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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Musings and thoughts on the local scene....

Well, it sure was nice to get through the local broadcast of First Coast News last eveing without hearing a mention of Anna Nicole Smith. Not once. Were they obsessed over there like FAUXNews or what?.......Am I the only one wondering, other than the family, why the police felt the need to taser a wheelchair bound woman 10 times? I mean how about calling for back up and getting couple of extra officeres in on the disturbance.......Speaking of police, I see where the Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed Geroge Redman for District 4. Here's hoping his opponent George Banks, still fresh with his own edorsement of Democrat Linda Story, can overcome it.......What is it about the GOP and accountability? Nationally and statewide they have deveolped a nasty habit of running from it. In that light it is refreshing to see local blogger Kevin Conner, of, keeping the heat on Mayor Peyton.......I see where state Sen. Tony Hill (D-Jacksonville) is leading to way to replace the curent state song "Old Folks at Home" in the Florida legislature. Now if we can only find a way to change that offensive name for the high school at 5530 Firestone Rd. Surely having your school named after the founder of the Klu Klux Klan can't be seen as one of your community high points can it?.......As a resident of Arlington it was nice to see an op-ed piece in Friday's Florida Times Union expressing concern about the Justina Rd. area. In this case it was talking about the efforts of the "Seeds of Change" program out of the Mayors office and the efforts of Housing and Neighborhoods Department Director Kerri Stewart. But as the recent Mayor's election has shown the minority population of our fair city is still unsatisfied. I'm still wating for the editoral page editors at the Florida Times-Union to throw some concern their way. I won't be holding my breath though.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Cry me a river

As the son of a WWII, Korean War & Vietnam vet and a brother to a Desert Shield vet, each day that goes by while this war drudges on I feel I can't get any angrier than I already am at the human waste and destroyed lives left behind from a conflict based on a mountain of lies and desception so high it is beginning to blot out the sun and the heavens.

Then I read this from Newsweek's cover story "Voices of the Fallen:"

"April 2, 2007 Issue - He was exhausted, but he wanted to talk to his daughter, and the only way to do that in Fallujah was to write a letter. "This war is not like the big war—there are no big sweeping maneuvers with hundreds of tanks pouring over the border and so forth," Army Maj. Michael Mundell told his 17-year-old, Erica (nicknamed "Eddie"), on Friday, Oct. 27, 2006. "It's a fight of 10 man squads in the dark, of ambushes and snipers and IEDs. When I go out to fight, it's usually with less than 20 men ... And I go out to fight almost every day."

The pace, he admitted, was punishing.

"We are weary, Eddie, so very weary. I can't tell you how bone tired I am. There are times when we get back in and ... it is all I can do to drag myself from the truck and stagger up here to take off all the junk I gotta wear ... " His tone briefly brightened as he thought of Erica's life back home, where she was a senior at Meade County High School in Brandenburg, Ky.: "Tell all of your friends and your teachers that I said hello from Fallujah. I am doing well and our battalion is considered the best in the brigade. We are fighting the enemy and hopefully winning, though that is difficult to measure." He signed off with a pledge: "Never forget that your daddy loves you more than anything and that I will be home soon." Mundell could not keep that last promise. At a quarter to 2 on the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 5, 2007, he was killed by an IED while on patrol in Fallujah; the casket was closed at his funeral in Kentucky."

The pain evoked in this letter is so viseral I could hardly get through it. Then you read of his death. I already suffer from high blood pressure. Perhaps I'll be a casualty as well if I don't find someway to channel my anger into some kind of action to help in my own small way to put a stop to this maddness. In 1922 when the British left Iraq with their hands thrown up in the air over the futility of it all, they should have taken those lessons and implemented them before joining in with a six gun totting Texan to overthrow what was essentially a neighborhood bully.

Though we might say we don't know Maj. Michael Mundell's family, in a real sense we do. We know them all to well. His family in reality is all of us. Anyone who reads the excerpt of this letter to his daughter realizes it's much more than that. It is a letter to a nation.A nation that has not been asked to sacrifice. A nation that has sent a volunteer army into the breech without asking those left behind to contribute nothing more than bumper stickers with yellow ribbons. Yet we are told it is an epic struggle of biblical proportions where the very foundations of our civilization are at stake. Then amazingly, we are told to go shopping with stickers affixed to the rear of our cars proclaiming "Support our troops" as we head out for our next recreational endeavor.

