, who used to live here in Columbus. Then he moved to Seattle. Now he's in Cairo for some reason. I'm sure I could find out why if I read a few entries back, but for now I'm just enjoying the pictures.

Today I found this story, which he linked from the International Herald Tribune: Ramadan: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The ad you see here is one Damon photographed on his trip to Doha, Qatar last year.



Does anyone else envision the a Muslim version of A Charlie Brown Christmas where Linus (Ahmed? Mohammed?) has to explain the true meaning of Ramadan?

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And the stockings were hung...

Is the Bush Administration in Free Fall?

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Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, investigating the leak that outed undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, has launched a new website. The website now features just a few documents from his investigation, but one presumes there are more to come, since it seems unlikely that he would bother with a new website if he were simply planning to end his investigation with no indictments.

There is speculation that Fitzgerald is investigating the phony marketing of the Iraq war by WHIG, the White House Iraq Group consisting of Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, Andrew Card, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. It couldn't happen to a nicer gang of thugs.

The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court seems to be hanging by a thread, as the Bush Administration rolls out yet another version for public consumption. It still appears possible that Miers will be "borked" by the Right-Wing (including by Robert Bork himself). This is one case where it might be a good thing that the Democrats do nothing. Meanwhile, the "Harriet Miers" blog still gets higher ranking in Google than more "official" websites.

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While we were cheated out of the long-awaited public frog-march of Tom Delay, and his smiling mugshot looked more like a campaign photo, he still saw the inside of a courtroom and hopefully will be spending a lot of his time on legal matters. We can still hold out hope of one day seeing bootleg pictures of him in a jail cell in his underwear. Daily Kos offers some more satisfying versions of DeLay's mugshot.

It should be an interesting week as the expiration of Fitzgerald's grand jury nears on October 28, 2005. The blogosphere is stocking up on champagne and other celebratory items in anticipation of Fitzmas Day, complete with Fitzmas carols.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

Paul Hackett's campaign site is online

If you, like me, have seen all those Sherrod Brown ads and wondered when Hackett would get his site up so that you could declare your support, you're in luck. Hackett for Ohio is online.



Paul Hackett will officially announce his candidacy with a press conference on Monday, October 24.

Cincinnati, OH – Paul Hackett, the United States Marine Corps Major and Iraq War Veteran who stunned the political world with his near win in this summer’s Special Congressional Election, will formally announce his campaign for U.S. Senate at a press conference, Monday, in front of his home with his wife, family and close friends.

Who: Paul Hackett, Candidate for U.S. Senate
What: Press Conference to Announce Campaign for U.S. Senate
When: Monday, October 24, 2005 @ 12:00 PM
Where: Home of Paul & Suzi Hackett
9400 Given Road
Cincinnati, OH 45243

Visit Hackett for Ohio to read a letter from Paul Hackett, to check out the latest news, and to find out how you can help.

Contribute
Volunteer
Tell your friends
For bloggers

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Health News You Can Use

Teri Mills is a longtime Democracy For America community member. Her guest column on health care appears on Blog for America on Fridays and she blogs at nationalnurse.blogspot.com.

The October 12th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that total cholesterol levels are declining in men over 60 years of age and women older than 50. Cholesterol levels are affected by age, genetics, and our diet. The authors of this study believe the main reason for the decrease in lipid levels is because more health care providers are prescribing medications called statins. Probably most of you have seen commercials for these medications on television. The good news is that for every one percent decrease in LDL (low density lipoprotein which is the bad cholesterol in your blood) there is a one percent decrease for the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Feeling stressed by what you read on Blog for America? Go outside and take a walk. An exercise specialist at Duke University found that exercise amount seems to be more important than intensity for achieving gains in cardiovascular fitness. So there is no need to become a weight builder or tryout for a football team. Walking briskly in your neighborhood for about two miles a day will do the trick for improving your health.

Finally, if you are troubled with forgetfulness, and need to be in top form for your next event with Howard or Jim Dean, you might want to consider adding fish to your diet. Weekly fish consumption may slow age-related cognitive decline. Doctors are not really sure why this is, but claim the rate of age-related memory decline in frequent fish consumers was ten to thirteen percent slower than those who rarely eat fish. This translates to being three to four years younger in age. So when you plan your weekly menu, be sure to add fish.

—Teri Mills, RN, MS, ANP
Democracy for Oregon

Cross-posted at Blog for America.

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Friday Comics

Professor Miller
Bam Bam
All The President's Men
The Bold And The Not-So-Beautiful
Goodnight Gracie
Stand By Your Man
A River In Egypt

And my favorite for today: Peep Show



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Paul Hackett/Ohio ballot measures

Last night as I was this close to shutting down my computer and calling it a night, I saw on article about Paul Hackett and Sherrod Brown who are both running for Mike DeWine's Senate seat. The impertinent suggestion by some individuals--not just the usual political insiders, but from some of the "big name" bloggers--that Hackett should drop out of the race now that Brown has changed his mind and jumped in, prompted me to write this diary over at My Left Wing. This morning I found this link, via the Crooks and Liars site. Steve Gilliard nails it better than I ever could.

But here's something Brown better realize. Paul Hackett earned his support. Just because you hire a few bloggers doesn't mean you have the thing sown up. Paul Hackett has a nationwide, 15,000 list of contributors who like what he says and how he says it. We are not a piggy bank. You can't just throw up a few ads and say "support me". We need reasons to do so.

I'll tell you what impresses me, Hackett got people to campaign for him who had been lifelong Republicans. Not just vote, campaign. If Brown can do that, then I might send him some cash in the end. But as it stands, Hackett earned the support he got and should continue to get that support.

Personally, I thought Hackett should have run against Schmidt again and win easily. But he didn't. He chose the Senate race. Then all of a sudden, Brown found his balls and jumped in. The calls should have gone to him, not Hackett. If you have to wonder if you want to run for office, you don't want the job bad enough.

