Thursday, June 30, 2005


Stories You Won't Hear From Matt & Katie

As most of you know, I live in a pretty small town. Population 3500. It's one of those towns where everybody knows everybody, if not by name, then definitely by face. Having been a teacher here for almost ten years, now, I've gotten to know a lot of people quite well. Whether as students, parents, brothers, sisters, whatever, I'd say Im pretty familiar with over 75% of the town. And as luck would have it, most are staunch conservatives.

As is the case in most small towns, our young people don't have a lot of options awaiting them after high school. Of course many of them leave for college, but for the ones that are left, they basically have two options. They could work for one of the two factories here in town (one makes hammers for SEARS and the other makes automobile parts for Ford Motor Co.) or they can join the military. Many of our students choose the latter. If you've grown up in a small town you understand the desire to escape any way you can. For a lot of them, the military provides that opportunity.

So with this in mind, I would think that it's safe to say that I know somewhere around two dozen people, most of them former students, from this area that are currently deployed in Iraq. All over town a person can see signs and ribbons showing support for their sons or daughters or husbands etc. In fact, the softball league that I play in has two fewer teams now because many of our players are overseas. So when our soldiers come home for a visit it's a big deal. Signs go up welcoming them home. Parties are thrown in their honor. They're treated like local celebrities.

However, I'm taken aback by the behavior of some of them. It's so different from what we're led to believe. On television we get to see stories about soldiers wounded in action and they all say, "I'm just looking forward to rejoining my unit," or "I can't wait to get back to the action." But that's not the message I see from our kids here. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

One of my former students, we'll call him Joe, was among the first units to be deployed to Iraq. Joe was a student in my classroom for three years. He wasn't necessarily the best student nor was he the brightest or most amibitious but Joe was dependable. He was always at school, on time, prepared and ready to go. If there was an outside activity to attend, Joe was there. If I needed help with something I could count on Joe. Well, last summer Joe's unit received some leave time stateside. For two weeks last June, his unit got to come home and see their families. What could be better? You would think that Joe would have spent his time with his family. But instead, Joe spent his time in the bars picking fights with the locals. It turns out that Joe didn't want to go back to Iraq and was hoping to get himself into some legal trouble that would require him to stay here. The last I had heard, Joe is still in Iraq.

More disturbing yet is the story of another former student, we'll call him John. John's unit just shipped out last fall. It is his unit that boasts the majority of my former students. Almost the entire town went to the send off ceremony. Most of these kids are just out of high school. Four or five years at the most. Luckily, they are home on leave as I write this.

John was a quiet student. Once again, not what you would call the best or the brightest, but a good kid nonetheless. Last Friday he arrived at the airport for two weeks of leave. By Monday he had tried to overdose on alcohol and pills. His parents said that when they found out what he had done he replied, "At least now I won't have to go back there." The Army has stepped in and is going to take over his treatment and after some psychiatric care, he will be rejoining his unit in Iraq.

If this is happening in this pissant little conservative town, how often is this happening elsewhere around the country? For too many people, the faces of our soldiers are only what they get from Matt & Katie. They hear the rhetoric out of the White House about the insurgency being in its last throes and they see happy, eager soldiers wanting to rejoin their units. But the truth is right here. It's not all about duty and honor and bravery. For some, they are willing to risk injury, arrest, and even death if it provides them the opportunity to avoid going back.

I feel for the families of these soldiers. I feel for the soldiers themselves. It hurts me like hell to know that they are in harm's way. But what hurts me even more is the unwillingness of any member of our current administration or the mainstream media to admit that things like this are happening. The truth about Iraq can be found in the soldiers, not the politicians or the talking suits on television. And the truth I see is ugly.

I often wonder how we got ourselves into this mess and then I have to remind myself that the hardest part is going to be getting ourselves out of it. I only hope our soldiers are around to see it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


It Sucks to be Old - Part 2

I'm back!!! It's Mrs. kissfan here as your guest blogger. Kissfan is very busy tonight studying for a test that he has tomorrow. So I said, "Don't worry. I've got you covered." I know that I promised some Band-Aid stories, but this is way better. On Sunday I had the opportunity to watch kissfan play softball.

Grandma and Grandpa kissfan took the little kissfans to St. Louis for the weekend, so I was free to watch the old guys play. The outing started as usual with kissfan lubing up his elbows and knees. I had to thank him later for doing that in the bedroom. Our room smelled like Ben-Gay for the rest of the day. We then made out trek to the park. At first they were all excited to see me. They all kept saying, "Alright - we've got a fan!" Each week all of the guys have to pay a dollar (it's to pay the umpires). Kissfan was trying to get out of paying his dollar since he brought a fan. In the end, he had to bum a dollar off of me.

Before the game began, the guys all warmed up by playing catch and making fun of each other. The big excitement, however, was that they had ten players show up. This means that they could play four in the outfield. I'm told that they usually only have seven or eight guys show up. They were all wearing their bright yellow T-shirts - all except for one guy. He had on the old blue T-shirt that they wore a couple of years ago. He kept referring to it as the "throw back uniform." I just think that he didn't want to look like a road sign.

