Happy Fourth of July: Championing Liberty

We have a great country and a lot to be proud of. And despite the economy and the environment, I'm in a better mood to celebrate than I was in say, 2006.

But while you're celebrating today, take a moment and give some thought to those whose freedoms still need protecting and defending within our great nation. Today is not just for our law-abiding citizens. It's also for all who are living within our borders, including those who continue to be detained at Guantanamo, who are languishing in our prisons, and who live in fear of being separated from their families and deported.

What are you thinking about this Independence Day? And what's on your menus? I'll leave you with one more message, below:

This is an open thread, all topics welcome, we wish every one of you a safe and happy holiday.

< Joran Van der Sloot Sues Peruvian Attorney For Misrepresentation at Confession | Monday Morning Open Thread >
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    The wars. (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:09:22 AM EST
    We have a great country and a lot to be proud of. And despite the economy and the environment, I'm in a better mood to celebrate than I was in say, 2006.

    You mention the economy and the environment. Both suffering.
    But you do not mention the wars.

    I cannot begin to feel healing until these blights are ended once and for all.

    Howard Zinn quote of the day (5.00 / 5) (#112)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:50:00 PM EST
    "There is no flag big enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

    John Prine: (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:55:16 PM EST
    Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore

    Hope all had a great 4th (none / 0) (#148)
    by dead dancer on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:08:53 PM EST
    Nice One! (none / 0) (#149)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:15:12 PM EST
    Oooh, thank you! (none / 0) (#176)
    by ruffian on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 02:45:13 PM EST
    I was telling some friends about this song a few weeks ago. Sending links now...

    Wars? There are wars? (none / 0) (#132)
    by Edger on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:36:29 PM EST
    Gee, you'd never know it from the media, or from most blogs for that matter.

    Are you sure? Aren't they just contingency operations? ;-)


    Just International Police Work (none / 0) (#150)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:17:55 PM EST
    Someone has to do it....yawn

    Ah jeeze, I don't know what to think about it (none / 0) (#159)
    by Edger on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 08:49:48 AM EST
    Apparently there is some right wing nut named Paul or something who is opposed to these so-called wars.

    He obviously is not only crazy, but just doesn't know what's good for him, since the Pentagon's budget is higher than than all state governments combined spend for the health, education, welfare, and safety of 308 million Americans, and at least $880 billion - more than all the state governments collect in taxes.

    Which must be a good thing, since the way things are going otherwise people are going to be needing good jobs, so it's good that the government has no hesitation in stepping up to the plate to take care of them.


    This Court of Appeals decision is (none / 0) (#151)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:29:24 PM EST
    somewhat encouraging:  Washington Post

    Or (none / 0) (#154)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:45:48 PM EST
    Really depressing, depending on how you look at it. An unnamed source, in a classified document, is proof enough to send someone to jail for the rest of his life, or  proof enough to even jail him.

    Sounds like the worst 3rd world country's kangaroo court, to me.

    Yes, the decision to overturn seems obvious to me...


    And, speaking of (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:09:06 AM EST
    Liberty, I won't feel that the Bush era of repression is behind us until the Patriot Act is relegated to the dustbin of history.

    Who thought up that name anyway?

    Jeralyn mentioned 2006.
    I have some associations to that time.
    I was watching television to see the election returns. Against all odds, and media hype to the contrary, Lamont defeated Lieberman for the democratic nomination for senator. It was part of a wave. I felt a real burst of energy and sense of optimism.

    Then reality set in.
    The dems took over both houses of congress, and did nothing about the wars. Pelosi went to tea with George. He stroked her ego a little. The wars did not end. They are with us still.

    I also became aware that Obama, the golden wonder who was "against the war from the beginning" had campaigned with Lieberman against Lamont. I could not believe that people who said that they wanted to end the war did not just drop him and look for someone else. I still can't understand it. That one action told us everything we needed to know about Obama. It is relentlessly unfolding at this time before our eyes.

    The only good thing was that I discovered TalkLeft at that time. I was googling information about Obama and found TalkLeft's report about Obama and his support for Lieberman.

    I wish I could be more rah rah and proud today, but until the wars are ended and our civil liberties restored to us, I can only feel sadness about what has happened to our country.

    BS (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:15:39 PM EST
    I do not know why some continue to keep the BS meme that Obama was anti-war. Either you were not listening to the voice of Obama and the Democratic party or you are on a mission to trash Obama at every chance you get. If it is the latter, you may want to stick to things that bear some relationship to reality, and there are plenty. Saying that he had any kind of anti-war stance is not one of them. He clearly said he is not anti-war, many times. I was listening, no viable candidate in the 2008 primary or election ran on an anti-war platform. War is popular in the US, anti-war is not even a little popular.

    Obama clearly stated that Iraq war was a stupid war to get into, and Afghanistan war is a smart and the place to be. He has stuck to his schedule in upping the troops in Afghanistan and drawing down the troops in Iraq.

    That is one of the few campaign promise he has kept.


    ooof (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:37:43 PM EST
    I didn't say that Obama was antiwar.

    He obviously wasn't.
    The "against the war from the beginning" phrase is something that was often coupled with his name by various writers. I did not and do not agree with it. It's too bad we couldn't have done better.

    Of course he has escalated the war in Afghanistan.
    That's hardly a badge of honor - campaign "promise" or not.

    But I was simply stating the way that I feel about the state of our country on the anniversary of its' independence.

    To me, Obama is nothing.
    His administration is something to be coped with.
    When I comment negatively it is about an action that he or his administration has taken that is all too reminiscent of Bush. If Bush were literally still president, I would be writing the same things.

    On this day I am saddened by the ineptitude of the federal government and uncaring nature of the congress. I am saddened by the wars and the continuing carnage which I consider to now be on Obama's watch. I am also saddened by the continuing assault on our civil liberties and the rights of the accused.

    If you like Obama and/or his policies or politics or manner - that is your right.

    I disagree with your statement that war is popular in the US.
    People hate war. But the economy has become dependent on it.
    In addition, the country has been made to live in fear. "1984".
    We were presented with a choice between two candidates that were both pro-war. Jeralyn put a link to a video in which McCain and Obama both were mouthing the same bellicose verbiage.
    Many Americans didn't vote for either of them. Others didn't vote at all.


    BS (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 02:31:40 PM EST
    As I said, there are plenty of things to complain about Obama but to repeat over and over that "he was not against the war from the beginning", is just false.

    He repeatedly argued that the Iraq war was the wrong war, and never deviated from that position. His troop withdrawal from Iraq is on schedule.

    As for this ridiculous statement:

    you like Obama and/or his policies or politics or manner - that is your right.

    that is laughable rherotic which belies your position. I never was at your beloved dkos or wherever blog you got run out of by Obama cultists.  So please spare me your cult war nonsense.

    My position on Hillary and Obama was that they were both the same and far right from where I stand.

    I do find that many, like you, are irrational regarding Obama and appear to be on a program that resembles that of the GOP.

    It does not help to make sh*t up, as there is plenty of stuff that the Democrats do that is worthy of criticism.

    You seem to be fighting a war against obama cultists because they said sexist and horrible things about Hillary and you will never forgive them. Well why don't you take that battle to where it belongs, as there were never Obama or Hillary cultists here before the refugees started coming in.

    Most here were wary of anyone who stood a chance of winning POTUS, and that includes me.


    Teapot (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:23:52 PM EST
    "My position on Hillary and Obama was that they were both the same and far right from where I stand."

    I agree. I have no interest in either of them.
    But one of them wound up being elected.

    It is Obama that is on a program that resembles the GOP.

    I have no interest in Obama cultists. Or Clinton cultists.
    I have no interest in Kos.

    I like the people who post here.

    I don't like what Obama is doing to the country.


    Well I Disagree (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:12:04 PM EST
    Just because Obama and the Dems appear to concede way too much to the GOP, and just because the mainstream Dems are to the right of most on the left, does not make the Dems resemble the GOP.

    Maybe that is a fine statement if you are a left wing activist screaming hyperbolic statements hoping to move the Democrats to the left, but if you are making a reality based assessment that is pure nonsense.

    Were the Dems or Obama in to resemble the GOP we would have two more Supreme Court nominations in the mold of Roberts, there would have been no talk about problems with the US health care system, there would be no draw down of troops in Iraq, there would have been no $20 billion dollar fund put in escrow by BP but lawsuits going on for 25 years, no funding or research into stem cell research or alternative energy sources, there would have been a continuation of right wing extremists appointed to the courts, as well as all government positions (remember Goodling style), social security and medicare funding would be already tapped into and considered socialism and dispensable, abortion would be outlawed, the legality of torture would be expanded to be used as a tool by the government in domestic police work, we would be occupying Iran and using nuclear bunker busters, the Patriot act would be expanded, more than likely we would have had several more terrorist attacks due to bring em on rhetoric and aggressive foreign policy,  we would have an expanded use of terror alerts that when red included martial law in the US,....

    Perhaps you forgot what it was like to be ruled by the GOP who were right wing extremists...  

    I did not. I will take the weak and beleaguered Democrats any day over the GOP.


    I agree that we (none / 0) (#107)
    by JamesTX on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:18:15 PM EST
    should be careful and not allow criticisms of the current administration and Congress be used as ammunition to take us back to the Bush era policies and attitudes. On the other other hand, even while recognizing that our government is designed to resist rapid change, we should have some way of expressing that this isn't nearly good enough.

         The opposition already claims the current policy is absurdly wild excess in the leftern direction. It looks more like the way things were a good five to ten years into the Reagan revolution to me. Instead of being completely squelched, liberal ideas are now being heard again -- but not taken seriously. This isn't even close to what most of us hoped for, but you are right that it could be worse.

         If we are not careful, though, old habits die hard. A few beers and good baseball game will set off another conservative backlash, because that is the only political emotion Americans know how to feel. Right wing memes and conservative cliche are the only list of gripes most people under 50 have ever heard, so to them it is the only political grievance possible. It will make them nostalgic and wanting somebody like George to come drink with them and bet on the team again.

    To: lentinel (none / 0) (#136)
    by christinep on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:58:16 PM EST
    Based upon your statement that you don't like what is being done to the country now, it is fair to ask what you would like in a political sense. Apart from philosophy, who would you like to lead this country; and, what specifically, would you expect that person to accomplish in 18 or 20 months??? (BTW, this is not facetious. It is the same statement I make to my friends, relatives, husband, and myself after venting for awhile. One of my dad's favorite phrases was "Fish or cut bait.")

