Thursday, June 28, 2007

War - What Is It Good For?

My Blogfather, Mr. M over at Comments From Left Field (who is a Navy veteran, by the way) sent me a couple of thought-provoking posts about war, military service in general, and also information on a fantastic organization that I hope I can help to get some interest in.

Mr. M, being anything but anti-troop, asks the questions we should all be asking, which is - why? Why throw away precious lives - our own soldiers and those in other lands, who are no less precious - unless there is no other alternative? So often it seems to be regarded as some kind of football game, with winners and losers, coaches and star players, cheerleaders and fans and sponsors - instead of death, blood, pain, and shattered families.

Lydia Cornell posts an extremely poignant letter from a serviceman that touched my heart and opened my eyes. If you have chosen to serve your country, you should not be forced into making a judgment call about whether your mission is honorable or not. Soldiers need to be able to count on the integrity of the people who are putting them in harm's way.

Mr. M also pointed me
towards Fisher House and Beauty For The Brave, an organization that raises funds to build housing for family members of wounded soldiers to stay at that are within walking distance of military and VA hospitals across the country and overseas in Germany.

Beauty For The Brave says:
Our idea is wonderfully simple. What if every American woman donated the cost of her favorite beauty treat to benefit wounded troops? Think of your favorite - whether a manicure, a facial, a massage, or a new lipstick - and consider donating its cost to benefit our wounded. It's not how much each woman gives, but the fact that we are all contributing. And the symbolism of sacrificing something related to our own beauty is beautiful in itself. It hearkens back to the unique sacrifices our mothers and grandmothers on the home front made during past wars in our country's history.

The donations go to a wonderful organization called Fisher House that has been in existence for 17 years. They build houses right near military hospitals all across the country. It's a "home away from home" where the family of wounded service men and women can stay for free until their loved one is treated and released.
Because the ratio of wounded to killed is now so much higher thanks to medical advances, our obligation to these people who come home physically or emotionally damaged has grown exponentially. I hope you'll check out Fisher House and Beauty For The Brave!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why Is Repub Proprietary Software Used For Public Elections?

This from ArsTechnica.com:
A Florida appeals court has upheld a lower court decision that denies requests for an independent source code audit of voting machines used by Florida's 13th district, which suffered election irregularities in a highly controversial congressional race. The appeals court has chosen to support a lower court decision which asserts that forcing voting machine maker Election Systems and Software (ES&S) to provide source code access to independent security auditors would amount to "gutting the protections afforded those who own trade secrets."
Are you mother-f***ing kidding me? This is making me pig-biting mad. I'm about to blow a gasket here. All this talk about 'trade secrets' is just so much heaping, steaming horsesh**. Trade secrets my big fat lily-white ass.

The question is why is Republican, partisan-owned proprietary software being used for public elections?!?

Let me say it again:

Why is Republican, partisan-owned proprietary software being used for public elections?!?

Let me say it just one more time:

Why is Republican, partisan-owned proprietary software being used for public elections?!?

Christ on a crutch, y'all - that's the issue here!

In case anyone has forgotten, Chuck Hagel, former right-wing radio talk-show host and current Senator from Nebraska, was chairman of ES&S, and as of 2005, according to personal financial disclosure reports, continues to be a stakeholder in the company which counted the votes for his own campaign, resulting in the largest margin of victory in the history of Nebraska!

In January 2003, The Hill reported that "In a disclosure form filed in 1996, covering the previous year, Chuck Hagel, then a Senate candidate, did not report that he was still chairman of AIS for the first 10 weeks of the year, as he was required to do."

"Hagel's unrecorded stake in the voting systems company poses an apparent conflict of interest on election reform issues. Three companies, including ES&S, stand to make a large profits from election reform legislation enacted last year by Congress," Alexander Bolton reported.
But wait - there's more!