When the game started, kissfan was up first. He ended up with a walk. I think it was the first walk that the team has ever gotten. I think two runs were scored by the old guys, and then it was the other team's turn to bat. Let me take a moment to tell you about the other team. This group takes the game very seriously. They have scouts that hang out at the park all afternoon to check out the other teams. I'm told that they even keep a book - whatever that means. Usually the old guys just make fun of them for taking the game so seriously. The old guys are pretty sure that they could beat the other team if they were just ten years younger, fifty pounds lighter, and didn't have DD man-boobs (kissfan is excluded on all but the ten years younger). Anyway, the old guys held them to four runs. Here's the best part of this story. Do you remember that I told you last time that the local chiropractor sponsors the team and that he also plays on the team? Well, he was playing right field. A ball came out to him, but he couldn't get his glove on the ground to pick it up. I think he ran past it three times trying to get low enough to get it. Keep in mind, the guy is only 35 years old. As it turns out, he hurt his back and was unable to pick up the ball. Insert your own joke here. The next inning he moved to catcher.

After the second at bat, Joey P. had to leave because his kid was playing T-ball on the next field and he wanted to go watch. It made me wonder what kissfan would have done if one of the little kissfans would have had a ballgame at the same time. I didn't have to think too long before I remembered that the situation had presented itself a couple of years ago. Kissfan stayed at his game, and I ran back and forth and watched both games at the same time. AAAHHH priorities.

Back to the story...

After the second at bat, Joey P. had to leave. Doc moved to catcher, the catcher (I can't remember his nick name) moved to third, and Kilby moved to the outfield. Let me tell you, with only three guys in the outfield, a whole lot of profanity could be heard. This is why I don't bring the little kissfans to watch daddy play. Kissfan kept telling me afterwards that the field is a piece of shit and that the ball kept taking bad hops. I don't know if that is true, but I saw him doing a lot of running around out there. He never seemed to be running the same direction that the ball was hopping.

The other team kept scoring and eventually the ten run rule was enforced. I can't remeber the final score, but they lost by over ten runs. After the game I wasn't greeted with the same excitement that I was greeted with before the game started. Instead of "We have a fan!" it was "Get back! You're bad luck!" I really don't think that I brought them bad luck - the ten run rule is applied at most of their games.

That ends my tale for this week. Kissfan should be back tomorrow. By the way, the Mellencamp show last night was great. We had lawn seats, but some girls who had won tickets in the 17th row decided not to stay, and gave us their tickets. I don't know why they picked us out of the crowd, but it was GREAT!

Thanks for reading!!!!

Monday, June 27, 2005


Ooooo... Dick's Gonna' Be Pissed!

Remember this?

Well, check out this.

Methinks someone didn't read their mail. I can just see the meeting over this one.

And scene.

Anyway, Truespeak is going to be taking a break tomorrow as Mrs. kissfan and I will be out of town. In fact, we're going to be in oldwhitelady's neck of the woods as we take in the John Mellencamp/John Fogerty concert at the UMB Bank Pavillion in Maryland Heights, Mo. So everyone have a good day tomorrow and I'll be back on Wednesday with more bloggy goodness.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Wow! What A Week!

This has been an extremely busy week here at kissfan manor. I'm currently enrolled in a summer class that meets from 9:30 - 1:00 on Mon, Tue, and Thurs; and I'm playing guitar in a stage production of "Kiss Me, Kate" at the same time. So far this week I've had three classes, four rehearsals, and tonight was the show's opening. Needless to say, I'm a little exhausted. So tonight, I'm going to make myself a rum & coke and I'm going to relax. For your reading pleasure, I'd like to direct you to some of my new friends. Meet Alicia, Wanda, and Robert.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Now That I've Calmed Down...

I'll give this another go.

I’m not going to try and explain why Sen. Durbin used the terms Nazi and Gulag and the like. I don’t have any idea what would prompt him to do so. I have to assume that only he knows. But in the rush to point a finger at him, we, the American public along with the media, are making a terrible mistake. We’re clearly missing the forest, so to speak.

With all of the attention being focused on those few words, we have glossed over the most important part of Durbin’s message. We are committing some attrocius acts in the name of America. In my opinion, this speech should have elicited a much different response. It should have caused all Americans to ask themselves this one simple question:

Let’s look at the Nazis for a minute. Certainly, we can all agree that they were abhorrent. The acts perpetrated by the Nazis were despicable. But at what point did they become despicable? When did they cross that line? Was it when they forced the Jews to register and identify themselves with the star upon their clothing? Was it when they confined them to the slums? Was it when they interned them in the forced labor camps? Or did they only cross the line when they gassed them by the dozens? At some point, the Nazis crossed that line of what we are willing to tolerate and that is what made them awful. Some would say that the simple feeling of hatred toward the Jews was when the line was crossed. The point is, they crossed it and when they did they committed what is one of the most heinous acts in history.

Now, let’s look at what we’re doing in Guantanamo Bay. According to the FBI report read by Durbin, detainees were “chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. “ The question we have to ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to tolerate this. And remember, whatever we are willing to tolerate from our own detention centers and interrogators we should be expected to tolerate equal treatment when it is perpetrated against our own soldiers.

So ask yourself, “Could I tolerate my son/daughter/father/husband/cousin/etc. being chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor while they were forced to lie in their own excrement?” For most of us, this crosses that line. This goes beyond what we are willing to endure. Republicans, Democrats, it doesn't matter. This is too much. Is it on par with gassing millions of people? I can only answer, "Not yet."

