Atlantis Alumni

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ellen DeGeneres Discusses The Recent Tragic Death

A kid is killed for being gay...Ellen takes to the air.

Saint William F. Buckley? NOT!

William Buckley, who just died, is being canonized by conservatives. Well, I won't be honoring Saint William because he was a homophobe. At one time he suggested tattooing people with HIV/AIDS. I found him to be a pompous and arrogant advocate for the sorts of policies and thinking that I abhor. If he is "the father of modern conservatism" then he is responsible for the evil nature of conservatism today, as manifested by the power of the conservative fundamentalist Christians who dominate the movement.


Obama And The Gays

From Obama's "open letter" to the gay community:

"Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S.
Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we
should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate
in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does."

Obama is right. I'm getting closer to supporting him. At least his rhetoric is more gay positive, even if it will be difficult for him or anyone else to advance our cause as president. But the power of the presidential "bully pulpit" cannot be underestimated.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hard Hittin' Hillary Gets Nowhere

Hard Hittin' Hillary was on the warpath last night in the debate, but she got nowhere in her attempt to smash Obama. Here's Maureen Dowd, in today's New York Times:

By threatening to throw the kitchen sink at Obama, the Clinton campaign simply confirmed the fact
that they might be going down the drain.... It’s a hard sell for Hillary to
say that she is the only one capable of leading this country in a war when she
helped in leading the country into that war. Or to paraphrase Obama from the debate here, the one who drives the bus into the ditch can’t drive it out.

I think it's time for her to go, to paraphrase Al Gore's comment about poppy Bush eight years ago.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm of two minds...

I have this wierd problem. Well, it isn't really problem but it's one of those things in humanity where you try to figure out why gravity is about the only constant on the planet....

Here's what I mean:

My kids have been bugging me about who I'll vote for. They know I can't stand McCain and I am not a huge fan of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. I don't particularly hate any one of them mind you, I'm just not a fan of ANY of them.

It's going to probably come down to Barack Vs. McCain. And it will get ugly. No doubt in my mind about that.

The thing I don't like about Barack Obama is his track record. I can't get away from it. He doesn't have enough of a track record. I'd like to be a doctor but I don't have a good track record in topics like biology and chemistry. Ergo, I'm not a doctor. Obama really doesn't have a track record as a leader.

However, in CT, the whole thrust of the past campaign featuring Joe Lieberman vs. Ned Lamont was that Joe Lieberman has a track record and it isn't a bad one. Yet I don't think there was anyone in the state who wouldn't concede that Ned Lamont would have made a superior Senate Leader. Joe Lieberman is a career political hack and his recent dumping of any pretense of loyalty to any party or person except those that can further his political ambitions (in this case, Republicans) is reprehensible.

I'm using the comparison between Barack Obama (basically a good state senate representative with little track record) and Joe Lieberman (a long standing US Senate Leader) to wonder out loud whether experience is all it is cracked up to be. Joe Lieberman claims to be the experienced Senator that crosses partisan lines. Nonetheless, he seems to have lost most if not all of his moral compass.

I'm absolutely sure I could care less who crosses partisan anything. I care alot about who gets the answers right. After 8 years of Republicans destroying (yes, destroying) our democracy and the ideological pipes that hold our country together I'd like to see a candidate that clearly demonstrates an understanding of what is right and wrong. We're all born with a strong sense or capability to have honesty, integrity and recognition of truth and there are a whole bunch of things that aren't gray areas:

Killing people - Wrong
Healthcare for Children - Right
Schools and meals for children - Right
Helping those that can't help themselves - Right
Torturing people - Wrong
Usurping our justice system to imprison innocent people - Wrong
Spending $2 billion in Iraq per week - Wrong

There are some areas where we shouldn't compromise. Too much of the last 10 years in the United States people have closed their eyes and hoped that somehow our huge problems would land themselves on autopilot. We seem to be replacing our values with our wallets and we let our markets define our moral direction.

One thing that GW Bush has confirmed for me: one person can make a huge difference in our direction. He has been one huge enabler for companies and special interests and has told the little people (that would be just about everyone outside of the top %1) to go eat cake.

The question is this: can our next president manage the ability to identify what is right and wrong and take action to fix it? And the thing that sucks is this - no matter who I vote for I will have to accept a compromise right off the bat. Not a good way to start any relationship.