    Right, center, or left (none / 0) (#135)
    by christinep on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:53:17 PM EST
    The directional terms--from left to right--are often subjective, of course. An example: The Afghanistan war. When the war was first initiated in 2001, more than 90% of the public (by any number of surveys/polls) supported that war. Although I did not support the war at that time--and still view it as historically unwinable, etc.--I am now willing to wait it out for another year or so if we can stabilize situation.
    As you know, squeaky, people come at these difficult situations very differently. That may be why some on the further left may actually resemble those on the further right. Social & political personality studies in the 1960s by the U of Michigan Survey Research Center show an authoritarian-type connection between personalities on either end of the political spectrum. I blather about this because--despite the disdain from some for that seemingly ambivalent position called "centrist"--most of the populace typically resides in that hard-to-define land of centrism. For some people, that is bland mush meaning nothing; for others (ala Goldilocks) it appeals as "just right."
    So...to me, neither B. Obama nor H. Clinton stood on the "right." Historically, they seemed to have been smack-dab in the center on the Afghanistan issue. As for today: That center is again shifting...people are getting restless...they want results quickly or they want out. Yes, it will be fascinating to see where we are by January/February.

    Not really (none / 0) (#59)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:26:23 PM EST
    Obama's MAIN cred with a lot of Dem voters was that he was against the Iraq war.  Of course, once the war "succeeded", he stopped referring to his prior anti-war stance, until it became convenient to use his magnificent 2003 oratory again. To say that he wasn't anti-war is a bit much. If I recall correctly, he didn't say that he was going to wage war in Afghanistan---not in those words. The tea leaves were easy to read though.

    Well Your Memory is Faulty (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:35:19 PM EST
    Obama clearly stated over and over that he was going to withdraw troops from Iraq because he thought it was the wrong war to be waging.

    Obama clearly stated over and over again that he was not anti-war and believed that we should be fighting the war in Afghanistan.

    Even in the speech he gave in 2002, you know the supposed anti-war speech, he said in plain english that he is not anti-war, just against stupid war.  

    I listened carefully to what Obama and Hillary said about our wars, and was not happy that both staunchly believed that war in Afghanistan will help end terrorism. That position is stupid, imo, but by very very large margin, popular in the US.


    My memory is fine. We could look at (none / 0) (#64)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:38:55 PM EST
    exact quotes if you like.
    I have a suggestion, though.
    If you want proof of my assertion that he was running as the anti-war candidate, at least to some people, then you should just "look at the website".
    Anyway, we are in agreement that Obama's Afghanistan policy is hopeless.

    Geez (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:56:15 PM EST
    From 2002
    Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances....
    I don't oppose all wars....

    I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war....

    That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics....

    I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars....

    from 2007

    And so, a little more than a year after that bright September day, I was in the streets of Chicago again, this time speaking at a rally in opposition to war in Iraq. I did not oppose all wars, I said. I was a strong supporter of the war in Afghanistan. But I said I could not support "a dumb war, a rash war" in Iraq. I worried about a " U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences" in the heart of the Muslim world. I pleaded that we "finish the fight with bin Ladin and al Qaeda."....
    Because of a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized and should never have been waged, we are now less safe than we were before 9/11....

    It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan;

    His position never changed. It was no different from Hillary's.


    As I recall, Obama was touted (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:53:26 PM EST
    as the primary candidate who wouldn't have voted for AUMF.  And Hillary Clinton was vilified for voting for it.

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 02:20:22 PM EST
    And, I am not sure how he would have voted had he been in the Senate, as there was tremendous political pressure to pander to vengeful american voters. My guess is he would have caved and voted for it... but he had the luxury of not being party to that vote that still dogs us to this day.

    That does not mitigate his statements about Iraq of which I totally agreed with. His position on Afghanistan I totally disagree with. I do hold it against Hillary for voting for the AUMF, as she was representing me as my state senator. And I do not buy any of the BS qualifications she made, as the only thing that counted was her vote.

    Obama did take an unpopular stance in 2002, I credit him for that.



    I think (none / 0) (#121)
    by Madeline on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:08:13 PM EST
    he voted against it as a IL congressman. At least he voted against the Iraq war and gave many speeches on how he would end it. He also continued speaking in those terms during the campaign

    Google lists several examples


    No (none / 0) (#122)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:14:49 PM EST
    He was not in the Senate for the October 2002 AUMF vote. He was still a Illinois congressperson. He was not in the US Senate until January 2005.

    Would you say that he campaigned on having (none / 0) (#86)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:17:09 PM EST
    a foreign policy that was no different from Hillary's? (I agree they were quite comparable).

    No Different (none / 0) (#94)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:51:00 PM EST
    The only possible smidgen of difference was that Obama appeared to be somewhat more critical of right wing Israeli policies than Hillary was. I think that he has been a touch more critical of those policies than the mainstream Democrats during the last 1.5 years as well.

    Not what I asked. (none / 0) (#95)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:53:48 PM EST
    In fact, the number one argument of his campaign against Hillary was the foreign policy difference (which did not exist---we agree on this).
    Hillary was the dangerous hawk, Obama the sober realist who made the right call.
    I find it odd that you, who pride yourself on your memories of the primaries, can't recall how HUGE this was.

    Nonsense (none / 0) (#147)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:19:34 PM EST
    Despite what morons believed Obama said or did not say, the record is clear, he said that he was going to pull troops out of Iraq, responsibly.

    Hillary wavered a bit more. She qualified the "responsible" withdrawal with nonsense about al qaida in Iraq and said that because of them we may have to continue fighting in Iraq.

    So yes, Hillary was clearly more Hawkish regarding Iraq, making a point of saying that she never regretted her AUMF vote, and backing the BushCo al qaida bs connection.  

    Both had identical positions regarding Afghanistan in particular the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Both promised to bomb the sh*t out of those areas.

    So if you do the math Hillary was a bit more Hawkish than Obama because she was stuck with defending her AUMF vote, or actually believed that the Iraq war was the right thing to and not a stupid war. Obama repeatedly said Iraq was a stupid war.

    Bottom line, both equivocated leaving wiggle room. Obama's wiggle room was that the 16 month was going to be tempered by the military on the field, and both used the euphemism "responsible" when they were pressed about the Iraq withdrawal.


    When and where? (none / 0) (#163)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 10:54:06 AM EST
    Squeaky said:
    Obama repeatedly said Iraq was a stupid war.

    Dumb War (none / 0) (#164)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 11:01:29 AM EST
    Sorry I did not get the quote exact, and he may have used the word "stupid"..  


    in case you are interested and want to research the synonyms Obama used to express that the Iraq war was idiotic, here is a link to start you off.


    When and where did Obama say that (none / 0) (#165)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 11:27:14 AM EST
    Iraq was a "dumb war"? I've looked for it plenty -- your turn. BTW, why the past tense?

    The re-recorded speech in Chicago? (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 11:43:26 AM EST
    Huh? (1.00 / 1) (#167)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 11:47:50 AM EST
    Is something wrong with your browser. I provided you with one direct link to his 2002 speech, and another link to a google search.

    Not sure what you are up to, here. Is your helplessness feigned?

    Took me .16 seconds to come up with a 941,000 links.


    Narrow your 941k links down to one and cite it. (none / 0) (#168)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:42:25 PM EST
    By "it" I mean a quote wherein Obama directly referred to the Iraq War as "dumb", "stupid", or "idiotic". I'm not saying no such quote exists. I'm saying if there is such a quote, let's have a look at it.

    Perhaps you look but don't want to see . . . (none / 0) (#169)
    by Untold Story on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:58:49 PM EST

    given Oct 2, 2002

    "I am not opposed to all wars.  I'm opposed to dumb wars."


    That doesn't say (none / 0) (#171)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 01:03:37 PM EST
    "Iraq is a dumb war". That's the quote I want to see.

    Ooookay (none / 0) (#172)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 01:08:24 PM EST
    Yeah, Obama must have been talking about the civil war..lol

    Oh, and just in case your feigned ignorance is real, the speech was delivered at an Out of Iraq anti-war rally.


    Are you kidding? (none / 0) (#173)
    by Untold Story on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 01:18:44 PM EST
    This is a speech on the Iraq war - so when he refers to war it is to the topic of his speech - the Iraq war.  Most people listening are intelligent enough to make that connection.  

    Link Already Provide (none / 0) (#170)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:59:36 PM EST
    Not to mention the quotes from the speech where he called Iraq war dumb.

    Not sure what you are up to but here it is again.


    Definitely comparable (none / 0) (#131)
    by christinep on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:36:05 PM EST
    on the need to focus on Afghanistan. In fact, as I recall, President Obama may even have been more openly hawkish in speaking of certain air attacks in Afghanistan. He was not at all dovish.

    Yes, definitely. I think he was slightly more (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:39:16 PM EST
    hawkish on Iran as well.
    However.. and this is a huge qualifier... he ALSO ran as the canidate who was against the Iraq war, thereby attracting a lot of support from voters who were entirely opposed to foreign US wars.
    He got these votes cheaply, without even having to cast a vote. My memory on this subject is excellent. In my opinion, if he had not been able to play himself as the anti-war candidate on Iraq, his candidacy would have had no chance.
    It was the MAIN thing for a huge chunk of voters.

    preemptive comment on Iran: (none / 0) (#134)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:42:37 PM EST
    Someone is bound to bring up Hillary's comment about "obliterating" Iran. First of all, this was in response to the hypothetical of Iran making a NUCLEAR attack on Israel.
    Second and more importantly, Hillary was the ONLY major candidate who explicity eschewed the doctrine of preemptive war with Iran.
    Obama was quite clear that he would bomb Iran if there was a chance they would acquire nukes.
    Hillary's umbrella of deterrence policy took preemptive strikes off the table.
    That is why I say that Obama was more hawkish than Hillary on Iran. In practical terms, there probably wasn't a dimes worth of difference between their Iran stances.

    Let me chime in too, observed (none / 0) (#129)
    by christinep on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:32:33 PM EST
    In the debates and elsewhere, President Obama never took an anti-war position...as squeaky has pointed out also. (If your memory differs, perhaps there is a direct quote to which you can refer.) What I think--frankly, I'd go so far as to say "What I know" happened with many--is that people were looking for the out, the out from many Bush-inspired messes and, to those people who felt the need to reposit their belief system in a person, a number of you alighted on Barack Obama as the anti-war solution. People believed what they wanted to believe. It is as simple as that. Now, shouldn't those same people evolve a bit and reconcile with what is (and who is), and--more importantly--live in the present and deal clear-eyed with the future.

    He was the anti-war candidate, compared (none / 0) (#130)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:35:00 PM EST
    to Hillary. I should have been  more clear about my point.

    Not if you listened carefully (none / 0) (#162)
    by esmense on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 10:29:21 AM EST
    I think the Obama suporters (none / 0) (#108)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:26:07 PM EST
    in the primaries grabbed on to his anti-Iraq war pre-war stance as the only discriminator they could, since his foreign policy was so close to Hillary's in every otther respect. How much they self-deluded into thinking he was some sort of 'peace candidate', only they can say.

