Sunday, August 19, 2007

Truest statement of the week

The real problem, I want to argue today, is confidence, our confidence, the confidence of people who gather at events like this under the banner of building another world, a kinder more sustainable world. I think we lack the strength of our convictions, the guts to back up our ideas with enough muscle to scare our elites. We are missing movement power. That’s what we're missing. "The best lacked all convictions,” Yeats wrote, "while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Think about it. Do you want to tackle climate change as much as Dick Cheney wants Kazakhstan's oil? Do you? Do you want universal healthcare as much as Paris Hilton wants to be the next new face of Estee Lauder? If not, why not? What is wrong with us? Where is our passionate intensity?

-- Naomi Klein, "Naomi Klein: From Think Tanks to Battle Tanks, 'The Quest to Impose a Single World Market Has Casualties Now in the Millions'" (Democracy Now!, August 15, 2007).

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Another Sunday. Another rough Sunday.

Here's who worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,

Rebecca of
Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,

Betty of
Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,

C.I. of
The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,

Kat of
Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),

Cedric of
Cedric's Big Mix,

Mike of
Mikey Likes It!,

Elaine of
Like Maria Said Paz,

and Wally of
The Daily Jot

We thank them all. We thank Dallas for his help (soundboard and links). We thank Isaiah for permission to reprint his illustrations.

Here's what we got:

Truest statement of the week -- Naomi Klein's speech has many amazing moments in it. We went with this one. Use the DN! link to figure out if you'd have selected something different.

Editorial: The death toll from the illegal war mou... -- "mounts." That cut off. So be it. We're too tired to mess with it. The 3700 mark has been crossed. A lot of marks have (but still no 'benchmarks'!) but the Bully Boy wants us to all believe the escalation has worked. It hasn't.

TV: Another cesspool trying to pass for news -- Ava and C.I. hitting hard. I thought they were going to do George Lopez. They didn't. They may be punishing me. It's also true that we were short on time and due to an idiot (and a stalker, Jim says it), they weren't in the mood. They want it noted that they are not endorsing any religion. (There's a reference to God where they're referring to God with a gender. That was for the piece. Not to endorse.) They also want it noted that they were promised ten minutes to do a rewrite on one section but they didn't get it. There wasn't time. The spacing on their reviews is always way off (due to our template, not their own spacing of it). I tried to fix it when I offered to put in their illustration (done by Jess and Rebecca) and ended up knocking out half their review. They had to retype it and there wasn't time for a real polish of the section they wanted to fix. If you're thinking, "They never want to polish!" That is correct. It's the sentence with "crap" in it, they say right now. They were limited because there was no time for an e-mail alert on language and they don't think "attitude" is the word they were searching for. Regardless, it is hard hitting and you will laugh. (And remember, they always hate what they write no matter what. I really love this week's commentary.)

Getting to know . . . Pelosi -- The idiot put us all behind. C.I. insisted on calling the parents (or in Ty's case, the grandparents) of each of us to say a security detail team came through the home, "I'm sure it's nothing but I want you to know what is going on." These were long conversations. (No one's parents were worried or grandparents in Ty's case. All of have been out here. All know the various security measures in the house. But C.I.'s attitude was, "I don't worry about me but if something happens, it would be to one of you." So everyone got notified about the idiot e-mailing.) Due to that putting us way behind starting time, Dona proposed short pieces all the way through. Ava looked at C.I. C.I. looked at Ava. "F**k that, we're not going soft just because a creep threatens." This is a long piece and took longer to research and discuss than it probably did to write.

17 US service members announced dead last week -- Dona's cry for a short piece did register here and one other place.

The boom goes bust -- Not here. C.I. brought in three friends to explain this to us. (As Mike noted last week, he's confused on this topic.) They were told "Keep it as simple as possible. We have to understand it and then we have to be able to explain it." The tutorial lasted about 45 minutes. Then we went to work writing. (Elaine, Rebecca, C.I. and Cedric already grasped the basics, just FYI.) (C.I. adds, "I believe Betty did as well.")

Once up a time . . . A scary tale -- Don't you love our fiction pieces?

Timothy J. Learn arrested for being AWOL in Ithaca... -- short pieces. Dona sighed a sigh of relief when this was completed.

Highlights -- Mike, Wally, Betty, Rebecca, Cedric, Kat and Elaine wrote this and picked highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them for it.

So it was a shorter writing edition because it started late, it was a crazy Saturday evening (Ruth saw the e-mails, everyone else was avoiding them because the last were filled with abuse), but we pulled it off and didn't end up with the light edition Dona was willing to settle for. "Having pulled it together this weekend, I don't think we ever have an excuse," says Dona.

So that's that. See you next week.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: The death toll from the illegal war mounts

December 31, 2006, our editorial was "Editorial: The 3,000 mark looms." The photo accompanied it and we belive it another illustration made it up at all community sites before New Year's Eve was over due to the fact that the 3,000 mark had been reached.

Yesterday, the Bully Boy gave yet another laughable radio address where he declared that "powerful blows" were being struck.

He didn't mean US fatalities.

He might just as well have.

Thursday, announced deaths took the total number of US service members killed in the illegal war since Bully Boy started it to 3700.

To repeat, on December 31st, the count reached 3000. 700 more deaths have been reported since then.

The only thing escalating in Bully Boy's escalation has been the number of the dead.

Thursday another mark loomed. 4,000 dead. That mark was reached on Friday. As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported Friday, "In Iraq, the coalition death toll has now topped four thousand. The vast majority are American, with thirty-seven hundred and two U.S. troops killed. Forty-four U.S. service members have died this month."

Last week also saw Jonathan Weisman and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) report that the White House was trying to cut off access to Gen. David Petreaus' long promised, heavily hyped, September 15th report to Congress that would instead have sections delivered by the Secretaries of State and Defense and Petreaus would testify in closed session to Congress. The administration wanted to shut the public out of the debate. Under pressure from unusually feisty Democrats, the White House backed down on that effort.

The White House also began making noises (publicly and through selective leaks) that their might be a cut in the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq. As Steven Lee Myers and Thom Shanker (New York Times) reported yesterday, "One administration official made it clear that the goal of the planned announcement was to counter public pressure for a more rapid reduction and to try to win support for a plan that could keep American involvement in Iraq on 'a sustainable footing' as least through the end of the Bush presidency." Somke and mirrors.

