It’s better to send in the Peace Corps than the Marine Corps…

...Teddy Kennedy


Click for ...........................................

Please bear with us while we attack this shovel ready infrastructure project

The ratbastards at our webhost having caused the loss of 5 years of posts and site customization, we are starting over. It’s both a stunning loss and a fresh start. Our members will have to re-register. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and hope you can find a way to see it as a fresh start, too.

So onward and upward, eh? Welcome to 2.0 — Allons-y!

Why I Vote

Originally posted by this author at in 2006, but still true.

The first time I voted, it was a little like stepping into a scene from the Wizard of Oz.

I went down the steps to the basement of the grammar school and there they were – rows of booths, each about twice the size of a phone booth, with long curtains hanging in front of them. I got to the front of the line and eventually the gentleman who voted ahead of me lifted the long lever on his booth to open the curtain, stepping out and revealing a somewhat fantastical looking machine

In my head, a voice boomed, “Don’t look behind the curtain!” Nervous already, I had to suppress a giggle, afraid the stern looking election judges, one of whom had a suspiciously pointy nose and chin, would send me packing as someone obviously too young and green for such an adult endeavor.

I stepped into the booth and pulled down the lever, closing the curtain. On the machine, there were rows of names, each with a small brass lever below it. I thought I’d start with my alderman, get some practice in before I moved on up to the mayor and, eventually, the President himself.

When I pulled down the little lever under my candidate’s name, it made a small but satisfying clacking sound. Eyeballing the other two candidates’ levers, I decided not to take any chances and nudged them slightly to make sure they were snugly in the upward position just to be sure.

So far so good. I moved on to the mayoral race and then held my breath as I ticked down the lever that cast my vote for the leader of the free world. It felt like an enormous, awesome responsibility. The winner of this election was going to have to make such hard and heavy decisions about Viet Nam, the Cold War, civil rights that it hardly seemed fair to call him a “winner.”

All my levers in place, I reviewed them a half dozen times to be absolutely, positively, 100%, no doubt about it sure I had done it right. Then I raised the giant lever that opened the curtain and finalized my vote.

It was official. I was an adult. I had participated. My voice would be heard.

I know it sounds corny, but cue the violins because I felt a little thrill. I felt part of something bigger than I was, something that was essentially good. From then on, forever more, I was at the table. My opinions mattered.

For the rest of the day, I managed to work the fact that I had voted into every conversation. I tried saying it casually, “Oh, yeah, I saw the cutest little dog over on Grace street when I went to vote.” I tried saying it smugly, “Well, of course, I voted.” I even took Good Citizen Me for a spin, “Have you voted? Can I watch the kids for you while you go down to vote?” I watched the election returns on TV until I fell asleep on the floor, then got the good news/bad news in the morning. My alderman won, the mayor was going to be the same mayor we’d had since I could remember, the wrong guy was going to be President. And I still felt a little bit of a thrill.

And that’s why I’ve voted in every election for more than 30 years since then – and why I’m going to vote on November 6, this time for Barack Obama. Because some of my candidates win and some lose, but whether they win or lose, I still feel that little thrill. I’m still part of something bigger than I am. And though it’s gone off course of late, it’s still essentially good and we can fix it. I’m still at the table. My opinion still matters.

Does Your Senator Think You Should Pay a Higher Tax Rate than Mitt “Thurston Howell III” Romney?

Yesterday, the Senate voted on cloture for  S.2230, Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012.

A “yes” vote means “Sure, I think the cost of maintaining a civilized society should be assessed fairly.”

A “no” vote means “No, I think the fabulously wealthy  should get some help paying the exorbitant cost of installing elevators for cars in their vacation homes. Let’s have them pay a lower rate than their secretaries.”