    I never had any doubt in my own mind that had he been in the Senate at the time, he would have voted for the war, with the appropriate display of reluctance.


    Hmmm (none / 0) (#111)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:39:37 PM EST
    I think that it boiled down to style, and that is why people chose Obama over Hillary; he appealed to the younger generation, while Hillary appealed to the older set who were more comfortable with her style. I did not see any difference between Obama and Hillary policy wise, but liked Hillary's style waaaaay more than Obama's. Could be my age demographic...

    As for people believing that Obama was the one and deluded themselves that he was the 'peace candidate', it appears that many were equally deluded by Hillary as champion of the left candidate...


    Definitely a combination of all those things (none / 0) (#116)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:57:18 PM EST
    But stricly on foreign policy, that was the only point he could score, and he used it often.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#118)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:02:34 PM EST
    He was lucky that he was not in the Senate during the AUMF vote. My guess is that he would have caved, but we will never know.

    That is why people who have a loooooong voting record, are usually losers for POTUS. Too much ammunition, while someone who has less of a record can pander to a wider crowd and not be called out for hypocrisy so easily.


    2004 comment on Iraq War (none / 0) (#160)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:18:28 AM EST

    This is an article about how Howie Kurtz misrepresented the comment, but here's an excerpt from whence the comment came.

    Barack Obama, who will deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, said Monday that he believes the Iraq war will be the deciding factor in the presidential contest, but that he does not think there is a great difference "on paper" between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and President Bush on the issue.

        Instead, Obama, the U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois, said he believes the Bush administration has lost too much credibility in the world community to administer the policies necessary to stabilize Iraq.

        "On Iraq, on paper, there's not as much difference, I think, between the Bush administration and a Kerry administration as there would have been a year ago," Obama said during a luncheon meeting with editors and reporters of Tribune newspapers. "There's not that much difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is who's in a position to execute."


        Obama, a state senator from Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, opposed the Iraq invasion before the war. But he now believes U.S. forces must remain to stabilize the war-ravaged nation -- a policy not dissimilar to the current approach of the Bush administration.

        The problem, Obama said, is the low regard for Bush in the international community.

        "How do you stabilize a country that is made up of three different religious and in some cases ethnic groups, with minimal loss of life and minimum burden to the taxpayers?" Obama said. "I am skeptical that the Bush administration, given baggage from the past three years, not just on Iraq. ... I don't see them having the credibility to be able to execute. I mean, you have to have a new administration to execute what the Bush administration acknowledges has to happen."

    the top Dem bloggers are the ones (none / 0) (#5)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:18:20 AM EST
    who were most gung-ho about the war at the start.
    It's not surprising their anti-war stances were tepid.
    A lot of them turned mildly positive about the war after the "surge".

    There is no positive where Iraq is concerned (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:02:44 AM EST
    There never will be.  We have officer friends with traumatic brain injury who have wives who have to remember every detail and meeting in their lives for them.  Anyone justifying Iraq and what it cost Iraq and America alone in blood and bone can please kiss my arse.  I just watched some military retired (R) Congressman talk this crap to Candy Crowley too.  He never held someone's hand while they died for Bush's sheer act of aggression.  He retired out two years before the Iraq War.  He never saw the horror of combat period as he is justifying doing to his own troops and I hope he knows he can kiss my arse too.  If he was in the Gulf War all I can say is good on you getting that sheer piece of eye candy to rest a dust mite amount of credibility on.....  Oh yeah, and not enough bang bang shoot em up is how we are failing Afghanistan miserably too he says.  We aren't going in hard enough....Feh!

    Just a note of humor.... (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Dr Molly on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:19:14 AM EST
    ...although your post is a very serious one.

    We have officer friends with traumatic brain injury who have wives who have to remember every detail and meeting in their lives for them.

    Hmmm - that's pretty much like me with my spouse, without a brain injury!


    True, and why can't most men find a (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:23:23 AM EST
    pair of socks without help?  I was going to the store yesterday.  My husband opened a cupboard door to see if there was enough coffee for his taste.  The whole cupboard was stuffed with paper towels but the paper towel dispenser on the counter was empty.  He says, "Oh yeah, and get paper towels".  I had to ask him to open that cupboard again and look inside it again :)

    It's faked incompetence. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:29:29 AM EST
    As long as you're sure that he's not up to certain tasks, he won't have to do them.

    My favorite is when (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Dr Molly on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:42:48 AM EST
    he opens the refrigerator door and just stares inside for 3-4 minutes with a disappointed look on his face, then says "there's nothing to eat". (my kids do this too)

    It's like "there's this place called the grocery store where food is sold...."   The food doesn't just appear in that cold box by magic!


    The Patriot Act (none / 0) (#99)
    by JamesTX on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:42:49 PM EST
    and the forces who implemented it succeeded. They made use of the most reliable force in American politics -- the short memory of the electorate. It's old news. It doesn't even show up on progressive blogs anymore. It was written off. Forgotten. It is now with us forever, as if it always existed.

         I agree if we were really interested in going in the right direction, the Patriot Act in its entirety should be ceremoniously repealed as the worst legislative error in our history. Those who are really interested in the integrity of our Constitution should keep the topic alive and not give up. If the wingnuts feel like they really need some of the things in it, then let them argue and pass individual laws for those things now that public is a little more willing to reason. Let them make their arguments in the open instead of relying on legislation that was passed under the cloak of darkness and under threat.

    What day is it agin? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Edger on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:08:38 AM EST

    If you answered the ... question with the word "England" or "Britain," you would be obviously correct. But a new Marist poll finds that more than a quarter -- 26 percent -- of Americans polled couldn't bring to mind the name of the country from whom the original 13 colonies gained independence.

    Results were especially poor among the young: Of respondents aged 18 to 29, only 60 percent correctly identified Great Britain. A full one-third were unsure.


    Maybe all this poll tells us is that six percent of people who answer surveys like to screw around with them.

    That's a possibility that Jack Stuef at the Wonkette blog is ready to consider.

    Consider that a good 10% of Americans probably have Alzheimer's. Then another 5% are just regular crazy people. And probably 11% of Americans got offended that some annoying academic called them up during dinner to ask them this single, inane question and answered "the United States won its independence from the country of My A**."

    Let's hope Stuef is right. Or this country is in big trouble.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by scribe on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 02:50:58 PM EST
    there is a segment of the population of between 25 and 30 percent who will come up with the idiot answer or the idiot/malicious political position/candidate.  Every time.

    So, you get 25 or 30 percent who:

    • in August 1974, think Nixon did nothing wrong and should have stayed on;
    • in November 2008, think Dick Cheney is just fine and would have loved to see him back in office;
    • in July 2010, can't tell who we declared our independence from, let alone why;
    • at any time between August 2008 and now would crawl across a mile of anthrax-coated broken glass to vote for Sarah Palin (and, if asked, would tell you being smart is overrated when it comes to being President or anything else);  
    • think the Nick Cage "National Treasure" series of films are accurate recitations of history; or
    • would agree that Jesus had a pet dinosaur he rode to school every day.

    Guaranteed result.  

    Accordingly, I don't get bent out of shape over poll results like that, though I will agree they point out places where educational effort should be (but likely won't) be applied.


    Believe me, (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by JamesTX on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:46:18 PM EST
    we are in big trouble. This doesn't surprise me at all. An uneducated population is destined for slavery.

    Sad (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:15:48 AM EST
    Of course, if young people spent a little more time paying attention in history class, and a little less time on Facebook or tweeting or playing with their phones, they might catch that tidbit of information.

    Well, maybe (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Edger on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:35:38 AM EST
    if older people spent a little more time teaching?

    Does watching the John Adams HBO (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:14:34 AM EST
    series last night when I had insomnia again count for extra credit :)?  My insomnia is terrible right now, I watched the whole thing from start to finish until about 3:00 a.m.  But Adams told the French that he wasn't throwing off the yoke of England just so he could now be under the yoke of France.  Later he refused to back the French Revolution after we had gained our Independence because then he wanted to be Sweden :)  And he used the fact that they cut off Louis' head to justify it.  You guys whacked off the head of the dude I had a treaty with so the treaty is null :)  BTD would have been proud of such "negotiating".

    I watched that all night, too, and this morning. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Joan in VA on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:43:14 AM EST
    I dozed off a few times but saw most of it. Adams' and Franklin's schmoozing with the French are particularly enjoyable to watch. Love the Irish actor's Jefferson also. I watched "The Revolution" on the History Channel yesterday(except for when the World Cup was on). It is also an excellent depiction of our early days as a country. I think both are a better history lessons than what is likely taught in schools these days so you get credit from me. :)

    Yes, and here's your extra-credit points (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:25:38 AM EST
    Have 1,000 extra-credit points, MT!  Of course, you still have to do the required work first. . . . :-)

    The Adams series is exceptional in its adherence to authenticity -- to primary sources -- while not fearing interpretation aka historians aka secondary sources, too.  Not perfect, but as good as it gets or at least has gotten.  

    I think that it would make a marvelous basic text for a course in late colonial and early U.S. history, and I would bet that a lot of history teachers and profs are using at least parts of it.

    (And I agree with the commenter as to the casting of Jefferson; he apparently was a larger man, like Ken Howard in 1776, but the actor in the Adams series captures so well the intellectual, moody man.  I was less enamored of the Franklin, but it's hard to beat the boisterous DaSilva and others who have made that role theirs.  David Morse, of course, makes a marvelous Washington (and his range, having just seen him again in Treme, is terrific).  His restraint in the scene of the first presidential inauguration was wonderful -- and the scene is so moving (it's also on Youtube, if anyone missed it).

    But the most brilliant casting was of Giacometti and Linney, also so good for their range in these and other roles.  Now I have to go get out our DVD and watch it again!


    I think one of my fave portions of the (none / 0) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:23:14 PM EST
    series is when Ben Franklin and Adams are in France attending the royal dinner party.  If you watch any movie about Marie Antionette, they are always so pale and flawless and gorgeous and bathed in their in vogue make ups of the time.  But in the Adams series no professional makeup artist rendition.  I get to see what they all looked like smearing white makeups and powders and black silk beauty spots of the time all over themselves.  It fascinates me.  It is tribal paint, dare I call it that? :)  And they didn't bathe often, they just smeared and powdered over and over and they were stinky :)  Our dogs of today are much cleaner and pest free than most of our ancestors used to be.