Tuesday saw a bombing in northern Iraq where the fatalities were over 250 and some figures reported the death toll was as high as 500. Nouri al-Maliki who, last summer, pledged $35 million to Lebanon offered his own citizens a paltry $1600 to surviving families for each family member they lost. Just Foreign Policy's count for the number of Iraqis who have died in the illegal war since it began now stands at 1,012, 979.

Nouri al-Maliki's also shut out the Sunni's in his newfound 'alliance' thereby trashing the White House's own 'benchmarks' ('benchmark' two and sixteen for those keeping score at home). In other words, 'progress' in Iraq is the same as it was last week, and the week before, and the week before that, and the week before . . .

Democrats in Congress better get serious about ending the illegal war. Voters are not going to see waiting until a few months (or, in Bully Boy's case, a few weeks) before the November 2008 elections as getting serious. Democrats were elected to end the illegal war.

If they can't or won't get serious on that issue, they will deserve any and all fallout they get.

As Tina Richards, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out point out: Funding the war is killing the troops. Congress can end the illegal war anytime they decide they want to and most Americans have already caught on. The same way they've caught on to Operation Happy Talk: CNN reported last week that a recent poll found 53% of Americans expect Petreaus's "military assement of the situation in Iraq will try to make it sound better than it actually is."

TV: Another cesspool trying to pass for news

I'm an insider, I been burned by the fire

And I've had to live with some hard promises

I've crawled through the briers -- I'm an insider

Stevie Nicks sings the above on Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker's "Insider" (we prefer the live version on Pack Up The Plantation Live!). A show probing the insiders in government (both in official positions and just 'friends' to the elected) could make for a solid hour of TV, putting their lives under the microscope but you know TV, they prefer to go the other way. ABC has a new summer treat, it's called The Outsiders and airs under the Primetime umbrella. They trotted it out last August as well and if you're thinking an hour of television exploring one topic can result in hard hitting news you obviously missed last year's examination of a couple raising a chimp as their child.

This summer's focus includes topics such as "when siblings are also lovers!" so if you're thinking it's Jerry Springer with less yelling and more voice overs, you are correct.

Last week, they went with "They're an all-American family -- only with multiple wives!" The setting was Centennial Park, Arizona and the hour was all about the buzz as alleged news reporters tossed out things like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "The Bachelor: Polygam Edition." Too 'cute' for this world? Too 'cute' to qualify as journalists.

The focus was on 32-year-old Ariel Hammon and, despite the name, he is a male. Which was a shame because you got the feeling if he'd been a female, the non-news staff would have asked him to don a fishtail and tried to promote a tie-in with corporate parent Disney's The Little Mermaid. Hammon is no tootsie in a push-up, conch shell bra. He's considered 'attractive' in his own community and, should multiple chins ever catch in larger society, he might be considered attractive in the mainstream as well. Hammon currently has two wives and, as we type, he may be searching for number three.

Helen is now 30-years-old and she's birthed seven children. Lisa is 20-years-old so she's only had time to give birth to two. Both were drawn to Hammon when they were his math students in high school. It's a nice little racket . . . if you're a male.

They are not without problems, you quickly learn, space is an issue. But the community (males) help out by doing home additions. Of course that wasn't the problem that concerned the male reporter. His question was much more base and prurient, how do they figure out sleeping arrangements?

Ariel decides who he wants to sleep with. Not-so-studly Ariel explains that it's for the wives to deal with any conflict between themselves over his selections and young Lisa explains, "If it [Ariel's interest] goes away for her, what's going to happen to me when another wife comes in? I want him to love her as much as he loves me."

Now ABC's write up online doesn't do it justice because it's all "Dear Penthouse . . ." titillation. Those who caught the broadcast are well aware that other issues were addressed -- not as much as the sex but what do you expect from the cesspool that ABC News seems determined to be?

Ariel explained he was very religious (this was after the wives insisted Jesus Himself had multiple wives and they had been taught that as children -- another detail the cutesy write up of the cutesy broadcast overlooks). He is moral, you understand. And African-Americans are not.

He explained that and how they were the children of Cain and how they were cursed. When questioned about how his religion didn't sound very encompassing and makes him sound like a racist (the newsie worded it more kindly), Ariel replied, "Perhaps it does, what can I say?"

What can we say? How about the religion in question is, of course, Mormon? Maybe Mitt Romney should be asked whether he believes African-Americans are cursed and a curse before he next explains how his five sons serve their country by campaigning for him? We'd hope that's not the case but since ABC promoted it as such, there should be some questions.

The Outsiders is a cheap thrill ride and we aren't exempting ourselves. (More on that in a moment.) It should be subtitled: For Those Who've Longed to Watch Springer But Have Been Afraid to Try.

It existed to push buttons and it certainly pushed ours.

We debated at length, after the program, how this should be dealt with or even if it should be?

If this were a family in Manhattan with three spouses (not all formally married), would we raise an eyebrow? No.

But in other areas, Atlanta, GA is another example of an area that wouldn't raise an eyebrow for us, the children growing up would be educated. This isn't a free choice, this is an extreme religious mandate.

Listening to a pathetic teenage female insist that she looks forward to being one of many wives demonstrates this is not a free choice. She declared, "If he has six or seven wives, I'd accept that. The man is not ours. We are given to the man but we can't claim him. So as many wives as he would want, he can have. As long as it's what God wants."

We seriously doubt God's spending all Her time worrying whether or not Ariel's satisfied his nookie cravings. But pay attention to that teenage girl's statement because we attempted to be open-minded (about the multiple spouses, not about the racism) and explore our own prejudices. We kept coming back to that statement. And the grinning teenage males (including a George P. Bush lookalike) who just came off so entitled (they largely avoided speaking on camera) and so pleased as punch.

The women are taught that they are "given" and that they have no "claim" on their husband. And of course, it's not the other way around. If a woman in the community decided she wanted to practice the converse and stock up on husbands, she'd be run out of town (if she were lucky).

These young girls are raised with nothing but lies. This isn't people choosing a living situation.
A man living with two consenting, informed women or one woman living with two consenting, informed males (or more for either), it's not our bag, but hey, whatever.

