Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Io! Saturnalia!! 2008

Today kicks off the week-long Saturnalia and thus I extend my usual traditional Saturnalia greetings: Io! Saturnalia, cast off your toga! (or for you modern celebrants, Io! Saturnalia! Toga! Toga! Toga!

Normally, I revise the same snarky little cease-fire in the war on Christmas Saturnalia message and repost it. But, I thought this year, instead, I'd post a piece I wrote on the Saturnalia, last year, that I published on Qassia.



Io! Saturnalia!! Cast Off Your Toga!!!
by Melhi

"Cast off your toga" is an ancient addendum to the greeting "Io Saturnalia," that would have been extended at or just prior to the beginning of the Saturnalia. But, did it mean what so many assume it did, today? Was the Saturnalia really just a week long sexual orgy as so many believe? If not, what was it?

Several years ago, I read a journal or letter or diary from ancient Rome wherein the author described returning home, in a (dark or somber?) mood, at the start of the Saturnalia and as he met his fellow Romans in the street, they called out this greeting, "Io Saturnalia! Cast off your
toga!" As he made his way through the street, that he was met with the greeting by each jubilant passerby, brightened his mood and put him in the celebratory spirit. In the piece, he extolled on how wonderful it was to return home from such a journey at the Saturnalia and how it renewed the spirit...
not that dissimilar from reading a similar diary passage of someone returning home at Christmas and feeling renewed by it, nowadays.

"Cast off your toga" did not mean "get naked" as many assume -- they weren't naked under their togas anyway, so that would just be silly -- it basically meant something more along the lines of, "it's time to make merry" within the context that made the toga inappropriate to the celebration.

The toga had a lot of "importance" and meaning, different togas were for different people or occasions and meant different things. Slaves, foreigners and ex patriots weren't allowed to wear them, at all. As the "fashion" trended heavier and looser, over time, they became too cumbersome to wear in battle -- so soldiers did not wear them and the toga became a symbol and even a word for peace. Togas were too cumbersome to wear when doing physical labor, such as farm work, so they were also associated with loftier or more civil pursuits. They weren't practical around the house, so they were associated with one's public or "official" presence, etc. In a way, it was the 3 piece business suit and tie, of its day.

The whole role switching & "lord of misrule" turning society/civility on its ear custom, coupled with the fact that it would have been difficult to make so merry as was made for Saturnalia in a heavy, loosely wrapped woolen toga, made it highly inappropriate dress for the occasion of celebrating the Saturnalia. Thus, only prostitutes and convicted adulteresses would have worn the toga during the Saturnalia.

Those who might read a more sexual meaning into the greeting, due to a belief that the Saturnalia was a week long omni-sexual orgy, gay orgy and/or celebration of pedophilic depravity and debauchery should note that sexuality, too, was viewed quite differently, in that ancient time and culture.

Excepting those periods of ancient Roman history when same-gender relations were condemned as being too Greek-like (Greek men were seen as effeminite, dirty, lazy and impotent by their Roman conquerors,) they were open and very widely accepted as just part and parcel of everyday life.

There were no words in the language to distinguish homosexuality, heterosexuality or bisexuality from one another. Homosexuality existed, certainly, but it was uncommon. Heterosexuality existed, too, but was just as uncommon. Bisexuality, not monosexuality, was the norm through the bulk of the Roman Republic from the early period through the late. The graphic record of this, from Rome, is considerably sparser than that from Greece, but the literary record is just as prolific. Of the first dozen or so emperors of Rome, all male, most had husbands -- that's right, legally wed same gendered couples -- and only one of the first few emperors kept exclusively to female partners.

Pederasty/pedophilia, was seen as a dirty Greek practice and forbidden, early on in the Roman Republic. A similar, socially accepted or even expected practice emerged that involved relations with slaves, of either gender -- the slave was a legitimate sex partner, but being less worthy than a Roman citizen, the slave had to be a "bottom" and the citizen had to be a "top." Not that anyone followed that rule... and there was, indeed, a word used to distinguish male citizens who not only took the passive role but purposely tried to make themselves more attractive to "tops" or worse, to boys, by taking on a more feminine appearance and mannerisms -- it was the same word as that for eunichs.

Pederasty went in and out of social acceptance (or perhaps more accurately, societal tolerance) through the mid to late Republic, but even during periods of its highest acceptance, it was hotly debated, publically derided and seen by many as nasty and wrong. The periods of acceptance, from what little I've been able to piece together from what I've read, seem to have a direct correlation to whether the emperor or others of great importance/influence at that time were engaging in pedophilia.

Curiously, and there's not a lot out there that I"ve found to read on the subject so this may not have actually been the case -- it seems that the biggest literary proponents of male pedophilia and of effeminite passivity with both adult slaves and boys, were also the most harshly condemning of
sexual relations between consenting adult females.

The Saturnalia celebration was not just a big gay pedophile sex free-for all as so many wrongly assume and as "Church" has intentionally rewritten into the history.

Sexual prohibitions were, indeed, lifted durning the Saturnalia, but prohibitions weren't what they are, today, and were, instead, things like a citizen being the bottom to a slave's top... a lot of what went on,
sexually, during the Saturnalia was also going on, sexually, on any given Tuesday. "Orgies" as per the modern group-sex meaning were a much greater part of or maybe even the central focus of other holiday celebrations in ancient Rome, particularly those honoring the goddesses.

During the Saturnalia, the role reversal theme extended to cross dressing by both men and women (another lifted sexual prohibition) and there's said to have been some traditional processional or
parade involving a large phallus -- question is, was that to represent "depraved" sex or was it to
represent that fertility would begin to return with the waxing sun of the solstice? Or did it begin with a meaning that was lost as it became just part of the annual tradition, as has become the case with so
many of our borrowed or converted trappings?

Sex was a part of the celebration and it certainly wasn't as hidden as the hookups at the annual office Christmas parties are today... but sex wasn't as hidden or restricted in that society on any given
Tuesday as it is in this one, either. Sex is viewed, largely, through Christian eyes, now --
it wasn't then.

The Saturnalia was not just one celebration, but a series of separate celebrations within the larger celebration and one of these separate celebrations was a night dedicated to the childen... they were spoiled and lavished with gifts, they got to role-reverse with the adults... Unfortunately, from some of the discussions I've read on various religious forums... it seems that somehow those two separate parts of the celebration got twisted into one sick version. It's not clear whether this was an intentional corruption of the history or just ignorance and/or intellectual lethargy regarding history. Either way, this alternate version is actively being passed along or handed down as the true history of that holiday... contrary to the surviving literary record of the time, and usually laced with vehement, sometimes angry, disclaimers that no tradition of a modern Christmas was carried forward from the ancient Saturnalia.

Even the word "orgy" does not mean, today, what it once meant. The Christian church intentionally made the word "orgy" synonymous with "Saturnalia," but at that time, the word "orgy" meant "secret worship." The word gradually came to mean what it does, today, specifically because of the church's pre-occupation with sex and the idea that all secret or private worshipping, if not all worship outside Christianity, must involve something not only sexual but, by their definition, sexually depraved. (A particularly curious mindset, given that Christ dictated, in the Christian Bible, that Christian worship should be secret or private, in nature: Pray not thou in the streets... ...go secretly into thine closet...)

As per the modern meaning of "orgy" it's probably a more fitting description of the Greek counterpart to Saturnalia... Dionysia, which (I've read considerably less about, so am not as confident I have it right) was a fertility based celebration, at which you would have had your fill of both phallic shaped cakes/treats and group sex, there would have been a big wooden penis paraded through the street and a special phallus song would have been sung.

Sidenote: I've also seen mention of an all-female sexual December celebration, but a mention is about all I've ever seen and I don't remember, off hand, what it was called, to try to research for more information on it.

Imagine if our modern Christmas carried any of the traditions of Dionysia forward... Condoms hung by the vagina shaped fireplace opening with care, presents tucked neatly under the big wooden Christmas Penis all a-twinkle in colored lights and tinsel, anatomically exaggerated Gingerbread men.
Oh and I don't even want to THINK about what Santa's costume might be... but I suspect it might look a lot like Borat's neon green man-thong thing only red and trimmed in fur.. *shudder.* Sounds pretty depraved compared to our modern fir trees (which were carried from the Saturnalia,) velvet Christmas stockings and anatomically challenged gingerbread men, doesn't it?