    I, too, often think (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by JamesTX on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:51:17 PM EST
    about the filth and lack of personal hygiene. That was basically the only way of life just a couple of hundred years ago. I try to imagine what it would be like, but it isn't possible to really understand because of presentist bias. And our biology is actually very forgiving because we evolved under those conditions. The risk of infection heavily favors us even when we ask for trouble. It is just that now we know, and avoiding it altogether goes a long way toward being sure that we avoid it on that one unique occasion where the system would break down.

         They had no understanding or knowledge of microbial life. Hence they didn't understand they were filthy, or what caused infection and sores and odors. My grandmother told me when I was young that the woman who raised her would use her breath to fog and polish crystal glassware while setting tables. Nobody thought anything about it, and the practice was evidently common. Evidently, a little spit was considered the perfect solution to many problems!

         When I imagine having no concept of microbial life and no germ theory of disease, I cringe at the things I might do. I am also fully aware I would be dead by now if not for the understanding of bacteria and antibiotics. It was a very different world then, and it is hard to understand what it must have been like to experience.

    That doesn't say much for the dogs (none / 0) (#145)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:11:33 PM EST
    That doesn't say much for the dogs (none / 0) (#146)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:11:58 PM EST
    Actually that HBO-JA series (none / 0) (#49)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:38:47 AM EST
    got some criticism for cutting historical corners when it premiered a few yrs back.  See this HNN article by a PhD candidate and this Revolutionary War specialty blog.

    Me, I saw all of about 5 minutes of the entire series.  Frankly, the crusty cranky conservative John Adams as a subject for a long series doesn't do it for this liberal, whether or not the history is substantially accurate, which apparently might not be the case as it turns out.  

    I'm also not a great fan of popular historian David McCullough, whose Adams bio is the foundation for this series.  He's developed a rep for simplifying, distorting and romanticizing facts to fit his fairly conservative notions about his subjects (Adams, and Truman before that).  I think they call this the American Heritage School of History Writing.  Throw in Hollywood and the likes of the mediocre intellect Tom Hanks as producer, and you've got the makings of a watchable but not necessarily historically accurate production.

    YAMMV of course


    Yes, the mileage of many historians (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:28:54 PM EST
    varies on this opinion from Bell.  It is an interesting debate, worth looking up the other side -- as he has his critics, too . . . as that is how history, she is done.  There is no one truth to it; it all is educated guesswork, based on the evidence left to us from the past.  So every historian -- and every reader of history -- faces the problems of which evidence to select, which to emphasize, which to summarize (aka oversimplify to others), which assumptions to accept and which to confront, etc.  Even having hundreds of pages to fill with millions of words does not make the task easy, trust me.  

    So, critical as I can be of many presentations of "the truth" on teevee and on film (oh, do not get me started on Disney's version of Pocahontas . . . or, for that matter, the version emblazoned across the ceiling of our nation's Capitol and continuing to be promulgated by the federal guides for whom we pay with our taxes), I also am willing to understand the constraints of those trying to put it all into a script.  Even all of the words in a series would not add up to all of the words in many books, such as McCullough's.  

    And then the teevee and film historians also have to work on visual authenticity, an aspect of the Adams series that I also thought was done well.


    Since history is your thing (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:28:19 PM EST
    Do you consider us fortunate in the history of our own nation that so many of the founders were prolific writers and left us at least a paper trail?

    I met a woman here at the garden club who was telling me some of the local history.  She stops though as my eyes get wider and I get more and more into listening to her and she says, "I love being old, and everybody who would fight with me about whether or not my version is the correct version is dead."


    Well, no; the way I would put it (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:43:00 PM EST
    to quote one of my fave cartoon characters (Opus): the winners write the history books . . . or, to paraphrase that, the writers win the history books.

    And the archivists, the people who decide which people's writings will win a space for posterity, also -- if behind the scenes -- win the history books.

    This is why we still have too much emphasis on elitist history -- presidents and generals and business moguls aka essentially men.  Thank heavens that we have their records, as many were marvelous men (and the others also may have been significant for being bad guys), but after all, men always have been the minority of Americans.

    I'm a social historian, as they say, so I have to work a lot harder to try to find the primary sources left by other sorts of people aka "the people."  And of course, all too often, we simply don't have those sources now because some of those people were not literate . . . and even those who were then were not considered important, so the archivists (and often the descendants) threw away their records.

    As for your local history buff, yes, this is why it is so much safer to write about dead people.  I have sometimes researched more recent times, and it leads to treacherous times.  (So some of my work remains unpublished still, as I do the death watch.:-)


    Thank you for your input (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 02:02:40 PM EST
    It isn't often that we acknowledge that our history was written by the elites of the time.

    Dramatizing history (none / 0) (#91)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:36:03 PM EST
    does involve necessary short cuts, trimming, selecting and the like, of course.  But history also isn't entirely up for grabs just because some things are in dispute or muddled -- it largely involves working from a set of generally agreed upon facts which have a basis in the record, documents and papers, personal contemporaneous accounts including eyewitnesses, newspapers of the day, and so forth.

    And honest historians and tv/film producers working with historical material who profess to be presenting an historically accurate picture have an obligation to not just cut, trim and ignore or gloss over the record in order to present a politically biased and two-dimensional version of history -- and this is especially so when they undertake to produce very long tv adaptations that by definition are going to allow more time for the full picture to be portrayed.  

    For defenders of this series to argue they had to leave out so much because of constraints of the medium, with 8 hours at their disposal, is a bit like CNN producers, with 24 hours at theirs, complaining they don't have enough time in the day to cover news from overseas.

    This is not to say McCullough and Hanks have made a complete botch of all the history and that there aren't some redeeming values overall in their 8 hours of Adams TV (or so I'm told).  But the above-cited critics of this series make some sobering points about the sloppy and unnecessarily incomplete historical job by McC, Hanks and HBO, and having previously read enough of McC to know he's more of a biased story-teller and propagandist for his political pov than historian, I've decided to take a pass on this one.

    Wake me up when a real historian and intelligent well-read movie producer/director get together to produce 8 hours on, say, Tom Paine ...


    8 hours is a lot of time to you?! (none / 0) (#93)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:49:38 PM EST
    Oh my, those history courses for 45 hours a semester -- and those are just the lectures, so the total time devoted ought to have 180 hours -- must have been sheer agony.

    It would be a daunting task even to describe today, this day, in 180 hours as it is being experienced even only by Americans.  So presenting the late colonial and Revolutionary and early U.S. eras to an audience that has not necessarily done readings on the topic in preparation . . . well, I remain appreciative of the task of public historians.  

    Do I wish that they had hued entirely to the known record?  Sure -- albeit badly skewed by who left us that record to provide the "generally accepted facts."  But that is another discussion.

    I am intrigued by your determination that the series was politically biased and two-dimensional.  Please explain.


    Of course 8 hours is a good (none / 0) (#98)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:13:44 PM EST
    chunk of time for a tv/film dramatization of history.  Most historians would give their left one if they got that much teevee time for a production of one of their books.

    I mean, 8 hours -- we're almost into Ken Burns territory!

    As for the 2D and political bias, again because I didn't see the series (as I carefully and helpfully noted above) and am going by cited critical reviews, I'd advise you to check out the cites I gave for specifics.  

    But the charge that McCullough is biased and 2D in presentation of the historical record isn't, if I recall reading some McC interviews correctly, entirely an unwelcome criticism as he sees it.  He has never sought to be a "fancy" scholarly historian (iirc, he's not academically trained in this field), and further seems to somewhat embrace the charge by some critics that he's little more than a flag-waving, mainstream consensus-seeking American Heritage School of History storyteller.  


    Ah, I see -- (none / 0) (#106)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:07:01 PM EST
    as I failed to see again in your second statement what I had forgotten that you had said in your first statement:  that you haven't seen the series.

    Ah, well.

    Btw, yes, I said that I did check out the site to  which you linked and gave my judgment of the judgments made there -- my judgment as one who did see the series and judges in its entirety.


    He was neither a Federalist (none / 0) (#72)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:39:44 PM EST
    Or a Republican.  He shunned both.  Yet you call him a Conservative.  Interesting

    And he dissolved (none / 0) (#73)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:41:34 PM EST
    Washington's Army so that Hamilton couldn't take it to war for the French.  Really pissed a lot of swinging hot heads off...yet you call him a Conservative :)

    Well, I think I called (none / 0) (#84)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:11:03 PM EST
    historian McCullough a conservative, but so is Adams, imo.

    Exhibit A:  The Alien and Sedition Acts, signed into law by Adams in 1798 (and in effect until the last day of his first, and only, term), which made public dissent against the gov't and its officials a crime.

    I don't know how much more conservative you can get than having a president advocating for a bill that punishes exercise of a fundamental constitutional right explicitly and prominently guaranteed by our Constitution.

    Didn't read McCullough's book on Adams, on which this series is based, but iirc from reading a review years ago, McC conveniently gives this sorry episode in US history short shrift compared to its importance.


    Well, it depends on what is taught (none / 0) (#39)
    by Joan in VA on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:12:38 AM EST
    in various school systems. Many people were taught that this country was founded by those who came here for religious freedom, which is untrue. So, no telling what people are being taught. In Texas and the South, they likely teach that we fought Atheistland, not England, for our freedom.

    I'm dealing with a someone who is slipping into (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:53:28 AM EST
    mental illness and homelessness. I've witnessed her decline over a two year period. I've long  encouraged her to seek, and over the last two months have been actively trying to help her find, the social services and support she desperately needs. But, everything moves so slowly, and, of course, the more disabled she becomes the less able she is to deal with the system designed to help the disabled. What a nightmare. She has no family. Although I have known her a long time (we took classes together, worked in the same industry, had friends in common in the distant past) we have never been intimate friends. But I have ended up being the one stable person she knows, and the one person from her past who is still around. In a sense, she is my problem mostly just because she knows where I live. A series of bad decision has left her with no place to live except, for the last few weeks, a cot in the living room of a very causual acquaintance (someone who lived in her former apartment building). He has told her she has to leave by the 14th. Meanwhile the process of finding subsidized or supported housing, which I have tried to help her navigate, is going poorly. She was recently turned down by a supported living shelter for women because she doesn't have enough money! (For the last two months she has been getting $200 in General Assistance -- if she was paying rent it would go up to $329 without, of course, any actual rent assistance.)

    This is why we cannot cut entitlements (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:48:05 AM EST
    By the time someone qualifies for them, they are already so horrible and underfunded there is barely anything there.  Thank you for helping her and doing what you can.  I fear we are only a few years out and our sidewalks with be littered with the untouchables even more than they have since Reagan years made having them about fashionable.

    This is why I pay taxes (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:53:27 AM EST
    I wish we could personally prioritize how the money is spent. If we could, do you think the first priority of a majority would always be war?

    Perhaps it would be.


