Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blog #64: Winds of Change

There are refreshing winds of change churning up in the Chicago area, winds soon to sweep through a nation near you. We refer of course to the incoming administration of president-elect Barack Obama, whose inauguration on January 20, 2009 will strip the word elect from his present title. The memorable day remains in the future, unfortunately, though there are an awful lot of us who would love to see it moved up to, say, yesterday.

Check this out. The fact is that the president elect is currently struggling for the right to keep on using his Blackberry, to which he seems to be clearly addicted. The AP news story calls it this away: “As for his new life in the White House, Obama said one change he is resisting is having to give up his beloved BlackBerry. A president's e-mail may be subject to public records laws and can be subpoenaed by Congress and the courts. It may also be a security risk for him to carry a traceable cell phone.

“Giving it up,” Obama said, "is a problem." During the campaign, he was often spotted thumbing the device and was known as a bit of a BlackBerry addict. He said he's currently working with the Secret Service, lawyers and White House staff to find a solution which would allow him to continue using it. "I'm negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the ten or 12 people who surround my office in the White House," he said. "Because one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day."

Imagine what these past eight years might have been like if we had only had a president intent upon keeping himself in touch with the world outside of his personal bubble, rather than the one we had who attempted to shape the rest of the country and the world to his own warped view of the world. It's the difference between night and day. Could the contrast with the outgoing administration be any greater?
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Speaking of the clean winds churning in Chicago, Daniel Stone writing in Newsweek reports that even Dr. Doom (some people's pet name for Nouriel Roubini, a New York University professor) approves of PE Obama’s initial economics picks but notes that they face grave challenges ahead.

“President-elect Barack Obama's administration's reaction to the current economy would have to be, in his words, "swift and bold." At a press conference Monday in Chicago, he unveiled his economic team, which will be led by Tim Geithner as secretary of the Treasury and Larry Summers as director of the National Economic Council. The two come with unique experience: The former is the president of the New York Federal Reserve, and the latter was secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, before sitting in the president's office at Harvard.

Markets rallied upon word of the appointments, which also included two other senior advisers, Christina Romer (to be chair of the Council of Economic Advisers) and Melody Barnes (to be director of the Domestic Policy Council). But with the extreme fluctuations global markets are currently seeing — Obama and his new appointees will be looking for solutions to both the short-term rockiness and the longer-term economic problems — the president-elect continues to describe the crisis as "historic." Infamously pessimistic economist Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University, spoke to NEWSWEEK's Daniel Stone about what wise decisions must be made early on, his thoughts on Obama's economic team, and how they can they stop the bleeding.

NEWSWEEK: What are your thoughts on the team Obama assembled?
Nouriel Roubini: The choices are excellent. Tim Geithner is going to be a pragmatic, thoughtful and great leader for the Treasury. He has experience at the Treasury and the IMF [International Monetary Fund], then the New York Fed. I have great respect for both Geithner as well as Larry Summers. I think both of them in top roles in economics in the administration were good moves. I think very highly of them both.

What are the first things they need to tackle?
N.R.: First one is the fiscal stimulus, because the troubled economy is in a freefall, so we really need to boost aggregate demand, and the sooner and larger the better. The second thing they should do is recapitalize the financial system. Most of the $700 billion is going to be used to recapitalize banks, broker dealers, finance companies and insurance companies. To do it aggressively and fast is going to be important.

Obama is largely powerless for the next two months. What's your outlook from now through January?
N.R.: The lame-duck session of Congress really needs to spend on unemployment benefits, aid to save the local governments and on food stamps. Those things are very short-run and are very important. It's really the most we can do for now.

Your view of the economic future is often a bit less than optimistic. What does Obama's team signal about what could be coming?
N.R.: Look, he wants to get things done, so he's choosing a really terrific team. To me, it says that he's choosing people who have great experience. He's choosing people who are pragmatic and who realize the severity of the national problem we're facing. They're knowledgeable about markets, about the economy and the political process in Washington. These are the very best people he could have chosen. I can't look too far, but it's a very good signal of what he wants to do.
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Here are Bob Woodward views of Bush 43’s intellectual capabilities, as expressed recently on television:

We here at Little Eddy’s blog have decided to celebrate the remaining days of the Bush43 administration by dipping into our vast archives of rants concerning this lamest of all of our presidential ducks, past, present, and particularly those with no future. There follows a few of our choicer tidbits:

Saturday, January 12, 2008. From Blog #19: Peace in the World, or the World in Pieces: Lord Have Mercy, did you read what George McGovern, that old peace monger from the Nixon era, proposed. He must have recently paid a visit to the ghost of fabled goat glands surgeon Dr. John R. Brinkley for he seems to have grown a set of rejuvenated gonads.

{Our original blog lacked an explanation putting the above comment into proper perspective. The 1920's were known for their extravagance, flappers and flaming youth. But if the flame was running a little low Dr. John R. Brinkley had just the thing for all males: he would transplant a few slivers of randy goat gonads into the woeful subject's scrotum and ta-dahh – rejuvenation! With this simple procedure, Dr. Brinkley built himself an empire, and in 1923, he began his infomercials - always laced with Biblical references - over KFKB, the first radio station in Kansas. More than 3,000 letters a day eventually started pouring into little Milford, KS, prompting Brinkley to finance a new post office. By 1929, KFKB had won a gold cup as the most popular radio station in America. Eventually Dr. Brinkley was forced to move to Mexico where he operated a radio station, XER, which started broadcasting with a power of 75,000 watts and eventually grew to 100,000 and more, with a remote studio linked by phone lines to Rosewell Hotel - Brinkley's new headquarters - in Del Rio. XER was not just hours of pseudo-scientific lectures from Dr. B – he brought in stars of country music of the day: the Carter Family, singing cowboys, fiddlers, a Mexican Studio Orchestra and many guests.

Joke of the times: "Q: What's the fastest thing on four legs? A: A goat passing Dr. Brinkley's hospital!" More on the good doctor may be found at:}

But returning to Mr. McGovern’s proposition, this usually quiet spoken minister’s son published an opinion piece in the Outlook section of the Washington Post the other day entitled “Why I Believe Bush-Cheney Must Go. Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse,” in which he respectfully suggested that Bush-Cheney have committed acts far more impeachable than Richard Nixon ever did, and asks why the current Democratic leadership is so opposed to beginning proceedings against them, noting how the Republicans put together proceedings against Bill Clinton during the waning years of his presidency for a lot less than the high crimes and misdemeanors which Bush-Cheney have committed. Little Eddy hereby offers his own short list of high crimes and misdemeanors off the top of his head: crimes like misleading the country about weapons of mass destruction, running the war in Iraq on the cheap resulting in many casualties, and the widespread torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo in violation of Geneva Conventions, and the list goes merrily on.

Of course impeachment will never happen. Unlike Republicans who seem to love a juicy investigation more than sex or even life itself, and who find lies and slander the spice of their poor, miserable existences (look at the harassing of Bill Clinton during both of his terms, and the lies against John Kerry bellowed by Swift Boat Liars for And check out the multifarious ravings of Ann Coulter.) Democrats are uncomfortable spewing such negative vibes. They would much rather hang out on the sunny side of the street, but unfortunately their majority is too thin, and on most issues the Republicans have closed ranks.

Still the positive thing about McGovern’s suggestion is the joining of both Bush and Cheney in the indictment, it would never do to have Bush impeached alone thereby leaving a fox like Cheney in charge of our national chicken coop. The other interesting possibility should the dems ever have the audacity to make it happen would be the person to whom the Presidency would be handed. As best we remember from our high school Civics class the third in line of succession is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position presently held by one Nancy Pelosi. Wouldn’t that sell one helluva lot of Alka Seltzers to those of a Republican persuasion?
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Saturday July 5, 2008 Blog #43: A creative juices overflow:

Our creative juices have been overflowing of late, and to give them a proper direction we have created the following television commercial which we hereby donate to the John McCain presidential campaign without asking a nickel of compensation. (And believe me it’s worth every penny.)

Scene: Fully armed American soldiers storming a residence in Iraq.
Narrator: We here at the Bush administration know that wars can get quite boring after four or five years, even the ones we start, and especially those which we aren't winning. (Don’t you dare translate not winning into losing. The American military does not lose!) You will be interested to know that our president feels the pain of your boredom, night after night seeing the same old soldiers storming the same old buildings.

Scene: More soldiers storming more Iraqi residences.

Narrator: Now we’re not altogether dumb here in the Bush administration, in spite of what some of you nasty left wing bloggers might infer. We know we sold you a bill of goods back in 2003, a bill of goods which allowed us to invade the independent nation of Iraq without causing John and Suzy Q. Public to get their entrails all tied up in knots. And we also know that as of now most of you know that what we sold you back then was a fictitious bill of goods.

Scene: Soldiers storming building dissolves into a tranquil nighttime scene. A pastoral scene of peace and beauty, palm trees gently shimmering in the breeze, their swaying illuminated by moonlight.

Narrator: However, that was then, and this is now. Our new warnings come from very special intelligence we have obtained from deep in the heart of Iran. Intelligence which is true and accurate, honest injun! Did you know that Iran is working night and day to develop nuclear weapons? I realize that they have given testimony that they are pursuing only peaceful uses of atomic energy, and our government’s own intelligence sources reported that Iran had given up nuclear weapon development back in 2003. Well, if you believe that my friends I have an administration in Washington which I would be happy to sell you. Cheap. (We might even pay you to take it.)

Scene: The darkness of the night is suddenly lit up by a gigantic flash, the ensuing firestorm creating a gigantic mushroom cloud which fills the screen.

Narrator: However, you must take claims like Iran is only developing atomic energy for peaceful purposes with the gargantuan grain of salt it deserves. For in the Iranian language of “death to all Americans and Israelites”, the word do most certainly means don’t, and won’t of course really means will. Our president knows this, and he is most anxious for you to join him in this knowledge, so that he might spice up your evening newscasts with nightly freshly taken Pentagon footage of myriad streams of bombs leaving the gaping bomb-bays of our noble flying machines on their way to their new homes deep in the soil of Iran.

Scene: Gaping bomb-bays show streams of bombs in perfect alignment as they fall to the land below. Far below the series of resulting explosions looks tiny in the great distance as they strike the ground.

