Monday, February 27, 2006


But you won't, will you? Just more drivel from another angry liberal who
wants to take your guns and make your church pay taxes.

Here's a couple of excerpts:
The Vice President was hunting on a 50-thousand acre ranch owned by a lobbyist friend who is the heiress to a family fortune of land, cattle, banking and oil (ah, yes, the quickest and surest way to the American dream remains to choose your parents well.)

The circumstances of the hunt and the identity of the hunters provoked a lament from The Economist. The most influential pro-business magazine in the world is concerned that hunting in America is becoming a matter of class: the rich are doing more, the working stiffs, less. The annual loss of 1.5 million acres of wildlife habitat and 1 million acres of farm and ranchland to development and sprawl has come "at the expense of 'The Deer Hunter' crowd in the small towns of the north-east, the rednecks of the south and the cowboys of the west." Their places, says The Economist, are being taken by the affluent who pay plenty for such conveniences as being driven to where the covey cooperatively awaits. The magazine (hardly a Marxist rag, remember) describes Mr. Cheney's own expedition as "a lot closer to 'Gosford Park' than 'The Deer Hunter' - a group of fat old toffs waiting for wildlife to be flushed towards them at huge expense."
Here's another:
As great wealth has accumulated at the top, the rest of society has not been benefiting proportionally. In 1960 the gap between the top 20% and the bottom 20% was thirtyfold. Now it is seventy-five fold. Thirty years ago the average annual compensation of the top 100 chief executives in the country was 30 times the pay of the average worker. Today it is 1000 times the pay of the average worker. A recent article in The Financial Times reports on a study by the American economist Robert J. Gordon, who finds "little long-term change in workers' share of U.S. income over the past half century." Middle-ranking Americans are being squeezed, he says, because the top ten percent of earners have captured almost half the total income gains in the past four decades and the top one percent have gained the most of all - "more in fact, than all the bottom 50 percent."
Here's a good one:
But let's be realistic here. When the notorious Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he answered, "Because there is where the money is." If I seem to be singling out the Republicans, it's for one reason: that's where the power is. They own the government lock, stock, and barrel. Once they gained control of the House of Representatives in 1994, their self-proclaimed revolution has gone into overdrive with their taking of the White House in 2000 and the Senate in 2002. Their revolution soon became a cash cow and Washington a one party state ruled by money.

Look back at the bulk of legislation passed by Congress in the past decade: an energy bill which gave oil companies huge tax breaks at the same time that Exxon Mobil just posted $36 in profits in 2005 and our gasoline and home heating bills are at an all-time high; a bankruptcy "reform" bill written by credit card companies to make it harder for poor debtors to escape the burdens of divorce or medical catastrophe; the deregulation of the banking, securities and insurance sectors which led to rampant corporate malfeasance and greed and the destruction of the retirement plans of millions of small investors; the deregulation of the telecommunications sector which led to cable industry price gouging and an undermining of news coverage; protection for rampant overpricing of pharmaceutical drugs; and the blocking of even the mildest attempt to prevent American corporations from dodging an estimated $50 billion in annual taxes by opening a PO Box in an off-shore tax haven like Bermuda or the Cayman islands.
And, finally:
Let's start with the "K Street Project." K Street is the Wall Street of lobbying, the address of many of Washington's biggest lobbying firms. The K Street Project was the brainchild of Tom DeLay and Grover Norquist, the right wing strategist who famously said that his goal is to shrink government so that it can be "drowned in a bathtub." This, of course, would render it impotent to defend ordinary people against the large economic forces - the so-called free market - that Norquist and his pals believe should be running America.

Tom DeLay, meanwhile, was a small businessman from Sugar Land, Texas, who ran a pest extermination business before he entered politics. He hated the government regulators who dared to tell him that some of the pesticides he used were dangerous - as, in fact, they were. He got himself elected to the Texas legislature at a time the Republicans were becoming the majority in the once-solid Democratic south, and his reputation for joining in the wild parties around the state capital in Austin earned him the nickname "Hot Tub Tom." But early in his political career, and with exquisite timing and the help of some videos from the right wing political evangelist, James Dobson, Tom DeLay found Jesus and became a full-fledged born again Christian. He would later humbly acknowledge that God had chosen him to restore America to its biblical worldview. "God," said Tom DeLay, "has been walking me through an incredible journey. God is using me, all the time, everywhere. God is training me. God is working with me..."

Yes, indeed: God does work in mysterious ways.
I hope all you Bush lovers, and even those of you who voted for him but are now saying you didn't, will read this great speech, Restoring the Public Trust, by Bill Moyers. Because of your voting for, and defense of, these thugs, you have seriously screwed up this country and this world for a long time to come. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

BBC - Religion & Ethics - Revelation: The End of the World?

I've been having a little fun with a Christo-fascist Rapture lover in my union news group. You can read my reply to his American Taliban philosophy on my Bush Treason Blog today. What I'd like to share here, hopefully with some more level-headed people who believe in Critical Thought and Science, is a very interesting documentary that just happened to be on the Discovery Times channel when I got this thug's mail this morning. Spoiler alert:
BBC - Religion & Ethics - Revelation: The End of the World?: "So it seems that the Book of Revelation is not prophesising the end of the world but is a polemic against the Roman Empire. John frames his attack in a way that parallels other religious writings of the time and which would have made sense to early Christians. John was for first century Christians telling them to galvanise themselves against compromising with Rome, and that their faithfulness would be rewarded."
These aren't some anti-Christian, secular humanist propagandists. These are actual biblican scholars, and many Christians who believe in the teachings of Jesus, critically evaluating evidence that Revelation was not written by John the Disciple of Jesus. It's very interesting stuff, even for a Bright like me. After all, history is history, no matter how crazy the people who made it were.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Southern California Catering Friends

A few weeks ago, my wife's cousin's husband, Eric Glass, a Hudson Valley caterer in Woodstock New York, got a call from a southern California caterer who wanted to know who did his web site. She had found his site and liked it. So, he sent her to me. Her site was a mess, one of those done cheap by someone with no clue using an online WYSIWIG editor. Ugh. So I told Emma, sure, I could help her, and I redid the whole thing, from bottom up, and her Los Angeles catering company, Culinary Delight Catering, has a really nice web site that should get her much higher search engine rankings.

Now that I've been doing business with Emma for a few weeks, I can tell she's a really cool lady. If you read the story of her business adventures as a home party consultant and southern California wedding consultant, and how that started from humble beginings as a sandwich shop, you'll get the idea. Her elegant touches as a Los Angeles wedding caterer are impressive. Her talents in corporate event planning are celebrated. Her her weekly meal plans are like having a personal chef, but without having someone messing up your kitchen.

Gee, I can't wait to get some food from her!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dana Spiotta's New Book is Out to Rave Reviews

Dana Spiotta
My wife's sister, Dana Spiotta, has a new book out: Eat the Document. She's getting rave reviews, including this one from Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times. This is Dana's second novel. Her first, Lightning Field, also receieved great reviews.

Dana lives with her husband and daughter in Cherry Valley New York, where they run a gourmet restaurant, The Rose and Kettle.