Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. I have some health issues that are taking up a lot of time and energy.
As my mother would say, it’s the 8th anniversary of my 29th birthday, and for the first time in my memory – we did not get any snow. Not a bit. A few flakes this morning while at a local restaurant with my mom, brothers, baby sister, and nephew for my birthday breakfast, but they melted as soon as they hit the ground.
This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for a person whose birthday is a source for running jokes about blizzards and wrecked cars – at least among family – this is kind of depressing. I was born in the middle of a blizzard after my mother went into labor 7 weeks early. At the height of the storm, I announced my intentions of arriving early. My father immediately loaded Mom up and they headed out in his Caddy. They made it maybe 500 feet before the Caddy went into a slide and then into a ditch. Dad hiked to my uncle’s home a few hundred yards away. Uncle Bill immediately set out in his Jeep with Mom and Dad, but slid and hit a tree. Thankfully they were only going about 10 mph – if that. He tried again in my Aunt JoAnne’s car, only to slide into a snowbank…in his own driveway. That’s three cars down! All told 7 vehicles were wrecked in the attempt to get Mom to the hospital. Dad tried calling PennDOT to clear and salt the hill road, but PennDOT – apparently having heard the “My wife’s in labor” excuse before – refused. I am probably the only child responsible for wrecking 7 vehicles before birth. (Dad’s insurance co. paid the claims, then promptly dropped them.)
My mother was finally driven – in a 57 Chevy – to the wrong hospital, but at that point, she figured “any port in a storm”. After that, Mom says, she told God, “I will have as many children as you see fit to send me, but please! No more winter babies!” Apparently God heard – my sisters have May and June birthdays, and my brothers were both born in September – 4 years and 6 days apart.
Once at the hospital, showing the stubbornness for which I’m often acclaimed, I apparently decided the horror of all those slides and accidents was too much. My mother spent 42 hours in labor. (And loves me anyway!)
Anyway, ever since then, I have had snow on my birthday. Mostly, there were blizzards (usually if I had a party planned) but there were also a couple of ice storms. In high school, people used to plan on not having school on either my birthday or Feb 1st – and they were never disappointed, except for the year the two days fell on a weekend.
I hate snow and/or cold weather for the most part, but I often tell people I like snow on two days – Christmas and my birthday. To not have snow on my birthday is kind of like God forgetting to get me a present.
And makes me believe global warming is becoming an even more serious situation than I first thought.
Fabulous post by Reddhedd entitled “A Question of Doing What’s Right” at firedoglake. You have to scroll down a bit to find it, but it’s well worth the effort. And then, once you’ve read it, get off your butt and start working for a better future for all working Americans!
“CEOs for some of the major corporations in this country make obscene amounts of money, all the while, in a lot of cases, running the company into the ground and then taking off on their golden parachute ride — leaving behind the folks who are living on the margins on their $7 an hour (and that’s a great salary for a whole huge group of people in this country, let me tell you) to pick the pieces out of all those broken promises.
We need a voice for those people. John Edwards picked up this theme in the last election cycle during the primaries — with his Two Americas — and I would love to see that discussion continued into 2006. People who make $7 an hour (or less) can’t afford to hire Jack Abramoff to represent their interests to the big shots in Washington. They generally aren’t in any sort of union — which would at least give them a possibility of an organized voice of some sort (although these days, that certainly isn’t assured). They have no big money voice to back them up in Washington.
These are the folks that Democrats used to be able to depend on for a vote — because the party spent time working on issues that lifted up the least of our nation, to give them a shot at the American dream, just like everyone else.” (emphasis mine)
Wal-mart Stores, Inc. announced today it is ending charity food donations from all of its Wal-marts, SuperCenters, and Sam’s Clubs. Fearing a potential lawsuit from a homeless, starving person, Walmart says it will no longer donate nearly-expired and expired food to local groups feeding the hungry. Instead, they’ll be throwing it away.
“If they were giving it away somewhere else that wouldn’t be so bad, but the fact is, it’s going into the garbage,” said Owen Foley of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Locker at Presentation Church in Sacramento. “I mean, there’s a big need.”
The motto stated a lie. If this nation has ever trusted in God, that time has gone by; for nearly half a century almost its entire trust has been in the Republican party and the dollar — mainly the dollar. I recognize that I am only making an assertion and furnishing no proof; I am sorry, but this is a habit of mine; sorry also that I am not alone in it; everybody seems to have this disease. — Mark Twain*
The more things change….
*(in Bernard DeVoto, ed., Mark Twain in Eruption: Hitherto Unpublished Pages About Men and Events (1940), quoted from Barbara Schmidt, ed., “Mark Twain Quotations, Newspaper Collections, & Related Resources”)
Pat Robertson claims Sharon’s stroke was a divine punishment from God
Let’s see, Pat has called for an assassination, threatened a small PA town, and now says God causes strokes (and probably other bad things). Hmmm.
To quote Mark Twain: “If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be — a Christian.” — Notebook
11 Soldiers Die In Iraq
Deadliest day since December 1st brings the US military death toll to 2,194. But hey, we’re turning the corner…last throes….growing democracy. Really.
Delay’s Non-Profit Under Investigation
The Texas prosecutor has widened the investigation of Tom Delay to include his US Family Network.
Doctor Says Mine Survivor Is Not Comatose
Randal McCloy is receiving hyperbaric oxygen treatments at Allegany General Hospital, where he is listed in “stable but critical” condition. Doctors say he is showing signs that suggest it is not a coma.
