Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do You WaMu?

Last week, a few days after the debacle that was Washington Mutual, I opened the mailbox and what did I see? A preapproved credit card offer from WaMu! Oh boy, oh boy! Easy credit from a defunct bank! Then watching MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olberman" last night, they were talking about the takeover of troubled Wachovia Bank by Citigroup. Then the commercials came on, and there was a beautifully-produced spot trying to convince me to get a credit card from Wachovia, asking "Are you with Wachovia?".

Maybe someone will try to sell me a Plymouth today. Or perhaps I will get a solicitation from MCI. Looks like media campaigns are hard to stop once they get going! The thing with WaMu, they were spending a fortune. Both I and the Lovely Spouse got offers from them at least once a week, and we don't, and never have had, any business dealings with them. Maybe they should have saved the cost of all that postage and printing!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Failed Oilman Officially Nation's Worst President!

Sometimes the end can come swiftly. I am hoping we are not on the precipice of the end of the United States as we have known it. This abject and total failure of a President who has occasionally sat in the Oval Office over the past eight years has driven the nation into massive debt when he attacked and occupied the wrong nation; gutted civil liberties of American citizens; and now has misled us to the verge of our entire economic system going down and taking us all with it.

Now while I know Bush didn't do it all by his ignorant little self, it has been said when the team is losing, the coach takes the blame. And Bush has been much more than a coach, but more of an active participant, instigator, and cheerleader for the failed policies of his administration.

Now I am no economist, so perhaps the greedy investment bankers have gotten us to the point where without government (us) bailing them out, the economy could sink into the abyss. Or perhaps it is more of Bush's scare tactics, the same tactics he used to convince Congress that we should invade Iraq. The same scare tactics used to spy on innocent Americans. The same scare tactics used to kill habeas corpus and to put people in prison with no charges, no legal representation, and no date for a hearing or release. Maybe the Bush who cried wolf is partially right this time, but who knows?

The Republican drive to deregulate everything in sight, including these investment banks, has led us to this point. When the history of these times is written, I believe it will make an interesting case study as to how quickly a powerful nation like the United States imploded. I also believe history will record that the Bush administration was not only worse than that of Herbert Hoover, but will rank at the bottom with that of James Buchannan who saw the republic disintegrate as states began to secede from the union, and civil war broke out.

It was largely deficit spending in an arms race that led to the demise of the Soviet Union. I don't think these United States are far from a similar fate themselves.

Sadly, despite Bush's claim that Al Qaeda hates us for our freedom, that is not the problem. Do you think Osama bin Laden was sitting around Tora Bora one day and happened to read the Bill of Rights and think, "Man I hate these people for this. Let's attack them!"? The 9/11 attacks on America were targeted at our economy as much as anything else. The Bush war deficits and the greed of these capitalists have handed the victory to bin Laden. Game over. Please insert $700-Billion to continue playing.

As for today's vote in the House of Representatives to deny the passage of the bailout bill, I believe it to be one of those instances of even some of those members voting against it were hoping someone else would vote for it. They are too concerned with their own jobs to worry about yours and mine. When it gets down to it, if we enter another Great Depression, it is those of us who did nothing wrong who will pay the price. It will be our children and grandchildren who will pay the price; and who will be left to figure out how to fix the mess we are leaving behind.

Regardless of the outcome we have seen that a purely socialist economy doesn't work, and now we see the same thing about an unregulated capitalist economy. As I have often said, some things work better as collectively-provided services (e.g. police, fire protection, air traffic control, national health care, etc.) The unfettered capitalist model eventually destroys the nation by taking from the middle class and redistributing it to the top, until the entire top heavy mess collapses upon itself. If the economy collapses, that will make twice in a mere 79 years. Greed is its own undoing. Though I am an ardent critic of religion, there are some nuggets of wisdom in the various sacred texts. The New Testament book of I Timothy says that "the love of money is the root of all evil." I think we see some of that playing out right before our astonished eyes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wall Street Bailout, Defiant Pastors, & The VP Debate

Today's commentary touches on the following topics:
  • The Congressional consensus on the bailout of Wall Street investment banks
  • A group incites some NeoConservative pastors to defy the IRS
  • The upcoming Biden/Palen debate
Listen in the player below, or click on the title of this post to download the MP3.
Links for the NeoCon pastor comments:

Story from the Associated Press & MSNBC

The IRS rules about political action by Section 501(c)(3) non-profits

Alliance Defense Fund web site (The NeoCon group instigating the action)

Old Flames & New Names

Mark Chesnutt had a country song out about how all his old flames had new names. While he was singing about old girlfriends getting married, here in Colorado politics, our old flames also have new names. Our current failure of a U.S. Senator, Wayne Allard, is retiring. His seat in the Senate is being contested for by former Republican Congressman, Bob Shaffer; and Democratic Congressman Mark Udall. These two candidates have been given new names that are being used as if they are part of their official names. Yes, we now have "Big Oil Bob" and "Boulder Liberal Mark Udall" running for the Senate.

