Saturday, June 10, 2006

Open Thread

Since I'm going to bed now and the most recent thread has over 60 comments in it, I thought it would be a good idea to put up a new one. And, besides, I really wanted to post this picture of a Siamese cat I found at Cute Overload today.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say that I've been trying to switch gears and start shifting my blogging attention to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which starts in Columbus this week. As I just wrote over at Faithful Ohio ...

I officially joined Episcopal Church shortly after the last convention, which was in 2003, and was excited to learn that the next convention would be right here in Columbus. To have things align like that really caught my attention. I was certain that this must be one of "God's clues", and that I was *meant* to be at that convention.
Of course, when the situation with Charlie came up, being something that demanded immediate action, of course that took priority. But now I really am at the point that I need to scale back on the political posts so that I can focus more on General Convention. I'll be around, but for the next week or so, I won't be writing much.

Good night, everyone.

Alternate link for comments

Saturday Comics

And my favorite for today: Booty Call

Alternate link to comments

Excerpts from Howard Dean's Yearly Kos speech

Over in the Midday Open Thread at Daily Kos, georgia10 posted this link to video highlights from Howard Dean's keynote address at Yearly Kos. I've transcribed it so that, even those without video-viewing capabililty can benefit from a much needed dose of Howard-empowerment. But let's not let the existence of a new thread distract us from the important work of helping Charlie.

This is a movement that is not so different from the movement in the 60s--to take back America to a better place, or bring America to a better place than where it was. In the 60s, what we fought for was individual rights, equal rights under the law for every single American, and we're still fighting for those things today. But we have lost our way starting in 1980 when the "me" party took over from the "we" party.

So now, this is the generation that takes the country back to the high ideals, laid before us by Franklin Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy, but it is a different generation, and you know more about the world than we do. You are a generation, this generation of bloggers, that understands that we are all citizens of the world. What we understood is that we were citizens of a whole country, and my father's generation understood that they were part of a larger world, but you are the first generation, I think, that's citizens of the whole world, because of the net. Because you're able to contact and talk with people all over the world, and have discovered the universal truth that people are people, everywhere.
This is a tough fight, and you don't win just because you're right! You win because you outwork the other guys, you're tougher than the other guys, but you also win because you appeal to the higher instincts of people instead of to people's worst instincts. Those guys win elections by scapegoating people, "Those people"--from Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen" to George Bush's gay and lesbian Americans and immigrants--scapegoat, scapegoat, scapegoat is the way they win elections. WE WILL NOT DO THAT because it's bad for America, and the one big difference between the Republican party and the Democratic party is that they will put the interests of the Republican party ahead of the interests of the United States of America, and we will not do that! (Applause and cheers)
If a generation wants to make it's mark on politics, you've got to actually participate in politics. Voting is not enough. Voting is the bare minimum--if you don't vote, then you've signed out, really, on any right you have to complain. But voting is not enough. And even giving money is not enough. That's important too, because we can't get our message out, and you know the arguments. We need people to become active--involved in somebody's campaign or running themselves.
That in the end, what we owe is the American people, not ourselves, not our party, not our movement--we owe the American people to restore American greatness. And that means in the middle of our fighting, we've got to put aside whatever it is we disagree with and keep together, because block by block, vote by vote, precinct by precinct and year by year, we will take America back for the people who built it. Thank you very much.

Followed, of course, by much applause and cheering.

Update: Just found out via another post by georgia10 that there is a longer version here. It has some things that were clearly missing from the excerpted version I linked to above. (Like opportunities to see Howard laughing and doing that eyebrow-flash thing.)

One more thing, Oscar has the comics thread in draft, and I'll make sure that gets posted here before the end of the day, but if you can't wait, you can check them out over at Underground Railroad, and enjoy the spiffy new site redesign Oscar has done over yonder.

Alternate link for comments

Helping Charlie--this story needs "legs"!

Update: I have diaries posted at Daily Kos, Booman Tribune and My Left Wing. Please recommend if you can. You can find the latest from Charlie in the comments below, or here.

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

From the overnight thread:

Nearly half way to $5,000 ($2,251.47). I am so thankful for all of your efforts. I cannot tell you how much this community means to not only me - but to the future of this country.

Thanks so much,


(I am going to try and get some sleep now - night - you've given me the greatest birthday present I could imagine - your support - I truly appreciate that.)

Charlie Grapski

Folks, we need to do better than that. I know the people reading this care and are giving what they can, but obviously we can only give so much. So we need to keep our thinking caps on and keep working to figure out who else to contact--because this story needs "legs". I know there is a wider audience that cares about challenges to election integrity *wherever* it happens, and objects to the immoral use of intimidation by city officials against private citizens.

This Kos diary never made the recommended list, but there's lots of good stuff there, including supportive comments, so it's worth checking out:
Urgent plea for help from honest-elections activist

Also from the overnight thread, some suggestions of possible people to contact...