Whining About Nader

Democrats continue to whine about Ralph Nader, and how he supposedly cost Al Gore the election in 2000. Nobody cost Al Gore the election except Al Gore himself, who couldn't be himself and instead was three different Al Gores in his debates with the "chimp." Hell, Gore didn't even win his home state of Tennessee. Democrats need to stop whining and grow some balls, and take principled positions on the issues. I'm still waiting for this from either Clinton or Obama. One gives us speeches full of talking points while straddling both sides of important issues, while the other gives us inspirational sermons without much substance. If the Democrats lose to McCain it will be their own fault, and not the fault of any third party candidate.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Eating Animals

"There is but one honest limit to the rights of a sentient being; it is where they touch the rights of another sentient being." - Francis Wright

"The main point for me is moral; animals are sentient beings. I know for some this is a hard argument to accept, but we're not built to eat a lot of meat. " - Grace Slick

Just Don't Eat Meat!

After being approved for slaughter, cattle must walk up a serpentine
90-foot chute, on an incline, before being killed, Mr. Magidow said. The chute
meanders in part so that cattle won't suspect what is about to happen to them,
he said. The incline helps ensure that only cattle able to walk and stand on
their own can make it to the slaughtering line.

The "Mr. Madigow" of the above referenced quote from the Wall Street Journal, is the general manager of the meat packing firm that was the subject of videotaped animal cruelty with sick cattle being prodded with electricity and water hoses and pushed to their death with fork lifts. Note that when things are going just swell at the slaughterhouse, the cattle are tricked into marching to their own death lest they "suspect what is about to happen to them."

Well, that's an acknowledgement from someone who knows that animals are aware (sentient) and capable of fear and suffering. Now, if you can do the killing yourself; if you're that kind of person then I guess you'll go ahead and continue to eat meat. But if you can't personally kill a cow, stop eating those god damned hamburgers. If you can't strangle a chicken or cut it's feet off and watch it bleed to death, then stop eating them. But don't continue to consume animals unless you're prepared to assume the guilt for their suffering and their deaths.

Today it's easier than ever to eat ethically and humanely. There are plenty of food alternatives available. It takes some effort and work , but it's healthier for you physically and mentally, and spiritually for those of you who are spiritual.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nader To Run Again

I welcome Mr. Nader's entry into the presidential race. However, in the past he has been reluctant to forcefully stake out a progressive position on gay rights. This time around, I wonder if Mr. Nader will embrace full marriage equality for all citizens including gays and lesbians? Will he pledge to end "Don't Ask; Don't Tell," which has resulted in the discharge of thousands of patriotic Americans from the military in a time of war, their only crime being their sexual orientation? A truly progressive campaign cannot ignore the issue of social justice for America's gay and lesbian citizens.


Obama or McCain?

Is this the best we can do? These guys are the brightest bulbs we have to offer the country? Folks, our leadership needs some kind of overhaul. Seems like we're electing two lobbyists. I guess this is what happens after 8 years of Bush rule.

Wow. Can't we do better than this?


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Women Who Support Hillary

I know at least a couple of "mature" women who are Hillary backers. What will they do now that it appears as though the Obama juggernaut is unstoppable? TV political pudits are delaring that "it's over," and that Obama will be the Democrat candidate for president. So it looks like Obama vs. McCain. That should be a no-brainer...the same old, same old vs. at least the hope for positive change. But then the American electorate lacks brains, which makes a McCain victory plausible. It'll be interesting.


Friday, February 15, 2008

How The Dems Screwed Us To Further Their Own Ambitions

Matt Taibbi nails it at Rolling Stone - a must read:

Taibbi makes the case that the Dems, who were put into power in Congress to stop the war in Iraq, have instead continured to support it and to support Bush's failed policies, while at the same time using anti-war rhetoric to further their candidates' ambitions. Enough of this smoke screen!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Goodbye Dear Friend

Dan's Dad died last Saturday. Bill was 99 and during the last couple of years he had failed, suffering with the sorts of infirmities that we all must endure if we live long enough. Bill didn't want any eulogies or "exaggeration," as he put it, but I don't think he'd mind me simply saying goodbye to someone who treated me as a son, as good as or better than my own family has, accepting me into his family from the first day I met him almost 25 years ago. I loved him as a son would love his father, the type of thing that you realize too often only after they have gone and it's too late to actually tell them. He'll be in my memory always.

