Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
"Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, one of two openly gay
of Congress, chided Craig for hypocrisy but said there was no need for
to resign now.
"It's not an abuse of his office in the sense that he was
taking money for corrupt votes," said Frank, D-Mass. "I think people should
resign when they have clearly done the job in a way that is dishonest.'"
Barney, are you nuts? This closeted creep has voted against the interests of gays and lesbians every single time, all the while he has been out there soliciting men for sex in bathrooms. He is a CLOSETED BIGOT! He is DISHONEST TO HIS CORE! Are you ready to give him a pass just because you too were once closeted and got caught? You came clean, Barney, but this detestable low life is out there holding new conferences proclaiming "I AM NOT GAY!" No, you just like to suck cock, right, Senator? Come on Barney, this sad excuse for a human being has to go NOW.
PHOTO: Point O' Woods Railroad - they use it to carry goods back and forth from the ferry terminal and the downtown. I've never seen it actually running - maybe some day.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The "Elephant In The Room" here in Cherry Grove is the perennial battle between residents and bars that play loud music sometimes all night long, seemingly, with the tacit approval of the Community Association, which has been loathe to approach the bar owners directly about the issue. Instead, residents bothered by noise late at night have been told to call the police. Some residents who live in the East end of town believe that the noise from one bay front establishment has been ignored for years because the officers of the Association live on the other end of town. Others feel that certain establishments get a pass on excessive noise because they are owned or managed by the the friends of certain factions within the community. So the undeclared war goes on with the Suffolk County Police called in on a regular basis as referees between the two camps who will not talk to each other directly about the problem. The bottom line is that the bar owners and managers could care less about community concerns relative to noise. They probably feel that, since they host charitable fund raisers and employ residents, they have a right to operate as they wish even if the excessive sound late at night creates a public nuisance. This is the way it's gone on here for years. It's too bad that some leadership and common sense has not been brought to bear on the situation. Instead, the police are kept busy responding to nuisance noise complaints.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Here are a couple of photos of the center of Point 'O Woods. Bicycles are popular as a means of transport, as can be seen by the number parked outside the tennis courts. In the center of the hamlet there is a store, but your dollars are no good there. All purchases are put on personal accounts, for homeowners only.
The "chatter" on the networks this morning is loud about the war in Iraq, the Iran problem, and the increasing probability of another terrorist attack. Some analysts are suggesting that Bush will soon attack military bases in Iran, and, after Iran retaliates, Bush will then use this as an excuse to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. There is also a lot of talk about the probability of another 9-11 type terrorist attack happening soon. Is this why Karl Rove is so confident that Bush's approval ratings will be much higher a year from now? The American people usually rally behind military action taken against our "adversaries," at least at first, before it sinks in that there are long term problems created by such actions. It does look increasingly likely that something serious will happen between now and the election next year that will serve to rally support for Bush and the Republicans. You can just see it coming. The Democrats are too weak and fragmented to stop it. All we can do it sit by and watch whatever it is develop and hope it's not yet another 9-11 or an Iraq style military misadventure.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
This past week was most unusual with the unseasonable cold weather and rain. We turned on the house heater and wore long pants and sweaters. Today summer is supposed to return with temperatures around 90 degrees.
Friday, August 24, 2007
After years in which Sunni Arab insurgents were their main enemies, U.S.
forces now say nearly three quarters of attacks on them come from the country's
newly empowered Shi'ite majority...."We demand the Iraqi government and
parliament stop the Americans interfering in Shula," local tribal elder Sabeeh
al-Sharji said. "As you can see, civilians sleep on the roofs. These random
attacks terrify women and children."
This is the latest news from Baghdad after US forces kill 18 in a raid. The side we're backing in the Iraqi civil war, the "democratically elected" Shi'ites, have turned on us. Meanwhile at home Republican Senator Warner says it's time to start bringing the troops home, the Joint Chiefs are set to insist upon a troop drawdown, and a grim major intelligence report is issued on Iraq.
The wheels have really come off this thing, George.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Here's a photo of the "Burma Road," the unpaved path through many parts of the center of Fire Island. This stretch leads from the "Sunken Forest" to the Point O' Woods hamlet which can be seen in the distance (click on the photo to enlarge it. )
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Unfortunately, many of the Democratic Party’s leaders fail to defend
pillars on which any just economic policy agenda must be built:
taxation and prudent military spending cuts to provide
♦ Universal social insurance programs and high-quality public
♦ Powerful, democratic labor and social movements capable of
equity in the labor market; and
♦ Global institutions that
advance labor and human rights and provide
for a sustainable environment.