My sense of American pride and exceptionalism aches. The bluster and swaggering rattle of sabres we continue to use for foreign policy is starting to have adverse affects here at home as evidenced by the continuing fragmentation of the electorate. I'm almost sickened over the fact that we as a nation have allowed this callousness to permeate our entire government discourse. Maj. Mundell, along with all the other brave souls who rushed over to do Bush's bidding did so out of a profound sense of honor and duty. I just wish the government that sent them over there would return that same sense of honor and duty to them. That honor has surely been lost in the halls of VA hospitals like Walter Reed and others across the country. That sense of duty to these brave, wonderful souls is left in shredded promises of support through proper material to keep them protected.

I'm still wondering why we didn't put this effort in Afghanistan where the real perpatrators of the 9/11 crime lay in hiding and smirking while the Texas Ranger went on a wild goose chase to Baghdad leaving a trail of fear for the voters back home to feast on. I'm still wondering why our elected leaders haven't come to the realization that our mission lies elsewhere, not the broken land we invaded and made even more unfixable by cultural mindsets that are not only unable but unwilling to merge into a common understanding. Only Iraqis can fix themselves. Not us. What I want and long for is Osama Bin Laden's hide. I want him and his henchment to be served with a justice system that has served us so well for the past 200+ plus years. Not a shrill convulsion of kangaroo courts with watered down civil liberties and color coded warnings telling us how afraid to be. Will that end the threat of terrorism? No. Will it show them there is a price to pay. Yes. Right now they are getting a free ride. I want it to end so those souls we lost on 9/11 and the dead in Iraq both civilian and military can rest easier. Some how that Texas swagger has managed to miss all that. To paraphrase a Shakespearan metaphor, Neptune's great oceans aren't capable of washing the blood from Bush's hands. His legacy is the blood stain it leaves behind.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

You like me! You really, really like me!

Ah, Flablog is telling us the latest Quinnipiac University poll came out today and surely the champaign corks are popping in the Governor's mansion. Charlie Crist has a 73% approval rating with a whopping 71% approval amoung Democrats alone. That is quite an accomplishment so early into his term. There is no doubt he has a presence and is quite telegenic and enjoys a certain amount of gravitas Jeb Bush lacked. It will be intesting to see how long he can maintain these lofty numbers.

Seeing these numbers I'm reminded of the Roman parable about Julius Ceasar. He is said to have instituted the practice of an aide standing behind him in his chariot during his triumphant victory procession into Rome at the head of his victoriou army. As he rode through the steets amidst thunderous appause and jubilation his aide would whisper into his ear, "Remember, thou art a mere mortal whose duty is to serve Rome" to help guard himself from arrogance and hubris. I wonder which of Gov. Christ's aides has that job?

A new perspective on the meaning of 'NO!'

We've all heard the expression by now...."What part of 'no' do you not understand" regarding rape. Now, it seems, there's another way to make the meaning even more crystal clear for those who didn't get the message: "RapeX," the anti-rape condom.

Patented in Africa where it is estimated that a woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa alone, this condom has small rows of teeth that clamp down on the penis upon penetration and can only be removed by a doctor. By clamping down on the head and shaft of the penis it makes it unlikely the perpetrator will be able to evade identification according to an article posted via The News Blog. As a relatively new father of a 14 month old baby girl, reading this article I found looking for something else unrelated has given me pause regarding the perils that face women everywhere when it comes to this crime.

Just to illustrate how damaging this act can be on society, the BBC News tells us that in South Africa only 1 out of 7 rapes are reported and that only seven pecent of those result in conviction. To repeat, that's 1 in 7.

I, for one, think it is an idea whose time has come in a society like South Africa where rape seems to be not just part of the culture but the norm in the dynamic of male/female relationships when one considers those statistics.

As the Bible turns....

...or in this case, as the disciple turns. Head on over to Pam's House Blend (h/t to Daily Kos)for a riveting interview with Joe Murray, a former staff AFA (American Family Association) attorney and current columnist with Philidelphia's The Bulletin. With all the ecumenical arm waving over homosexuality and the seemingly rabid obsession the religious right has with it, this interview was indeed, as Pam points out, a jaw dropper.