Narrator: That’s all there is to it, my friends. Not one word out of any of you is guaranteed to bring nightly scenes of destruction like this to your high definition television screens like you won’t believe, and it will also help ensure John McCain’s election to the presidency, which will mean the enthusiastic continuation of all of those middle east policies you have grown to know and love during these last eight Bush years.

Scene: shifts to an Iranian road lined with women and children shedding tears of joy and holding flowers and waving to the unending line of oncoming Humvee vehicles bearing the troops of the forthcoming American occupation.

Narrator: And there in a nutshell you have the story of president Bush’s coming Iranian invasion, the victory of which we can assure you will come a lot quicker than our Iraqi victory has. And ladies and gentlemen, if you can believe this may we offer you a John McCain presidency for your careful consideration?
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Well friends, I really hate to bring this up at a time like this, so soon after our country’s birthday, but I am afraid that as a nation we are in what a classical mind might term DEEP EXCRETA! We’re talking mile high stools here, if you get my drift. Just be careful not to stand downwind from one.

As I see it our problem is that we happen to have this president who has the absolute lowest rating in the entire history of presidential popularity polling, and who from all appearances could care less. However as he nears the blessed end of his highly delusional reign word is out that he is finally becoming concerned with his legacy. It's about goddam time! It’s a damn shame he didn’t think about this when he needlessly invaded Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2003. Or in the ensuing five years as our troops’ monthly losses have continued to pile up. Just like most of the rest of us W. seems to prefer waiting until the last minute to worry about his legacy, and now that it is finally creeping up on him he has evidently acquired a brand new fixation. It seems Iraq and Afghanistan are no longer enough, his newest crusade is to prevent Iran’s dabbling in nuclear weapons by militarily engaging them, thereby saving Israel and the free world from extinction. He views that as his legacy. Yes, you read that right. Two’s not enough, three’s company, right?

Well, not that he gives a tinker’s damn, but how would you grade the George W. Bush administration? Would you grade it high, in the middle, or down the tubes? And what one word would you pick that sums up the Bush legacy? My own personal grade of the Bush 7 years and counting would be less than one grade point out of ten. Maybe 50% of a point, 75% at best. And the one word I would choose to characterize the Bush years would be incompetence. Massive unrepentant incompetence. No matter what they tried, pursuing Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, or reacting to Hurricane Katrina, this administration has managed to consistently fail in truly spectacular fashion. In fact the only thing they have succeeded in doing is running up what is undoubtedly the largest debt in our nation’s history. In my eighty plus years of life I have yet to observe a government attempt to reach higher and fail more miserably than this one. Even Richard Nixon was able to attempt to somewhat balance his negatives with a level of competence that saw him through until the Watergate thing opened its toxic can of worms.

Republicans tried to impeach Bill Clinton over a small, personal moral failing (a failing which I believe just about any breathing male of our species would easily fall prey to), but in the case of Bush there is a wealth of real impeachable material. Manipulation of intelligence reporting on Iraq weaponry, implying there were WMD when there were none, pulling the inspectors out of Iraq before they could ascertain that Iraq was indeed free of WMD (they didn’t want the inspectors to succeed in not finding WMD because they wanted to invade), the push to invade in spite of the United States' long standing reluctance to invade a country that was of absolutely no threat to us, the stacking of the Justice Department with Bush political loyalists, the torture and mistreatment of prisoners of war ignoring the Geneva Conventions, and finally the hitherto unprecedented indifference to the suffering of our own American citizens who were the victims of the fury of Hurricane Katrina. The list is a long one, and these are true high crimes and misdemeanors against our citizenry, but as we said the Democratic spine is lamentably weak. Unlike their Republican counterparts Democrats seem to have no stomach for the negatives of impeachment. However, as the curtain is pulled back on the remaining days of the administration of the Bush the late Molly Ivins liked to refer to as Shrub, one wonders whether Democrats should be ingesting some spine enhancing beverage. For there seems to be a dark cloud hovering over our immediate horizon.

In spite of our own intelligence reporting that Iran had quit pursuing atomic weaponry back in 2003, our dear, thrice blessed George W. seems to be currently fixated on Iran’s possible interest in the development of nuclear weapons. If you have the money rush right out and buy the current issue of The New Yorker magazine. If you don’t have the money you can google the article on your computer. It is essential reading, and pasting the URL below into your browser’s destination window will bring it to your waiting eyeballs:

According to author Seymour M. Hersch, “Bush and others in the White House view him (Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) as a potential Adolf Hitler,” a former senior intelligence official said. “That’s the name they’re using. They say, ‘Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?’ ”

“One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”

“This is much more than a nuclear issue,” one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna,” reports Hersch in the article. “That’s just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years.”

Also according to Hersch’s piece, “A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

OMG! What in god’s name are they smoking in the west wing? Does Bush really think his legacy is going to depend on his starting up of yet a third middle east conflagration? I wonder where he got that notion? It sounds like some of that wonderful old Rove warped thinking shining forth. Could it be that because Rove managed to get Bush reelected in 2004 by the skin of his teefy-teef-teef, under the premise that the nation should not change horses midstream in a war, could Bush still be clinging to the fiction that war somehow strengthens his position? And therefore his legacy? Is it really true that because Americans are getting tired of the news from Iraq, that maybe they would respond more favorably to news of a brand new inferno across the border in Iran?

Would some denizen of the west wing please step forward and inform his most Delusional Excellency that his legacy is not hanging on the opening of yet another front in the middle east. Is our military not stretched more than enough being engaged on two fronts? The fact is they are so stretched that they require civilians to drive their trucks, prepare their meals, and do their laundry, and all of that of course at many times the expense of what those same services would be costing if the military was handling them for themselves.

Now you’re talking a corporate dream war. The very rich excused from paying their share of the cost of the war. The rest of us paying through the nose for the enrichment of corporate America, and most particularly the part of it near and dear to the heart of our beloved president of vice, Dick Cheney. We're talking war fought in Cheney heaven, with American corporations preparing meals, doing the laundry, and delivering supplies for our troops at many times the expense that would have been incurred had the army met its own needs. And now our soon (but alas not soon enough) to be erstwhile leader wants to broaden the fighting front. How does the thought of George W. Bush rescuing the middle east from Iranian nuclear weapons strike you? Does that thought make you rest easy, sleep well, and calm your nerves better than half a dozen valiums? Or what?
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Speaking of interesting revelations, guess where both the CIA and military inquisitors at Guantánamo Bay got those clever ideas for the unorthodox interrogation techniques which have subsequently brought much of the world's shame upon our government? Methods that have long been considered torture by most of the civilized world, but which were just what the doctor ordered in the world of Bush/Cheney. Where did all of those hot ideas for prying information out of captives come from anyway? Well, the trainers who came to the base on the island of Cuba may or may not have known the origins of the techniques they taught. What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them later proving to be false, from American prisoners.

Isn’t that lovely? How proud must we be of those astute Bush/Cheneyites who managed to cop such neat interrogation ideas from such a truly historic source, Chinese Communist wartime interrogation techniques. After all they were time tested, right? By our own troops back in the Korean War? Positively ingenious! Makes us proud enough to bust a gut, don’t it? Well, somebody’s gut, anyway. Now that, my friends, is real leadership! Republican leadership with a capital T for Torture!
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And so runs the turkey on this Thanksgiving week's “golden oldies” in Little Eddy's never ending celebration of the winding down of the Bush 43 presidency. Fortunately exposure in the media brought any administration plans to extend the war to Iran resulted in its abandonment. And the subsequent election of president-elect Obama meant the ultimate failure of the tactics of fear and loathing in a political campaign. Or at least in this year's election. And on the happy note of the Good Guys winning big, we invite you to join us again next week for yet another installment of this compelling saga of presidential mismanagement and irresponsibility. And in the mean time, in the words of that beloved extra terrestrial John McLaughlin, “bye bye!”

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blog #63: A little of this and that . . .

Last week we told all of you Monty Python fans out there the possible origin of their Dead Parrot routine, which turned out to be a joke found in an ancient Greek joke book about a man trying to return a dead slave. This week we are going one better, and bring you Monty Python itself. The boys, a bit older and puffier, but still cheeky after all these years, have decided to fight the mass of their videos which have been posted by their fans on YouTube, by joining them opening their very own YouTube channel. They have posted 24 videos to start with, and promise more to come. Below we post their introductory video, in which they explain their move. How are they going to pay for their venture, when the videos they post are free? They hope you will click on the links that lead to their dvd's and other offerings, of course.

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Speaking of comedy, Kevin O'Donnell of Rolling Stone, reports on his interview with the touring Cheech and Chong. The original stoner duo, Cheech & Chong, squashed their long-running feud to reunite for the Light Up America/Canada Tour — their first in 25 years. The tour kicked off last Friday in Ottawa and runs through late December, with one more gig in New York at Radio City Music Hall at the end of January. Rolling Stone got the pair on the phone for a conversation. There follows a few excerpts from the interview:

What are the shows like? What kind of stuff are you guys performing?
• Tommy Chong: We've basically revised our live show from 30 years ago, and it seems to work. We just went from Nixon to Bush, and that's about all that's changed. Personally I like the stand-up bits I get to do in between the acts, because I've been working on my stand up for a few years. The first bit, The Low Rider, is also probably the best, funniest piece of comedy ever in the history of mankind.

How do you guys do that live?
• Chong: We did it live before, but the only thing is we don't light up the joint now. We just pretend to light up the joint. But the crowd's totally with us. Every anal guy in the world always wanted to see Cheech & Chong together. Like, they go into a restaurant and the salt and pepper shakers are sitting apart, and you know how they gotta go and put them together? Well, that's the same as Cheech & Chong. It just bothered everybody that Cheech and Chong weren't working together, and now that we are just seems like certain people can die happy now. It was always my ultimate dream that we'd get back together while we're not drooling too much.

You guys have kind of had some differences over the past couple of years. How were you guys able to get beyond that to reunite?
• Chong: We drove over to the alley and we fought it out. We said, "Fuck it, man. Let's get it on." We're so old, Cheech couldn't see me and I couldn't hear him. No, actually, we put our managers in a room and had them duke it out.

Do you guys bring a lot of weed with you on the road?
• Chong: No. None. Never. You know, nine months in jail teaches you something. Plus, it's like bringing coal to Newcastle. We're in Canada now, and even in the States, if you need weed, you can get weed faster than you can get a pizza almost anywhere.