As some conservatives have pointed out, this may not have even been an American interrogator who was responsible for this abuse. It really doesn't matter, though. It was carried out at one of our facilities and our unwillingness to even acknowledge it reflects poorly upon us. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, this was done in our name and we are therefore responsible.

By focusing our attention not on what Durbin said but on how he said it, we are acting as though the rest of the statement was of no consequence. Just because Durbin closed with some statements that could be construed as offensive, doesn’t mean that the entire speech is without merit. If I came up with a cure for cancer and then promptly went next door and murdered my neighbors, that would make me a murderer, but it wouldn’t mean that the cure was ineffective. We can’t ignore the point of Durbin’s speech because some were offended by one sentence.

By simply glossing over the issue and wasting our time pointing fingers I’m afraid that we’re sending the signal to the rest of the world that we are willing to tolerate what is being done in our name. This to me is the real crime here. Conservatives can dislike Durbin all they want. I’m sure that if the voters are truly offended they will take it out on him when he is up for reelection. But we can’t ignore what is happening.

One of the more popular retorts from conservatives is that Hitler murdered millions as did Pol Pot and the Soviets. This is how they are justifying their outrage. Well, I'm sorry. You can't claim that you aren't wrong because someone else did something worse. They're right, Hitler and the others did kill millions, but would it have been alright if they had only killed say 500,000? What if they had only killed 10,000? Could we live with that? No, of course we couldn't. The truth is, one killed was too many and we all know it. Anyone, Democrat or Republican, that claims otherwise is nothing but a bigot.

So if it came down to it, how many deaths would we be willing to tolerate at Guantanamo. Is one too many? Will we have crossed the line if somebody dies? What about 10? 100? 1,000? Where are we going to draw that line? Because if we are willing to look the other way on what's happening now, it only seems logical that we will keep looking away until it goes too far. I would have hoped that we would have drawn our line long before things got to this point but that didn't happen. It needs to happen now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Goddammit! Now I'm Pissed!

(Strap yourself in folks, this one's gonna' be rough.)

This post was originally going to be called "William Rusher Sucks Cock And Likes It," but I realized that it's more than just Rusher. It's everybody in the entire fucking media! I am sick and goddamned tired of all this shit about Durbin! Everybody has completely missed the point!


Okay, let me try to explain. I live in the sticks. If you were in a place as far from an urban area as you could get, you'd still have a few more miles to go to get to where I live. Consequently, everyone here is a Republican. For fuck's sake, Alan Keyes got around 40% of the vote in my county. That's how fucked up things are around here. Anyway, when the newspaper arrives every day, I like to turn to the opinion page and see what the rubes are complaining about. We usually get a large political cartoon, a lettor or two to the editor, and an editorial from a syndicated columnist. We get some humdingers around here, too. We get Morton Kondrake, Cokie Roberts, sometimes Bill O'Reilly, and on occasion they throw us Dems a bone and give us Gene Lyons (gotta' look fair and balanced you know). Well, today we got William Rusher. And like all other good conservative puke funnels (props to Atrios for that term) he was spouting the same bullshit about Senator Durbin's comments from last week.

He says:

Do you see it? Well.....?

Not one fucking mention of what Durbin actually said. Not one fucking word about the torture that Durbin was referring to. Not one fucking word about the disgusting, inhumane acts perpetrated in our names. They've successfully changed the subject, again. This is the same shit they pulled on Dan Rather. The information contained in the documents was forgotten because the focus was on the fact that they may have been reproductions. The secretary who worked for the commander who had allegedly written the documents said the information was accurate. She remembered him making statements like the ones contained in the documents. But nobody paid any attention because the documents may have been reproductions.

Welcome to round two of the look-the-other-way campaign. Everyone from Rusher to Limbaugh right on down to the local television news is jumping on Durbin for uttering the words Nazi and Gulag. Nobody is even discussing what he said! We are forcing people to shit on themselves and lie in it for hours! We are stripping them naked and chaining them to the floor! This is despicable behavior and we're glossing over it because Durbin said Nazi and Gulag!

Look, Durbin did not jeopardize our troops by calling this behavior what it is. Our troops were jeopardized by the act itself. Our troops are jeopardized because the current leadership thinks that it is above the law and can do whatever the fuck it wants. If it were one of our soldiers stripped naked, chained to the floor, and forced to lie in shit for hours on end while being detained incommunicado without any charges filed against him in a country like say Iran; we'd be PISSED! We would be amassing our troops at the border to wipe the country off the face of the earth. Fuck Iraq, we got a soldier forced to lie in shit!

It's abhorrant that we would ever tolerate behavior such as this let alone be the perpetrators of it. I know it, you know, fucking William Rusher knows it, and goddamned John McCain knows it even though he said that Durbin should apologize. But nobody is even discussing that. Everyone is all up in arms because Durbin called a spade a spade. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's a fucking duck you ignorant shitheads!

