Monthly Archives: July 2009

Monday, 07/27/09, Public Square

palin4pres 2012-20131_2According to The Mudflats this was one sign at the final event of the Palin Quitters Tour held this past weekend.  :-)

How was your weekend?  Did you get caught up — on rest, relaxation, and all those other parts of our weekends?

What’s on your mind this brand new week?

fnord

32 Comments

Filed under The Public Square

The house on C Street and its secrets

Recently Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Senator John Ensign of Nevada made news with their sexual indiscretions.  The private emails between Sanford and his Argentine mistress, and his childish protestations of finding his soul mate probably kept him in the news longer than a run-of-the-mill affair might have.  The payments from Ensign’s parents did the same favor of keeping him in the news longer.  Then Michael Jackson died and news outlets were distracted by this new bright and shiny object.

Underlying the Ensign affair was news of a C Street House, a Capitol Hill townhouse inhabited by an all-male group of right-wing Republican congressmen belonging to The Fellowship, an evangelical group.

Greater detail about the people and activities of The Fellowship could come from a diary Max Blumenthal tells us about in his piece — The Secret GOP Sex Diary.

While former Rep. Chip Pickering of Mississippi allegedly carried on an extramarital affair with Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, he recorded details of his exploits in a secret diary, including the dates and locations of his adulterous encounters.

Pickering, a Republican, described several assignations he had with Creekmore Byrd inside the C Street House, a Capitol Hill townhouse inhabited by an all-male group of right-wing Republican congressmen belonging to The Fellowship, an evangelical group, according to a person familiar with the diary’s contents.

And according to a divorce filing by Pickering’s estranged wife, Leisha, the former congressman’s diary reveals the identities of several men who enabled his adulterous trysts and helped him cover his tracks.

After serving 12 years in Congress, he announced his intention not to seek re-election suddenly in August 2007.  Chip Pickering’s wife had announced she would divorce him by the time he resigned from Congress, but her motivation for the divorce was unknown at the time, leaving Pickering’s resignation shrouded in mystery.  When she attempted to introduce her husband’s diary as evidence during a divorce hearing in Mississippi, Pickering’s lawyers demanded Judge Cynthia Lee Brewer keep them under seal.

His affair only came to light when Leisha Pickering sued her husband’s alleged mistress, Creekmore Byrd. Mississippi is one of four states that allow such lawsuits, justifying them on the grounds that sabotaging a marriage represents deliberate interference with a legally binding contract. To represent her, Leisha Pickering has tapped two high-powered local lawyers who are both former state Supreme Court justices.

A source close the case told me the judge presiding over the lawsuit could rule to make the Pickering diary public, thereby voiding Brewer’s decision in the divorce court. So long as the judge’s decision is pending, the diary represents a ticking time bomb—with the potential to rock corridors of conservative power from Jackson, Mississippi, to C Street in Washington.

Stay tuned!  This diary kept by one of the C Street adulterers could shed much light on The Fellowship. We may yet learn many more details about this C Street house, the people there and the activities they keep so secret.

fnord

19 Comments

Filed under Religion, Republicans, Wingnuts!

Snail Mail

US-Mail-Box_webDid you know this well-known, reliable blue drop box is becoming an endangered species?  Across the country, stalwart blue “collection boxes” are disappearing. In the past 20 years, 200,000 mailboxes have vanished from city streets, rural routes and suburban neighborhoods — more than the 175,000 that remain, according to an article in The Washington Post.

The U.S. Postal Service says it removes “underperforming” mailboxes — those that collect fewer than 25 pieces of mail a day — after a week-long “density test.” Snail mail is a dying enterprise because Americans increasingly pay bills online, send Evites for parties and text or give a quick call on a cellphone rather than write a letter.

The situation is so dire that the Postal Service, which is projecting a $6 billion shortfall by the end of September despite a recent postage rate increase, will go to Congress this month to seek emergency relief, looking to cut home mail delivery from six days a week to five.

“We’re like air,” said Postal Service spokeswoman Deborah Yackley. “People just take it for granted that we’re always going to be there. Well, if you want to keep your collection box, would you mail a letter, please!”

Do you write letters to anyone?  Do you still write out checks to pay your bills and post them?  Do you think we’ll see an end to snail mail?

fnord

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Filed under Economics, History, Technology

Sunday, 07/26/09, Public Square

socialism

Sometimes the world makes less sense than other times.  Am I the only one who thinks this?  How is everyone?

fnord

6 Comments

Filed under The Public Square

A reasonable change of perspective in an unreasonable situation.