But, if you're looking for true, sick, twisted, "Saturnalia" depravity... it actually does exist in the historical record... at least, by MY definition of sick, twisted and depraved. To find it, though, you'll have to fast forward from Ancient Rome to the new and improved, under new Christian management, Saturnalia v 2.0 of the 15th through at least 19th centuries and get a load of the traditions Pope John Paul II started in the 15th century. He was a real piece of work, that one.... and apparantly a couple hundred years or so of his successors were cut from the same holy cloth as he.

Which do we really find more depraved, today -- filling a hollow statue of Saturn with fresh olive oil, loosing the ties that bind the statue's feet and seating his effigy at the feasting table to pretend he's dining with us mere mortals, as was the custom of the ancient Saturnalia OR rounding up all the Jews, stripping them naked, forcing them to gorge themselves beyond full and then run, stumbling over one another, through crowded streets lined with good Christians who take merry delight in hurling rocks and rotten food at them to further their humiliation, as was the custom of the Christian Saturnalia revival?

Most of us would probably assume that our various modern December holiday celebration customs will seem respectable, normal and wholesome, to people looking back on us, centuries from now. But, we cannot know or even guess how the historical record of our time and culture will have have been misinterpreted or corrupted, by then, or how what is perfectly normal and innocent to us, today, might be seen through the eyes of tomorrow's cultures.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

E. Pluribus Unum

E. Pluribus Unum

It's been a long time coming, but at last our nation is whole and we the people, for whom this great nation of promise and plenty is of, by and for, are one people, created equal.

For the last several years, far too many of us, myself included, have been told we're not as American as "them", not American enough, not real Americans.

Our love of country was derided as we were told we are not patriotic enough or not patriotic at all. We've been told that we are anti-American, pro-terrorist and traitors.

The faithful among us who shared a faith with those separating us from the herd were told we are not religious enough, somehow not as favored by God. The faithful among us who hold at the core of our souls a faith that differs from those separating us from the herd were told we are not religious, that our God(s) are evil and that we are a danger to our country, to the world and to all that is good. Those among us who are not among the faithful were told that we are the most dangerous of all - that we are evil incarnate, servants of Satan or Satan, himself.

We have been told that our morals are immoral or amoral, that our values are valueless and costly, that our dreams, realized, would be the foundation of a nightmarish reality for all.

We have been blamed for everything from terrorist attacks to hurricanes to wild fires... and told these things, whether acts of men or acts of nature, were God's judgement of and punishment for our wickedness.

Those of us who fought for rights and freedoms long denied or fought to protect and retain rights and freedoms hard won were told if we did not like the changes they had made, were making or wanted to make -- we should leave this country.

Many among us, far too many, have endured these things through multiple generations that stretch back through the centuries, back farther even than our founding fathers' promise upon birthing this great nation, that we are all created equal, that this is our nation, that it was created and exists of us, by us and for us.

Over the centuries, through the generations, countless Americans, both those deemed less worthy by some of their fellow countrymen and those who were not themselves deemed less worthy but who could not live with the injustice and wrong of lifting up some Americans by holding down others have stood up, raised their voices, worked, fought, served, sacrificed, suffered and even died to make good on the promises made to them and to all of us by our founding fathers... the names and contributions of some have become great in history, the names and contributions of most are not recorded in the history books. The contributions of all are among the strongest threads in the grand tapestry of our past, our present and our future.

In the last few weeks, at early voting locations, on mail-in ballots and in the election day voting booths, Americans, by the millions, put their hands up and said, "No more! We are not 'us' and 'them,' we are one people. This is not my country or their country, it is our country. There is no real America and phony America - there is only the United States and the united people of America."

Today, I'm not fighting back the tears, but letting them flow freely and my dearest wish is one it's not possible to make true: that I could reach back through time to tell every person whose contributions led to this day that it was not in vain, that this sunrise did come and to thank them and to thank every person who voted for the promise this day makes good on and to thank Barack Obama for welcoming us into the fold for the first time or back into the fold after being cast out for a time.

I am an American, a real American, no better or worse or more or less than any other American, but equal -- and damn, it feels good.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Birthplace of a Political Career

I've been pondering Sarah Palin's words... (paraphrased) "Obama launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist and we're expected to believe he didn't know it? He had sat on a committee with the guy!"

The reason I've pondered this is because of the first person who offered to hold a fundraising coffee in her own living room, for my first bid for office in 2006. I'd known who she was since I was in Jr. High, because she was a teacher and she coached the pom squad at the high school. Everybody knew her. She was never one of my own teachers, so I never officially met her back then. But, it was a small town and a small school district, so I knew who she was and later learned that she remembered vaguely knowing who I was.

My first encounter with her, in a political sense, was, coincidentally enough, at a Barack the Vote event hosted in her living room.

I had attended that event for two reasons -- the first being the most obvious -- I was a supporter of Barack's Senate campaign. But I attended with an ulterior motive. The local party chair and much of the committee was to be there and I wanted to observe them in their natural habitat, without the committee/gallery split making my observation so obvious.

I'd been in e-mail contact with the chair of the local party for a few weeks, I'd spoken at length with a couple of precinct committee members in the party and I was in the process of determining whether I was ready to join my efforts with the party in a more "official" way and I was also trying to decide whether getting involved with the local party was the right path for me to take in that regard.

Prior to that event, I'd been "lone wolfing" it as an underground grass roots pro-labor liberal/dem for many years... writing and releasing anonymous political and labor humor pieces into the wild and letting them take on lives of their own, keeping up with current events, learning how the government functions and how it doesn't, talking with people, learning about mine and other parties, choosing carefully which "letter to the editor" local battles to take-on so as to not be a regular in the paper (becoming a regular contributer is the fast track to being read ONLY by the choir you're preaching to, which is a pointless exercise for an unpaid contributer.) Etc.

I liked what I saw and I started my time with them in the gallery as a volunteer "activist" in the local party. At first, I attended only when their meetings didn't conflict with my schedule. Over the next year or so, their importance in my scheduling priorities increased such that I rarely miss a meeting and shortly into my regular attendance, I accepted an appointed position as committeman of the precinct I'd grown up in, which had been vacant for some years.

It was upon accepting the committeeman appointment that I began sitting on committee with the aforementioned woman who'd hosted the Barack event. As an officer in the party and as one of the four precinct committeemen in the district I reside in, she later became a strong supporter of and offered to host a similar fundraising event for my own campaign. These events are known, at least in my little nook of the prairie, as "coffee"s.

She's still an officer and committeeman, I'm still a committeeman, thus I still sit on committee with her. But, what do I know about her? What have I learned about her in my time working with her on the committee? Not a whole lot. Almost nothing, really. Our personal lives really have nothing to do with the agenda points we cover between gavels. Pleasantries exchanged on either side of the gavels are just that -- pleasantries... "how was your weekend," "how do the (kids/grandkids) like school this year" "did you hear so-and-so passed away?"

The committee of the local Democrat Party is not the only committee I sit on or that I have ever attended, with regularity. Most of the people who've sat on committee with me or who've sat on committees I attended regularly in-gallery couldn't tell you how many kids I have, much less tell you the names of my husband and each of my children. Many of them, on the two committees I sit on right now, call me "Michelle" -- which is not my name -- I can only assume that I must look like a Michelle. My present is almost entirely unknown to most of them. My past is definitely a complete unknown to them. I could be anyone. The same is true in reverse, except that I know their first names... and that is only because I suck with names and thus intentionally worked hard at memorizing their names from the roll calls of meeting minutes.

But, back to the topic at hand...

I know the woman who offered to host that coffee for me had been an active Dem for a long time and I know that she worked, locally, for the JFK campaign. I don't know if she was active before that. I assume because she's a strong partisan Democrat, but I don't know conclusively, that she's been active in every Democratic campaign to appear on her ballot since then.

Was she an anti-war activist? Was she anti-war at all? I have no idea.

To be fair, neither did/does she know that I was against the Vietnam a VERY small child, (note: I'm younger than both Palin and Obama,)who was in the process of being informed and shaped by the world going on around me -- a world I haven't been able to take my eyes or mind away from, since I first opened my eyes to it.