Sometimes we need to reward courage, regardless of how difficult that makes our task.
And on a tangentially related note (Ohio election related) here's a diary on Kos that I highly recommend: Reform Ohio Now "Know What Your Voting For" A Great Local Editoral.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Belief


“THE first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."”

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1754)
On the Origin of the Inequality of Mankind

I remember when I first encountered this opening statement to Rousseau’s second chapter. I had been studying political theory at the graduate level at San Francisco State University with the purpose of discovering the secrets to solving the woes of human society. How na├»ve a person can be is perhaps gauged most accurately by determining his aspirations. I thought that thought itself was most likely to contain the remedy. I thought that maybe the remedy had already been thought, but had simply been misplaced, or set aside, waiting for a more advantageous time. But, then, this passage, and the breadth of the problem was displayed for me. I admit that my capacity to round out this dilemma is limited to my own existence, knowledge and prior thought.

To me, the above passage states that all things are possible because most of what we think of as “reality” is in fact imagined. The first chapter of the above quoted work concerns the “natural state of man.

“Let us conclude then that man in a state of nature, wandering up and down the forests, without industry, without speech, and without home, an equal stranger to war and to all ties, neither standing in need of his fellow-creatures nor having any desire to hurt them, and perhaps even not distinguishing them one from another; let us conclude that, being self-sufficient and subject to so few passions, he could have no feelings or knowledge but such as befitted his situation; that he felt only his actual necessities, and disregarded everything he did not think himself immediately concerned to notice, and that his understanding made no greater progress than his vanity. If by accident he made any discovery, he was the less able to communicate it to others, as he did not know even his own children. Every art would necessarily perish with its inventor, where there was no kind of education among men, and generations succeeded generations without the least advance; when, all setting out from the same point, centuries must have elapsed in the barbarism of the first ages; when the race was already old, and man remained a child.”

So, when we consider that this creature, mankind, was indeed persuaded to become civil, we begin to understand the power of our own imagination.

Many people will argue from a state of what they consider to be real. But, what is actually real? Are marriage, religion, government, the nation state, economics, etc., real or are they inventions of our collective imagination? Let’s take Rousseau’s pre-society man: on a certain day this man is walking down an animal trail looking for that day’s nourishment. And, lo and behold, this man looks down and says “Wow! Look, economics.” These things are not to be found in the natural world. It is by our collective agreement that we will agree to believe that these institutions exist that brings us all to the social contract. Without the contract, we return to the “natural state of man.

So, why am I getting into all of this? When Howard said, “we have the power” I believe that he meant that we have the power to order our own lives based on the terms of the social contract that we would prefer. That we are in this thing, our life, our community, our nation, our world, together, and that we need to think in those terms. We need to order the terms of the social contract so that we consider each individual and each group as parts of the whole, not as competitors surrounding some imagined huge dog dish that has a limited supply of food. Every man for himself is exactly Rousseau’s description of the pre-society man. Is this what we would choose?

The key, then, is in the belief system. Persuasion is the method. A well thought out line of argument is the tool that will enable us to begin reach the goal. Sturdy leadership based on science, philosophy, and just morality will show the proof of the theory. We can create a just, fair, and lasting society.

This is not an all encompassing tome that offers all of the answers, or all of the questions, but it is, hopefully, the beginning of a discussion, here, about how we can change the minds of our fellow citizens and arrive at a logical consensus as to how to begin creating our present reality for the benefit of all.

For more on Rousseau, click here.

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Why, oh why didn't I take the blue pill?

SusanD shares the following reflections...

When Howard Dean said, "You have the power", I said, "Gee...he's right!"

What I didn't know then was that "having the power" can also feel like a burden. Having the power means taking responsibility, showing up, taking action. Sometimes that responsibility can be a heavier weight than we feel up to bearing. But, like Neo taking the red pill, I can't live in a dream world anymore, thinking that politics is something that happens outside the boundaries of my life. I have to confess I sometimes wish I were still in that dream world. It's hard enough to deal with daily life, paying bills, working, problems with children, health issues. Do any of us need to add things to worry about?

I had thought that in retirement I'd be making quilts, reading, cooking...just relaxing and enjoying life. I do all that, but I didn't count on adding on attending meetings and rallies, marching in peace demonstrations, doing mailings, fund-raising, visibility and precinct walking. Those things stress me out. I don't like doing them. I can't sit on the sidelines anymore because, thanks to Howard Dean, I woke up. Sometimes the sidelines look mighty appealing. But I took the red pill, and there's no going back.

Is there?

SusanD


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Howard Dean: still frugal


Howard Dean riding the Chicago "El" train. Posted by Picasa

Remember when Holly*J posted a link to a picture of Howard Dean riding the "El" (elevated) train in Chicago? I had to laugh this morning when, checking for anything new from the man who is, in a large part, the inspiration for this blog, and I found this on the DNC site: Subway Blogging.

Fred Baldassaro, the chairman's Trip Director, sends this note about getting around ...
If you were on the Chicago public transit system last Friday and you think you saw Howard Dean, chances are you did.

The Gov and I hopped on the "El" downtown and rode out to O'Hare to beat the traffic and catch our flight. You can't beat door to door service for $1.75.

This isn't the first time we have taken public transportation. The week before, we joined New Yorkers underground all around the city. The New Post's gossip column, Page Six, even picked up on it:

Despite terrorist threats, the subway is still the best way to get around town — just ask Howard Dean. ... A surprised passenger asked him, "What's an important guy like you doing on a dirty and wet subway car?" Dean's rep assures us he replied: "Take a cab in this city? Never. Especially not when it's raining. I blame mother nature for the rain but I blame the mayor for the gridlock."