It was quite a treat to come home last week and find I’d been offered the chance to write something for this website. It is certainly one I read and admire. As the week went on, I struggled though; most of what I write isn’t all that political. What could I possibly contribute? Then came the encounter between Professor Gates, the Cambridge Police Department, and the subsequent reaction by President Obama.

In short, I see the President’s handling of this as a great positive, a leap forward over what we endured over the past eight years. But first, a little personal revelation so you’ll know where I am coming from.

I’m a cop. I’m starting my 25th year of service at one of the largest police departments in the country. I’ve worked in our local school system; I’ve been a detective. I started our department’s domestic violence unit. I currently work on the street as a sergeant in an inner city neighborhood. I’m also the senior member of our Hostage Negotiation Team. I teach a mental health intervention class. I’ve been busy. The thought of my oncoming retirement makes me smile.

The facts of the encounter between Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Sergeant James Crowley have come out in dribs and drabs. Few, and certainly none of us, know the entire circumstance. There have been no shortage of opinions floated by folks who don’t have any perspective on the situation. Sadly, one of them was the President.

On the one hand, I can’t blame him. He stood behind a person he considers a friend, whose background he knows and respects. If one of my friends ended up in hot water, my first instinct would be to rise to their defense.

On the other, I know that folks in my profession are painted with a broad brush. If Crowley and his department are painted as bumbling and racist, the reality is that that assessment and situation will color how people approach me and the officers I supervise hundreds of miles from Cambridge. Bumbling and racism are things I do not tolerate. So, I was a little frustrated with the President’s reaction. I voted for him, how could he do this to me? Continue reading

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Filed under Diplomacy, Diversity, Ethics, Obama

Saturday, 07/25/09, Public Square

0040-surrealism-4This picture is supposed to depict inner peace.  That’s what I hope everyone finds this weekend — inner peace.  I think I’ll concentrate on a blue abdomen and a pale green chest.  Think that’ll help?

fnord

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Phelps Family Spreading Hate

The Phelps / Roper family was in New York to spread hate.  Among other places in The Big Apple, they protested outside Walter Cronkite’s funeral yesterday. They even had a fancy sign made up that said “Cronkite in Hell.”  Just like the Republican Party platform of exclusion and intolerance the Phelps-Ropers, founding family behind the Westboro Baptist Church, are against abortion, gays, they are white supremacists and they spread the word of a vengeful God.

In today’s op-ed piece titled, “Family of Hate,” John Avlon writes:

“The youngest daughter there, 16-year old Grace-Elizabeth, sports a navy blue “Priests Rape Boys” T-shirt and shuffled around on an Israeli flag. Despite that, she seems uncomfortable while her mother screams beside her. I ask Grace if she wanted to be there. “Oh yes, this is fun,” she gushes. “It’s the best thing we could be doing with our time.”

I asked her sister Megan—who just graduated from Washburn University this spring—what she thought of President Obama. Her eyes lit up. “Oh, he’s the Antichrist,” she says.

I ask for a little more explanation. “Well, he’s against Christ,” she says. Then mom swoops in, talking Deuteronomy and Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians before veering inevitably to abortion. “Reproductive freedom is a fluffy term for killing babies,” Shirley says. “Obama would support the murder of his grandchildren.”

Speaking of grandchildren, Megan and Grace are the grandkids of Fred Phelps—a Kansas attorney who started their church. They spoke of him prideful tones as a pioneering civil-rights lawyer who just happened to spawn a family of lawyers who are now dedicated to trying to deny civil rights to gays and lesbians. Apparently, a family that hates together stays together. When you’re brought up to hate the world and the world hates you back, it’s a self-reinforcing circuit that only the family can understand.”

How many self-professed Republicans see their party platform in the hate spread by the Phelps family?  The Phelps family protests embody almost everything loathsome about the modern Republican Party.  Is this another area today’s Republicans easily ignore?

fnord

7 Comments

Filed under GLBT Rights, hate groups, Radical Rightwing groups, Religion, Republicans

Evangelicals in Mexico? Watch Out Virgin Mother!

I was accosted tonight by one of the most aggressive door-to-door marketeers I have yet experienced.  She was a young, attractive hispanic woman who had a very noticable accent and she was trying to get me to take various “books” she had, which looked more like Oprah Magazines than anything else.  These books would be given to me for a donation that I would make to help her “school”.  I declined several times and her last pitch was that she wanted to pray with me.  I declined that, too.

As this McClatchy article indicates there has been a troubling time for the Catholic Church in Mexico.  More young people are drawn to evangelical worship services which feature more music and, let’s face it, are more fun.