We are the most powerful country in the world because we are better than the Nazis and the Pol Pots of the world. We didn't get to be the world's only super-power because we humiliated everyone else into submission. We got here because we are just. We are an honorable nation that believes in the power of liberty. We are a nation that strives to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for the downtrodden in the world. But every reporter, pundit, commentator, asswipe that has looked the other way on torture and pointed the finger at Durbin is symbolically stripping our country and chaining it to the floor and forcing it to lie in its own shit. If they had any fucking decency that would demand an investigation into this FBI report that Durbin was quoting and wouldn't stop screaming until they were sure that the responsible parties were brought to justice. It is this behavior that prompts our enemies around the world to despise us. It is this behavior that stains the reputation of my country and in turn everyone in it. We are all wearing the stain of this behavior and the media is pretending like it doesn't exist. Shame on them. Shame on Rusher and Limbaugh and O'Reilly and McCain, and everyone else for pretending that Durbin is the enemy. He exposed the truth and anyone who believes that the truth should be kept hidden is fucking criminal. How dare they call themselves Americans. How dare they claim to be from the same country as me. My country is just! My country is proud! My country wouldn't tolerate this!

So to Rusher and the others I say "Fuck you!" It will be a cold day in hell when I disrespect someone for telling the truth.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


This Is Why We Lose

Have you ever wondered why the Democrats lose elections? It's because we often end up apologizing for being right.

Since his comments last week, Sen. Durbin has come under fire for invoking the Nazis. According to the Republican noise machine, Durbin's statements have emboldened the enemy. They've aided the terrorists. Now I ask you, "What emboldens the terrorists more, invoking a regime that killed millions of Jews or the denegration of Islamic detainees in our detention centers?"

Unfortunately, the focus hasn't been on the veracity of the statement that Durbin made, but on the comments that followed. The full statement was:

Sadly, his characterization was correct. These acts that the FBI agent referred to are reprehensible and would not be tolerated if they had been perpetrated on an American. Even Republicans have to concede that point. But it turns out that Durbin's true crime was having the audacity to publicly decry these activities. He is simply being crucified for stating the truth while the cameras were rolling.

So how did it get to this point? Why must we apologize for telling the truth? The answer: because we play too nice.

When the Swifties came after Kerry did he go public and say "These guys are full of shit?" No, he took the high road. What about the new book about Hillary Clinton that claims, among other things, that she is a lesbian? Do you see anybody from the Democratic party showing up on television to say "This is all a bunch of crap?" No, they're taking the high road. Should Durbin have apologized for exposing the truth about prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay? No, but he's trying to take the high road. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the high road doesn't work when your opponent plays in the gutter.

After the election, I spoke about how the Democrats could begin to regain some control in Washington. At the time I said:

I still believe those words.

My friends, I believe that it is time that we started our own Democratic noise machine. I alluded to it last night when I encouraged you to write letters to the editor and call local talk shows and to share what you know with friends and family. Tonight I'm encouraging you to raise some hell. Write to your Senators and your Representatives and encourage them to speak out. Write to your local papers and expose the Republican lies and misdirections. (After all, that's what this is. It's a misdirection to focus the attention not on the heinous acts being described, but on the stark statement that contained the truth.) Don't be rude or arrogant and don't float conspiracy theories, but call attention to the blatant missteps by the Republican party. This would be a good place to start.

By the way, while you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to send along some support to Sen. Durbin and thank him for having the courage to stand up and speak the truth even though it was ugly. You can contact him here.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Because It's Never Too Early

In the world of politics, it's never too early to start planning for the next election. For the national stage, that means 2006. Hell, it's just seventeen months away. So I say, "Why wait?"

One of the strategies that has worked so well for the Republicans in past years is that they get out of the gate early. When John Kerry announced John Edwards as his running mate, the RNC had their talking points up and running on their website within the hour. Naturally, they had prepared a dossier on every possible candidate to avoid being caught off guard. While I despise the Republican party for most things, I have to respect their preparedness. It's something my party could learn a lot from. In that sense, I believe that it would be a good idea for the Democrats to begin defining their opponents now, before they even have a face.

One way to define a political opponent, is by his/her party affiliation. The Republicans have done a remarkable job of demonizing the word liberal and then tying it to the Democrats. Although I'm a proud liberal, many of my party's members run screaming from the room when that word is uttered. Not, mind you, because of anything they've done wrong, but because of the negative connotation the word has been given by the conservative noise machine. It was fairly easy for them to do. They basically took a few unsavory acts by a few members of the opposition party and they made them the face of every Democratic utterance. Think about it. Somehow, Michael Moore became the face of the Democratic party in our last presidential election. While I applaud Michael Moore's efforts and his actions, he was no more of a poster child for our party than you or I. But he was divisive and he really pissed off the Republican base. So when the Republicans uttered the word liberal, the image of Michael Moore was conjured.

We can do the same thing, but the longer we wait, the more ground we will lose. As it stands right now, the leader of the Republican party is George W. Bush and his approval ratings are in the shitter, big time. He and his party are vulnerable, so now is the best time to act. The first thing we need to do is to find a few unsavory acts. (I know, I know, but we don't want to come out of the gate too fast. Be patient.) Lying is something that really pisses people off and this administration has been lying to us for years. So we should have plenty of fodder. The crew over at Think Progress has already done a lot of the hard work for us. They've put together a collection of some White House shenanigans that involves doctoring some governmental reports. Now we've probably all heard of Phillip A. Cooney doctoring global climate change reports, but it seems as though that was just the tip of the iceberg. According to what Think Progress has found, the White House has been doctoring reports on everything from climate change to the effectiveness of condoms to the air quality at Ground Zero to cancer. The list is really staggering.

Now you might be saying to yourself, "So what?" Most people don't read Think Progress. Well, you're right, but a lot of people do read the paper. You could write a letter to the editor and share this information. You could call a local radio talk show and pose a question concerning it. At the very least, you could share this information with your friends and family. Direct them to the site if they want verification.

