Monday, January 26, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I am resolved to chill out - Yes, I can!!!

In the case of Resolutions for the new year, it's already past the conventional deadline of New Year's Eve. And I would find universal agreement on posting resolutions in August as being too late. That's comparable to waiting until February to predict the Super Bowl. In my defense, I can argue that 2009 is a special year with extraordinary distractions. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. After all, one needs to take some time to reflect on such weighty issues as resolution. Still, it's unseemly and unreasonable to procrastinate more than a week after the magical 20-Jan-2009.

So, here goes, first things going, first. I hereby resolve:
  • To lose 10 pounds

  • To lose 10 more pounds.

  • To lose 10 more pounds, still.

  • To make progress on that PSA count.

  • To check on my IRA once a week.

  • To ensure that Trophy Wife gets to select 51% of the Net-Flix we rent, going forward.

  • To actually check my two allotted Lotto tickets weekly. Yeah, everyone's gotta believe in something. I believe in hope, not luck. So, for me, I'm one of those guys for which it's been enough to just add a couple of numbers to my desk drawer every week. That's hope. Believing in Lady Luck would mean actually checking for winners. So, I'm going to actually try to be lucky in 2009.

  • To run Ballou off-leash for an hour, five days per week. This will contribute to numbers 1, 2, and 3 (above).

  • To train up Ballou enough to silence the hyperbolic anxiety of daughters-in-law. This may be a softball. She's coming around quite well. I have re-instituted my good old on/off switch by which I have controlled Dobermen and Doberwomen in the past.

  • To contend with all my sons in whatever non-physical venues we can find - board games, card games or digital - and as often as possible. I am not in pursuit of triumph. That's far too elusive for me! I just love marveling at how smartly they are to be able to beat me with a fraction of the concentration and effort I have to muster.

  • To marry off my youngest son. I know that's more on him than me, but I need some more softballs on this list, so I'm going to claim this one.

  • To sail 44 yacht races and sail them hard, as if they are to become my last, because one never knows ... And I'll do my darndest to see that the boat goes out without me on that 45th race. (I'll be at the wedding-see above!)

  • To let my non-political impulses to wash over and rinse out my Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS). As has been pointed out to me, anger, outrage and resentment are natural prompts and can spur much writing. As time passes they begin to sound hollow and shallow. I am not saying I will ever forgive Busheney, Inc. or forget what they have done to our nation. I just have to acknowledge that the original and central premises for The Vigil may have expired.
The self-inflicted occupation of America is over. Bush and Cheney are gone. The most talented political leadership available to us in this many generations has been elected in their place. It doesn't matter to me, much, that I agree or disagree with this or that action by President Obama. Unlike his predecessor, Number 44 is both smarter and better educated than I. Unlike George's case, with Barry at the helm, I can abdicate blogging punditry. With a competent head of state for the first time in this century, I can always argue that our ship of state is guided by a strategic plan so deep that it simply passes my understanding.

That could change, of course.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Among the Treasured Moments in My Life. . .

. . . are the memories of having been in the in the the physical presence of both men.
With the old guy, it was up close and personal. With the new guy, it was from a hill top on a spring morning with a chanting crowd between us.

Either way or both ways, I experienced intimacy, intellect, integrity, and inspiration.

And, I knew I was in the nexus of history.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Feel So Good!

And I just had to say it. It is no dream or a West Wing drama that just happened on teevee. It's real. I'm awake now and I feel so different. So clean. So proud. So American.

Monday, January 19, 2009

We Are One - Inaugural Concert!

Pete & The Boss!
This is so cool!

Look at their faces yesterday!

Especially 89 yr old Pete Seeger’s beaming at the huge crowd on the mall and Tao smiling at Grandpa Pete—all the while singing their hearts out! (The “rest of the story” is the fact that Pete Seeger is the guy who sang “We Shall Overcome” to Martin Luther King which so impressed King that he adopted the song as the civil rights theme.)

Pete restored Woody Guthrie's original verses that have been censored from the song over the years to make it less political:
There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.
To think it was just one short year ago, Tao had to sing alone at our event in Beacon NY because Grandpa Pete got pneumonia, which, in turn, inspired our Peace Island Picnic with Tao and Larry Long singing this very same “This Land is Our Land” across the Mississippi River from the RNC! The cause of peace and justice were again taking a hit that RNC week — a constant ebb and flow — but here’s to the hope we shall overcome!

Howabout more? How about Bob Marley's "One Love" (Let's Get Together)!Mr. President - We're "All Fired Up and Ready to Go"!

The Reverend MLK, jr.

It is right to celebrate the life of the man upon whose shoulders we all stand.

Never have his shoulders cast a bigger shadow...
I long - for too long - argued that the war against the Taliban was a 'good war' of retaliation for 9/11. Many do-good pacifist liberals criticized me for it. I was late coming to the conclusion that as soon as Bush chose to invade and occupy Iraq, "Operation Enduring Freedom" became unsustainable. Inoperable & unendurable. I should have remembered Martin Luther King Jr's words. My error. I apologize, deeply, for it. Joseph Stiglitz straightened me out.