Truthouts' Managing Editor Scott Galindez

Democracy Now

Keith Olbermann

Ring of Fire, hosted by Robert R. Kennedy, Jr. is on Air America Radio today from 5-7 pm Eastern time. Given Robert's recent article in Rolling Stone about the 2004 election, he seems like someone with a natural interest in stories like this one.

And thanks to Jo in Vermont for pointing out this article that appeared in the Gainesville Sun: Complaints filed against Grapski, another man

I know there were other great suggestions in the overnight thread, but I need to head to my water aerobics class now. I certainly didn't mean to slight anyone by leaving anything out--please feel free to repost any suggestions in the comments below.

Charlie's address, in case the media expresses an interest:

Update: For some background on Charlie, I've tracked down the links to the "DFA Summer Session" for which Charlie Grapski guest blogged in the summer of 2005.

DFA Summer Session: Introduction to The Federalist Papers
DFA Summer Session: Federalist 10
DFA Summer Session: Federalist 47
DFA Summer Session: Federalist 48
DFA Summer Session: Federalist 49
DFA Summer Session: Federalist 50
DFA Summer Session: Federalist 51

Also, here's some national attention the story has gotten already:
The Dirty South (in LA City Beat)
"Down in Florida, where the next president will probably be selected, politics are as loose and corrupt as ever" By ANDREW GUMBEL

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Friday, June 09, 2006

URGENT update from Charlie

Note from Renee--please recommend this diary at Kos if you haven't done so already.


Well - thanks for all the birthday greetings - but here was an unexpected "present".

I was just informed by the local newspaper - which was apparently contacted by the Sheriff's office to make a publicity issue out of this - that the Sheriff's office has filed two more sworn complaints for alleged "unlawful interception of communications" (effectively wiretapping - but without the wires) against myself and Michael Canney, who is co-chair of the local Green Party.

All we were doing was attempting to investigate allegations of a fraudulent election. Yet every step of the way, the City of Alachua's officials, the State Attorney's office, and now the Alachua Sheriff's office (who defied a judge's order to release me from jail when first arrested) are attempting to HARASS and INTIMIDATE us - as private citizens - merely standing up for our rights.

We are not sure when and if they will attempt to arrest us - but I suspect that they may try over the weekend (so if you don't hear from me for a day - worry!!).

Now more than ever we need help in raising the funds for our legal defense and our prosecution of those responsible for these violations of rights. With three more felony charges being threatened against me - and now a second individual being accused of two felonies (ironically the local ABC television station did the same thing Michael Canney did - video tape my audio taped conversation with Clovis Watson, City Manager, in City Hall - but they are not being charged with a felony offense).

This is moving to the absurd. WE NEED HELP! I cannot stress this more. (And I hate asking for money). I have tried to get the ACLU involved, we have mounting legal bills (again we must raise a minimum of $5,000 by Monday for our existing legal expenses - and at minimum $5,000 more by next week's end, particularly with a second potential defendant now).

I will not back down to this tactic of intimidation. The Sheriff, Steve Oelrich, is a Republican currently running for the State Senate. You have seen how the local Republican Party has drawn a "line in the sand" on the City of Alachua and is determined to go after me (and now other citizens).

Its getting really bad down here - I am really starting to feel like it is 1960 in the Deep South. I don't know what they will attempt next.

Please, if you can help by spreading the word around the internet and the progressive community, we need the help of anyone and everyone. Every bit counts - if we can get a couple of hundred people even with $10 donations we will be in good shape.

Also - PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO THE MEDIA. Send it around - get it to Air America, Jon Stewart, whoever is out there.

Charlie Grapski

Alternate link for comments

Charlie Grapski/Alachua Update

Anyone interested in the latest from Alachua, Florida: Stolen Elections, Wiretap Arrests, and Wal-Mart - check out the latest on the Alachua Projects site and blog:

Some interesting stories from the High Springs Herald, giving some of the background on the issues related to why that town has been taken over by the developer/Republican Party alliance. Also an interesting defensive editorial by Hugh Calderwood, a major player in the campaign that led to the election lawsuit, husband of the Mayor (once a Bush appointee), and a member of the Chamber of Commerce board (bringing the drive-through development policies to the City).

Also a story on the recent attempts to have me arrested at City Hall merely for citing the laws - which was described by Mayor Calderwood as "disruptive" - and a Judge's ruling that I can indeed attend future meetings.

And the war of the blogs heats up in Alachua as the Republican Party openly starts a blog dedicated to combatting my activities locally and to "draw a line in the sand" on the City of Alachua - run by what the leader of the County Republicans described as a "model" government (and stating it was "pro-family, pro-jobs" - and thus all who oppose them are anti-these).

Of course there is also the great story from Andrew Gumbel, author of Steal this Vote (a must buy), in this week's LA City Beat on Alachua politics.