Too many times we blame the suits in Washington for losing the elections when we here at the base level didn't do anything to help. Well, no more. Do your part. Be an activist for your party. You don't have to be rude and obnoxious, just offer the information to others. Sometimes that little push is all it takes. Remember, 2006 is right around the corner and all changes have to start from the bottom up. You don't build a house by starting with the roof, you start with the foundation. Now get out there and do your part! Help build that foundation while you work to tear down the Republican's.

Friday, June 17, 2005


This Time He's Gone Too Far

I can deal with the rhetoric.

I can handle the misrepresentations.

Hell, I sometimes even laugh at the simple-minded stereotypes.

But this time, he's gone too far.

Coming from the man who said that Abu Ghraib was just a few people blowing off steam, I guess I really shouldn't be that surprised. I guess I just didn't expect that he could sink any further. Clearly, I was wrong.

Yes, of course, I'm speaking of Rush Limbaugh. The blowhard, himself. Today, as I do most days, I caught a portion of his show. As luck would have it, it just so happened that today I caught the beginning of the show. In true Rush fashion, he was whoring like a skank in need of a fix. It seems that Sen. Dick Durbin's statement concerning prisoner abuse has really got Rush's undies in a bunch. Funny how the truth has a way of doing that to him, isn't it?

So today, in yet another blatant attempt to redirect the ditto-heads' attention away from the truth, Rush offered them this:

In case you can't read it, the front of the shirt says "Club G'itmo" and the back says "I Got My Free Koran and Prayer Rug at G'itmo." Don't like that one? Don't worry, he's got others. One says "Your Tropical Retreat from the Stress of Jihad" andd the other proclaims "My Mullah went to Club G'itmo and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt." As Eddie Murphy would say "Ha ha! Very funny, motherfucker!" (That is, of course, before he was known as Donkey from Shrek.)

You know, it's bad enough that our country's image is continually stained by the reports of abuse that eminate from this place, we really don't need this blowhard and his didiot listeners celebrating it like it's a fucking carnival attraction. He then has the gall to claim that it's people like Durbin that are giving our country a bad name. Call me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, the one's giving the country a bad name are the shitheeps walking around celebrating the fact that we chain people naked to the floor for hours on end forcing them to piss and shit on themselves. If I did that to my dog, the humane society would on my ass faster than I could say "Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot."

But he doesn't stop there. Oh no. That wouldn't be low enough. In his never-ending effort to become lower than low, Rush offers his listeners the side-splitting Club G'itmo Brochure that states:

and features pictures like this:

Because after all, nothing is funnier than the humiliation of our detainees. Classy isn't it?

Does anyone remember Michael Fay? He was the American teen arrested and caned in Singapore back in '93 or '94. Remember the outrage over that? Here was an American who had been arrested and given due process under the law and we were pissed at the treatment he was to receive. I'm not condoning the punishment, I believe that it was excessive, but it was the law of the country and applied to everyone there. Now here we are denying the detainees at G'itmo their due process, treating them in a way that we wouldn't treat one of our own, and we're still surprised that the rest of the world would be outraged? Heh.

But just in case this whole thing needed another kick in the teeth, Rush is now offering the five day weather forecasts for G'itmo and Baghdad. Because for fuck's sake people, we're doing these detainees a favor, you know. The temperature today in Baghdad reached 114o. The temperature in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? A cool 87o. So what are they complaining about? Surely they can withstand daily humiliation if it means they don't have to sweat. Right?


Thursday, June 16, 2005


Your Turn

I don't usually do this at Truespeak, but tonight we're going to have something of an open thread. This topic has been broached a couple of times in the comments, so what I want to know from all of you is:

Use the comments section to give us your answers. Take it away.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Well, Whaddya' Know?

Last week I explored the connection between the White House, Phillip Cooney, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and ExxonMobil.

Ahhh...Altering documents. The timeless art of deception. But back to the topic at hand.

So imagine my surprise when I came across this article today.

Well, whaddya' know? It just gets better and better. Cooney comes under fire for altering documents for the White House so Bush buddy ExxonMobil says, "Come on in, the water's oil's fine." Looks to me as though ExxonMobil is rewarding Cooney for a job well done.

I don't know about you, but this is all just a little too coincidental for me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


NBC - Still Nothing But Crap!

For a while, I thought I might have to retract last week's statement about NBC. As I watched tonight's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell reported not only on the Downing Street Memo, but seven total documents from the UK that the network has verified as authentic. I couldn't believe it. My jaw nearly hit the floor. Were they actually reporting something newsworthy? I had expected them to spend more time discussing the Michael Jackson verdict. I even called Mrs. kissfan over to watch. This was going to be real news. But then they ran the story and I knew that it was still the same ol' NBC. (I know, I'm not supposed to reprint the whole thing, but so what. It's necessary to make my point)

Basically, the point of this story is that the British thought we were fucking it up. Fine, I understand that. But they're missing the obvious. They can't see the proverbial forest. Look at the dates on these memos. All of them from early to mid 2002. So in my mind, this begs the following question: Why were we told this on August 27, 2002?

Why can't NBC ask the obvious questions? Why is it that they are afraid to do their job? We were lied to and these documents prove it. Plain and simple, WE WERE LIED TO!