The Democracy for Illinois site also has this great picture of a smiling Howard Dean on a subway platform in Chicago. Posted by Picasa

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Thursday Comics

Half-Empty
Parental Guidance
Lions vs. Patriots
Canon Fodder
Free Emmanuel Goldstein
Gang Probed
Bipartisan Consensus
Depends
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Compassion In Action
WTO Effects
Pontiac Aztec

And my favorite for today: Ignorance Tax

Dean Dozen Mary Jo Kilroy to challenge Deb Pryce

This morning...well, actually, at this point it would be *yesterday* morning (we've got to stop meeting like this!) I saw a diary at MyDD entitled Welcome to Ohio Democratic Politics 101 - Eating Our Young. The diary described, as I expected it might, Sherrod Brown's decision to enter the Senate race, after telling Paul Hackett "I'm not running. Good luck." But what I wasn't expecting was that the second instance of so called "eating our young" had to do with one of last year's Dean Dozen candidates.



From the diary mentioned above:

How excited I was to see a new face in Ohio politics, someone who was willing to take on the #4 Republican in the House, Deborah Pryce. For months, grassroots activist surrounded Losey as their candidate and true hope for taking Ohio's 15th Congressional District. Losey has roots in the republican stronghold of Union County, and has a broad appeal to both democrats and republicans across the spectrum. Enter Mary Jo Kilroy...

Hang on--Mary Jo Kilroy? She's going to challenge Deb Pryce? Cool!

Let me jog your memory about Deb Pryce, in case you've forgotten. She was one of the Republicans trash talking the challenge of Ohio's electors back in January of this year, saying of Democrats, "their party's primary strategy: to obstruct, to divide and to destroy". And also this:

Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, lauded Kerry's Nov. 3 concession and his decision not to join Thursday's challenge. "Apparently, such admirable qualities do not apply to certain extreme elements of Senator Kerry's own party," she said.

At the time, I couldn't find anything online about Mary Jo running for Pryce's seat, but as luck would have it, I received an email from Katie Thomsen about a local candidate who had a fundraiser today. Katie used to be a regular commenter on Blog for America, and was one of our local Dean-inspired candidates in the election of 2004. I sent her a quick return email asking about the race. She confirmed for me that Mary Jo Kilroy told her last week that she had decided to run.

At work this evening I saw a copy of the Columbus Dispatch, and it had an article about Mary Jo Kilroy's announcement that she was seeking Pryce's seat in the 15th Congressional District. Articles in the Columbus Dispatch are only available online to paid subscribers, but thankfully, the article is also available at the Ohio Democratic Party web site.
Columbus Dispatch - Kilroy to take on Pryce for House

Kilroy said she will run as a "fiscally responsible, socially progressive" Democrat who'd push for better jobs at home and an exit strategy in Iraq.

Sound familiar? ;-) Here's more:
Kilroy, 56, served eight years on the Columbus school board before winning four-year terms as a county commissioner in 2000 and 2004. Opponents have tried unsuccessfully to paint her in both races as a far-out liberal, and although she doesn't shy away from stands such as her support for same-sex marriage rights, she said the 2006 elections won't be fought over "wedge issues."

The district is not a GOP lock, judging by the past two presidential elections. It stretches from Columbus through western Franklin County, and into Madison and Union counties.

Bush won the district with 52 percent of the vote in 2000, but the race ended in a virtual dead heat last year.

About 87 percent of eligible voters in the 15 th district are Franklin County residents, meaning they also are constituents of Kilroy's, who was reelected with 53 percent of the vote last year against Republican state Sen. David Goodman, of Bexley.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel, of Illinois, touted Kilroy yesterday as a proven vote-getter who can deliver on a theme that it's time for a change in Congress, but who also will serve as an independent voice in the House.

Read the rest of the article here.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I Want My Country Back!

Howard Dean in the winter of 2003 began to ask the question that many of us were already thinking. He Said

What I want to know is why in the world the Democratic party leadership is supporting the president's unilateral attack on Iraq.

What I want to know is why are Democratic Party leaders supporting tax cuts. The question is not how big the tax cut should be, the question should be can we afford a tax cut at all with the largest deficit in the history of this country.

What I want to know is why we're fighting in Congress about the Patient's Bill of Rights when the Democratic Party ought to be standing up for health care for every single American man, woman, and child in this country.

What I want to know is why our folks are voting for the president's No Child Left Behind bill that leaves every child behind, every teacher behind, every school board behind, and every property tax payer behind

I'm Howard Dean and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

If you, if you if you want young people to vote in this country and if you want the 50 percent of adults over 30 to vote in this country that don't vote, that do not vote in today's election, then we had better stand for something because that's why they're not voting.


Dean's Speech

Howard gave many of us hope that we could take our country back from cronyism, corporatism, racism, and pessimism. Howard inspired many, me included, to take on the challenge of making our community, state and country great through hope, hard work, and pragmatic solutions to our community and national problems.
It seems to me that focus has become a problem. DFA was envisioned as organizing to run candidates in every single election from Dog Catcher to School Board to State and Federal offices. What we have found is that it is easier to garner support on national issues and national candidates, but the important local elections go untouched. Every candidate that runs in a local election runs on local issues. My one hope for Geauga DFA is that we begin the task of finding those local issues, develop solution to the local problems, and becoming those candidates to make sure those problems get fixed.
A new way of making our community better: while DFA remains an issue and candidate oriented group with an eye out on the national as well as the local, we have begun a bold new experiment to develop independent non-partisan action teams to identify local problems, work on solutions for those problems, and to inform the public. These groups will form collations of groups and people concerned about making sure problems in our communities are fixed right. They will be non partisan to take some of the politics out of the solution so we can achieve the goal for our communities greater good.

Two test groups have been formed: one on school funding and better community schools, and the other on local government accountability. We will be talking about these two DFA coalition groups at the next meetup. Come join us October 19th at 7:00pm at the Chardon Public library meeting room to hear more.

