Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
“In at least a dozen cities across the country, hundreds of white wooden crosses have been erected in memorials to fallen U.S. troops in Iraq…”
“Now Napa peace activists, inspired by the crosses in Lafayette, are attempting a movement of their own. The group is encouraging people to put a white cross in their front yard, or in the window if they live in an apartment…”
Two dozen crosses have gone up so far in Napa, north Clearlake and Sebastopol. Organizers hope to eventually have crosses in yard after yard in Napa and beyond, until the war ends, said Summer Mondeau, an event organizer.
It isn't the crosses people respond to, but what they symbolize, said Ron Dexter, a member of Veterans for Peace, which organizes the "Arlington West" cross memorial on a Santa Barbara beach.
"It revolves around one issue: support of the war or not," Dexter said.
"It's being done by the peace movement and consequently being labeled as a protest," said Tonia Young, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles chapter of Veterans for Peace, which organizes a similar display in Santa Monica. "But I think the crosses speak for themselves."
Jeff Heaton, whose Lafayette memorial inspired the Napa activists was delighted about the project. “This is a great idea. I was hoping something like this would happens as a result of our efforts. We are turning the cross into a peace sign instead of a sign of the crusades. I hope this idea takes off across the country. I will pass this email on to others.”
P.S. We have about 40 crosses out with more requests coming from farther away every day. We’ll be making a presentation on the project to the Sonoma Veterans for Peace on Tuesday.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Little Crosses in our front yards
Little crosses made of 1 x 4’s
Little crosses painted ghost white
And they just might end a war.
Simple, silent. Recognizable, undeniable. A white cross* in your yard**, like the ones at Arlington West or Camp Casey, would mean so much. Honor the sacrifice of the fallen troops, mourn the innocents lost, help end the suffering sooner. Let every friend, neighbor and passer-by know that you support peace.
UNCOIL (United Napans Concerned Over Iraq Lunacy) members have been inspired by Jeff Heaton of Lafayette, CA and other pioneering peacemakers. With 300 white wooden crosses and volunteers, Mr. Heaton made his friends’ front yard into an honor memorial for peace. It’s visible from Highway 24 just east of the Oakland hills.1
300 crosses is more burden than most can bear, but if each of us could display just one simple white cross in his yard, we could speak volumes without saying a word. We’re planning a to gather for cross-making at my house on 12/2.
You can get it started too, right in your own backyard. Here are tried and tested instructions to produce 5 crosses from 3 pieces of wood 1” x 4’ frugally and with ease. You can offer extra crosses to friends and neighbors who don’t have the talent or tools that you do.
#1 piece is 36”+ 18” + 18” + 18”
#2 piece is 36” + 36” + 18”
#3 piece is exactly like #2
Cut a pointed end on the first 3' piece. Then use it as a master pattern to cut the others. It cost $2.00 for each 1 X 4. A paint roller cost $3.00. It took a quarter of a gallon of Z Prime to paint all twelve pieces at once. Z Prime dries in one hour, under optimum conditions. Be sure to get the lower $2 grade DF lumber or the cost will escalate. They make a stunning solitary display against the occupation. Be the first on your block to get one.
Show us yours! Send photos to UNCOIL2005@yahoo.com. We'll post them on the website as soon as our overworked webmaster has it up and running.
Update: The City of Lafayette has ordered the reduction or removal of the sign that accompanied the now 420 crosses. It said, “In Memory of 2867 U.S. Troops killed in Iraq” Apparently, some people found that offensive.2
Optional second part of “Little Crosses”:
And the people shown as crosses
All trusted their President
And they came home in wooden boxes
Covered by Our flag.
* Of course, you could use other religious icons like the Star of David, but they’re harder to make. If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them.
** Apt/Condo dwellers: If wood won’t work, maybe a window cross made of white tape would. Conveniently and appropriately available in your first aid kit.
2. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=4779073 (including video newscast).
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Maybe more interesting than the article itself, is the author. Charles Wendell "Chuck" Colson 'was Richard Nixon's hard man, the 'evil genius' of an evil administration.'...Known as President Nixon's hatchet man, he is purported to have once bragged, 'I'd walk over my own grandmother to re-elect Richard Nixon.' Colson authored... Nixon's Enemies List." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Colson" I think that makes him Nixon's Karl Rove. After a serving 7-months in prisong for his role in Watergate, he formed an organization to promote prisoner rehabilitation and reform the US prison system. It sounds like a 180 degree turn, but not really. He's still a hardline NeoCon/TheoCon (TheoCon Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theocon)
When folks like he and I agree, anything's possible.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Republicans Post Nuclear Secrets on the Web. NY Times reports that R's Hoekstra and Roberts w/ signoff from Bush and against advice of intelligence officials and Int'l Atomic Energy Agency, posted "secret nuclear research (from) before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents... constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb." Why did they do it? Desperate hope that someone would use the documents to show the existence of WMD to justify the Iraq invasion. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/world/middleeast/03documents.html?ex=1320210000&en=ba99ceafb0f67900&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
Also from NYT: Republicans Fire the Man Who Prosecutes War Profiteers. Special Inspector General in Iraq, Republican, “ Stuart W. Bowen Jr. (has) sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by… Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces… Mr. Bowen’s… reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip. ”http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/world/middleeast/03reconstruct.html?ex=1320210000&en=a10afb5d74a4018d&ei=5089&partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss
Not to miss the latest trend, the NYT Is Also Apologizing. They said Lamont was wrong when he claimed Lieberman said, "Stay the Course: Joe said it at least 5 times.