What's different about your approach to comedy now versus 25 years ago?
• Chong: Twenty-five years ago we didn't have to try to remember what the show was. Our approach now is, "How does that bit go?"
• Cheech: And there's music in the show now. I mean, we're actually playing in the show a lot more.
• Chong: And we look a lot older than we did before.
• Cheech: Yeah, we're like the pedophile age.

You said that there's a sing-along at the end of your show. To what song?
• Chong: "Up in Smoke."
• Cheech: And then we sing "Kumbaya," you know, for world peace. It's for the kids. The kids are our future.

I'm wondering if you have any thoughts about the re-emergence of stoner culture in the mainstream with movies like Pineapple Express.
• Chong: We feel responsible, so we're demanding 10 percent from all those movies. Pineapple Express, I thought, was really funny.
• Cheech: For white guys, [Seth Rogen and James Franco] aren't half bad.

How do you think your movies hold up?
• Cheech: I look at the residual check I get every year. It's a huge check, every year for 30 years. So, obviously it holds up. It's an American classic, no doubt.
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Ever wonder if any of the people responsible for George W. Bush's attaining the presidency in 2000 suffer any guilt or regret? Does James Baker III, who presented Bush's case before the Supreme Court have any misgivings over that which he hath wrought? Are his nights filled with sweet dreams, or are they filled with disturbing images of what might have been, had he not presented his case so convincingly. Of course, Mr. Baker isn't saying a damn thing one way or the other, and what person in his most exalted position would ever admit to such a major gaffe?

One member of the team which helped engineer 2000's Supreme Court's Supreme Fiat is self-admitted GOP hit man, Roger Stone. Stone has had a hand in everything from Nixon's dirty tricks to Eliot Spitzer's resignation to spreading discredited rumors of a Michelle Obama “whitey” tape during the 2008 Democratic primaries. You might call Stone the Forrest Gump of scandal, popping up to play a bit part in the most notorious negative campaigns in recent history.

The capstone of Stone’s career, at least in terms of results, was the “Brooks Brothers riot” of the 2000 election recount. This was when a Stone-led squad of pro-Bush protesters stormed the Miami-Dade County election board, stopping the recount and advancing then-Governor George W. Bush one step closer to the White House. Though he is quick to rebut GOP operatives who seek to minimize his role in the recount, Stone lately has been having second thoughts about what happened in Florida.

"There have been many times I've regretted it,” Stone told The Daily Beast blogger Benjamin Sarlin over pizza at Grand Central Station. “When I look at those double-page New York Times spreads of all the individual pictures of people who have been killed [in Iraq], I got to thinking, 'Maybe there wouldn't have been a war if I hadn't gone to Miami-Dade. Maybe there hadn't have been, in my view, an unjustified war if Bush hadn't become president.' It's very disturbing to me."

Stone voted for Bush in 2004 as well (“John Kerry was an elitist buffoon”) but he pulled no punches in his assessment of the last eight years. Stone's own political philosophy is libertarian, and he says it conflicts with Bush's penchant for expanded executive power.

“I think across the board he's led the party to its current position, which means losing both houses of congress and now the White House,” Stone said. “How can you be conservative and justify wiretapping people without a warrant? We're supposed to be the party of personal freedom and civil liberties. Big brother listening in on your phone calls — I got a problem with that.”

That Stone joins Matthew Dowd, Scott McClellan, and Colin Powell in the group of disaffected ex-Bushies shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. According to Stone, he didn't even want to get involved in the 2000 race at all until the GOP's recount head, James Baker III, called him up and asked him for his help. Stone said that Baker had helped him out in 1981 by getting Reagan and Bush to lend support to New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, whose campaign Stone ran. He owed him a favor.

“In this business, if you don't pay your debts you're finished,” Stone said. Nor does Stone regret dirty politicking. Stone still offers his services as a no-holds-barred strategist to domestic and foreign politicians alike, and claims his client list is full. Ironically one Florida race this year even hinged on his role in the 2000 recount. In a hard-fought campaign for Broward County sheriff, the Democratic candidate, Scott Israel, flooded the airwaves with over-the-top ads attacking his Republican incumbent Al Lamberti for utilizing "the same Bush hatchet man who tried to steal the 2000 election." Obama carried Broward County by 243,567 votes, the biggest margin of any county in Florida, but incredibly, Israel lost to Lamberti by 15,400 votes, a rare Republican upset in an overwhelmingly Democratic year. Stone may be paying a price for the 2000 recount in his conscience, but he didn't pay one at the ballot box.
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It is beginning to look more and more like one of our major problems in this country, and the one that threatens to bring down our economy with a deafening thud, is the ever spiraling cost of health care. General Motors has announced that it has to add approximately $1,600 to the cost of each automobile they sell in order to cover the health care costs of its employees and retirees. (Back when they litigated these employment benefits the company was the largest auto builder in the world, and its future was bright indeed. However, the intervening years have seen foreign automakers pop up like weeds in a tilled field, and suddenly GM is not only no longer top dog, but is staring a bankruptcy court in the face.) Medicare is standing right alongside the auto industry, bracing itself for the eminent retirement of millions of Baby Boomers which will surely tax the present system to the breaking point as it relies on the present day ever shrinking current work force to pay the benefits of the retirees. In short, our society seems to have brought all of this on itself by having our technology extend our lives until suddenly there are way too many of us who are retired and attempting to live on an ever shrinking dole.

Back in 2000 this country had the atrocious luck of having had a president arbitrarily installed by Supreme Court fiat, a president who once enthroned first excused the very rich from their tax obligations, after which he invaded a nation which was doing nothing at all to us at the time and which posed no threat, but whose continual occupation has cost our taxpayers 10 billion big ones a month for the past five years. And with that sized monkey on our backs no way can we run our country and war machine on a pay as you go basis, and so our predicament has meant having to borrow huge amounts of money from our so-called friends in China and the Arab nations. And this extravagance means that our children and their children will be paying off our debt in the decades to come.

Meantime our society frowns upon and makes illegal some of those very things which just might have helped us cure this over population problem by thinning our ranks, from things like addictive drugs (the likes of heroin and cocaine), to the right of persons who are hopelessly ill to bring his or her suffering to an end by committing doctor assisted suicide. I'm not advocating either of those two propositions, I might add. I'm simply pointing out the irony of frenetically pursuing factors which might have a long term effect of decreasing our bulging population.

What is the solution to the growing health care mess? Well, for one thing how about some kind of limitation on the profit made off of health care and prescription drugs? It seems unconscionable to me that Americans should have to spend substantially more for drugs than citizens of other nations. It seems to me this will have to change if we are to get any kind of handle on health care. However, most probably we will need divine intervention if we are going to be able to muddle our way through this myriad of apparently unsolvable situations. Good luck, Barack Obama. A hell of a lot is riding on your being a cross between Superman and an all knowing deity. If anybody can do it you can, we feel sure.
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Creationist is the term affixed to those that take the Bible's words at face value, individuals who believe that the earth was created in six literal days, and on the seventh He rested, and presumably probably went to church. The only problem with this is: which church? Of course, it varies as to who you ask, but it is most likely the church which the creationist you are talking to attends.

One thing about people who sincerely live their religion; they take that familiar Boy Scout credo very seriously, which means they want to share their beliefs with others. Make that read, force it down other's throats. The famous Scopes trial in Tennessee attempted to prevent the theory of evolution from being taught as fact in the public schools. Creationism lost that court fight, and that epic contest is enshrined in our nation's folklore, not to mention in several compelling dramatic offerings. However, creationists have not faded away into the twilight. Like mushrooms on an autumn evening they pop up after each rain in places where you least expect them.

Their latest attempt here in Texas is for conservatives on the State Educational Board to attempt to bully the education community into teaching our children that the theory of evolution is flawed, not perfect, and thereby presumably without merit. In the eye of the true believer, evolution is stained, as it conflicts with Biblical teaching. Sarah Palin evidently belongs in this group, though fortunately she lives all the way up in Alaska, where she is no threat to the children who live in Texas. But as we write conservative members of our state's commission on education are deftly attempting to sow seeds of doubt into the curriculum of evolution. So what does the academic community do in self defense? Why they do a study, of course.

According to Gary Sharrer, writing in the Houston Chronicle, “the verdict from Texas scientists is nearly unanimous: 98 percent favor the unadulterated teaching of evolution in public school classrooms, according to a report released Monday as the State Board of Education prepares to weigh in on the controversy. A vast majority of the scientists say students would be harmed if the state requires the teaching of the "weaknesses" of the theory of evolution, according to the survey conducted for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, an organization that works on issues involving religious freedom, civil liberties and public education.

"With 94 percent of Texas faculty ... telling me it (teaching the weaknesses) shouldn't be there, I tend to believe them," said Raymond Eve, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Arlington who did the study. "More than 450 biology or biological anthropology professors at 50 Texas colleges and universities participated in a 59-question survey. Many of those faculty members help determine admission of students into Texas' colleges and universities,” Eve said. "Their responses should send parents a clear message that those who want to play politics with science education are putting our kids at risk," he said.

The handling of evolution is the most contentious part in the state's rewrite of the science curriculum standards for public schools. The State Board will have a public hearing on Wednesday and vote on the new science standards early next year. The new guidelines are formally known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS. Social conservatives on the 15-member State Board of Education are likely to push for those standards to include a requirement that high school science teachers teach the weaknesses of evolution.

The "intelligent design" concept holds that the universe and living organisms are so complicated that their origins are best explained by an intelligent cause. READ GOD. That idea also is intended to circumvent court rulings that prohibit the teaching of creationism as science. We would remind these nay sayers that scientific knowledge consists of principles which can be proven, and proven repeatedly. Science represents the best conjectures of learned minds, and states principles the results of which can be repeated time and time again. Creationism, as in all religion, is a concept which is not provable. It exists only because of the faith of the believer. And where it is certainly the right of every individual to believe in whatever he or she wishes to believe in in our free society, what is not cool is for one person or group of people, to try to foist their own personal, unprovable theories upon our school children and pass them off as science.

The requirement that teachers teach the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolutionary theory is the result of a compromise offered by a Democratic board member 20 years ago, Bradley said. The State Board of Education is in charge of setting curriculum standards and preparing children for college and jobs in the modern economy and that requires "sound science, not watered down, politicized science," said Kathy Miller, president of the Austin-based Texas Freedom Network. "Teach evolution and don't water it down with creationism, intelligent design or phony weaknesses," Miller said.