ES&S (originally DataMark) was originally financed and renamed AIS (American Information Systems) by the Ahmansons of California - a far-right fundamentalist evangelical family, whose money comes from a savings and loan fortune. Heir Howard Ahmanson, Jr. is a political donor in the mold of Richard Mellon Scaife. Ahmanson is a chief contributor to the Chalcedon Institute that supports the Christian reconstruction movement. The movement’s philosophy advocates, among other things, “mandating the death penalty for homosexuals and drunkards.” The Ahmanson family sold their shares in AIS to the McCarthy Group, of which Chuck Hagel is a former owner and CEO and still holds between $1 and 5 million in stock.

Now, does any of this matter? Who cares about the political and religious affiliations of the owners of corporations? Not me -

UNLESS THEY ARE COUNTING (OR NOT COUNTING) MY VOTE!


It shouldn't matter, because our vote is the cornerstone of our democracy and as such has no business being privatized AT ALL - by anyone - much less by rabid unabashed wealthy political and religious partisans!!!!!

Please, let's quit talking about the software and who can or can't look at it and whether the machines have been hacked or are unreliable. This is a smoke screen that we've fallen for.

Any voting system must be owned by the people of the United States of America!

So, once again I ask:


Why is Republican, partisan-owned proprietary software being used for public elections?!?

Monday, June 25, 2007

More People Believe In Saddam-9/11 Tie - It's Ba-a-a-aa-d!



(original pic from allfunnypictures.com)

This from Raw Story -
A new Newsweek poll out this weekend exposed "gaps" in America's knowledge of history and current events.

Perhaps most alarmingly, 41% of Americans answered 'Yes' to the question "Do you think Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq was directly involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001?"

That total is actually up 5 points since September 2004.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Who's Got Ideas For Camp Casey?

This Saturday on the Bree Walker Show they're going to be discussing ideas about plans for Camp Casey. Bree has thought about building a playground for Crawford - apparently the town in which the President makes his 'home' does not have one. Dr. Zaius of Zaius Nation has suggested a skunk farm, to sweeten the stench from its nearest neighbor.

Bree is looking for all kinds of suggestions and ideas, and you can add your 2 cents by calling in to the program at 1-877-520-1150, comment on the Bree Walker Show Blog, or send an e-mail to bree at breewalker dot com.

This Saturday, June 23, from 2-4 Pacific time! You can stream it from the KTLK website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Message From Bree Walker re: Camp Casey

(cross-posted at the Bree Walker Show blog)

What Next? by Bree Walker

Buying that plot of land in Crawford, Texas was the easy part.

Important because it prevented that symbolic soil from being tainted by right wing nut poison, but keeping Camp Casey alive as a peace movement as well as a memorial site will mean lots of hard work ahead for this career broadcaster turned anti-war resister. I will be praying my fellow media take their best shots and then stay open to the possibility that this patriot is up to the task. I welcome the learning curve. Anyone who has watched me reinvent myself to embrace a purpose in which I believe should not doubt me...yet.

I am the first to admit I will need lots of help.

So here is my call to arms for anyone who believes in the cause of peace-building and vocal anti-war resistance; please come forward to help with fundraising, assistant work, and advice on how to be most effective in the trenches in order to keep momentum building.

(from Alicia - I'll add my 2 cents and just say that this is a tremendous opportunity to do more than talk and write - this is where you can make a difference personally. We're starting from scratch here; there's no big money, no national organization, no lawyers or PR people - just some folks who are dedicated to keeping the peace movement alive. You can get in on the ground floor here! For now, go to Bree's blog and comment there if you'd like to be part of this, and we'll have an e-mail address up soon.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'm Baa-aa-aack!

Hi friends - I'm back, kind of!

I am getting ready for the final push to finish my book before July 14. My school is almost over except for one test I have to give next week, and starting tomorrow I'm locking myself in the studio and will be doing nothing but writing, so I will be posting to Hooterville as well as working on the book. A lot has been going on - not the least of is I will be doing some work with Bree Walker!