It is hilarious how these monikers are being used. Shaffer's campaign manager even uses the term "Boulder Liberal Mark Udall" when talking to the media. It is so funny that today when the pair were on NBC's Meet the Press, I felt something was amiss when Tom Brokaw didn't introduce them by the names their opposition has bestowed upon them.

As for me, sorry "Big Oil Bob", I am supporting "Boulder Liberal Mark Udall". To quote another political add from this campaign..."That's the fun part!".

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts on the First Debate

As I always do, I watched the Presidential Debate last night between John McCain and Barack Obama. This is the debate that almost wasn't, as McCain tried to use the financial discussions in Washington as an excuse to avoid the debate. However, a President can't pick and choose one crisis at a time, so I am glad that Obama held McCain's feet to the fire and that McCain did show up.

As to the debate itself, Moderator Jim Lehrer made repeated attempts to get the candidates to talk to one another. Eventually, Obama did start directly talking to McCain, but McCain refused to look at him, instead keeping his eyes staring out at the audience. My dad raised me to know that it is rude to not look a man in the eye when he is talking to you. This did not come across well for McCain. Still, while I disagree on most points with McCain, he did make his case better than I thought he would.

Being as objective as I can, I still give Obama the win on this debate, but it was not a knock out. Next up...Joe Biden versus Sarah Palin. Maybe she will do like she did with Katie Couric, tell Biden she'll have to get the answers and "bring 'em to ya!".

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sarah Palin is a Boob

Yes, a boob, and not in a good way. Although I expect hits on this blog may skyrocket, as people search on Palin and boob! :)

Anyway, the more she opens her mouth, the more she makes Bush look like a Rhodes scholar. Maybe George H.W. had an affair, and she is another of his idiot offspring? She proved at the GOP National Convention that she can read from a teleprompter, but actually think and talk at the same time? We'll let her speak for herself on that.

and this one . . .

Kinda reminds you of another "beauty queen" doesn't it?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dobbs & Randy - In Agreement

Lou Dobbs just did a commentary on CNN that repeats what I said earlier...that Treasury Secretary and Bush appointee Henry Paulson is an "empty suit" and "incompetent". Sometimes I agree with Dobbs, other times not, but tonight, he agrees with me. Paulson's latest is that he is against limiting executive pay at these firms where CEOs get hundreds of millions of dollars for destroying their companies. They should get not one thin dime of taxpayer funds, despite Paulson's desire otherwise.

Paulson...do the honorable thing for once in your life and resign immediately. If you don't, President Bush should fire you.

The Difference is Clear

As an update to the previous post, Senator McCain is now supporting oversight to go along with the Wall Street bailout. He is saying that "trust me" from the bankers isn't good enough. Of course not, and I am pleased to see him take this stand, even if he is saying it for political reasons. However, he is only looking at the short term.

Senator Obama is proposing not only oversight, but reforms to insure this doesn't happen again. These include bans on people coming from an industry being able to be in charge of regulating that industry; bans on anyone who leaves his administration from ever lobbying the administration; creating more transparent government by allowing people to read bills and comment on them via the Internet prior to his signature; and to reform the entire government contract process. This is a leader with ideas. This is a refreshing change . . . a change we need now.

And yet, the DJIA dropped over 370 points today, and oil has its highest ever one-day price increase.

Political Thoughts on This Equinox

Today is the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and the vernal equinox in the Southern. In the United States, we are coming up on the first of the Presidential Debates on Friday, and the General Election in about six weeks. So let's make a few more political observations on this day of equal sunlight and darkness.

