Atmosphere, meet Blogosphere

We’re about to be hit a third time in a very short window. First there was Charley slamming into a state that is in play this election. Then Gaston caused massive damage in Virginia, also a state in play, though only marginally. Now here comes Frances, and it looks to be taking a bead on Florida again.

Right now that path puts this storm 30-50 miles off my shore, and the western side of the storm is always the most tame, supposedly, but we may get windows blown out, and certainly the roofs of the condo garages are goners. Yeah, this storm is going to hit Florida hard again. The big question is, does this help or hurt Mr. Bush?

I’m saying it hurt. Down south of Tampa and along the storm path through Orlando and out to Daytona, many folks are out of work because of the storm, and even if FEMA is successful, there are still tons of folks who are wanting to blame someone for the damage, the power outages, the delays in help, etc. Unemployment up, cost of living up, and in a state the President absolutely needs to win? The pain down here, I bet, is going to be felt by Bush as well. And the more havoc Frances wreaks, the more Bush will feel that pain as well.

I’ll be emptying the garage into the condo tomorrow, and then storing valuables in the interior closets and bathrooms, readying things for windows to be blown out. Then, if the projections don’t improve, I’m out of Dodge starting early Friday morning to beat the traffic. Heck, I might even head up to Philadelphia. After Friday, though, don’t expect the SpinDentist to be blogging for a while if Frances takes a smack at Cape Canaveral.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004 by SpinDentist |
Category: Uncategorized

Who’s The Bad Guy?

An argument today in the San Francisco Chronicle echoes what many saner voices (including 1/2 million in NY the other day) have been trying to communicate for months – Iraqi interests are best served by the U.S. demobilizing in Iraq, perhaps maintaining a small contingent to respond where the Iraqi government can’t. It’s called “self determination”.

Many, including myself, have argued that the continued presence of U.S. troops does nothing but delay the inevitable – in a true, nonrigged election, the Shi’a majority in Iraq will rule the country. Any coalition between the religious factions currently operating in Iraq will eventually be suborned to the will of the majority.

The current Iraqi government, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bush Administration, won’t last long. Wolfowitz’s strongman, Allawi, is a tiger with no teeth as things currently stand. My guess is that he doesn’t make it to the end of the year, but what do I know?

I do know that it’s only a matter of time before the whole Sunni / Shi’a thing blows up into a major shitstorm. al Sadr is, once again, buying time. And as the Chronicle opinion piece from Aaron Glantz notes, Shi’ite clerics are the most visible “reconstructors” to the Iraqi people. Of course, the clerics and religious factions have an agenda – solidifying their power base in advance of elections at the beginning of 2005.

And here’s something about the U.S. occupation that I was not aware of until reading the article:

Before the U.S. military branded al-Sadr a criminal, his followers had organized elections in many of Iraq’s poor Shi’ite slums and in smaller cities such as Najaf, forcing out local governments appointed by the North Carolina contractor, Research Triangle International. While big U.S. firms (Halliburton, Bechtel et al.) have failed to fix Iraq’s electricity grid and telephone system, al-Sadr’s organization has done its best to build a functioning society.

So, after “mission accomplished”, the U.S. government actually outsourced the appointment of local governments to private contractors?? What the hell is that all about? No wonder the vast majority of Iraqis can no longer abide by the extended American presence.

Let’s not forget for one moment that whatever government is installed after January, 2005, the Bush administration has declared its intention, over and over, to maintain a significant presence in Iraq, via the establishment of several “super bases” inside the country. This is obviously not going to go over big with anyone in Iraq – and in fact, just solidifies the meme of “perpetual war”, courtesy of BushCo.

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Delegates dropping out

Well, those of us from Pennsylvania can be proud of at least one man in the delegation, who has decided he cannot in conscience serve at the Republican Convention. He has dropped out.

Congressional Quarterly reported Friday that after attending four previous conventions, Philadelphia’s Jesse Walters was chosen as a delegate to this year’s GOP convention in New York only to resign the position, saying he could not support Bush and expressing concern with the rightward move of the Republican Party.

Calling the decision to drop his position one of the five hardest he has had to make in his life, Walters said he plans to cast his first-ever vote for a Democrat for president in November.

Chalk up one more vote for Kerry.

Monday, August 30th, 2004 by SpinDentist |
Category: Uncategorized

Perpetual War

…or, “How I learned to Live with Diminished Expectations”…

Sept. 17, 2001:

But as the vice president said, you know, “Osama bin Laden is just one person.” He is representative of networks of people who absolutely have made their cause to defeat the freedoms that we take — that we understand, and we will not allow them to do so.

I want justice. And there’s an old poster out west, that I recall, that said, “Wanted, Dead or Alive.” I think that this is a long-term battle — war. There will be battles, but this is long term. After all, our mission is not just Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda organization. Our mission is to battle terrorism and to join with freedom-loving people.

October 29, 2001:

We are at the beginning of what I view as a very long struggle against evil. We’re not fighting a nation; we’re not fighting a religion; we’re fighting evil. And we have no choice but to prevail. We’re fighting people that hates our values, they can’t stand what America stands for. And they really don’t like the fact that we exist. And I want to assure you all that we will fight this fight on every front. We will use every resource we have. And there is no doubt in my time — in my mind — that in our time, we will prevail. There’s no doubt.

August 30, 2004:

When asked “Can we win?” the war on terror, Bush said, “I don’t think you can win it.”

Monday, August 30th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

“Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like”

Response: “This is what democracy looks like!”

I must have chanted that at least 1000 times today.