    Yes, maybe we (none / 0) (#102)
    by JamesTX on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:55:16 PM EST
    should call Halliburton?

    Walking to baseball game last night at (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:57:48 AM EST
    about 4:15 p.m.  City homeless shelters are closed--not winter and not cold enough at night.  There are maybe 15-20 women setting up next to the downtown public library.  With roll aboard suitcases.  No shopping carts.  Not many plastic garbage bags.  I figure these are newly homeless women sticking together.  Very sad.

    As an individual trying to help (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Untold Story on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:18:36 AM EST
    I get a box of fruit from the Farmer's Market and take it weekly down to the homeless (under a bridge or overpass).  Just an idea being tossed your way as to what one individual can do if they wish.  

    Many other things that must be done - so many suffer from mental illness and are unable to fill out forms for help, and, have no address for assistance checks to be mailed.  Volunteers can only do so much.


    You are a wonderful friend (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Radiowalla on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:48:24 AM EST
    but I hope you will be realistic about what you can do and what you can't do for this woman.  I know what it is like to end up as the last person willing to care for someone as I am now entirely responsible for a person with Alzheimer's.  Even my own father didn't need as much attention.

    Just be sure to watch your own boundaries.  


    This really has been a lesson in boundaries... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:51:42 AM EST
    where they lie, what are my moral responsibilities, how to protect myself and yet not contribute to making her situation worse. (And a lesson in many other things.) It is very difficult. I have learned that there is a big difference between doing what is best for her welfare and doing what doesn't hurt her feelings. And, of course, I've learned that doing things that work against my own welfare ultimately won't be in her best welfare either. As her housing deadline gets closer she is becoming terrified and frantic and acting out in ever more overt ways. Yesterday she called and told me she was in a bar(she doesn't usually drink, but in the last few days, she has been experienced extreme panic -- I assume she decided to self-medicated with alcohol, which, especially with other medications she takes for a hyperthyroid condidion, is destined to lead to very bad consequences). The bartender quickly took the phone from her and told me she was acting very bizarrely and they wanted someone to come pick her up. It was hard, but I said that I wouldn't. That if she was acting bizarrely and disruptively they needed to call the police and have her taken to Harborview (where she would be put under observation). That didn't happen because, realizing it might happen, she quickly left the bar and returned to the apartment where she is staying, which is, for now, a safe place. On the one hand, if she had gone to the hospital, it might actually have sped up the process of getting her into housing. On the other hand, it would also most likely have been a terrifying experience for her.  

    Law enforcement sometimes has (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:00:34 AM EST
    trouble dealing with uncooperative persons who came to their attentionb because someone called re bizarre behavior.  Scary.

    I've talked to her social worker and the Crisis (none / 0) (#38)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:09:33 AM EST
    Clinic and they say that the Seattle police are very well trained in this kind of thing and that they handle such cases with sensitivity. They have reassured me she would be taken to a hospital; there is no chance she would go to jail. I hope all of that is true. But, for her sake, I hope it still doesn't come to that. There is no way being hauled away by officers of the law, against your will, is going to be anything but a terrifying experience, no matter how "sensitive" they are.

    Kudos to you for sticking by her (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:33:02 PM EST
    in such a tough time. Homeless folks without any family need people to advocate on their behalf. Has her social worker already gotten her signed up for housing programs? If not, what is the social worker doing for her? The waiting lists are getting longer because of the economy.

    Your friend, like so many other homeless or near-to-being-homeless, also has mental health issues, which exacerbates her situation. She really needs a short-term emergency refuge, and Harborview or the jail isn't the best option.

    Noel House in Belltown takes in homeless women without children.

    It's on this list, which includes some other emergency service centers as well.

    This one is for transitional housing (will take longer to get into)

    Have you heard of the Elizabeth Gregory Home? It's another transitional housing center for women that's in the U-District. I think they do great work.

    Finally, you may want to call Nick Licata's office in the morning and explain how much of an emergency your friend is in, with both homeless and mental health issues. Nick is the chair of the housing and health care committee. His legislative aides are good, helpful people.

    Good luck, and good for you for taking this on! It is stressful to carry the weight of her future all on your back though, so it's also good that you have realized you need to take care of yourself as well. You can't solve the problem all by yourself, so get the help you can from others who can begin to take on her care.

    And do something nice for yourself. You deserve it. I wish you and your friend well.


    Okay, I see from your comment below (none / 0) (#63)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:37:03 PM EST
    that she has an advocate from Adult Services who is working with her. (I should have read all the threaded comments first!)

    Unfortunately, shoephone, she doesn't YET have an (none / 0) (#78)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 02:09:59 PM EST
    advocate. Someone is suppose to contact her in the upcoming week. So far, she has pretty much been left on her own with a list of housing options. Following through is made difficult by her ambivalence and the fact that she doesn't always have access at the times the various resources require. But she had an in-take appointment with a counselor at Sound Mental Health last week who is referring her to the Adult Community Support program. I insisted on taking her to the appointment because I hoped to get a chance to impress the people there with how desperate her housing situation was. She surprised me by actually asking if I could sit in on the counseling session with her. I'm really glad I did, because I doubt she would have made it clear, or perhaps even hinted at, how desperate her housing situation was if I hadn't jumped in. The week before she had an appointment with some other agency which she went to on her own -- she told me afterward that she'd been told she "wasn't disabled" and didn't need their services. She later told another acquaintance that the counselor she had seen at that agency also told her she "should never have left California" (where she lived 5 years ago)! Both statements seemed a little doubtful to me.  

    Thank you so much for additional information about resources. If the advocate thing doesn't come thru in a VERY timely manner, I will definitely call Nick Licata's office!


    that was "access" to a phone (none / 0) (#79)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 02:10:32 PM EST
    On the phone thing: (none / 0) (#87)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:17:47 PM EST
    I also have an acquantaince who is recently homeless, and a few of us are trying to help him find short-term housing and health care -- he doesn't have mental illness, but does have RA and kidney problems. He has a cellphone -- I wish I could remember what kind! -- and it costs $18 a month to put enough minutes on it for his use. (It's probably around 200 minutes.) He used to have a Sprint for a flat fee of $50 monthly for unlimited use but it got to be too expensive for him. I don't know know how much the disposable phones are, but maybe that's another cheaper option for your friend?

    One of the frustrations w/ my aquaintance is when he's run out of minutes and we just have to go looking for him, in places we think he may be.

    There's also Compass Housing, which has units for single women. And Solid Ground has excellent transitional housing programs, but they're mostly for women with children, or families w/ both moms and dads. The good thing about both organizations is they offer really good resources for dealing with physical and mental health issues, psychological counseling, financial education, and other things. I wish I had more ideas to give you. One of the conundrums about Seattle and King County is that we have a lot of different resources and programs, but they are not all working in conjunction with each other!

    Greater Church Council of Seattle is another place to call for advice.

    I can't believe your friend was told she's "not disabled," and then got dismissed like that. I hope Adult Community Services can get her something soon. If nothing else, she will need medication.


    I don't at all believe she was told that (none / 0) (#92)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:36:25 PM EST
    It fits in too nicely with what she wants to hear. And, every time I have been with her in the company of a case worker or counselor of some sort, it's been obvious that they recognized both her level of disability and the fact that she herself is incapable of recognizing it. Also, the "should never have left California" thing is something in an obsession. She obsessively relives the past in an effort to determine what went wrong -- it is a way, I think, of avoiding thinking about the present. It has been tragic to watch this woman just disappear under the strain of her illness and her losses (in terms of the ability to support herself and maintain a place to live).

    Even though you are doing the right thing, (5.00 / 4) (#16)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:52:30 AM EST
    for all the right reasons, I'm sure it's starting to feel - if it hasn't already - like you are living "no good deed goes unpunished."

    Things do move at glacial speed.  When I filed a lengthy complaint about the conditions in which my aunt's husband was "caring" for my aunt, it took forever just to get someone to come out to the house to assess the situation.  And, because my aunt did not appear to be in immediate danger, nothing ever really happened.

    What did I want them to do?  Well, for one, I wanted both a mental and physical evaluation done; I knew my aunt was failing mentally, but she was also thin as a rail, her husband bragged about how they really didn't need to eat more than two meals a day, and, because his vision was poor, I'm not sure he could see that she probably wasn't really eating much.  And he was nearly deaf, so I don't think she could communicate all that well with him.  And, after years of everything being done his way, and him refusing to leave their home for a retirement community or assisted living, she had pretty much given up.

    The house was filthy; I can't even tell you how awful it was - and he refused to get a cleaning service in to take care of it.  My aunt's clothes were stained and the accumulation of junk presented a hazard for falling.

    Adult Protective Services made a couple of home visits, but essentially did nothing.  It was a complete waste of time and energy, but I suppose they have their hands full with more emergent situations.  Even so, it just wasn't helpful at all.

    It still makes me angry that her life, in the years before the Alzheimer's took over, was more one of being a prisoner in her own home.

    She eventually developed a bladder infection that landed her in the hospital.  That situation cascaded, and he decided he couldn't take care of her at home, so she went into a nursing home.

    And he ended up dying at home, alone, and not being discovered for about a week.  If he had gotten one of the Life Alert devices everyone had been begging him to get, who knows?

    I don't know - life has a way of settling things, and his death allowed my brother and I to step in and do for her what he had never allowed us to do in the past; I don't know that I have ever known such a selfish, controlling SOB, and the only regret we have is that it didn't happen sooner.

    I hope you are able to somehow move things along, so that your friend is able to obtain some stability in her living situation, which may help her get her mental issues under control.  You are no doubt running into the "are you family?  Do you have a power of attorney, are you her guardian?  We can't talk to you without written authority," which makes things sooooo much harder.

    You might try contacting the local bar association - they almost all have pro bono initiatives, and might be able to help get a guardian appointed to assist in this process - or even just take on legal representation so she can get what she needs.

    It's a much bigger undertaking than I'm sure you imagined it would be; good luck to you both - I hope her situation stabilizes and she gets the help she needs.


    Check your local hospitals (none / 0) (#28)
    by waldenpond on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:37:01 AM EST
    Hospitals provide connections to social services and after care.  One of ours is a great resource to the system that also has free support groups for diagnosed issues.

    Other options... deterioration can be an opportunity.  Watch to see whether she is at all suicidal or threatening and use it for her benefit.  You can take her to the ER and pursue care through their social services, or call 911 and she can be involuntarily committed for a few days.  This is done with every kindness and is simply a way to leapfrog into stable long-term treatment.