This doesn't resemble what we hear from the leading Democratic presidential candidates, now does it?
(Source: "Toward An Economic Justice Agenda" - Democratic Socialists Of America draft version)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Global capitalism will survive the current credit crisis; already, the
government has rushed in to soothe the feverish markets. But in the long term, a
system that depends on extracting every last cent from the poor cannot hope for
a healthy prognosis.
Capitalism has proven to be amazingly resilient. It's lasted a lot longer than Marx or anyone else would have predicted. The reason is that capitalists have been remarkably inventive in finding new ways to exploit the poorer classes, which nowadays includes just about everybody but the ultra-wealthy. However, as resources become scarcer, e.g., oil, the challenges facing the capitalist class will become more daunting. This is the unhealthy prognosis I see lying ahead for our system.
Also on my list: "Death At A Funeral." The website for this movie is here. Any movie directed by a man named "Frank Oz" should be good.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Schieffer continued: "We won't get a straight answer and that's a shame."
Actually, it's criminal, like a lot of what Bush has done.
In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis
from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their
self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to
call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.
Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis
take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we
assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see
fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our
pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the
The "pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities"...sounds like Bush's entire presidency.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Up until now, we've been fortunate so far this year in terms of tropical storms. "Dean," which is now threatening the Caribbean and the Gulf, is the first big storm of the season. Even though the storm is far away, the surf here on Fire Island is already rough.
In the news: Merv Griffin is outed posthumously by a Hollywood reporter. Griffin's sexuality was known for years in spite of his refusal to come out. He could have used his influence and his wealth, thought to be approaching a billion dollars, to help in the fight against AIDS and the struggle for gay civil rights. Instead, he chose to befriend the likes of Ronald Reagan and to remain firmly closeted. He was a collaborator in his own oppression, and his failure to join in the struggle for social justice for gays was a moral failure on his part. He stood by and did nothing when he could have helped immensely. As one observer puts it: he was a failure a a human being. I have to agree.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Last night we had our delayed special 24th anniversary dinner at Le Soir, a fine French restaurant in Bayport, NY, which is on Long Island. Our good friend Ed Mallon accompanied us, and it was a most festive and enjoyable evening. The food is really great. You can read about the restaurant here.
I had a spirited discussion with Ed over dinner about, of all things, using torture against terrorists, and the Geneva Conventions. Ed feels that all bets are off when dealing with terrorists, and that the Geneva Conventions should be "changed." My position is that the terrorists only win if we sink to their level and use their tactics, including torture. I think we should abide by the Geneva Conventions, not change or ignore them. Our flouting of the Conventions and International Law are a large part of the reason that America has lost respect worldwide. 9-11 was an unspeakable horror, but it should not be used as a justification for torture, or for the wholesale gutting of our constitution, as has been done by the current administration.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
A market correction is sometimes defined as a drop of at least 10%, but not
more than 20% (25% on intraday trading) over a short period of time. The
major difference between a bear market and a correction is magnitude and
duration. Bear markets last much longer, and the magnitude of loss is
So, are we in a correction? We're down about eight or nine hundred points. Somewhere around fourteen hundred points would be ten percent off the high point of the recent market, so we probably have some additional downward movement to go before we get into official correction mode territory. How low will the market go? The housing market slump and the credit crunch seem to require some action on the part of the Federal Reserve, but some analysts seem to feel that the Fed's hands are tied thanks to the Bush Administration's reckless policies, most notably, the huge tax cuts for the rich. Could part of Dubbya's legacy be a stock market crash?
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
In the news: Rudolph Giuliani continues to backtrack from his support for anything approaching gay marriage or civil unions. The latest comment from Giuliani was in reference to New Hampshire's civil unions law, which he now says is "to close to gay marriage." It's sad that Giuliani feels that he has to distance himself from the gay civil rights struggle in order to secure the Republican Party presidential nomination. But who is going to believe him or trust him when it's so clear that he is pandering. Everyone knows or will know his history as mayor of New York City during which tenure he was gay friendly. He isn't fooling anyone including the right wing Republican "base" that he is so obviously interested in courting. He's just another sorry excuse as a leader who has proven that his most important principle is what good for Rudy. He is NOT presidential material.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Polls out this morning show Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani pulling away from the other candidates and opening up big leads. Ho, hum. Americans settle for, in fact seemingly want so very little in a candidate in terms of character.
