Friday, October 30, 2009

Blessed Samhain

I've cleaned and rearranged my alter and am knitting a Samhain wrap for next year. It has all of the colors of the Autumn trees in the Adirondacks. I am bearing witness without judgment. I have found a wonderful, meaningful morning prayer. I am feeling the thinning of the veil. I am cooking my Mama's squash soup. I am surviving the hardest year of my life and celebrating the year that I have learned the most.

Blessed be. May your Samhain be as bountiful as mine.

Photo found here

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Helen Thomas' Five Presidential Lessons

No. 1
Mr. President, you've probably already realized that your inauguration is likely to be the happiest day of your presidency. If only you could make that feeling last forever. The White House can be one of the loneliest places in the world. Just look at the physical deterioration some have suffered during their years in office.

If you do not want more gray hair, be prepared for a dye job.

Most presidents leave Washington with, at best, mixed feelings toward the place and many with whom they've worked -- especially the press. Perhaps that is why they choose never to live there again after leaving office and visit infrequently.

John F. Kennedy once called Washington a city of "Southern efficiency and Northern charm."

Harry Truman famously said that if you want a friend in Washington, "Get a dog."
Next 4 lessons found Here

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martha Coakley, Ted Kennedy's Replacement?

This Week Magazine has a interesting story on Martha Coakley, who is a frontrunner for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, Via The Wild Hunt.

Day-care sex abuse case haunts Massachusetts Senate race
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic front-runner to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, didn’t prosecute the notorious Fells Acres Day Care case. But when she had a chance to help end the 'travesty,' she took the easy way out.

By Francis Wilkinson

Roman Polanski may not be alone in facing new scrutiny for an old sex crime, though in Massachusetts it's the actions of a former prosecutor, not a perpetrator, that are in question. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is the front-runner in the campaign to fill the U.S. Senate seat held for 46 years by Ted Kennedy. Coakley rose in politics via the Middlesex District Attorney's office, which was the unrelenting engine behind the Fells Acres Day Care prosecution, perhaps the most notorious among the wave of child sex abuse cases that swept the nation in the 1980s.

Coakley did not prosecute the case, which was already under way when she joined the office as an assistant district attorney in 1986. But years later, after the day-care abuse hysteria had subsided and she had won the office's top job, she worked to keep the convicted "ringleader," Gerald Amirault, behind bars despite widespread doubts that a crime had been committed.

Unlike Polanski's guilt, which was convincing enough in the 1970s and seems at least as compelling now, the convictions won by the Middlesex DA in the Fells Acres case have not borne up well. By today's standards, the prosecution of the Amirault family, who owned and operated the day-care center in Malden, Mass., looks like a master class in battling witchcraft. After an initial allegation surfaced under dubious circumstances, parents were summoned by local police and encouraged to grill their young children, predominantly ages 3 to 5. In the scattershot search for evidence, which the children ultimately produced by the truckload, hysteria reigned. Parents shared their fears along with their children's sometimes fantastical revelations. A pediatric nurse and other "experts" then followed up, posing leading, even badgering, questions to the children to produce a portrait of almost supernatural predation.

Children claimed to have been raped by knives that left no wounds. They said they had been tied to a tree on the day-care grounds. They said they had been molested by a man—Gerald Amirault—in a clown costume and spoke of a magic room and a secret room. No teacher, parent or other adult witnessed any of it—despite their regular proximity to the Amiraults and the exceedingly baroque, time-consuming nature of the alleged abuse. Physical evidence was remarkably scant.

The allegations were similar to those produced in other day-care cases, from New Jersey to California, in which charges were ultimately dismissed. Research by Cornell professor Stephen Ceci and others has established that children can be highly susceptible to ideas introduced by adults, and can shape their recollections to suit a grown-up's narrative. (See this ABC News video). As former Massachusetts Attorney General James Shannon wrote in The Boston Globe, Gerald Amirault's "conviction rested largely on the constitutionally defective testimony of the young children."