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress – 2ndSession as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate

Vote Summary

Question: On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider S. 2230 )
Vote Number: 65 Vote Date: April 16, 2012, 06:05 PM
Required For Majority: 3/5 Vote Result: Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected
Measure Number: S. 2230 (Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012 )
Measure Title: A bill to reduce the deficit by imposing a minimum effective tax rate for high-income taxpayers.
Vote Counts: YEAs 51
NAYs 45
Not Voting 4

Alphabetical by Senator Name

Akaka (D-HI), Not Voting
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Ayotte (R-NH), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Begich (D-AK), Yea
Bennet (D-CO), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Yea
Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea
Blunt (R-MO), Nay
Boozman (R-AR), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Yea
Brown (D-OH), Yea
Brown (R-MA), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Cardin (D-MD), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coats (R-IN), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Coons (D-DE), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Franken (D-MN), Yea
Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Hagan (D-NC), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Not Voting
Heller (R-NV), Nay
Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Johanns (R-NE), Nay
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Johnson (R-WI), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kirk (R-IL), Not Voting
Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea
Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Lee (R-UT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Not Voting
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Manchin (D-WV), Yea
McCain (R-AZ), Nay
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
Merkley (D-OR), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Moran (R-KS), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Paul (R-KY), Nay
Portman (R-OH), Nay
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Tester (D-MT), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Toomey (R-PA), Nay
Udall (D-CO), Yea
Udall (D-NM), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Warner (D-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Grouped By Vote Position

YEAs —51
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Coons (D-DE)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
NAYs —45
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Brown (R-MA)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lee (R-UT)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Snowe (R-ME)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
Not Voting – 4
Akaka (D-HI)
Hatch (R-UT)
Kirk (R-IL)
Lieberman (ID-CT)

Grouped by Home State

Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Begich (D-AK), Yea Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Nay McCain (R-AZ), Nay
Arkansas: Boozman (R-AR), Nay Pryor (D-AR), Nay
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Bennet (D-CO), Yea Udall (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (ID-CT), Not Voting
Delaware: Carper (D-DE), Yea Coons (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Nelson (D-FL), Yea Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Not Voting Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Crapo (R-ID), Nay Risch (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Kirk (R-IL), Not Voting
Indiana: Coats (R-IN), Nay Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Kansas: Moran (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: McConnell (R-KY), Nay Paul (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Yea Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Maryland: Cardin (D-MD), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Brown (R-MA), Nay Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota: Franken (D-MN), Yea Klobuchar (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Wicker (R-MS), Nay
Missouri: Blunt (R-MO), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Tester (D-MT), Yea
Nebraska: Johanns (R-NE), Nay Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Nevada: Heller (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Ayotte (R-NH), Nay Shaheen (D-NH), Yea
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Udall (D-NM), Yea
New York: Gillibrand (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Hagan (D-NC), Yea
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Hoeven (R-ND), Nay
Ohio: Brown (D-OH), Yea Portman (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Merkley (D-OR), Yea Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Casey (D-PA), Yea Toomey (R-PA), Nay
Rhode Island: Reed (D-RI), Yea Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Nay
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Hatch (R-UT), Not Voting Lee (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Leahy (D-VT), Yea Sanders (I-VT), Yea
Virginia: Warner (D-VA), Yea Webb (D-VA), Yea
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Manchin (D-WV), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin: Johnson (R-WI), Nay Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Nay

Romney SpokesGoofs: Meet Alan Gottlieb!

Overcompensator of the Year!

This is Alan Gottlieb – tax fraud, convicted felon, and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. We do NOT want to know what his hands are doing under the frame that gives him that look on his face, but isn’t this pretty much what you always kind of assumed those shrill shrieky gun nuts look like?

Nebbishy Alan is very concerned about the upcoming election. He is desperately askeered that if President Obama is reelected, POTUS will send his secret army of Kenyan Kung Fu masters to confiscate Alan’s penis guns. Neither Alan nor any other Republican making these silly claims can point to a single action taken by the President in that direction. Nor can they identify any statement, promise, hint, clue or diary entry by President Obama indicating any desire to do so. In fact, the President has signed legislation allowing loaded guns in National Parks – something never previously permitted.