Or as Howard Dean put it way back when we all began to dream it would be possible:



We're going to bring hope to America, jobs to America, peace to America; we're going to bring pride to the Democratic party. I need your help. Let's go get it; let's go do it.


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Arrest Warrent issued for DeLay

There is nothing that I could say that could possibly top this headline:

Texas Court Issues Arrest Warrant for DeLay

A Texas court today issued an arrest warrant for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), the powerful former House majority leader, ordering him to appear for booking at a county jail in his home district.

The court in Travis County, Tex., set bail for DeLay at $10,000, and a lawyer for the embattled congressman said it would be posted.

Dick DeGuerin, the lead counsel on DeLay's defense team, said the arrest warrant was "a matter of routine," the Associated Press reported.

However, the defense reportedly had hoped to avoid submitting DeLay, formerly the second-ranking Republican leader in the House, to the fingerprinting and mug shot photography that accompanies a formal arrest.

The procedure was required before DeLay makes his first court appearance Friday on conspiracy and money laundering charges in connection with an allegedly illegal campaign financing scheme.

Officially called a "writ of capias," the arrest warrant was a "purely procedural event," but it would require DeLay to surrender to authorities to be fingerprinted and photographed, Travis County Grand Jury Clerk Linda Estrada said, according to Reuters news agency.

A spokesman for DeLay, Kevin Madden, said this was "standard operating procedure" and came as no surprise to defense attorneys.

DeLay was ordered to show up for booking at the Fort Bend County jail in the Houston metropolitan area. It was not immediately clear when he would do so.

Let the happy feet commence!

Remember, though, in this great nation of ours you are innocent until proven guilty. (Ok, try saying that with a straight face in this instance.)

Let's take a ride on the Wayback Machine:

Dean rips DeLay at convention
May 15, 2005

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Party, said yesterday that the US House majority leader, Tom DeLay, ''ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence," referring to allegations of unethical conduct against the Republican leader.

Dean's remark, in a speech to Massachusetts Democrats at their party convention, drew an immediate rebuke from US Representative Barney Frank, the Newton Democrat and one of DeLay's harshest critics. ''That's just wrong," Frank said in an interview on the convention floor. ''I think Howard Dean was out of line talking about DeLay. The man has not been indicted. I don't like him, I disagree with some of what he does, but I don't think you, in a political speech, talk about a man as a criminal or his jail sentence."

Congressman Frank, will you be delivering that apology to Governor Dean in person? Or will you be writing him a nice note on your official stationery?


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He was only mad that he got caught

The NY Daily News reports that Bush was not happy with Karl Rove over the Valerie Plame outing. But not because of the leak--Bush knew everything--but because of the way Rove fumbled the PR spin:

WASHINGTON - An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News.

"He made his displeasure known to Karl," a presidential counselor told The News. "He made his life miserable about this."

Bush has nevertheless remained doggedly loyal to Rove, who friends and even political adversaries acknowledge is the architect of the President's rise from baseball owner to leader of the free world.

As special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald nears a decision, perhaps as early as today, on whether to issue indictments in his two-year probe, Bush has already circled the wagons around Rove, whose departure would be a grievous blow to an already shell-shocked White House staff and a President in deep political trouble.

Asked if he believed indictments were forthcoming, a key Bush official said he did not know, then added: "I'm very concerned it could go very, very badly."

"Karl is fighting for his life," the official added, "but anything he did was done to help George W. Bush. The President knows that and appreciates that."

Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.


The most interesting part of this whole news story, says Josh Marshall, is the story's byline:

Now, one other detail about this piece. It runs a few hundred words. But the most important two are probably these: Thomas DeFrank.

DeFrank's the byline and he's the Daily News DC Bureau Chief. DeFrank has a unique relationship to the Bush world, particularly to the older generation. He cowrote James Baker's diplomatic autobiography The Politics of Diplomacy, for instance. And back in the summer of 2001, The Weekly Standard suggested he'd actually been in the running to be chief Pentagon spokesman, before the job went to Tori Clarke.

Marshall has a few additional thoughts on DeFrank's story.

This Kos Diary may interest some of you. I didn't write a front-page post about it because I know not everyone agrees on the subject.



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Wednesday Cartoons

Trickle-Down Economics
Historical Comparisons
Real World
Wise And Generous
Don't Actually Try This
Soulless

And my favorite for today: Fairy Tales



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Some Wednesday morning headlines

Probe sheds light on Bush assault on critics

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a tactic of U.S. President George W. Bush's administration: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the president's Iraq war policies.

At Kos, georgia10 has some advice for dealing with "Fitzmas". And another related diary here: Fitz has unredacted Italian Niger forgery report. And at Booman Tribune, oui writes: Prosecutor Fitzgerald Zeroes In :: Cheney - CIA Feud!

Wilma is now a Category 5

This diary is getting a lot of positive attention--I haven't personally had a chance to read it yet, but thought I should link to it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet:
Re-Energize America - A Democratic Blueprint by Meteor Blades.

And finally, one from me passing along the latest from Sojourners: Budgets are moral documents.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On Love, by Subway Serenade

Folks in this community have often seen me use the phrase “Love Is God.,” and I will have more on this subject in the weeks ahead. These three simple words are perhaps the hardest for Mankind to comprehend, but they are the key to our continued existence. Without Love, we are nothing.

How many people here have ever felt so much in Love with another that you felt like two halves of the same person? Who among us has ever felt a deep spiritual awareness that caused feelings of “Oneness” with All Life? Has anyone here ever hugged their mate and felt a love that was timeless?

I can hear the skeptics out there in their bomber jet planes riding shotgun in the sky. Perhaps Love IS just a second hand emotion. Perhaps believing in Love can only lead to heartache. Sometimes the sacrifices that Love demands can be extreme. I can understand their concerns but they don’t have a clue as to how sweet Love can be if you nurture it carefully. If you can ever find true Love you have the chance to touch eternity.