Stop by and check it out. Also if anyone can continue to help spread the word on our efforts to raise the legal funds - please repost the link to - we have a necessary goal of $10,000 by next week to pay for existing legal expenses. Thanks to all who have contributed so far. Please help share this with others throughout the community of concerned citizens regarding democracy and elections in America. Read Gumbel's story to understand why this issue affects us all across the nation.


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

Previous posts at Howard-Empowered People since Charlie's arrest in early May...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Charlie Grapski Arrested for Recording Meeting by Corinne

Saturday, May 06, 2006
Shining a light on north Florida "plantation" politics by Charlie Grapski

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Politics in Alachua, Florida by Patricia Camburn Behnke

Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Shining a light on the corruption in Alachua County by Charlie Grapski

Friday, May 19, 2006
A note from Charlie by Catreona

Update--and Happy Birthday, Charlie!

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One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I'm pretty sure there's a sermon in this photo; I just don't know what it is yet.

Or maybe it's a political statement. Something about stupid sheep and flaunting your views maybe?

Or or is it something about the media (NBC?) and the public?

What does it make you think of?

~ listener

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mary Jo Kilroy on the Plunderbund Podcast (transcript)

Al Gore is scheduled to be a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight.


Eric Vessels of Plunderbund interviewed our own Mary Jo Kilroy on his most recent podcast. Well, okay, she's not our *very* own, but Demetrius and I have certainly seen her face to face more often than any other political office-holder I can think of. The first time, as I recall, was at a community forum at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbus. And I recall being impressed by her--and the level of thought and care she brought to issues--long before I thought I cared that much about politics.

Eric: To tell people just a little bit about you, you served on the Columbus School Board for 7-8 years--

Mary Jo Kilroy: For 8 years, for two full terms.

Eric: And then you were elected and are currently serving on the Franklin County Commissioners?

Mary Jo Kilroy: That's correct, I'm in my second term as County Commissioner--part of our local "red to blue" program here!

Eric: (laughing) That's right. Well, I'm reading an interesting article this morning, just doing a little bit of prep here. We don't do a ton of prep on the Plunderbund podcast--low budget. But USA Today has an interesting article about GOP lawmakers who are fighting to keep their jobs. And it mentions you, and it mentions your opponent Deborah Pryce, who I believe in 2004 won by a 60/40 margin?

Mary Jo Kilroy: That's correct.

Eric: Basically the article says "Here's all these people that could be tested in November." I'm assuming that your goal is not to "test" someone

Mary Jo Kilroy: (laughing) That's right--my goal is to win!

Eric: That's right, and it sound like Ohio's 15th is one of those districts that people are keeping an eye on. What do you think is causing that vulnerability, and the exciting prospect of your getting elected, and representing us in the 15th district.

Mary Jo Kilroy: Well, first of all, I think Deborah Pryce has never had a challenge since she's been elected, by a Democrat, who has held office.

Eric: Right.

Mary Jo Kilroy: --and who has run campaigns, and who knows how to campaign, and fight hard. And, if people know me, and my political history, you know that I have worked hard to win races being outspent substantially. Being attacked, and I expect that they'll do that again, but fighting back against that and getting elected. So first of all, she's got a different candidate against her. Secondly, I think the Democratic party as a whole is much stronger. Like I said, we've been doing our local red to blue program. The Democratic party locally has been electing more candidates to county-wide offices, and I think that this is sort of the next domino to fall as central Ohio goes from red to blue.

Eric: Right.

Mary Jo Kilroy: Thirdly, and this is really important--I think this is a referendum on the failed policies of the Bush administration.

Eric: No doubt.

Mary Jo Kilroy: And Deborah Pryce has been a leader in Congress, she has pushed his agenda as one of the House leaders--she is one of the top four in the house. And I think the voters see this as a way to send a message to George Bush that we do *not* like the direction this country's going in, we do *not* like the direction the United States House of Representatives is going in.

Eric: Right, absolutely. And let's break that down into numbers. I'm just looking here. Deborah Pryce has voted *with* President Bush 88% of the time, with the GOP Caucus 93% of the time, and with the now shamed and disgraced Tom DeLay 90% of the time. So, it's got to be pretty difficult for her to wiggle away from that stuff, and I think you're right that it is a referendum. And I feel a lot of energy behind that.

Speaking of energy, we posted some pictures that our readers sent that attended the Memorial Day Parade events. I don't know if you saw those, but it was pretty striking the amount of support that you had, that came out for that, as compared to your opponent. And so that indicates to me that there's definitely a lot more energy around what you're doing.

Mary Jo Kilroy: There's a lot of energy in our campaign, and a lot of energy at the grassroots level and that's coming together. I think that turnouts, like at our parades this weekend, both in Grandview and in Worthington, and up at the Groveport Arts Festival--that was a great event. And we were at the Asian Fest as well, so we have volunteers all over the community working hard to win this race and to make sure that we have a Congress that reflects what central Ohio values.

