Tuesday, November 30

{Insert Halliburton joke here}

get the t-shirt here

I just love NatLamp's takeoff on the JFK shooting game. If you're old enough to remember the print magazine reference for the George W. Bush item, take a moment to be smug with me.

Yes! Yes! We all bow to Fafblog! Yes! Yes!

Here's Fafblog and his sidekick Giblets talking to Wolf Blitzer

WB: How much thought goes into your "web blog" "posts"?

F: Oh we do not think at all when we post! That would defeat the entire purpose!

G: Blogs must be spontaneous intant reactions to the lightning events of the everyday! Giblets fires up a random news article, pounds his head against the keyboard several times, an hits the "publish" button for the purest of pure blog posts!

F: Otherwise you are not truly flowin in the electric consciousness Wolf.

WB: Do you think blogs are transforming the discourse in America, and if so how so?

F: Oh they definitely are Wolf. There is not much that can resist our transformin internet power.

G: We are MADE of the internet. We course with its febrile energy!

F: An we will make the discourse faster because blogs are faster. When someone starts talkin bout somethin that just happened five minutes ago someone else will say "oh I already heard about that yesterday, borin" an they will drop it cuz it's borin.

I can only dream of being such a blogger...

Sunday, November 28

Remember last Christmas? Neither do I.


Excellent article in USA Today this weekend

"Some Americans trim more than the tree...Tired of debt, stress of buying gifts, they opt for simplicity"

Read the whole article, which mentions some of the following without providing links or websites. Just another free service provided by Blue Gal:

Buy Nothing Day
AdBusters Magazine

Buy Nothing Christmas
Center for a New American Dream
Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture
Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping

And kudos to the sisters who got arrested for videotaping their Buy Nothing Day demonstration at their local mall.

May we all remember at His own season Comrade Jesus, who spoke the truth to power without a hint of rancor or hatred, and whose love for humanity triumphed so much that we remember Him today for His life more than for His death. (Well, except for Mel Gibson.)

Monday, November 22

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Several friends have sent me news articles about the potential voter fraud, especially regarding e-voter machines in both Ohio and Florida. Sorry, folks, I really don't think the average American voter gives a rat's behind. We can cry in our soup until we're blue, oh wait, we're already blue. In so many ways.

So let's giggle instead.

National Lampoon.com
and their sister site, moveonplease.org.

I'm gonna stop buying Starbucks. Not because they're bad people, (oh, they are bad people, aren't they?) but because it's a rip off. We get upset when gas goes over $2.00 per gallon, but a skinny double shot mocha no whip in the drive thru costs $57.60 per gallon. And some of us would drink a gallon if we could. Click that naughty link while you can, folks, word is corporate America is not amused.

From the Slate article linked above...

the people who buy its coffee don't just need coffee, they need Starbucks coffee, which packs a higher caffeine punch than many competitors. [Note] the scary finding that a 16-ounce Starbucks grande has nearly three times as much caffeine as a No-Doz.

So I'll stay awake reading Peace Kills. And I'm wondering, is Checkpoint porn for blue staters?

Saturday, November 20

Corruption at the Pentagon? You're kidding!

Yesterday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) and senior committee Democrat Carl M. Levin (Mich.) joined McCain in a letter to Rumsfeld that called the tanker lease "the most significant" abuse since the "Ill Wind" bribery and fraud cases of the 1990s.

Read the rest here.

We've got so much work to do. Here's three clicks for today:

Health insurance for every child. Thank you, John Kerry.

Close the School of the Americas. Why are we taxpayers training terrorists?

Send a care package to a soldier overseas. Michael Moore confirms this is legit.

Now that's a funny T-shirt: Order one here.


Friday, November 19

Today is the Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

"From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."


Thursday, November 18

Okay, now I'm getting mad

I'm trying to stay on a Christian level here, but with these sumbitches I'm getting more and more away from "bless them that curse you" to the point where people who think voting for Bush was the moral thing to do need to be cast into a fiery furnace.

Did you hear this story last night? Frigging Abu Ghraib in New Jersey. We've got to go ballistic with these people.


Congressman Bill Pascrell is on the House Homeland Security Committee and is also from New Jersey. I hate to dis the web, but I've learned that with Congress nothing works like snail mail. I'm sending a red hot missive to him at:

Congressman Bill Pascrell
1722 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

He better get busy as this is happening under his watch and we are watching. Moving to Canada is for wimps. FIGHT, DAMMIT.

Jurgen commented below. I'm adding links: FIGHT, DAMMIT.

...how about them Republicans for changing the rules for Tom Delay to allow him to stay as Speaker even if he gets indicted. These are the same Republicans who created that rule in the first place because they thought they were morally superior to Bill Clinton.

We also need to thank Daniel Zwerdling at NPR for his fine work.