I've got to stop watching the mainstream news. One of these days I'm liable to blow a gasket or something.

BTW - I don't know how Mrs. kissfan got the keys to the joint, but I've put them in a new hiding place. She kept trying to injure me today so that she could post more stories. I told her not to worry, we've still got a whole softball season to go. She'll get her chance.

Monday, June 13, 2005


It Sucks to be Old

Kissfan is discovering, the hard way, that he is not as young as he thinks he is. He is currently in bed with an Icy Hot patch on his back wishing that he was 18 again. So tonight, you get me - Mrs. Kissfan!

Every summer, the men in this area gather at the park and partake in an annual tradition known as Men's League Softball. Kissfan has been playing on the same team for several years now. The team is made up of a group of thirtysomethings who work for the school district. They are extremely foul mouthed and not very good at the game of softball. But they have a good time and are entertaining to watch, so the local chiropractor keeps sponsoring them (Doc plays on the team also).

Yesterday was opening day for the old guys and all the other teams. I always know when game time is approaching because I can smell Kissfan coming. He spends a good 30 minutes at home spreading BenGay all over his elbows and knees. He then puts on a nasty bright yellow T-shirt that has no neck or sleeves, and heads for the park. Once he gets there, he spends another 20 minutes stretching and making fun of the other teams who actually have a game plan. I didn't go to watch yesterday. I stayed home with the little Kissfans who were playing in the sprinkler. When Kissfan returned I asked him how much he lost by. I know it sounds cruel, but a win is a big event because it hardly ever happens. The funny part was that he told me that the other team was terrible and that this is the only game that they will probably win. I'm thinking, "That's one more than you." He started limping around, but he didn't really say anything. We took the littlest little Kissfan to his T-Ball game and Kissfan fidgeted a bit on the bleachers, but he still didn't say anything. It wasn't until breakfast this morning that he finally admitted that he pulled something in his back while playing softball. He's been moving slow all day. We took the older little Kissfan to his Little League game tonight, and Kissfan couldn't sit on the bleachers for very long. He had to keep taking walks. Does anyone else see the irony in all of this? Think about who sponsors the team.

So here you are stuck with me. I follow politics, but I can't write about it the way Kissfan does. Hopefully he'll be feeling better tomorrow and back at the computer. If not, you might get me again - I'll find something else to make fun of him for. Maybe I'll tell you why I have to stock up on Band-Aids every summer. Who knows. Until then, thanks for listening.

Friday, June 10, 2005


But Wait...There's More

Last night I tried to explain the connection between the ExxonMobil Corporation and the Bush White House. Long story short, through groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, ExxonMobil appears to be steering the Bush administration's environmental policy and is responsible for their anti-global warming stance.

But with a little more digging and the help of ElGringo from DailyKos, I've found that the ExxonMobil/CEI/AEI connection extends even further than I thought. The three main players in last night's post were Roger Bate, Michael S. Greve, and Joel Schwartz. All three men were associated with both CEI and AEI. As it turns out, they are also associated with a number of other ExxonMobil funded groups as are some of their CEI and AEI colleagues.

All of the following organizations boast members of CEI or AEI amongst their rosters and all have received money from ExxonMobil:

For a grand total of $1,566,523. And that's just in 2002 alone! How much do you suppose they've spent in the last four-plus years since Bush took office?

Through the CEI and the AEI, ExxonMobil has its fingers in a lot of pies right now. And not just any pies but some very influential pies, indeed. These think-tanks are advising on governmental policy as we speak. And ExxonMobil's reach gets longer and longer the deeper I dig.

Scared yet? I am.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Another Piece of the Puzzle...

falls into place.

The controversies of the Bush administration are many. The lies, the fear, the lies, the propaganda, the lies, I could go on and on. But one of the first of these controversies was the administration's decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Treaty back in March, 2001.

To say that Bush hasn't been a very good friend to the environment would indeed be an understatement. His ties to the oil industry are well known and the oil companies would bear the brunt of any legislation to cut greenhouse gasses. Therefore, Bush has shied away from policies that would make emissions control mandatory such as this one would and has instead endorsed a variety of voluntary programs that would allow industries to police themselves. The old fox guarding the henhouse plan, so to speak. So when it was revealed in the NYTimes recently that a Bush aide has been editing government climate reports to downplay the significance of global warming, it was really no big surprise. After all, if the public thinks there's no global warming then there's no need for Kyoto. Get it?

Well, here's where things get complicated. Through a Freedom of Information Act request in 2003, Greenpeace obtained an e-mail to a Phil Cooney from a Myron Ebell. Ebell, on behalf of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, was informing Cooney, a senior official at the White House Council for Environmental Quality, about the CEI's plans to discredit an EPA study on climate change through a lawsuit and possibly force the resignation of then EPA director Christine Todd Whitman. The e-mail starts out by saying "Thanks for calling and asking for our help." So it would appear that Phil Cooney was trying to discredit the report himself prior to the intervention from Ebell and the CEI. As it turns out, this Phil Cooney is the same Phillip A. Cooney who is now accused of altering governmental climate reports.

Stay with me here.