Eric: Now, you talked a little bit about your political history, and you talke also about your grassroots support. You've got a pretty deep history and background with grassroots activists--am I right about that?

Mary Jo Kilroy: I've been involved with a lot of grassroots groups over the years, yes.

Eric: I'll share just a quick story with you. We've actually met. You probably don't remember--it's been years ago. A friend of mine invited me to, I think it was the Powell Library. It was a roundtable discussion of progressives, and you were one of the people there. But at that time, there wasn't a lot of energy. There were like 8 people in the room. But what I noticed about you, and I will compliment you now on that, is you were attentive the whole time. There weren't a lot of people, and you might not have gotten a lot of political payoff out of it because of that. But you were attentive the entire time, and it seemed like you cared, and you had a lot of energy.

And that really struck me and stayed with me, and that's why when I saw your name come up as running for Congress, I thought, "Great--this is the kind of people that we really need!" Because it appeared to me that what you've done, and what you are planning to continue to do, is really be a voice for the people. And I think we need that, especially in this day and time.

Mary Jo Kiroy: Well thank you very much, Eric, for that compliment. I recall the event. I believe it was at the Hilliard Library--

Eric: Oh, yeah--you're right.

Mary Jo Kilroy: --and those kind of discussions were important. And I engaged in a lot of discussions like that all around the community. With progressive groups, with community groups, and with Democratic party activitsts. After the '02 elections in particular, when we saw our turnout in the midterm elections that year, drop, I convened a lot of meetings. And that Hilliard meeting I don't think was part of that series, but a lot of meetings with community members, and ward leaders, party leaders. Talking about why Democrats weren't voting, and what the impact of that was on elections. This midterm election is drastically different, I think, than '02. I think the country is angry about a lot of things. Angry about the Bush agenda, angry about the war, and about the economy, and the job loss. About global warming. Angry about Katrina and that response.

But everybody that voted in 2004 for Kerry, and everybody that worked for Kerry in that campaign, in the neighborhoods and at campaign headquarters, needs to get involved this year in these extremely important midterm elections.

Eric: Absolutely.

Mary Jo Kilroy: And those meetings, like you referenced, may have been small, but I think they're important. Because those meetings in '02 and the other ones that I had with the ward leaders, they can start to rebuild the party. Rebuild the level of grassroots excitement and enthusiasm and they're very important involvement

Eric: Right, absolutely. You're right--you have to start somewhere. And when I go to meetings like that now, you can hardly get in. So we've definitely build the momentum for this. I want to talk a little bit, while we still have a little bit of time here--I want to talk about blogs. I'm a blogger, and obviously this is being distributed via blogs and internet. And I'm also a part of Meet the Bloggers, and proud to be really a part of what's a growing progressive and Democratic blogger base here in Ohio. You seem to "get" blogs and blogging--you've hired a guy who is from Upper Arlington Progressive Action, and blogs there. He's working with your internet communications. What do you see in blogs, and what makes you able to make me perceive that you "get it"?

Mary Jo Kilroy: Well, first I see grassroots democracy in action. And the internet has been an amazing forum to allow people without corporate domination of the news media, to raise issues and to communicate, to debate, to get an alternative point of view out. And I think that without that kind of discussion and interaction, that democracy can dry up. And I think that people's lack of involvment, to a certain extent, stems from people's lack of access and control of the media. The blogging community changes that equation dramatically, and I think it's great.

Eric: So, your experience with grassroots already--we've kind of talked about that--is that why it naturally follows that your campaign would be real friendly to blogs, because of that grassroots connection?

Mary Jo Kilroy: That's probably a fair statement. And over the years I have probably written many a leaflet or pamphlet and tried to do it the old fashioned way. And the value of doing that on the internet is immediately apparent to anybody who's been out door-knocking and trying to plan events or build an organization. So I'm really lucky to have a great webmaster with Dave Harding. He does a terrific job. We try to link to the Democratic blogs. We try to make sure that our press statements are directed to the blog community, because we think it's a very very important method of communicating with voters, communicating with Democrats.

Absolutely, and I think that what you're doing--what Dave's doing--I hope that other campaigns will watch it and I hope the party will watch it. Because I think it's a really good example of how to interact with blogs and leverage the power of blogs. That's definitely another compliment coming from me that way. Well, Mary Jo, thanks so much for being on the Plunderbund podcast, and I wish you all the luck going through this summer season, and right up into the crunch time as we get closer to November. Best of luck

Mary Jo Kilroy: Well, thank you, Eric, and let me also thank the people who organize their own blogs, because I know it's a lot of work to do that, and I appreciate what the blog community does very much. And if we are going to change Congress, if we are going to send a message to George Bush, we are going to need all of your involvement and help. This is a big endeavor to run for Congress, and I know that the other side isn't going to just throw in the towel. It is going to be a highly contested election, and I really encourage people to join us, and check out our web and communicate with us, through the web or elsewhere. We'd be delighted to hear from everybody.

Eric: Absolutely! Well, you've got all the support that I'm going to be able to muster, and a lot of other people's support, and I think you're going to do a heck of a lot more than just "test" Deb Pryce! And we really look forward to watching it, and to helping out any way we can. Thanks for being on the podcast.

Mary Jo Kilroy: Thank you!

And don't forget that you can donate to Mary Jo's campaign through our Howard-Empowered Act Blue page.

Alternate link for comments

The Charlie Grapski Defense Fund

From Renee: This is the first time I've been able to log all the way in to the "Create Post" screen. Here goes nothing--the following (assuming it actually posts) is what I posted about 5 hours ago at an "emergency backup blog".

Hey everybody--this idea occurred to me in the middle of grading, and I figured I could do it quickly enough and then get back to my work. Sadly, once I finished it, I discovered that Blogger was being evil again (down for maintenance or whatever). So for now, I'm posting here. Feel free to download the graphic and upload it to your own site.

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

From Charlie...

Thanks for all who have come to the Defense Fund and contributed. I haven't had a chance yet - but I will personally email a thanks to each of you. We still have a long way to go to reach the necessary $10,000 (not fun - I hate raising money) so we need to get the word out as widely as possible to anyone interested in democracy and elections in America. On another related point - this story has now gone national, beyond the blogs, and into print in today's Los Angeles City Beat. Written by a frequent contributor to the Nation on election fraud in America this story really puts this local issue into its national significance. Check out the updates - with links to this story:

The Blog:

The Defense Fund:

Thanks for all your help. Please repost and spread this around - we need all the help we can get.

Charlie Grapski

There are diaries about this at My Left Wing, Booman Tribune, Daily Kos, and ePluribus Media.

Alternate link for comments


Torture: It's the New Black
Posted by Jim Macdonald

Do y'all remember a year ago, when Sen. McCain (R-Arizona) sponsored a ban on torture by making the Army follow its own field manual? Well, some clever buggers have figured out how to get around that. They're re-writing the field manual to remove Geneva.

O, happy day!

As the LA Times reports:

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

The decision could culminate a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department fiercely opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Convention protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the Defense Department officials acknowledged.

The article goes on to say:

...the exclusion of the Geneva provisions may make it more difficult for the administration to portray such incidents [as Abu Ghraib and Haditha as aberrations. And it undercuts contentions that U.S. forces follow the strictest, most broadly accepted standards when fighting wars.

"The rest of the world is completely convinced that we are busy torturing people," said Oona A. Hathaway, an expert in international law at Yale Law School. "Whether that is true or not, the fact we keep refusing to provide these protections in our formal directives puts a lot of fuel on the fire."

To call this short-sighted, un-American, morally repugnant, and just plain stupid, understates the stituation. Has anyone thought of the implications for our own captured troops in another war, in another place, ten or twenty years from now, if our foe of that moment decides to follow our own field manual?

The move to restore U.S. adherence to Article 3 [of the Geneva Conventions] was opposed by officials from Vice President Dick Cheney's office and by the Pentagon's intelligence arm, government sources said. David S. Addington, Cheney's chief of staff, and Stephen A. Cambone, Defense undersecretary for intelligence, said it would restrict the United States' ability to question detainees.

Well, yes. The purpose of Article 3 is to restrict the abilities of belligerants to question detainees. What did they think it was for?

There's more, read it. . .

posted by puddle at 6/07/2006 09:35:00 PM

Cross posted at PYZCH

Alternate link to comment

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Update from Charlie

Hello all (Hope to see everyone in San Diego).

This is a call for help. Many were asking in the past few weeks on how to contribute to my defense fund and the legal actions we are taking in Alachua to challenge corruption and take back our government and politics.

(Go to )

I personally need your help - as do we, the Alachua Project.

We have to raise at least $10,000 by this weekend for our legal fund. This is what is necessary to begin my defense against these unwarranted charges (they charged me with felony wiretapping) and for us to take legal actions against the City officials who have broken the laws.

While I should be raising money for my campaign I am forced, at the moment, to put all of my efforts into this one cause. The City has threatened to have me arrested several times more - and certain City officials have filed further sworn complaints seeking to have the State Attorney prosecute me. Other citizens who have taken a stand and asked for records of this election have been similarly threatened with arrest and are potentially facing charges for simply standing up, within the law, for their rights.

Any contribution that you can help raise is important. Please, if you can, support our efforts. And please share this post - and repost it - throughout the interent and in emails to friends and supporters.

Anyone having any questions can email me at

We need your help. We CAN fight City Hall and win - but it is going to be a struggle and it is going to take resources that average citizens, on their own, do not have.