But these people are isolated in a community of 1200. The young girls are taught that they are gifts and that they have no say (the church -- run by the males -- arranges the marriages). They are taught that Jesus had multiple wives.

And we kept coming back to a story we heard on the road Tuesday when speaking about the illegal war to a women's group. After other women had spoken, one woman stood up and said she was against the illegal war but wanted to bring up something "completely off topic" because it had happened that morning and it still disturbed her. She was a municipal worker and headed a department. The city's public property was wanted for an event. The man wanting it showed up for the scheduled meeting. She extended her hand and he refused to shake it. He instead shoved his hand out to a male she had hired the week before and began talking to him while ignoring her completely.

The male worker had to repeatedly turn to her and ask if this or that arrangement were alright? It was as though he was translating.

She asked the man, who was Muslim, at the end of the meeting why he ignored her handshake and her hand. She listened as he explained to her male underling that it is sexual and forbidden to touch another woman besides one's wife and that he avoids all contact with women who are not his wife.

Now you've probably heard a similar story at some point in the last few years. (And certainly Ellen Goodman's written about this before in her columns.) But the woman goes into her office and calls her supervisor to explain what has just happened. His reply (yeah, it's a man) was that maybe they should have the new guy (who hasn't even passed his six months probation) handle these matters?

That's where we say, "Your attitude is crap" -- don't blame it on a religion when you're choosing to mingle with people who don't practice it.

A man wants to utilize public property, he damn well better be able to interact with everyone or keep his bigoted ass off public property. The city the woman works for has a tolerance policy (we asked) and she mentioned that to her boss who explained that they had to be "tolerant" of others. No, that's not how it works. The policy (we asked and, later in the week, she e-mailed us a copy of it) speaks both of tolerance in the population and tolerance in the work force. That means she can't discriminate against someone and that should also mean citizens can't openly discriminate against her. The city is supposed to protect their employees.

If a citizen had showed up and been waited on by a male who was gay, created a huge scene about the man being gay, he would have been asked to leave. By the same token, she heads the department, she is over all scheduling and booking, and if someone can't interact with her because she's a woman, then they aren't showing tolerance.

Her concern, the woman's, was that her city has a growing Muslim population and not all Muslims are as 'strict' in their interactions but, if it's thought that they are, she sees this new hire (male) getting to do her duties and wonders at what point she, who has given 12 years to this city, is going to find herself phased out?

That's discrimination. If your religion forbids you to interact with women, gays, lesbians, people of color, you have no business holding an event on public property. If you can't interact with the person in charge of the city property, you have no business requesting it.

The man was attempting to show that Muslims were just like everyone else . . . and promote his new business. We don't think he should have been granted access to public property if he refuses to interact with women. And we damn sure don't think that because bigots exist in society a city with a tolerance policy should consider removing capable employees (discrimination) because prejudices refuse to allow the bigots to interact with them.

This is the United States and everyone is free to worship however they please (including not worshipping). They're also free to think whatever they want. However, they are not free to discriminate. One woman in the group, a Muslim, knew the man (whom the city worker had not identified by name) and called him a "real pig." She explained he runs a store and will not wait on a woman who comes in by herself or with other women. He refuses those women service. So if you're starving and unmarried or widowed, prepare to starve. She had filled a basket, gone to check out and had him ignore her while looking straight through her. She compared it to places that, in this country, once refused service to African-Americans.

We agree. We further feel that should the city employee and the man bump into one another in a grocery store, he can ignore her all he wants (and she him) but when he's needing a city service and she's the one over it, he either needs to find a way to interact with her or he needs to forget about the city service. And no city needs to accommodate him by providing him with a male. If a woman has the job, she has the job. If she's in charge, she's in charge. And if he can't handle that, he can do without whatever he believes he sorely needs. (The woman said she's praying for the day he has an issue with his water service because all the workers in the water office are women.)

(For the record, we do have Muslim male friends who will not shake any woman's hands but none of them refuse to talk to or interact with women. If they did, they obviously wouldn't be our friends. We also have friends who are much less 'othordox.')

So we kept coming back to that. We kept coming back to this extreme version of a religion that teaches women that they have no rights, teaches them that Jesus had multiple wives, teaches them that African-Americans are cursed. And we kept coming back to the very closed society they lived in that reinforced those beliefs. We saw no free will. We saw no evidence of independent thinking. We saw indoctrination.

And before we knew it, we'd wasted an hour of time discussing the topic.

It is a thrill ride, The Outsiders. It's also junk news. It's as though ABC heard of the late and lamented Freeks & Geeks, thought that was a news program and decided to copy it. Imagine if that weekly hour were used on real news, imagine if they used it to explore the illegal war, the Pentagon's cost overruns, the realities of No Child Left Behind or any other topic that very much touches American lives?

Instead, they want to explore multiple wives, they want to explore siblings that sleep together, chimps raised as children. It's Springer and his cast of oddballs done in a more subdued manner. But it's not news. And that the same Disney Corporation that refused to distribute Micheal Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 while claiming they couldn't afford to offend anyone (while, it should be noted, programming right-wingers constantly on their ABC talk radio line up), thinks they can offer this crap and get away with it by calling it news may be the most offensive thing about The Outsiders.

Getting to know . . . Pelosi

Four years ago on Monday, our nation launched an ill-conceived war of choice in Iraq. The war has claimed the lives of nearly 3,200 American troops; wounded tens of thousands more, thousands of them grievously. It has brought our military’s readiness to the lowest levels since the Vietnam war, cost billions of dollars; and significantly damaged the standing of the United States in the eyes of the world.
The American people made clear in last fall’s election, however, that they have lost confidence in the President's ability to bring the war to an end. They want a new direction on Iraq. Next week, the full House will debate legislation that presents a clear choice: either we continue with an open-ended war or we have tough accountability leading to the responsible redeployment of our troops.