Tuesday, November 16

As the World Turns, Colin Powell Tells All My Children to follow their Guiding Light.

Enough already with the Cabinet who's in/who's out soap opera. Politics has never been so boring.

Colin Powell made 27 mil in speaker's fees before he became Secretary of State {see article}. So why should he stay and make a government salary to keep his mouth shut?

And first up against the wall when the revolution comes: the folks who called their network affliliates to complain when their CSI show was interrupted with news of Arafat's death. Is it time to overcome your television addiction?

Sunday, November 14

Reading and watching

People often ask me what I'm reading or watching. My to do list for the next few weeks:

Homegrown Democrat by Garrison Keillor. Backorder an autographed copy here.

The Great Divide by John Sperling can be downloaded for free at retrovsmetro.org. Check out the Where's Osama banner ad too.

And if you haven't seen Outfoxed yet, you'd better. Wicked funny and savagely sad at the same time.

Saturday, November 13

Moral Values are Truly Blue

I was thinking last night about Tom Delay, Karl Rove, et al., and the comment below that "Republicans think they are morally superior to Democrats, and Democrats think they are intellectually superior to Republicans." But look, the exact opposite is true. Readers of this site do not need the moral ground of Delay and Rove rehearsed, do we? Yet we Democrats are not only too moral to duplicate the antics of the aforementioned operatives, (and you know the word I really mean when I say operative) it appears we are not smart enough to figure out how to thwart them, except to know that there will be a reckoning.

Good column by Frank Rich, TV reviewer of the NYT "On Moral Values, it's Blue in a Landslide"

If anyone is laughing all the way to the bank this election year, it must be the undisputed king of the red cultural elite, Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is a rising profit center within his News Corporation, and each red-state dollar that it makes can be plowed back into the rest of Fox's very blue entertainment portfolio. The Murdoch cultural stable includes recent books like Jenna Jameson's "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star" and the Vivid Girls' "How to Have a XXX Sex Life," which have both been synergistically, even joyously, promoted on Fox News by willing hosts like Rita Cosby and, needless to say, Mr. O'Reilly. There are "real fun parts and exciting parts," said Ms. Cosby to Ms. Jameson on Fox News's "Big Story Weekend," an encounter broadcast on Saturday at 9 p.m., assuring its maximum exposure to unsupervised kids.

Almost unnoticed in the final weeks of the campaign was the record government indecency fine levied against another prime-time Fox television product, "Married by America." The $1.2 million bill, a mere bagatelle to Murdoch stockholders, was more than twice the punishment inflicted on Viacom for Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction." According to the F.C.C. complaint, one episode in this heterosexual marriage-promoting reality show included scenes in which "partygoers lick whipped cream from strippers' bodies," and two female strippers "playfully spank" a man on all fours in his underwear. "Married by America" is gone now, but Fox remains the go-to network for Paris Hilton ("The Simple Life") and wife-swapping ("Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy").

None of this has prompted an uprising from the red-state Fox News loyalists supposedly so preoccupied with "moral values." They all gladly contribute fungible dollars to Fox culture by boosting their fair-and-balanced channel's rise in the ratings. Some of these red staters may want to make love like porn stars besides. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) An ABC News poll two weeks before the election found that more Republicans than Democrats enjoy sex "a great deal." The Democrats' new hero, Illinois Senator-elect Barack Obama, was assured victory once his original, ostentatiously pious Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the race rather than defend his taste for "avant-garde" sex clubs.

Sorry kids, I created no links above for strippers, Paris Hilton, or Bill O'Reilly's loofah/felafel fetish. You'll just have to Google those for yourself.

Oh, okay, here's a spanking link just to be nice.

Friday, November 12

Cartographers on Drugs?

map, originally uploaded by flangum.

This psychadelic image is from three cartographers at the University of Michigan. It shows red and blue counties resized by population. This is supposed to make the country look more blue than the standard electoral map, but it's a silly exercise: the electoral college already "resizes" the states proportionally and what do counties really have to do with it? Tom Delay has proven that counties don't even count when it comes to redistricting.

Rather than comfort ourselves with maps or calls for secession of the blue states, or even banning the electoral college, we need to watch for those working on that permanent Republican majority and fight them at every turn.

Joke for today, from "You know if you're a Republican/Democrat": You know you're a Republican if...you can't stand your gay uncle, but you invite him to your son's wedding because he's rich. You know you're a Democrat if...you can't stand your rich uncle, but you invite him to your daughter's graduation because he's gay.

Thanks, Vicky, for the map link.

Thursday, November 11

Sorry Everybody

I think I like this site. It takes some responsibility and acknowledges the rest of the world.

But most of all I love hearing our leader groove on John Lennon and Lou Reed. Shows we have nothing to be sorry for, when Americans have the creativity and humor to make this possible.