Murray's op-ed in the The Bulletin is in response to Gen. Peter Pace, the current Chariman of the Joint Chief of Staff, and his controversial remarks last week about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding homosexualtiy and the military. Murray delivers a blistering polemic on Pace and his like minded supporters who regard homosexual acts as immoral.

I'm always scratching my head at the conservative Christian community who seem, not just fixated on homosexualtiy, but on the Old Testament itself. I hardly ever hear them speak publicly discussing how we could aid the poor and the disadvantaged and help those in the community that could use some kindness and understanding. These are things the New Testament seem preoccupied with, not the judgements and moral pronouncements discussed ad nauseum in the OT.

What?!? John McCain almost jumped?

The Hill , via MYDD, is reporting that in 2001 John McCain almost left the GOP and jumped to the Democratic Party. I actually find this one hard to believe. In any case, no thanks St. John. You can just stay right where you are. Just think Joe Lieberman. Then think John McCain. I'm sure that admiration society meets often. Contemplating this almost makes my head want to explode. McCain's record is abysmal. For those of you that think he is a 'maverick' or independent, wake up and smell the coffee on this one. 'Straight Talk Express' my rear end. By now if you follow the news at all his vaunted bus should now be renamed either the 'Panda Bear Express' or 'Flip Flop Express.'

I"ll bet he was a big hit at Fleet Landing in Atlantic Beach on Wednesday. As a former employee of this upscale former naval officer retirement community, as a Medicare consultant, I can assure you he had a friendly audience. It sure would have been interesting to see his reaction to this breaking news at his appearance today. Very interesting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Interstate4Jamming traffic jam

I'll be sending all the postive energy I can to Robert C. over at Interstate4Jamming. His site along with Bobby C. over at Bark Bark Woof Woof are two of the best blogs in the state. If you get a chance head over to his blog's comment section and let him know he'll be missed until he can get back to regular posting.

Guns, drinkin' and porn [insert rebel yell here]

Well now. I just want to make sure I've got this straight.

Anytime I want I can fill my car with as many guns as I can buy along with all the Jack Daniels I can get my hands on with any variety of porn magazines and literature for recreational distraction and pull up to a school or day care center and no one can do a thing about it. This includes any courthouse, any place I'm employed, public or private, and not a soul can say or do anything to stop me. Oh yeah, let's not forget my favorite place I might want to go, especially if I've got "female problems" and I find out where my estranged wife/girlfriend is hiding out from me and I pull up to the halfway house where she's staying for protection. No one can do or say anything about it. Or so says the HB 1417 Individual Personal Private Property Protection Act of 2007 which just passed the Florida state Senate Criminal Justice Committee 7 - 1.

Forget the school or the battered spouse or employer who just fired someone. The most important thing is guns and the right to have them in your car, anywhere and anytime. [insert another rebel yell here].

Just for the record, in the state Senate the bill number is actually S2356. Major kudos to the lone dissenter on the committee in the 7 - 1 vote: Vice Chair Dave Aronberg (D - District 27, Ft. Myers). If you get a chance send him a thank you for not voting for this wingnuttery nonsense. On the other hand let the other two Democrats on the committee know how displeased and disappointed you are: Sen. M. Mandy Dawson (D-Ft. Lauderdale/District 29) and Sen. Frederica S. Wilson (D - Miami Gardens/District 33).

The actions of Dawson and Wilson here are real head scratchers. If nothing else this demonstrates the power the NRA has at the state level. Even on Democrats. I'm wondering just how beholden Dawson and Wilson are to them? The NRA even had the resources to overcome the business lobby on this one. This is disturbing on so many levels I'm not sure where to begin. Even on your own property, private or commercial, you cannot prohibit firearms, alcohol or pornography as long as it is in someone's car? Especially where children are concerned? I really need someone to explain this "family value" to me.

You really can't make this stuff up, can you?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

If it's Tuesday, It must be Flee The Press!