Does it do me any good to tell you what the media has already shown you and reported? Probably not. Plus, I’m dead tired, so I’ll keep this short. I don’t know how many people marched today – my daughter and I ended up doing the circuit nearly 1-1/2 times this afternoon, and it’s kind of hard to judge when you’re in the middle of a large crowd. But consider this:

We originally stepped off at 11AM. As we ended the march and circled back up 14th St. to walk back to MSG / Penn Station to catch a train, we got caught back up in the march on 7th Ave. again. At 4PM. That’s how long the march was, and how many people were walking today. News reports were placing the number of people anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000. It was a huge sea of humanity.

The good news is, it was a well behaved sea of humanity. Even though there were some counter-protests (very, very small in number), no one got out of hand. United for Peace and Justice did a wonderful job of marshalling the protest, communicating with the crowd, and providing logistics. I can’t say enough about the New York City police department. In a potentially volatile situation, they were restrained and helpful. A few were in riot gear, but for the most part, it was just their regular street clothes. No one was looking to pick a fight.

Perhaps the biggest unknown for me is: was it worth the trouble? I hope so. I don’t know how anyone could view this march on TV and not wonder why so many people are pissed off. One gentleman remarked to me, “There’s a lot of angst in this crowd. It’ll be a catharsis for many of us when we get to the Garden.” And he was right.

That’s where the march really caught fire and cranked up the decibel level. As we marched passed Madison Square Garden, past the suits and ties behind the barricades, you had to wonder if it made a difference to them. They were laughing, smiling, talking amongst themselves, and generally didn’t seem to get it. Now honestly, I don’t have any idea how many were delegates or GOP functionaries, but it seemed clear that the march had zero impact on them. Regardless, there was a continuous, collective primal scream between 32nd and 34th Streets up 7th Ave. for at least 5 hours today.

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to edit the photos that I took – and I took a whole lot. Maybe I can post them up over the next day or two. The couple that you see to the left are just rough resizes and very lossy quality-wise, but I wanted to get a few done tonight.

More reflections tomorrow.

Update, 8/30/04: UFPJ crowd estimates, verified with NYPD, are in excess of 500,000 marchers.

Monday, August 30th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Where in the World is Richard Cranium?

He’s somehwere in that crowd. And my but it looks huge. I figured I might recall the marches I’ve been to. I won’t count the riot when I was an undergrad back in the 70′s, as that one was about police upset about how big the crowd had gotten at the Shady Rest just west of the Western Michigan University campus. Yeah, I got my first and only sniff of tear gas at a kegger in Kalamazoo.

I’ve been to a couple other marches. In the late 80′s I went to a pro-choice march in Washington. It was one of those things where the crowd was estimated at a million by the organizers and the police said it was 250,000. The mass of humanity was quite impressive. I remember most that my neice and nephew were with us, and they kept getting dehydrated. I don’t think we heard even one speech, as we were off looking for water the whole time.

Hmm, maybe that’s Richard there? My other memorable march was in 1991. It was the big gay pride parade in New York, and I was marching with my sister. Yeah, I was trapped amongst thousands and thousands of lesbians, many of who had decided to go topless. Nothing memorable really happened that day except I bonded with my sister’s new partner, and that’s always good.

I guess I posted this in honor of Richard, but also so that some of the readers here could recall some of their experiences. Go to it, folks!

Sunday, August 29th, 2004 by SpinDentist |
Category: Uncategorized

This Day in US Political Convention History

36 Years Ago Today,

On August 29, 1968: Chicago mayor Richard Daley explains the riots at the Democratic Convention: “The policeman isn’t here to create disorder, he is here to preserve disorder.”

Let’s be careful out there, campers!

Sunday, August 29th, 2004 by Kate Storm |
Category: Uncategorized


“Thou tellest my wanderings, put thou my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy Book?†Psalm 56:8

Glass, wherein a Greek girl’s tears

– Once were gathered as they fell,

After these two thousand years

– Is there still no tale to tell?

(Frank Dempster Sherman – 1896)

Jimmy Breslin continues his waking of the dead: What we’ve really lost in this indefensible war.

Excerpt: “And so you sat yesterday with all these Department of Defense death notices for the last weeks covering the desk and you glanced at them, with the ages of the dead reaching up from the paper to grab your throat.”

My lamentations are of the crying and raging variety, and I’m seeking a tear bottle for my weeping moments.

Image above left is an ancient Roman lachrymatory. Tear Bottle history

Sunday, August 29th, 2004 by Kate Storm |
Category: Uncategorized

Saturday Searches

Someone is fishing…from the ASZ site traffic log…

Saturday, August 28th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

If It’s Friday, It Must Be Scandal Day

Buried late in the afternoon…

At the risk of pissing off any of our Jewish friends, Washington’s kowtowing to Israel has to stop. This isn’t a right or left issue. Democrat as well as Republican administrations are equally guilty. More than anything, it’s truly a U.S. national security issue. Unless and until the U.S. patronage of Israel stops, the nonsense is going to continue. It’s long past time for rational discourse on the issue, without those on “rational” side being branded as anti-semetic.

Either that, or admit Israel into the union.

FBI Probing Israeli Spy in Pentagon

And perhaps this story is surfacing now, because…

Former Texas Former Lt. Governor Ben Barnes spills the beans on the Fortunate Son.

It’s been a hot Friday…and Atrios has been on fire all day. (Special props to rorschach at No Capital for keeping the discussion alive while blogger’s been hosed this evening.)

Update, 11:45PM EDT: War and Piece has more…

Saturday, August 28th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized
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