As Martin said, "What is bent can be made straight".

Friday, January 16, 2009

Everybody - Have a Wonderful Inauguration and Party Heartily

You all deserve it! We all deserve it!

And the world can't wait. Eight years has been too long for any generation of Americans to be pinching their noses, holding their breath, keeping their hats low over their noses, and flying the Stars and Stripes upside down. So, go shoot off some fireworks and raise the roof.

As for me, I'm going sailing. Virtually, anyways… But before I cast off, I have a few poorly-chosen final passing words for my declining readership to chew over in my absence.
They are really addressed to all of you who are advising those who advise Barack Obama's advisors. (You know who you are!)

Yesterday, I was overcome with disgust as I heard the lamest duck in American history deliver his lamentation swansong. It was on the car radio, driving home. My windows were up against the cold, so no one could hear my expletives. I smiled in anticipation of seeing how Keith O. and Rachel M. were going to slice and dice this pathetic peroration.

But I didn't get to see it. The kitchen TV was on CPAN showing Joe Biden saying goodbye to the his Senate as Senator. Did anyone catch that? That was moving. I ended up drinking my first three beers to Joe-the-Hunk instead of George-the-Punk.

My first criticism of how the President-Elect is conducting himself between election and inauguration is muted. It had been my impression that he was shooting his mouth off too much. This period is when he would be better off holding his fire and keeping his powder dry. (I remember POTUS-Elect Bill Clinton shooting his mouth off in 1992 before his inauguration about Haitian refugees and gays in the military.) There is only one president at a time, after all.

But, as it more and more becomes apparent that at this time - for some time - we have not had a President. (We might have a prime minister of Israel giving instructions to our Secretary of State, but no president.) So, in this complete power vacuum, it's probably helpful if the President-Elect begins some preliminary pre-inauguration waffling or telegraphing to help us all better discern between his vacuous campaign promises and his realistic policy initiatives.

Now as to what Obama would be well-advised to do? These are in no particular order of priority, because the first ten items in any list is to fix the economy. Right? Which I don't begin to understand. Some of the others would be:
  • I mention Guantanamo first, only because there seems to be a liberal stampede to raze it and/or give it back to the Cubans. It's a resource we are going to need. We're going to be catching a lot of bad guys around the world, hopefully. Not just us, the USA, but all of the countries holding on to their stature as part of the global economy. I'm speaking of Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Columbia and others. These polities do not have stable politics or secure prisons. And American courts do not have jurisdiction over combatants or bombers caught overseas. Needed is a destination-certain for these bad boys and girls to be sent to for protective custody. Gitmo will serve better for this purpose than the Hague. We just have to internationalize the security and make treatment of inmates residents & guests transparent to the International Red Cross, Amnesty International and other interested parties. Maybe the U.N. can provide a constabulary presence. (That's a detail.) No torture or enhanced interrogation. Kid gloves counseling, maybe. Make Gitmo a secure, escape-proof resort. No golf or swimming, of course. Just an extended stay, until guests can convince their therapists that they are too mellow to raise hell. So, I say mend Gitmo, don't end it.

  • End the economic hemorrhages in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both are draining desperately needed resources from our failed economy. We couldn't pay for Bush's foreign policy for the last eight years, we certainly can't afford it after he blows town. Obama will have to take this house of cards down sooner rather than later. Afghanistan, especially, is raising such a bow-wave of resistance among our allies, that our path there is piled high with more than difficulty. I don't have time to list the obstacles. We don't have enough dogs to hunt the Taliban. Bush let Osama run and hide - that's the history. Obama will have to act fast before he gets stuck with 'losing' Afghanistan. Diminishing prospects in Afghanistan cannot have escaped the vision of Obama or his advisors. The sooner he cuts bait the better for our national interests. The Bush wars should be closed along with the Bush war presidency because now we can't afford them, if for no other reason.

  • Recognize the government of Iran and staff an embassy there. Return an ambassador to our embassy in Damascus. All of this is statecraft 101.

  • Stop baiting the Russian Bear with an expansive NATO. Putin titrates the LNG for Germany. There's no future in pushing NATO membership for Georgia or Ukraine. Zippo.
That's all I gotta say for now. I'm not saying I won't be commenting on my readers' sites. I just won't be spillin'much blood or ink in my own pages for the next couple of weeks.

So, in the meantime, can someone give Barry a call?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Free Muntadar Al-Zaidi

I will not forget this hombre.

See previous posts here and here!

Artiste Ben Heine says,
This illustration may be reproduced anywhere. Feel free to reproduce this image in newspapers, in posters, magazines, blogs, websites...
High resolution version (3642 x 3311 pixels, 350dpi) of this image for printing purposes available HERE. Just check your toner, first!