A couple reporters called “bullshit” – though in ways ever so polite. Helen Thomas of the AP got in a couple good shots.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think I just touched on it. Iran needs to abide by the agreements that it has made and needs to fully comply with its international obligations. The actions and statements that the regime is making only serve to further isolate the regime in Iran from the rest of the international community. We have serious concerns about their pursuit of nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. They have a long history of concealment and a long history of failing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. And Secretary Rice talked earlier today about this very matter, as well, and she made it clear that if it becomes clear the negotiations have run their course, then we have the votes at the International Atomic Energy Agency to go to the Security Council, to refer the matter to the Security Council. There is a resolution that is sitting there, and the votes are there to refer the matter.
Remember, the last meeting they had, they called on Iran again to come back to negotiations and act in good faith. We continue to support the efforts of the European-3 to resolve this diplomatically, but Iran’s most recent actions and statements only show that they are continuing to pursue a course that isolates it from the rest of the world.
This is a matter of trust. They have shown in the past they cannot be trusted, and that’s why these negotiations are so important.
Q You said that threats need to be confronted. If Iran doesn’t listen to the Security Council, what options are left?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President has talked about this in the past, and we’ve talked about it in the past. We continue to support the efforts of the European-3 to resolve this in a diplomatic way. But if the negotiations come to an end and it becomes clear, then the Security Council is something that the international community is prepared to refer the matter to.
Q Scott, some of what you’re saying sounds an awful lot like the preamble to Iraq.
MR. McCLELLAN: No.
Q So how long do they have?
Q (Helen Thomas-AP) Does the President think that 120 people dying in Iraq, after we’re nearly three years into this war, is tolerable?
MR. McCLELLAN: The Iraqi people, Helen, have shown time and time again that they want to live in freedom. I think it’s important to look at what took place in December. There are terrorists and Saddam loyalists –
Q Why are we there? Why are we killing people there?
MR. McCLELLAN: — there are terrorists and Saddam loyalists — because we’re transforming the Middle East, and that will help us lay the foundations of peace for generations to come.
Q — didn’t ask you to do that, their country.
MR. McCLELLAN: We were attacked on September 11th and –
Q We were not attacked by Iraqis.
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think we ever said we were. But what we learned on that day was that this is not a law enforcement war we’re engaged in. This is a war about the safety and security of the American people. It’s not a law enforcement matter. It’s a war. We are a nation at war. And this is a comprehensive effort that we’re taking. We’re not ignoring threats. We are confronting threats before it’s too late. And that’s what this President will –
Q You had none from Iraq.
MR. McCLELLAN: — that’s what this President will continue to do because he knows his most important responsibility is protecting the American people. And spreading democracy in the broader Middle East is vital to our own nation’s –
Q Don’t do it by attacking an innocent country.
MR. McCLELLAN: — vital to our own nation’s security. And the Iraqi people have shown they are deeply appreciative of the efforts that we have undertaken to remove a regime that was a threat and a destabilizing force in a dangerous region of the world. And we are going to change a troubled region for the better, and it will help lay the foundations of peace for generations to come.
This is one of those “repeat the same words over and over in different ways to cover the fact that you’re saying nothing of substance” quotes of Scotty’s:
Q Scott, you said some of the members of the Cabinet Hall of Fame who met with the President this morning had suggestions on how to go forward. Did any of them challenge the President or have any questions about the wisdom of the overall strategy to date?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think there’s a common commitment within that room to succeed in Iraq. Everybody in that room understands the importance of succeeding. And I think everybody in that room would say the same publicly. It’s important that we succeed in Iraq. Sure, there are differences of opinions. The President talked about that in his remarks. There were some that didn’t support the decision that he made to go into Iraq. Presidents have to make tough decisions and he’s fully aware of the decisions that he makes and the consequences of those decisions —
In an interview with James Risen – the man who broke the story on the illegal NSA wiretapping – Andrea Mitchell asks if he’d heard or knew anything about CNN’s Christiane Amanpour being wiretapped. He responds that he hadn’t heard that. Now, the fascinating thing is that NBC changed it’s transcript of the interview after it had already posted it. Americablog has both transcripts.
So, I have a few unanswered questions. Were journalists wiretapped? How many, and which ones? Why did Andrea Mitchell bring up Amanpour – a rival network’s correspondent? And, if Amanpour was indeed wiretapped, why her?
Yes, reporters were most likely tapped – especially those who have questioned or criticized the administration and its policies – in order to keep tabs on who they were talking to, the type of information they were getting, and what they were telling their superiors.
A few frightening thoughts spring to mind, though, when it comes to Christiane Amanpour. One is they were after her husband’s conversations. James Rubin was a spokesman for the State Dept from 1997-2000 and a foreign policy advisor to John Kerry and General Wesley Clark.
The second is, if anyone was going to get an interview with Osama Bin Laden or one of his lieutenants, it would be her. She’s just that good. And I’m sure she’s been trying to score something like that. Who wouldn’t? So, it’s possible that the NSA was listening in on the off-chance than one of OBL’s henchmen would give her a shout-out.
The third is that it might have had some connection to the fact that Amanpour is the daughter of Iranians who fled Iran during the 1979 revolution. (Although from the age of eleven, she was a student at boarding schools in Britain.)
One point to remember amidst all the speculation: If this proves to be true, the gov’t could say it was completely legal, as Christiane most likely has contacts within the Al-Qaida network, and she and her husband live in London.
Former Steeler and Hall of Famer Lynn Swann announced his candidacy in Pittsburgh. Swann joins three other Republicans in the race for the nomination.
“If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife,
I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away. ”
These days, I guess the flag only stands for freedom if you’re white, Christian, and Republican.
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