Monday, August 13, 2007
We had an old friend Charles Austin over yesterday afternoon for our weekly writer's group meeting. Charles has a story in the just published short story collection that also contains a work written by Dan. "Queer Collection" is available for purchase on Amazon.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I've been very critical of Hillary Clinton's refusal to call for the complete repeal of the hateful "Defense Of Marriage Act." Today I read that a respected advocate for gay rights, Professor Lawrence Tribe of Harvard, has also criticized Ms. Clinton for the same reason:
Sen. Hillary Clinton's, D-N.Y., opposition to completely repealing the Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA) was painted as a "symbolic insult" to gays by a
top adviser to Sen. Barack Obama's, D-Ill., presidential campaign during a
Friday interview with ABC News.
"The federal statute books shouldn't be
filled with symbolic insults to part of the population," said Harvard law
professor Laurence Tribe. "I guess Hillary Clinton may have a complicated set of
agendas here because many people were troubled when her husband as president
Read the full article here.
You bet I was "troubled" when Bill Clinton signed DOMA. And I'm troubled that Hillary still supports parts of it. There is no way she deserves the support of the gay community until she completely renounces this homophobic piece of legislation.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
The two long shot candidates, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, are fully supportive of gay marriage and full gay equality and said so unequivocally. The may not win the nomination, but they sure set the bar high for the other candidates.
Bill Richardson, in an answer to a question from Melissa Ethridge, said that being gay is a choice. He later "clarified" that in a statement, but the damage has been done. One wonders where is he coming from?
Obama had trouble answering when he was asked if he understood why gays and lesbians see civil unions as separate and unequal.
Edwards basically said that he personally opposed gay marriage but wouldn't say why, except that he admitted that he should not have said that his opposition was due to his faith. I have an idea: it's your residual homophobia, Mr. Edwards.
Ah, and finally, Mrs. Clinton, who was patronizing at times and stuck to her policy talking points throughout. If you want four more years of Clinton-like triangulation, betrayal, and lip service, then Hillary is your girl.
The questions from the panel were better than I expected. As I've indicated, the responses from the "big four" were too often disappointing.
Joe Solomese, the head of the Human Rights Campaign and one of those posing the questions on LOGO, summed up the forum pretty well:
"Tonight was an important night in the fight for equality for GLBT
Americans. We pulled the curtain back a bit and gave all Americans a deeper look
inside the candidates' core beliefs about the issues that affect our community.
From repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell, supporting equal employment rights,
providing full funding for HIV/AIDS epidemic, to eliminating the Defense of
Marriage Act, these candidates went on record and committed to fighting for
equality in all sectors of our society. Unfortunately, we have more work to
do. The overwhelming majority of the candidates do not support marriage
equality. While we heard very strong commitments to civil unions and equality in
federal rights and benefits, their reasons for opposing equality in civil
marriage tonight became even less clear. Over the course of the presidential
campaign, we will continue to ask these questions and demand real answers from
the candidates who were appeared tonight-and from those who didn't show up. The
next president must be committed to not only doing what's achievable, but also
I'm off to look for a third party candidate to support.
Photo: One of Dan's new paintings, on sale this weekend at the Pines Biennial Art Show
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Ms. Clinton still supports portions of the "Defense Of Marriage Act," that hateful, pandering piece of legislation signed into law by her husband under cover of darkness, legislation that prohibits the federal level recognition of legitimate marriages entered into legally by gays and lesbians. When asked about this last weekend at the "Yearly Kos" meeting this was her answer:
Secondly, DOMA, I believe that DOMA served a very important purpose. I was one of the architects in the strategy against the Marriage Amendment to the constitution, and DOMA gave us a bright line to be able to hold back the votes that were building up to do what I consider to be absolutely abominable and that would be to amend the constitution to enshrine discrimination. I believe marriage should be left to the states. I support civil unions as I've said many times with full equality of benefits and so I think that DOMA appropriately put the responsibility in the states where it has historically belonged and I think you're beginning to see states take action. I think it's, I think part three of DOMA needs to be repealed because part three stands in the way of the full extension of federal benefits and I support that. So that's the first.