As Fearguth says on Bildungblog, thanks to Al-Zaidi,

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Transitions and Course Adjustments

I didn't get for Christmas what I wanted.

A Turbo-Charged Mouse was all that I thought I needed.

I thought I needed something like a turbo-charged mouse or high-octane browser to keep up with the unremitting pace of thinking, writing and posting on my favorite sites such as
and many, many others. But I have come to see that it's my political passion that is out-paced by the blazingly hot postings found on these other sites.

At this point in time, ten days before Americans will at last have a sentient occupant in the White House, I feel the political steam which ignited this site to be an the wane.

I had been blogging the last years of the Clinton years, especially pertaining to the Wars of Yugoslavian dissolution in Bosnia, and Kusova. But that lapsed. When my fellow Americans elected George Bush over Al Gore, I was too embarrassed for words. But when Bush misplayed his winning hand against Osama bin Laden I was too enraged to be silent. During the debacle of the Kerry candidacy, these pages presented an agenda with a straightforward time table.
It's a simple program:
  • Congressional majorities by November '06.
  • Oversight by January '07.
  • Impeachment (double!) by January '08.
  • Troops home by January '09.
Quite simple. Try to keep on schedule. If you fall behind, you'll never get it done.
But of course, if millions of Americans couldn't discern the difference between Bush on one hand and Gore or Kerry on the other hand, impeachment wasn't going to happen. My time line was reduced to the relevance of any other impossible ideal.

However, now it's settled that the Neoconservative apostasy in American history is at long last interrupted (at least) by the defeat of John McCain.

Going forward, I feel that a purely political blog is unnecessarily confining, for me at least. Rather than starting another or other sites to compartmentalize my other interests or impulses, I'm thinking I'll just release my self-imposed restraints on this site - just to see what happens.

My highly-esteemed, loyal and intelligent readers won't mind. I hope. They will continue on much as they always have: coming and going, commenting, silently lurking, or just ignoring. That suits me. What matters is that I'm still here. For a little longer...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Al Franken

Taking back America, one Senate seat at a time.

Can Paul Wellstone finally rest in peace?
Yes, he can!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Is It For Freedom?

Mourning the Innocent Lives Lost in Gaza

Sara Thomsen was one of the musicians that sang at our Peace Island Picnic in September. Although she originally wrote this song years ago in response to the suffering of the children of Iraq, its lyrics are again so applicable, sadly enough, to the children who have been killed, wounded and starved in Gaza.

Is It For Freedom?

Rulers of the nations as you fuss and fight
Over who owns this or that and who has the right
To design, build, sell and store and fire
All the bombs and guns to defend your holy empire

There are children hungry, children sick and dying
There are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers crying
They're only pawns in your play of power and corruption
Slowly starve them, your new weapon of mass destruction

And prove to me, America, that you care
And prove to me, America, that you're aware
Who's dying for your freedom in this land
Who pays the cost for the liberties you demand?

Is it for freedom, or our comfort and convenience
Is it to profit for big business we pledge our allegiance?
Are we prisoners in the land of the brave and the bold?
Held by indifference or hearts grown hard and cold?

Children of the world, you have the right
To sing and dance, run and play, let your dreams take flight
As the innocent die, you rulers carry the shame
And if we stand idly by, we share in the blame.

And oh America, do we care?
Oh, America, are we aware?
Who's dying for our comfort in this land?
Who pays the cost for the convenience we demand?

Let's not forget the quote (from Israeli historian Yahuda Bauer) that hangs on a wall of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.:
Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
Especially with the U.S. voting to block United Nations’ action for a ceasefire, it is important for Americans to show they care. Please write and speak out wherever you are. If you are in Minnesota, please come out to the MN State Capitol, 75 Rev ML King Blvd, St Paul on Monday, January 5th at 1 pm, and wear all black to mourn the innocent lives lost in Gaza and urge the U.S. to support diplomacy instead of violence.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Barack Obama and Muntadar Al-Zaidi ???

Are you kidding?
From the very beginning last February. I never had any delusions about the conformity of Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency and my own impeach-Busheney and end-the-occupation-now positions. Obama is a liberal, pragmatic, reality-based, world political leader. That, in itself, is an epochal improvement. He rightly opposed the invasion of Iraq as a "stupid war", but he will redeploy from Iraq "responsibly" and not fast enough to my satisfaction.

But I can still be amused by sharing the fantasies of others.

Faithful readers will remember that I celebrated Muntadar Al-Zaidi for offering his shoes to our Emperor without clothes. I thought this brave, eloquent and unique act qualified Al-Zaidi, at the very least, to be the 1st runner-up for Times Magazine's Man-of-the-Year.

Ben Heine takes this to a higher level: Obama awarding Al-Zaidi the US Medal of Freedom!

Please follow the link and read Mary Sparrowdancer's deed of gift, which I commend and endorse.

As for me, back to the reality of going to work because I will be paying for this useless and endless occupation of Iraq for the rest of my life.