But I have a warning for you young people here who may not have the life experience of this old Subway Serenade. Love can be crazy and volatile. It can get heated and passionate. So if I can offer any advice, it would be “Please Be Careful!”

Namaste,

Subway


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Tuesday's Comics

Blame Game
To The Ninth Circle
Prostitution By Any Other Name
Boo!
Muppet Show
Film School Of The Americas
Punk'd
Bought And Paid-For
Only In Theory
Oedipus Wrecks
Protection Racket
Buck Dancing
Big Dummies

And my favorite for today: Highly Contagious


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Red Values in Virginia

Today's, Tom Oliphant asks the question, "Will red values still play in Virginia?"

His response doesn't make me feel good: "For all those progressives doing handstands on the Republican Party's alleged grave, Virginia is the reality check."

Oliphant continues:

Karl Rove and Scooter Libby can come or go, hurricanes can make fools of government leaders, wars can go on forever without result, and gasoline can be priced somewhere near the stratosphere, but voters are still happy to consider voting against their economic interests and to flock toward candidates who claim to represent their ''values."

They may be in possession of irrefutable evidence that the inherent contradictions of anti-tax politics and high-spending government can inflict severe injury on their present and imperil their future, but they still go ape over any pol who comes sauntering down the road promising tax cuts without any sacrifice of basic services.

The race for governor here has a few weeks to play out, but from a national perspective, the counterintuitive strength of Jerry Kilgore's candidacy headed down the stretch is the most significant development.

Currently the state's right wing-friendly attorney general, Kilgore is antitax despite the fact that the last antitax Republican left such a gigantic hole in the state budget that Republicans as well as Democrats had to unite to fix it -- in large part through higher taxes. During a year when the prospect of gay people getting married is not inciting conservatives, Kilgore has latched onto another button that he hopes will be hot -- Virginians' love of the death penalty.

You can read all about Jerry Kilgore's ads over at RaisingKaine so I won't get into them here. I've only seen one of them although I've heard about the others over at Daily Kos. Polls are now showing that the ads appear to have backfired on Kilgore and I think that sentiment was helped by the Washington Post Editorial Board coming out strongly against the ads.

I've lived in Virginia since 1988 and it's an odd state, as Oliphant notes. It votes Republican in presidential races but has gone Democratic in statewide races. In the 1980s, Chuck Robb, Gerry Baliles, and Doug Wilder all went to Richmond.

Then in a eerie foreshadowing of Bush 43 policies, there were radical tax cuts and questionable fiscal decisionmaking from Republican governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore. Allen went on a big kick to attract businesses to locate in Virginia--but spent nothing on upgrading the infrastructure to support that so now we have awful transportation problems and developers building on every square foot of undeveloped land.

Gilmore, who ran against Don Beyer, was elected on a simple promise to cut the car tax. We pay property taxes on cars and trucks and this was the largest tax cut in the state's history. Since the car tax was assessed by localities, they would have been crippled by the loss of revenue from its elimination. Gilmore's plan was to use a roundabout payment scheme: the localities would continue assessing the car tax, but car owners would pay only part of the bill, and the state would make up the rest. Eventually, the tax would be completely phased out and the state would continue to pay localities to make up for the lost revenue. The car tax cut saved Virginians billions of dollars, but came at the expense of the state budget. The plan ended up being such a drain on the state budget that the phase out of the car tax was stalled in 2001. Like Vermont, our state constitution requires a balanced budget; after Gilmore left office, the state was in its worst budget crisis due to the downturn in the late 1990s--early 2000s and the elimination of the car tax.

Of course, Tim Kaine shouldn't be in the position he's in at this date. Partially, it's due to the presence of Russ Potts who is running as a 3rd candidate but he hasn't been able to get more than 5% of voters. I wish he'd pull out and put his efforts behind Kaine. The other reason is that Kaine, like Mark Warner, isn't the most inspiring candidate to listen to. Kilgore has plenty of ethics problems but is relying on typical Republican hot button issues--like the death penalty--to gin up votes.

Alternate link to comments

Technical issues

I'm aware that Corinne has a new post going up soon, and I encourage people to use that as the regular thread for commenting. But I saw this post from Kimmy on the big blog last night that prompted me to try to find a fix for an ongoing issue:

Crazy time of year but things are lookin up lround these parts so I thought I'd come say hellooo! Guess what? I'm blogging from a sidekick!!! They are the raddest things ever EXCEPT I can't read the comments over at sBFA...bummed about that!! My dsl got all retarded so my email over there is no longer (click for my new email, homies) getting cable net tomorrow its waaaaay cheaper and I don't care what they say..its just as fast!! Anyways...hope everyones well!!!!!! P.s. Miss Renee , how to click java links with this sucker?? Click and how about double spacing? Does the fancy sidekick do that??? Ok enough of that..love love love to all of you xoxoxoxoxoxxooxo
[Link]
---------------------------------------------
...kimmy wrote on October 18, 2005 03:15 AM:

P.s. Sidekick homies: just in case you don't know...yeah right.... You can hit the little blue alt and the arrow on the space bar and get to the bottom of the comments (any page) soooooooo fast!! Much faster than the fancy wheel or the disco fab arrow ear thingy.... Just a lil fyi xoxoxoxooxxooxxoxo AU REVOIR PEEWEE!!!!!!

Anyway, regarding getting into the comments on a Sidekick, after spending some time this morning trying to find a real fix to the issue, I think we may need to use a workaround. The odd thing is, I can click on the comments on Atrios when I'm on my sidekick, and he uses Haloscan too.

Okay, here is the workaround--attempting it anyway...after publishing the new thread and clicking on "Comments", I have grabbed that url. Going to see if this works on my Sidekick:

Discuss

Since everyone needs a little breathing space, sometime. . . .

A brand spanking new thread. And: an open one too. Enjoy yourselves kiddles.