Here is the major problem with this response: Civil marriage is a basic civil right and as such it is constitutionally protected on the federal level. This is what the Supreme Court found in "Loving vs. Virginia" when the Court outlawed ALL state level laws banning interracial marriage. Therefore, contrary to Ms. Clinton's answer, marriage has not been "left to the states." Someone ought to bring this up on tonight's LOGO presidential candidates forum.
Also, there's the bullshit quotient of this answer as pointed out by one observer on the Pam's House Blend blog: The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) was not proposed until 2003, years AFTER DOMA was signed into law, so DOMA was no "bright line" preventing votes from building up in favor of the FMA.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Unity08 believes that neither of today’s major parties reflects the
aspirations, fears or will of the majority of Americans. Both have polarized and
alienated the people. Both are unduly influenced by single-issue groups. Both
are excessively dominated by money.
For most of the 20th Century, the contest for the U.S. presidency was waged over those “in the middle.” Recent Presidential elections, however, have not been focused on the middle but on the turnout of each party’s special interest groups — with each party’s “base” representing barely ten percent of the American people.
We believe that, while the leaders of both major parties are well intentioned people, they are trapped in a flawed system — and that the two major parties are today simply neither relevant to the issues and challenges of the 21st Century nor effective in addressing them.
As a result, most Americans have not been enthusiastic about the choices for President in recent elections, the key issues they ran on, or the manner in which the campaigns were conducted.
Therefore Unity08 will act to assure that an alternative ticket is presented to the American voters in 2008.
Now, this does not mean that I will necessarily support the ticket that they come up with, or vote for their slate for president and vice president. I may, or may not. However, I do agree with their assessment that the current two party system is hopelessly corrupt and does not present real choices to the American voter. I also agree with their goal of forcing reform of the two major parties by presenting a viable third party alternative.
James Blunt sings "High"
I heard a great new song yesterday called "1973" written and performed by British singer James Blunt. In the new song Blunt really captures the sadness of a 50 something man who pines for his lost relationship with the love of his life "Simona." You can get the song or the song/video combination on I-Tunes. I predict that you'll be hearing this song a lot. The song is off Blunt's new album that will be released next month. This YouTube video is one of his earlier songs.
It's a stormy morning here in Cherry Grove. The sky is dark and there's lots of heavy rain, thunder, and lightning. You know it's bad when the Direct TV isn't working.
The beach has been great lately. The water is warm and not too rough. We haven't been hearing about many tropical storms so far this season. It's been TOO quiet on that front.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
In our dreams!
Here's the Washington Post on the way the Democrats rolled over and gave Bush the authority to wire tap US citizens without a warrant:
"The Democratic-led Congress, more concerned with protecting its political
backside than with safeguarding the privacy of American citizens, left town
early yesterday after caving in to administration demands that it allow warrantless surveillance of the phone calls and e-mails of American citizens, with scant judicial
supervision and no reporting to Congress about how many communications are being intercepted. To call this legislation ill-considered is to give it too much
credit: It was scarcely considered at all. Instead, it was strong-armed through
both chambers by an administration that seized the opportunity to write its warrantless wiretapping program into law—or, more precisely, to write it out from under any real legal restrictions."
The Democrats: pretty useless, I'd say.
Tonight there is another presidential debate scheduled. This time it's the Democrats, but the attraction of this particular event for me will be the moderator, Keith Olberman, a modern day Edward R. Murrow, who has been an articulate critic of the Bush administration. His job will be to moderate, but I wouldn't be surprised if he presses some of the candidates hard on Iraq, particularly those who have some problems with their positions and votes on Iraq, e.g., HC. It should make for good watching!