First, it is good to see the Democrats in Congress sticking to their guns, at least at this point, to put some conditions and terms on the $700,000,000,000.00 bailout of Wall Street. The Democrats have tried to play nice with the President, but it has been hard to make any progress with a razor thin majority in Congress and no way to override the veto pen of the Decider-in-Chief. In my opinion, they need to be as resolute as Bush has been. It will take years, maybe even decades, to undo the damage wrought by this band of corporate yes-men and yes-women who have occupied the White House. While I am glad that there is some action being taken to protect the greater economy, it should not be yet another blank check to the people who caused the financial mess. I also believe we should push back hard to not have foreign banks be bailed out by the American taxpayer.

Secondly, aren't you glad that Congress didn't let Bush divert our social security funds into Wall Street? The program isn't perfect, but it beats gambling our futures on the bunch who gave us this financial disaster! And while we are on social security, don't believe for a minute any scare tactics about Social Security going under. If they can bail out the financial geniuses at AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, there is no way in hell Congress will ever allow Social Security to go under.

Thirdly, isn't it amazing to watch the McCain campaign resorting to repeatedly lying in a desperate attempt by their corporate power brokers, to retain power. The ads go from blaming Senator Obama for the cost of gasoline, to blatantly stating he was for sex education for kindergarteners. All of these fabrications are meant to put fear in the hearts of the voters.

It is also interesting to watch how hard they are running from the Republican record; talking about how they have fought against the other Republicans and the President. The fact remains that McSame has voted with Bush over 90% of the time. Maverick? Hardly! If the GOP could have solved our problems, they have had eight years to do it. But what do we have? To repeat the old question, ask yourself if we are better off than we were eight years ago. And then there's his clueless pick for running mate, whose balloon is already starting to wilt. The more people learn about Governor Palin, the less they like her.

If we elect another President whose campaign is bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists, does anyone really expect the people to have an ear at the White House? It speaks volumes that Senator Obama has not taken one dime for his campaign from the lobbyists. His campaign is funded by small donations from the people who want to take back the government from the special corporate interests.

We are at a crossroads in American History. Does self-government have a limited life span? We shall see. However, it is time for people to think through the issues; to challenge their own beliefs; and to examine with fresh eyes, the issues at hand. Forget about the campaign lies and rhetoric. Look at all the substantive issues that are threatening our nation today. I have done this myself. Over the years, I have changed as I re-examined the issues. This one time supporter of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan has grown and expanded, as the GOP has contracted and left its conservative roots.

The government has exploded in size under "small government" Bush. Yet the GOP continues to denigrate government, even as they expand its size and power. I am for smaller government, but for more effective government. Depending on free markets without regulation is foolhardy, as human nature will always have its selfish side come out. Total deregulation can lead to anarchy and a massive migration of national wealth to the very top tier of Americans. However, the government that serves ALL Americans best is one that works for all of us.

Now is the time to stop rewarding corporations for exporting our jobs to Communist China. Now is the time to start the withdrawal from Iraq. Now is the time to insure that every American can get the health care they need, rather than letting corporate bean counters dictate what procedures our doctors can provide us. Now is the time to take major steps to rid ourselves of dependency on oil from countries that hate us. Now is the time to take back our nation from the corporations and put the government back in our hands.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Private Debt, Public Bailout

Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paulson, wants a quick, no strings attached Congressional bailout of the mismanaged Wall Street firms, decrying Democrats calls for conditions and accountability. I thought Bush told us it isn’t the government’s money, but “the peoples’ money”. Why then, don’t the people get to apply conditions to this record bailout plan?

Listen using the player below, or download the audio by clicking on the title of this post.

A Parker MFFY - Busted!

Just before noon, the LS and I decided to stop in at Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers in Parker to pick up a couple of items after our visit to the farmer's market. There I saw what my fellow online roadgeek, Ryan, calls a MFFY. That is short for "Me First, F-You". There are many such creatures on the road, and it always is amazing how many of these are young women with children in tow. Sometimes their antics are just downright dangerous. This one on the other hand, is just selfish and rude.

As I have a mother and a father-in-law with serious mobility problems, and a friend with severe mobility problems from his Cerebral Palsy, I have a high sensitivity to such MFFYs when it comes to people illegally hogging handicapped parking spaces.

The woman getting out of this Tahoe pulled right into the closest handicapped spot to the door of the store. She then got out and unstrapped a toddler from a car seat, and carried the child into the store. She was fully able bodied, and was just being selfish. Having a child is not a handicap last time I looked.

Not only was she not visibly handicapped in any way, but there was not a handicapped permit in her car either. She didn't have proper stickers or placement on her rear license plate either, and in defiance of another Colorado law, she doesn't have a front plate on her truck.