Monday, October 17, 2005

MViMV Guest Blog

Robert Greenwald will be the guest blogger on the My Vote is My Voice Blog tonight from 8-9pm EDT.

http://blog.myvoteismyvoice.com/

Greenwald has directed and produced films such as Outfoxed, Unprecedented, and Unconstitutional. Tonight, he will be discussing and answering questions about his new film, WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price

Please join in the conversation with this innovative film maker who discovered how to get around the main stream media.

http://blog.myvoteismyvoice.com/

Howard Dean @ INDN Boot Camp

Another Howard Dean story.

This time, it was the Indigenous Democratic Network List's (INDN) List Boot Camp, the first ever "boot camp" for Indian candidates. Kalyn Free (remember that name?), the president and founder of INDN's List, wants to help recruit, train and elect Indian candidates for public office. The boot camp took place October 13-16.

Oh and Al Franken was there, too. Here's the story from the October 12 edition of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Indian 'boot camp' will help launch political candidates
Patricia Lopez

After flexing their muscles and wallets in the last two national elections, Indian tribes across the country say they're ready to do more, and they've picked Shakopee for their launching pad.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux will host the tribes' first national Indian candidate boot camp starting Thursday. It was organized by INDN List, a potentially powerful new player on the national political scene dedicated to recruiting and training Indian political candidates.

The four-day camp is expected to draw nearly 200 potential candidates, campaign staff members and donors for an intensive grounding in the finer points of running and winning campaigns.

The Indigenous Democratic Network List (INDN List for short) is a political 527 group, named after the section of federal law that authorizes such groups. They raised and spent significant amounts of money in the 2004 election.

Kalyn Free, the president and founder of INDN List, said it has raised about $200,000 since its inception in February, but expects to raise much more. The money has come not just from the wealth of tribal casino gambling, she said, but from individual donors and organized labor.

Styled after EMILY's List, the first major group to endorse and support women candidates, INDN List wants to cultivate big givers, making those who give $1,000 or more to INDN List members of its "Warriors Circle."

The network will endorse only candidates enrolled in federally recognized tribes, Free said.

"We're on the cusp of something really big here," she said. "This is an opportunity to change the face of color and power in America. We've proved that we can turn out Indians to elect non-Indians. Now we need to turn them out to elect Indians."

Free noted that in Minnesota, heavy turnout on the Leech Lake Reservation helped elect state Rep. Frank Moe, DFL-Bemidji, and Indian turnout was credited with affecting several other House races in Minnesota. Nationally, tribes generated Indian turnout through Native Vote 2004. Free, a Choctaw from Tulsa, Okla., vied for a congressional seat in 2004 but lost.

Afterward, she said, she realized that Indian candidates needed the same type of grass-roots organization to recruit, train and fund candidates that EMILY's List had provided for women.

The goal, she said, is to elect Indian candidates at every level of government.

Headlining the Shakopee boot camp on Saturday will be Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and comedian and radio host Al Franken, who is considering a run in Minnesota against U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008. Rep. Jim Oberstar will be on hand for the Thursday opening.

Why Minnesota?

"I chose Minnesota because tribal leaders in Minnesota are visionaries," Free said. "They have been so progressive in supporting tribal sovereignty across the country."

Free worked in the state during Native Vote 2004 for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.

"Your tribes here in Minnesota get it," she said. "You've already proven that you can turn out votes. Now we need to get you some candidates."

Wellstone Action is also a cosponsor of the event, and director Jeff Blodgett, former campaign manager for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, will lead sessions on building get-out-the vote operations.

NB: If there is a summary of the event, I'll post it here or in the comments.

Monday Comics

Cardiac Arrest
Knowledge v. Wisdom
Support The Troops
Let Justice Roll
Chain Gang Bang
Greenspan's Replacement

And my favorite for today: Desperate Measures

Every picture tells a story, story. . . .


Denise in peach, Zoe in plum, Howard in clover

This one's courtesy of Denise, from the Saturday Zoe Lofgren fundraiser.

Howard Dean's in town to scare up some money


If you hear a loud scream this weekend, Howard Dean is in town to do some fundraising for U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren's re-election campaign. The general election is a year away, but it's never too early to make hay.

Dean, now head of the Democratic National Committee, was scheduled to appear Saturday evening at two events on behalf of Lofgren, who in the spring of 2003 became the first member of Congress to endorse the former Vermont governor's presidential campaign -- which derailed after his now-infamous scream heard 'round the world.

So Dean's here returning the endorsement favor. Lofgren fundraiser Vicki Day says she expects Lofgren to raise $70,000 for the evening. For $100, backers were to meet and greet Dean at a union hall, with dinner prepared by San Jose firefighters. For $1,000, they got Dean and hors d'oeuvres by Emile's served at Lofgren's Naglee Park home.


Congratulations, Denise! (You lucky dog!)

Denise's story to go with the picture:

OK I'll tell a bedtime story about a nice, blue eyed man who came to town to support Bay Area longtime Democrat and US Congress member Zoe Lofgren. Though Zoe is not running for office this year she is well known for giving away much of what she receives in contributions to her Democratic colleagues who do happen to be running in the years she is not.

Zoe's district includes the heart of Silicon Valley. She is very well loved and is one of the Dems that we know to be honest, sincere, hard working and who just loves her constituents. It was her hubby's birthday and she wheeled out three cakes that she shared with the group.

Howard worked the room very nicely before he went up on stage. He had time to eat one of the burgers the retired firefighters had just brought in from the grills outside, and continued to grip and grin, and tried to talk, even with his mouth full. He looked desperate for some water so I brought him a cold one. He's such a gracious man...sigh.

I introduced him to the webmaster of the Dean Democrats of Silicon Valley who was responsible for the great Democracyfest 3.0 website. I just had to laugh at the cowlick standing up on his head like a little boy (Howard's, not Spandan's).