We might add to that, if you're going to teach the weaknesses of the theory of evolution, why stop there? Let’s revert to the medieval catholic theory that the sun, the planets and the stars all revolve around the earth. After all, in our God's eyes we are the center of the universe. And how about that revelation that Eve was created from Adam's rib? That was sure as hell some intelligent design. And while we’re about it let’s ground all airplanes. After all if the Lord wanted men to fly wouldn't he have outfitted us with wings? Perhaps while we’re about it, we could teach the fallacy of Einstein’s theory, which of course would mean that the US collection of atomic bombs would no longer work, since the theory they were based on was wrong. And maybe, if our ideas catch on, we can revert to that quaint old custom of our ancestors, burning witches and infidels at the stake. After all, people who think different probably own Apple computers which are the real threats to all we hold sacred. Right?
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According to legend the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, truly love controversy, and it's a damn good thing they do, too. It seems they're once again stirring the pot, this time forgoing television for Broadway, as in Broadway Musical. And it is not just any musical the are creating, but a musical based on the lives and loves of Mormons! That'll show the church what can happen when they come out of the closet and heavily fund the Proposition 8 in California which attempts to rescind the legal right to marry that the California courts had extended to gays and lesbians recently. Religions supposedly earn that bye on taxation that the rest of us are forced to pay by refraining from meddling in partisan politics. But that seems to be going out of fashion these days. The evangelical right has appropriated the Republican Party, and both Catholics and Mormons ganged up to deprive gays of the same rights the rest of us freely enjoy, the right to legally wed the person of our choice.

There is some precedent for Parker and Stone's foray into music. They got their lyrical feet wet with an Oscar-nominated song from 1999's "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut." Trey & Matt - along with Robert Lopez, the co-writer of "Avenue Q" - have finally settled on a script and are workshopping their new production aptly titled, "Mormon Musical." One of Broadway's most beloved actors, Cheyenne Jackson, is the star of this potentially polarizing show? "It's hilarious,” Cheyenne opined, “very acerbic and biting. It offends everybody but does what 'South Park' does best, which is by the end it comes around and has something great to say," Cheyenne said. "I play the main missionary, Elder something," he went on, straining to recall the name of his character. But the biggest unknown still is who else will be joining the cast. When asked Cheyenne which other actors would be co-starring, all he would say (through the world's largest grin) is, "a lot of people – all amazing." That naturally leads us to speculate that "Mormon Musical" is about to become one of the most star-studded shows to hit Broadway in years! The show starts rehearsals in December, so expect to see it on the Great White Way sometime in 2009!
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Ana Marie Cox in Saturday's Daily Beast reports on a really odd phenomenon, Republicans for Hillary as Secretary of State:

"Hillary Clinton has found some unlikely allies and supporters in her journey to becoming Secretary of State: neoconservatives, contributors to the National Review, even a former manager of her husband's impeachment proceedings. You might call it a vast right-wing conspiracy.

"How to explain the generally positive take Republicans have on Clinton's nomination? Her willingness to veer right in international policy. While she all but — all but — apologized for her pro-war vote in the Democratic primaries, Republicans are counting on her toughness in the days ahead. As one consultant put it: "We all know that secretly, she's a hawk." Writing in The Weekly Standard's blog, Michael Goldfarb wrote hopefully about Clinton "even present[ing] the case for war with Iran to an insubordinate United Nations in the event that Obama's personal diplomacy somehow fails to deter the mullahs from their present course." His editor, Bill Kristol, responded to the news with a giddy email: "I look forward to working with her!"

"Reached this afternoon as word of an official offer was spreading, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — he's the former Clinton impeachment manager — had nothing but praise about the selection. "She's got the right skill set for the job," he said, "There's no country in the world she can't go to. I mean, she's Hillary! Not many people in the world are known by their first name like that." Graham said her confirmation in the Senate should be "no problem," thanks to her knack for personal diplomacy. "She's good at giving credit to others, which works well in the Senate." As for diplomacy abroad, Graham emphasized her less warm and fuzzy side, "She's gotta pretty good view of how the Russians are drifting in the wrong direction." By "good,” Graham means a view NOT shared by all of her Democratic colleagues. Echoing Goldfarb, he added, "in the primaries, she had a tougher view on Iran than Obama."

My take: What's the old saying about politics making strange bedfellows? What goes around comes around? Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of Republicans and neocons. The Shadow Knows! But damn, he talks only in whispers.

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blog #62: What are we doing here?

Well, the election is finally over, although our new age won't really begin until January 20th. And so this is a period of breath holding, and hoping against hope that the outgoing administration does nothing to muddy the waters of the incoming one. We have to admit, it is looking positive. In spite of early reports that Bush was rushing through a lot of last minute executive orders that would require much undoing by an Obama administration, the president did invite the new first family over to check out their new digs, and he did promise to aid the new administration's transition.

Jan. 20 will be a red letter day for sure, the day our new president, Barack Obama, gets formally inaugurated as the next president of the United States. Has a ring to it, doesn't it? Barack Obama, who would have thought a man of such a racially mixed heritage could actually be elected president? A man who come January 21, we can dare to hope will begin to make things markedly better not just for the rich, but for all Americans. From the looks of things so far it promises to be like the difference between night and day.

What made Bush 43's tenure the worst presidency in our nation's history? The list seems too long for the telling. Perhaps that is not the way you see it, after all twenty something percent of Americans look upon his presidency in a favorable light. And forty seven percent of you voters chose his anointed successor, John McCain for the job of president. Of course the other seventy plus percent of us did see things quite a bit differently. Why? What made this once likable man go so terribly wrong? Well, for one thing he took to heart the famous saying, “before an election a typical politician promises one thing and then when gets into office does quite another.” George Bush, bless his heart, tattooed that philosophy into his head and soared to heights as yet undreamed of by us mere mortals. Tell me about it. I'm sure he got continuing reassuring counsel from his veep of vice, Dick Cheney.

Bush ran for office claiming that he was a compassionate conservative who had worked with Democrats in Texas while governor, and who solemnly promised to do so again as president. However, once in power that promise went down the tubes along with all of those sought after White House emails which have magically disappeared. Democrats were not only ignored by the White House, in Congress they were actually barred from the meetings where legislation was to be worked out, the Republicans in power turning over the writing of said legislation to the interested big business lobbyists who magically appeared to write the legislation. Will the Democratic leaders in Congress continue that tradition by barring Republicans, or will they open up their legislative meetings in the spirit of true bipartisanship and democracy. The real strength of America lies in people in both parties participating equally in government. It was the way it used to be until the so-called Republican revolution of 1994, after which Republicans began playing the game, “Winner Take All” with a vengeance. We will be waiting breathlessly to find out which way the newly elected Democrats will swing.

In my opinion Bush 43's greatest sin was in totally ignoring America's voting population once he got us into his war. Vice president Cheney made no bones about their ignoring the polls when the polls were running 70 to 80 % against the war in Iraq. To the ABC reporter he said words to the effect that he does not sully his thinking by considering polls, as if he had risen above following the will of the people who had elected him. We as a people are well rid of that bunch of rascals and we take solace in the fact that they have so damaged their party of choice that it will likely to be years, if not decades, before it reemerges from its ashes.

In my opinion one of the most costly and destructive things the Bushies have done to the fabric of American society is how they have handed off responsibilities for duties the military have traditionally performed to private corporations, and especially those sanctioned by Halliburton. KBR, at the time owned by Halliburton, performed services like laundry and meal preparation for the military paying their employees astronomical salaries as compared to what the military would have paid to its own. Security Services such as Blackwater replaced what were formerly Marine guards securing State Department and other diplomats. I trust the incoming Congress will hold hearings on these excesses in the War's costs, and take remedial action, such as at the very least punishing the responsible parties.

Best news for me (and probably lots of other Houstonians) is that Bush's post presidency move will be to Dallas, Texas rather than Houston. We already have the Bush 41 family in Houston, adding the 43 branch would tilt the balance further askew. Thankfully Dallas is a long way from Houston. And Dallas is a less progressive, far more conservative town. Maybe up in Dallas with a lot of time on his hands George W. can finally teach himself how to be that “compassionate” conservative he always claimed to be. Naaaah! No way!
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Word comes that Barack Obama had a meeting with Hillary Clinton on Thursday during which she was sounded out about the possibility of serving as Secretary of State in an Obama presidency. Nothing came out of the meeting for publication, but the fact that she flew to Chicago to talk with him shows a certain amount of interest on her part.

Friends of hers are counseling her to remain in the Senate to further her future presidential ambitions. However, we wonder how appealing that idea really is. For one thing, if Obama is half as effective as it seems he will be then he will surely run for reelection in 2012, which means Hillary wouldn't have a realistic shot at the presidency for eight more years, and that's a long ways off. By then she'll be approaching John McCain's age. However, she is uniquely qualified to be Secretary of State, and this could relieve Obama of worry about the rest of the world, as he focusses in on the economy.

Husband Bill Clinton is wildly popular throughout the world, and especially Europe, and he could undoubtedly be persuaded to accept a special title of Ambassador to the World, which would go along very nicely with his wife as Secretary of State. And between the two of them, they should be able to go a long way towards rebuilding the U. S. image world wide. It's just a thought, but it seems to me it would make a great deal of sense from both sides.
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To blog or not to blog? That is the question. What will there be to write about now that we have voted in a reasoned and responsible leader for real Change? Just like comedians are at a loss as to how to make fun of the new president, so the opinion makers are going to have to go easy until President Obama gets his feet permanently aground and up and running. The cultivation of power in the Bush 43 White House is unprecedented in modern America, and the occasional acquiescence of Senator Obama to Bush initiatives like voting to make the telephone companies immune from prosecution for turning over their networks for non court sanctioned NSA spying on American's web traffic gives one pause. Power corrupts, and ultimate power corrupts ultimately.

However, we must stay calm and give the new president a chance, and hope that the incoming administration will begin undoing the multitude of government corruption that we experienced under Bush. And most heartening is the information that Obama will keep his campaign database together, and will use it to continually keep in touch with his followers. Maintaining such a list is unprecedented in modern government and if utilized it shows much promise as it will serve as a continual reminder of the wishes of the people whose efforts got him where he is..

I'm all for giving President elect Obama all the slack he needs to learn to effectively govern the country. I just hope for quick examples of Obama shedding the excesses of power foisted on us by the Bush administration. Hopefully that army of supporters he built up during his campaign will remind him of his duties and obligations to the rest of us.
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And from Reuters' Daniel Flynn, comes news of the origins of: "I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it." Remember that Monty Python routine?