The fact that the Fells Acres case took place in suburban Boston makes it all the more vexing. While Middlesex prosecutors were pursuing the Amiraults for spectacular assaults involving dozens of victims, Catholic priests in the area were quietly raping local children one by one, without the benefit of magic rooms or clown costumes. Just two years after the Fells Acres prosecution concluded, one of the prosecutors, Laurence Hardoon, opted not to prosecute a priest, Rev. Paul Tivnan, who had molested a young boy for years. Hardoon later explained that it seemed appropriate to provide the priest with treatment, not jail time. In response to a second molestation allegation against Tivnan, church records indicated that Tivnan said he "didn't realize it was so harmful," according to the MetroWest Daily News, a local paper. The Amiraults, by contrast, were each sentenced to grinding prison terms, with Gerald getting the most—30 to 40 years. All three Amiraults adamantly insisted that the charges were baseless and refused to bargain with prosecutors; they paid for their defiance with longer sentences.

Full story is Here

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Real Questions

I don't think Americans are asking the right questions. It isn't whether Obama is tough enough. The real questions are:

Is Obama experienced enough?
Is Obama too beholden to corporate interests?
Is Obama too worried about how his presidency will be seen in history?
Is Obama relying on Rahm and Axelrod too much?
Does Obama understand economics?
Does Obama listen?
Does Obama care?

And, these questions should have been asked and answered before he was in office, not after. Hillary's 3:00AM campaign commercial keeps running through my head.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Photo lifted from Liberal Rapture, who found it on the internet. Kudos to the maker!

Pagan Republican Running for NYC Council

"It would have been impossible to find a Neopagan like Halloran running for political office twenty years ago, when most Neopagans kept their identities carefully guarded for fear of losing jobs or child custody battles. In neighborhoods all over the country, Neopagan communities have been treated suspiciously and outright persecuted by some Christian neighbors, law enforcement, and government agencies. Since for many Americans, the Republican Party is inseparable from conservative Christianity, Neopagans were surprised that the party stood by Halloran, and took it as a sign that not only is the makeup of the religious left and the religious right shifting, but that the country as a whole is becoming more receptive toward their religion."

Full article available Here

Thursday, October 15, 2009


There was a time
when you were not a slave,
remember that you walked alone,
full of laughter,
you bathed bare-bellied.
You may have lost all recollection of it,

You say there are not words to describe it,
you say it does not exist.
but remember,
make an effort to remember,
or, failing that,
By Monique Wittig

Poem found at Hecate's blog
Bathing Goddesses found here

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Obamas Do Vegas

On the day after Obama won a Nobel Peace award that he did absolutely nothing to deserve, I have been given permission to cross-post a satirical piece written by Tamerlane, via John's blog, Liberal Rapture. Tamerlane's brilliant piece gets much closer to the true character of our Hope and Change president. Too bad the Nobel Committee didn't have the same discerning judgment.

Obama "Disappointed" by Results of Junket to Las Vegas

* Returns on wager of national treasury "less than anticipated" * First couple takes in the sites *24-hour trip costs US taxpayers $15 million * Michelle looks stunning

From our Washington correspondent, Tamerlane, aboard Air Force One:

President Barack Obama returned yesterday from a whirlwind junket to Las Vegas, where he placed a $7 billion wager- all that remained in the nation's depleted treasury reserve- on a hand of blackjack, which he lost. Following the bet, the First Family took in the sites of Las Vegas. Michelle and the girls then continued on for a weekend in Taos, while the exhausted President flew directly to Camp David to recuperate. On Air Force One, a clearly dejected Obama tried to put the lost wager in the best light. Speaking to reporters, Obama admitted that the "return on the bet was less than anticipated," but noted that, as the First Lady had found a great deal on a Louis Vuitton clutch she'd been eyeing for some time, the trip was not entirely fruitless.

Huge Crowd Hears President Express Optimism, Hope

The junket began with high hopes. Thursday morning, President Obama, arriving on Air Force 1a, Michelle, on Air Force 1b, and Malia and Sasha, on Air Force 1c, were greeting at the airport by jubilant Las Vegans. The cavalcade next proceeded to a rally in front of the gleaming edifice of the Luxor. Speaking before a huge crowd-reported by MSNBC at just over 4 million-Obama promised not to be deterred by criticism. "You know, they questioned the other pharaohs, too, their vision. They said, you know, 'He has a funny hieroglyph, he's nubian.' But if those pharaohs had let it get to them, they'd have never invented the pyramids, and we wouldn't be standing where we are today."

President Encounters Ugly Racism

Obama next experienced an unpleasant moment or two. Stopping by New York, New York to grab a bagel mit schmier, Obama was blocked by an angry crowd of racists, shouting and carrying signs in favor of single payer healthcare. The president had riot police disperse the racists with water cannon, only to discover they were out of lax.