Monday, August 6, 2007
It's only early August but Fall was in the air out here on the island this past weekend. It got so cool the other night that I actually put a blanket on the bed. I'm sure it will get hot again, but we've been enjoying the beautiful cooler weather. The water is warm and yesterday it was so clear that you could see your toes while standing chest deep in the ocean. I saw a school of tiny fish as I was swimming and in past years I've even seem warm water tropical fish like Sergeant Majors while swimming here. When the winds are favorable we often get warm water currents that I suspect are offshoots from the Gulf Stream. The color of the water is a beautiful mint green. Today I'll wear my diving mask and snorkel and see if I can spot some special warm water visitors off shore.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Congress just passed a new Pentagon budget totalling $460 billion dollars. It is estimated that it would take about four times that much to repair the ageing infrastructure of this country - our roads, bridges, etc. We could use a new Roosevelt era-like program to get our infrastructure back into condition, but as was pointed out on one of the Sunday Am talk shows, all of the presidential candidates are internationalists - meaning they are concerned with other foreign affairs primarily. Bush is pushing for a $60 billion dollar arms program for Saudi Arabia, supposedly designed to "stabilize the Middle East.' Yea, sure. Again, our priorities as a nation are out of whack.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Why is today's "Left" less radicalized than the Left of the 1960s? Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker sees it this way:
"I think the difference between today’s left and yesterday’s is partly
explained by the difference between the wars that have energized them. Vietnam
was, as Bob Dole might say, a “Democrat war.” You couldn't’t protest it just by
putting your energies into electing Democrats, and of course you couldn't’t do it
by trying to elect Republicans, who liked the war even more. You had to go to
the left of the Dems, and if you hadn’t happened to have already acquired a
moral/political compass, you might keep going till you ended up at the feet of
Chairman Mao. This war is an all-Republican affair. And this generation, thank
God, is perfectly content to stick with (Democratic Party) Chairman
Well, I'm definitely NOT ready to "Thank God" that today's generation is content to stick with the Democratic Party. I see that 16 Democratic senators just joined the Republicans in the senate in passing a domestic spying bill that meets Bush's requirements. That's another Democratic Party sellout, pure and simple. The usual Democratic conservatives...Ben Nelson, etc. and the unreliables, like Diane Feinstein, and, of course, faux Democrat Joe Lieberman voted with the Republicans. Yes, the more liberal Democrats voted against the bill, but there is no Democratic Party discipline holding the party together in opposition to King George/Rove. Give me some of that old time political radicalism. I can't take any more of the Democrats.
Friday, August 3, 2007
The horrific bridge collapse in Minneapolis is an indication of the deteriorating state of the infrastructure of this country, but it's not an isolated incident. Rather, it's just the latest example of how we're letting our own country disintegrate while spending billions of dollars every month in Iraq. The steam pipe explosion in New York City recently shed a lot of light on that city's aging infrastructure. Now we learn that we have 756 bridges in this country (truss bridges) that are similar to the one that collapsed in the Midwest. Bridges and pipes are important, but how will we ever get to them when we've let our children down with sub-standard schools? Our nation's priorities are dead wrong. Our oil driven greed is coming home to bite us. Look for more of these tragic incidents in the coming years.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Game Action - a volley by Monica
A friendly handshake after a good game
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Yep, you heard it. A government by the people for the corporations. The list goes on and on: congress wussed out on creating a paper trail for electronic voting machines.
And the government is getting ready to feed us some puke on how the fake troop rotation (aptly named by Karl Rove "the Surge" which I really believe is a metaphor for the amount of viagara that flows into the Republican Caucus) is working. Please. Let's not fool ourselves into believing our overworked national guard, Marines, Airforce, Army and Navy are"Surging". We're using Iraqis to fight each other. It's going about as well as our fight was going with Viet Nam in 1971. How did that turn out again?
I'm going to go read the daily Kos and Michael Moore's website and believe every last word of both. 1. Because I like both and 2. Because I dislike the other viewpoint as strong as a human possibly can. I can't wait for some of the Hannity's, O'Reilly's and Coulter's of the world to start falling into obscurity. If you want to see how scumbag nutjobs like these guys fall into obscurity, go Google a guy named Charles E. Coughlin.
Hey Bill, can you loofa reality a little more for us?
"Triad" - by David Crosby
You want to know how it will be
Me and him OR you and me
You both stand there your long hair flowing
Your eyes alive your mind still growing
Saying to me--"What can we do now that we both love you",
I love you too--
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three
You are afraid--embarrassed too
No one has ever said such a thing to you
Your mother's ghost stands at your shoulder
Face like ice--a little bit colder
Saying to you--"you can not do that, it breaks
All the rules you learned in school"
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three
We love each other--it's plain to see
There's just one answer comes to me--
And in time--maybe others
So you see--what we can do--is to try something new--
If you're crazy too--
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three.
Hear Crosby perform the song: