Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sea Glass Open Thread

Seeing this at Comfest yesterday made me think of Donna in Evanston.

So, how's everybody's Saturday evening shaping up?

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Saturday Comics

And my favorite for today: Banana Republicans

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Al Gore on The Late Show with David Letterman

Howard, you know I think you're the best, but there's only so much of a sports show I can sit through waiting to see you. And besides, you were going to be talking about sports, which to me sounds a lot like "What cats hear" in that old Far Side cartoon. (Blah blah blah blah...)

I did get to see Al Gore on The Late Show with David Letterman. If you missed it, the video is available as The Big Show Highlight on DaveTV.

An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore

Click the image above to order the book, An Inconvenient Truth, and click here to go to the official web site.

And on a more personal note, Happy Birthday to Son in Ohio! Demetrius and I are officially the parents of a teenager now.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Mos Def interviews Al Gore...

Click here to access the video.

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From Charlie


Answering your question from last night - you were correct. The motion was the CIty's motion to dismiss.

I wouldn't was over the fairness of this judge. I have real problems with this judge and his commitment to law. I have a case on appeal from him in which he acted very inappropriately.

In this matter, however, I have to treat him as if he were going to be fair and impartial.

What the implications of the ruling are for yesterday on this we don't know. The fact of the matter is that the City was just WRONG about the law that they tried to rely on for the motion to dismiss. The judge really couldn't rule in their favor (of course he could have - but in this case it would have looked ridiculous to anyone familiar with the law).

I hope that this means this judge will rule fairly in this matter in the future. But only time will tell.

One thing is that we have not seen the ruling yet - and how far he went - and what he said.

We may be back before him with another motion to dismiss unless he ruled comprehensively and not just to the City's legal error.

We will see.

Other than that - much to discuss about yesterday - interesting events.

Take a look at the Alachua Project site to see some of it.

Charlie, you're "friend" showed up again in the old thread.

I haven't had time to read everything. Is that his real name? When I see someone posting in blog comments with the first name Hugh, I'm kind of expecting the last name to be something like Jassole.
Renee in Ohio | Homepage | 06.23.06 - 1:27 pm | #


That is indeed his real name. He also goes by "Bud". He is the mayor's husband. He was the "behind the scenes" man in the James Lewis campaign. I do not like this man's views of politics and his approach to the political process.

That being said - I have a request for assistance. Someone asked who they could write to in assistance with our efforts.

I want to ask that you - and anyone else you can get to do so - write a post on THREE sites:


What I am calling for is for those on our side in Alachua to come forward - into the public arena openly as themselves - and assert their concerns and claims honestly and directly. To do so without the temptation to ad hominem attacks; and without getting off the focus of the PRINCIPLES of this nation - and the FACTS of Alachua and its failure to achieve and live up to that standard. And then to suggest ways to get back onto the path toward democracy.

THere is a method to my madness. Really. I have gone toe-to-toe with City Hall - and I have to this point beaten them. I have not won the war - but I cannot win the war - only WE can win the war together. But my actions, as one actor (although with the support of many wonderful people in Alachua and across the nation), have brought the City Hall to a point of critical awareness and openness. People are watching. And the actors inside know this. They are now vulnerable.

But the true victory will now come as we, as truly concerned citizens, voice our HONESTLY felt concerns forcefully but respectfully. This will get us to the next level - and we will have made substantial progress - and we will then be able to move forward to the even further next level.

So I need YOUR help. The citizens of Alachua, who have been concerned with the corruption within their government, also feel powerless. They stood up for many years - and were beaten down with personal attacks and even threats. They feel vulnerable. And they have been generally fearful of coming forward and speaking out openly.

But this is what we need them to do right now. I have done all I can as a single actor - as a "gadfly" - and it has worked. But now we must join together into a team - with each member being a leader unto themselves.

I believe that the Sunshine that you have helped bring - by taking this issue nationally - and showing that others are looking in that will not be conned or mislead by some of the traditional tactics - that you have given us the opportunity that has been missing in Alachua for several years.