Thank you,

and follow the latest news from Alachua at

Alt Comment Link

Archbishop: "The Americans are breaking international law"

From the Independent Online Edition

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has launched a passionate attack on President George Bush, saying his administration's refusal to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay camp reflected "a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm".

Click here for more.

Who would Jesus torture?

If you would like to submit a blog entry for Torture Awareness Month, you can e-mail it to howardempowered at

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So, where's the otter party?

Courtesy of Cute Overload, who got the picture (obviously) from the Sea World web site.

Paul in Illinois posted this link about an asteroid that resembled a sea otter in one of the threads today, and I just *had* to find a picture of otters to post. This one will do nicely.

For anyone watching election returns for Francine Busby, listener posted this in the comments of the last thread...

hopesprings just posted this at BBB...

ELECTION RESULTS ARE HERE beginning at 8 PM West Coast time

Francine is in the 50th District.
Off to bed now. Good night, blog.

Alternate link for comments

Live Journal makes war on evil breastfeeders

Live Journal makes war on evil breastfeeders

Six Apart, creators of Movable Type and, more recently, owners of LiveJournal, have decided to harrass LiveJournal users whose default icons depict breastfeeding. LJ user (and mother) bohemiancoast has more details:

So, LJ has decided to be hardline on the breastfeeding photos. Think I'm joking? Here's an example. They've sent a notice of suspension to a user using this painting as a default icon:

it's the BVM breastfeeding, natch

Hat tip to Patrick at Making Light. Go, read, click! (lots of live links at the original)

As a former evil breastfeeder (of two) and daughter of another evil breastfeeder (of nine), this really chaps me. This is the twenty-first century, for Godssake!

Boycott on 6/6/6 and follow through, please.

posted by puddle at 6/01/2006 10:53:00 AM 4 comments

This was posted last week at my blog, PYZCH which has gotten a fair amount of traffic from google, some international, and some from news outlets, on the subject. Six apart owns Moveable Type, Typepad, and Live Journal. I'm boycotting all these today. If you feel moved, let them know that you are:

Alternate link to comment

Open Thread

Couldn't find a Cute Overload picture I wanted to use--they seem to be doing a lot of animal rear ends the past few days. Anyway, when Catreona and puddle mentioned Landover Baptist, it reminded me to check out Ship of Fools to see if there was a Gadget for God I could feature. Here you go--The Jesus Pan.

Holy images have been popping up all over... A grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary sold for over 17-hundred dollars on Ebay.
- JesusPan is made from durable steel and topped with a non-stick coating.
- JesusPan is perfect for holiday meals
- Jesus Pan has been featured on Tonight Show with Jay Leno!

Heh--as I went back into this post to add the alternate link for comments, I noticed that the date had just changed over to 06/06/06. And me, posting about the Jesus Pan. Sort of like sprinking the blog with holy water "just in case".

Except less messy.

Update: If you'd like to submit a post for Torture Awareness Month, just let me know--unless you're already a front page poster her, in which case you can just go for it. Also, it would be great if people who post on both this blog and BFA would post the occasional reminder over there that this blog exists, and what the current post is. I think people forget sometimes that this blog is here.

Have a great day, everyone!

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Monday, June 05, 2006

How to really protect marriage

At least this move to throw a bone to the Republican base is being recognized for what it is, as can be seen in this headline from Yahoo News, as well as the overall tone of the article: US Republican majority uses symbols to woo its base

"This fundamental institution is under threat," Senate Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist said of traditional marriage. "Activist courts are usurping the power to define this social institution. And if marriage is redefined for anyone, it is redefined for everyone. The threat is real."
Yes, Bill. Be afraid! Be very afraid! After all, as I've already noted, "activist judges were instrumental in changing the definition of marriage back in 1967, and now people of different "races" can freely intermarry.

Our numbers are growing--admittedly somewhat slowly--but I think we're making real progress on our ultimate goal of world domination. We've started innocuously enough...quietly challenging people's preconceptions that normal couples must be color-matched. Oh, and of course having the cutest dang kids you've ever seen. But, slowly, gradually, we are changing the face of America to a gorgeous deep, golden tan!


Perhaps I've said too much...

On a more serious note, the sad thing about the current Republican party's idea of "marriage protection" is that it obscures the real threats to marriage and family in this country. As Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of The Interfaith Alliance and member of Clergy for Fairness wrote in a recent op-ed on this issue:
We cannot tolerate discrimination being written into the Constitution. So, for those people who want to protect marriage, let me offer a few suggestions: start by raising the public's consciousness of the dignity and importance of women in our still deeply patriarchal society; increase the minimum wage and offer tax breaks to the working poor so that spouses can see each other for quality lengths of time, rather than briefly passing on their way to two jobs; encourage family planning; start a plan to deal with domestic violence; and work to cover mental health care in medical insurance policies so serious emotional difficulties can be prevented from tearing marriages apart.