Hanging from her rear view mirror was a student id card from the University of Colorado Health Science Center with her name on it. I will only use her first name here, but Petra, you are busted! Shame on you! You are the MFFY of the day!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

World's Best Squash Casserole

Last weekend, we went to the farmer's market in Parker to get some fresh, locally-grown vegetables. Among the things the lovely spouse and I bought, were some beautiful summer squash, some Colorado onions, some green beans, some tomatoes that were so deep red and sweet inside, some Yukon Gold potatoes, and some wonderful sweet corn. Some of these items went into our beef stew we had earlier this week, but last night was the best thing ever.

I don't know exactly how she did it, but the LS made up a recipe as she went along, making the best squash casserole I have ever had in my life. She really outdid herself on that one. I know she cubed and boiled the squash, then mashed it before preparing it to go into the casserole dish. I also know she used a couple of handfuls of cheese and some cubes of bread from a day-old baguette from the little French bakery we buy from. I guess the rest of the ingredients must have been love and magic, because this was the best thing I have ever eaten! Cracker Barrel and Black Eyed Pea squash have been not just beaten, but kicked to the curb. I told her that she should enter this into the county fair.

The casserole was browned just right to have a little crispness around the edges, and just enough cheese to add a flavor that matched perfectly with the squash and whatever else she put in. I was going to take a picture of it, but that will have to wait until the next one, because it was consumed very quickly! We had fresh green beans cooked with a dab of bacon grease for flavor, and some nicely seasoned herb chicken. It was all delicious, but that squash casserole was unbelieveable! I told her that if I ever get put on death row and have a last meal request, that squash will be on my menu. The farmer's market happens again tomorrow, so you can be sure that squash will be on my list!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Manipulating the Electorate

OK, let's try something new today . . . let's do today's commentary as a webcast! If your proxy doesn't block you from Podbean, you can listen using the player below.

The lies about, and misrepresentations of, Senator Obama by the McCain camp in their television ads is only the latest in a long standing campaign to get the electorate to vote against their own self interest. The use of the mass media, and the disingenuous appropriation of the Religious Right's "hot button" issues has resulted in many people not thinking things through nor investigating the issues and facts for themselves. Listen to my commentary, and feel free to leave me a comment or link to yours. This webcast is 5:50 in length.

As always, these are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of anyone else.

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To download the webcast, CLICK HERE.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"I Can See Russia From My House!"

While I didn't catch the broadcast of the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, I did watch the opening skit via the Internet. Tina Fey returned to SNL to do a dead-on impression of GOP Veep Nominee, and Pentecostal looney, Sarah Palin. She got it perfect, from the glasses, to the look, to the annoying, nasally whine. Maybe we could substitute Fey on the Republican ticket for Governor Palin. I have a feeling the country would be better off in the event of a McCain win in November, if Fey were Vice President.

In case you missed it, below is the skit. It is doggone funny.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Texas, Time to "Hunker Down"!

Having experienced several hurricanes during my life, I have a healthy respect for these storms. I lived in Houston during both Hurricanes Carla (1961) and Alicia (1983). During Carla, I was eight years old, yet I have vivid memories of it. When Alicia hit, the Lovely Spouse and I had a new baby. Since we had no power for days after the storm passed, we used a gasoline-powered camp stove to sterilize bottles. It appears that Ike is more on the scale of Carla, much bigger than Alicia was. Carla reached Category 5 status, and hit the Texas coast at Galveston as a Category 4. I remember the beach at Galveston littered with huge boulders that had been pushed out of the sea, and dead jellyfish splattered all over the place after Carla moved out. It was such a catastrophic storm that the name was retired from further use.

This satellite image of Hurricane Ike, shows how far out cloud bands can extend. You can see clouds from the storm reaching from Belize to Cuba, Florida, and the New Orleans area. There are not storm conditions out this far, but the system itself is quite large. With the storm now projected to make landfall near Freeport, Texas, my thoughts turn to my parents who live in Houston. They are in their 70s and less mobile than they once were, so I always have concern when a hurricane enters the Gulf. I can say that I am glad for modern satellite imagery and weather radar, which gives advance warning and gives one time to make preparations. In earlier times, there were no such forecasting tools. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 killed about 8,000 people. Despite the seawall, a huge storm today could put Galveston Island under the water even today.