For those who believe the ancient Greeks thought of everything first, proof has been found in a 4th century AD joke book featuring an ancestor of Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch.

The 1,600-year-old work is entitled "Philogelos: The Laugh Addict," and it's one of the world's oldest joke books. It features a joke in which a man complains that a slave he has just bought has died. "By the gods," answers the slave's seller, "when he was with me, he never did any such thing!"

The English-language book will appeal to those who swear that the old jokes are the best ones. Many of its 265 gags will seem strikingly familiar, suggesting that sex, dimwits, nagging wives and flatulence have raised laughs for centuries.


In many of the jokes, a slow-witted figure known as the "student dunce" is the butt of the jokes. In one, the student dunce goes to the city and a friend asks him to buy two 15-year-old slaves: "No problem,' responds the dunce. "If I don't find two 15-year-olds, I'll get one 30-year-old.'

In another, someone asks to borrow the student's cloak to go down to the country. "I have a cloak to go down to your ankle, but I don't have one that reaches to the country," he replies.

The manuscript is attributed to a pair of ancient comedians called Hierocles and Philagrius. Little is known about them except that they were most likely the compilers of the jokes, not the original writers.

The multi-media e-book, which can be purchased online (, features veteran British comedian Jim Bowen, 71, reviving the lines before a 21-century audience.

"Jim Bowen brings them back from the dead. It's like Jurassic Park for jokes," Richard Stephenson, CEO of digital publisher YUDU, said in a statement.

For Bowen, much of the material seemed very familiar: "One or two of them are jokes I've seen in peoples' acts nowadays, slightly updated: they put in a motor car instead of a chariot."

Other one-liners in Philogelos may baffle a modern audience, such as a series of jokes about a lettuce, which only make sense in light of the ancient belief it was an aphrodisiac.

In the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, first aired in 1969 and regularly voted one of the funniest ever, Michael Palin, the pet-shop owner, says the parrot, a "Norwegian Blue," is not dead, it's just "resting" or "pining for the fjords." To which John Cleese replies, “the bird is dead, deceased, it is a late parrot. The only reason it was standing up was that it's feet were nailed to the cage.”
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Where the hell is Ed Badeaux? Who knows? Who cares? Well, one person with a very long memory put that question on the message board of Mudcat, which calls itself a digital cafe with a message board dedicated to the blues and folk. My morning Wednesday began when I got the following email from my cousin Nancy in Ecuador.

On Mon, Nov 10, 2008 at 10:28 PM, Soc. Victor Maridueña| wrote:
Hello Ed, this is Nancy. Victor Googled your name and we found your tracks on Folkways and also this Mudcat Cafe blog page. You probably saw it long ago but we send it just in case. How are you feeling? Well we hope. We are both under the weather but thankfully nothing serious. Elyssa is coming for Christmas and that will be great. Wish we could see all of ya'll. Please give everyone our love.
All our best,
Nancy and Victor

The Mudcat Cafe
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Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?

Zorro 03 Aug 01 - 09:14 PM
katlaughing 04 Aug 01 - 12:22 AM
katlaughing 04 Aug 01 - 12:28 AM
Rick Fielding 04 Aug 01 - 01:00 AM
georgeward 04 Aug 01 - 02:36 AM
katlaughing 04 Aug 01 - 02:38 AM
Zorro 04 Aug 01 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Jessica 25 Sep 08 - 06:17 PM
GUEST, Ed Badeaux 12 Nov.

Subject: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: Zorro
Date: 03 Aug 01 - 09:14 PM

In the early 60's I took guitar lessons from a guy named Ed Badeaux. He taught at the Jewish Community Center in Houston, Tx. Later my buddy and I took private lessons from him. When he left Houston he had accepted a job to tour some southern schools and do folk music workshops. At the time he was big in the Houston Folkmusic Society. It's still alive and well and someone there suggested he was working for Sing Out Magazine. I talked to someone up there last year and they haven't heard from him in many (30) years or so. Has anyone run across him? He cut an lp that I still have. My buddy and I got to talking about him last night and I was wondering if anyone knows him, where he might be??? Z.

Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 12:22 AM

Sorry, Zorro, I don't know if this is the right Ed, but if it is, he passed away last year. Here is the obituary I found on google: (Now that I look at this, it seems this Ed might have been too young to be teaching back then. Maybe there is some connection?)

Friday -- December 08, 2000

Ed Badeaux

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday following cremation at St. Hilary of Poiters Catholic Church in Mathews for Ed Lee Badeaux, 54, a native of Lockport and resident of Houma, who died Dec. 6, 2000. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. until service time at the church.

Burial will be at Holy Savior Cemetery in Lockport. He was the husband of Margaret Bascle Badeaux; son of Francis J. Badeaux; stepson of Lilly Badeaux; father of Robert Ledet Jr., Jennifer and Jessica Badeaux; stepfather of Dawn Lagarde and Vicky Parfait; and brother of Barbara B. Arabie and Mary B. Roussel. He is also survived by nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother, Vida Lee Badeaux; and stepson, Mark Ledet.

Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 12:28 AM

Wait a minute, maybe some good news! If you go to Yahoo People Search, several come up, but the first one is an Ed Badeaux in Houston! 'spose it's him? There is a phone number and addy. Just click here


Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 01:00 AM

Ed was the editor of Sing Out for a few years, during the Vietnam war. Other than his album of traditional songs for Folkways, he's probably best known for a famous editorial he wrote, condemning the US's involvement in the war (he was a former soldier) and informing the Government that he would no longer pay the portion of his taxes that went to support it.


Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: georgeward
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 02:36 AM

I worked with Ed and his sister Mary for several years as a summer camp counselor in Vermont (late '50s-early '60s). He later became involved with a camp in Maine for a number of years.

He's not the Ed Badeaux who's obit Kat found.

He was alive and (I believe) back in Texas quite recently. Mary is gone, I've been told. If you have no luck from anyone else here, let me know. I can probably find out more.

-George ::-.--O

Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 02:38 AM

Oh, then maybe the one listed in Texas, at Yahoo, is him?! Hope so.

Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: Zorro
Date: 04 Aug 01 - 07:06 AM

Thanks much, George, Rick and kat, I know the Houston Folklore society will be thrilled that he is still around and maybe closer than we thought. I have been out of pocket recently and haven't visited Mudcat much in over a year. I'm always amazed at the quick responses. Ed's approach to folk music was so straight forward and simple that you couldn't help but be impressed. Thanks again, Zorro

Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: GUEST,Jessica
Date: 25 Sep 08 - 06:17 PM

He's definitely not the Ed Badeaux listed in the obit. That's my father who was born and raised in Louisiana. Good luck with your search.

Once I emailed my thanks to cousin Nancy I added the following to the Mudcat Cafe thread:

Subject: RE: Ed Badeaux; Do you know him?
From: GUEST,Ed Badeaux
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 12:14 PM

Wow! My cousin Nancy sent me this thread. Her husband Victor googled my name and came up zorro's Mudcat inquiry. Since I'm not in the habit of googling my name (I'll admit I did do it once) I had no idea of zorro's interest. For the record: Yes, I am Ed Badeaux, I'm 82 and still chugging along. I did teach guitar at the Jewish Community Center, and I was managing editor of Sing Out! magazine for a couple of rocking years when folk music (or a kind of hoked up version of it) was the pop music of the land. George Ward, it's good to know you're still around, Mary unfortunately left us by way of breast cancer a couple of years ago. And thank you Rick Fielding, for remembering my couple of years at Sing Out!, and especially my editorial condemning the Vietnam war, and withholding that portion of my taxes which paid for it. Of course, the IRS came and found me, and helped itself to that portion of my taxes I had withheld. The agent they sent to extract it was polite and even respectful, although the minute we finished the conversation he went to the bank and extracted Caesar his due. It felt good that I tried though.
If anyone is interested, I write a weekly blog at Google's blogspot, called Little Eddy. In it I mouth off on Iraq, and express my avid support for Barak Obama, Apple Computers, and other things I believe in. The URL mispells the word littlle, and is as follows: Thank you all again, it is really wonderful to know that someone out there remembers you enough to want to know what happened to you.

Bless you all, Ed Badeaux, , aka The Real Little Eddy.

And so went my day on Wednesday.
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And so goes the first post election edition of Little Eddy. Little Eddy's blog is a failure by most any blog standard. It draws about a hundred hits a week according that damned truth telling counter at the bottom of the page. And more importantly, we have yet to draw our first comment, and comments are always the liveliest part of any true blog. And my initial motive for writing it is a complete failure too, for it was begun as a way to communicate with my family, my sons and grandchildren, only it turns out that my none of them read it. How is that for futility?

In contrast to the hundred or so hits a week the sexual fantasies Uncle Pan used to write for mrdouble's site, and later for storiesonline, would get closer to 1,500 hits a week, and drew some really nice email comments. As I ponder what to do with my time, I will at least for the time being continue on with Little Eddy's blog, however, it will probably be somewhat shorter as I will do less aggregating and try to write more original material. I will also be looking towards doing a website where I can offer my Nightsong podcasts to what I'm sure will be an anxiously waiting world. I have done sixteen Nightsongs so far, and for the bulk of the time I was churning them out weekly.

Perhaps I should start a contest. Who will be the very first person to leave a comment on Little Eddy's blog? You can comment on anything, even tell me just where I can go, though I don't guarantee I'll go there. I'll even offer a prize. I'll send a CD of the first Nightsong, which has the new Sea Mix on it, among other things, to the very first person who offers up a comment. Be the very first to leave a comment and receive this unique CD at no charge. Just be sure and leave your name and mailing address if you want the CD. And now, (to borrow a phrase from Walter Cronkite) that is the way it is for the week which ended Nov. 15. We are glad you dropped by (surfed in?), and hope you'll check us out again next week. Until then, bye now.

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blog #61: How Sweet It Is!