Please go to those sites - and encourage others in the blogosphere to do so - and state who you are and where you are from and what your concerns are - and what you would like to see. Don't let them get you into any personal attacks (i.e. Rocket tactics) - just state that you are here, you are watching, and you care.

This will give others in the community the feeling of support that they need to come back out into the open and to confront those in the government as to what their actual concerns and complaints are - and what they want to do about it.

We want to restore democracy to Alachua - and then to the rest of the country. We need your help - to show support for those who feel individually vulnerable - to know they are not alone and that others "have their backs."

You guys have been awesome and amazing in your support for me and my activities - and I can never begin to express my personal gratitude for that.

But we have also shown that WE DO HAVE THE POWER ... and we are learning to use it. THis community, having grown in the past few years, holds the key to our future as a nation.

I thank you so much for all that you do.

Thanks again,

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Thursday, June 22, 2006


I just heard about this for the first time on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight.

Update: There was an e-mail from Howard in my inbox today. The title was something along the lines of, "Are you really serious about this 50 state thing?" So here's that link again...

Show your support for our party Chair by donating to the DNC through our own Howard-Empowered bat

Another update: As I noted in the comments last night, I did a diary about How General Convention ended: acknowledging the hurt. If you're interested in seeing that diary, and the responses it generated, it is posted at My Left Wing, Daily Kos, Booman Tribune, and Street Prophets. A longer version is posted at Faithful Ohio.

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Charlie Grapski, on being ejected from the City Commission meeting

From this morning's comments

Gotta run to court on the election case. But if you saw it - the Republicans have orchestrated the airing of the video of my being ejected (unlawfully) from the City commission meeting.

What they fail to mention is how they had set that up.

And what they fail to mention is what I was doing and why.

The City must follow Florida's Open Government law - 286.011 florida statutes.

But the City violates that law using a tactic of putting items on the Consent agenda and then approving them without a public meeting - without the public being able to observe or participate - in contravention of that law.

They place the approval of the agenda - which automatically passes the items on the consent agenda - before public comment.

Thus if the public cannot speak until public comment - they cannot speak to items on the consent agenda. Again - that violates Florida law.

The rules and procedures of the City adopt Roberts Rules of Order.

Roberts Rules prescribe that when there is a question as to the rule - you make a parliamentary inquiry.

I did. Instead of following the rules - the Mayor banged me out of order (after reading only one part of the rules - but not the relevant part).

According to Roberts Rules of Order you are then supposed to make a Point of Order - to state that they are violating the rules.

This is what you are SUPPOSED to do under the rules.

What did they do instead?

They violated the rules - and then when I stood up to inquire about the rules - they physically threw me out.

That is a violaton of the law.

But this is a town where "the law" is believed to be whatever the City officials say it is.

Charlie Grapski

Click here to link to the Alachua Project web site.

Evening update (from the comments)

Click homepage
to see my response to Hugh Calderwood's (the Mayor's husband and a key backroom politico (he was the "Treasurer" and effectively ran the campaign of 40year commissioner Lewis in this problematic election)).

Hugh does not know the law nor the rules. Unfortunately - neither does his wife - but she is mayor and is supposed to know.

I motioned to have the parliamentarian - who unfortunately is Clovis Watson and I don't believe he knows these either - read them the rules.

It would be great if the City Attorney would actually speak up as to the law and the rules - but I don't think she is familiar enough with the laws related to municipal government (Not really her area).

And as a "member" of the public - with speaking rights guaranteed by law in Florida (the Sunshine Law) and attendance rights - you also have a right to utilize the procedures that guarantee those rights are properly assured.
Anyway, long - but very interesting day - first time home.

The City held a "rally" (the one cancelled Friday) to support the city's officials. About 20+ people - but about half of them were city employees on the clock.

Interesting talk with Clovis after it - and surprisingly productive (if he follows through on what he said - I'll give him the chance).

But there is news - as the last I mentioned I was off to the court.

THe City filed a motion to dismiss - only set the hearing for 10 minutes they were so sure of themselves being victorious.