Had an interesting discussion in Professor Liber's Nationalism class tonight on whether the blue states will or could secede from the union. I think even those in blue states, ticked off as they are, still hope someday to receive a social security check. We all as Americans have much more invested in our Federal bureaucracy than we think, and much more than anyone did in 1860.

And yes, linking to Professor Liber's bio is, indeed, sucking up.

Thanks, Dena, for the music and your beautiful blog...

Are Blue States Cheap?

A report from the Catalogue for Philanthropy finds that those in Blue liberal states are less giving than Red (particularly Southern) states. But to call blue states cheap is off the mark: Southerners tithe to their churches (or at least give lip service to doing so) whereas Blue staters, I think, depend more on the social welfare state to do the "caring" for them. Does this translate into a higher tolerance for taxes? Alabamians are terribly under-taxed. The schools are in terrible shape, the state constitution is obscene, yet Alabamians will not reform for fear of higher taxes. The state constitution of Alabama (1901) was written to accomplish two things: keep blacks from voting, and to protect landowners from taxes (a reaction to Yankee foreclosures after the Civil War). The civil rights movement restored voting rights to blacks, but the property tax provisions are still in place. And who do they protect? Not Daddy O'Hara, but United States Steel (USX Realty is the largest landowner in Jefferson County, Alabama) and the timber industry. Yep, we subsidize Pittsburgh yankees in our state constitution, and brag about it. Are we dumb or what?

If you want to feel superior to Alabamians, you can do no better than visit constitutionalreform.org. Well, you could also visit this lovely little website. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, November 10

we interrupt this blog

Originally uploaded by flangum.
my nephew Henry, born October 21. Be sure to admire him, he's responsible for your Social Security benefits.

Tuesday, November 9

Let the Eagle Soar...outta here!

I've tried to be even-tempered to a fault in this blog. But I was SO HAPPY to hear of Ashcroft's resignation, I almost hadda change my undie-panties. Pray for a better Attorney General. And as far as the Patriot Act is concerned, it's kind of like that crock pot recipe: Fix it or Forget it!

I also think people ought to read the Angry Arab blog, if only to see another side to things. Betcha somebody in Ashcroft's staff reads it.

Monday, November 8


Wanted to thank the west of Boston Utne Salon for keeping the faith. You guys are still family to me. Love you all and wish I could be there.

Had a nice comment from Abroad at Home about my site:

"Didn't always believe with everything you said, but you had me thinking. That's ALWAYS worth a ten."

Thinking is what it's all about, innit?

Abroad at Home also into Buy Nothing Day. I've been a big fan of Adbusters forever.

Purple not princely

Understand it's not a blue or red state world but we're all living in a purple state: but if I change the name of my blog people will think I'm following Jimi Hendrix or Prince, right?

Since joining BlogExplosion I've had a chance to surf a lotta blogs. Women seem to be blogging about

1. Knitting (yay!)
2. Their breasts
3. Undying love for all things Jude Law

I'm fully qualified to blog on any and all of the above. Something else happened, though.

Put my "God is not a Republican....or a Democrat" sticker from sojo.net on the ol' minivan today.

Sunday, November 7

We're just a buncha Christian Smartypants!

I graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1988.

This quote making the rounds:

"The Republicans think they are morally superior to the Democrats. The Democrats think they are intellectually superior to the Republicans."

This gets to the crux of the 2004 election, which was to my mind a battle between good Christians (anti-intellectual) and good intellectuals (anti-Christian).
The question for the Christian Democrat is, can one be intellectual and Christian/moral? Must we be "fools for Christ" or must we set aside faith for facts? And what does that mean?

I think (and I use the word think with caution here) that intelligence and faith need not be mutually exclusive. What faith requires of us is a sacrifice of ego, not intelligence. Less ego is needed in Democratic circles, because we are so right about everything, aren't we?

Can we speak the truth to power while our speech and motives are completely devoid of rancor and hatred? Can we be both right and kind at the same time? Hmmm. Who in the history of the world set the example for how to do this? No better example than Comrade Jesus himself.

If you can cut through the self-promotion, Cheryl Richardson has some good things to say on the aftermath of the election.

Saturday, November 6

Hope and humor

My friend Karen E. had the following good thoughts:

I will work very hard not to become that which I despise--the current administration's agenda of fear and hate I will not make my own.
-Heather Parker

I will not fall into hatred. Nor will I fall into despair. Some things are out of our hands. To quote Paramahansa Yogananda, "Cosmic law cannot be stayed or changed, and humans would do well to put themselves in harmony with it."
Dulce Bell-Bulley

And so to get through these next four years... Buckminster Fuller has some helpful advice: "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change things build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Hope and humor are the way to go. I love that Garrison Keillor had a bonus joke show this weekend.