His speech was full of the fire and energy from the old days. He spoke passionately about the need for us to keep fighting against the three C's of Bush Administration - cronyism, corruption and cover ups.

He said that we should support our troops by bringing them home and to always stand up for what you believe in - even though it might be the hardest thing to do.

He also hawked the DNC bonds which I think was a good thing, as many were saying they hadn't heard about them.

The best thing was seeing so many DFA shirts in the crowd. It is very apparent that we are the driving force behind much of the organizing and hard work that gets done in this area.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Howard in Hayward, by mprov

4 to 5 pm today

Denise and I met at 2:30 today at a small Mexican restaurant before going to hear Howard speak. The food was pretty good and we talked about normal things just getting to know one another as we hadn't "actually" met before. So, at about 3:30 we left to go down to the union hall where Howard was going to speak.

The union hall, United Food & Commercial Workers, was the same place where I was elected the 5th delegate to the National convention for Howard in 2004. Unfortunately, this was after Howard had withdrawn and we didn't get enough votes in the primary for any of us to go.

There was somewhere between a 100 and a 150 people crowding into the small room waiting for the speech. Many of the East Bay crowd was there, so I fairly rapidly got separated from Denise as I rubbed elbows with the people I knew.

Jerry McNerney, who's running against Pombo in the 14th was there. I had met him before and re-established the contact telling him that I was at his service for his campaign. He's a real regular guy and would make a fine congressman.

So, the regular small crowd forcing its way through the larger crowd made its way to the podium. A local union guy started the show thanking everyone for coming and initially introducing everyone. Then the local state senator, Liz Figueroa, spoke calling on us to work to defeat the coming special election. Next up was Art Torres, our state party chairman. Art quickly gave his version of the special election pitch and then introduced Rep. Mike Honda of San Jose. (Mike's also a DNC delegate who backed Howard for his chairmanship.) Rep. Honda spoke to the same issue and then made remarks about how our actions here in California will have national repercussions. Rep. Honda then introduced Howard.

For those of you who like to hear the personal stuff: Howard was in his dark suit pants and a blue dress shirt open at the collar without a tie. Real Californian. The man knows how to dress down for the crowd.

Howard began his speech reiterating the necessity for all of us to work to beat Arnold in the coming election. He made remarks that "we" have to do the leading. That the party can't do it. That we can use the party, but that we'd have to step forward and do the phoning and door knocking and all the rest of it. He called on us to each get 10 people to the polls on election day.

Next, he went into his DNC mode. He asked people to sign onto the Democracy Bond program saying that if 100 million people gave $20 a month that the Republicans couldn't out-raise us anymore. And then he stated that he wouldn't make anymore pitches for money.

The rest of the speech concerned the long range view. About half way into this part, I turned to a friend who's also a delegate from the same assembly district as myself (and who was a Kucinich supporter, never a Dean supporter), and I said "Is he giving his stump?" My friend said "So? That's ok."

Howard said that he's going to Mexico tomorrow to meet with the 3 leading candidates for president of Mexico. He said that we have to work hand in hand with them to solve our proplems. He said that the only way to resolve the broder issues with the Mexicans was to help them have a healthy economy, etc.

Next, Howard started talking about the issue positions we're all familiar with. But, then he began to talk about the Truman republican-lite thing, which led to holding our guys accountable to the same standards we hold the republicans accountable, to how after we win the congress back next Rep. Waxman is going to start investigations concerning all the evil crap that has been going on for years now and how we're going to hold leadership responsible and send them to jail. He then rapidly ran down the current list of evil.

Returning to the "we have to do it" meme, Howard finished his speech.

I looked around a few times during the speech to notice that everyone was smiling. This is something I haven't seen very much over the past few years.

The crowd was very enthusiastic throughout the entire event. Demographics: probably at least 50%, white, 40+, middle class. The other half was pretty mixed with at least one Sikh, a fair group of Hispanic-Americans (the local Hispanic TV station, among others, were taping this event), and smaller groups of African-Americans and asian-americans. Everyone was probably at least middle class.

I wasn't sure that I was going to go to this event today as I have seen Howard at least a dozen times. But, I'm both glad, and have a feeling of renewal, at having attended.

The Fear Contagion

This opinion piece is from today's Washington Post and is excerpted below. It is definitely worth a read because it provides a necessary balance to the hysteria over a possible flu pandemic.

The Fear Contagion

A Flu Quarantine? No, Sir
By Wendy Orent
Sunday, October 16, 2005; B01

For two years, a deadly strain of chicken flu known as H5N1 has been killing birds in Asia. While slightly more than 100 people are known to have contracted the disease, and 60 of them have died, there is still no sign that the flu has begun to spread from person to person.

That hasn't prevented a recent outbreak of apocalyptic warnings from health officials and experts about the specter of a worldwide pandemic. In Hurricane Katrina's wake, health officials in the United States are talking more and more about pandemic preparation. Some of these ideas -- such as stockpiling vaccines -- are sensible, whether or not bird flu turns into a human disease and begins to spread rapidly.

But other ideas aren't. A few scientists have suggested "priming" people with a dose of the new vaccine against H5N1 before we even know whether a pandemic is coming. Vaccinating large numbers of people against a disease that may never appear carries its own risks. Remember the swine flu debacle of 1976? At least 25 people died from vaccine complications and no epidemic ever erupted. That should be warning enough.

Another dangerous idea for pandemic preparation has come from President Bush. Earlier this month, he suggested using the military to enforce a quarantine. "Who [is] best to be able to effect a quarantine?" he asked rhetorically at a press conference. "One option is the use of a military that's able to plan and move."

The very term quarantine can be misunderstood (not to mention the military's role). Did the president mean gathering those exposed to flu in a single location and forcing them to stay there? Did he mean isolating them in their homes? Cordoning off whole communities where cases crop up? Not all quarantines are alike; each carries its own risks and benefits.

[...]

