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Saturday, September 27, 2003

Two days in Vermont 

I just returned from a vacation in Quebec and Vermont...Seven days to see what humidity feels like. Well, it feels like a 6 by 2 by 1 foot banana skin, but there was a much more significant change in climate being there. I saw Dean stickers, everywhere. The man was governor there, which is a lot like being a mayor elsewhere (Montpelier, Vermont's capital, is basically two streets), but his ideas, well, they're big...Like this, for example:
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2003/09/24/dean/index_np.html
Not like "W"hatever's "speaking in tongues" ideas, which are also big, as in BIG OIL, BIG BUSINESS, BIG PREJUDICE, BIG DEAL IF 15% of "mah fellar Mairkins" don't have health insurance.
No, big.
Sure, Vermont's the state that allows Civil Unions to take on a (nearly) marital status, and Dean was around to help that go through. But that's not what makes Vermont special (although, let me digress--why does ANYONE have a problem with sexual orientation. Not that it matters, but I'm usually facing north. Should I be worried about those who are usually facing south? Am I in the sexual minority here? Do you want to know about your friend's 'skills' anyway? GROW UP!!!!!). It is a start, though, because it means people in Vermont are questioning, voting, deciding, changing, in other words, being FREE. We saw plenty of "Take Back Vermont" signs up in the northeast kingdom of Vermont--shame on you. But at least both sides feel free to take a stand in Vermont. Don't try it out in the NEW WEST. Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho...Republican locks. WHY?
Don't tell me it's because the states in the east are old, are bereft of new ideas. Go wave the flag, you're free to do so, but remember those 13 stripes don't represent Vermont...It was claimed by both New York and New Hampshire when the Constitution was drafted, and became a state in 1791 (you can get this off a quarter, by the way). They wanted their own voice, their own state, their own say.
So, stand up and say something. Bush wasted the single greatest opportunity ever dropped on the lap of any American president. 9/11, the world was behind us, we could have told Israel "Hey, the '67 borders, they're ALL GOOD now, move back to 'em". You can even imagine Bush saying it just that way. And you can imagine it actually happening. From the vulnerability the US had to admit after 9/11 could have come great power through cooperation and through multi-lateralism. "Vengeance is mine", sayeth the Bush, and Afghanistan would be first. OK. We can wait. I'm sure settling the Palestine issue will be #2. But wait. Afghanistan isn't settled. And then we found out what #2 really was. And now we're knee-deep in #2, all right.
For which all I can say is
www.VotetoImpeach.org
So, back to Vermont. The Green Mountain State. The state with its largest city a town, its capital a village, and its neighbors those obstreperous Quebecois. Did some of the folks who perpetrated 9/11 enter the US through the same border route we took, a lonely but beautiful outpost south of Mystic, Quebec? Maybe so. But I don't think they took the time to listen to all the different opinions. See, we can all learn from the Vermont folks. Let's elect their former governor and end the insanity.
-Vulf

Friday, September 26, 2003

Friday Furball Sports Day 

Thank Goodness for a real journalist. Mart Toft dishes our his weekly football predictions. He was 11-3 last week and 33-13 for the season. Mark admits this week's matchups could make or break him. If he pulls through, Mark may want to apply for a job with Faux Sports. At the very least, he would somewhat offset the nauseating presence of Rush.

This week Mark analyzes the Owner's effect.

Business Week and I  

Posted by Lupus

Well, it's seem Business Week and I had the same observation. Business Week came out with an article describing the miserable failure of Bush's recent U.N. address. We both zeroed in on the fact Bush skipped reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People," imagine that! In fact, it seems Bush is Dale Carnegie's evil twin brother. Bush seems to continually give a lesson on "How to Lose Allies and Alienate Everyone."

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

No thanks, but pretty, pretty please! 

Posted by Lupus

This is an update to the earlier U.N. Game post(no permalinks yet). W(histleass) continued to give the cold shoulder to any significant U.N. involvement in Vietnam, oops, I mean Iraq. Yet for some surreal reason he thought this attitude would translate into money and troops from other countries. Damnedest way to ask for help. It's nothing out of "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

Jon Stewart summed up the address:

We were right. You were wrong. Give us money.
-- Jon Stewart, The Daily Show 9/23/03


Or even shorter
U.N.: Drop Dead!

He didn't disappoint those of us who didn't think he would change. How sad :(

Funding formulas and the States 

Posted by Lupus

Kevin Drum at Calpundit recently started a discussion over what a states pays in federal taxes versus what it receives. Initially, Kevin made the observation that red states(have fun with the red/blue mapping here) are taking more than their share of federal tax revenues, but retreated some after being confronted by a conservative critic. She pointed out "red states get more aid because they are poorer-- i.e. have lower per capita average incomes -- and therefore need more social spending." Nathan Newman exposed the statistically fallacy of her argument; an average does not necessarily imply a greater number of poor overall or proportionally. It also does not imply a lower typical income i.e., a lower median income. So Kevin you may still be right after all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Mecha 

Posted by Lupus

A Mallard Fillmore cartoon blasts Mecha as a "sometimes violent, racist Chicano group whose motto is: 'For the race everything, for those outside the race nothing."

Forget for the second, Mecha's motto actual motto is "La Union Hace La Fuerza," which roughly translates "In unity there's strength." Or for that matter, "Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada. translates more as "United we stand. Divided we fall."

Lalo Alcaraz exposes Mecha's true mission in this cartoon.

For more information on Mecha.

A Naderite's Change of Heart 

Posted by Lobo & Lupus

Letter to Clark from Michael Moore.

The letter represents an interesting evolution in the thought of Mr. Moore. Contrast what he said in an earlier interview almost two years ago with what he says now:

NewsForChange: What do you say to the question that's on a lot of people's minds, is a vote for Nader a vote for Bush?