Earlier today Christy Hardin Smith at Firedoglake was waiting with baited breath in anticipation of the presser in Chicago with AG Alberto "I'm a goner" Gonzalez and Scooter Libby's slayer Patrick Fitzgerald to discuss thier joint project, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. This after the DOJ reportedly hung Fitzgerald with a 'mediocre ' status and a candidate for termination. Surely the press would ask about that with Patrick "Hey, I'm right here in the room" Fitzgerald standing right along side for that 'you can't make this stuff up' moment.

Apparantly they asked the questions ol' 'Gone'zales was nervous about. Beach Blogger over at Pensecola Blog passed along the news on how that presser went. It turns out.........well, we'll let Beach Blogger do the talkin', "......[Gonzales] dashed out of a Chicago news conference this afternoon in just two and a half minutes, ducking questions about how his office gave U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald a subpar rating," reports the Chicago Sun Times.

Alberto reminds me of the man who fell off the roof of a 100 story building. On his way down as he passes each window the occupants in side can hear him: "So far so far so good."

Uh oh.

Oh. my. god. Jane Hamshire of Firedoglake is right. Shooter does have some 'splainin to do.

Corrine! .....Say what?!?

On occasion when I squawk about my wife getting on me about something she reminds me, "Hey, if I have to feed the pony and water the pony I get to ride the pony." Well, since Corrine Brown is my pony for 3CD (3rd Congrtessional District) who gets fed and watered with my vote, guess what I get to do........ride that pony!

I was somewhat dismayed by Corrine recently when she visited Walter Reed hospital in her capacity as a sitting member of the House Committe on Veterans'Affairs. I'm not quite sure of the distinction here but she is quoted as summing up her visit with, "The caliber of service is not the problem, it was the conditions,” Brown said Monday. “You get the best of care there.” Memo to the Congresswoman: Your stay in a medical facility during the rehabilitation phase is an essential part of your 'care.' Her statement is no different than a post operative assesment claiming the operation was a success but the patient died.

Other than that Mrs. Kennedy how was your ride through Dealey Plaza?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Running off at the keyboard.....

Head on over to Bark Bark Woof Woof right now and read Bobby C's take on the US Attorney purge scandal. He nails it. Hehe, indeed, the WH should have taken the twenty dollars.......Guest blogger Rick Kurtzo over at Urban Jacksonville does a bang up job with a local post election analysis that is quite incisive and thoughtful. I especially found his take on Ms. Brown's 24% showing in the Jacksonville Mayor's race more than what it seems.......As the WH grows more pavlovian reacting to the rain of scandals starting to swallow it whole like Jonah's whale I can't keep from thinking about the one over riding trait of the Texas Ranger posing as POTUS - his nearly maniacal obsession with loyalty to himself at all cost. What's both fascinating and disturbing though is his ability to coldly throw these loyal subjects so swiftly under the bus when it suits him as it seems now to be the case with Deputy US Attorney General Paul McNulty.......Hmmmmmm, a statewide dress code? Robert C over at Interstate4Jamming tells us about a proposal from state Senator Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) to ban the hip/hop culture practice of wearing lowrider pants or shorts that is sometimes worn below the waist exposing underware statewide in every public school district. As a local 10th grade teacher I can definitly tell you not only is it impractical but it sets bad precedent. The local school board loses yet another discretionary tool to regarding subjective judgements on what is best for the community.......I see where Suzanne Jenkins proves that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Jax tells us she was instrumental in having a Jacksonville City Council bill proposal making it harder to get Duval County voter initiatives on the ballot pulled. Matt Carlucci, past City Council President is correct when he calls it bad law. What is it about Republicans that keep showing us they mistrust the voters whenever an opportunity arises? [sigh] Somewhere Pavlov is smiling.

What was that last question again?

What John Aravosis said:

Too bad Tony Blair's bestest buddy George Bush threw out the Geneva Conventions. They might have come in handy right about now.

[sigh] Consequences. This is the reason I could not, with every fiber of my being, vote for Bill Nelson U.S. Senate last time around. Of course Katherine Harris didn't get my vote either. I just left that ballot unmarked and moved on to the next one. When Bill Nelson voted for the Bush/Gonzalas torture bill the memory of my late father's (WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War vet) and my brother's (Desert Shield vet) service to their country would not permit me to cast that vote. Thanks Bill Nelson. I'm sure those British sailors will be thanking you in the future if they somehow wind up with one.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Is it just me or.....