So while I am glad to be living at over a mile above sea level and a thousand miles inland, I am keeping an eye on the situation. For all of you on the Texas coast; evacuate if you are in a storm surge area or live in a mobile home; otherwise "hunker down" as they say down there. And stay away from parts of your homes near trees.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Philippi Covered Bridge

West Virginia Historic Marker for the Philippi Covered Bridge.
Barbour County Sheriff's vehicle is approaching the bridge in the background

During my recent trip to West Virginia, I got to take in some historic sites. One afternoon the Lovely Spouse, her lovely mother, and I took a little drive south from Grafton to Webster and Philippi (pronounced "FILL-uh-pee"). This town is rich in history from the Civil War era. The line of loyalty to the Union or the CSA was between Philippi and Grafton, 20 miles to the north.

Philippi holds the distinction of being the location of the first land battle of the Civil War (with Ft. Sumter, SC being the first sea-based battle). The state of West Virginia owes its existence as an entity to that war, as it was created from loyalist counties in what was the western part of Virginia. In any case, the highway between Grafton and Philippi parallels the Tygart Valley River, and today carries US highways 119 and 250. In 1861, this was the main route south to Richmond, Virginia. Troops from both sides had encampments along the road, and one of the rail lines that runs beside it was a major transportation line even during the war.

The covered bridge at Philippi was used during the Civil War, and today is part of US highway 250. It is also one of the longest covered bridges in the United States, and is the only double-barreled covered bridge carrying traffic of a major federal highway.

As an additional note, three of the miners who died in the 2006 Sago Mine Disaster were from Philippi.

A side view of the Philippi Covered Bridge

View of one end of the Philippi Covered Bridge

Politics and Lies

So, I haven't pontificated on the political situation for a while, so let's have at it for a few short items of note.

#1. Lipstick, Pigs, and Pit Bulls
Rather than focusing on the important issues facing the nation, such as the economy, the mortgage and financial industry failures, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Russian incursions into Georgia, etcetera, etcetera, the McCain campaign is stirring up passions about a non-issue.

Yes, Sarah Palin, who I am already sick of hearing about, compared herself to a pit bull wearing lipstick. Yes, both presidential candidates have used the expression "lipstick on a pig" in reference to dressing up the same old, same old. But the disingenuous Republican spin machine has latched onto Obama's use of the phrase to imply that he was calling Governor Palin a pig. Get off it, and let's get back onto the issues.

#2 Lies and More Lies
There is an adage that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it. The GOP liars have learned well from the late Lee Attwater and Karl Rove. Despite the fact that if you make less than $250,000 per year, your taxes would be reduced under Obama's plan, the GOP candidates continue to say he will raise your taxes. Only if you are their rich buddies, but at this point, a Washington Post / ABC News poll shows that 51% of voters believe otherwise. In addition, Obama has proposed complete elimination of the income tax on seniors making $50,000 or less, but 41% of those very seniors think Obama will raise their taxes. This lie is repeatedly used by both McCain and Palin, and was a cornerstone of their speeches at the Republican National Convention. Obviously the GOP has found that lying about their opponents and ignoring the issues win elections. Unfortunately, people tend to vote personalities rather than substance.

#3. Universal Health Care
The disingenuous John McCain has ads not only blaming Senator Obama for high gasoline prices, but now is asking "Do you want a government bureaucrat deciding issues related to your healthcare?" Well, Senator McCain, even though that is not what is being proposed, it is a far sight better than a corporate bean counter at an insurance company who is compensated for cutting costs and denying needed procedures making those decisions.

#4. E-bay and Chefs
Governor Palin said at the GOP convention that she sold her plane on Ebay. Nope...not true. And that is one thing I would not have denied her. The governor of a state as big as Alaska probably needs a jet to get around to her widely-dispersed constituents. Then she claimed to have fired her chef. Nope...just gave him a new job title as "cook" for her kids. This hockey mom is more of a hokey mom, who will lie to appear to be fiscally conservative. And then there's her tale of the so-called "bridge to nowhere". Puhleeeze!

Folks, we cannot even trust these crooks and liars to tell the truth during a campaign. Why would we elect them? They will tell any lie, regardless of how bold; distract us from the vital issues facing us; and pander to the fundamentalist crazies to retain power. We can send this bunch packing with their tails between their collective legs. Don't be deceived! This is more of the scared elite trying to fool you into voting against your own interest and for those of the privileged few. Ask yourself...do you have more in common with the fat cat insurance and oil lobby, or with working class Americans? Does it make sense to continue to shift the tax burden from the top tier of the wealthy and putting the burden on yourself and your family? If you answer yes, then go ahead and vote Republican. You will get what you deserve. If the answer is no, it is clear. It is time to give Senator Obama a chance to effect the change we need to take this nation back from the corporations and return it to the people.