The motion to dismiss - was denied.


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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summer Solstice Open Thread

Happy first day of summer. The photo you see above, along with others of today's celebration at Stonehenge can be found here.

The following comment from Connie was at the end of the old thread...

Go to to see the video of Charlie being ejected from City Hall last Monday night. Somehow the city thinks that this makes them look good!?

I haven't checked it out myself, after seeing Susan's comment about how "gag inducing" the site is. I'm not in the mood to look at a site that's bound to tick me off, especially after the latest from the General Convention.

But enjoy the new thread, with the purty picture.

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Open Thread

This picture was meant to go with Holly's Take Back America report, but I checked the wrong e-mail. Better late than never.

Talk amongst yourselves.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Update from the Alachua Project


CW: OK, now, with all due respect I know it look like I'm being recorded, which I don't mind if I'm being recorded.

CG: I just left it on since we ... [interrupted]

[Note the recorder was on continuously from the beginning of the meeting with Alan Henderson, when Grapski, holding the recorder in plain sight, explicitly informed him that he was being recorded.]

CW: That's fine with me. Uh, but I'd like to be told I am being recorded prior to that, so that I don't ... its not legal for you to record me without telling me.

CG: Actually, actually it is ...

CW: Mmmm.

CG: ... but you're a public official and anything you say should be assumed to be public. And its only, the only time that the recording can't be done secretly is a private individual and then it is not really a felony but just can't be used as evidence.

CW: I'm not worried about evidence because anything I tell you I'll tell the public.

CG: That's fine.

CW: I'm just letting you know that I can tell you've got a recorder on and I wasn't advised. And I think it would be appropriate if you would avise me, but that's OK Mr. Grapski.

CG: I would have once I had gotten a chance.

CW: Right.


CW: I will get with the Deputy Clerk. However, on record, on tape I will tell you when we set up a time ...


CW: I don't think that will be heading on the territory of illegal based on State Statute 119, which I know, on record, on tape that I know quite well.

So where was the felony committed? When was Grapski "such an intimidating bully?"


This is the portion of the actual conversation with Watson on the Friday when we first met to discuss getting access to the public records on the election. The following Monday, when I arrived for an appointment we made to view those records, Watson arrested me under the felony wiretap statute.

He stated that 1) He was "secretly" recorded (which I believe the above transcripts proves was untrue); 2) He "objected" to the recording (which is also not supported by the transcript); and 3) he did not consent to the recording (which is clearly untrue).

All of which should be irrelevant since he was a public official acting on public business with the very members of the public who made the recording in plain sight of the public official.

See the rest of the story - with Watson's actual sworn statement (contradicting the transcript) and his memos (which contradict each other).

The question is - given the fact that: 1) Eileen McCoy, the only other witness to these events, was called into the State Attorney's office and asked what happened the day I was arrested - she told the State Attorney that what Watson swore to arrest me was "a lie"; and 2) the State Attorney has had the audio recording of this conversation for over a month - proving it was a lie.

So, wHy has the State Attorney not dropped the charges against me (when he has the evidence that Watson lied to arrest me - he has not formally charged me); and Why has the State Attorney refused to accept a sworn complaint against Watson for perjury and filing a false police report?

And for a really shocking look at local attempts to "frame" (not done very well) issues by the Republican party - you have to take a look at the Republican Party attack site (

Forgetting for a minute that the ALA is not "terrorism" or "communism" (it is a group of concerned Alachua citizens from all political affiliations that stood up to the corruption these past several years - only to be constantly attacked for it); and that I am not a member of the ALA (that doesn't seem to matter - the ALA = communism = terrorism to these people. Or they are desperate to try and make that connection).

But you have to see the way they try to spin the past few days - in an attack on me made by Stafford Jones (even quoting this blog), the Chairman of the Alachua County Republican Party (who, by the way, claims it is a lie that the REC is going "after me" - problem is - Stafford himself has stated this to other Republicans, and the name of the REC member and former Sheriff who contacted a friend of mine seeking to get his assistance setting me up in a compromising situation is Keith McInnis) ...

