Just Call Me the Athens Chamber of Commerce

Check the sidebars to the right; you'll find a new category all about Athens Ohio. Most of these are places where we do all our business (especially the Farmer's Market, Donkey, and the Village Bakery)... and many are missing cause they don't have websites (like Haffa's Records, Lollipop Ice Cream, White's Mill, etc.)... and there will be many more to add in coming weeks and months i'm sure. This is an amazing little town. It's also an inducment to convince those of you who've been putting off a visit to get your asses up here (I'm talking about you Karen & Tricia!).

Tune in for Bill Moyer's New Show Tonight

On PBS tonight, you can see Bill Moyer's new show, the first installment of which reports on why reporting failed so utterly to fact check or even seriously question Bush's buildup to war with Iraq. Should be interesting. There is also this essay on today's TomPaine.com, from a recent interview. I think Moyers is brilliant, and if I were a gazillionaire, i'd launch a new network right this second and put him in charge.


Newsclipping of the Day :: The Lessons of 2004 are STILL Not Understood

THIS BIG WHOPPER is another restatement of the train wreck of criminal Republican control of the Ohio vote in 2004--control that the public at large has yet to give a rat's ass about. Some choice bytes:

*on Election Night 2004 , Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website—which gave the world the presidential election results—was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites.

*In Clyde, Ohio, a Republican haven, Bush won big after 131 percent voter turnout.

*In Republican Perry County, two precincts came in at 124 percent and 120 percent respectively.

*In Gahanna Ward 1, precinct B, Bush received 4,258 votes despite the fact that only 638 people voted for president.

*In Concord Southwest in Miami County, the certified election results proudly proclaimed at 679 out of 689 registered voters cast ballots, a 98.55 percent turnout. FreePress.org later found that only 547 voters had signed in.

There is so much more fishy bullshit to report, if only Katie Couric knew how to do that. John Conyers was SO on top of this in December and January of 2005, but no one listened and no one gave a damn.

If voter will doesn't even matter in elections anymore, we've entered a new fascist phase of our history friends. Everything about our government is so dirty, tainted, and corrupt. Who knows what it will take to clean it all up?

I would love to see some real effort to do many things, not limited to these thoughts off the top of my mad head:

* a complete and thorough clean up of our election system. This means no electronic voting, no proprietary software, no outsourcing to any private pols, public funding of candidates, abolition of all money--soft or hard--from lobbies and interest groups. If we only make office available to the richest--and most corrupt--among us, we can expect more corruption, collusion, criminal deeds, and outright fascism. Casting and counting and tabulation of votes must always be open and transparent and performed by citizens. Not suits in service to idealogues with suitcases of cash.

* a first, realistic and sweeping legislative effort to codify the limits of Executive power, overseen by the people and reviewed by the Supreme Court. Bush has gotten away with so much by basically declaring the entire Executive branch one big grey area. No more grey. I expect our legislature to make laws that make limits on Executive power and privilege crystal clear, and that force future executives to abide by clear laws. This Congress needs to declare war on this goddamned reckless administration and fight back now.

* a real effort to limit the extent of control ANY party in power has to put pols in positions of power within our government infrastructure. I'm sorry, it is just not acceptable to have right wing nut jobs in charge of the CDC or the EPA. It is beyond the power of any executive to sabotage our government and our collective systems for caring for one another to the extent that Bush has. It is treason, and it should be treated as such. Every agency of our federal government should be run like any company, with professionals being hired, fired, and advanced according only to merit and professional accomplishment. I'm sorry, but kissing right wing ass is no qualification for heading the entire Federal Emergency Management Agency, and I don't need a Yale MBA to tell me that. It's dispicable how much loss and sheer attrition we've seen happen in the last few years in our government. The Bush Administration has deliberately broken it, and they must pay.


Issue of the Day :: How Do You Want Your Tax Dollars Spent?

