Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Wishing family & friends all over the world a very happy & peaceful New Year.
I have a feeling that things will start to get better in 2007.

Fondly, Lizzy - The OCD Gen X Liberal

Thursday, December 28, 2006

From slacker to student

Big changes are afoot.

I haven't been to school/college in over 23 years, but that's all about to change. I am starting the digital video program at one of our local colleges this Wednesday.

The past few years I have been editing family & friends home movies and turning them into DVD's, but I always found the software I use to be very limiting. I have pondered taking it upon myself to learn Adobe Premiere, but I don't think I have the self-discipline to do so. Additionally, I always knew that if I really wanted to be an editor, I'd have to learn how to use a Mac.

I'll be purchasing my first Mac next weekend. Extra bonus - Apple is a blue company.

I'm also hoping that school will fulfill some wanderlust (wonderlust?) for something new. Sometimes you need to shake things up -- right?

Time will tell how school will affect my blogging time. But, hey, wouldn't it be cool if the Dems fix so much of what is wrong with the world that we all could take a little break? (yeah, right)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Best of Media & Politics 2006

There are a few "Best of" lists going around the blogesphere, so I'd thought I'd do one myself this year.

Person of the Year:

Keith Olbermann

For me, it begins and ends with Keith Olbermann - the Edward R. Murrow of our generation. I love this man. In a world of O'Reillys, Hannitys, Weiner-Savages, and Limbaughs, Olbermann stands out as a man of truth, courage, critical thought, and humor.

Runner ups:
Jon Stewart
Bill Maher
Jack Cafferty (from CNN's The Situation Room)
Stephen Colbert

Best Network TV Show:
Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip (NBC)
While Studio 60 has been uneven at times,
this exchange alone was enough to earn it the top spot on my list.

Runner Ups:
Boston Legal (ABC)
House (FOX)
Law & Order SVU (NBC)

Best in Cable:
Countdown with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
The Sopranos (HBO)
Big Love (HBO)
CNN's The Situation Room (Hate to go a day without Jack Cafferty & Bill Schneider)
What's With That House? (HGTV)

Best in Reality TV:
Project Runway (Bravo) (Earns the top spot for one reason only - Tim Gunn)
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Survivor (CBS)

Best TV Character:

Hugh Laurie as "House."
Laurie's portrayal of House makes this otherwise standard medical drama one of the best shows on TV. In the last new episode of this year, there has never been a truer depiction of a drug addict on network TV.

Runner Ups:

Stanley Kamel as Dr. Charles Kroger on Monk (USA)
Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk on Monk (USA)
Christopher Meloni as Det. Elliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
Sam Waterston as Executive A.D.A. Jack McCoy on Law & Order (NBC)
Wallace Langham as lab tech David Hodges on CSI (CBS)
Maria Lark as middle daughter Bridgette Dubois on Medium (NBC)

Best Film:

I rarely go to the movies, so I picked the best film I've seen on DVD this year. If you haven't seen Goodnight and Good Luck, rent it. The subject matter is even more relevant today. My prediction, in the near future, George Clooney will be considered one of the top filmmakers of our time.

Runner Up:
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Films I wish I could add to this list, but haven't seen yet:
An Inconvenient Truth
The US vs John Lennon
Thank You For Smoking

Best CD:

Again, I don't hear a lot of new music, but from what I did hear, the choice was clear: The Avant-Garde Sounds of The Hard Left
Minneapolis power-pop at it's best.

Runner Up:
Neil Young: Living With War
While songs like Let's Impeach the President and Looking for a Leader deservedly got the most press, Young's "Families" is the best song on the disc. With very few exceptions, Neil Young can do no wrong, in my book.

Best Radio Station:
Air America

Best Politician:
Russ Feingold

Feingold alone stood up to the Bush admin when no one else would. Along with the late Senator Paul Wellstone, Russ Feingold is my political hero. Hearing the news that he isn't running for President was crushing.

Runner Ups:
Howard Dean - WAY underrated for what he accomplished for us in the last election
Rahm Emanuel - Instrumental in our victories
Dennis Kucinish - Dares to speak where others won't
Al Gore - Finally coming into his own. Will Gore be the comeback kid in '08? We'll see.
Barack Obama - He may be the one we've been waiting for

Best Guy Named Sven:

Sven Sungaard, weekend meteorologist, Kare-11 News.
(Or, as I like to call him, "Sven Svenson") What can you say about a goofy guy from Minnesota named Sven? Perfect. There is something about him that is extremely sweet. Come on, just look at the guy.

2 Picks That May Hurt My Street Cred :

1) Best reality show moment:

Lukas Rossi performing Coldplay's "Fix You" on Rockstar Supernova.

If you play the video, stick with it, it gets better. If video won't play, click here

2) Best Pop Song Criticizing the President, for the younger crowd:
Pink featuring Indigo Girls: "Dear Mr. President" If video won't play, click here.