... but most importantly you want to see the new thing allegedly written by Clovis Watson entitled "What did I miss". You will really begin to see how desperate these actors are becoming down here and how volatile the situation is becoming, particularly after the refiling of the lawsuit with the allegations and the embarrasment of the Republican Party being outed with its plants inside of the Democratic party (their planned rally never took place as a result).

It is truly getting frightening to a lot of people down here - they are not sure what these people are capable of - and they are in jeopardy of losing power (perhaps even their freedom) and there are multi-millions of dollars at stake. The one thing I have to agree with, I believe listener said it, is that the one saving factor is that you guys have kept a national eye on this situation. (THey are very perturbed by this fact).

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Al Franken at DemocracyFest!

The 3rd Annual DemocracyFest will take place on July 14-16, 2006 in San Diego, CA.

Al Franken will be broadcasting from DemocracyFest on Friday morning and you can watch it live in person! All Friday, Saturday, and Sunday activities, including Franken's braodcast, are included in the $55 weekend ticket. Get yours today!
Weekend Ticket

On Saturday night, Franken will emcee the Saturday Night Beach Party Blowout, with musical guests Gary Hoey, Lawrence Juber, and Berkley Hart. Speakers on Saturday night include Gov. Howard Dean, Maxine Waters, Marc Maron, Paul Hackett, Donna Frye, Phil Angelides, and Jim Dean. Tickets are only $25!
Saturday Night Blowout Ticket

We have a great weekend planned, with lots and lots of activities, but don't forget to eat and sleep while you're there!

Saturday Dinner - DemStock featuring the Flying Other Brothers - Meal choice of Mexican Fiesta or Barn Buster BBQ

Sunday Breakfast - Darrell's Famous Bloggers Breakfast. Click Here

Lodging - Conveniently located on campus. Click Here

The Whole Enchilada - includes Lodging for Friday and Saturday nights, Friday Saturday and Sunday trainings panels and speakers, Saturday night BBQ, Saturday Night Blowout, and Sunday Blogger's Breakfast = $245 Click Here

The Enchilada Grande - includes Lodging for Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday nights, Friday Saturday and Sunday trainings panels and speakers, Saturday night BBQ, Saturday Night Blowout, and Sunday Blogger's Breakfast = $365 Click Here

Gov. Dean's speech will be open to the public. For more information on the Program, Speakers & Panelists for DemocracyFest Click Here

New ECUSA Presiding Bishop: It's a girl!

I broke with tradition and did two posts back to back, because I really did want to get both on the front page before leaving for work. So I'm adding this not to make sure people don't miss the Charlie Grapski update posted right below this entry.

Idea for title shamelessly stolen from this blog. This entry crossposted at My Left Wing and Daily Kos.

Apparently there are some who have their panties (er, briefs? boxers?) in a wad about the Episcopal Church electing a woman to lead the church in the U.S.
Bishop Election Upsets Episcopal Diocese (really, this is just *sad*)
Bishop Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, read a short statement from the floor of the Episcopal General Convention, asking Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to put the diocese under the oversight of another Anglican leader.

Here's an article from the Episcopal News Service about the new Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Prior to ordination, she was a visiting assistant professor in the Oregon State University Department of Religious Studies; a visiting scientist at the Oregon State University Department of Oceanography; and an oceanographer with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle. She is also an active, instrument-rated pilot, who has logged more than 500 flight-hours.

More about the new Presiding Bishop, and other news about the General Convention here

See also
An Inch at a Time
Father Jakes Stops the World
Daily Episcopalian, which is run by Jim Naughton of the Diocese of Washington.
And more links here.
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A Charlie update from Connie

From the comments in last night's thread...

If anyone is interested in updates on Charlie and Alachua there is an interesting story on the Alachua Project Blog about the sworn statements made to arrest Charlie and then at the end there is a TRANSCRIPT of part of the actual conversation they had!