Rolling Stone reports that this 109th Congress Is the Worst Ever. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/12055360/cover_story_time_to_go_inside_the_worst_congress_ever
And who are the worst of the worst? According to the Stone:
10. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Co) – The Christian Warrior
9. Hal Rogers (R-KY.) – bin Laden’s Best Friend
8. Curt Weldon (R-PA) – The Conspiracy Nut
7. Dick Pombo (R-CA) – Enemy of the Earth
6. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) -- Mr. Bigotry
5. Jerry Lewis (R- CA) – The King of Payoffs
4. William Jefferson (D-LA) – The Bribe Taker
3. Don Young (R- AK) – Mr. Pork
2. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) – The Dictator
1. Dennis Hastert – (R-IL) – The Highway Robber.
Of course Cunningham, Foley, Ney and Delay are disqualified because they resigned. Here’s why everyone made the list. ref="http://">http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/12054520/the_10_worst_congressmen/10
Fortunately, the photographer from the Napa Register found us as we were hanging "TORTURE does nOt work" with my 10-year old son's help. Unfortunately, I don't think they published the photo.
I also met up with one of the local Sherriffs who explained what was and was not allowed on "government" property. You CAN stand near a Highway holding a sign, but not ON the Highway. You can't hang signs on other people's property or THE People's (public) property. If you do, they will take it down and they COULD give you a ticket.
The next Friday, we were positioned on the Trancas Street overpass with 2 blogs:
"Where's Osama?" and "Absolute PoWer Corrupts"
Local police ignored me, but a handsome CHP officer was afraid I was endangering the drivers below. I asserted that I was petitioning my gov't for redress and pointed to the Wine Train's advertisement also over the Freeway. He said they probably had a permit, I said commercial speech still doesn't trump free speech. He said he didn't want to argue. Neither did I. I cut the signs and the American Flag down from the fence which was helping me hold them. He left. I went home on account of darkness.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
http://www.freewayblogger.com/. I wasn't able to find anyone who was doing it LIVE, so we'll be pioneers here in wine country.
I'm creating a series of 7 banners that I'll display along southbound Highway 29 between Yountville and Napa.
The first says: 5 years, 2 Wars. The next: Where's Osama? The 5th: Torture does nOt work. The 6th: Absolute PoWer Corrupts...
I'll disclose the rest after I unveil them at the Drive Out Bush demonstrations tomorrow, Oct. 5 at 4:30.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
The truth is much more personal. It's not the "professionals" your protecting from charges of war crimes it's YOU and your co-conspirators, RUMSFELD, CHENEY, RICE, et al. You want congress and the courts to give you an international Get-out-of-jail-free card. Five years into the "War on Terror" you tell us time is running out? People have been held without charge in Gitmo for years, denied even the right to die, but as election day approaches and a congressional investigation appears imminent, NOW, time is running out. We'll, you're right about that, sir. Your last best hope to avoid accountability lies in those rubber-stamp Republicans whose days are numbered. You're desperately betting they'll declare that the torture you and your cronies ordered wasn't really torture; that the crimes you committed weren't crimes. I take that bet. I'll bet there are just enough politicians who are still Americans first, Republicans second. I have to believe that. I have to believe that the US Constitution, celebrating its 219th anniversay this Tuesday, will not be sacrificed and ultimately, WE THE PEOPLE will prevail.
P.S. Profuse gratitude to Keith Olbermann for find the words and courage to call Bush on his politicization of 9/11 beginniing in 2001.
Bush's Press Conference is available from the Newshour website http://www.pbs.org/newshour/newshour_index.html There are other outrages in Bush's most belligerant press conference since the last election.
Keith Olbermann http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6210240/ Well said, sir. Thanks from a grateful nation.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Breast cancer + chemotherapy is a lot like pregnancy except that strangers don’t rub your belly. Otherwise, the two are remarkably similar. Strangers still tell you too many stories about people they knew and give you lame advice. Of course, there’s the obvious nausea and fatigue and a whole new relationship with the bathroom. For those 3 days after the treatments and sometimes even a day or two before, because of nerves, my morning routine included light throwing up before a few sips of coffee, a little more throwing up, get the kids to school, take something for the nausea, watch episodes of Monk starring Tony Shaloub. After losing my appetite for everything except Orangina and watermelon, I regained it only for sugar and chocolate.
Sidebar: A note about watermelon, I say it is the BEST food for pregnancy and chemotherapy. High in vitamins A and C, iron, fiber and water, easy on the stomach. http://www.almanac.com/food/watermelonripe.php Now, back to the ‘blog.
It was rare I ever felt too sick for my evening hot chocolate with whiskey. It goes nicely with cookies. That is another difference, at least with chemo you can drink if you feel like it, you can take something for the nausea, although it will definitely cause drowsiness – some remedies less than others. See www.CANORML.org, and I lost weight rather than gained it. (I’ve kept it off, too!) But the thing I feared the most beside leaving my family to an unknown future because I must go into a dark, frightening unknown place is having people feel sorry for me. That’s another thing. People sure react differently to the news that you have breast cancer than the news you’re having a baby. I was pleasantly surprised though. People generally hung back a little and will went along with whatever approach I wanted to take. I made it pretty clear, that all things considered I was pretty damned lucky. My probabilities we VERY good, I didn’t have to work, and I was INSURED!!! – more on that later. Remind me. The independence I had nurtured in my kids would help all of us get through it just fine. There was only one person at our school who continued to give me that aww, poor you, how are you poor thing treatment. She’s otherwise a very nice lady so I’m glad I didn’t punch her in the face. Just kidding, I’m not violent. But that leads to the final similarity, the hormonal roller coaster.