These are real world actions to deal with the real world problem of protecting marriage. All Americans who value the institution of marriage should unite on the above-listed goals to truly strengthen our communities and our country.

Freedom and equality are prerequisites for religious liberty to flourish in our nation. Yet, too often they are cast aside to advance one group's view of the world. The Constitution is not a party platform, but rather a liberating document that provides all Americans guaranteed rights and freedoms.

Those of us who value religious pluralism must send a unified message that freedom and equality go hand in hand with religious liberty. Congress has no business legislating one religiously-based view of marriage. In the interest of religious liberty, faith communities and houses of worship must be allowed to wrestle with the issue of marriage themselves.

Of course, I think most of us know that the Federal Marriage Protection Amendment is not about protecting marriage in any real sense. It is so obviously "red meat for the base" that headlines like the one I included above seem to be the norm.

The most honest response I've seen on this issue to date comes from the woman who answers the phone for Senator Martinez (R-FL)--as reported in a post at Americablog:

"The Senator is not interested in protecting marriage but in protecting the definition of marriage."
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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Marriage Protection Sunday: Rod Parsley's Helpful Sermon Starters

A major focus of Air America's State of Belief program today was the whole "marriage protection" issue. Clicking the link for Marriage Protection Sunday (who knew? I thought today was special because it was Pentecost!) took me to a page of resources from Rod Parsley's "Center for Moral Clarity". It included sermon outlines offering suggestions for preachers. Including a portion of one here, just to give you an idea of the helpful coaching one of Ken Blackwell's biggest supporters is giving to religious leaders, regarding how to convince their congregations of the importance of a Marriage Protection Amendment.

I've heard the story about a boy who was almost 3. Typical of his age, the boy was eager to explore. More than a few times over a period of several weeks, he discovered the kitchen knives, both in the drawer that is just above his eye level and in the wooden block on the kitchen counter (which should have been out of his reach but somehow wasn't).

His parents solved this potentially deadly issue by putting the knives, kitchen scissors and other sharp implements in a plastic tray. They placed the tray on the highest shelf in the kitchen - where even Dad, who was more than six feet tall, had to stretch to bring it down. It wasn't terribly convenient for the cooks, but the disaster that would have ensued if the little boy had continued access to the kitchen knives called for drastic action. Preventing a tragedy became more important than the parents' convenience. The parents were more than willing to sacrifice some convenience for the son they love, even though he exasperated them occasionally.

America today is in a similar situation when it comes to those who would tinker with the definition of marriage. Some would do tremendous and permanent damage to our society if marriage was ever allowed to become anything other than what it has always been. The definition of marriage needs to be made inaccessible protected in a place where no one can get to it. In this case, that requires a drastic measure - an amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating the obvious: that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Getting the Federal Marriage Protection Amendment passed will not be convenient, but it is essential for the safety of the institution of marriage.
Funny, I've never felt that my own marriage (of almost 19 years) was threatened in any way by the existence of same-sex relationships--or whether such relationships are afforded legal status.

On a serious note, though--and I really don't have a clue how one goes about this, how do we learn how to work together in a respectful way with people who may not share our worldview, but with whom we share common goals. Oscar pointed us to a post (And Civil Unions for All) he had put up at Underground Railroad. He had surmised that people wouldn't have been comfortable with that as a front page post here, and I'm sure he was right. There are some thing in that post that are pretty hard to read. But it also offers insights into why someone might oppose this whole idea of the government as "defender of marriage"...
What's more is that the state involving itself in marriage defies the Biblical norm. Neither the governments of the northern kingdom of Israel nor the southern kingdom of Judah was involved in the marriages of their citizens - marriage were purely the purview of the family. The unified kingdom of Israel was never involved in marriages - marriage was purely the purview of the family. Even in the pre-Saul Israelite theocracy the government, such as it was, was never involved in the marriage of its citizens - marriage was purely the purview of the family. So if the Biblical model of marriage - from "In the beginning" to "Amen" - is of marriage being purely the purview of the family, then how is it that those who claim to support family values and claim to believe in the Bible blatantly defy the Biblical norm by acceding to the secular practice of state-sponsored marriage?

I can not be party to that.

I will not be party to that.
That's an objection I would not have known about if I was unwilling to listen to what Oscar had to say, or if I had gotten so wrapped up in objecting to his views on same sex relationships that I never even got to that part of his post.