And Charlie was almost arrested at City Hall tonight. The Police Chief grabbed him and forced him outside and kicked him out of the meeting. What was he doing? He was reading to them Roberts Rules of Order! And the mayor was trying to talk to him and even said when Charlie stated that she was not asking the Chief of Police to arrest him or throw him out that she was not seeking him to do that. But the Chief of Police was not acting on the mayor's orders but Clovis Watson's! And they threw him out.

So Charlie called the Sheriff and charged the Police Chief with Assault and Battery! And the Sheriff came out there and took the report.

Help protect democracy in Alachua, Florida. Donate to the Charlie Grapski defense fund.

See also:
Alachua Amended Lawsuit Filed
"Snail mail" address for Grapski Defense

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Take Back America opinionated report

This report is more about my friends and me at the conference. At the conclusion we really felt the conference was excellent but that it had lost it's "cutting edge" and that it had been somewhat hijacked by the moderate Democrats that were running for office. While I would highly recommend others to attend future years of the conference, we felt we should have followed Howard Dean to the Yearly Kos convention in Las Vegas. That is where the true progressive were hanging out

I have been watching the TBA convention on C-Span the last 3 years so decided that this year I was not going to miss it. It was always energizing to see Howard Dean and all the Dean supporters, and this year I was going to be one of them.

Lois, Marcia and I had emailed each other several months ago arranging the hotel and flights, all the while checking and rechecking the speaker list. Where were Bill Moyers and Howard Dean, long time staples of the conference? More presenters were added including, Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry. We began wondering if the was really a "progressive" meeting or not. Well I still wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to be with my special crushie friends.

Just a few days ahead of time Lois received an email stating Howard Dean was having a fundraiser on Tuesday midway through the conference. Either schedulers were really poor at the DNC or something was up. We never really found out the true answer but when Marcia (as you know who is not easily intimidated) cornered the organizer of the event he stated, it was part scheduling problems part philosophical. What the heck!! No matter, we decided to be sure that we would get signed up for the DNC fundraiser.

The most encouraging part of the conference was the Apollo project. It was great to see the Democrats are working on a cohesive plan for energy independence. Another reason that the Apollo session was so great is because Robert Redford is the Apollo spokesman. Any woman over 45 understands my excitement and when he was introduced the women in the room gave him a standing ovation. As crushies, we noted Robert was wearing an open collar shirt, no tie, tan pants and socks and loafers. While he sat in the panel section he wore his glasses. When the flashes from all the cameras started, he quietly put them away in his shirt pocket and never put them back on. He was the only presenter that went to the front without a written speech. Which doesn't matter because I have no remembrance of what he said. Meanwhile Marcia moves up to the front of the stage for close up pictures.

The big event was Tuesday morning breakfast. Lois decided she would rather lie around the hotel room than see Hilary and Kerry but I have never seen Hilary before so I was up for it. There were seats for 3000 and tons of media. I know I felt some resentment that she was there and not Dean. Most people in the audience were dressed in suits or casual business attire but not the Viet Nam vets sitting behind us. When they stood up behind us holding an IMPEACH BUSH sign the bouncers told them to remove it and eventually took it away. There was a major discussion between the Vets about if they were willing to go to jail over this or not.

Before we slipped away for the DNC event with Howard Dean we ran into Jim Dean. Marcia, with her Dean radar, spotted him as we were changing escalators. Jim of course knew Marcia at once I reminded him I was with the Chicago group and he recalled I was one of the "elected officials" DFA recognized last year. He told us he was around to support Ned Lamont's fundraiser. We asked him if he knew that Howard was having a fundraiser the very same time!! He said he had no idear what Howard is up to and with all the political criticizing lately, they felt it best not to be seen together.

(Tuesday night we attended the DNC fundraiser with Howard Dean, That is another story in itself.)

On Wed. morning we again ran into Jim Dean. This time Lois was with us too. Jim said the fundraiser went well and encourage us to catch Ned Lamont in the break out session. He said he had to leave early. After he left we all commented on how he looked thinner, healthier and better. Then Lois figured it out. He no longer had his muttonchops!!!