Lightheartedness returned to the presidential entourage in the lobby of the Bellagio. Michelle let out a gleeful squeal as she realized that the fountain display had been rigged to go off whenever she walked by. As the First Lady, attired in a stunning sleeveless dress with an ochre & brindle floral pattern, and her trademark pearl necklace and ruby slippers, amused herself, the president proceeded to the main gaming hall. Surrounded by a horde of media, he sidled up to a blackjack table to implement his bold initiative to cut the federal deficit in half. Asked if he was nervous, Obama replied, "dude, it's not like it's my own money."

Wager Goes Awry

Obama placed the entire $7 billion (in the form of one large chip specially crafted for the occasion) on his first deal. The president received two queens, split, then busted. Leaving the table with a shrug, Obama bummed a cigarette off a TV cameraman and wandered off. The press corps soon tracked down Obama in the sports book, nursing a mai tai, where he admitted he had just lost five bucks from his own wallet on the Indiana Fever in the WNBA finals. The president was later overheard asking a teller how many chips she thought he could get for GM.

Obamas Paint the Town "Cool"

America's most beautiful couple enjoyed a relaxing rest of the day with a private performance by Cirque du Soleil followed by dinner at Ruth's Chris, before returning to their luxury suite to take advantage of its 40' jacuzzi, 24' round bed and ceiling mirror. Malia and Sasha reportedly declared as "totally awesome" their adjoining suite, which had been fitted with a water slide, a carousel, and a petting zoo. Bo, the First Family's purebred Portuguese Water Dog, who had been separately flown into Vegas on Air Force 1d at a cost of $370,000, spent the night on the concrete floor of the hotel basement.

The Obamas slept in late, missing their check-out time, which cost the US government an additional $2.7 million. When asked by a racist reporter whether she thought this was right, Michelle snapped, "some first ladies know how to keep their presidents from straying!"

Racists Question Wisdom of Junket

Indeed, the huge cost of the president's junket, estimated at over $15 million has come under fire. It seems the city of Las Vegas was hurt financially, too. A spokesperson for one of the city's crime syndicates notes that even the bet and the room service can't offset the $19.3 billion in tourism revenue lost from the closing of the airport alone.

Even before the junket, Obama endured heavy flak from his own party for his plan to reduce the federal deficit through casino gambling. Sen. Chuck Schumer brazenly called it "not my first choice for deficit reduction," while Rep. Dennis Kucinich went even further, labeling the bet "potentially risky."

Others have questioned the president's strategy of splitting on a 20 instead of standing. Sen. Orrin Hatch called the move "boneheaded." In his weekly syndicated column, Pat Buchanan described the split as "a coward's strategy." Buchanan opined that "real men, like Thatcher in the Falklands, Franco at Guernica, and the Great Elector at Fehrbellin, knew how to gamble aggressively and wisely. Can one honestly imagine a world safe for Democracy today had not Churchill 'doubled-down' in 1940?"

In response to these criticisms, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs stresses that "considerable deliberation preceeded the President's wager." Obama himself first favored placing the whole $7 billion on one roulette spin, figuring he could "scream like that flat-chested girl did in Bourne Identity" [Franka Potente in Run Lola Run] to guarantee success. Rahm Emmanuel suggested a more cautious approach: a succession of smaller wagers on Keno. The president nixed the Keno proposal, saying, "that would take, like, hours." A very animated and gesticulating Joe Biden reportedly urged the president to play russian roulette "same as the VC forced McCain to do in 'Nam." After craps and slots were ruled out, the consensus ultimately was that single deck blackjack offered the best odds.

President Reveals Vulnerable Side

Obama freely admits that the split- "something I saw Al Pacino do once"- was his own idea. Taking a long puff on his Camel, Obama spoke in a revealing sotto voce just audible over the whine of the engines as Air Force 1a made its final approach to Dulles. "It's hard being president, gambling day-in and day-out with the hopes and dreams of the American people." Asked whether he considered himself a "player," Obama chuckled. "I used to clean up at Liar's Dice in college," he mused, "but I guess I suck at blackjack. Oh well." He took another drag and stared out the window. Detectable in his eyes was no brooding, no second-guessing over his failure in Las Vegas. This reporter found Obama's blitheness and utter lack of angst pleasingly reminiscent of Reagan, another great president who refused to take the job seriously.