President Barack Obama. Hot Damn! Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Thank you America for this time voting your heart rather than your fears. For rejecting that never ending Republican litany of lies, half-truths, the incessant name calling, and the downright silly attempts at guilt by association, all of the usual garbage the McCain campaign threw into the campaign fan hoping against hope to see something stick to the wall. The McCain/Palin campaign sputtered and stumbled as it wended its way along its desperate “bridge to nowhere." Isolated Republicans are already attempting to spin the election results in such a way as to show themselves as being relevant still. “America is still a Center/Right nation” is their mantra of the moment. But don't you believe a word of it. The country has suffered through eight years of arrogant, incompetent, dictatorial Center/Right rule. Believe me, voters did NOT vote for Barack Obama to ensure four more years of political high jinks à la Bush/Cheney.
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The country has truly turned the page, a blessed page in my opinion, by electing not only our first president of Afro-American ancestry, but accompanying that selection with populating the House and the Senate with substantial majorities of a Democratic persuasion. It was the cleanest sweep in recent memory, probably comparable in rank only to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's victory in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression. That was a time I have a vague memory of, thanks to president Roosevelt's authoritative voice booming from my family's living room radio as he reminded us, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” It was a jungle back then, and Roosevelt had his hands full as he closed the nation's banks while he tried stabilizing them enough to allow their reopening. But Roosevelt prevailed in spite of the odds against him, and especially the ultra conservative Supreme Court which attempted to curtail his solutions one by one. His answer to that: expand the court to nine justices appointing the new ones himself.

Of course Republicans, even as they pass through the jaws of their well earned and much deserved defeat, are going to continue to whine of their relevance, but don't for one minute believe them. They speak with forked tongue. The nation traveled through the 1920's with it's laissez-faire party in full swing. Trickle down didn't work in Coolidge and Hoover's day, any more than it will work in our day. If there is one thing that the rich know how to do and do well, it is holding onto their every last penny, letting nary a cent trickle down to the hungry masses below. Yet, our public has a short memory. Every few years our bastion of naïveté once again falls for that Newt Gingrich “pie in the sky” nonsense, and Congress begins quietly stripping away the various safeguards which had been put into the system to protect us financially all the while keeping the Great God Greed at bay. Then along comes another financial meltdown and here we go again.

Hopefully we Americans have learned this time around, and we'll give President Obama the wherewithal for doing whatever may be needed to stabilize our financial situation as he returns the distribution of the nation's wealth once again to a level of fairness, which in the short run means adjusting the tax code so that the people who are getting the most in benefits from our system once again pay their fair share of such taxes as are needed to keep the government running smoothly. Listen not to those who will scream “socialism” at every attempt to bring our tax code back to a level of fairness. Our progressive income tax is the fairest system of tax evaluation on the planet. Relieving the extremely wealthy of their tax burdens, and then invading a country which was doing nothing to us, is no way to run a government, and even though the Bush administration was able to get itself reelected through hook and crook, and run its scam for its full two terms, the result is that in the process it has probably destroyed the Republican Party under whose banner it had ruled, very possibly to a point of no return. At least it my lifetime.
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One of the more beautiful consequences of this year's election was in seeing that all the usual techniques of the Republican Right, the lies, innuendos, half truths, in short their flailing attempts to scare people away from their true choice fail miserably this time around. Obama proved himself to be Swift-Boat proof. Voters were no longer listening to the noise they were attempting to spread. Of course, candidate Obama probably has Hilary Clinton to thank for some of that, for the Republican shills had spent the preceding three years preparing to bring down a Clinton juggernaut that in the end wasn't to be. By the time they realized who their true opponent was it was too late to do much of anything about it.

John McCain is a good man, but this time around he was a terrible candidate. He was never able to find a positive voice detailing the direction in which he was planning to take the country. All he seemed to feel really comfortable doing was in criticizing Obama, throwing up doubts about his qualifications, his ability, his character, etc. Perhaps there were national security wonks out there who were genuinely concerned about Obama's lack of experience under fire, but most of those doubts were assuaged after former joint chiefs of staff and ex Secretary of State, General Colin Powell, gave his historic and reasoned endorsement of candidate Obama on Meet the Press. After Powell's endorsement virtually all of the cheesy doubts which were being solicitously propagated by the Republican Swift-Boater Team and their Rush Limbaugh type cheer leaders in talk radio, fell mostly onto deaf ears. And Obama's participation in the three debates was more than adequate in convincing most of us that the man is well able to think on his feet, he is reasoned rather than impulsive, and he has the smarts to do the job, and then some. At first glance McCain might be presumed to have had the better résumé going into the race but it didn't take very long into the first debate to realize that McCain had neither the ability nor the presence to utilize his superior qualifications, as he proved again and again when he seemed to be mired down in one outdated talking point after another.
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For me one of the best things to come out of the election was my newfound addiction to Tina Brown's recently opened aggregator, The Daily Beast. Although it enters a field already dominated by The Huffington Post, I find Brown's Beast to be a better distillation of what's out there that may be of interest to me. By comparison, Huffington seems to me to be overkill, perusing it's pages is like suddenly finding yourself in a veritable swamp of information. Everything you might want to read may be found on its pages, but when there I find myself soon wearying of the search, whereas I find myself coming back to the Beast several times a day, reading incessantly. As an introduction to the Beast I present a page from Friday's Beast, called the Big Fat Story. The Big Fat Story is a regular feature which changes every day. Friday's BFS was titled The Trashing of Sarah Palin. It's URL is As you click on parts of the page various paragraphs appear which flesh out the story:
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The rout of the Republicans on Tuesday has left them as an impotent rump in Congress and put the future of the party up for grabs. While traditional conservatives have rallied around Palin and praised her for her "authenticity", moderate Republicans, who believe moving to the center in the face of electoral defeat is essential if they are ever to recapture the White House, have turned on her. "The Republicans are fighting in the war room. They are fighting in the television studios. They are fighting in the blogs and on the opinion pages," Gerard Baker of the London Times reports. It is a battle that will not be concluded until the GOP pick their next presidential candidate in the summer of 2012.

There is no shortage of backers for Palin and her brand of no nonsense, common sense, grass roots, bottom up conservatism. Some see her as the true heir to Barry Goldwater's brand of frontier libertarian individualism, some that she descends from the Reagan Democrat tradition of blue collar conservatism. It soon became clear McCain and Palin were not so much fellow mavericks as book ends at opposite ends of the conservative spectrum.

"Her take-no-prisoners populism is inherently radical; it's at odds not only with McCain's 'I'm safe, he's an unknown' strategy but with the very things that conservatism claims to be about: stability, order and tradition, wrote Gregory Rodriguez in the LA Times. Among those who put their money on Palin when McCain put her on the ticket were conservative wit Mark Steyn and Greta van Susteren: "There is no doubt in my mind that she is very smart, an astute politician, a very nice person and that she will be back .... maybe or probably 2012." Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes is indignant at how fellow conservatives dismissed her. The conservative blogosphere has almost universally fallen in behind her, as has Camille Paglia, who is claiming her for the neo-feminists.

Moderate Republicans were not only appalled that McCain picked her, they were soon complaining her ignorance and her caustic views would sink the campaign. Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan thought her "no good, not for conservatism and not for the country." David Brooks, the Old Grey Lady's tame moderate conservative, described her as "a fatal cancer to the Republican party." Matthew Dowd, a strategist for Bush's 2004 reelection campaign thought the choice had "put the country at risk." Thatcherite conservative Andrew Sullivan thought her "completely out of her mind and dumb as a rock." While Christopher Hitchens, a contrarian maverick himself, decried Palin thus: "It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies."

The head of steam behind Palin is now so strong it is unlikely she can resist the clamor to make her the conservative champion for the 2012 presidential race. "Despite all the criticism, she has many supporters among Republicans who see her as bright, tough, and a star in a party with relatively few on the horizon," Kate Zernike and Monica Davey wrote in the New York Times. But what should she do until then? Should she continue as a grass roots outsider, maintaining her distance from Washington by staying in Anchorage? Or should she head to DC and start forging alliances?

The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers suggests an option that will combine the two. If convicted felon Senator Ted Stevens is obliged to give up his seat, "Who might be in line to replace him? Hint: lipstick; $150,000 wardrobe. Yep, you betcha! Sarah Palin." Taking a leaf out of Dick Cheney's veep search, she could appoint herself, thus providing six free years in the Senate. The law is a little complicated on the issue, and there may have to be an election, but it is an eminently feasible option. Then, on to fame and fortune! Wink, wink.

A different BFS appears daily, and you click around the page to discover its hidden treasure and the discovery is kind of exciting. But there are many other features on the Beast pages, and even some of the more relevant videos of the moment. We salute the TDB and take our collective hats off to Tina Brown and whatever other editorial spirit guides its pages. And what a nice gift the 2008 election has given us.
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Also appearing daily in the Beast since election night is singer, songwriter Melissa Etheridge's eloquent letter to the tax collector of the State of California, explaining why she won't be paying her state taxes from now on:

Okay. So Prop 8 passed. Alright, I get it. 51% of you think that I am a second class citizen. Alright then. So my wife, uh I mean, roommate? Girlfriend? Special lady friend? You are gonna have to help me here because I am not sure what to call her now. Anyways, she and I are not allowed the same right under the state constitution as any other citizen. Okay, so I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen. I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books.

Okay, cool I don't mean to get too personal here but there is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too. Wow, come to think of it, there are quite a few of us fortunate gay folks that will be having some extra cash this year. What recession? We're gay! I am sure there will be a little box on the tax forms now single, married, divorced, gay, check here if you are gay, yeah, that's not so bad. Of course all of the waiters and hairdressers and UPS workers and gym teachers and such, they won't have to pay their taxes either.

Oh and too bad California, I know you were looking forward to the revenue from all of those extra marriages. I guess you will have to find some other way to get out of the budget trouble you are in.

… Really?

When did it become okay to legislate morality? I try to envision someone reading that legislation "eliminates the right" and then clicking yes. What goes through their mind? Was it the frightening commercial where the little girl comes home and says, "Hi mom, we learned about gays in class today" and then the mother gets that awful worried look and the scary music plays? Do they not know anyone who is gay? If they do, can they look them in the face and say, "I believe you do not deserve the same rights as me?” Do they think that their children will never encounter a gay person? Do they think they will never have to explain the 20% of us who are gay and living and working side by side with all the citizens of California?

I got news for them, someday your child is going to come home and ask you what a gay person is. Gay people are born everyday. You will never legislate that away.

I know when I grew up gay was a bad word. Homo, lezzie, faggot, dyke. Ignorance and fear ruled the day. There were so many "thems" back then. The blacks, the poor ... you know, "them". Then there was the immigrants. "Them.” Now the them is me.

I tell myself to take a breath, okay take another one, one of the thems made it to the top. Obama has been elected president. This crazy fearful insanity will end soon. This great state and this great country of ours will finally come to the understanding that there is no "them". We are one. We are united. What you do to someone else you do to yourself. That "judge not, lest ye yourself be judged" are truthful words and not Christian rhetoric.