So said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, March 19, 2007. And no, Nancy, it wasn't "ill-conceived," it was illegal. As the National Lawyers Guild president Marjorie Cohn explained to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!, August 6, 2007):

The war was a premeditated, deliberate violation of the law. The UN Charter, also a treaty, also part of US law, says the only two instances where a country can use force against another is in self-defense or when the Security Council agrees. And there was never any evidence that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to us or to any other country. He hadn't invaded any country for twelve years, since Kuwait, and he had really been -- his military had been neutered by the Gulf War, by the punishing sanctions, by the bombings in the no-fly zones. And the Bush administration knew that. They knew that, and yet they sold this war. They sold this war. . . . But I think that it's very important not to say "the war was a mistake, the war is being fought incompetently." The war is illegal, and it's also immoral. It's killing thousands of US soldiers. It's killing tens of thousands of Iraqis, and it's draining our National Treasury. And the majority of American people know this, but Congress has not caught on yet.

But Pelosi is correct that in the November 2006 elections, the voters made clear that they wanted "a new direction in Iraq" and that direction was Out of Iraq. Pelosi knew that prior to the 2006 elections. She told Marc Sandalow (San Francisco Chronicle), "This election is about Iraq. . . . If indeed it turns out the way that people expect it to turn out, the American people will have spoken, and they will have rejected the course of action the president is on." In the same interview, she spoke of the failure to prevent the illegal war (which, of course, she didn't call illegal) as "her gravest disappointment in public life."

Now we don't know about her but tend to think a true "gravest disappointment" is something you work to immediately rectify, not toss it on your low priority list. In her first 100 days summation, we give her credit for noting that the 'benchmarks' were Bully Boy's (not the Iraqi people's, nor the US Congress' 'benchmarks', "meet the President's benchmarks for progress," she declared). But we're failing how to see the her bragging that the House she leads adopting the Bully Boy's own benchmarks qualifies as "a new direction in Iraq"? Nor do we see anything other 'symbolic' measures undertaken by the Congress. In her 100 days brag list she takes credit for "calling for responsible redeployment of most U.S. troops by August 31, 2008." If it happens (and there's no indication it will) that will be just in time for the November 2008 elections and people didn't vote for change in November 2006 to wait around for it to possibly happen right before the next election.

On May 10th, she inflated reality and played a con game on the American people by declaring, "This legislation ends the blank check for the President’s war without end. It provides a path to stability in the Middle East by changing our mission in Iraq, and enables us to focus on the threat of terrorism." Was the mission changed? No. It did, however, credit where it's due, take away Bully Boy's blank check for the illegal war. Instead, the Congress provided him with a debit card -- less paperwork and more environmental friendly.

July 12th, Pelosi was citing the Bully Boy's report to Congress on 'progress' in Iraq and declaring, "The report describes a policy badly in need of a New Direction." Again with the new direction (but this time first letters in caps), but where's the action on that? Two days prior to that she was decrying the escalation that she didn't pass any plan to prevent, though a symbolic measure expressing displeasure was rammed through, and she was noting the "strategy has failed before and is failing now." So exactly what does she intend to do about it and when?

There doesn't seem to be much urgency on the part of Pelosi and, to point it out again, she said (November 2006) that not being able to prevent the illegal war from starting was one of the "gravest disappointments" she had experienced in public life.

Can we take Nancy Pelosi at her word?

Here's what she said on March 19, 2007 in her official statement: "Americans stand united behind our men and women in uniform. We pray for the swift and successful disarmament of Iraq with the least possible loss of life among our forces and the civilians of Iraq. Congress will ensure our armed forces have the support they need to prevail in the difficult and dangerous mission in which they are now engaged. God bless our courageous forces and their brave families. God bless the President of the United States. God bless America." Woah there, Sister Nancy, not sure everyone in the back of the pews heard you, but it doesn't sound to us like someone opposed to the illegal war. Sister Nancy was in prayer mode and sending up hosannas while giving shout outs to a "successful disarmament of Iraq" but Iraq had no WMDs. It's a cute little prayer meant to make her sound good but from what she said in November 2006, it's hardly an honest statement.

So exactly when is Nancy Pelosi telling it like it is?

The following day, she did note "I disagree with the policy that took us to this war. I dispute some of the arguments used in favor of this resolution, and I am disappointed in some of the provisions in this resolution. But even those objections cannot overcome the pride and appreciation that I have in our troops. And the message I want them to hear from us tonight of our support for them." And she was in rah-rah mode non-stop, noting the "first" causalities -- Americans and the British. Apprarently Pelosi knew of no Iraqis dying from the falling bombs which is rather surprising for a member of Congress whom you'd expect to be well informed. But she had the religious fever ("GOD BLESS AMERICA!" . . . okay, but just because you said so, Nancy).

In April 2003, accepting a peace award (no, we didn't make that up, the Alan J. Cranston Peace Award) she was still pushing the myth of WMDs, "Like many of my constituents, like many Americans, I did not believe that going to war at this time was the best way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. That is why I voted against the resolution that brought us into this war." There were no WMDs to get rid of, Pelosi. Knight-Ridder knew it, why didn't a member of Congress?

The first anniversary of the illegal war must have slipped her mind so it took her office a month (April 14, 2004) to get a statement together: "From the outset, the President’s Iraq policy has had little basis in reality. In a country supposedly brimming with weapons of mass destruction, none has been found. Our troops continue to be met with rockets, not roses as the Bush Administration claimed, and we have lost more than 670 lives." No, there weren't WMDs, it was a lie. It's a shame it took Pelosi so long to grasp that very basic fact.

Yet she still wasn't calling for troops to be pulled. It was, after all, an election year.

The second anniversary of the illegal war passed without a peep from "Peace" awardee Nancy Pelosi. In May, she gave a commencement address in Baltimore but apparently didn't want to 'trouble' graduates by noting the illegal war. Finally, in June of 2005, she got around to mentioning what she termed "a war of choice" (but still didn't call it illegal) and also pushed what may actually be her hallmark soundbyte on the illegal war, "Specifically, my amendment would require that the President, within 30 days of the enactment of the defense appropriations bill, submit to Congress a report identifying the criteria that will be used to determine when it is appropriate to begin to bring our troops home from Iraq. It does not require the troops to be brought home by a particular date; it requires only that the means for judging when they can be brought home be shared with the Congress." Did she get a peace award in 2003 or an award for being meek? She stood on the floor of Congress and called not for withdrawal but for 'means for judging' and hasn't that been at the heart of everything's that come to pass since she assumed the Speaker of the House post in January of this year?