My old friend Robert Walker (Bree's ex and the producer of her radio show on KTLK 1150 AM) and Bree have been very supportive and helpful with my book, and Robert asked me if I'd be interested in doing some website work for Bree - now that she's bought Camp Casey, she needs a web presence to co├Ârdinate the efforts to do something wonderful with it. So I set her up with a blog to get going while they get the domain set up, and they invited me down to the show to sort of 'live-blog' and put up links to and info about the people interviewed on the show, such as Cindy Sheehan, Greg Palast, and Mikey Weinstein, and links to documents such as NSPD 51, so there are references for everything Bree talks about. It worked out nicely, so I will be doing that every Saturday, and I'm also going to be a musical guest next week!

I hope you will tune in next Saturday (2-4 PM Pacific) if you can - you can stream it on the internet, (we'll be working on podcasting also) and also check out Bree's new blog - I like the way it turned out. It's so incredibly cool to be a small part of what Bree is doing with Camp Casey, and keeping Cindy Sheehan's peace legacy alive.

Bree Walker - New Owner of Camp Casey! A BradBlog Exclusive

Exclusive from Brad Friedman at the BradBlog:

Former TV News Anchor Bree Walker to Purchase 5-Acre 'Camp Casey' Property Near Bush Ranch
Will Keep Property Open to Public as 'Legacy for Peace'; Sheehan to Appear Live in Studio on Walker's Program Saturday...

A former Los Angles newscaster turned progressive talk radio host, Bree Walker, will be purchasing Cindy Sheehan's 5-acre property near the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, The BRAD BLOG has learned.

Walker, currently a resident of San Diego, was previously a television news anchor in Los Angles and New York. She confirmed the news to us moments ago, in an exclusive interview, that she intends to keep the property "as a ground for freedom and peace" and is considering erecting a memorial there for troops killed in Iraq. She hopes to create a meditation garden on the grounds and to keep it open to the public.

"I'm cashing out my capitalist corporate stocks and buying into a legacy of peace," she told The BRAD BLOG moments ago. Sheehan will be selling the property for the same price she purchased it for so as not to be seen as profiting from the sale, Walker explained.

Walker is the host of the The Bree Walker Show on the Los Angeles Air America affiliate station KTLK AM1150 on Saturdays from 2-4pm PT.

Sheehan will appear in studio with Walker for the entirety of tomorrow's broadcast where, Walker says, she'll "give Cindy the check, and Cindy will give me the deed to the property."

She tells us that she'll be taking calls from listeners during tomorrow's show as she wants "listener input on what should be done with the land."

The BRAD BLOG's creator and publisher, Brad Friedman, is scheduled to appear on Walker's show Saturday as well, at 3:00pm PT, by phone.

In a Memorial Day posting, Sheehan announced that she would be stepping away from her leadership role in the Peace Movement and planned to sell the Crawford property. Originally she had announced the property would be sold on Ebay, but shortly afterwards a group of Bush supporters announced their intentions to try and purchase the land.

That group, "Moving America Forward," had staged protests during Sheehan's original attempt, in the summer of 2005, to meet with Bush in hopes that he would explain the "noble cause" that he had claimed her son, and others, had died for in Iraq.

Bush refused to meet with Sheehan, whose son Casey, an Army Specialist, was killed in an April 2004 rescue mission in Sadr City, Iraq. Thousands of supporters gathered from around the nation to hold a vigil along with Sheehan in 2005 near Bush's ranch during his summer vacation. A national peace movement grew out of her stand that summer. The area where the protests were held was dubbed "Camp Casey."

After the city created new ordinances to keep protesters from occupying public property during protests, Sheehan bought the land where protest gatherings have been held at various times since whenever Bush was to be on vacation.

Ours was the only organization doing regular full-length daily radio broadcasts from the protest grounds that summer. Highlights from The BRAD SHOW's more than 50 hours of special "Operation Noble Cause" radio broadcasts may be heard online here.

UPDATE 6/9/07: Sheehan hands deed to Walker during in-studio appearance on Walker's show. Details, audio, now posted here...