Do you want MORE THAN HALF to go to war and killing people who have oil we want? This is sickening. And the dishonest methods of showing how the pies each year are divied up is a scandal of huge, immoral proportions.

A Fun Little Tool!

Make the USA's budget priorities be what YOU think they should be! I for one have lost patience with more than half of my tax dollars going to fund killing and imperialism.

Newsclipping of the Day :: Conservatism is Killing Us

In so many ways, conservative values in action really our making our world way more dangerous. And I'm not talking about blowback from our attack on all things Muslim (but not Saudi Arabian). This essay, e coli conservatism, does a good job of connecting the dots about alot of our growing food supply meltdowns we've been seeing of late. It's all related to the larger scheme of drownding our government in the bathtub. We've all seen how FEMA is a shadow of its former self. Open your eyes everyone, and see how the Department of Agriculture and the FDA are being eviscerated as well.


It's That Time of Year Again!

No, i'm not talking about taxes. It's time for the 34th Annual Athens International Film + Video Festival! Who wants to come and see? I can't believe the huge roster of films, many of them I really really want to see. I'm so glad this tiny little town is happenin enough to have this. Last year it was great. One of this films I saw last year was Almost Normal, which was conceived and written down the block by an Ohio University student, who was here for a talk and reception after the screening, along with several of his crew. Last year, Steven wasn't here yet, this year he gets to go and see lots and lots of these!


Newsclipping of the Day :: Poor John McCain. Still a Prisoner of War

Bill Maher's piece on John McCain at the Huffington Post says--in the first line--that McCain's not an idiot. But, I have to wonder. Does he not see the same polls? Does he not realize there is little popular support of the "war" left? I also saw a headline yesterday stating he was "reducing staff." Really, honestly and truly John, why go on? You have no support at this early date. What little bit of crossover appeal you may have had--even from those like me who respect you for what you've lived through, as a POW--mostly vanished with that awkward hug 3 years ago.


Newsclipping of the Day :: Kurt Vonnegut is Dead

I read this online today, taken from a speech Vonnegut made at the Mark Twain house in Connecticut in May of 2003:

"I note that construction has stopped of a Mark Twain Museum here in Hartford -- behind the carriage house of the Mark Twain House at 351 Farmington Avenue.
Work persons have been sent home from that site because American "conservatives," as they call themselves, on Wall Street and at the head of so many of our corporations, have stolen a major fraction of our private savings, have ruined investors and employees by means of fraud and outright piracy.

Shock and awe.

And now, having installed themselves as our federal government, or taken control of it from outside, they have squandered our public treasury and then some. They have created a public debt of such appalling magnitude that our descendants, for whom we had such high hopes, will come into this world as poor as church mice.

Shock and awe.

What are the conservatives doing with all the money and power that used to belong to all of us? They are telling us to be absolutely terrified, and to run around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off. But they will save us. They are making us take off our shoes at airports. Can anybody here think of a more hilarious practical joke than that one?

Smile, America. You're on Candid Camera."


Martha Sits

Now, the tedious work of painting in the leaves, and highlighting them. Meanwhile, Meet the Press blares in the background.


He's So Martha...

Me, I can't bring myself to do anything much today. Not even a good thing. I polished silver and washed the new china, put it all away in the new china cabinet. And cooked.

But Steven has been very industrious.

second coat going on

the finished product: blue reed bundles, red maple leaves, brown lowlights at the reeds, chartreuse highlights at the leaves. a definite good thing.

CRAZY snow!!

See that crazy pattern of Holstein / Rorschach blobs? They are moving fast, disappearing, reappearing like a summer thunderstorm. 15 minutes of blizzard. 15 minutes of blue sky. Repeat. It is soooo frustrating! I was going to work on some of our remaining moulding work for the kitchen, but I just can't bring myself to go out on the front porch (table saw, under a blanket), or back porch (screened, keeps the snow out at least) to do anything. It's just nasty and cold, and windy. Steven started the paint treatment on our last batch of moulds (requires FIVE different layers of paint and rubbing off to complete the effect), putting the base coat on on the porch, and then standing each piece up in the living room to warm up and dry.