Could my strong supporter have been part of some subversive politically motivated underground group at some time in her past? I strongly doubt it, but the fact is... I have no clue. I'm just assuming. She seems very nice and she's never discussed bomb making techniques in my presence, but the news has taught us that it's almost always the ones the neighbors would have least suspected, right? So, who knows?

The fact is, I didn't run a background check on her... or on anyone else I've sat around a committee table with or on any of the people who supported my campaign -- nor will I. ...And, to my knowledge, none of them has ever run a background check on me. It's just not a common practice... and frankly, volunteers are too hard to come by for a new face and name on the ballot, to look that gift horse in the mouth with that kind of paranoia and suspicion. I doubt Ms. Palin demonstrated that level of suspicion in regards to her own early supporters.

I declined this woman's offer to host a coffee for me because of the small size of my campaign and the short time remaining before the election. But, I accepted her equally generous offer to host a strategy meeting of the Precinct committeeman in my district. Together, the five of us worked around her kitchen table for the better part of an evening, working the phones to get sign locations, signing up volunteers to work phone lists for me, etc. The local Chair also stopped in to check on our progress and help for a short time. I showed them the mailers I was about to send out and the fliers for the second knocking/littering of my district and they gave some valuable input, some of which I incorporated, some of which I did not. It was, far and away, the singlemost productive evening in my campaign.

I didn't win my election. I did, however, get 40% in a district where 16% would have been great for any Democrat, but particularly for a previously unknown Dem. I'm very proud of that accomplishment and I also know it was due only in part to my own hard work -- I didn't do it and absolutely could not have done it alone. I owe a lot to those who volunteered to help me -- particularly that one woman who first offered to host a fundraiser coffee for me and later helped to organize my campaign and secure the help I needed. As an unknown and an upstart, I was lucky to have any volunteers at all... and I have to say, I had the best.

But, in the event I later learn that she's not the wonderful, law abiding person she appears to be, I have to ask myself... what time and what place is to be credited with the launch of my political "career" - did I launch it in her home? I cannot answer this question without acknowledging my keen awareness that, even if I never run for office, again, my political "career" is not nearly over.

Did I launch it around the kitchen table of this woman whose political history I know almost nothing about on that night we strategised for my campaign with a group of people I know even less about?

Did I launch it when I became an official member of the local party committee, of which she is not only a fellow member, but an officer?

Did I launch it in her living room at a Barack the Vote event she hosted in 2004?

Did I launch it long before I met her, with my first letter to the editor or the first humor piece I wrote and sent circulating in the wild?

Or was it longer ago?

Did I launch it in the arms of my mother and father, before my earliest memories kick in... observing, asking about and figuring out the world going on around me and finding my own place in it?

Did I launch it watching the news I begged my parents to let me watch even as a toddler and caring deeply about what I saw and heard?

Did I launch it in Kindergarten when so many of my classmates show-n-tell was a military photo of a dad they'd never met who was about to return from 'Nam or did I launch it a week later on the reading rug as my classmates and I comforted them and dried their tears, when the dad they couldn't wait to meet only a week before turned out to be a funny smelling awkward stranger who was probably even more confused and afraid of them as they were of him?

Did I launch it when I began to speak or when I began to read or when I began to write?

The answer is so easy and obvious to me and I would bet my last dollar the same answer is true for both major party candidates for the Presidency...

I launched my political "career," dangling upside down from my ankles as I drew my first breath to cry out in protest of the stinging slap to my ass. ...And I'll likely end it when I draw my last breath.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pre-Debate Confab?!?!

Something my husband noticed during Tuesday night's debate prompted me to go looking for video footage... and sure enough, I found it! I first broke this story, yesterday, on Twitter.

Footage of McCain and Brokaw, backstage together, getting ready for the debate in Nashville:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Palin Pallin' Around With Terrorists

People in glass igloos shouldn't throw bombs doncha know... Palin's been tryin', gosh diddly darn, to link Obama to domestic terrorism, God bless her... a reformed 60s radical who sat on a charity board w/ that dad-blasted America hatin' Obama and who once held a little fundraisin' shindig, of his own darned accord, also, for one of Barack's campaigns, dog-gone him! Throngs of Palin's loyal everyday Joe Sixpack Hockey Mom supporters (a surprin'ly large contingent of cross dressin' supporters for the red ticket, also) are now wavin' sticks, also and demandin' for Obama to be killed... yes, KILLED... whilst threatenin', also, to mete out the same common sense small town justice, also, on the (every other Tuesday?) black camera operators & soundmen who are doin' their jobs with the press, also, to publicize the PALIN/mcwhatshisname campaign so the conservative base doesn't do somethin' silly-willy like forget McNutter exists and like learn anythin' about and then vote, also, for that radical rascal Bob Barr, dad-gum him, also.

But does Palin have any domestic terrorist ties of her own? You betcha! So does that snuggly wuggly first dude of hers, Todd Palin. I'd rant about their close, current terrorist ties, also, but that dag-blasted Keith Olberman, also, beat me to it, ding dang him, saved my cutesy wutesy fingertips, also, the additional dang diddly callouses, also, God bless him, also.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Economic Call To Action....

MUCH cheaper than $700B, actually addresses the specific issues that brought the situtation to seemingly sudden critical mass and might actually work... complete with talking points to use when you contact your Senators and Congressman in D.C.

Dave Ramsey - Economic Cleanup

Get to it America, it's still our country and that $700B is OUR money they're playing with!

I've Got Your Bailout, Right Here, Buddy!

They lobbied for an unregulated free market and they got it. Now that their market has spoken and they don't like what it has to say, they want to saddle us and countless generations of our proginy with the bill for their failure. We paid for their success, I'll be god damned if we should have to pay for their failures, too!

Let the bitches fail... at least for a little while.

Let Americans see the results of the rampant, unregulated conglomerism so many were conned into believing was best for us, so it's at least a few decades until we're so easily conned into believing anything but runny, diseased shit will ever trickle down from the wealthy to those of us who break our backs everyday making them wealthy.

Don't hide it. It needs to be seen.

95 Democrats and 133 Republicans were on OUR side, today... even if Congressional Minority Leader Boehner called the motives of some of those Republicans into question, by suggesting they were merely having a hissy fit over something Speaker Pelosi said.

Find out where YOUR Congressman stood on sticking you and your children and grandchildren with the bailout bill, today --

Congressional Roll Call - Bailout Bill

It may or may not be a partisan battle on the hill, but out here in the grass, it's a class war and the numbers are on our side.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Are They Smokin'?

I'm not running for office and I'm not on Obama's campaign payroll. I don't have to stay on any message or play nice with more of the same old bullshit McCain or lies through her lipstick Palin.

All of these down and dirty campaign slogans are available on t-shirts, bumperstickers, buttons, hats, undies and other swag. Get 'em before ruthless ambition Palin clears Yawn McAncient out of her way, like she did Stevens, when she was considering a Senate run and her predecessors in both the Alaskan governor's office and the Mayoral seat of Wasilla. Ahhhh... I can smell whistle blowing, scandal and disgrace in the air, already... ohhh... and is that a hint of resignation or impeachment I detect in that delicious aroma?

Monday, September 08, 2008


If you're a woman who still thinks Palin is swell... you need to read this news piece from 2000, when Palin was mayor of Wassila and the town's policy was to bill rape victims for the rape exam and processing of the rape kit.

That's change we don't want brought to the "outside."

MIA Candidates

Which candidate is more likely to show up for work and which is more likely to go on brush clearing expeditions?

Missed Votes 110th (current) Congress:
110th Vote Missers

McCain - missed 408 votes -- cast 231 votes - missed 63.8%
Ranked 1st of 100, in number of missed votes in the 110th Congress

Obama - missed 291 votes -- cast 348 votes - missed 45.5%
Ranked 3rd of 100, in number of missed votes in the 110th Congress

Some will gasp that the candidate who had his party's nomination in the bag fairly early on missed so many more votes than the candidate who was still in a tight race to the bitter end. Others will point out that both men were engaged in primary races and that it would be more fair to compare their records in the 109th Congress. So, without further ado...
109th Congress
109th Vote Missers

McCain - missed 58 votes -- cast 587 votes - missed 9%
Ranked 4th of 100, in number of missed votes in the 109th Congress

Obama - missed 11 votes -- cast 634 votes - missed 1.7%
Ranked 54th of 100, in number of missed votes in the 109th Congress

More Observations of the Surreal...

The Alaskan Queen of earmarks is co-running on an anti-earmark platform?

She's STILL touting herself as anti-choice and anti-abortion after telling the press, in no uncertain terms, that keeping the baby was her underage, unwed daughter's CHOICE and drove the point home that she was pro-her-daughter-having-that-choice by adding that she's proud of her daughter's choice?

Etc., etc., etc... Ooooh, LOTS of etcetera!

...And people are actually buying her act? Seriously?!

Promoting Change Is One Thing...

As Palin has repeated, ad nauseum, there are, indeed, some in politics who use change to promote their careers and some who use their careers to promote change.

But, she's leaving out a very important group that exists both inside and outside of the political arena...

...Those who, like Barack Obama, use their lives to EFFECT change.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

In an exquisitely brilliant move by former Heart guitarist Roger Fisher, the McCain campaign is helping to fund the Obama campaign through its use of Heart's song "Barracuda" (co-written by Fisher.) McCain is using the song, legally, against the wishes of the band, under a blanket license fee. Fisher, a Barack supporter, is donating a portion of all royalties he receives from the McCain campaign's use of the song to the Obama campaign.

Daily Kos article


By now, you've no doubt heard the stumping about how Sarah Palin saved Alaskan taxpayers millions of dollars selling the Governor's luxury jet on E-bay, for a profit. Weeeelll... that's not exactly how it went down.

She did TRY to sell the jet on E-bay. But, it didn't sell there. It was sold PRIVATELY, at a LOSS of about $650,000.

Further, it wasn't used solely and frivolously to jet Alaskan Governors from the hockey game to the local pizza joint up the street. It was used to shuttle Alaska's prison inmates to and from the penitentiary, something that still has to be done and which someone's tax dollars has to pay for.

Alaskan prisoners are now transported via private airlines, at the expense of EVERY American taxpayer.

So, technically, Governor Palin did, indeed, relieve Alaskan's the burden of taking responsibility for a necessary state expense... by shifting the burden of this expense on to all of "outsiders" as Palin and other Alaskans refer to those of us Americans who aren't Alaskans.

In other news...

The Republican party has purchased and pimped out a special jet to transport Ms. Palin around the country for the duration of the campaign. The plane, an Embraer E190 to be operated by JetBlue, seats 100, has been "pimped out" with a new paint job, roomier first class and a press compartment! It's snazzy!

Which state's hard working, honest, salt of the Earth people, just like Palin grew up with, had their jobs held secure and helped stimulate the American economy through the honor of manufacturing this jet for the Republican party, the McCain campaign and Ms. Palin's travel comfort?

None of them. The jet was manufactured in Brazil.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Palin: "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities,"

Palin's actual responsibilities upon assuming the Mayoral seat over a town with a population of (then) approximately 5,000?

1. Create and fill City Administrator position
2. Hand bulk of daily responsibilities over to the new City Administrator -- so that taxpayers are paying the Mayoral stipend PLUS a City Admin's salary & burden rate to get the same work out of two people they'd previously gotten out of one.

Ahhhh... No wonder Palin leapt at the Veep offer after learning that all the Veep does is sit around waiting to either cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate or for the President to die!

Does she have the experience necessary to sit around twiddling her fingers while other people tend to the actual responsibilites of governing our great nation? As much as I hate to admit it, I have to give her credit where it's due... I can't think of anyone I've heard might have or even should have made either candidate's long list who is more experienced for that role than she.

Heckuva job, Johnnie Mac! After 8 long years of seeing important positions filled by wholly unqualified individuals, you've proven yourself a maverick willing to find just the right person for the job.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Just some random observations of surreal phenomenon...

Ok, so the message is that we should vote for McCain because he's not afraid to vote against the Republicans... which is the same as saying that we should vote for someone who will vote with Democrats. Sooo... basically, they're saying we should vote for a Democrat.

President and Mrs. Bush each saying, separately, that we should vote for McCain because he's the real candidate of change? OMFG... how bizarre was that? Do they realize that it's Dubya & Co. everyone wants a change from? Unreal to see George W. Bush basically saying "I suck and everything I touched turned to s**t. You should vote for John, because he's nothing like me." Guess who's even less like you, Georgie boy... Barack Obama.

The vetting of Palin basically consisted of a 70 question survey, having staff members Google her to see if anything bad would turn up and meeting with her just one time. Then, we're told that being mayor of a town that's even smaller than the one I live in and less than half a term as Governor of a state with a smaller population than some of the CITIES in my state and that her state happens to be closer to Russia than my state makes her more experienced and qualified to be President than... well, pretty much anyone who's ever run for President, including the two major party candidates currently vying for the job. WTF? I cannot be alone in imagining a private pre-pick convo over cigars and drinks that went something like this...

"We've got this spin thing down. Some of the stuff we managed to sell to the American people just blows me away."

"No kidding! I wonder just HOW ridiculous we could get and still successfully spin it."

"OMG... I just had the funniest idea... you know that 'long list' we've been paring down, well..."

People are scratching their heads about why we're not hearing from the RNC Convention speakers what McCain wants to do about any of the major issues of the day? Really? After almost 8 years of "fend for yourselves, peons" Republican policy people still seriously expect Republicans to have anything at all on a list of things they want to do for the American people?

Palin's apparant shock at the sexism she's facing -- especially after her "suck it up and quit whining" comments directed at Hillary? So, she's just waking up to sexism, huh? Well, welcome to the world in progress, sweety.

Oh and is she aware she's not topping the ticket or running for any office? She keeps saying things like "my opponent" and "my running mate." It's really creepy.

My schedule beckons, so there's time for just one more...

I was predicting a ratings-draw pick weeks ago and joking about possibilities for such a pick. (Credit where it's due: Palin's MUCH funnier than the names I came up with.) Even with that mission accomplished and the media paying more attention to McCain's runnning mate than to "Meh"Cain, everybody's STILL talking about Obama... the Democrats AND the Republicans... indicating that both sides know Obama still owns this race.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


McCain's choice of Gov. Palin for his running mate was, in and of itself, a surprise.

Shortly after the announcement, much of America was surprised to learn of allegations of and investigation into alleged abuse of power by Gov. Palin (aka TrooperGate.)

A few days after that, shortly after Hurricane Gustav made landfall on our Gulf Coast, Americans were again surprised with the announcement that pro-abstinence / anti-sex Palin's unmarried high school student teen daughter is five months pregnant.

Shortly after that, we were promised there'd be no more surprises...

Well... don't put your party hats and noisemakers away just yet folks, because... SURPRISE!

"WASHINGTON — GOP vice presidential pick Sarah Palin accepted at least $4,500 in campaign contributions in the same fundraising scheme at the center of a public corruption scandal that led to the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens."

You can read the full story on a variety of liberal, neutral and conservative news sites and blogs, including FOX News

Open Letter To the Media

Dear Media,

I thought it might interest you to know that Palin's candidacy for Vice President has NOT been a lightning rod, as reported, ad nauseum, by you, all day long.

This is because she's not a candidate. There's no such thing as a candidacy for Vice President, in either major party. Palin is not vying for any office, much less that of Vice President of the United States. She is the running mate of Presidential Candidate John McCain. Her presence on HIS ticket has been a lightning rod. Whether she will assume the office of Vice President is solely contingent on whether McCain wins his campaign for the Presidency.

This is something any school child knows. So, if you could stop insulting me, your audience, by wrongly assuming I'm less educated than a six year old and also stop making your anchors look like uneducated morons, that would be really, really cool of you.


And the times keep on a changin'

It seems like only yesterday the kids of politicians were off limits.

Today, the McCain campaign is trotting out Gov. Palin's underage daughter's baby-daddy for photo ops.

What a fortunate people we are to live in a nation and a time with no more pressing issues of the day than to give everyone a good gander at the kid who's been banging Gov. Palin's daughter.

My How Times Change...

It seems like only a few short months ago that America was questioning whether an accomplished, experienced woman with a lengthy resume of qualifications could lead our nation.

Today, there's no question that an inexperienced woman with a short resume is infinitely more qualified to lead the nation than the two men vying for the job of President, put together.

It seems like only a few years ago that John McCain said of President Clinton's then teen-aged daughter Chelsea that she was "ugly" because "Janet Reno is her father."

Today... McCain has declared families, especially the children of anyone spinning a platform that co-opts "family values," off-limits.

It seems like only a few days ago that evil, sex crazed liberals were accused of teaching their children to have rampant unprotected sex through a a sex ed curriculum not strictly limited to abstinence, but inclusive of birth control & STD prevention, in our public schools.

Today... there's a newfound awareness among the righteous that teens will be teens, there's a pride in unprotected teen sex... teen pregnancy is awesome!

It seems like only a few years ago McCain was having a party complete with cake and a photo-op with Dubya while our gulf coast was destroyed and a horrified nation watched helplessly as New Orleans drowned... and it seems like such a short time ago that McCain warned and repeatedly voted against spending money on relief for hurricane victims or the rebuilding of the coast. It seems like only days ago that hurricane relief and rebuilding the gulf coast were not among McCain's agenda.

But now, he's taken off his Republican hat to don his American hat... (clarifying that the two are, indeed, mutually exclusive as has long been suspected.)

Friday, August 29, 2008


( in "Quit your Blagojebitching")

I got word, yesterday, that Weldon Springs is being closed on Nov. 1. More accurately, I got word that big meanie, Rod Blagojevich, is closing our park. *sigh*

The loss of our State Park is a particularly devastating blow to Clinton and DeWitt County in lost tourism dollars, loss of a heavily used & enjoyed park, loss of jobs, loss of a business (Boondocks 2,) loss of a valuable feature to attract new businesses and residents to the area, etc.

This closure is a small part of the Governor's greater effort to get a balanced budget written and passed.

It may not be a popular view and I don't expect anyone to agree with me, but I fully support Rod's efforts to get a balanced budget written and passed. That doesn't mean I want my park to close -- quite the contrary! I NEED for it to stay open.

But I also know that we cannot continue the pattern of
spending in excess of revenues. That's a recipe for financial ruin whether at the household, local, state or the federal level.

Everybody wants the things our taxes pay for, but how many are willing to invest in this great state or this great nation to pay for those things? As a taxpaying resident of the state of Illinois, I am part owner in the park -- as is every resident of the state. It's a wise investment of my tax dollars.

Today, at 11 am, there will be a rally and press conference at the entrance to the park. Representative Mitchell (R) will be there, many area residents and community leaders will be there and I will be there. But, my being FOR keeping the park open is coming from a very different place than most of the people who will attend the rally to protest its closure.

It should not have come to this. The rift in the party has gone too far. Petty jealousies and bickering have gone too far. The legislators who submitted a budget that called for spending far in excess of next year's revenues KNEW Blagojevich would not sign it, KNEW Rod would make deep interim cuts while the state is without a balanced budget, KNEW that Rod would be vilified in the press and the court of public opinion, while they got a free pass on culpability. It was a strategic move made without the slightest care or thought given to those who might be felled in the crossfire.

I want a balanced budget passed, with real pork barrel spending cut, so that my park doesn't have to close. ...And I didn't wake up to the world going on around me, just yesterday. If taxes have to go up to balance the budget even after wise cuts are made, as so many are worried will be the case, I won't blame Rod for that necessity. I will blame years of rampant, frivolous spend and borrow Republican administrations in the Capitol that left us with a staggering state debt to pay off -- the interest alone on which eats up a significant portion of state revenues before a single pothole is filled or paycheck cut or park grounds mowed...

It's time for the people, economy and issues of this state to come before dynastic ambitions, petty bickering, etc.

Editing to update:

1. A friend and fellow Dem put it very nicely: "When the revenues won't cover everything something has to go and it's going to be parks before public safety."

2. I'm receiving useless Blago-bashing crap in e-mail, thinly disguised as an effort to keep the parks open. If you don't like Rod, fine, but that's a separate issue and bashing him isn't going to get you what you want from him. Revenue will get you those things.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Let's Stage An Election

I wrote these parody lyrics back in '04 to express the direction I've seen our elections heading. We seem to have arrived. Can I call 'em or can I call 'em? Enjoy!

Let's Stage An Election
alternate lyrics by Melhi, Oct 2004
To the tune of: Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles

Watch the old man sing on the tube
He'll do the fad dance for their vote
With the youthful clique (Oh way, oh!)
He's younger now, quite the daddio!

If the younger man's sense of style
Is not so manly, make him flex
Girl's love his smile? (Polls say so!)
Then flash his teeth on the TV set!

Give 'em hype, get it spinnin' tight, hey!
Way oh, hey yo! Oh way, oh way, oh!
Let's stage an election!

The bald net execs, script the race
They push the polls, for the ratings score
Exciting news! (Oh way, oh!)
It pops! It zings! See the numbers soar!

All the viewers so into looks
That's how they judge who's the better man
If he's wrinkl-ing (No way, oh!)
They schedule him for inject-i-ons

Do the lids, nip and tuck his face, hey!
Way oh, hey yo! Oh way, oh way, oh!
Let's stage an election!

Make the scene on the screen, stay on track
Flex their arms, then they talk some smack
Must rock the vote (Oh way, oh!)
So strike a pose with the quarterback

Autographs to sign, photo ops
And hanging out in the union shops
Now sing and dance (Oh way, oh!)
Go with the platoon on their walk

All the ragazines follow them
The party boys pay to fly them in
On the radio (Oh way, oh!)
They know their lines, keep repeating them

"Mindless schlock! Someone make it stop, hey!"
Hey, no way, yo. No way, Jose` oh!
Let's stage an election...
Let's stage an election...

Monday, August 18, 2008

What Are a Few Broken Commandments?

Ok, so I've been hearing little murmered concerns about whether McCain might be a closet atheist. Frankly, I don't know if he is or isn't and don't care. He's not asking for the job of pastor, he's asking for the job of President. So, it shouldn't matter, but just as some people are concerned that Obama might be a Muslim, which we do know he is not, even though it shouldn't matter to anyone, it does to them and that means both candidates have to work at making it clear that they're not whatever people are worried they might be.

Obama, of course, pointed to his membership in a Christian congregation led by someone who certainly drew enough attention for people to notice... and then THAT became a major concern.

McCain, however, seems rather oblivious to the speculation concerning him and to the world going on around him... and to the difference between his own personal experiences and tales he read in a book. ...And he has no problem breaking the "thou shalt not lie" commandment, in a church.

This last weekend, both Obama and McCain (in that order) sat down with Rick Warren of the Saddleback church to answer some questions. Mr. Warren assured viewers that McCain was secured in a "cone of silence" during Obama's interview. McCain confirmed this, on the program. But, it was later discovered that McCain was not even in the building during Obama's portion of the interview. He was in his car.

Did he listen to Obama's interview, so he'd have the advantage in his own interview? A savvy viewer caught a flub on McCain's part, that proves he did! ...And before anyone points out that McCain would have had to have satellite or cable tv in his car to view the program -- forcing me to go into how every senior citizen with a motor home has had satellite in those since the 80s and that McCain isn't exactly struggling, financially, bear in mind that McCain needed no special equipment to listen to the live radio broadcast of the event.

But, McCain didn't limit his dishonesty to lying about cheating on the interview. Oh no. He had to trot out a lie he's been telling for awhile... the moving cross in the dirt story he lifted from Solzhenitsyn, an author McCain's often referenced and has made very clear is one of his favorites. According to McCain's own biography, he was being moved from one prison camp to another on the Christmas in question and did not spend the day in his cell except for a few moments standing across from a guard who drew a cross in the dirt to worship with him.

But hey, maybe he didn't lie or intentionally steal from Solzhenitsyn. Maybe McCain is genuinely confusing the events of his own life with the events in his favorite author's book. Cutting him that generous measure of slack on this, though, calls his mental fitness to lead into serious question.

All of that, plus his geographical confusion, his obscenity laden quick temper, one copyright/performance theft after another from various music artists, lifting speeches directly from Wikipedia, using celebs in his ads without securing likeness/publicity rights, advertising Obama's campaign by handing out Obama tire guages at his events, trying to pimp out his wife Cindy (she's the make-up plastered trollup McCain cheated on his first wife with and whom McCain has affectionately nicknamed "You Cunt.") at Sturgis, plus, plus, plus...