Myron Ebell is on staff at CEI along with a Roger Bate, a Michael Greve and a Joel Schwartz. Ironically, these same three men are also on the list of Scholars and Fellows at the American Enterprise Institute of which Lynne Cheney (yes, that Lynne Cheney) is also a fellow. At the same time, the AEI's Board of Trustee's lists one Lee R. Raymond as Vice Chairman. This is the same Lee R. Raymond who is listed as the CEO of the Exxon Mobil Corporation who funds the aforementioned Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Now you might be saying to yourself, "So what?" Well, here's so what. Remember Kyoto?

To summarize, Exxon Mobil pressured the White House to withdraw from the Kyoto Treaty on global warming. Exxon Mobil's CEO is on the Board of Directors at the AEI who's Fellows include Bate, Greve, and Schwartz who are also on staff at Exxon Mobil-funded CEI whom Phillip A. Cooney contacted for help in discrediting an EPA study on global climate change. Cooney then went on to alter subsequent governmental climate change documents to downplay the significance of global warming. Everybody get that? No global warming equals no mandatory emissions controls which equals no extra financial burdens for the oil industry which equals bigger revenues. I think it's clear where this administration's loyalties lie. The world can go to hell as long as "big bidness" can continue to make money.

For those of us who have been convinced that George W. Bush's global warming free environmental policy has been guided by big business, in particular the oil industry, this is just another piece in the ever evolving puzzle. I'm sure CNN will get right on this.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Bad Idea!

I'm always amazed at the plans some people come up with to improve education. What's worse is that most of these people are educators. This one's a real doozy.

The problems with this are numerous. To begin with, student scores will fluctuate from year to year depending on the make-up of the class being tested. Anyone who's ever worked in education can attest to the fact that each class has its strengths and weaknesses. Some classes have a higher percentage of special needs students. Some classes have a higher concentration of non-English speaking students. Some classes have.. Well, you get the idea. These things are beyond the control of the teacher. Rewarding someone because they had the good fortune to get a good group of students this year will undoubtedly make other teachers angry.

Second of all, any time money is tied to results, there is the impetus to cheat. Given the choice of being fired or getting a bonus, I'm going to pick the bonus. I would like to think that the teachers would do it the right way, but when the pressure's on, people become desperate and will resort to tactics they would otherwise condemn. This district has already had issues with cheating in order to inflate test scores. If bonuses are tied to results, it will happen again.

Third, as if this isn't already a problem in today's schools, tying money to the outcome of one single exam will result in our teachers teaching to the test. As it stands now, there is so much emphasis on test scores that many districts have reduced their curriculum to nothing more than the test objectives. Valuable lessons have been discarded simply because they aren't on the exam. There is no reason to spend time teaching something like music and art if the students aren't going to be tested on it. And what about cross-curricular activities? There's none of that on the exams, so they're O-U-T, out! After all, why should teachers waste their time on other topics if their livelihoods are tied directly to fifty multiple choice math questions?

This idea will not lure better teachers to the district. It will only encourage cheating, hard feelings, and the dumbing down of a district's curriculum. In today's rapidly advancing world, dumbing down our population is not an option we need to be exploring.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Has It Been That Long?

One year ago today, Truespeak began. It began as a lark with a post about the death of Ronald Reagan. I wasn't sure how long it would last, I had hoped to make it through the summer. Then I figured I'd stick it out until the election. Then... Well, here we are. I've met a lot of great people along the way. I've learned a lot of wonderful things about my country and even a few thing I wish I hadn't. But in the end, I feel like I've gained quite a bit. Truespeak has become a pretty important part of my life. On a daily basis I can come here and vent my frustration, my worries, my anger, my disappointment, and my joy. It's definitely the most cathartic thing I've ever done.

Over the last year, I've often tried to put a face to some of the people I've met. Schaul was easy as I know her. Oldwhitelady I've always pictured in front of an easel with a brush in one hand, a pallette in the other, a pastoral scene on the canvas, and a cat at her feet. Jesse is always sitting in front of the computer with a pile of books next to him, the radio on, and his backpack open on the floor next to his chair. And I always see Ickabod as the character from the Disney "Sleepy Hollow" cartoon; tall, skinny, and very scholarly looking. I'm probably way off, but that's what I always see. Not that anybody probably cares, but this is me:

Now nobody has to guess.

I should say thank you to the Washington Post and ABC News for the wonderful gift. It appears that in honor of my first anniversary here they've taken a new poll. And the results are everything I've ever wanted.

It's so nice to see the rest of the country finally coming around to my way of thinking. Oh, but wait... there's more:

Ahhhh... That's so sweet. And what's Bush's approval/disapproval rating? An anemic 48/52 with 58% saying that Bush is not focused on issues important to them. Maybe my time here is starting to pay off. (Yeah, right!)

So to all of you that have been here throughout the first year I would like to say "Thank You." Thank you for your wisdom, your insight, your comments, and your support. I'm looking forward to a second year.

Monday, June 06, 2005


NBC (Nothing But Crap)

This morning, like every morning, I returned from my morning bike ride and turned on the Today show. I'm not sure why, but I'm always amused to see what the mainsteam media is blathering about. (Naturally, I take everything they say with the requisite grain of salt and then I go check the blogs like dKos and Eschaton for the real news.) Today, I returned at 7:06 am, just as my local channel was covering the weather, so I know I didn't miss anything but Ann Curry's short little news headlines and Al Roker's bad jokes. From that time to until I got in the shower @ 8:00, the stories covered by Matt and Katie were as follows:

Is it just me or is there nothing really newsworthy in any of this? The missing girl in Aruba is the closest thing to actual news, but it's more of a local story than a national one. And the rest? It's all gossip! It's the type of shit best left to The National Enquirer and People magazine. So it really comes as no surprise when I see stuff like this (via Atrios):

Of course I realize that the Today show isn't on MSNBC, but it's all the same parent company. Maybe if their "news shows" actually covered some "freakin' news," they wouldn't be getting their asses kicked in the ratings. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a few things they should be discussing. Like maybe coingate, the "terrorist" victory in Lebanon's elections, the Downing Street Memo, etc., etc., etc.