All of the little sprouts on our bracken are dead. The peonies are looking reeeeally limp. And Steven says even the little forest of Hostas, that we very carefully covered, are burned. What a drag. I'm glad we haven't planted any of our vegetables yet. We saw on the weather channel that even in Atlanta, they've had hard freezes at night, which must really be demolishing everything. Our vegetable garden there would have been well on its way by now, were we still there.

I'm going to read my Michael Cunningham book and take a nap.



It may be hard to tell from this photo, but that is snow, AGAIN. No snow at all last winter, snow 39 times this. Steven has covered the huge number of hostas coming up in the lovely shaded side garden, the peonies in the sunny side garden, and the hydrangeas and other miscellany in the back. We ran out of steam with the budding bracken and the newly sprouting and spreading ajooba... we just didn't have enough blankies. It will snow tomorrow and the next also. I'm watching a bunny outside the window right now, hangin in the snow (just in time for easter). We've got to get a good digital camera with a zoom lens.


Issue of the Day :: Privatization of the State

After seeing Naomi Klein talk about this yesterday on Democracy Now!, I read this over lunch. Bush blaming bureaucracy for the failures at Walter Reed is such a red herring. The process of privatizing the health care of our veterans and service people is what has created the hideous conditions.


Newsclipping of the Day :: The Davos Dilemma and other Sinister Plots

Naomi Klien spoke recently in New York, and was excerpted today by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! about this sinister notion she calls The Privatization of the State, in which the U.S. economy and government institutions are being subjected to a process of looting. In secret wave after secret wave of decision-making, the notion of privatizing everything we expect--our entitlements--is what it looks like when our self government has become completely taken over by business interests and the corporatocracy. A lame FEMA, defunded NPR, anxious Department of the Interior, Social Security in danger, the outsourcing of war and military life and death--you name it--so many "accomplishments" of the Bush Adminstration have undone life as we know it. And nobody knows it. And it is not just our government, but those of Iraq and Afghanistan too. Just about any state-run anything in Iraq is now "outsourced" to multinational NGOs. South and Central America were the test pilot programs during the Reagan years. It's neocolonialism and imperialism at its worst, and it is making the very instability and chaos that war creates necessary factors for economic growth.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

"What we are losing is the incentive, the economic incentive, for peace, the economic incentive for stability. When you can create such a booming economy around war and disaster, around destruction and reconstruction, over and over and over again, what is your peace incentive?"

"The Davos dilemma is this: for decades, it's been conventional wisdom that generalized mayhem was a drain on the global economy, that you could have an individual shock or a crisis or a war that could be exploited for privatization, but on the whole -- and this was the Thomas Friedman thesis -- there needed to be stability in order to have steady economic growth; the Davos dilemma is that it's no longer true. You can have generalized mayhem, you can have wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, threats of nuclear war with Iran, a worsening of the Israeli occupation, a deepening of violence against Palestinians, you can have a terror in the face of global warming, you could have increased blowback from resource wars, you can have soaring oil prices, but, lo and behold, the stock market just goes up and up and up."

Read or listen to/watch the entire comments of Naomi Klein's comments

Have any of you read any of her works? I've read a few of her essays in Harper's, and remember NO LOGO well, but have not read Fences & Windows. And the forthcoming The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism certainly sounds like it will be an incredible expose.

I wonder why none of our democratic presidential candidates talk about this at all? Could it be they are completely complicit? Or unaware? Or just unable to really talk openly about anything?

When did we Americans come to believe we have any right to do any of this? And when the war profiteering is over (if ever), will we have a functioning economy left?

I do not consent to having my tax dollars spent in this way. I do not consent to having my government pitted against itself. What is it going to take to make our government an honest instrument of the people's will again? Can it be?

So many questions. So many lame-O candidates hiding under rocks.
Fight the H8 in Your State