And best of all:
Laura, Tom, Paul, Julie, Hallie, Noah, Ethan, Scott, Jane, NY relatives, family-in-law, Michelle, Wendy, Norman, Stella, Wellstone the parrot, Little Bird, all of my blogger friends, Brian, Bekkah, Pat, Heather, Scott, David the contractor, and Kurt & Brian - my (very) occasional drinking buddies -- I wish all of you the best of everything in 2007.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Some Christmas Pudding from Michael Moore

Dear friends,

What better way to get the Christmas dinner conversation going than with some fun facts!

This is the first of THREE Christmases left under President George W. Bush. THREE.

Ok, that's not too cheery. Let me try again.

If the daily death toll continues at this rate, sometime on Christmas Day a U.S. soldier will die in Iraq and, with his or her death, more U.S. troops will have been killed in Iraq than all the people lost on 9/11 (2,973).

On second thought, skip the politics for a day and just enjoy the pie.

Merry Christmas to each of you, and peace on earth, wherever we Americans have dropped in.

Michael Moore

Saturday, December 23, 2006

To Everyone in Bloggerland

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Cool Kwanzaa, or Festive Festivus where ever you are.

I'll see you in a couple of days when I will be posting my big year-end "Best of" special.

Until then, let there be peace on earth and good will toward men.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


As a constituent of MN-05 that voted for Keith Ellison (D), I am personally offended by Rep. Goode's (R) letter. Goode should be thrown out of office.

Lawmaker won't apologize for 'Islamophobic' letter

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Virginia congressman will not apologize for writing that without immigration overhaul "there will be many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran," his spokesman said.

Republican Rep. Virgil Goode's letter to constituents also warns that without immigration overhaul "we will have many more Muslims in the United States."

Spokesman Linwood Duncan said Goode's letter was written in response to complaints his office received about Minnesota Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's request to be sworn in using the Quran.

Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress.

Goode's office released the letter to CNN Wednesday.

In it, Goode wrote, "When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Quran in any way.

"The Muslim representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran.

"We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country.

"I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."

He added, "The Ten Commandments and 'In God We Trust' are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Quran.

"My response was clear, 'As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, the Quran is not going to be on the wall of my office.' "

The Council on American-Islamic Relations asked Goode to apologize.

"Rep. Goode's Islamophobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office," the council's Corey Saylor said in a statement. "There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry."

Duncan told CNN that Goode stands by his comments.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Open Letter to Bush and Congress -- Bring our Troops Home!

by Amy Branham
Mother of Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith
Nov. 1981 – Feb. 2004

President Bush and Members of Congress,

As you enjoy your holiday vacations with your families, I strongly urge you to also remember the sons and daughters of America whom you have sent to fight in a bloody war that has taken them so far away from their families, their lives and their homes. I urge you to remember the sons and daughters of America who will not be coming home – ever.

In November We, the People of the United States of America voted for change. We voted for an end to the war in Iraq. We do not want to continue fighting a war that was never officially declared a war and we do not want our sons and daughters to continue to die in this ill-planned, immoral, misbegotten war without end. We want you to bring them home and to bring them home now.

You have so far ignored our pleas and our cries to end this war. It does not touch your lives and it does not affect you on an hourly basis. But, while you sit in your comfortable homes and offices, safe from harm, there are hundreds of thousands of American citizens who are not comfortable and who are affected. They are either fighting in this war or worrying about their loved ones who are fighting for their lives every day. There are families who are living in dreadful fear of that knock on the door. They watch the news shows and wonder, with every announcement of yet another death of American military members, whether theirs is still alive or one of the dead.

This month alone there have been 61 of America’s sons and daughters killed. That’s 61 families whose holidays are ruined, who will forever have their Christmas tainted by the death of someone they love in this horrendous war. Thousands upon thousands of Iraqis are also dead.

While you sit in your homes, waiting to make up your minds what to do, lives are being forever changed. This war may not affect you or your family, but it does affect hundreds of thousands of people across this country and in Iraq. Every second, every minute, every day and every week that you take to “think” about the war, lives are changed or forever ended.

Last weekend I put up my Christmas tree and was rocked with the memories of the last Christmas I spent with my only son, who died a month and a half later, in February 2004. He was home on an unexpected leave. My husband and I had no money as he had been laid off from work and I was the only one keeping us afloat then. We had barely enough to make ends meet. But Jeremy was coming home and we were determined to make the holiday a good one for him, knowing that this could very well be his last Christmas ever.

I got a PayDay Loan. Then, because all of our holiday decorations were in storage in another city, I went out and bought a small silk tree and decorated it. I bought small, inexpensive gifts and food for our traditional Christmas Eve feast. And when my son came home, I hugged on him, kissed him and spent as much time as I possibly could with him. In the end, it was a good Christmas.

Now, I put that little tree up every year in remembrance of my only son, my beloved boy whose voice I will never hear again, the young man I will never again hug or kiss. And I cry tears of sorrow for the senseless end of his life.

Please, I beg of you, do not hesitate one more hour, one more week to end this war. Do not send more troops to Iraq, do not extend tours of duty, and do not continue in this war. The Iraqi’s do not want us in their country and the American people want their sons and daughters to come home. Please, listen to us and bring them home.

We cannot afford to waste another day while you are enjoying your holidays. Today the death toll is 2,950. How many more will die before you make up your minds to end this war?