Since my cancer was hormone receptor positive it feeds on estrogen. The chemo drugs sent my estrogen levels from normal 40-year old to a Newtonian zero (That means it’s so close to zero, it might as well be zero.) It’s the change in hormone levels that makes you crazy and the insanity is contagious. Pretty soon, I was making my whole family a little crazy, then everyone around me. I could handle the crying and even the mild depression, but the RAGE sometimes scared me. I was alone with my kids and I would yell at them for minor things in major ways. Sometimes I quarantined myself. I told them I was sorry I was so bitchy, but please try to stay out of my way. “If I fall asleep, don’t wake me unless you really have to. If you can’t wake me, call Dad, go to the neighbors or call 911. Is there something in the fridge you guys can make for dinner if Dad gets home late?” They did. Then they cleaned up after wards and my husband, Eric, rotated the dishes after his 12-14 hour day.
It’s getting through these tough times together that makes them strong. You should see their report cards. Austin, my oldest is not only brilliant, he’s becoming a patient and popular leader and Dallas’s increasing self-discipline capitalizes on his amazing imagination and makes him feel more competent. They are the embodiment of hope, my (our) gift to the world. You can thank me later.
Next: Breast Cancer and Marriage.
Monday, June 12, 2006
After more waiting, I learned they’d found the teensiest little bit of cancer in the sentinel node, but the next 3 were okey-dokey as far as anyone could tell. This meant that I’d need chemo and radiation but would probably live happily ever after. But, yes, I’ll lose my hair. He said, oddly, that’s often the hardest part. Oddly, he’s right. I know it’s just hair and losing it is so much better than losing everything, but it’s just a whole new dimension in nakedness.
I love hair. I’ve always loved hair (on heads). When I went to rock concerts, I liked to sit in the bleachers between bands watching all the heads of hair walk across the floor below. And I know we women tend to complain about our hair. I’d always wished for a little more wave, but I had recognized by my 30’s that I’d been follicly blessed always. I mean, my hair wasn’t too thin, or too curly. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a close as one could reasonably wish for.
The stages of grief are: Disbelief/Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
Bargaining is not possible unless you have someone to bargain with. I’m agnostic. Sometimes life is so incredibly wonderful and nature so beautiful that I can’t imagine it’s the result of random coincidences. Other times, I look at the evidence for evolution, contemplate the possibilities of zillions of varied attempts over billions of years, and I look at the senseless cruelty and say this can’t be anything but accidental. I’m pretty sure there’s no hell. There’s no reason for it. To the extent it exists, it must be here on earth, so to have another after death would be redundant. Anyway, I just talk myself into circles, but while I was waiting to learn whether I’d live or die, I figured I could use a friend in high places. Even if He was imaginary, it wouldn’t do any harm, and I was sure it would probably do me some good personally and He might just be real and have a really elaborate plan that he’ll let us know about someday.
In my talks with God, I didn’t ask why me. Someone has to get cancer, I reckon, so why NOT me. Even if I had to go at 40, the life I’d had was much better than expected, so I couldn’t complain. I did offer, however, that I thought the world was better off with me than without me. And in October of 2004, I told Him one more thing, “ I realize I don’t get to call the shots on this one, but if you take me and leave George W. Bush in the White House, I’m gonna be PISSED!”
So I’m still here and W’s still there. If you believe in God, but not W, I guess you can blame me. Still, I won’t apologize.
Next: I feel sorry for anyone who pities me.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
CAUTION and DISCLAIMER: I’m no cancer expert, so please get your cancer facts from a RELIABLE source on this, not me.
When the little lump in my breast started to hurt, I decided it wasn’t going away on it’s own, so I’d better get it checked out. I seriously doubted it was cancer. Cancer doesn’t run in my family. My mother had said about our family medical history, “We don’t get cancer, we get heart disease.” So deep down, I was a little worried, but mostly sure I’d hear it was nothing to worry about.
“I wouldn’t worry too much. Cancer doesn’t usually hurt,” the Nurse Practitioner told me in May. She gave me an 8-1/2 x 11 paper ordering a mammogram. After a fun-filled summer with my boys, Austin & Dallas, then 8 and 6 and my husband, Eric too, when he wasn’t work, work, working… Sidebar: No, we’re not from Texas, those were the only 2 names Eric and I could agree on. They’re actually named after the rock band, AC/DC. Their names are Austin Cesar and Dallas Cole. Anyway, just after my 40th birthday (on 9/11 incidentally) when the slightly painful lump began to “spider”, I had my first mammogram, but only after the machine’s operator promised me that my breasts would returned to their original shapes after she was done flattening each of them in new and uncomfortable ways. She was true to her word.
I don’t remember how I learned the mammogram was “abnormal” . I mean, I knew that going in, but I remember the next step was a surgical biopsy. In other words, we we’re going to take the whole lump out, then find out what it was. I say "we" because I figure their job was to sedate me and remove the lump, my job was to get umpteen blood tests, show up for surgery on an empty stomach and recover. I was pleased to learn after the surgery that the lab report with the biopsy results was expected in by Tuesday of next week.
I didn’t hear from anyone on Tuesday, so I called on Wednesday. No results yet. Same answer on Thursday and my surgeon left town Friday. I was no longer nonchalant. I was simultaneously planning for, and postponing panic. I was not willing to wait until Monday to learn whether or not my children would grow up without a mother. I called the lab about MY results which I paid for. They’d sent them to both my surgeon and regular doctor. My surgeon was gone by the time the paperwork arrived at his office, so my regular family doctor did her best to interpret the report. She’s not an oncologist, but her mother had cancer, so she’s familiar with biopsy reports and patients’ reactions to them.