    I'm preparing for that possibility (none / 0) (#36)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:04:43 AM EST
    I've discussed it with the gentleman she is staying with temporarily, too. We are hoping she will be able to get through the next few days without deteriorating further or doing anything that endangers herself. Supposedly, she will be contacted by Adult Community Services in the upcoming week -- they will assign an advocate who will help her obtain housing and the other services she needs. But, it may turn out that she isn't in shape to wait to take advantage this. It's all very wait and see what develops, minute by minute, right now.  

    Have you discussed the possibility (none / 0) (#44)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:29:24 AM EST
    of hospitalization with her?
    I'm not suggesting this as a scare tactic, but to protect your friendship. She probably won't like being hospitalized, but I think it's better to tell her ahead of time that you  consider that a possible course.
    I'm speaking from personal experience here.

    I have. You won't be surprised to know that she (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:56:58 AM EST
    denies what everyone else can clearly see; that she is seriously ill. I have to walk a very fine line, and be very careful in everything I say, to help keep her moving toward the services she needs without stirring up her overwhelming terror of being "disabled" or "mentally ill." Of course, deep down, she does know how how ill she is, how vulnerable she is, how terrifyingly alone she is. She's fighting desperately to maintain some control of her life -- even though she has few, if any, tools left with which to do that. Accepting or admitting that she needs help, needs to go to the hospital, needs to have even her medical state monitored, means she has to face the reality that she is losing control -- and put her fate in the hands of a scarey system.

    She needs a social worker (none / 0) (#114)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:53:26 PM EST
    That's what they do is figure this stuff out, what's available she could get into, how to navigate the rules without getting trapped in them.  There must be some sort of community social service agency in the area, isn't there?

    And boy, YOU could use some support in trying to help her.


    Never mind! (none / 0) (#120)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:06:05 PM EST
    I should have read down further before I spouted off.

    I've been through something like this with a friend, not quite a dire as this lady, but some of the same issues.  Hang in there.  You sound like you're doing all the right things.


    Gyrfalcon, have you put in tomatoes (none / 0) (#156)
    by shoephone on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 01:29:15 AM EST
    this year?

    I cross my fingers as I write this (which makes it hard to type the keyboard, but...) I think the five I put in are all looking good and may do much better than last year's heartbreakers. And no silly Early Girls this time around!


    Oh, yes (none / 0) (#177)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:55:34 AM EST
    Tomatoes have to be in around Memorial Day around here because of the short growing season.

    Mine are doing OK, but we've had yet another wet, overcast, cool spring, so who knows.  If summer is dryer and hotter (and so far, it sure has been), we'll do fine.  It's the various funguses and bacterial diseases that flourish in cool, and especially wet weather that do the tomatoes in.

    I've never had much use for Early Girl.  I dutifully put a couple in my first few years growing, but the Celebrities beat them for the first ripe fruit by a week or so anyway, so I stopped bothering with them.

    Don't know if you know or care, but Monsanto bought up pretty much all the widely sold hybrid tomatoes a few years ago, including Early Girl and my beloved Celebrities.  I've switched over entirely to non-Monsanto heirloom tomatoes (primarily Brandywine and San Marzano) in order to avoid putting any more money in Monsanto's pockets, and there's no question those older varieties are more fragile and more susceptible to disease.  I compensate for that by wildly overplanting! :-)


    I remember you saying that last year (none / 0) (#178)
    by shoephone on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 01:20:38 AM EST
    which compelled me to stop planting Early Girls! And I still have Aggie Horticulture Tomato Problem Solver in my computer favorites that you recommended last time.

    We had a mostly crummy spring and a gawd-awful June. My five plants for this year got put in three weeks ago and so far so good. I'm trying a new one this time at the behest of the expert at Swanson's Nursery: a Russian "Black from Tula."

    It's supposed to hit the mid-80's this week, so I hope they will all be happy.

    I really shouldn't complain. I know your Vermont growing season is at least three weeks shorter than ours.


    Where are you, Shoe? (none / 0) (#180)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 10:12:15 AM EST
    I've forgotten...

    I'm in the Champlain Valley of Vermont, so a significantly longer growing season than most of the rest of the state, one reason why I decided to settle here.  Enough time for tomatoes unless there's a really freak early frost, but not much margin for error on things that need a long time, like my beloved lima beans.

    The bad spring really made problems for things that need to be direct-sowed, like beans and peas, more because the clay-y soil here really gets crusted over heavily when it's wet.  And you don't dare work the soil when it's wet or it turns to concrete.  I even had problems getting the potatoes to sprout, something that's never happened before.  Grrrrr.

    Now we're having the first official "heat wave" in the state since 2003-- mid-90s all week and dangerously high humidity.  As an ex-Bostonian, I'm more used to hot and humid than native Vermonters are, and it's funny to see people who consider themselves so tough and hardy about weather struggling in what's normal summer conditions for Boston.

    But there's no serious garden work possible in this heat, so the most I dare do is run out to hook up the soaker hoses and retreat back inside.

    Let me know how those Russian black tomatoes turn out.  I've heard they're excellent.

    One word of tomato advice I picked up recently that surprised me-- don't overwater them!  They actually prefer to be on the dry side, and the more water they get as they're growing fruit, the less flavorful it is.  Wait until they start to droop before watering, and then really, really water heavily right at the roots.  (Never, ever with a sprinkler that gets the leaves wet, which is what invites funguses.)

    Also, next time you plant tomato starts, take off the bottom set of leaves and plant them deeply so a good chunk of the stem is under the surface.  That gives them deeper roots to start with, and they'll sprout additional roots all along that part of the stem that's under the soil.  Makes for a stronger, healthier plant that can wring every last bit of moisture out of the soil before needing to be watered again.


    Yes, those instructions jibe very closely (none / 0) (#183)
    by shoephone on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:24:47 PM EST
    with what I've been told by some other tomato folks I know. I admit, I used to be guilty of overwatering, especially after first planting.

    I haven't done tomatoes in the ground for about five years. The place where I live now just doesn't have enough space, and I prefer to plant up the beds with flowers. So, I plant the tomatoes in big pots and situate them in a nice sunny corner of the backyard. The main thing I've learned is that the soil is really important, and now I use Gardener & Bloom's "Harvest Blend," which is great. I also feed them every few weeks with Dr. Earth fertilizer and a little diluted seaweed extract. Do you use either of those?

    Oh, and I'm in Seattle. Usually, I plant tomatoes in May, but this year it just was too cold and rainy. And our soils are very clay-y here as well. I have to really work the beds each spring before planting flowers.

    I guess Vermont and Washington St. are going to be enjoying the same 85-90 degree temps this week. Wear your sunscreen! ;-)


    Ah, Seattle. (none / 0) (#184)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 01:32:51 PM EST
    Funny because I've been bit*hing the last two years that if I'd wanted to live in the NW, I woulda moved there instead of here!

    The only fertilizer I use is a handful of a very good organic brand (Pro-Gro) sprinkled around the plant once early in the season.  Clay soil is extremely fertile once it gets loosened up with enough organic matter, so I don't bother with more than that and my stuff grows like crazy.  With containers and potting soil, I gather one needs to pay a lot more attention to fertilizing adequately.

    After four years of tilling in composted manure and fall leaves, the soil in my vegetable plot is in vastly more workable condition than it was when I started, but it still has a way to go.

    My house sits on two very sunny cleared acres, so lucky for me, vast amounts of room for as many flowerbeds and veg plantings as I have energy to create.  I would actually appreciate more shade garden space!


    on freedom (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:03:34 AM EST
    At the end of 2008, our federal prison population was 201,668. Today it is 211,109.

    100,000, or 51% are serving drug sentences. 95, or 0%, are serving sentences for national security offenses.

    We aren't any freer.

    One of my close friends (none / 0) (#157)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 02:51:02 AM EST
    runs the training of therapy dogs at a Fed facility.  I'm not sure how she chooses the incarcerated people who work with the dogs.  I have met some when the dogs graduate and I've gone to the graduations.  It is a pretty big deal, they are training some pretty serious therapy dogs that are given free to needy disabled people.  They aren't all exactly nonviolent defenders.  I guess she looks for level of commitment and other things outside of what they are in for.  I have been absolutely shocked though what the majority of them are doing time for.........like lying on a passport application 10 years prior to being busted.  Holy Crap!  Really?  We are really paying to bust and incarcerate some of these people, ruin their careers, and have them train a few dogs to keep their own sanity hopefully as they go through a sort of hell?  Some of the Federal laws that lead to serving time are just flat nuts IMO.

    Oops...nonviolent offenders (none / 0) (#158)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 02:52:28 AM EST
    I do hope all of their defenders are nonviolent :)

    While I agree with Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by kenosharick on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:05:40 AM EST
    there are a group of American citizens still fighting for equality. In most of the nation gays and lesbians are still considered second-class citizens-verbally and physically attacked every day and denied the rights that most Americans take for granted.

    I was just running the Roomba for (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:25:30 AM EST
    an extra fourth of July sweep up and it attacked the baby.  Time for the Roomba to go to sleep.

    Remember my friend's advice: remove (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:05:59 AM EST
    pets from room.  Start Roomba.  Close door.

    Oh no. I've wanted to get one of those...but (none / 0) (#51)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:59:20 AM EST
    will it attack the cats?

    Our cat looks at it like it is the devil (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:37:21 PM EST
    He doesn't stick around when the devil is running around.  I think some cats would try to play with it though.

    It is one day out of a year (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Untold Story on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:36:54 AM EST
    that we should be grateful for what we have!  

    It may not be perfect, yet, if any of you ever lived in other countries you would realize that it is pretty darn close.  Today, raise your flag, clear away a tear, and praise what a great country this really is despite its imperfections.  

    (Whining and complaining can begin again tomorrow :)

    Untold Story, I agree (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:26:30 AM EST
    with you. Our system is not without flaws, but it is better than the alternatives.

    Foxhole Atheist, I wouldn't want to live in any of the countries you named.


    Even though, in the old expression, "the (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Anne on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:41:50 PM EST
    grass is always greener on the other side," the U.S. is that greener grass, still, for so many people, I would truly like to see our leaders make more of a commitment to strengthening our freedoms, and the safety net that is so important in difficult economic times, and stop resting on the laurels of the events of over 200 years ago.

    It seems to me that the events of almost 10 years ago have set us on a course of weakening those freedoms in the name of security, and the economic downturn has set us on a course to make life more fragile and less secure for millions of people.  

    In the name of the freedom that was so hard-won so many years ago, we should be doing what we can to be even better; committing to that endeavor would, I think, spill over into so many other areas - and we could leave behind, once and for all, the race-to-the-bottom metric of "we're still better than _____."

    Don't get me wrong: I love my freedom, and I probably wouldn't enjoy it to this extent anywhere else, but in ten short years, my freedom - along with everyone else's in this country - has been eroded and encroached upon for reasons I do not find compelling.  And my interests have taken a seat in the back of the bus, right near the emergency exit, in favor of corporate interests that have engineered and extended economic hardship for many, to the benefit of a relative few.