....would I be the only one bothered by the fact local GOP Chair Mike Hightower is also a lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield? There is something asymmetrical about a die hard Republican having a hand in a facet of the U.S. health care industry while it is in the midst of crashing and burning. But, on the other hand, there is a certain amount of poetic justice in the fact he attended the WH ceremony honoring the University of Florida Gators' 2006 National Football Championship just before the same aforementioned University denied the current WH occupant's brother and former Governor of Florida an honorary degree. How sweet was that?

Between a rock and a hard place...

The Florida Times-Union is reporting this morning Linda Story, the losing Democrat in District 4, will be endorsing one of her Republican opponents, George Banks, over Don Redman for the run-off on May 15th. Election results show Ms. Story receiving 20.42% of the vote while her GOP opponents split the rest with George Banks getting 22.17%; Earl Johnson receiving 14.43%; and Don Redman leading the way with 43.28% of the vote. My immediate reaction upon reading this was disconcerting to say the least. As a former member of the DCDEC I still feel the sting of Suzanne "I never met a Wal-Mart I didn't like" Jenkins and her jump to the GOP after giving her hard earned DCDEC money to win re-election to her seat before she opted to jump. Then there is that picture of Banks with none other than Dick "5 deferments" Cheney that makes any sane Democrat have the expected knee jerk reaction: recoiling in horror. But considering her position as a resident of District 4 democrats can only applaud her choice once you consider the candidacy of Mr. Redman and what it means for that district. Flog, The Folio Weekly blog, does an excellent job explaining why Ms. Story's endorsement is critical to help deny Mr. Banks the opportunity to helpt the GOP continue to attempt to take us back to a pre-Roosevelt era just like the "good ol' days. That's Teddy Roosevelt, not FDR.

What interested me about the FTU story was the report that Mr. Banks sought out her endorsement instead of the other way around. I'm not sure how the voters for Mr. Johnson will go but here's hoping that all those that voted for Ms. Story follows her lead and lends their support to George Banks. As Flog points out, ignore the photo showing Banks with Cheney [God, I can't believe I said that] and hope Ms. Story's endorsement does the trick.

Wacko conservative blog of the day.....

I love nutball conservatives when they speak with the authoity of being right with every fiber of their being. In the late 1970's the GOP literally jumped all over President Carter when he quoted his then 12 (she could have been 13) year old daughter on nuclear proliferation showing how children preceived the east-west arms race. Now we have a certifiable genius at Moonbattery sounding off about Al Gore's "Inconvinent Truth" backed with the authority of a sixth grade class putting global warming on trial.
Forget what the 6th graders' verdict was (global warming is a fraud). What I found the most laughably intersting about this web site was a link to another site trying to solicite your financial support for the Iraqi Dinar: Yes my friends, you too can delude yourself into the WH carrier lander's dream of a Jeffersonian free Iraq by investing in their paper currency. I wonder how many of Bush's "Pioneer's" have already taken the plunge? Better yet, I would love to know how many FOXNews broadcasters have taken the plunge? My guess is the exact same number that have signed up to enlist and head on over to get in on the liberatin': Zero. Boy, how far is my neck stuck out on that one?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

REBIRTH....again [sigh]

Ok,....this time, I mean it. I'm going to try and kickstart this thing again with updated blogrolls and a better perspective on time management in an endeaver to make this blog work. I seemed to have missed the boat on contributing to the local 2007 elections through a mix of serious and witty commentary coupled with insightful criticisms. Though in retrospect it sure seems I didn't miss much. I'll have more on that later.

Trying to get my teacher certification and being a new father really put this blog on the back burner for me back in May of last year. Now that my daughter is 14 months old and the legal process for her adoption is in full swing I seem to be getting a better grip on organizing my time as I attempt to get back to this effort and try for my origianl goal of making this Jacksonville's premier progressive blog. I was just starting to pick up some readership from my mention on Newsweek magazine's blog when certification and a new baby became a black hole for time. Though I'm still in the middle of trying to get certified, my perspective on time management seems to have improved for the better. The goal for Truman's Conscience still has not changed: to be Jacksonville's premier online platform for a progressive voice. I hope you will join me as I try to make our voice heard in a tone deaf conservative vacuum that has held this city hostage long enough.