For those that don't know him, Ned Lamont is a tall slender, dark-haired man with blue eyes. Being too new for a crushie group, there were only about five of us that surrounded him after the session. There was one man that copiously wrote down every word he was saying off the cuff. It sure smelled of Lieberman. I asked Ned if I could have a picture to send to the blog and we told him we supported him like others from all over the country. A man with a media tag was taking this all down and interviewed Lois and me. Lois was nervous about what he might write about and I said, "Oh we will probably never see it" and the next morning Maura, sure enough, found it in her local paper.

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Open Thread

In the comments of the last thread listener wrote:

Now you know why plants wilt when they have to hear certain sounds, and water crystalises differently depending on the intention around it me an excuse to post this image by Masaru Emoto...

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Take Back America Report

Here is the first installment of the Take Back America Conference that I attended last week. This report has details about the event but I will post another "insiders" account tomorrow.

The Washington Hilton is the premier of conference centers. Large rooms with chandeliers, good sound systems with large projection screens, crowd control hallways, delicious fresh food and an amazing staff that efficiently serves the guests. Over 2000 people representing dozens of progressive organization from all over America gathered for three days.

The conferences most exciting presentation was the Apollo project. With the slogan "new energy, new jobs, new independence for America". The theory is to put brains and resources toward energy independence. The amazing aspect is the organizations that are involved. These include Democrats (Harry Reid), the National Wildlife organization, the United Steel Workers and spokesman, Robert Redford. The plan is to create a big commission to set and accomplish energy goals by combining forces like we did to put a man on the moon. Now all the Democrats have to do is GET IT OUT THERE!

The afternoon session had the theme of "Common Good" or what I like to call, "We are all in this together." My very favorite congresswoman from my state of Illinois, Rep. Jan Schakowsky spoke on healthcare. She is a diehard Dean supporter so I know she has her priorities straight. Gary Hart also spoke and I had to explain to my 22 year old daughter who this man was.

The sessions were rounded out with a "bookstore" filled with leftie books and their authors for signatures and a mini film festival with the filmmakers present to give background to its production, The film makers of the "Big Buy" relayed how they followed Ton Delay and the Texas lawyers to get the live footage.

The big event was Tuesday morning breakfast, featuring Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry. Many of us don't think of Hilary as progressive and the media knew this too so they couldn't wait to write about how the crowd would hate her.

Hilary looked great. She is slender and wore the most stunning peach suit. She was very articulate and presented her views that seem progressive including issues such as healthcare, energy and dealing with poverty. It looked like she was going to close her speech without mentioning the war but she closed her talk by explaining that the war was a difficult subject. With about 3000 people present, she received about 8 mediocre boos. But of course the media picked it up as a big division in the party. I swear the reporters had the story written before the event.

Nancy Pelosi was a buffer zone. It was interesting to see her in action after hearing so much about her. Kerry also looked primed up in campaign mode. He was introduced by a Iraqi veteran that looked like a future politician. Kerry got right into the war topic and amazingly apologized for his vote for the war. Wow, I swear if this is how he felt, I sure wish he would have said this 3 years ago. The crowd was "with him"and was relieved to hear progressive talk.

We attended a session about blogs with Jerome Armstrong, and Matt Stoller. It was fun to see the next generation of political pundits in a new media form.

There were simultaneous trainings by Progressive Majority and we saw DFA was putting one on about using the inter-net in campaigns. Our very own Tara was there. It was fun to see her explain the basics of the DFA website that we all know so well.

Russ Feingold with Wed. breakfast, our true progressive presidential candidate. People in the audience shouted, "Run, Russ, Run" and passed out stickers with the same slogan. I put it under my "Draft Gore for President" pin. There was no lecture to behave this time from the moderators. Feingold had us on our feet several times and not one boo in the audience,

The final breakout session included heavy hitters of the antiwar movement such as Joe Wilson and, Tom Matzzie. Even though Ned Lamont wasn't listed on the original program, he certainly was the main attraction. He spoke with conviction and authenticity. His strong antiwar message resonated with the crowd hungry for a spokesman. Questions after the talk were mostly directed to him.