    It's time to not just reflect on the freedom we won so many years ago, and be grateful for it, but to ponder what we have lost and are losing, and commit to not accepting the exponentially greater threat to us and future generations that results from ginned-up fears about national security and the horror of deficits and entitlements.


    Michael Ventura, in an essay he wrote early in (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by esmense on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:07:54 PM EST
    the Bush II administration, said "freedom doesn't mean you get everything you want, it means no one gets everything they want." (If anyone gets everything they want, that's tyranny.)

    It's definitely not a concept that people who are hard at work trying to determine who are the "real" Americans and who are not, or people who see politics as a religous struggle between some people who are Good and Right and some people who are Evil and Wrong understand.

    I love America dearly -- even though I know I, personally, will always be in an argument with it and that it will never be the country that I, personally, think it should be. I can live with that, as long as I believe it is a country that still practices democratic decency and is still striving toward the common good.  

    But, over the last 3 decades, the media, the political establishment, our corporate and financial elites, have developed an ever more severely limited notion of whose wants and interest should even be part of the conversation, must less addressed. And that is making this a country that works for, and offers real freedom to, fewer and fewer people -- and one that I find less and less recognizable.  


    Way too much airport/airplane time for (none / 0) (#57)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:25:52 PM EST

    J, you never know till you try. (none / 0) (#139)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:46:00 PM EST
    Have you lived in Canada, England, France, Germany, Holland, and Spain -- or have you vacationed in those places? Being there as a tourist has its limitations i.e. I find that some places are an acquired taste. FWIW, nothing really tops Southern California for me -- not even the South of France.

    I don't have any great 'love of country' per se -- due to a staunchly anti-nationalist, non-patriotic upbringing. I imagine it's OK to say that in America, even on July 4th :-)

    Happy 4th of July to all. Peace.


    Be grateful for what we have (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Joan in VA on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:36:55 AM EST
    and don't think about what we have lost. That is what patriotic holidays are for. Hurray for the red, white and blue!

    Some of us who have lived in other countries (none / 0) (#33)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:55:40 AM EST
    have come to the realization that the U.S. is not a categorically superior place to live. With the possible exception of some places in Southern California, I, for one, prefer living in: Canada (as I often do); England; France; Germany; Holland; and Catalonia, Spain. There may be others still to come, we'll see. No offense intended.

    Yeah, it makes me cringe (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by brodie on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:27:00 AM EST
    when I see the virtues of this country expressed in terms of a denigration of other countries, which is often the conservative pov of the world.  Like you I have lived abroad and can personally vouch for some major advantages of living in a couple of countries, France and England, and would likely find similar bliss, for a while anyway, in places like Denmark, Holland and Spain.  Probably living in a few major cities of Canada, too.  

    I think we have been fortunate in a world conflict sense in being geographically situated the way we are, with two oceans semi-isolating and protecting this continent while having fairly benign and friendly neighbors on our northern and southern borders.  

    Now if we could only stop with the My Country Right or Wrong nonsense we have flung in our face constantly from the political right, and begin to incorporate some of the positive features, especially in social programs, public education and transportation, that these other countries offer their citizens through reasonable national tax policy.


    I prefer other countries for their cuisine. (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:31:47 AM EST
    I know it's shallow of me, but eating is one of the most important things in my life---and not just to be fed.
    If people took food quality and preparation more seriously in this country, it could have a profound impact on agricultural policy.

    What parts of Africa have you visited? (none / 0) (#138)
    by Untold Story on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:42:34 PM EST
    Many countries provide wonderful cuisine for tourists.  However, the workers providing and serving the tourists their fancy meal, themselves feel fortunate in having one meal a day and without meat.  Stables of rice, lentils, beans, or, if they are fortunate enough to get a vegetable that is not too rotted, then it is a good day!

    I havent' been to Africa. (none / 0) (#155)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:56:01 PM EST
    I was thinking more about various European countries, and  Chinese/Japanese, etc.
    What a lot of Americans eat is barely food, IMO.
    And the fact the people actually prefer fast food chemistry experiments to real food drives a lot of agricultural practices.

    Yes, your right in many respects (none / 0) (#174)
    by Untold Story on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 01:44:50 PM EST
    however, in our markets we can get just about anything produced and can make any cuisine we wish (with the aid of a really good ethnic cookbook, of course). Also, various equipment to aid in ethnic cooking is also easily available. And, as if all that wasn't enough - we now have outdoor kitchens where we can use wood for special bread crust cooking (and many other things as well).



    Absolutely, chemically produced - ugh! (none / 0) (#175)
    by Untold Story on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 01:49:22 PM EST
    They used to have just herb gardens, but now many of my friends grow vegetables in container pots.  The difference in tasting is amazing.  

    A belated Happy Canada Day! to you, too (none / 0) (#47)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:37:16 AM EST
    -- as it was last week, as I recall.

    But I agree with the commenter that today is the day to be grateful for the good things that this country has done, if only to think about how to hang onto them, get back to them, etc.

    Let's celebrate a belated Happy Canada Day tomorrow for the lovely country of my forebears.  The lovely people still there are known for their patience and can wait a day, yah, youbetcha.


    Thanks CC. Canada Day is July 1st. (none / 0) (#141)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:35:46 PM EST
    It wasn't much of an event till the 1960s -- when the country officially got its own flag. Celebration of Canada Day, and Canadian patriotism, became more of a 'government initiative' after Canada ratified its Constitution and became entirely independent of Britain in 1982.

    Still, it's nowhere on par with the Fourth of July. i.e. I was once entering Canada, a few years ago, and an immigration officer asked me what day it was and I said: "July 1st". And he asked what day it was, again, and I said: "Oh it's Friday". He rolled his eyes, in the nicest way, and reminded me that it was Canada Day. No air of self-importance -- he was just joking me along. I swear, the 'national character' is somewhere between the abject stoicism of the British and the confident exuberance of Americans. I like that a lot.


    Isn't it called "Dominion Day"? (none / 0) (#142)
    by Untold Story on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:41:10 PM EST
    No, your right (none / 0) (#143)
    by Untold Story on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:51:04 PM EST
    The goofy name was given in a tiny vote in an under-attended parliament session!  

    Not endearing to any authentic Canadian, who substitute it for simply July lst - much like our July 4th.


    Your (sic) on a role (sic). (none / 0) (#161)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:41:37 AM EST
    As Howard Zinn said (none / 0) (#117)
    by Xclusionary Rule 4ever on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:59:29 PM EST
    "dissent is the highest act of patriotism"

    Tonight on KUSC FM at (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:24:24 PM EST
    9 pm PDT:


    This should be terrific.  I was fortunate to be present during concert performance at Avery Fischer Hall to hear Gergiev conduct Mariinsky in this wonderful opera.  

    Sounds like fun. (none / 0) (#83)
    by scribe on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 02:58:30 PM EST
    Have you tried any of the links/streams I gave you yesterday?  I'm interested in your opinion on their programming.

    In the meantime, here's another.  They have a proprietary player you have to use (but it's free).


    Iraq Independence Day (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:26:13 PM EST
    I wonder what year in the future Iraq and Afghanistan will start their Independence Day celebrations.  

    Just sayin...

    Happy Fourth, y'all (5.00 / 5) (#90)
    by Dadler on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:25:33 PM EST
    And I'll say it, if no one else will: there is NO greatest nation on earth. Sitting around and claiming we are SuperNation does nothing but keep us from getting better. I could go another couple of decades, easily, without having to equate my love of my country with some perceived national superiority. America has a huge heart, while at the same time our phuck-ups are just as huge. We are nowhere NEAR our potential, and I think on this fourth, in 2010, looking at all of our backsliding, we should dedicate ourselves to genuinely making this country the great place is can be.


    With due respect to your opinion (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by Untold Story on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:05:24 PM EST
    I question whether anyone is truly naive enough to believe that America is doing everything wrong while other countries are doing everything right!

    Let's take our closest neighbor, Canada.  Taxes are 34% PLUS provincial sales tax and in addition you are taxed on health care services, prescription costs, etc.  Interest on mortgages are not deductible.

    For the aged: No-one can live on their old age pension (much like our social security).  Without additional private health insurance, you go without health care of any degree of competency or timeliness.

    Speaking about the Bush tax cuts - Canada doesn't have estate tax, only half of capital gains earned is taxed and companies get numerous special tax breaks.  

    It is wonderful for an American to live or visit this country, and other countries for a short time.  They are treated as a celebrity since the US is considered 'top of the food chain'.

    Perhaps Germany might be another desired country to live in by some standards.  However, the European Union is crumbling as Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Great Britian will not be able to maintain their social services and repay their debt.  Germany is not able to carry all these countries and continue in the Union.  Germany's tax rate is also very high and cannot go higher to support the European Union. Taxes are high - forget what approx. percentage - but high.  

    Italy is about 50%; Belgium higher than 50%; UK about 40% as is Denmark; UK is about 35% and Australia and the US come in the high twenties.

    Switzerland - ideal.  However, imo, they live on blood money since WWII.  While remaining neutral they served as the main instrument of money laundering for the Nazi Regime.  No thanks I would not personally want to partake in that division of spoils.

    Russia - well, won't even consider that as well one couldn't consider any nation in Africa or South America as governments topple overnight, civil war is rampant, diseases such as AIDS and HIV affect billions of people.

    Australia - up and coming - but its economy is dependent on China in its continuing acquisition of Australia's natural resources for its present booming economy.

    Personally, if I felt the way you do, I would get myself out of an undesirable country - which I did.  It took me only six weeks to get entrance, sponsored by a large American company, whom I was free to leave after a year and go out on my own.  What a deal is that!  

    Scared of the unknown, leaving everything and everyone behind - not easy - but peace of mind in establishing yourself where you want to be.  We only have one life so make the best of it.

    No, America is not perfect.  On your birthday, do your family sit around and criticize you?

    The wars are dumb, stupid, unnecessary - Vietnam and the present two.  We can waste precious time as to how we got where we are - but the answer, imo, is simple.  We need to spend that time in determing how to get out - soon.

    The Vietnam finally ended with protests - is that the means to another end?  

    Sadly, I feel most Americans don't even know we are at war.  Our media is devoted to the Paris Hiltons and other ridiculous topics.  Let us see those coffins, let us see the fighting and the death and destruction war causes.  Show us our young men and women who will never be the same, either mentally or physically.  Why can't we have a 'reality show' of what is real?  Only then will each household in America realize the truth.  

    A war should include each individual making a sacrific, imo, - rations of gasoline (because it is needed in the war), rations of certain imported goods, etc.  The average person has got to get the message, and will only get it if their own 'candy' is taken away.