OK...rant over...for now.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

US Flags I Have Known

The national flag of the United States of America known to most people today contains 50 stars arranged on a blue canton, one representing each of the constituent states; and thirteen alternating red and white stripes, representing the original 13 states of the union. To anyone under the age of 48, this is the only flag to have officially represented the nation during their lifetime. This is also true for most of my own 55 years on the planet. However, I vividly recall the two occasions when the flag was changed during my life.

The current 50-star flag of The United States of America

This is the flag that was planted on the moon during the Apollo missions, and the flag that survived the sneak attacks on America on September 11, 2001.

Buzz Aldrin and the US flag at Tranquility Base, The Moon, July 1969

New York firefighters with flag at Ground Zero, September 2001

The flag under which I was born, served as the offical ensign of the U.S. for 47 years, one less than the current flag. This was the 48 star flag which came into existence in 1912 following the admission of Arizona and New Mexico to the national constellation. This is the banner under which our soldiers fought in both World Wars and the Korean War. It is the flag that was raised at Iwo Jima. It replaced the flag of 1908, the 46-star flag that represented the admission of my home state of Oklahoma to the USA in 1907.

With the stars arranged in even rows, one under the other, the 48-star flag is easy to spot in pictures and movies. An anachronistic mistake sometimes made by filmmakers is the use of the current flag in period movies when there should be the 48-star banner used.

The 48-star flag, 1912-1959

The raising of the 48-star flag at Iwo Jima during WWII

When I was six years old, Congress admitted the territory of Alaska as the 49th state, and a the flag was changed to add the star for our new state. I lived in Houston, Texas at the time, and remember that at that time, Texas dropped from being the largest state in land area to second place. This was a short-lived design, as a year later, Hawaii would be admitted to bring the total number of states to the current 50.

The 49-star flag, 1959 - 1960

During the Bicentennial year of 1976, many of the Revolutionary War period flags were being used, particularly in the historic area of Maryland where I lived at the time. Some of these are below.

Grand Union flag

Original 13-star flag of the United States

Betsy Ross flag

Bennington Flag - Note the red and white are reversed and the 7-pointed stars

Should there be a 51st state admitted, the flag will probably be the design below.

Possible 51-star USA flag

Friday, September 05, 2008

JFK & Jefferson's Wall of Separation

Forty-eight years ago next week, Massachusetts U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a famous address at The Rice Hotel in Houston. His audience was the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. The context of the speech was to clearly state his views on the separation of church and state; a topic because of the fears of many that a Roman Catholic president would follow the dictates of the Pope rather than the Constitution of the United States.

In that address, made on September 12, 1960, President Kennedy stated:
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President -- should he be Catholic -- how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him."
How far we have fallen in the intervening 48 years. We have a president who has torn down huge sections of Thomas Jefferson's "Wall of Separation"; the party of Abraham Lincoln largely taken over by theocratic Christian extremists; and that party's presidential candidate flip-flopping to pander to the shamans of the so-called "Religious Right".

Americans need to finally say that enough is enough! We will not allow the Reconstructionists and Dominionist theocrats to destroy the great republic from within. One need not be an atheist or agnostic to see the danger of the direction these people wish to take the United States. They pose a danger to the Constitutional right of freedom of religion for all Americans. Religion is a personal matter, and the government should neither support any religion, nor govern by the dictates of any sect.

CLICK HERE to listen to this famous address by the future President.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Road Trip - Morgantown to Washington

Here is some fodder for all you fellow road geeks out there. This is my trip last Saturday from Morgantown, West Virginia to Reagan Washington National Airport, a distance of about 220 miles or so. I put these in a slide show, since there are over 170 pictures. All but a few of these were taken by the Lovely Spouse as I drove the rental car. She did a rather good job, I'd say. She may be getting in touch with her inner road geek. She took over 400 pictures and these are the cream of the crop. When she was having trouble with my Olympus E-500, I told her that she was no Jimmy Olsen with a camera, but after reviewing these, I think she may just be better than Jimmy.

Note: The slide show plays rather fast, so you may want to pause each picture to have time to read the captions. Or it may be easier to go directly to the album by clicking on the link below, where you can take your time with each picture. Either way, enjoy!

Morgantown to Washington