A decade ago Bill wanted to learn about computers even though he was in his late 80s and his arthritic hands prevented him from typing with ease. So, I helped him order a computer and got him conected to AOL. For a few years Bill enjoyed the online experience. We all marvelled at his interest in computers, politics, golf, and life until the ravages of time finally took their toll.

Hey Bill, I'll meet you in that Great Country Club Grill Room in the cosmos in a few years, and we'll reminisce over some scotch and vodka. Save a place at your table for me. No gin rummy, though, I'm no match for you on that score.

"DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou
art not so, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore
death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures
bee, Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best
men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave
to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and
sicknesse dwell, And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better
then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then; One short sleepe past, wee wake
eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die. " - John Donne


Friday, February 8, 2008

The Warped World Of "Conservative" Talk Radio

Watching the circus on the right with AM talk radio nut cases ripping their own party is fun, until you realize how sad it is that this small handful of loudmouth evildoers has so much sway with a segment of the American population. We used to have something called the "Fairness Doctrine," which the right wing hated, and which required that a balance of viewpoints be presented on the public airwaves. Yes, remember, the airwaves are public, not private. Private companies are licensed to broadcast over the air, but they don't own the airwaves. Since the demise of the Fairness Doctrine, right wing talk radio has blossomed. It's now so unbalanced that there is basically only the right wing perspective that AM listeners hear. Furthermore, the demogogues of the far right now have become the spokespersons for the "conservative" movement, or at least that's what the rest of the media would have you believe. Actually, these talk radio self-appointed conservative spokespersons are nothing more than high paid advocates for the most evil forms of greed and selfishness, masquerading as "conservativism." However, they now have the power, or think they have the power, to dethrone even the winner of the Repubican Party primaries. Something is radicaly wrong with that scenaio, but nobody seems to realize it. Rather, mainsream media pundits regularly mention the AM talk radio demogogues in discussions of politics on national network TV news and political shows, afording them a legitimacy that they do not deserve. Yes, warped and sad are the words for this circus of the right.

BTW, somebody please bring me a stake so that I can drive it into the heart of Mitt Romney's candidacy. Otherwise he'll be back in 2012.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Tuesday? More Bread And Circuses!

That's what I think of our political system, the primaries, the general election, etc.: it's all bread and circuses. The United States is not a democracy. How can you have a democracy when there are such inequalities of wealth and power in evidence? Corporations own the mass media and manipulate what the public sees and hears. No real reform politican could ever get to first base because the powerful monied interests would prevent it. Finally, the Amercian populace is purposely kept in an uneducated stupor while being fed popular culture junk food day in and day out. To this we've come.

See Oligarchy USA for more information on what we really are living under in this country.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Barack Obama - Yes We Can music video

No matter what your opinion is of Barak Obama, you have to admire this video, which was not produced by the Obama campaign, but is a very moving piece.


Monday, February 4, 2008

The Odds We'll Get Universal Healthcare?

No chance, of course, if a Republican is elected. New York Times columist and Clinton supporter Paul Krugman lists the odds if we get a Democrat president:

"If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance —
nobody knows how big — that we’ll get universal health care in the next
administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won’t happen."

Not too encouraging, since the failure of this rich country to provide health care for all of its citizens is a national disgrace (one of many.)


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Colleges Starting To Ban Blood Drives!


In a controversial move believed to be a first by an American college, San
Jose State University President Don Kassing has suspended all campus blood
drives because of a longstanding government policy that bars gay men from
donating blood.
The policy by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
"affecting gay men violates our non-discrimination policy," Kassing said in a
lengthy e-mail sent to faculty, staff and students earlier this week.

The ban on gay men donating blood is discrimination and it is unethical. It's a holdover from the bigoted days of then Senator Jesse Helms, who pushed for it. It should end immediately.


Why I Probably Won't Vote For Obama

Roseann Barr sums it up nicely for me at Huffington:

"Who is he really? He sounds like another Hillary who will say or do
anything at all to get elected, like someone who courts the disaffected and the
disenfranchised, and promises them the false hope of inclusion, which will never
happen at all in this country."

Yep, he's all talk and when it comes down to it, he'll be short on action, or he'll betray the disenfanchised just like the Clintons did with welfare "reform," "Don't Ask; Don't Tell," and the "Defense Of Marriage Act."