Sheesh, no wonder I'm hearing Barr's name whispering up from the red grass, with increasing frequency, despite his almost complete invisibility in the media. Mind you, I don't have any more use for Barr than I do for McCain and I'm more than a little perplexed as to how Barr went from being Libertarian enemy number one to being the Libertarian nominee, so quickly, but I gotta hand it to Barr, his campaign strategy seems to be working... just smile, keep his mouth shut and win votes by not being McCain... or Obama, for that matter.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Banana Split?

Earlier this week, I attended the Gov's/Dems Day events in Springfield, IL. This included a brunch with Gov. Richardson from NM as our keynote speaker, the opportunity to observe the state party convention and a rally at the state fair grounds.

In the weeks and months leading up to this event, I've heard and read countless reports of rifts in the party... at the state level and between Obama & Clinton supporters. But, here's what I saw and overheard as I mingled with a few thousand of my fellow Democrats:

At the convention, I saw Speaker Madigan and Gov. Blagovich seated next to one another on the stage, quietly conversing and laughing with another.

At the brunch and at the rally, I overheard countless conversations about the Presidential primaries and how fortunate those conversing on the topic felt having so many good candidates to choose from, how hard it was to pick just one over others they liked, and how great if felt knowing that even if the candidate they voted for did not win the nomination, someone else they were excited about would. I heard several participants in these conversations mention who they'd chosen as their top pick from the broad field and I heard almost as many names as there were primary candidates. (The only two names I did not happen to hear were Dodd and Gravel.)

I also heard numerous people discussing the Edwards scandal. These discussions ranged from speculation as to the paternity of the child to some humorous off-color joking (nobody will have more fun with this than we Dems will.) But, as the day wore on and the conversations continued on the topic, one thing became very clear... we think John Edwards' penis is none of our business. If Edwards had run on a genitalia platform instead of an economic platform or if he'd written, co-sponsored or in any way supported an ammendment or bill criminalizing adultery, effectively making the sex lives of private, consenting citizens his business, only to be caught having an extramarital relationship, fling or one-nighter, THEN it would have been our business. But, he didn't. So, we don't care. The lying -- frankly, we think he shouldn't have been asked and because he shouldn't have been asked, was under no obligation to answer, much less answer truthfully.

At all three events our speakers, including our Governor, Gov. Richardson, Senator Durbin, Speaker Madigan, etc. move all of us to our feet amid thunderous applause, whistles and cheers. We are a party of individuals, we have as many unique positions on any given issue and how best to reach the goals we do set in common, as we have members. But, we agree on Barack and we agree that we would be just as enthusiastic and supportive of Hillary if she had won.

I've spoken with a few die hard party-loyal Republicans who are planning to vote Libertarian, this year and who call it a "hard choice." Whether they'll actually cross party lines when the curtain closes behind them in November... I have my doubts that they'll do it in those final seconds, but that remains to be seen.

By contrast, I've talked with a LOT more Democrats, from yellow dogs down to casual supporters and I've yet to meet even one self-described Democrat who's planning to cross party lines to vote for McCain, as the press and the RNC are going out of their way to make people believe.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Have a Hot Dog With Me Stephen

... on your show, while you interview me... I'll even bring the hot dogs.

Gee whiz, what does it take to get booked on the Colbert Report? My press release has been out there for a couple of hours, I've been blogged and I introduced a whole new symbol for today's Republican party that I know Stephen secretly wishes he'd thought of first (only fair, I've often wished I'd thought of "truthiness" first... every time I have to send Stephen a nickel for saying it.)

Seriously, The General has everything...

He's dressed up like a 5 star general, even though he's seen combat only from the good safe distance of a live satellite feed.

His uniform is red, white and blue, so it's like he's wrapping himself in the flag to show how much more patriotic he is than the rest of us.

He's a pig... and you know how the enemy feels about pigs... really cheeses them off and I don't know if you've ever tried pig cheese, but, we could win the war with that stuff! Why, the smell alone...

The General's shiny new acronym is G.I.P. which is short for "Gipper" - patron saint of today's Republican party, PLUS it stands for Greed and Ignorance Party. Now, now... I know what you're thinking. But, it's not yet another of my mean, snark infested jabs at the opposing party. No. I'm reaching across the aisle to my conservative American brothers and sisters in all sincerity here. Need proof?

OK. Who's more conservative than Stephen? Nobody. So, if he'd like it, you know it's OK. ...And since he'd LOVE it, it's way better than OK. Right? Right!

Think about it: Greed is the opposite of giving poor people all of your money, so it's a no-brainer that Stephen likes greed. How many times has he said that if poor people want money, they should get a show of their own? Well, trust me, he'll say it eventually. Ignorance is bliss -- who doesn't like bliss?

We interrupt this blog article for an URGENT UPDATE:
Aug. 6, 2008 - Stephen came out of the closet as an Ignorant American, on The Colbert Report, embracing his ignorance, pleading for the anti-ignorant bigotry to stop and calling for Febtember to be named Ignorance Month. (See, I told you he was down with ignorance! Nyah!!)

...And party? Please... if you look up party in the dictionary, there's a picture of Stephen... rolling the drunk kids passed out in puddles of their own puke, on the lawn so he can turn their IDs into law enforcement.

Plus... The General has dozens of campaign slogans he can really get behind -- literally... the slogans are printed on the fronts of the shirts and it would be really cool of him to let the market speak through him to me by buying at least one of each. Slogans like... "Together We Can Prevent Change," "Together We Can Make Sure Our Troops NEVER Come Home" and "Vote Republican Or We'll Put You On The Terrorist List."

Seriously, Stephen... call me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Meet the General


Fall in troops! Meet the General, a five star pig, who's just arrived on the election battlefield to represent the shape of the post-GIPper Republican Party. He's brandishing a killer new acronym and he's loaded full boar with side splitting campaign slogan ammo!

Spread the word through the ranks.

At ease.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Repiglican Hoglitics.

Soon to become available on a wide array of merchandise, which will be made available through CafePress and several other POD fulfillment companies I use... I present, the new symbol of the G.I.P. (Greed & Ignorance Party.) Copyright & TM -- Melhi.

I haven't thought the elephant a very accurate symbol of the Republican Party for a long time... but, I haven't had a good excuse to introduce what I believe to be a better symbol for them. Until now.

As some of you may be aware, the RNC is suing CafePress for allowing tradmark violations. The designs in question are designs that use various elephant depictions and/or the initials G.O.P. to refer to the Republican Party.

Despite both the elephant and the intials G.O.P. having been firmly in public domain use as reference to the Republican Party, since the 1800s, the Republican party's applications to trademark "G.O.P" and a SPECIFIC rendition of an elephant symbol (not just ANY pachyderm depiction as they seem to be trying to force) were approved in the 90s.

Many CafePress Shopkeepers have had their designs red-boxed (pulled from public view, but not deleted, permanently) as a result of the RNC's actions. The majority of these shopkeepers used the symbols in favorable, pro-Republican designs and many depended on these designs for their livelihood.

Thus, the RNC, in what's already shaping up to be a tough election year for the party at almost every level, managed to tick off the people who support and promote them, most. Smooth move, RNC. Way to fire up the base, there! (Note: At least one owner of a very successful right-wing shop has already told the RNC to remove him from their regular-contributers list.)

My new symbol for them is much more in keeping with their pork barrel spending and trough feeding -- and G.I.P. references pig, gyp and the Gipper, (who reshaped the party into what it is today,) all in one shot. The elephant? Maybe it was fitting in the 1800s, but they were a progressive party, back then. It was butchered for its ivory a long time ago.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's My Party...

Recent events of nominal to no daily importance, have made me feel a need to make something about myself crystal clear... just for the sake of doing it.

I am a socially liberal to libertine, economically pro-labor progressive Democrat. ...And damned proud of it!!

I vote for Democrats.

I donate time, energy, skills and other resources to fielding and supporting my party's candidates, busting myths perpetuated about my party, raising funds for my party and our candidates and serving my party.

If I don't like one of my party's sitting politicians, I see it as a need for us to field a better candidate for that seat in our next primary, not as a reason to vote against everything I am by voting for a conservative.

I chose the Democratic party because it was and remains the best fit for who I already was and who I am, on my own... I don't bend to fit a party mold and I don't bend the party to fit me.

I won't support or vote for any candidate running on any conservative party's ticket and I won't support or vote for any conservative running on my party's ticket. I am not a conservative.