This is an example of a cure that is as frightening as the disease. It is hard to imagine how the military would oversee a quarantined area. If a health worker, drug addict or teenager attempted to break the quarantine, what would soldiers do? Shoot on sight? Teenagers and health workers were the people who most often violated quarantine rules in Toronto during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) scare in 2003. Moreover, the use of a quarantine to control a flu pandemic isn't only a potential threat to life and civil liberties; it's also a waste of money, resources and time. The reason: There isn't any kind of quarantine that will do any good -- at least not for a pandemic influenza.

Quarantine, from the Italian "quarantina," which means "space of 40 days," dates from 15th-century regulations devised in certain Italian cities to control the spread of plague by sequestering those thought to have been exposed to the disease. Along with isolation -- secluding those who are clearly sick -- it can be an effective tool for controlling outbreaks of certain types of disease....

Influenza is entirely different [from pneumonic plague]. The virus spreads explosively. Coughing, sneezing, or even speaking launches flu particles in an aerosol cloud of tiny droplets, which can drift in the air for some distance. Physician and flu researcher Edwin Kilbourne, who worked with flu patients during the pandemic of 1957-58, points out that people with flu may shed the virus even before they know they're sick -- not much, but enough to transmit the disease. Worse, some 10 to 20 percent of flu patients have subclinical infections; they never look sick at all. Yet they can still spread infection. Faced with a flu pandemic, you'd hardly know where the disease was coming from.

How can you quarantine a disease like that? According to Kilbourne, you can't. "I think it is totally unreasonable on the basis of every pandemic we've had," says Kilbourne. "Every earlier pandemic seeded in multiple foci at the same time. Quarantine simply will not work."

Indeed, a strictly enforced quarantine could do more harm than good. Herding large numbers of possibly infected people together makes it likely that any influenza strain passed among them would actually increase in virulence. Usually, in order to spread, human flu germs need hosts mobile enough to walk around and sneeze on other people. Those flu strains so deadly that they kill or disable their hosts won't get the chance to spread and will die off. This keeps human flu virulence within bounds.

[...]

If quarantine won't work, what would? What about medication? Kilbourne is not optimistic about the vaunted (and expensive) antiviral drug Tamiflu*, which can be taken to prevent or treat flu. "The problem with antivirals is that they are untried on any mass basis," says Kilbourne. "How long are you going to keep people on antivirals? Also, we don't know about any side effects of the newer antivirals. Older antivirals cause neurological problems in older people."

Kilbourne thinks that preventive vaccines are our best, and only, strategy for combating a pandemic flu threat. The new vaccine, developed with National Institutes of Health sponsorship, shows some ability to protect. But Kilbourne, who in 1969 developed the first reassortant flu vaccine (one made by combining snippets of genetic material from different flu strains), isn't enthusiastic. First, the new vaccine must be given in two doses, at very high concentrations. And it's hard to grow. Kilbourne adds, "We don't have enough if a pandemic happened tomorrow."

Still, vaccination is the gold standard for pandemic preparation -- once we know that a contagious human disease is emerging and the risk of vaccination becomes less than the risk of disease.

That's a long way from now. Despite all the hysteria, there isn't a shred of evidence that a pandemic is actually on the way. Developing new flu vaccines is a useful thing to do. Pandemic or not, flu kills thousands every year. But devising quarantine plans is useless.

Author's e-mail:
orentw@mindspring.com

Wendy Orent, an Atlanta-based writer, is the author of "Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease" (Free Press).

*Roche will donate packs of Tamiflu to Turkey and Romania. Researchers said the bird-flu virus found in a Vietnamese teenager in February was resistant to the drug Tamiflu. The girl later recovered, but the case, to be reported in the Oct. 20 issue of the journal Nature, heightens concern about the drug, currently the centerpiece of global and national drug stockpiles against a possible pandemic of H5N1 avian influenza. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, the lead author of the Nature article, said the vast majority of H5N1 viruses out there are still sensitive to oseltamivir (the generic name for Tamiflu).

In story to be published in Monday's edition of the Wall Street Journal, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said in a telephone interview from Vietnam Saturday, his tour with U.S. and United Nations health officials to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in the past week has underscored just how difficult it is create an effective surveillance network to keep track of the disease.

Open Thread

Update: FWIW, guidelines for the big blog have now been posted here.

It's been a sleepy Sunday around here, but before I leave for my class, I thought it was about time for a new thread. Looks like people have posted a number of interesting links in the previous thread--click here if you'd like to check them out. There's also a message from National Nurse Teri:

Hello shadow bloggers.

If anyone has five to ten minutes this afternoon, and would like to write an email supporting the concept of a National Nurse, please email me at teri@nationalnurse.info and I will give you specifics about where to send this email to.

Also, our website is www.nationalnurse.blogspot.com and we would also love to have you sign up for a newsletter and add your name to the petition.

Actions speak louder than words.

Have a great Dean Sunday.
Nurse Teri
National Nurse

There is also a link to my Kos diary about 2006: Religion and Politics in Ohio (crossposted at My Left Wing, MyDD, and Booman Tribune). And here's a link to Oscar's Word for the Week.

Hope you are all enjoying this last remaining bit of weekend.

Community

jc posted this link in the comments one of the nights I was teaching this week. Before going to bed, I decided to go through the old threads and find the link, so that I could post one of the graphics.



If you go here, you can see some variations on the theme, including links to larger, high resolution images.

This community *so* rocks. Thank you, jc, for everything you do, and thank all of you who are pitching in to make this a truly people-powered blog now that my work schedule is going to leave me less time for posting.

Good night blog.
...
Good night log.

Okay, really, I'm going. ;)
...
Except...I just remembered (again) that, because of the Columbus Marathon (whose motto this year is, I kid you not, "Our world is flat"), the service I usually attend has been cancelled. So I guess I'll be joining Demetrius at his place of worship this week.



So, see you all some time after noon.