The event closed with Senator Obama. The noisy lunch crowd became quiet then enthralled, as Obama wove the story of an aged lady and progressed to the kind of America our children and grandchildren could inherit. His message of warning and hope could resonate with all Americans. I have become frustrated with Obama for not being the liberal spokesman that I had envisioned he would be when he ran for office. But I have changed my expectations and have accepted that he is the perfect person to take the Democratic message to independents and Republicans. The conference ended with a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lt. Watada talks back to the commander-in-chief

Army 1st. Lt. Ehren Watada, the first Army officer to publicly refuse an order to deploy to Iraq, is speaking out while he still can.

By the end of this month, when his Stryker Brigade deploys from the Fort Lewis base near Tacoma, he's likely to be in the stockade.

He'll join Sgt. Kevin Benderman, whose 15-month sentence for refusing deployment offers an indication of what awaits Watada. Benderman also received loss of pay and reduction in rank and will be dishonorably discharged upon his release. (See "That Other Defiant Soldier," the Weekly)

Benderman's case is not well-known, however, while the publicity Watada has gained since he announced his refusal June 7 likely is giving the Army fits. After listening to Watada talk, I understood why. (There's no tape or transcript, so I'm using some similar quotes Watada has used elsewhere.)

Watada, 28, does not speak from a radical perspective. He believes in the country, the military and even the War on Terror, and has stated that he would have served in Afghanistan if posted there.

He just doesn't believe he should have to serve in an illegal war, and he's not afraid to tell the president so.

As he put it in his June 7 statement:

"The war in Iraq violates our democratic system of checks and balances. It usurps international treaties and conventions that by virtue of the Constitution become American law.

"The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes."

The full statement is on his website.

As he tells it, Watada's eyes began to open when he realized that the administrations rationale for the Iraq war was based on lies. Only after researching the Constitution and international and military law did he decide to take a stand.

"Mr. President, you have violated: Article I of the Constitution by deceiving Congress, Article 2 of the U.N. Charter, U.N. Gen. Assembly Res. 3314 and the Nuremburg Tribunal Charter barring wars of aggression, and many other international and domestic laws," he said.

The ranks of people like Watada are growing, according to Peter Laufer, author of "Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq."

"After profiling those in the book, I'm not only not surprised by what Lieutenant Watada did, I expect there to be more cases," Laufer told the Seattle P-I.

Meanwhile, the First United Methodist Church of Tacoma has declared itself a sanctuary for soldiers who don't want to go to Iraq.

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

I checked in at the BBB, and it looks like the king of the blog is having a chat with his best blog friend about how electing a woman to head the Episcopal church in the U.S. is unbiblical. There's plenty of counter-evidence to that, in the Bible, as I recall. I keep meaning to track it down, and just maybe I'm motivated enough to do that now.

But while you wait, many of us have seen that picture on the internet and know what the Blog King looks like now, but what about his friend? Well, wonder no more, I've found a picture...

(I'm sorry. I just *had* to.)

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Guess who's turning 64?

Update for anyone who is interested--my diary about celebrating Eucharist with Gene Robinson can be found at My Left Wing, Street Prophets, Booman Tribune, and Daily Kos. And, as General Convention is wrapping up, I'm still posting updates at Faithful Ohio.

Okay, this has nothing to do with anything, and if it turns out Oscar has put up a word for the week in the time it takes me to post this, I will move this post below his. But I can't resist a quick post today to say happy birthday to Sir Paul McCartney, who turns 64 today.

When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out 'till quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older, too. Aaah, and if you say the word, I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse, when your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside, sunday mornings, go for a ride.
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight if it's not too dear. We shall scrimp and save.
Ah, grandchildren on your knee, Vera, Chuck, and Dave.

Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away.
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine forever more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four?

by John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Oh, and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, including my husband, Demetrius, who proposed to me many years ago shortly after we listened to that song together. And of course, to my own father, whose political leanings are very different from my own, but who has always been there for me with love, support, and encouragement.

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