Today the gay citizenry of this state will pick themselves up and dust themselves off and do what we have been doing for years. We will get back into it. We love this state, we love this country and we are not going to leave it. Even though we could be married in Mass. or Conn, Canada, Holland, Spain and a handful of other countries, this is our home. This is where we work and play and raise our families. We will not rest until we have the full rights of any other citizen. It is that simple, no fearful vote will ever stop us, that is not the American way.

Come to think of it, I should get a federal tax break too ...

Melissa Etheridge is an Academy Award-winning and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter.
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And now for something completely different! How about the former presidential press secretary under Bush 43, Scott McClellan, reviewing Oliver Stone's film W? The full review is at: but if you want a quick peak, read on:

Many months ago, I came to grips with the fact that the Bush presidency did not turn out the way many of us who went to work for him had hoped. Maybe that’s why the initial strangeness of Oliver Stone’s W. quickly dissipated. Just like any other movie I might go see, I soon was leaning back in my chair with an open mind ready to be entertained. It was not long before Stone’s perspective on what happened piqued my curiosity.

If there is anything the 41st and 43rd presidents have in common, it is their shared contempt for psychoanalysis, or being put on the couch. Yet there are few things more important when choosing a president than looking beyond the candidates’ elaborately crafted political façades to understand what really drives them and makes them tick.

The father-son dynamic Oliver Stone explores throughout W. is what I found most intriguing about his biopic. As the movie intermittingly flashes from past to present, the audience sees how the formative, early adult years of W (ably played by Josh Brolin) and the strained relationship with his father (James Cromwell) eventually come to shape his decision-making and governing style inside the White House, mostly as it relates to Iraq. The carefree young Bush inspires little confidence and much disappointment in the father, who disdains his son’s wild socializing, lack of intellectual vigor, and aimless drifting from job-to-job.

With competitive zeal, Bush sets out to outperform Poppy by learning from his political shortcomings. But his obsessive desire to achieve greatness pushes W to overreach, pursuing an idealistic and ambitious vision of defining his legacy by the spread of freedom in the Middle East that proves to be nothing but an elusive dream. In the end, the once cocksure president is left struggling to come to grips with reality.

That’s the story told by the film. But is it true? Here’s the judgment of one person who saw many — not all — of the real events as they unfolded.

At best, Stone’s interpretation is educated conjecture. He takes plenty of liberties with the facts, a story-telling strategy he considers justified in order to get at larger truths in a 2-hour movie. As a result, the real-life complexities of the characters and events are left unexplored.

The movie also depicts W as politically astute and calculating, thanks largely to the help of his ever-present political mentor Karl Rove (Toby Jones). In the movie, Bush’s every move has underlying political motives.

For example, during a war council meeting in the Situation Room, Richard Dreyfuss’ Cheney fervently works to persuade the president about the need to invade Iraq for the sake of its oil reserves. W shifts the focus to selling the conflict to the public. For the “average Joe,” Bush asserts, “It’s not about oil. It’s about 9/11 and terrorists.” Brolin’s Bush is always thinking about how best to sell his policies to the public, intellectual honesty aside.

This rings true. President Bush was always concerned about how we would sell the “big items.” The White House Iraq Group (WHIG) was specifically formed to market war to the American people. Too often, candor took a back seat to making the most compelling case.

Overall, as should be expected from the high-caliber cast, the acting was fabulous. Brolin rightly deserves kudos for his portrayal of Bush. He has the swagger down, and does a decent job on Bush’s voice and gestures. The president’s eating habits were overdone, but not completely off the mark (you will know what I mean when you see the movie). The attractive and engaging Elizabeth Banks plays a charming Laura Bush. Dreyfuss nails his inner Cheney, a conniving vice president who believes the president’s wartime powers are virtually unlimited and that the ends justify the means. Jeffrey Wright does an excellent job capturing Colin Powell’s strong dissenting voice, if not his physical presence. The most unflattering portrayal was that of Condi Rice, caricatured by Thandie Newton as a mere yes – woman, which is excessively denigrating but not entirely without basis.

At times, Brolin’s Bush comes across borderline village idiot. “Iran is not Iraq, and Iraq is not Iran. I know that much,” W declares at one point to his assembled war council. In a press conference, he refers to a journalist of Asian ethnicity as “Miss China.” The George W. Bush I know is no rocket scientist (as he’d be the first to admit), but he’s no simpleton either . . . .

I also felt it was grossly unfair to portray Bush as merrily oblivious and somewhat smug when visiting wounded soldiers at a military hospital. Having been at President Bush’s side during such visits, I know they were somber, emotionally-draining moments for him. They were also probably the only time I ever noticed self-doubt creep into his eyes, however fleetingly, as he confronted the terrible human costs of his misguided, instinctive decision to rush into an unnecessary war.

But W. is a drama, not an historical documentary. Stone tries to play it fairly straight. Even if he misses the mark at times, he deserves credit for the glimpses of inner truth he provides, which can only be instructive, especially as we prepare to elect a new president.

My guess is the most vocal Bush critics will view Stone’s account as too soft on Bush and his top advisers, while Bush’s chief advocates will ignore and dismiss it. But I think the average Joe just might find it entertaining and thought-provoking. I won’t go as far as to borrow a line from Bush 43 and say, “Heck of a job, Stonie.” But I will borrow one from Bush 41 and say, “It’s good, not bad.”
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Scott McClellan is a former White House Press Secretary and author of the No. 1 New York Times best-seller What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.
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And William J. Kole of the Associated Press reports on Barackisms sweeping Obamatopia:

First there was "Obamamania," punctured in places by naysayers crying "Nobama!"

Now, as President-elect Barack Obama prepares for the White House, his message of change, resounding both at home and abroad, seems to have unleashed a barrage of Barackisms. Or maybe they should be called Obamanyms.

Here's a glossary, culled from Web sites, news reports and the blogosphere:

• Obamaphoria: The post election rapture that swept over Obama's supporters worldwide.
• Obamanation: A twist on "abomination," expressed by evangelicals and other conservatives who oppose Obama's stance on abortion, gay marriage and other issues.
• Obamarama: The celebrations around the Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration.
• Obamanos: A play on "Vamonos," or "Let's go," among Obama fans in Mexico.
• Obamatopia: The political paradise that Obama's staunchest supporters hope he'll usher in.
• Obamalujah: Exultation shouted by his fans.
• Obamatrons: The policy wonks who will occupy the West Wing of his White House.
• Obamascope: Media scrutiny of the new leader. (Example: "One hundred days after Barack Obama took office, newspaper editors put the president's economic plan under the Obamascope.")
• Obamanator: Hollywood-inspired nickname for the new president — even if he's got what California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger contends are "skinny legs" and "scrawny little arms."
• Bamelot: Description of his presidency, from a New York Post headline that played on the youth and freshness of John F. Kennedy's administration that came to be known as "Camelot."
• Barackstar: Description from those who believe Obama is "the Mick Jagger of politics" (from
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And finally, in Loveland, Colorado, Tuesday's election brought home the bacon, but never mind the fries. That is. Democrat incumbent Bob Bacon defeated Republican challenger Matt Fries on Tuesday 63 percent to 37 percent to represent the district that encompasses most of Larimer County in northern Colorado. "I am so pleased that the voters appreciate the work that I have done," Bacon said. Bacon originally was elected to the seat in 2004 after serving three terms in the state House of Representatives. Fries is a long-time education advocate.

And we Obamites welcome all Americans, no matter who you voted for, to Bamelot, which is on track to return the United States of America to being a land of fairness and opportunity once again, after a drought of eight long years. Bless Us All.

The Real Little Eddy

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Blog #60: Last Gasps of the Campaigns

Well friends, thankfully the election clock is ticking away. As we post this on Saturday morning there are only three days left until the big day: Election Day, 2008. Thank heavens for the passing of time; I don’t think I could stand one more day of this campaign. For one thing, I’m sicknd tired of seeing John McCain's operatives dredge up any tidbit of negative information on Barack Obama , and then hearing McCain's repeated attempt to blow it all out of proportion in the fond hope of swaying a voter or two, here or there.

It is pathetic, McCain seems to really believe all of that negative stuff his staff is dredging up, or if he doesn’t he gives a good imitation of someone who believes. However, among the things people judge a candidate by is his coolness factor, and Mr. McCain is about as far from being cool as it is possible to be and still be alive and breathing. Also people judge a candidate not just by the words he uses, but by the tone of his voice as he uses the words, and more important the body language he is displaying as he delivers his message. And that for me is what sealed the deal. That in addition to the ridiculous claims McCain has made about what his presidency will do, once elected. For instance, balancing the nation’s budget by the end of his first term while continuing the 10 billion monthly outlay to carry on with the war in Iraq, all the while making Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and the large corporations permanent. When he is not deriding his opponent the man is spewing true Alice in Wonderland grade surrealist fantasy.

There are some consequences as to how our vote on Tuesday will affect whether or not we'll make it through the next four years. For instance, stop and think about it, does anyone in the country really want John McCain’s mean countenance and blustery growl to appear nightly on the news on their television screen? For that’s what is going to happen if the majority of the voters select McCain for the presidency. Whoever is president appears on television virtually every night. His every move, his walks to and from his helicopter, those waves to no one in particular, will light up our television screens each and every night. So watch out just who you vote for. Make sure you cast your vote for someone you can look forward to seeing brightening up your favorite newscasts. And as to that question we asked above, the short answer is probably yes, nearly half of the voting population of America is going to vote for McCain. But you should really keep the fact of McCain’s nightly news appearance in mind when you make your big choice at the polls on November 4th.

Of course, that’s noways near the main reason you should shun McCain and his Republican fellow travelers. The fact of the matter is that the deregulation they have put into place with various industries through out the last eight years is in large measure responsible for bringing on the economic meltdown we are currently experiencing. Republicans really live and breathe the deregulation of industry, beginning with the banking industry, and they have worked tirelessly over these past 7 plus years to free up as much as was possible. And any time you free up the playing field the result will be an economic chaos just as we are seeing as we write this. It would be like playing a game, or a sport, completely without rules and referees. Mayhem would be the result. That is why professional sports has rules and hires referees to enforce the rules. Only a fool or a Republican would try and argue against the need for rules and regulations. And that is why when you hear Republicans and other trash talking conservative heads bad mouthing government regulations you need to take it with a gigantic grain of salt.