I will not vote for anyone who is too dishonest, too stupid or too wussy to run on the ticket of a party well-suited to his/her politics.

I will not support or vote for any single-issue, narrow-focus or axe-to-grind candidate.

I WILL support and vote for broad-focus liberal/progressive independents and liberal/progressive candidates running on the tickets of parties that are well suited to their politics when my party has failed to field a broad focus liberal/progressive candidate for that seat.

If there is no candidate suitable to my requirements in a candidate -- I abstain from voting in that race.

...And here's a fun fact for those of you who buy into the nauseating spin that the heartland is a wholesome conservative utopia while the west coast and upper north east are raunchy liberal hellholes -- this secular, liberal, progressive Democrat was born, bred and still resides in a small, rural county in America's heartland.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Election musings...

I keep hearing little murmers (heart murmers?) that to ensure 16 years of Democratic control of the executive branch, we should nominate Hillary, this election and Obama eight years, hence, because... get this... Hillary will be too old to run in eight years.

Here's the fun part: In eight years, Hillary will be about the same age McCain is now... so, if she'll be too old to run and serve in eight years, McCain is clearly too old to run and serve, NOW.


This morning, while surfing the TV dial, trying to get some local weather and news, I happened across the tail end of a morning show segment in which Tim Russert was just wrapping up an explanation of how it's likely, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, that the general election could end in an electorate tie and the Presidency be decided by Congress.

Uh... Tim... I think you're VASTLY over-estimating how well McCain's going to fare in November. To get out the vote, he not only has to win over large swaths of the "middle" and sway some Dems to his side, he has to win over the voters in his OWN party, that SHOULD be, but aren't, guaranteed votes! ...And with this weird "bio" tour of his, he's boring even his own core constuency into a group coma. Yeah... nothing like a good nap to fire up the base!


Another little murmer from the grass... should Hillary drop out?

My primary has passed. I didn't vote for either Hillary or Obama... and I didn't abstain... I voted for someone else, whose idea of which direction is "forward" came closest to my own. This was the first primary in a long time, that my party's nomination wasn't decided before I got a chance to weigh in. The same thing that makes me a Democrat, makes that very important to me... and it was SUCH a good feeling to participate in the selection, again, after all this time.

We're hearing reports from voters in states who, if Hillary stays in the race, will get to participate for the first and possibly only time in their lives. I want that for them, so I hope Hillary stays in to the bitter end (or that if things swing very heavily to her favor in the remaining states, that Barack stays in 'til the bitter end.) While I don't love the idea of super delegates breaking a statistical tie -- it's the tie-breaker that's been written into procedure for a long time.

Finally... a couple of rumblings that almost tickle me, because they come from a complete lack of knowledge about who's who, politically.

First -- the whole race/gender thing with Barack and Hillary. Yes, it's historic that whichever gets our nod will be a groundbreaking first. BUT, does race or gender affect November? NO. As I've said, before, anyone for whom that's a factor at all, much less a deciding factor won't vote for ANY Democrat, regardless of race or gender.

Second -- I keep hearing that the Dems are bitterly divided between Barack and Hillary and that this signals a self-destructive rift in the Democrat party that could result in the death of the party.

Uh... nope.

The Democrat party is, by the nature of its members, a diverse party of diverse ideas, vision, motivation, focus, skills, etc. We're at our best, strongest and most unified when we DON'T agree 100% on everything.

We have taken a LOT of flack (mostly from lock-stepping Republicans hoping to convince the middle we're floundering as a party) for failing to have and deliver a "core message" -- but we wouldn't be Democrats if we DID have a so-called core message. We don't run our party for office, individuals run on our party's ticket. Whether at the polls or in Congress, etc. we don't vote as a unified block, we decide and vote as individuals.

We are a party of individuals.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gravel Exits Stage Left...and Stage Right...

I've been saying, since Gravel first blipped on my political radar, back in April of '06, when he became the first person of either major party to throw his hat into the 2008 ring, that I thought he might really lean more toward Libertarian than Democrat.

I got a heads-up, earlier today, that Mike Gravel is indeed officially switching parties from Democratic to Libertarian and will be making an announcement to that effect, today. (He may have already made it, by now.)

Not a big surprise. Left socially, Right economically... I think the Libertarian party will be a better fit for him.

So long and thanks for all the sales in my shops, Mike. (Curiously, to date, Gravel merch has far outsold Barack and Hillary merch, put together, in my shops.)

Promoting Abstinence...

There are lots of new goodies in the Melhi Ink shop I have on CafePress, since the last time I mentioned the shop. I try not to post much about my shops, since this blog isn't about the shops, but one political design is about as omni-partisan as it gets and I thought it might be of interest:

I'd rather abstain than vote for McCain

(on bumperstickers, t-shirts, yard signs and more.)

Frankly, I was shocked to discover that McCain is the true uniter! But, thanks to him, it looks like there's finally something on which Democrats & Rebuplicans, Liberals & Conservatives, the left & the right agree. Heh.

Monday, March 10, 2008

BassAckward Punditry...

The Republicans have their nominee in John McCain. Our nominee is not yet determined and so, the contest between Hillary and Barack continues.

If you listen to the pundits, media, party insiders in both major parties or even the average Joe flapping his jaws on the topic, you might believe this gives a clear competitive edge to McCain, in regards to the general election, in November.

Here's the theory behind that mindset:

1. John McCain knows he's the nominee for his party and can begin campaigning for the office he'll be seeking in the Nov. General Election.

2. Barack and Hillary must, instead, focus solely on the race FOR the nomination and against one another. Only after our eventual nominee is chosen, can our nominee begin campaigning for the office he or she will be seeking in the Nov. General Election.

Here's why that theory is backward.

1. Part of any candidate's campaign for his/her party's nomination already includes and must include campaigning for the office he/she hopes to be seeking in November. Knowing what kind of President Barack intends to be vs. what kind of President Hillary intends to be is vital to our deciding between them in the race for the nomination.

2. There are two parts to every campaign --
A. Running FOR the office and/or nomination you are seeking
B. Competing AGAINST your opponent(s.)

The edge for November clearly lies with Barack and Hillary. Not only is each already letting Americans know why they should be our next President, each already knows who the opponent will be in November. While only one of them will get the nomination, both of them will be campaigning for our nominee to defeat him. Each of them can begin campaigning specifically against McCain, now -- they both differ from McCain, but in different ways from one another and there's no law or point of rule to prevent either of them from making their differences from McCain a part of their campaigns, now.

By contrast, McCain no longer has to put any of his campaign focus on defeating a competitor for his party's nomination. But, that's been true for quite some time in this campaign season. He can certainly continue to campaign FOR the office of President.

But, but when it comes to competing against his eventual opponent, he has three options. He can put it off until he has an actual opponent. He can split his competitive focus between running against Barack and running against Hillary. ...Or he can turn it into a purely partisan "McCain vs Any Democrat."

We've had eight years of hearing that all Republicans are good Christian, America loving, straight, moral, decent, protectors of all that is good in the world and that all Democrats are evil terrorist-abetting American-hating, atheist, immoral, public-gay-orgy-having threats to everything decent. Voters of every political persuasion have seen that neither extreme is true. So, running against the evils of "any candidate" from an opposing party, instead of against a specific candidate, for any length of time, is likely only to damage a candidate's chances for a win in November.

That leaves only the options to put off competing or to spend precious campaing time and resources running against two different might-be opponents.

The advantage is clearly to the future Democratic nominee, if Barack and Hillary both adopt the following strategy: "Here's why I'm going to be a great President, here's how my Presidency would differ from my Democratic opponent's and this is why you shouldn't let McCain anywhere near the Oval Office." Don't give McCain any similarities to exploit, each should compete with McCain on areas where both differ from McCain, but also differ from one another.

The more schizophrenic McCain's efforts to compete against both, as potential opponents, the better for whichever eventually wins our nomination.

Will they both run brilliant gambits for the end game as they duke it out for control of the blue squares or will they just continue to play to the next move, ceding a portion of their advantage to the red king? My money's on the latter, but they're both smart, surrounded by smart people and ultimately on the same side, so there's at least a hair's breadth of a chance they'll wise up.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

...And this is from his own party!

(I didn't make this... I found it on YouTube)

Props to George W. Bush

Until very recently, I would never have believed I'd be giving George W. Bush props, but I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't give credit where it's due.