Michael Moore: Number one, Bush is not going to win. I truly believe that, because the people of this country are not that stupid. He's behind 52 to 38 (percent) right now and every week he goes lower and lower. He's going to continue to sink like a stone.

I want to appeal to the people who are non-voters, who have never voted before or who aren't voting now because they don't like the choices on the ballot. For them, a vote for Nader is not a vote for Bush because they weren't going to vote for Gore in the first place.

Secondly, Gore doesn't own these people. He has to earn their vote, and I personally believe that a vote for Gore is a vote for Bush. It might be a kinder, gentler version of it, but still it's a vote for one of the two people running who are sponsored by big business.

NewsForChange: But what do you say to people who see an earnest difference between the two, and really want to vote for Nader but are legitimately scared of a Bush presidency?

Michael Moore: You should never vote out of fear, you should vote your conscience. If people voted out of fear we never would have had the country, there never would have been a revolution. You've got to especially encourage young people to follow their conscience, because if you don't start doing it now at the age of 18, you'll never do it and in fact it'll get worse.

You'll always be doing things you don't really want to be doing. Who wants to live their life like that? You'll end up working in jobs you don't really want to work, being in relationships you don't really want to be in. Its like, oh my God, don't live your life like this! Free yourself.


NOW:

[W]e need someone who is going to get The Job done, period. . .
EVERYONE is of one mind as to what that job is:


Bush Must Go.

Let's just say events have opened his eyes to the hard realities of life.

We report, you decide! 

Mayor Hickenlooper has shown a great ability to morph into the necessary political pursuasion of the moment. No one can label him. Republicans think he is conservative because of his business background. Democrats think he is progressive because of his fondess for the arts and the environment. Me? I think he's mostly apolitical without any hard political leanings. More or less, I would say he fits he mold of a Rockefeller Republican. Rather than speculate, let his actions speak for themselves.

City's cuts likely to hurt needy
Mayor's proposed budget could hit elderly, children the hardest.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The U.N. Game 

Posted by Lobo

Once again President George W. Bush has gone to the United Nations to ask for their help. In 2002 he went to ask the U.N. to support the U.S. in their efforts to rid the world of terrorism and this time he has gone back to ask the U.N. to clean up the mess the U.S. made made in Iraq. Since today marks the one month anniversary of the attack on the U.N. facility in Baghdad, I thought this would be a good time to recap the highlights and lowpoints of the U.S. - U.N. tango over the last two years.

The first time Pres. Bush went to the U.N., many folks at the U.N. (info based on first-person accounts) were actually glad he did this because it made the U.N. feel as though the U.S. was finally allowing them to become part of the process. I expected bitter resentment over his visit because I had the feeling Bush was *demanding* more than he was asking. This was not the case for two reasons. First, from what I know, Bill Clinton never approached the U.N. as Bush did before taking military actions so the U.N. was glad to be involved at an early stage. Second, after I spent some time at the U.N. I realized that it was not in the nature of the U.N. to automatically judge and become suspicious of such a visit. The U.N. runs on diplomacy -- it has to. This diplomacy is everywhere you go. The more I tried to get an impassioned opinion on a subject, the more diplomacy I received. By diplomacy I mean that U.N. personnel will almost never give an opinion that is disparaging of any member state including the U.S. and Iraq. It simply can not afford to do so because the cost is ultimately the grand prize -- peace and stability.

Then came the crucial U.N. Security Council vote on whether to support the Iraq invasion and everyone knew that it just was not going to pass. There would be at least one if not two vetos and that would be it. The U.S. thought it could strong-arm the U.N. but its efforts were to no avail. Not even Collen Powell's seemingly overwhelming evidence of weapons of mass distruction (now found to be a mere hypothesis) was enough to sway all of the Council.

The U.S. went to war and after it felt it had control and was ready to restructure Iraq the U.N. offered to help with the transition and the U.S. said, "No thanks." The U.N. offered to send back teams of highly experienced weapons inspectors and the U.S. again said, "No thanks." The civil insurgence continued and finally a few U.N. personnel made their way into Iraq and then the Baghdad bombing occured and 22 U.N. staff members were killed.

And now, Bush is asking the U.N. to renew their humanitarian efforts in Baghdad so they can help calm the chaos and calamity the the U.S. presence has caused. Of the course the U.N. will go into Iraq because there is a need. The U.N. has no ego, it only sees the suffering and the instability and it knows that if they don't go in the entire region will suffer. Unfortunately, the U.S. has failed to see the U.N. as a driving force, as a global leader that goes into countries and helps negotiate peace as well as help with humanitarian aid. The best thing the U.S. could have done after securing Baghdad would have been to pack up most of the troops and let the international community handle the transition. But the U.S., especially under the current administration, functions on posturing and on ego so it had to stay around and try to collect its prize but this prize will never come.

As the 2004 elections roll around and Bush addresses the U.S. in his re-election bid, I have only one thing to say to him, "No thanks."



Addicted to the Spotlight? 

Posted by Lupus

Another day at the job for Mayor John Hickenlooper. It's movie time! Hickenlooper responded to his critics who questioned not only the move, but also its timing by reminding them of what's important:

"Part of my job is to promote the city and make sure that people recognize that Denver is a place where you work hard but you also have fun," he said. "Something like this is good for the city in the sense for (people to see) me enjoying my job and enjoying my life. I think it's important."

For the Mayor's personal self-growth, I do think it is important. I continue to wish him well on his voyage of self-discovery. I only wish the committee that really runs things would be as proactive in dealing with Denver's multiple crises as the Mayor was in seeing to his self-fulfillment.

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