Thursday, November 4

Be Careful What You Wish For...

As my friend Jurgen said yesterday, the post-mortems are coming in fast and furious. Coming from the Bible Belt, where Bush carried over 60% of the vote, I'm amused by the "values" analysis of so many pundits. As if somehow the Democrats could nominate a "real" Christian, that would win back the White House.

From my perspective sitting here in Alabama, it's all about people liking people like themselves. George Bush is simple minded, simple speaking, and claims a simple faith. Most of all, he paints the world in very simple good and evil terms. Lots of people in Alabama look just like him.

When I moved from the Boston area to Birmingham, Alabama, I had really no conception of how pervasive a certain brand of Christianity is here. The South is another country, make no mistake. When you cash a check at the bank and need to know the date, no problem, the teller may have a "Bible verse of the day" calendar facing outward at her desk. Yellow pages advertisements for everything from plumbers to psychologists will have the Christian fish symbol and a Bible reference in the corner. If you call the weather service provided by a local TV affiliate the meteorologist ends his forecast with "God bless." A great many Alabamians are dead serious about setting their candle on a candlestick.

And because accepting Christ as your personal savior is such a wonderful thing, there is really no problem or violation in presenting you, the non-saved, with this option on a daily, hourly, basis. They truly believe they are doing you a kindness, indeed, that they are loving you by offering you Jesus.

You can't fight love. But you can offer an alternative, a sense of fairness. The Alabamians I've talked to about this respond positively when the alternative is phrased as everyone has a right to their "own relationship with God." And if you don't want a relationship with God, thank you very much, you can at least be grateful that the proslytizer's motives are loving.

Where does this leave the Democrats? They've got to be more loving, I'm afraid. I've linked to sojo.net more than once now, but here it is again. We Christian Democrats have got to let our light shine. And we've got to start understanding rather than condemning the role religion plays in public life.

I also observe that absolutely nothing motivates the Alabama Christian like the abortion issue. Christians will get out the vote over gay marriage and other values, but they get out their checkbooks to save babies. Which gets me to "be careful what you wish for." If this President nominates Supreme Court justices who somehow tinker with Roe v. Wade, success will be the religious right's worst enemy. Groups who focus on pro-life (and pro-choice, for that matter) make SO MUCH MONEY off this issue, that they have a vested interest in keeping this issue in limbo for ever and ever.

The GOP website should have a new banner, by the way. "Thanks for your support. Whatever happens now, it's our fault." Be careful what you wish for.

Jill R., you were an inspiration for a lot of this post. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 3

Move on and org

Mad or sad? The best revenge is forgiveness. I've resigned myself to four more years. This will not be as bad as we think. The country survived Nixon, Reagan, and Bush one, it will survive this. And the loyal opposition is ready. We lefties are addicted to smug, and Bush is funnier than Kerry: the next four years will be good ones for Al Franken, The Daily Show, and The Onion.

Drove Audrey to Montessori school this morning and on the way we listened to "NO!" by They Might Be Giants. It is, of course, the context of the time, but this morning the album seemed incredibly political.

I dedicate "Fibber Island" to Fox News:

Here on Fibber Island
No one sings along
We just ride giraffes
And wear bicycles for hats

To get to Fibber Island
You just close your eyes
Start fibbin' in your mind
And see what you can find

I dedicate "NO!" to Republican Election officials in Ohio:

No plus no equals no
All nos lead to no no no

Finger pointing, eyebrows low
Mouth in the shape of the letter O

and I dedicate "Sleepwalkers" to self-satisfied Bush voters everywhere:

Move aside and let the people go by
They don't see you
Thinking that they're home in their beds
They must not be disturbed
When they're wandering all across the country
And they're walking in their sleep

Perhaps when they awake
They'll remember everything
They'll think it was a dream
It will be forgotten then

But don't make any noise
Cry out loud or stamp your feet
You'll wake the girls and boys
Who are walking in their sleep

Tuesday, November 2

me on Mother's Day 2003 with Audrey and David Posted by Hello

Election Day 2004

An auspicious start to blogging? I don't intend to make my website a place for mere political grandstanding. Voted today without too much of a wait. Twenty-one Republicans ran unopposed on the Shelby County, Alabama ballot. So I voted the only way to vote against them: straight party Democrat.

A good comment on sojo.net:

From an article
It's Election Day - five simple things you can do
by David Batstone


"Pray for common ground with your political opponents, then walk on that fertile soil. Too many important political issues in America today are polarized, and the inevitable result is paralysis. Jim Forest visited my class at the University of San Francisco this past week and shared with the students a profound insight: "The opposite of love is not hate, but fear." We fear sliding down a slope from the height of our own self-right-ness. We fear our adversary. We fear losing control. And we cease to love."

Don't forget to shine your sink. www.flylady.net