I understood her to say I had stage 3 breast cancer. Breast cancer goes from stage 1 (outpatient surgery and much worry) to stage 4 (terminal). My research said Stage 3 meant I had a 30% chance of surviving more than 10 years. I probably cried my way home, then I became my mother. I decided to act now, fall apart later. Quick assessment: Best case scenario: radiation and/or chemo therapy followed by a happy ending; Worst case scenario: radiation and/or chemo therapy, I die and my family falls apart. Distracted and overwhelmed, my husband’s business fails so he turns to alcohol then dies from a heart attack. My brilliant children turn from promising futures to lives of drugs, crime and misery. I didn’t know if or I’d die and had little control of that situation anyway, but I knew I had 2 boys and a husband I had to prepare to carry on without me. I developed a plan:
1. Teach my sons to be as self-sufficient as possible given their age. Further, ensure they functioned as a SUPPORTIVE team. One of the best ways to deal with pain and loss is to help someone. They could do this both for each other and for their Dad.
2. Lockdown our home routine. You know, dinnertime, bath time. I even created a list for the grocery store on computer. It included brand names so things would taste more like Mom made. The kids could print the list and just check off what was needed. They already knew how to make rice, noodles and toast; they could heat chicken nuggets, hot dogs and raviolis.
Routine is very comforting, especially when everything else feels out of control. As I write, I realize I did it as much for myself as them.
3. Teach my husband that he can not rely too much on our oldest, Austin, to carry the additional responsibility. This is too much weight for Austin and effectively denies Dallas the chance to learn, contribute and feel capable. In the extreme, Dallas would feel like a burden and Austin would feel burdened. Toss in sibling rivalry, adolescence and puberty… it don’t look don’t. If he were, as he’s been tempted to do, make the older child responsible for the younger one, it gets worse. Typically, the older child often makes unreasonable demands and bad decisions (because they’re children) which they can only enforce through intimidation and force. It’s just wrong on many levels and it doesn’t work. I feared Eric would be so busy and overworked as a single parent, he’d hand too much to Austin because it’s easier. I was the oldest daughter of a single mom whereas my husband was the youngest son of a single parent, so I understand some things he doesn’t.
Eric and I met with my surgeon Monday. He listened patiently and compassionately while I gave several pieces of my mind. He gave me some good news and some bad news. The good news, it was a SIZE 3, not a STAGE 3. Size 3 on a scale that runs from 0 cm to 10 cm is very encouraging. The bad news, I still needed another surgery. It may have spread to my lymph system in which case it would be stage 3 cancer. In the week before the next surgery, I began to implement my plan.
Next: How an agnostic confronts God.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
So far, the Iraq war has cost US Taxpayers 315.8 billion dollars.
That’s approximately $2,992 from your family,
Or $1,122 per person, or
$90,100,000 for the City of Napa.
Before it’s over, it’s expected to cost 1 or 2 Trillion dollars. That’s around $15,000 to your family or nearly half a billion to our town.
Had enough? Mail the postcard below to your Congressman.
The bottom half of the cardstock flyer is a postcard preaddressed to our local congressman, Mike Thompson, supporting his Concurrent Resolution 348*. REMEMBER to leave clear space for a return address. Since the resolution is very brief, I included it on the half page postcard along with a little rectangle around "39c" for the stamp. I even had lines for add'l comments. The whole thing is done on a regular WORD processing program.
A wheelie papercutter with a perforating blade is available for $30 at office supply stores, so you can make your own professional-looking detachable postcards.
Ultimately, politics is personal I've heard. When strangers suffer or die in strange places it just doesn't hit most folks where they live, so to speak. By talking a "dollars and sense" approach, you appeal to a larger audience.
National Priorities Project has costs by city for most U.S. cities. www.NationalPriorities.org. “Local costs of War". E-mail GoMommyGo@yahoo.com if you need more info.
*I support Concurrent Resolution 348 which says:
“…the United States should not maintain a permanent military presence or military bases in Iraq;
2)the United States should not attempt to control the flow of Iraqi oil; and
3)United States Armed Forces should be re-deployed from Iraq as soon as practicable after the completion of Iraq’s constitution making process or September 30, 2006, whichever comes first.”
Monday, March 27, 2006
Call your favorite local bookstore right now -- as soon as you finish reading this -- and if they don't have it in stock, ask them to order it for you. This is the perfect April Fools gift for that certain someone who is still loyal to the letter (W).
$10 still too much? CCR will send a copy to your Rep for only $5.00. http://www.ccr-ny.org/... Maybe you can borrow it when they're finished.
I just ordered 3 copies from each of 3 different local booksellers.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Poll: Nearly half of Americans favor censure
But pollster Dick Bennett said Democratic leaders won't publicly back it until at least 60 percent of Americans support it.
By Scott Shepard
Friday, March 17, 2006
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold's effort to censure President Bush has sent his fellow Democrats scurrying for political safety, but a poll released Thursday suggests nearly half of Americans favor such a move.
A poll by the nonpartisan American Research Group found that 46 percent of Americans support censuring Bush for authorizing wiretaps of Americans without obtaining court orders, as part of the administration's effort to fight terrorism.
But the pollster, Dick Bennett, said he does not expect the Democratic leadership to come out of the shadows until at least 60 percent of Americans support a censure.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, "the basic problem of the Democratic leadership has been their lack of political courage," Bennett said.
Other analysts said the Democrats are simply following one of the basics of political strategy: Stay out of the way as your opponents' problems mount.
"Right now, Democrats can do well by letting Republicans drown in their policy problems," said Darrell West, a Brown University professor and developer of the Web site, InsidePolitics.org. "However, by this fall, when voters tune into the campaign, the Democratic Party needs to show citizens . . . a positive vision for the future."
...Democrats appear to be making some progress... to end a dozen years of nearly uninterrupted Republican rule of Capitol Hill.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday showed 50 percent of Americans prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 37 percent who want it to remain under the control of Republicans. "This sends shivers down the spine of Republicans," NBC Washington Bureau Chief and "Meet The Press" moderator Tim Russert said on the "Today" show.
If I recall accurately Keith Olbermann's comment on the same poll, he said he'd NEVER seen numbers like that.