Later in June, she echoed herself but added that the war was "a grotesque mistake". As noted, by her own office, in a caption to a photo of her meeting Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan in September 2005, "Rep. Pelosi has repeatedly called for the Bush Administration to provide Congress with a plan providing benchmarks for determining when U.S. troops in Iraq could be brought home." That is what she repeatedly did publicly. She accepted, publicly, the administration's lies and repeated them, she noted WMD repeatedly. Iraq had no WMD. She repeatedly failed to call for an end to the illegal war, just some reports on 'progress,' if you please.

November 30, 2005 she was urging everyone to follow Jack Murtha (because she had no leadership to offer?) and noted of the Bully Boy's speech, "Instead, he suggested that we send more troops and spend more money in Iraq. This is not what the American people want." That was November 2005 so why did she push a symbolic measure on the escalation that began last February, while she was Speaker of the House, instead of fighting it head on? In November 2005, she was saying more troops and more money weren't "what the American people want." So why did she go along with it?

Having missed the first and second anniversaries of the illegal war, Pelosi must have decided to get a jump on the third by issuing an issuing a statement on March 13, 2006 where she declared, "Instead of launching yet another public relations campaign, President Bush should use his speeches this week to provide a strategy to bring our brave men and women home safely and soon." She was still shoveling it though -- pushing that the illegal war suffered from "poor planning" -- but she did (finally) seem to realize the troops needed to come home.

In June of 2006, while giving shout outs to Blue Dog 'Democrats,' Pelosi noted Iraq for a bit: "Nowhere is the need for a New Direction for America more obvious than in Iraq. Certainly, the most important is the loss of life; we passed 2,500 lives lost, and nearly 20,00 have been injured, half of them permanently." But you don't get to rise to Minority Leader (as she then was) without addressing the really 'important' issue and Pelosi got to what mattered (to her): "But, what about the money?"

In October of 2006, she sat down for the now infamous interview conducted by Lesley Stahl (CBS' 60 Minutes) where she declared impeachment was "off the table." Stahl noted of Pelosi,

"The Democrats think Iraq is a winning issue for them, and so Pelosi fires away as she campaigns for different candidates almost every day, from toney towns in Connecticut to Minnesota's farm country." Yes, she was very, very happy to campaign on that issue. She wasn't eager to do anything about once Democrats gained control of the House and she was sworn in as Speaker of the House. Before that took place, on December 6, 2006, she declared that Bully Boy's Iraq 'policies' had failed and she called for "a bipartisan fashion to find a way to end the war as quickly as possible." She's provided no leadership on the Iraq issue. She has cried, "Follow Jack Murtha!" The eighth Congressional district of California did not wake up yesterday or last year opposed to the illegal war. They have consistently opposed the illegal war. But, whether she was Minority Leader or Speaker of the House, she has consistently refused to represent her own constituents.

That can be traced to many other issues. Pelosi had time to fly to the MCI Center to introduce the Dahli Lama but what has she really done for gay rights? That is another huge issue in the Bay Area. Pelosi loves to release statements of congratulations from time to time but she didn't include any reference to gays and lesbians in her statements on the First 100 Days under her leadership. From the 60 Minutes interview:

Pelosi doubts the attacks will work since most Americans have no idea who she is. Besides, at the urging of her colleagues, she has downplayed her pro-abortion rights, anti-gun positions since becoming leader, instead promoting more centrist issues like raising the minimum wage and energy independence.

"You don't talk about those big liberal issues you used to fight for up here," Stahl remarks.

"I've never walked away from any of my positions. I take pride in them," the congresswoman replies.

Asked about gay marriage, Pelosi says, "Well, that's an issue that is not an issue that we're fighting about here."

If you live in the Bay Area (and seven of us writing this feature do), it may be time to ask yourself exactly what you thought you were getting when you sent Nancy Pelosi to Congress? Did you send her there to break "the marble ceiling"? If so, she has broken it. And now what's she's going to do? The Bay Area is overwhelming opposed to the illegal war, overwhelming wants the Bully Boy impeached, is extremely pro-choice and has led the nation on gay rights. So why is that the Congress member they have sent to DC is unwilling to represent them?

Exactly when is she going to be held accountable. New Yorker Katha Pollitt who (unless she intends to carpetbag in as she did for the Ned Lamont race in Conn.) announced recently that Cindy Sheehan should drop out of the race. Apparently that passes for 'feminism' at The Nation. But Pollitt doesn't live in the Bay Area (and really should avoid advising the area after she ticked off so many feminists in the area last month). she doesn't know the first thing she's talking about.

Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan is running against Pelosi. Good. At best, the area might get a Congress member who actually represented them in DC. At worst, Pelosi's going to have to stop moving to the center for 'the national stage' and start representing the people back home. There is no 'lose' in Sheehan running. Pelosi has gone unchecked and unchallenged for far too long (and she's consistently refused to debate any opponent in a public forum). At a minimum, Sheehan's race announces the free ride is over for Nancy Pelosi. She'll either start representing her district or she won't. It's put up or shut time for Pelosi and the hand maidens of The Nation should probably keep their large noses out of a local race. They don't live there and they repeatedly fail to represent the area or its values.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Pelosi Buys the War" captured the Pelosi the Bay Area has had to live with back in March.


17 US service members announced dead last week


Last week, 17 US service members were announced dead.

Alun R. Howells was 20-years-old, from Parlin, Colorado and he died in Baghdad on August 13th from enemy fire.

Juan M. Lopez Jr. was 23-years-old, from San Antonio, Texas and he died in Qayyarah, Iraq from IED on August 13th.

Eric D. Cottrell was 39-years-old, from Pittsview, Alabama and he also died August 13th in Qayyarah, Iraq from an IED.

Paulomarko U. Pacificador was 24-years-old, from Shirley, New York and he was the third member to die in the August 13th IED explosion in Qayyarah, Iraq.

Shawn D. Henset was 20-years-old, from Logansport, Indiana and he died August 14th in Baghdad from wounds received in an enemy attack. ("The circumstances surrounding the death are under investigation.")