(c) 2009 by 'tamerlane.' All rights reserved.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Another What the F@%K Moment

I find it ironic that a president who used every trick in his bag to claw his way up the ladder, who threw anyone who got in his way under the bus and is responsible for me changing my political affiliation from Democrat to No Preference has been given the Nobel Peace prize.

According to the commentator on the BBC news this morning, it was his message of hope. You remember, hope and change you can believe in. It doesn't seem to have worked out so well on the side of the ocean.

I must be racist.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Helen Thomas' Spine

On Thursday afternoon, Thomas gave a clinic in fortitude to President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, during the briefing. "Has the president given up on the public option?" she inquired from her front-row-middle seat.

The press secretary laughed at this repetition of a common Thomas inquiry, but this questioner, who has covered every president since Kennedy, wasn't about to be silenced. "I ask it day after day because it has great meaning in this country, and you never answer it," she said.

"Well, I -- I -- I apparently don't answer it to your satisfaction," Gibbs stammered.

"That's right," Thomas snarled.

"I -- I'll -- I'll give you the same answer that I gave you unsatisfactorily for many of those other days," Gibbs offered. "It's what the president believes in --"

"Is he going to fight for it or not?" Thomas snapped.

"We're going to work to get choice and competition into health-care reform" was Gibbs's vague response.

Thomas took that as a no. "You're not going to get it," she advised.

"Then why do you keep asking me?" Gibbs inquired.

"Because I want your conscience to bother you," Thomas replied. The room erupted; Gibbs reddened.

Actually, conscience isn't the problem for Gibbs and his boss; it's spine.

Read the rest at FDL here

Friday, October 02, 2009


A borrowed post from John's blog, Liberal Rapture. It sums out exactly how I feel about our president and exactly how people perceive me if I dare to critique The One.

The Sedition Act has been revived for critics of Obama

by 'raindrop'

Barack Obama is president of the whole United States, not just president of The People Who Agree With Him.

So, how can it be that anyone who questions Obama or disagrees with Obama must be, by definition, a "racist"?

Were we "racists" when we vehemently disagreed with President George W. Bush (for doing the very same things we object to Obama's doing now)?

I spent eight years disagreeing with GWBush.

Did that make me a racist?

But when Obama DOES THE SAME THINGS we criticized Bush for doing, all of a sudden that criticism makes us "racists"?

When GWBush engaged in WARRANTLESS wiretapping, we objected.

When Obama voted in favor of extending WARRANTLESS wiretapping, we objected.

When GWBush incarcerated prisoners at Guantanamo where they rotted away for years with no possibility of knowing what crime they were charged with and no ability to have a fair hearing before an impartial judge, we objected.

When Barack Obama NOW incarcerates prisoners at Bagram prison in Afghanistan where they will rot for years with no possibility of knowing what crime they are charged with and no ability to have a fair hearing before an impartial judge, we object.

When GWBush refused to make public the names of the people who came to the White House to help him write legislation favorable to them, we objected.

When Barack Obama now refuses to make public the names of the people who come to the White House to help him write legislation favorable to them, we object.

When GWBush transferred wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy and favored the corporations over the people, we objected.

When Barack Obama transfers wealth from the middle class to the very wealthy and favors the corporations over the people, we object.

When GWBush gave tax dollars to religious groups but changed the law so those religious groups can now hire or DENY people employment based on their religion, we objected.

When Barack Obama gives tax dollars to religious groups but allows those religious groups to hire or DENY people employment based on their religion, we object.

However, in the minds of insane people such as Maureen Dowd. Keith Olbermann, Joan Walsh. Eugene Robinson. President Jimmy Carter. Randi Rhodes and a host of others, our current objections are "proof" we are "racists."

If Obama is president of the entire United States but NO ONE can criticize him without being labeled as a "racist" by the Obama gang, then ALL CRITICISM OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN OUTLAWED as surely as if we still had the infamous SEDITION Act of the early days of this country.

The Sedition Act has been revived for critics of Obama.

The new Sedition Act is enforced -- and will be enforced -- by labeling ANY criticism of Obama as RACISM

Thursday, October 01, 2009

If I hear one more newscaster babbling about Roman Polanski or MacKenzie Phillips, my head is going to explode.