The article from www.Truthout.org adds that while 42 percent of INDEPENDENTS support censure, 47% support impeachment.
"Independents are moving beyond Bush, which, in many ways, is the worst thing that can happen to a president," Bennett said. ..."he is becoming irrelevant to their lives," the American Research Group pollster added.
Speaking of numbers, how much longer will corporate media heads be able to characterize roughly half the population as fringe?
Saturday, March 18, 2006
http://www.anysoldier.com/ There's a LOT of info on the site, so let me offer some shortcuts.
If you want to help someone in a particular branch of the service you can follow the links to AnyMarine, AnyAirman, AnySailor, etc., otherwise go to "Where to Send". You'll see on the left, names arranged by most recent requests. Click on the names, and they'll let you know what they'd like. The most popular items are just notes of support, cards, postcards, etc. If you want to invest more, DVD's, candy and old Beanie Babies to give to the local kids -- I sent tennis balls because they're light. Some want reading material or beauty supplies (mostly the female soldiers). The soldier I "adopted" in a DFac "near the sand" in Afghanistan likes dried spices because he's always using up all the garlic. If you send something that weighs more than 16 oz., you'll need to fill out the form at the post office. You can download it from the site, to save time. The form just asks for name, address, what it is, value, weight...
They also have links to groups that, for a fee, will put together a care package for you, which is a real time-saver.
That's pretty much it. Do follow instructions, No porn, no pork, nothing flammable or likely to melt above 100 degrees. Be sure anything that could conceivably break is inside 2 ziploc bags.
One final word of warning. The site is addictive. Read this bit from Marine, Tyler Weiser and you'll understand what I'm talking about:
10 Nov 2005:
i just wanna start out saying thank you for even starting this. over 50% of my marines are under the age of 21 and are going to be serving a year in iraq. for some people it was hard leaving someone at home but for other's like myself it wasnt bad because i dont have a girl to worry about in the states. the whole reason i am doing this is because alot of our guys are constantly going outside the wire in combat and it is good knowing that people care. i am almost 21, single and cant wait to get home. our unit is from camp lejeune n.c. all of us our in the intel field. we are all constantly going out to support the battalions below us. this is my first time doing this so i feel a little weird asking for things. i just really want somoene to write too. but if you wanna send something little bags of candy is always good. when we go out, if there is some children we give them some candy because for majority of them dont get to have candy. that all about winning the hearts and minds of the war. thank you again and feel free to write.
lcpl tyler weiser
Doesn’t anybody give a damn?
Is our next stop Iran?
And it’s five, six, seven; not another scandal-gate?!
The world just can’t wait
Until two thousand eight.
And it’s one, two three; what’re they dyin' for?
Doesn’t anybody give a damn?
Is our next stop Iran?
And it’s five, six, seven; not another scandal-gate?!
The world just can’t wait
Until two thousand eight.
Friday, March 03, 2006
You may have already seen the draft version which was posted, I'm told, on Buzzflash.com If anyone could provide a link, I'm not finding it on the site.
“…to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Since I was lucky enough to be born here, I’ve never taken that vow, but I feel the same duty to the Constitution as any military troop or naturalized citizen. Right now, George W. Bush poses a threat to national security, and I hope you’ll help me stop it. Here’s some of what I know:
Richard Nixon spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up in the name of “national security.” In response, Congress passed FISA to authorize court-supervised surveillance in extreme circumstances, especially war.
George W. Bush spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up for “national security.” At his request, the NY Times kept the story secret because of “national security” until well after the 2004 election.
Bush says that what he did is not illegal. “Did I have the legal authority to do this? … absolutely.” (Dec. 2005). That sounds like Nixon, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” (1977)
In his State of the Union speech, President Bush looked us in the eye and said only people with ties to al-Qaeda or terrorism were targeted, but he didn’t have to go around FISA to do that. Besides, I saw Richard Hersh testify that the FBI sent undercover officers to his meetings with Quakers. They haven’t the remotest connection to al-Qaeda or terrorism. (www.C-Span.org “Democratic Hearing on Domestic Surveillance”).
For National Journal, Shane Harris now confirms the NSA is, in fact, data mining. Although the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program was ordered stopped by Congress in 2003, it was actually renamed “Basketball” and passed from DARPA in the Defense Dept., to NSA under Homeland Security. The agency is capable of collecting virtually every piece of data about you that is recorded electronically. Conservative William Safire warned, “…Total Information Awareness… This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It’s what will happen to our personal freedom… if (program head) John Poindexter gets the unprecedented power he seeks.
Attorney General Gonzales is America’s lawyer, but used to be the President’s. He’s defending this abuse of power and investigating the whistleblower(s) instead. He says the President has inherent authority, but that’s not what the Constitution says. You’d think the President has inherent credibility, but that’s wrong too. The President is not above the law. FISA is the law. Congress investigates, then asks the President what they should do about it. They will punish his law breaking by changing the law. (LA Times 2/19/06) Ouch!
John W. Dean who was Nixon’s lawyer said, “In acting here w/o Congressional approval, Bush has underlined that his Presidency is unchecked… utterly beyond the law. …what asserted powers will Bush use next?” (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20051230.html)
When Bob Schieffer asked Bush if there was anything he could not do under this unitary executive theory. He could only think of two things. 1) Order torture or 2) Assassinate a leader of a country we're not at war with. The signing statement he famously attached to the McCain torture amendment negates number 1, so that leaves only assassination. This may not be true, either according to economic hit man, John Perkins. (www.DemocracyNow.org)
This President believes he has absolute power. If that were true, he wouldn’t be the President, he’d be a Dictator. We know what absolute power leads to…
We’ve become numb to corruption and incompetence. From forged yellowcake documents that left “no doubt” about Saddam’s WMD, then discrediting the whistleblower by outing a CIA-agent (national security be damned). In Los Angeles, whistleblower Stephen Heller has been charged with 3 felonies for exposing Diebold’s defects. Millions of dollars have disappeared in Iraq, but the contractors who can’t account for the money, get awarded more. After Bush boldly defended the Dubai ports deal -- because it’s good for business – he admitted he didn’t know about it. Then he said he did.