August 14th, a helicopter crashed in al Taqqadum killing five soldiers. They were Christopher C. Johnson who was 31-years-old and from Michigan (no city was given by DoD), Jackie L. McFarlane Jr. who was 30-years-old and from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Sean P. Fisher who was 29-years-old and from Santee, California, Stanley B. Reynolds who was 37-years-old and from Rock, West Virginia, Steven R. Jewell who was 26-years-old and from Bridgeton, North Carolina.

Robert R. Pirelli was 29-years-old, from Franklin, Massachusetts and he died from enemy fire in the Diyala Province on August 15th.

2 US service members died in Baghdad on August 15th from "hostile fire" and the DoD has not identified them yet.

Willard M. Kerchief III was 21-years-old, from Evansville, Indiana and he died in Balad on Agust 16th from enemy fire.

2 US service members died on August 16th in Baghdad one from "non-battle related causes" the other also from "non-battle related causes" with an investigation ongoing into both deaths.

1 US service member died on August 17th in Baghdad from a roadside bombing. DoD has not identified the service member yet.

That's 17 deaths announced.

The boom goes bust

Owning a home provides a source of security and stability for many of our citizens. My Administration is committed to fostering an ownership society and helping more Americans realize the great promise of our country. Today, nearly 70 percent of Americans own their homes, and the rate of minority homeownership has climbed to above 50 percent since I took office in 2001. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is continuing to enforce the Fair Housing Act to confront housing discrimination and advance equal housing opportunities for everyone. We are also working with the Congress to modernize the Federal Housing Administration in order to better provide safe, fair, and affordable mortgages to first-time homeowners, minorities, and individuals with less than perfect credit. In addition, the American Dream Downpayment Act of 2003 is helping thousands of low to moderate income and minority families with the downpayment and closing costs on their homes. My Administration also continues to support more funding for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program and the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which provide low-income citizens and minorities with more homeownership opportunities.

Thus spake the Bully Boy as he declared June National Homeownership Month. Two months ago, lofty words.

Last week Debbie Bell (The Daily Record) noted that Fremont County has been "hit" "hard" in "the last five years" with home foreclosure and cited the Public Trustee Pat McFarland explaining the would be "working on my 200th foreclosure for 2007 this week." 200th foreclosure in 2007 thus far. That's nearly one for every day of the year and it's not just Colorado. The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday that "Chicago had 34,818 foreclosures, or one filing for every 88 households, for the first half of 2007". ePluribus Media notes that Ohio is now "3rd in Nation Home Foreclosures". Staying with Ohio, Lanka Business Online reports 13,600 foreclosures during the first seven months of 2007 in just "Cleveland and Cuyahoga County alone" -- an area which hasn't seen "so many sheriff's sales since America's Great Depression in the 1930s."

Subprime mortgages are home loans lenders have offered to buyers with questionable credit history. Often the borrower is a first time buyer and the lender focuses on the initial rounds of payments (usually the first two years) which seem swingable but after that period, the borrower discovers that after the initial rounds the interest rates skyrocket. This aspect usually goes unexplained. As Sarah Shemkus (Cape Cod Times) explains today, "Many of these loans featured low initial 'teaser' rates, that increased sharply after a few years, leaving many borrowers suddenly facing larger monthly payments. With interest rates rising, home values dropping and credit standards tightening, a growing number of borrowers were unable to afford this higher payment and went into delinquency or foreclosure." The loans can also be resold and that's often not explained to the borrower(s). As Danny Schechter explained to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) last week, "This subprime thing is really serious. I don't know if your viewers are all clear of it, or your listeners, but basically people who didn't have adequate credit to get homes were told, 'No problem. Just pay us a little bit more, and we will give you the mortgage.' Then they took the mortgage. They resold the mortgage back into Wall Street into what are called securitization trusts. These trusts then not only financed more acquisitions and buyouts and the like, but they also basically made incredible amounts of money for these people."

Robert Gavin (The Boston Globe) reported yesterday on one such case where Kim and Stephen Martinelli borrowed from Chase Home Finance and, due to health care for their disabled child, were having trouble when their mortgage payments leaped to $900 a month, the missed payments led to foreclosure notice, Chase Home Fiance refused to work with the family and, "What the Martinellis did not know was that Chase was not calling the shots. Chase merely services the loan, acting as bill collector and administrator. The mortgage was held by an unknown investor, whom Chase declined to identify and who refused to modify the terms of the Martinellis' loan."

Similar stories take place across the country. In Wisconsin, Dan Simmons (La Crosse Tribune) reports on Jane and Randy Wiemerslage who lost their homes after twice responding to mortgage companies promising them lower interest only to be told they were behind in property taxes, they weren't behind and the companies refused to change their records, the Wiemerslage's lost their home and Jane Wiemerslage advises everyone, "Throw all letters from mortgage lenders in the garbage as soon as you get them and never sign a loan paper without a lawyer present" and avoid any loan if it "can be resold on the 'secondary market'."

Alex Benedict (American Homeowners Resource Center) writes today that, "Homeowners will have to pay for their mortgage, which means that fewer homeowners will be able to purchase a home, which means that sellers will have to lower their selling price, which means that some sellers will have to sell for less than they bought, which means that there will be more foreclosures, which means that companies like Countryside will have to take a loss, which means that they will have to borrow more, which means - - - - - If left unchecked, this downward spiral could spin out of control, causing a global crisis in credit as the American mortgage market receives much of its money from global investors."

As the spiral continues, it may be easy for some to assume this is a new problem, an unknown. But nearly a year ago, as Ava and C.I. noted, David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) addressed this in the fourth segment of PBS' Washington Week and noted that, at that time, only the southern portion of the country was doing well.

You didn't need a segment of a PBS half-hour to know there was a problem. Danny Schechter's long been attempting to sound the alarm on the issue. Last week, Amy Goodman noted that the Center for Economic Policy Research says many journalists and economists have long ignored the facts. The housing market has been seriously overvalued for the past ten years. Its collapse will cause a severe recession with grave consequences for millions of families" and that "subprime loans have led to one million American families losing their homes in the past decade."

Danny Schechter discussed the need for debt relief in this country, "In other words Bono has called for debt relief in Africa. We have to start fighting for debt relief in America. A moratorium on these foreclosures would be a first step, and also an investigation into the profiteers on Wall Street." He also charts it at his NewsDissector website and his latest documentary, In Debt We Trust, is about the credit squeeze being imposed on Americans.