On Election Day, a Message for Our GOP Friends

Line up, Bekkybekkystanstanians! Your turn to be counted!

6, 999, 999,999……….7 billion!

Holy Crap, that’s a lot of people. And no, despite the preponderance of evidence, they’re not all ahead of you in line at the supermarket while the muzak serves up versions of oldies close enough to the original to make you line-boogie and bad enough to make you terrified someone you know will see you.

Not that most of us spend as much time thinking about this very big number as we do about the fact that next week will contain 11.11.11 – a date that’s the same on both sides of the Atlantic.  woohoo. partay. yaawwnnn.

But what the hell, you’re here eh? So why not give it a minute or two. 7 billion people.  Evened out around the world – and of course nothing ever is – that would be less than a tenth of a square mile per person, or nearly a Chicago city block. That may sound roomy enough, but that block has to accommodate your housing, recreation, land to grow all the food you eat, roads, business, and whatever else you’re up to these days.

And as we said, it actually never is evened out. Some places are really crowded (Manila has 4800+ in that same city block) while others do well to scratch up 2 caribou and a Palin.

The food is never really evened out, either. While many of us are ridiculously overfed, others are starving. Literally. Here and abroad. And it’s more likely to get worse than better in the near future.

What can you do? Not a lot for the really big picture, frankly. But you can do something. Give what you can to local food banks and international food security charities. Keep an eye out for that friend/neighbor who is out of work and may be hurting more than you know.  Vote to throw/keep the I Got Mine so Screw You crowd out of office. And have some spaghetti marinara for dinner. It’s Meatless Monday and in a world where so many get by on so little, it’s unseemly to take 2400 gallons of water and 7 lbs of grains and turn them into one pound of beef that’s no good for your heart anyway.

Crazy Stupid Horror Story in California


In Oakland, California, an Iraq War veteran participating in Occupy Oakland was struck by a tear gas canister, fracturing his skull. As other protesters tried to come to his aid, more tear gas was fired at them. This is video from Current TV of Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment.

Will America once again react to peaceful protest by killing its children?

A Classic Bit from the GOP Clown College Class of 2012

It used to be every circus had a clown car – a funny looking little car that held a seemingly impossible number of full sized clowns, big shoes and all. And here it is – an homage to the classics from the GOP Clown College Class of 2012. Just when you thought that primary car had given up all the clowns it could possibly hold:

Quran burning pastor Terry Jones, last seen protesting Sharia law outside the White House and accidentally setting off his gun during a trip to Michigan, is getting ready to light up the presidential race.

Read more at TPM.

So what, exactly, is the new normal?

If you have a TV or radio machine, you’ve heard it’s here, but what is it?  I wondered, too, and rode the Google through the intertubes to find the answer:

It’s higher bank fees, winning three slams in a year, calling in sick, and teetering on the brink.  It’s social, it’s frugal, it’s green. It’s cold and it’s hot. This NPR article about Herman Cain says it’s being angry at elected officials, though I’m frankly having an easier time finding the “normal” than the “new” in that.

It’s high gas prices, it’s paranormal, it’s an Illinois town humming with electric cars. As my personal favorite, it’s trees on balconies creating vertical woodlands in cities.

It’s building an open air mall, enclosing it, then opening it again.  It’s extreme couponing, cheap Kindles, and not as bad as we thought. It’s congressional dysfunction, interactive learningworking in coffee shops. It’s violent, chronically overworked, and threatened by superbugs.  It’s surviving cancer and brain injuries.

If it’s all a little overwhelming, take heart. Apparently, it’s on the way out, making way for the new reality and the old values.



When these little creatures survived a recent New Zealand oil spill, they needed sweaters to keep them from picking off the substance from their feathers.

See more photos of birds in  knitwear!


Now this is my kind of holiday!

October 25 is Sourest Day, the desperately needed counterbalance to Sweetest Day. I’m so happy about the free rein to be grumpy, I may not be able to take advantage of it!