Clearly Congress won’t act and the jury’s out on the courts. Sandra Day O’Connor who advised that “war is not a blank check,” has been replaced by unitary executive proponent, Samuel Alito. That leaves you and me (maybe just me) to defend the Constitution. I want to unite with conservatives, liberals, and everyone else. This is too important to be left to corrupt or cowering politicians. If we believe the lessons we teach our children about democracy and our Constitution, it’s time to stand up and be counted. We’ll be meeting in Napa. Phone 707-252-8242 for agenda, etc. or e-mail GoMommyGo@yahoo.com.
Finally, from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Talents, “…to be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”
Let me know you’re out there. United, we’ll stand.
I've received quite a response already. Ryan Lavelle put it into perspective with this comment:
The fight against this utterly evil military-industrial-complex run administration (about which Eisenhower prophetically warned you), is the fight to save humanity and civilization itself, not just the American political system.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
To: Chairman Dean (via e-mail), Senators Reid (202-224-7327) & Schumer(202-228-3027)
RE: Betrayal of Paul Hackett and Friends
Whereas Republicans are currently the party of blind loyalty, Democrats are becoming the party of senseless betrayal. This time you betrayed a beloved war hero turned Bush critic. Is Karl Rove paying you, Senators, or is this volunteer work?
I'm sorry I must be so harsh, but I want to make the point that it makes me wonder. Your behavior is reminiscent of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sox_scandal); snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
His poll numbers near freezing, Bush nominated Sam Alito. Ann Coulter loves him, the ACLU fears him. This divisive nominee could have been blocked easily, but 19 Democratic Senators wouldn't even abstain from the cloture vote. Who's your daddy?(Repubs needed 60 yes votes to end a filibuster. They had only 54 because 1 Republican did not vote, so they could not have done it without the implicit consent of those 19. (Also scroll down to Jan. 28, 2006 to view Top Ten Unusual Alito Cirmcumstances)
War hero Paul Hackett criticizes Bush and very nearly becomes that otherwise red district's Representative. After jean Schmidt's humiliating performance in which she called another war hero (Jack Murtha) a coward, I'm sure there was a epidemic of voters' remorse in Ohio. Paul Hacket was your best shot, but you wimped out AGAIN!
No Guts, No Glory. I can't waste my money on this group, or as Rumpole headlines in a TPM Cafe post,
Not. One. Dime.
To individuals candidates like Boxer and Feingold, sure, Feinstein maybe, but not to the DNC. Sorry Howard.
Many at this year's Conservative Political Action Conferance (where Dick Cheney is actually popular) expressed frustration with Bush's policy. Highlights:
"The American people don't understand what Republicans stand for anymore,'' roared Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who proudly declared that he had voted against Bush's prescription drug plan, his Central American trade proposal and his "$100 billion Katrina slush fund.''"American conservatives have watched dumbfounded as their Congress -- their Republican Congress -- and the Republican White House engineered the largest expansion of the federal government in modern history,'' Tancredo said.
Yet Bush -- until recently -- had enjoyed the unwavering public support of conservatives from all factions, who seemed willing to overlook any misgivings in their united desire to elect a Republican president.
At this year's conference, which sponsors said would attract 5,000 participants, Tancredo received a standing ovation after his remarks in which he said: "It is the president who is out of step with his party.''
Tancredo was not alone in voicing his displeasure -- a sign that Bush may have much more trouble with Republicans in Congress as they move toward the midterm elections.
Bob Barr, a former Republican House member from Georgia, warned fellow conservatives that those who defend the president's ability to spy on American citizens are "in danger of putting allegiance to party ahead of allegiance to principle.''
The president, Barr warned, has overstepped his bounds and "it should not matter the person, the man, occupying the position of the presidency.''
I'm encouraged that when it comes to Bush, liberals, libertarians, and many conservatives are coming to some agreements. 1) We don't want Bush to be our BIG BROTHER. 2) War is wasteful. Liberals focus on wasted life, libertarians on wasted liberty and conservatives on wasted money, which could otherwise be used to pursue happiness.
However, we can't expect that this will lead to a democratic house majority November 2006. There are certain Democratic Senators who are determined to snatch defeat from victory's jaw. My next post will include my note to Senators Schumer & Reid with a copy to DNC Chairman Howard Dean.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Karl Rove has been politically threatening "virtually every Republican on the Senate committee as well as the leadership in Congress" with blacklisting if they vote against the President in the NSA wiretapping scandal. Senators on Rove's blacklist won't receive any political or financial support from the Grand Ol' Party in the upcoming elections. On the other hand, those who Rove determines are "loyal" will receive the all the money and all the love. I can't imagine it's the first time Turd Blossom (W gave him the nickname) has bullied his allies.
The sources said the administration has been alarmed over the damage that could result from the Senate hearings, which began on Monday, Feb. 6. They said the defection of even a handful of Republican committee members could result in a determination that the president violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Such a determination could lead to impeachment proceedings.
That puts the Republican Senators in a very precarious position: Between a suspicious public and a vicious Rove. If Republicans shirk their duty to check and balance the executive branch in such an obvious way, there are enough liberals and libertarians watching that it could go either way for Rove. So, I guess they oughta be asking themselves if this ship is worth going down with.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Re: 2/6/01 Interview on MSNBC Live 10: 30 am PST with Contessa Brewer
Dear Mr. Matthews:
Please correct the record. Ms. Brewer said that the Democrats were playing hardball citing Dianne Feinstein’s statement quoting Bush in 2004. Contessa told you he said it in 2004, but you nevertheless dismissed it as pre-9/11. Here it is from Bush’s now well-known address from Buffalo, New York in APRIL of 2004.
“Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”Adding…
“The Patriot Act changed that. So with court order, law enforcement officials can now use what's called roving wiretaps, which will prevent a terrorist from switching cell phones in order to get a message out to one of his buddies.http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040420-2.html
Thirdly, to give you an example of what we're talking about, there's something called delayed notification warrants. Those are very important. I see some people, first responders nodding their heads about what they mean. These are a common tool used to catch mobsters. In other words, it allows people to collect data before everybody is aware of what's going on. It requires a court order. It requires protection under the law. We couldn't use these against terrorists, but we could use against gangs. “
The President’s clearly inaccurate statement was made more than 2-1/2 years AFTER 9/11/2001 and at least 2 years into the program.
Apparently Contessa Brewer’s interview technique's don't require any registry of the interviewee's response. It's enough read the prompter. She read that this was a bipartisan concern and claimed that Specter was going after AG Gonzales too along with the Democrats, but overlooked the fact that Specter, as committee chair, REFUSED to allow Gonzales to testify under oath. There are questions about the AG’s answers to Russ Feingold in his confirmation hearings, all democratic senators insisted he be sworn in and Gonzales agreed to be sworn in, but Specter said, “No.” This, I understand, means he can’t be charged with perjury for what he says today.
Matthews then went on to say that the majority of Americans supported the program. Not exactly. Americans agree that it’s okay with them if it’s LEGAL(Rasmussen?). You failed to mention that a margin of 42 to 43 percent (Zogby) believe he should be impeached if what he did was ILLEGAL.
This is why public opinion of the media is so low. We can tell when we're being manipulated and won't tolerate it. We have Tivos, we have Google and the 'Net has roots. We check facts. We want the truth the whole truth and nothing but. If you won't sell it to us, we'll find it elsewhere.
I have a bachelor’s in business, not political science. I’m a substitute teacher and a Mom. Here’s the glaring question. If someone who knows as little about Washington and politics as I do knows this so easily, why don’t you?
P.S. Now that I see your internet poll does NOT support your assumption, will you correct yourself publicly?
Monday, January 30, 2006
Bush could only think of 2 things. 1) Order torture (!?!) or 2) Assasinate the leader of a country we're not at war with.
From Face the Nation, here's Bob Schieffer's question and Bush's answer:
SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little bit about this whole idea of eavesdropping without court orders. You said very strongly, and the strongest language I've heard you use yesterday, that you believe it is not only legal, you believe it is absolutely necessary in the War on Terrorism. The--the question I have, Mr. President, is: Do you believe that there is anything that a president cannot do, if he considers it necessary, in an emergency like this?
PRESIDENT BUSH: That's a--that's a great question. You know, one of the--yeah, I don't think a president can tort--get--can order torture, for example. I don't think a president can order the assassination of a leader of another country with which we're not at war. Yes, there are clear red lines, and--it--you--you--you just asked a very interesting constitutional question. The extent to which a president, during war, can exercise authorities in order to protect the American people, and that's really what the debate is about. I--I made the decision to listen to phone calls of Al Qaeda or suspected Al Qaeda from outside the country coming in or inside the country going out because the people, our operators, told me that this is one of the best ways to protect the American people. And it wasn't an easy decision to make, but as I thought through the decision-making process, I asked a couple of questions: One, do I have the authority to do it? In other words, implicit in your question is, will I just act without determining if I have authority. And so, in other words, I got--I--I was convinced by the legal department of the--of this--of this White House and the Justice Department that I did have the authority, and we looked at it very carefully. And secondly, I wanted to make sure that civil liberties were guarded. In other words, that by unleashing this program there wasn't checks and balances on--inside the NSA so that they would circumvent my order, which was listening for phone calls outside the country and in vice versa; in other words, not listening to the phone calls within the country. It is important that this program go on. I understand the debate, and I understand the need to make sure people discuss and debate whether or not I have got the authority to do it, but as I told the American people--and I can't tell you how strongly I feel about this--if somebody is talking to Al Qaeda inside the United States, we need to know why, and that's what this program is aimed to do.
Item 1, contradicts the Signing Statement http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051230-8.html he attached to the McCain Amendment on Torture and item 2 does not make me feel safe... at all. That puts several billion of us in the Ok-to-Assasinate category.
Here's the CBS transcript. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/27/eveningnews/main1248952.shtml
Saturday, January 28, 2006
10. Ann Coulter likes him. That's about as extreme as you can get.
9. Wishes Goliath had beaten David's puny little ass.
8. Lays out plan to weaken and overturn Roe v. Wade.
7. Pursues plan to overturn Roe v. Wade.
6. Brags about membership in racist CAP in order to get a job.
5. Denies remembering CAP membership in order to get a job.
4. Contrary to Supreme Court, tries to strip other judges' power to grant Habeas Corpus to illegal immigrants. If that's not judicial activism, what is?
3. Supports strip search of innocent ten-yr old girl although not called for in warrant. How is this a strict constructionist?
2. Believes in co-equal branches of government except the Unitary Executive branch is more co-equal than the others;
and the number 1 extraordinary circumstance is...
Bush is not your daddy, Senator. He does NOT have mandate; he doesn't even have a boy date. Check the polls. Only Nixon was less popular.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
From perusing DailyKos, I gather there is a chill running through the netroots, and it's being misdirected at Google, when the real story is:
The government indicated that other unspecified search engines have agreed to release the information, but NOT Google.
Whereas other seach engines rolled right on over without a fight Google general counsel said the company will fight "vigorously."