Not that their message isn’t attractive. It certainly is, for it appeals to the wild-eyed, the selfish, the would-be millionaire which lurks in the hearts of each and every one of us. But life doesn’t work that way, as the people of this country learned the hard way in 1932 when they elected Franklin Roosevelt overwhelmingly to bring to an end to the Coolidge/Hoover era of laissez-faire. The reason, when you take away the rules selfishness and greed rear their ugly heads, and eventually the system collapses of its own weight.

And just who is responsible for the current economic mess? All of the Republicans who came to power holding onto Newt Gingrich’s coattails, that's who. Especially due for scorn in this crisis is Phil Gramm, the ex-professor from Texas A&M college who became a United States Senator, and who fiddled while a burning House and Senate conjured up the legislation which stripped away regulations on the banking industry, which for the first time allowed foreign institutions like the Swiss banking firm UBS to buy into several of America’s financial institutions. The immediate outcome of this was the “hiring” of Gramm as a consultant by UBS after he “retired” from the Senate. UBS is the Swiss banking firm which was the primary benificiary of the legislation Graqmm rammed through.

While John McClain hollers socialism, and warns against letting the Supreme Triad happen, he is warning us about the possible alignment of a President, Barack Obama, along with Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. What McCain fears, almost as much as he fears defeat in his own presidential race, is that on election day the voters of this fine country might rise up and give the Democrats a majority of 60 in the Senate, to go along with their substantial House majority, which would further allow the Democrats to offer legislation which is completely filibuster proof. Of course, we heard no such objections from McCain during the six years the Republicans had control over the House, Senate and White House, years during which they abused the hell out of their responsibility. Republicans during that time were so arrogant they actually barred Democrats from meetings in which legislation was crafted, and shirking behind locked doors they allowed the lobbyists who were interested in legislation governing their field to actually write said legislation. As arrogant as this might sound, when you stop and think about it, that is exactly what you would expect from a party whose slogan is "our way or the highway," a party that does not respect its opposition, and which exists only for the promotion of their particularly savage brand of capitalism. And you can bet your sweet bippy that a filibuster proof Senate majority is only the beginning of what will be needed to undo this gigantic mess that Bush and his Republican fellow travelers have left us with.
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The lead story for the Washington Post on Friday, October 31st is one that reports that the White House is making a last minute push to deregulate as much as possible before they are shown the door on January 20. R. Jeffrey Smith writes: The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.

The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms. Those and other regulations would help clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining. Once such rules take effect, they typically can be undone only through a laborious new regulatory proceeding, including lengthy periods of public comment, drafting and mandated reanalysis.

"They want these rules to continue to have an impact long after they leave office," said Matthew Madia, a regulatory expert at OMB Watch, a nonprofit group critical of what it calls the Bush administration's penchant for deregulating in areas where industry wants more freedom. He called the coming deluge "a last-minute assault on the public . . . happening on multiple fronts."

As I review this and the many other outrageous moves of the Bush administration, I have been searching for one word which might best describe these seven plus years of so-called “compassionate conservative” rule. I have decided 43 was neither compassionate (using lies and half truths to start a war in Iraq among many other things) nor conservative (since his administration has managed to double the debt left us by all of the presidents who preceded him, raising as he has the national debt from the 5 trillion which he inherited to 10 trillion dollars, which is his gift to his successor. I finally decided on the word to describe his regime whose dictionary definition follows:
despicable |di?spik?b?l|
deserving hatred and contempt : a despicable crime.
despicably |-bl?| adverb
ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: from late Latin despicabilis, from despicari ‘look down on.’
despicable crimes contemptible, loathsome, hateful, detestable, reprehensible, abhorrent, abominable, awful, heinous; odious, vile, low, mean, abject, shameful, ignominious, shabby, ignoble, disreputable, discreditable, unworthy; informal dirty, rotten, lowdown, lousy; beastly; archaic scurvy. antonym admirable.

What word or words would you use to characterize the Bush 43 years?
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One of the real benefits of reading as much of the election coverage as was possible was getting introduced to the writings of Dana Milback of the Washington Post. His Friday column was entitled But Who's Counting? Milbank writes: “Not that he's bragging or anything, but Barack Obama has something he'd like you to know: Size matters. At virtually every stop the candidate makes in these closing days of the election, the campaign sends out an announcement with a boast about how really, really big Obama's audience is. Sunrise, Fla., Oct. 29: "A capacity crowd of 20,000." Norfolk, Va., Oct. 28: "22K: 11 in the stands/11 on the field." Fort Collins, Colo., Oct. 26: "45,000-50,000, with thousands still flooding in."

“Not only does Obama want you to know how huge his crowds are, but he also wants you to know his opponent, John McCain, has itty-bitty crowds. "University of New Mexico fire marshal Vince Leonard quotes approx 35,000 inside Senator Obama's event tonight and at least another 10k-15k outside," the campaign boasted Saturday night. "Senator McCain reportedly had less than 1,000 this morning."

“Of course, crowd estimating is a rather inexact science, as demonstrated by the announcements that the Obama campaign sent out on Sunday. At 2:08 p.m. came a "Denver crowd" bulletin putting the number at 75,000. Exactly 35 minutes later came a "Denver crowd -- UPDATED" bulletin putting the crowd size at "well over 100,000."

“To add legitimacy to the crowd boasts, therefore, the Obama campaign accompanies each measurement with the name of a "validator." "Total is 35k," Obama campaign aide Ben Finkenbinder wrote in an e-mail to reporters on Wednesday night. "Validated by Danny McAvoy, Osceola County Fire Marshal." He then provided Marshal McAvoy's phone number.

“It must be remembered that there is more to a campaign than the size of your crowd. George McGovern, after all, had huge turnout at his events on his way to a landslide defeat. Even a crowd of 100,000 isn't much compared with an electorate of perhaps 150 million. But, explained Obama spokesman Bill Burton: "The reason the crowd size in these early-voting states matters is because of the organizational benefits you get from gathering tens of thousands of voters and immediately being able to get them to early-voting sites."

And the numbers kept coming. Sarasota, Fla., Oct. 30: "13k plus. Many people coming in still." Harrisonburg, Va., Oct. 28: "Over 8,000 and over 12,000 outside." Canton, Ohio, Oct. 27: "Validated at 4,900."

Wait. Only 4,900? You call that a big crowd? A follow-up e-mail came from the campaign 29 minutes later." Addition crowd info: This was a ticketed event." Whew. For a moment there, it looked as though Obama had been brought down to size.
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Wheeeee! Professional Basketball is back! The NBA rides again! And riding high this year, right alongside the league leaders, are the 2008-2009 Houston Rockets. Last year's team had a truly miraculous run winning 22 games in a row, the second longest win streak in NBA history, and 12 of those wins were without center Yao Ming who had a broken foot. But the combination was not enough to get the team out of the first round of the playoffs. This year, in addition to last year's first year players, Luis Scola, Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks (who can be expected to have gained a lot of experience as they each put their rookie year behind them and head into their second year) they also added two players who can be projected to have an immediate impact on the team.

Brent Barryis one of them. Both his father Rick Barry and his brother Jon Barry had ended their NBA careers with the Rockets in Houston, and so after winning several championship rings in San Antonio, Brent evidently decided to join his family tradition and end his own career with the Rockets. Barry is a very experienced and talented player and shooter, and he will undoubtedly bring a real shot in the arm for the team.

But the most exciting addition to the team is Ron Artest. Artest is one of the most penalized players in the league, thanks to an explosive personality which can flair up suddenly. But he is a superb player who has been instrumental in winning both of the Rockets first two regular season games of the season, and most especially the second game against the Rockets' old nemeses, the Dallas Mavericks. And most important, he is the type of player who can dominate the closing minutes of games, which is exactly what he did in Dallas on Thursday night. Thus far the Rockets are 2 and 0 going into the new season, and for Rocket fans near and far, that has to be the best news yet.
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One David Hambling, writing in Wired Blog Network, states that the military is investigating amnesia beams. It can be found at:
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A team of scientists from the United States and China announced last week that, for the first time, they had found a means of selectively and safely erasing memories in mice, using the signaling molecule αCaMKII. It's a big step forward, and one that will be of considerable interest to the military, which has devoted efforts to memory manipulation as a means of treating post-traumatic stress disorder. But some military research has moved in another direction entirely.

In the 1980s, researchers found that even low-level exposure to a beam of electrons caused rats to forget what had just happened to them (an effect known as retrograde amnesia — the other version, anteretrograde amnesia, is when you can't form new memories). The same effect was also achieved with X-rays. The time factor was not large — it only caused memory loss about the previous four seconds — but the effect was intriguing.

One theory was that the amnesia was a result of the brilliant flash experienced when the electron beam struck the retina. And, indeed, it turned out that it is possible to produce amnesia in rodents using a flash of light:

Retrograde amnesia was demonstrated for the 80-, 85-, and 100-V foot-shock test trials. At 40 V the voltage may not have been great enough to be felt by the subject. For groups examined at shock levels above 100 V, the foot shock was so potent that a photoflash was ineffective in producing RA. Our conclusion was that the photoflash was an effective amnesiac until the intensity of the foot shock became more potent than the photoflash; this is consistent with the recency theory generated in serial learning and memory tasks.

This might help explain some of the disorienting effects of strobe lights used as nonlethal weapons, but there seems to have been little further research on this.
However, there have been plenty of studies on the physical effects of radio and microwave exposure on the brain. Many of those investigations have been conducted by the military.

The Air Force Research Laboratory's Human Effectiveness Directorate has carried out its own experiments in this area, which did not confirm the results of earlier studies suggesting that microwaves could cause memory loss. (The report is now removed from the AFRL website, alas.) Most scientists chalk up such effects to heating. But the Directed Energy Bioeffects division continues to research the human effects of various forms of radiation. What's more, a 2003 paper on microwave effects on the nervous system, from a team that includes Navy and Air Force scientists, states that "research with isolated brain tissue has provided new results that do not seem to rely on thermal mechanisms." It is hard to assess the real effect on working memory and other brain functions, they add.

And on that piece of good news, that the military is seeking ways to rob us of our memory, we'll throw in the towel and leave this post. Don't forget to vote. Vote for anyone you wish, but make sure that he has our best interests at heart. And come see us again next week.

The Real Little Eddy