    Just my usual confession of thoughts and opinions.

    Sorry, confusion (can't even get that right!) (none / 0) (#182)
    by Untold Story on Tue Jul 06, 2010 at 12:16:52 PM EST
    Have a Patriotic Fourth (none / 0) (#2)
    by pcpablo on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:27:23 AM EST
    The anthem of the Blue Dogs (none / 0) (#3)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:51:05 AM EST
    and the rest of 'em in Congress still rings so true today, as it did beneath the tolling Liberty Bell in Philadelphia:

    To the right, ever to the right,
    Never to the left, ever to the right.

    See the tune that President Nixon got cut from the bicentennial musical 1776: the  "Cool, Cool, Considerate Men" of Congress.

    And see it in context -- and spot in the choreography, near the end, the snarky goosestep -- in the restored version of 1776 on TCM today, 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.  

    Move to the right (none / 0) (#52)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:04:52 PM EST
    Thurs night (7/1), Pelosi sneaked language into war funding rule requiring up or down vote by House that may well have effect of raising the full retirement age for Social Security to 70 and may permit investing a portion of the Social Security trust fund in the stock market.  



    Sounds like the GOP amendments (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:07:03 PM EST
    to reconciliation re HCR.  

    This needs to be broadcast (none / 0) (#89)
    by shoephone on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:24:47 PM EST
    far and wide.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#104)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:58:29 PM EST
    Bill will be voted on by lame duck Congress.  Time for KO, Rachel and others to show they can be objective.

    Party day (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:55:28 AM EST
    Huge supply of legal in Alabama scary explosives for party night.  The grandkids are here already :)

    Krugman is on the tube making his (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:11:12 AM EST
    move against the deficit hawks.  He has said "third depression" if we cut spending now.

    I'm afraid Krugman is the boy (none / 0) (#13)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:43:26 AM EST
    who cried Nyarlathotep, anymore---even if he's right.
    If he had a record of being wrong more often, he'd have more credibility in the media.

    Why is that true? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:53:16 AM EST
    I mean obviously it is, but realizing it just about makes me furious.  In any case they are heading us all to deflation.  I planned for the worst.  We are very liquid.  All Yours Kewl Stuff Be Mine.  For the record feck gold, stupid mans notion.  But I'll probably unload my jewelry box cashing in on the exploding prices since cash will be king at some point.  I have a wedding ring that is platinum, a piece was actually broken off during a car accident.  Melt that junk down, give me my money :)

    My favored explanation is that (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:20:32 AM EST
    it's a result of reporters making too much money.
    The fact is, reporters are not the brightest people, on average---although there are certainly some phenomenal exceptions.
    These guys are just pampered buffoons who have no contact with the real world.

    Oh, sure: (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:38:01 AM EST

    Didn't a Swiss Justice spokesperson say in Dec. a decision re extradition of Mr. Polanski was expected in early 2010?

    Happy Independence Day (none / 0) (#55)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 12:23:52 PM EST
    Long live independence!

    I have always had a hard time enjoying fireworks on the 4th when the US is bombing other countries and killing people.

    Fireworks is the ultimate aestheticization of war. Glory of war has a extremely gory side, which is swept under the carpet with each colorful magic firework shot into the night sky. If every US voter knew how bad, and ugly the Iraq and Afghanistan war was, and how little we have to gain, those wars would immediately stop, imo.

    I can't stomach the beauty, in the face of what we are doing to the people over there... makes me want to puke..

    What is your opinion of marching bands? (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 01:57:22 PM EST
    A guilty pleasure (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Peter G on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:47:20 PM EST
    Love Them (none / 0) (#105)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:59:45 PM EST
    In general and all the hoopla of batons and acrobatics... and of course I would cringe if the music they were playing was offensive to my delicate sensibilities.

    This is one of the best pieces for two marching bands... imo,

    Ives later wrote about the piece, which he composed in 1912:

    "In the early morning of a Memorial Day, a boy is awakened by martial music -- a village band is marching down the street -- and as the strains of Reeves' majestic '[Second] Regiment March' come nearer and nearer -- he seems of a moment translated -- a moment of vivid power comes, a consciousness of material nobility -- an exultant something gleaming with the possibilities of his life -- an assurance that nothing is impossible, and that the whole world lies at his feet."
    -- Charles Ives "Essays Before A Sonata" (1919)

    One of the greatest things I ever saw (none / 0) (#109)
    by Peter G on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:31:13 PM EST
    and heard -- or perhaps I should say one of the most amazing things -- was a university marching band (damned if I can remember which one), during halftime of one of the bowl games maybe 10-15 yrs ago, doing an arrangement of Phil Ochs' amazing anthem, "Power and the Glory."  Oh, what I'd give to have that on tape or DVD!  

    Butthead alert (none / 0) (#103)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:56:24 PM EST
    I thought the Chinese invented fireworks and I was essentially celebrating Communism. All this time it was the military industrial complex though :)

    Cryptonomicon has cured me (none / 0) (#85)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 03:16:21 PM EST
    of the desire to ever read anything by Neal Stephenson again. I gave up at about page 800 and just skimmed to the end, which didn't seem to have any particular significance.
    I had the impression reading the book that his editor gave up after about page 500. Until then, Stephenson's  prolixity was kept under some control some of the time, but after that I found section after section of anywhere from 2-30 pages which I just had to skip over because they were so bad and so uninteresting. The guy has a fantastic imagination that does not work all the time. That book really needed someone telling him that some of his digressions were major fails.

    Editing could fix part of  his problem, but besides that, his characterization is abysmal.
    In fact, after reading most of Cryptonomicon I realized that there is always only one character in a Neal Stephenson book: himself, giving his (often fascinating and occasionally off the charts brilliant) view of the world.
    He can't write a novel though.

    LOL- great post (none / 0) (#119)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:03:12 PM EST
    After our exchange last week I looked for my copy to refresh my memory on the ending. I couldn't find it, and remembered I gave it away. Always a bad sign- I keep the books I truly love.

    I do truly love the Baroque Cycle though. What, not interested in another 3000 pages? That's ok, he is not for everyone.

    Hope you moved on to something you like better!


    I just started a Stephen Baxter novel. (none / 0) (#123)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:23:49 PM EST
    He's a reliable hard sci-fi author, if not thrilling.
    I picked it up at the neighborhood book exchange.
    I was pleasantly surprised to find Baxter there because most of the books are crime thrillers, of which I"ve had a near lethal surfeit recently.

    I recommend Alistair Reynolds for sci-fi. He's very successful at writing large scale works.
    I'm also looking forward to the latest Peter F. Hamilton book. He has a fabulous imagination and great skill with plot and pacing. I find his books to be like galaxy sized pieces of cotton candy.. unbelievably enjoyable.


    As I mentioned last week, I'm a big (none / 0) (#124)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:40:45 PM EST
    William Gibson fan.
    Here's a little story about him.
    When Neuromancer came out, he didn't know about bandwidth in computer connections. In fact, he was pretty naive about computers, from a technical point of view. Gregory Benford lampooned him for the the ridiculous error of not understanding that bandwidth was important in computer connections. But here's the thing:
    Gibson corrected that error in later novels, but Benford never did learn how to write, no  matter how many writing workshops he attended (and it's painfully obvious reading him that he attended a LOT of them). Benford's prose is so awkward it would probably hurt your eardrums to hear it read aloud. He's truly an anti-talent at writing, although he has really interesting ideas.

    That's my problem with most sic-fi I have tried (none / 0) (#125)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:54:22 PM EST
    I can't get past the clunky writing. I gave up on it at some point. Gibson is good though, and of course Bradbury. that's about as far as I've ever gotten.

    This is funny - a friend gave me a huge historical novel about London many years ago. I had read others by the author, Edward Rutherford, and was kind of lukewarm on him, so 'London' has sat on the shelf for at least 10 yrs, mocking me. I couldn't make myself give it away unread though, since it was a gift. I am making my way through it now. I went to London last year for the first time, and am glad I waited to read the book until I had a better mental picture....cuz this author is not great at drawing a picture. Anyway, almost done with my duty read!


    Give Reynolds a try. (none / 0) (#126)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:58:19 PM EST
    If you want something fun and stylish, read Hamilton.

    I also recommend Alexander Jablokov. (none / 0) (#127)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:04:11 PM EST
    He wrote some fantastically creative novels from about 1987-1999, and then he quit writing because he needed to support his family. He is back to writing and has a novel coming out soon. I'm quite excited.
    I recommend Carve the Sky and Deepdrive, which are both about the development of true star-faring technology. Deepdrive is incredibly weird and convoluted and may not be for everyone, but I found it tremendously effective.
    I also recommend River of Dust, his Mars novel, which is a relatively slim read (compared to even one Kim Stanley Robinson book), and utterly original in it's take on how humans will live on Mars.
    Nimbus is a post WWIII techno-spy-thriller which may be his best book.
    His short stories are also extremely good.
    If his output weren't so slim,I'd say he might be among the best sci-fi writers in the last 30 years.

    Writing down the names (none / 0) (#137)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:02:32 PM EST
    thanks! Haven't read Diamomd Age yet either.

    Have you read (none / 0) (#140)
    by Cream City on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:59:21 PM EST
    Walter Miller's Canticle for Liebowitz?  Still my fave.

    Here's a tip:  I found it and other greats when I was in grad school, going to a campus bookstore at semester's start and wandering astray to the Englist lit section to courses that I wished I had time to take.  There was a course on sci-fi, and I bought every book assigned (to save for the next semester break).  Canticle was the best by far for a historian, for many reasons that, if you have not read it and do so, you will see.


    By the way, Diamond Age is among (none / 0) (#128)
    by observed on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:12:44 PM EST
    my favorite SF novels of the last 20 years.
    What I read about Cryptonomicon was that he demanded "artistic freedom" (this was inferred by some reviewers, but seems quite plausible), hence he was not edited.. or not much.
    That's how you get things like a 3 page disquisition on how a nerd eats Captain Crunch.

    Yup (none / 0) (#110)
    by ruffian on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:37:30 PM EST
    But I do believe that Hillary's AUMF vote gave Obama the only foreign policy stick he could use against her. Not blaming him for using it - he was fortunate to not be in the Senate yet and did not have to vote and back up his pre-war rhetoric.

    the comment you are responding to (none / 0) (#144)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:01:29 PM EST
    was moved to another thread at squeaky's request.

    Which thread? (none / 0) (#152)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:33:15 PM EST
    Sorry (none / 0) (#153)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:40:27 PM EST
    I was responding to observed and posted a comment at the bottom of the page by mistake, so I asked TL to delete it because I put it here (comment #67) where it belonged.