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I've been meaning to actually front page some links to posts about Barack Obama at the Ohio Democratic Party fundraiser dinner. So, I will do that now, but first, something unrelated to the dinner, yet which gave me a chuckle just now. Obama is mentioned at the end of an article about Stephen Colbert giving a commencement address:

Last year's commencement speaker, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) had sent Colbert this welcoming message:

"Stephen, Congratulations on being asked to speak at the 2006 Knox College Commencement. This is an enormous honor and on behalf of the people of Illinois, I'd like to welcome you to our state. As you know, I was invited to speak at Knox after my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and subsequent election to the United States Senate. Your convention speech must also have gone really well to have been invited. It's weird that I didn't read about it somewhere."
The man knows how to do the dry wit thing, doesn't he? I know many of us have been disappointed with some of Barack Obama's statments and votes but nobody is all good or all bad. Well, few people, anyway. But I've always been firmly of the opinion that if we are going to be quick to give someone a hard time when we disapprove, we have to be at least as willing to say, "Ya done good!" when appropriate. With that in mind, I need to share some of the backstory related to last night's ODP dinner.

From Plunderbund:
So Russell notices Obama will be at the 2006 Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner and emails the ODP and asks about some tickets for bloggers to both cover the event and get energized for the '06 elections. ...
Jeremy is ODP's finance director and kindly referred the matter to Brian Rothenberg, Communications Director. I spoke with Brian a bit ago and he said they don't do comps because it is a fundraiser, or some such thing and that the usual press doesn't care to accept the dinner part. Well, that is the misconception. We are not the press. We are activists...on your side. So the message I got was: "You all are nothing special, buy a ticket". Some of us may be in a position to, some not. That is not the point. The point is the ODP had yet another opportunity to embrace us and they passed.

I think this is a mistake, but it doesn't surprise me. There seems to be a general disdain for blogs that don't originate from within the party structure. Which would they rather have? Our $150 or our efforts in blogging and activism? Sure, you run the risk that bloggers crash the party ala the Christmas Fiasco. However, you pretty much guarantee constant criticism by not reaching out in very simple ways and bringing the growing and active Ohio blogosphere into your fold.
For anyone who does not follow the Ohio blogs, there is bad blood between some in the ODP and the Ohio blogosphere. Tim Tagaris addressed that in this open letter to the ODP.

Anyway, it was very cool to read soon after the post about Rothenberg, a post at Buckeye State Blog entitled, Obama Gets It.
Just got word that Barrack Obama bought a table for bloggers at ODP's June dinner and will even spend a few minutes chatting with us. What a cool guy.
Can't exactly say "all's well that ends well" because there was still some heated discussion on the Ohio blogs regarding whether it was appropriate to ask for the tickets in the first place, and apparently Brian Rothenberg's nose was really out of joint. I never really had a horse in this race, as I didn't follow the whole thing all that closely, and never asked for a ticket myself. But I do think that was a classy move on the part of Obama.

Pho's Akron Pages has a lengthy write-up of Barack Obama's time at the blogger table. Also, you can check the LeftyBlogs Ohio feed to see more posts about the event.

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Itching For A Scratch

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
There are some things in life that never change, and one of those things is that the bearer of bad tidings too often gets the blame. I am fascinated at how some people will get mad at the weather man when he says that it is going to rain - he didn't create low pressure system centered at the intersection of a warm mass of air and a cold mass of air (never thought I'd have a use for that God-forsaken Thermodynamics class in undergrad), yet the weather man often gets the blame for delivering the message. Had he failed to do his duty and people planned picnics and parades on that day which subsequently got rained-out then he truly would have been at fault, but in delivering the news - unpleasant as it may be to picnic planners, pleasing though it may be to home-owners with parched lawns - he did his duty.

So it is with the ministry of reconciliation that God has given to everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian - we have to tell people about the good news of Jesus Christ, but that good news includes the bad news of their current state outside of Christ. Many people today take the perspective of Evillene, singing, "Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News!" They have no problem with killing the messenger, keeping the messenger at an arm's length, or ostracizing the messenger when the message itself is intended to benefit those to whom the message is delivered. People act like they won't be affected by the content of the message if they just don't hear the message, so they gather around themselves people who will whisper sweet nothings in their ears, people who will affirm those things that they already believe, people who will go along to get along.

"It's a slam dunk."

"We'll be greeted as liberators."

"Mission Accomplished."

It comes as no surprise that people will seek out advisors and messengers that tell them what they want to hear, messengers who will tell them that which makes them feel good, but that which is good to them may not be good for them. It might make a person feel good to hear it said that they don't have cancer, but if it's not true then they will soon find themselves in a world of hurt as the cancer becomes inoperable due to earlier inaction. It might make a person feel good to hear it said that they will not be charged for their crimes, but if it's not true then they will indeed come face-to-face with a judge and they will indeed be called to account for their crimes. It might make people feel good to hear it said that there is no God, to hear it said that if there is a God then He's the kinder, gentler, grandfatherly kind of god that would never say a disparaging word about you, let alone sit in judgement of you, but if it's not true then there's going to be a payday someday. The messenger simply says, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Don't kill the messenger.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to receive the message,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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