From the above article: Eduardo Dominguez, a 23-year-old college student who acknowledges the attraction of evangelical Protestantism even though he’s reluctant to sever his ties with the Catholic Church.

Eduardo elaborates:  “I would never change my religion because of the tradition of my family and my culture,” he said, “but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized there are a lot of things in Catholicism that I don’t agree with. For instance, it’s very conservative, and instead of focusing on God and worship, a lot of things end up becoming political and about money.”

Hey Eduardo, Dude, the Evangelical church got real big in this country the last 8 years and “a lot of things ended up becoming about politics and money.”  Sorry, Dude, you haven’t found a winner, yet…

5 Comments

Filed under Religion, Republicans, Secularism

How far is too far?

armycapturedprivatebergdahlFox News analyst Ralph Peters, on July 19th, said the Taliban should murder private first class Bowe Bergdahl. He claims he was told by a “high ranking military person” (whom he conveniently doesn’t name) that the soldier was a deserter. Inquiries by major news sources found no one in the military in either the Pentagon or Afghanistan to back that up. In fact they all say he was not a deserter. All this took place on that well known man of integrity’s show, Bill O’Reilly. Bill added the captured soldier must be crazy, but didn’t defend the soldier.

My question is: When does the first amendment line get crossed? You can bet that particular piece will be shown to Bergdahl by the Taliban, and used to further disassociate him from the reality that the military is doing everything in its power to rescue him. Some are even blasting Bowe for saying what he has about this country and the war in Afghanistan, but it’s the same thing McCain did when he was a captive in Hanoi. My personal opinion is Peters is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and should, at the very least, be fired by Fox, and, at the most, be tried for treason, although that will never happen. I also feel O’Reilly should be fired as well for not jumping Peters immediately. That whole thing, as well as peters ridiculous attempt at explaining himself, crosses the first amendment line. The Republicans are jumping Obama for saying the police acted stupidly, but where’s the outcry from them about Peters? There’s a sad path of hypocrisy running through the Republican camp, and it needs to be addressed. The story:

jammer5

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Filed under Radical Rightwing groups, Republicans, Wingnuts!

Friday, 07/24/09, Public Square

woodsYou’re at the fork in the road.  Which do you choose?  Why?  How far do you go before you turn around?

fnord

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“The Unchilled Life”: “Living” sans A.C.

This NYTimes story reminded me of another Wichita writer, Gaylord Dold, who wrote a series of murder mysteries set in the 1950′s Wichita, KS.  He described the joys of living summers in Wichita without air conditioning.  This has been an unusually cool and damp summer here in the Air Capital of the World;  most summers by this time of the season, my grass is pretty brown and getting browner – not so much this year.

As the Times article points out, many are turning off their A.C.s due to economic hardship, but a subset of air conditioning spurner’s are doing so due to green living and health motivations.  One A.C. terminator states:

“It’s not like we’re health-nut crazies or a bunch of dirty hippies dancing naked around the fire. We’re all white-collar geeks living an exurban lifestyle. We just all share the philosophy of rolling with the seasons if you can.”

Other adherents to turning the A.C. off indicate that they lose weight during the summer by being outside more and eating less.

Sorry guys, this is not a trend that I am going to get excited about…

14 Comments

Filed under Economics, Healthcare, Kansas, The Economy, The Environment

The Lost Works of L. Ron Hubbard in Wichita?

L. Ron Hubbard lived in Wichita, KS from approximately 1950 to 1952.  Hubbard was invited to our fair city by a wealthy oilman whom had sought out Hubbard’s “therapy”.  Hubbard came to believe that this oil man wanted to take ownership of “Dianetics” – the original work that started Scientology. I hear word that wealthy Scientologists are very interested in knowing where L. Ron lived during his Wichita years because there are persistent rumors among them that undiscovered work may still be in Wichita.  I would think finding out where Hubbard lived would be fairly easy to determine.

Who knows, maybe some entreprenuer could type up some seriously strange drivel on an old Remington type writer and walk off with some serious cash. :-)

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Filed under History, Original writings, Weird news

Anudder Caption Please!

Munckin3-334x345

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Thursday, 07/23/09, Public Square

taxcutsforeverythingThis is the thread you decide the topic to discuss, this thread is for free-thinking people to toss around real ideas and real solutions.

fnord

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Hallelujah!

The song, Hallelujah, done by Jeff Buckley, is probably my favorite song of all time. Sit back and enjoy:

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Filed under Music