He's written of how the US military offers the promise of debt repayment to those that will enlist (many never see any debt repayment) and how the credit crunch effects Americans in every walk of life, every day.

The Chicago Tribune noted that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley declared this weekend that home foreclosure was "a national problem and faulted the federal government for not regulating the issue" asking, "Where was the federal government on this? They completely failed."

Completely failed? While the problem mounted, Bully Boy did nothing . . . except declare June National Home Ownership Month and that bit of symbolism appears to be all that he's planning on doing. Friday in Crawford Texas, White House flack Gordon Johndroe was asked about the possibilities of Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) of Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) "buying mortgages beyond their current limits, or to do anything else to help provide mortgage finance and other credit markets?" and he responded, "I don't believe the White House is going to have any additional comments on the markets or on the mortgage situation." Apparently a June pronouncement is all the 'effort' the White House can manage.

Once up a time . . . A scary tale

Once upon a time there were two would-be-comedians.

But they got no laughs with their material.

They got plenty of laughs just walking down the street.

They were the type of men praising Joan Baez in the '60s' while slamming Jane Fonda. Baez went to Vietnam as well (as did many others) but she was the madonna and, later, madonna with child. Fonda, though also a mother, presented herself as a contemporary woman and that was too much for the little Chicken Comics.

The Chicken Comics never did a thing to end the illegal war on Vietnam.

Nor did they serve.

They used college -- years and years of college paid for by their mommys and daddys -- to avoid Vietnam.

Not only was 'Nam and the peace movement too tough for the Chicken Comics, they couldn't even cut it in NYC. They fled soon after college cursing about a "circle jerk of pseudo intellectual nonsense" because it's always difficult when no one wants you, when no one likes you, when everyone just wishes you and your yokel asses would hit the road.

They cheered useless Democrats and praised 'civility' in Republicans. They were caught completely unaware in 1993 because they didn't know a damn thing about the world.

They were useless then, they are useless now. They truly believe that everything changed when Bill Clinton was sworn into office.

They were silent about the tarring of Michael Dukakis, they were silent about Iran-Contra. They were the as 'useful' as Lee Hamilton -- if even more physically unattractive.

Having done nothing all their adult lives but fail repeatedly, when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were attacked, they decided they'd get serious.

Serious was attacking Joe Wilson because Matt Cooper was their best friend. Matt Cooper who wouldn't fork over Karl Rove's name to Patrick Fitzgerald before the 2004 election. Matt Cooper who would write at Time (before they canned his ass) as if he was just a disinterested party. Matt Cooper who would roll over on Scooter Libby but maintained that he wouldn't give up the other source. When it was time for Cooper and Judith Miller to face jail or fork over names, Matt Cooper claimed a new release! His source had released him. Karl Rove and Karl Rove's attorney always maintained they'd done nothing differently.

So reality was Matt Cooper was afraid of spending time in the big house.

But Joe Wilson came forward in the summer of 2003 and it would be almost two years before Matt Cooper finally told the truth. In the meantime Chicken Comics would trash Joe Wilson and call him a liar. They would rip apart his image 'daily' and repeat Republican talking points about him.

Joe Wilson's only crime was that he told the truth. For doing so, the administration outed his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent.

But Chicken Comics didn't give a damn about that, they just needed to protect Matt Cooper because Matt Cooper was a friend and, most important, a Clintonista.

That's all the Chicken Comics have ever done, protect their buddy Bill Clinton and the boys who worked for him. That's why issues like Iran-Contra don't interest them and they can lie and say everything changed in the press with Bill Clinton.

They aren't very smart and tend to get "snippy" when a real media critics, one with years of experience, such as Nora Eprhon points out some basic realities. Then it's time to attack Nora and provide a partial resume for Eprhon. They're unaware that she was the media critic for Esquire. They're unaware that before they ever burped up yesterday's TV dinners from their Lazy Boys, Ephron was offering hard hitting media criticism in Esquire and More.

They believe Bill Clinton created the world when he was sworn into office in January 1993 and they believe they are the true fighters.

So they attack women who point out reality. They attack Barbara Boxer, they attack Janeane Garofalo, they attack Jane Mayer, they attack Arianna Huffington, they attack any and all women. Over and over.

They're still hurting that they couldn't hack it in NYC so every now and then they'll attack someone with The New York Review of Books.

And of course one Chicken Comic especially enjoyed sending threatening, stalking e-mails to women. Apparently upset when he finally grasped that he could never have Rebecca (who re-married her ex and they now have a child), he turned his attention to C.I. and offered the most vile and disgusting rants, offered threats and abuse.

The Chicken Comics are threatening but useless. No sooner was the 2004 election over than the one who fancies himself a 'sage' was telling any periodical that would listen how the 2004 election was better in terms of press coverage than the 2000 election. Really? Because in real time that wasn't what the 'sage' said when he infamously fired off his e-mail -- when confronted with his rudeness about Janeane Garofalo -- saying he wasn't baking brownies.

The 2004 election saw Republicans, at their GOP convention, wear band-aids with purple hearts drawn on. They mocked those who had been awarded Purple Hearts and did so while the nation was engaged in an illegal war.

The 2004 election saw the administration issue phony terrorist alerts to undercut Democratic chances, as Tom Ridge would reveal after he left the administration.

There was much, much more.

All Al Gore got was being called a liar repeatedly.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

When the press called him a liar, he tried to 'high road' it by conceding points.

That's not how you work with the press.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

He picked Joe Lieberman (six years later, no longer even a Democrat in name only).

If anyone had a more annoying speaking voice than Al Gore, it was Joe Lieberman. Maybe he was picked to make Gore look better?

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

He was part of the administration from 1993 to 2000 but he ran from Bill Clinton.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

He was part of an administration that truly wasn't an environmental one.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

When he should have demanded a total recount, he didn't.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

When James Baker and others put out the lie that the votes had been 'counted and counted,' he failed to speak up and point out that the votes hadn't been counted, that a large number of votes were never counted.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

Jess Jackson was sent out of Florida because no one wanted to make it 'about race' . . . after Republicans had already made it about race by disenfranchising African-American voters in Florida.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

He refused to fight for the election he won. When the electoral college results were being tabulated he refused to even recognize House Democrats who appealed for the issue to be noted.