Amy Branham
Houston, TX
Mother of Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith
Nov. 1981 – Feb. 2004

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Check out this blogger

To all of you blog lurkers out know who you are - you read, but don't comment (and that's ok) -- this is for you.

I was going to write something about agreeing with Rep. Kucinich about getting out of Iraq, then I ran across this post by PoliShifter. His post is much better written and researched than I could have ever done.

Please read it here:

Pissed On Politics: Gimme A Reason To Stay There

(Dennis Kucinich is right.)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

We are powerful. We are bloggers.

I like to think our little corner of the blogesphere does make a difference.

Time's Person of the Year is You:

J. Marquis
pissed off patricia
Lew Scannon
Tom Harper
Mandelbrot's Chaos
Howard Davis

...and maybe even me.

I think these are only the top 10 reasons...

The Impeachment Petition from

Ten Reasons to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney

I ask Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney for the following reasons:

1. Violating the United Nations Charter by launching an illegal "War of Aggression" against Iraq without cause, using fraud to sell the war to Congress and the public, misusing government funds to begin bombing without Congressional authorization, and subjecting our military personnel to unnecessary harm, debilitating injuries, and deaths.

2. Violating U.S. and international law by authorizing the torture of thousands of captives, resulting in dozens of deaths, and keeping prisoners hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

3. Violating the Constitution by arbitrarily detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans, without due process, without charge, and without access to counsel.

4. Violating the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.

5. Violating U.S. law and the Constitution through widespread wiretapping of the phone calls and emails of Americans without a warrant.

6. Violating the Constitution by using "signing statements" to defy hundreds of laws passed by Congress.

7. Violating U.S. and state law by obstructing honest elections in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

8. Violating U.S. law by using paid propaganda and disinformation, selectively and misleadingly leaking classified information, and exposing the identity of a covert CIA operative working on sensitive WMD proliferation for political retribution.

9. Subverting the Constitution and abusing Presidential power by asserting a "Unitary Executive Theory" giving unlimited powers to the President, by obstructing efforts by Congress and the Courts to review and restrict Presidential actions, and by promoting and signing legislation negating the Bill of Rights and the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

10. Gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina, in ignoring urgent warnings of an Al Qaeda attack prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and in increasing air pollution causing global warming.

Signatures are being gathered here:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My hope

Bush is waiting until after the new year to (maybe) make changes to his Iraq war "policy." I wonder how many people will be tortured and killed while Dumbya's got his thinkin' cap on.

How much more of this sociopathic incompetence can the congress and general public take? My hope is that somehow, somewhere there is a bipartisan group quietly discussing impeachment procedures, and any day now the news will break that Bush & Cheney's days are very numbered.

I'm waiting....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Making a name for themselves

The Hard Left was written up in our newspaper, the StarTribune, last Friday:

The gig w/ guest harmonica player

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Like I've been saying...

(From Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

James Kim

Several years ago, there was a great cable/satellite TV network called TechTV. I used to watch it several hours a day. It is where I learned almost everything I know about computers, and anything geeky. "The Screen Savers," "Call for Help," and "Fresh Gear" were among the great shows on the network. I actually got on the shows several times, via webcam, to ask tech questions.

Then, unfortunately, a couple years ago, TechTV's rival, G4, bought them out and ruined everything...but enough about that.

In the good old days of TechTV, there was a sweet Asian man named James Kim. He was one of those people that you just knew was a great person. His good vibes came right through the TV.

When I heard the news of his death today, I was extremely saddened.

My thoughts are with his family tonight.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tortoise and Hippo

This is not the kind of thing I ever post on my blog, but this story touched me. Plus, it's a nice change from the usual fare.

(Thanks, Brian.)

Tortoise and Hippo

"Much of life can never be explained but only witnessed."- Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.

The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean, then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, 2004 before wildlife rangers rescued him.

"It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'," ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park, told AFP.

"After it was swept and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together," the ecologist added. "The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it follows its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother," Kahumbu added.

"The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years," he explained. This is a real story that shows that our differences don't matter much when we need the comfort of another. We could all learn a lesson from these two creatures. Look beyond the differences and find a way to walk the path together.

Save the Earth... it's the only planet with chocolate.

(Sorry, couldn't Norman kinda looks like the hippo)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bush has to go

From Bush's November 30 news conference:
...Another major focus of media attention was the following Bush statement in a news conference with Maliki: "I know there's a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there's going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq. We're going to stay in Iraq to get the job done, so long as the government wants us there."

Bush also said "this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever."

From the 60 Minutes Interview With Bob Woodward:

Bob Woodward: Late last year, he had key Republicans up to the White House to talk about the war, and said 'I Will Not Withdraw Even If Laura And Barney Are The Only Ones Supporting Me.' Barney is his dog."

From Lizzy:

Bush has to go.

Nancy Pelosi made a pledge that she will not bring impeachment proceedings against Bush, but it is a pledge she must break for the good of the country, and the world.

Even some key Repubs are finally seeing this President for what he is (an ignorant, totally incompetent bully.) My hope is that they will start to entertain the thought of impeachment -- not only because it's the right thing to do but, their own political futures may depend on it.