George W. Bush (yes, the one in the Oval Office, not some dude with the same name) taught us one very valuable thing... showing us by example of a job (I'm almost choking on the words) well done.

He showed us exactly how to beat McCain.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

WWRE? (Who Would Russ Endorse?)

Russ Feingold, upon announcing that he had decided against a 2008 Presidential bid, warned his supporters against supporting anyone for the Presidency who had voted for the Iraq War, whether they later regretted it or not, saying his first choice for President in 2008 would be someone who had voted against the war, and his second choice would be someone who wasn't in Congress but who spoke out against the war, at the time.

Of the seven remaining candidates on the red and blue ballots...

Hillary Clinton (Blue) - Voted Yea (see below)

Mike Gravel (Blue) -- Would have voted Nay. Was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002 and has been very public in his opposition to the war, from the beginning.

Mike Huckabee (Red) -- Would have voted Yea. In his biography of 2007, he said he believed invading Iraq was the right thing to do.

John McCain (Red)-- Voted Yea (see below)

Barack Obama (Blue)-- Would have voted Nay. Delivered famous speech, against the Iraq war in Chicago's Rockafeller Plaza in Oct. 2002. Has been very public in his opposition to the war, from the beginning.

Ron Paul (Red) -- Would have voted Nay. Has been very outspoken, in a very public way, against the war from the beginning.

Mitt Romney (Red) -- Would have voted Yea. Has not only supported the war from the beginning, but has displayed a stunning ignorance of the events leading up to the war by stating, during the June 5 Presidential debate, that there wouldn't have been an Iraq war if Saddam had allowed the IAEA into Iraq to inspect (he DID) and the IAEA had found that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction (they DID find no "evidence of the continuation or resumption of programmes of weapons of mass destruction")

Senate roll call on H.J.Res. 114 (Public Law 107–243), Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002:

Alphabetical by Senator Name:

Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Allen (R-VA), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Breaux (D-LA), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burns (R-MT), Yea
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Campbell (R-CO), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Carnahan (D-MO), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Chafee (R-RI), Nay
Cleland (D-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Nay
Corzine (D-NJ), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
Daschle (D-SD), Yea
Dayton (D-MN), Nay
DeWine (R-OH), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Edwards (D-NC), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Fitzgerald (R-IL), Yea
Frist (R-TN), Yea
Graham (D-FL), Nay
Gramm (R-TX), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Helms (R-NC), Yea
Hollings (D-SC), Yea
Hutchinson (R-AR), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Jeffords (I-VT), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kennedy (D-MA), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (D-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lott (R-MS), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Nay
Miller (D-GA), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nickles (R-OK), Yea
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Santorum (R-PA), Yea
Sarbanes (D-MD), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-NH), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Thomas (R-WY), Yea
Thompson (R-TN), Yea
Thurmond (R-SC), Yea
Torricelli (D-NJ), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Wellstone (D-MN), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Nay


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

State of the Union...

Wow... Bush has a long list of things he intends to do in the remainder of his term. So much, he probably should have gotten started chipping away at the list awhile ago... like maybe 7 years ago.

Among other things, he made it very clear that he has a plan that, once put in action, would give us a surplus by 2012.

Pssssst... Dubya... I know you're basking in the thunderous Republican applause you got from that little gem, but... uh... two things:

1. We HAD a surplus... you replaced it with a deficit.
2. You made Clinton out to be a thief of Americans' pocketbooks for having the audacity to operate the nation at a profit... I still have the bad taste in my mouth from cashing the check from what you said was my share of the surplus -- I should have been cashing that check after I retire... and it should have come from the Social Security office.

So suck up that applause, Dubya... I'm just glad the end of this dark time you plunged us into is in sight.

...And yes, the union is strong, because we the people are strong and enduring -- in spite of everything you did to break us down.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stimulating Whose Economy?

First, my appologies for taking so long to find time to blog on this. Like most Americans, I'm working around the clock. In my case, most of the work I'm doing is currently not compensated with a paycheck. I'm working, for free, as a member of the DeWitt County Development Council to help turn our local economy around and I'm busting my ascii almost around the clock, building a business to help improve not only the household economies of those of us working to build this beast, but to take the bite out of the bottom lines of businesses in an entire, huge, domestic industry... so that the savings will be passed along to every American who's struggling to make ends meet and maybe achieve a little of the American dream in the process. That said...

By now, you've no doubt seen the press on the bipartisan emergency stimulus package. Neither party is particularly thrilled with it, but boy are they quick to dangle that dazzling rebate in our faces.

What a shiny thing it is, too -- a $700 to $1200 (or higher) lump sum rebate payment. It sounds pretty darned good when you're deciding between fuel for the vehicle that gets you to the job that feeds your family or fuel for the bellies of the family you work so hard to provide for.

But, will it do what they say it will? Will we go spend it on beads and baubles at the big box discount store, thus stimulating the American economy by creating a demand for beads and baubles that will, in turn, create jobs in the beads and baubles industries?

You and I know the answer to that question is a huge, resounding "No." But, then, it's a little hard for us to lose touch with economic reality when we're the ones out here trying to survive it.

If they were in our shoes, they'd realize that we've been struggling to make ends meet for so long that $700 - $1200 isn't nearly enough to catch most of us up. Most of us will probably spend that money on necessities and catching up on bills.

But, even if we did all go out, en masse, to spend our little rebate windfalls on beads and baubles -- it wouldn't stimulate OUR economy, because we don't manufacture beads or baubles or much of anything else, here, anymore.

We have the economic equivalent of a gaping belly wound -- a band-aid isn't going to do anything to improve or even stabilize our condition. We need a real emergency cure, an enduring one, that stops the bleeding and keeps our money, here... or we're going to bleed to death.

That's the simple truth of it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Eenie Meenie Miney...NO!!

I definitely won't be giving my primary vote to any of the top three candidates. I'm not terribly thrilled with any of them, to be quite frank. The best thing I can say about them is that the worst of them is still a damned sight better than anyone vying for the nomination on the red ballot.

What are some of the kinds of things are bugging me about the contenders in the big blue donkey race? Let me give you some examples for each:

Obama - Promised, repeatedly, that if elected to the Senate he would serve at least one full term before running for President. Broke that promise to voters, party workers and countless campaign volunteers several months before completing even one full year of his six year term.

Hillary -- two words: Wal-mart, NAFTA.

Edwards -- Two Americas... namely, his unabashed support, thereof. Example: One America for legal US citizens, legal immigrants and foreign students studying in the US under legal VISAs who have to pay the higher out of state college tuition rates when they fail to meet state residency requirements to qualify for lower in-state tuition rates and Another America for illegal immigrants who pay the lower in-state tuitioon rate despite failure to establish legal residence in ANY US state.

Richardson -- Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Supports "sanctuary cities" and drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, supports NAFTA, WTO & GATT.

Dodd -- Voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Supports national tobacco smoking ban but, at the same time, supports decriminalization of marijauna. Wants to include undocumented illegal immigrant workers in health plan.

Biden -- Words don't match actions:
Said this, "...I don't think the government can dictate the definition of marriage to religious institutions. But government does have an obligation to guarantee that every individual is free of discrimination. And there's a distinction. I think government should not be able to dictate to religions the definition of marriage, but on a civil side, government has the obligation to strip away every vestige of discrimination as to what individuals are able to do in terms of their personal conduct"
Did this: Voted FOR the Defense of Marriage Act, which effectively bans churches of any religion or denomination from deciding for themselves, as they have the right to do concerning opposite gendered couples, whether or not to join same sex couples in legal marriage (civil) as well as in holy matrimony (religious.)

Gravel -- His "fair tax" plan is plenty fair to the same people the Bush tax plan is plenty fair to. His compromise health care voucher plan, while standing the best chance of passing Congress, of any health care plan put forth by any other candidate on either the blue or the red ballot, leaves MUCH to be desired and, if passed, would more than likely have the unintended (by Gravel) impact of preventing progression to universal health care, just as the "don't ask don't tell" compromise has so effectively prevented lifting the ban on gays in the military.

Kucinich -- Wants to ban handguns. Wants to extend more rights and protections to illegal immigrants. Supports national tobacco smoking ban but, at the same time, supports decriminalizing marijuana.

Heavy Sigh