Al Gore destroyed his own campaign.

He was the perfect victim. Willing to concede the press might have a point when they called him a liar. Willing to call for patience while Republicans fought like their lives depended upon the 2000 election.

Al Gore, not Ralph Nader, destroyed his own campaign.

Al Gore won the election and if he was any kind of a fighter, he would have been sworn in as president.

These days some are confused because Gore makes some statements about the environment. Whether he had the 'character' or not to be president, he didn't have the strength to fight for it.

One more wimpy Democrat wanting the public to rise up for him when he wouldn't even stand for himself.

The Chicken Comics think if they scream loud enough, facts will fall away.

They think if the scream "LIAR!" at Joe Wilson loud enough, everyone will believe Wilson was the guilty party and Matt Cooper will have another shot at a journalistic career.

They lie because they have to. It's all they can do. They are Clintonistas determined to make sure their 'clan' grabs as much power as possible.

Once upon a time, there were two dumb asses. They lived as dumb asses, they died as such. Their tombstones read: "Scared little babies who left the world much too late after doing years of damage."

The world celebrated their deaths. The world applauded them.

In a freak accident, as they rushed to tongue bathe a Clintonista too quickly, their tongues interlocked. Being homophobic, they immediately flew into a sexual panic and attempted to rip their tongues apart. Like a turkey wishbone that breaks on both ends, their tongues fell out of their mouths leaving gaping wounds from which they quickly bled to death. Many saw it as fitting.

Timothy J. Learn arrested for being AWOL in Ithaca

Raymond Drumsta (The Ithaca Journal) reports that 21-year-old Timothy J. Learn had a warrant issued June 23, 2007 for his arrest on the charges of desertion from his unit (1st Brigade Combat Team of the 10 Mountain Division) which was set to go to Iraq August 24th and that he was arrested last Monday "on North Tioga Street" and "turned over to his unit". AP files a report based on Drumsta's reporting (shorter version here) and WWTI's Newswatch files a report here. Is Learn a war resister?

We don't know. We know he was arrested on the street. We know the police aren't talking (strange since arrest records are supposed to be public but maybe they were phoned by the military -- the same military that maintains/lies that it doesn't track those who check out). We know that all stories mention, in similar words, the same point:

He said a soldier who is absent without leave for more than 30 days can be considered a deserter, which can lead to a court martial to discharge the solder, a nonjudicial discharge process, punishment that allows them to stay in the army or no punishment at all.

That's all that is known now.


This feature is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we also picked the highlights.

"Radish Hot & Sour Soup in the Kitchen" -- Trina covers a new recipe and notes how candidates' campaign sites can backfire on them.

"Reality sinks in" -- Betty's latest chapter. Betinna's pondering how Thomas Friedman can have multiple wives? We asked Betty if she saw the show Ava and C.I. were reviewing this edition and she said she wished she had so she could have worked that in as well.

"Ruth's Report"-- Ruth read the idiot's e-mails. She didn't know they were being avoided and it really, as she notes, freaked her out. The only concern on C.I.'s ends were that the parents of Dona, Jess, Ava and Jim and Ty's grandparents knew about it to make sure they were okay with them staying with C.I. Ruth told us that she really has no idea what she wrote. (She's in a calmer place this morning.) But she says she's glad she wrote it that way ("probably filled with typos") because it really captures what it's like when you see one threatening e-mail after another.

"Kat's Korner: Cowboy Junkies kick it up another notch" -- Ava and C.I. were at Mike's Friday evening and Saturday morning. They didn't get home until mid-day. Kat wanted help editing her piece (from C.I.) and got it but she notes that it was after Ruth had called and "I'm not frightened the way Ruth was, I'm pissed off. I'm not sure I gave this polish it needed. Please make a point to listen to Cowboy Junkie's at the end of paths taken.

"And the war drags on . . ." -- the most requested pice in the e-mails to this site last week. Ava told us C.I. said Thursday night (after speaking all day and doing the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin and the column for that), "I don't think I have anything left." News of a war resister, Timothy Richard, gave the piece an opening. Then C.I. noticed the 4,000 mark was one away for total number of foreign (non-Iraqi) forces who had died in the illegal war. "It poured out slowly," Ava told us, "but it did pour out." Make sure you read it.

"THIS JUST IN! US SAYS: 'PETREAUS WILL BETRAY US!'" & "Petreaus wet & wild moment haunts him" -- Wally and Cedric's humorous take on the fact that most Americans do not believe Petreaus will tell the truth to Congress on September 15th.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Karl Rove Leaves the Administration" -- Isaiah did two comics last week. This one focused on Karl Rove's departure (August 31st) from the White House.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Casual Lunch" -- this one focused on Bully Boy interacting with the French prime minister.

"Crazyville War Hawks, and Naomi Klein (DN!)" -- C.I. asked us to pick this. C.I. noted all week long the plan was to link to it at The Common Ills but there was never time. (Remember that those outside the community who feel their things are not linked to or linked to quick enough.) Mike's explaining how a guy fools himself into thinking the escalation is 'winning' the war.

"The War Hawks always swoop back in" -- Elaine addressing a number of realities (and also noting that as someone who won't be voting in an election, take heed Pollitt, it's really not her job to tell someone to drop out of the race).

"a big name blogger writes me" -- The second most requested piece to this site last week. And little surprise why. Rebecca going over what happened. (She honestly thought an e-mail would arrive after this post explaining what happened. It never did.) As a result of this and the burning of Jess we will all be limiting our replies to people we do not know at our own sites.

"Pass the hat for Tony Snow" & "THIS JUST IN! ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE BULLY BOY ECONOMY!" -- Cedric and Wally examine the latest victim of the Bully Boy economy, Tony Snow. By the way, they're getting two highlights by our decision. We're late in starting this and Jim says 20 minutes top because stuff needs to go up. So we agreed one highlight a piece except for Isaiah who did two comics and except for Cedric and Wally who always link to everyone.

"Scott Horton, Janet Coleman, David Dozer, etc." -- Kat feels this is nothing. But several readers of Kim Aldrich mysteries wrote to this site and asked that this post be noted. Skye wrote, "I thought I was the only one who read those. This post made my day and had me thinking about those long ago years."
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