And isn't it just modern media poetic circumstance (irony) that the Google Guys get vilified BECAUSE they're doing the right thing, while the ones we CAN'T trust quietly sell us out, then benefit indirectly because of our FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).
So, before you run screaming to Big Brother, check for updates on Search Engine Watch. So far, Ask Jeeves did not hand over data, because they weren't asked to. Yahoo! and AOL have not responded, and MSN issued some legalese that sounds like they caved. Also, noteworthy. Search Engine Watch (www.blog.SearchEngineWatch.com)(still learning to make links) has a better method for the government to get what it wants WITHOUT "...get(ting) the search engines to do their research for them in a way that compromises the civil liberties of other people." as Ray Everett-Church, a South Bay privacy consultant for internet companies describes it. He also pointed out, "The government can't even claim that it's for national security."
Furthermore, this looks like a major move toward a Unitary Executive (i.e. more powerful presidency). Apparently, simple talk of Alito's confirmation was emboldening enough that they're ready to try using new and improved SCOTUS to create a precedent for the government's Right to Spy.
I'm afraid, very afraid. And THAT really makes me nervous. So, the more afraid I get, the more I'm going to act...while I still have the right.
P.S. If anything happens, don't forget to look for me in the blacksites.
Friday, January 13, 2006
"In a major address slated for delivery Monday in Washington, the former Vice President is expected to argue that the Bush administration has created a "Constitutional crisis" by acting without the authorization of the Congress and the courts to spy on Americans and otherwise abuse basic liberties..."
"...Don't expect a direct call for impeachment from the former vice president. But do expect Gore to make reference to Richard Nixon, whose abuses of executive authority led to calls for his impeachment -- a fate the 37th president avoided by resigning in 1974.
Gore's speech will add fuel to the fire that was ignited when it was revealed that Bush had secretly authorized National Security Agency to monitor communications in the United States without warrants. Gore will argue that the domestic wiretapping policy is only the latest example of the administration exceeding its authority under the Constitution.
With a Congressional inquiry into Bush's repeated violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act scheduled to begin in February -- and with Bush already preparing to pitch an Nixon-style defense that suggests it is appropriate for the executive branch to violate the law when national security matters are involved -- Gore will articulate the more traditional view that reasonable checks and balances are required even in a time of war. And he will do so in a bipartisan context that will make it tougher for Republican critics to dismiss the former vice president's assertion that the Constitution is still the law of the land. "
Here's the rest.
For more comparisons of Nixon v. Bush, here are some points & quotes I pasted together from ACLU (pdf files) and DNC (video) ads.:
Richard Nixon spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up in the name of “national security.” In response, Congress passed The FISA act to authorize surveillance of Americans in special circumstances.
George W. Bush spied on Americans, lied about it and tried to cover it up in the name of “national security.” He lied in April 2004 when he said, “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act; constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.”
Then he asked the NY Times to keep the story a secret because of “national security” -- which they did until well after the 2004 election.
George W. Bush says that what he did is not illegal. “Did I have the legal authority to do this? … absolutely.” (December 2005)
That sounds like Nixon when he said, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” (1977)
Even Nixon’s lawyer, John W. Dean, thinks Bush II has gone too far. “Indeed, here, Bush may have outdone Nixon: Nixon's illegal surveillance was limited; Bush's, it is developing, may be extraordinarily broad in scope… reports have suggested that NSA is "data mining" literally millions of calls - and has been given access by the telecommunications companies to "switching" stations through which foreign communications traffic flows.” That means the NSA has been able to secretly monitor any phone calls or e-mails you send outside the country.
Whether they're investigating the President’s possible abuse of power, the Justice Dept. will not say, but it is investigating the whistleblower(s).
Dean adds, “In acting here w/o Congressional approval, Bush has underlined that his Presidency is unchecked… utterly beyond the law. …what asserted powers will Bush use next?” ( http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20051230.html)
Here’s a hint. Bush signed McCain’s anti-torture bill, then issued a signing statement when it seemed no one was looking. Legal experts interpret the statement as saying that although Bush is signing the law, he reserves the right to exempt himself from it if HE thinks it’s necessary.”
In America no one, not even the President, is above the law.
Using the power of the White House, unchecked by the Republican-controlled House and Senate, Bush is filling the courts with nominees like John Roberts, Harriet Mier and Sam Alito who share his vision for a powerful, almost imperial, presidency.
And now we're discovering that Bush's domestic spying program was authorized BEFORE 9/11. From out GREAT friends at Truthout.org: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011306Z.shtml
Happy Friday the 13th.
P.S Speaking of dates. According to my calendar, Feb. 1 -- the day after the President's State of the Union address is National Freedom Day. Let it ring.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
As I returned to the car after checking the box, 3-year-old Austin asked casually, " Did we get any mail?"
"Just bills," I said.
"Oh." pause "Who's Bill?"
Chuckling to myself, I explained in clear, 3-year-old terms about buy now, send bill, pay later.
Some time after snack he queried, "Are we going to give Bill his mail?"
Stunned, but amused, I tried again.
After running errands, our last stop was to pay the water bill. As we dropped the payment in the box, Austin asked, "Is that Bill's house?"
"Yes," I answered, as we headed back to the car. "That's Bill's house, and we just gave him his mail." I pointed to the driver pulling into the next parking space, adding, "And that's Bill."
Another amusing Austin story. He once said to me, "Mom, you know why I don't like water?" (I think he was 4-ish).
"Why's that?" I wanted to know.
"It's not my cup of tea," he flatly declared.
This is my first blog, so I appreciate your input.
I also post adiary on DailyKos when I think I have something political to add. If the liberal thoughts from stark raving mom might be your cup of tea, feel free to visit: http://www.dailykos.com/user/GoMommyGo