But hey, that's just me.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Working For A Living


You gotta' love that Bush economy! Aside from the fact that these numbers aren't even close to keeping up with the expanding workforce, almost forty percent of those new jobs were in retail (low income/no benefits) and construction (mostly seasonal). You know, I seem to remember Georgieboy telling us that we were "turning the corner." Well I got news for ya' George, you might want to turn the map over, 'cause I think we just missed our turn.

Have a great weekend everybody! I'll see you on Monday.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Militarily Speaking...

As I sat down tonight to write the post you're currently reading I had intended to write about the recruiting crisis currently facing our military. I had my articles at the ready, I had the general direction set in my head, and I had the wayback machine warmed up and idling in the driveway. I was going to refer to this article that indicates some of our forces are undermanned and unable to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities. I was going to link to this article that discusses some of the cuts that are having to be made in our military training due to budget constraints and shortfalls. And I was going to reference this article that explains how the Pentagon is delaying the latest recruiting numbers until a later date indicating that they may be worse than previously thought, possibly continuing the shortfall for a fifth consecutive month.

But when I climbed into the wayback machine and set the date for March 16, 2003, (three days prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq) I quickly realized that I had struck gold. On this date Dick Cheney appeared on Meet the Press to discuss the developing situation and impending confrontation with Saddam Hussein. In truth, I was actually looking for references to how many troops would be needed to complete the task ahead of us. What I found was far more informative than anything I could ever write here this evening. At that moment I decided that I had found my post for today. You can read the entire transcripthere, but I'll give you the highlights.

How much of this has turned out to be untrue? Sadly, almost all of it has. I don't think we could have been more wrong. Here we sit twenty-seven months later and we've got a complete mess on our hands with no end in sight. I wish I had something witty to say, but I'm speechless. How did we let it get this far?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


In Defense of Deep Throat

For those of you that have been residing under a rock the last two days, you may not have heard that the identity of Deep Throat has been revealed. Don't worry though, because in true conservative style, the attack dogs wasted no time before trying to crucify him. Of course the conservative word du jour was traitor. After all, W. Mark Felt (aka Deep Throat) was the number two man at the FBI at the time and shouldn't have leaked information to the press. To make a long story short, the conservatives believe that Nixon was screwed from within. (I do have to admit though, it was kind of entertaining to watch a rabid Pat Buchanan and Chuck Colson froth at the mouth while they practically screamed at Matt Lauer on the Today show for insinuating that Felt was anything but treasonous scum.)

According to Buchanan, Colson, and the vacuous conservative zombies over at Free Republic (no link, you'll have to get there yourselves), Felt should have gone to his superior and followed the chain of command instead of going to the "liberal" media. And of course they won't let us forget that Felt had recently been passed over for promotion to the head of the FBI in favor of L. Patrick Gray, a bureau outsider and Nixon crony, so he clearly had an axe to grind and was looking for revenge. Never once however, did they even hint at the fact that Nixon may have done something wrong. Forget the fact that he tried to impede an investigation into a criminal activity. That's just nitpicking.

But let's talk about a seemingly unrelated incident for just a minute. Let's fast-forward about twenty-five years and talk about the tragedy at Columbine High School. One of the things that came out of that terrible event is that we now strongly encourage our students to speak out if they hear of anything like this. In fact, we have posters all over the schools today reminding students that "Heroes call before it's too late." Remaining quiet about possible illegal activities could be dangerous. Lives could be lost, justice could be denied, damage could be done. Since that awful April day in 1999 there have been a number of possible school slayings averted because someone spoke up in time for something to be done about it. In every case, the students who spoke up have been rightly labeled as heroes. Not traitors. not treasonous scum because they shirked their loyalty to their classmates, but heroes, plain and simple.

W. Mark Felt spoke out at a time when something could be done. Unable to go to his boss who had been installed specifically to keep the Nixon White House abreast of the investigation, Felt went to someone that could make a difference. He risked his entire career to make sure that the truth would see the light of day and that those who were guilty would be brought to justice. In my book, that makes him a hero. He could have chosen loyalty, he could have chosen to not rock the boat, but he didn't. Instead, he chose honesty and justice. Imagine our reaction if someone in the ranks of the Nazi party had come forth early on and exposed Hitler's plans. Imagine if someone in the ranks of al Qaida were to come forward and provide the hiding place of Osama bin Laden. How would we treat them? As traitors? Not hardly. Of course Nixon wasn't the equivalent of a Hitler or an Osama bin Laden. That is not the point of my analagies. We're talking about erring on the side of truth as opposed to blind loyalty to something or someone that a person knows in their heart is wrong.

And before the freepers and the wingnuts throw Linda Tripp in my face, there is a difference. Nixon's attempts to impede a federal investigation was an illegal act. Bill Clinton receiving a blowjob from a woman who was not his wife was an immoral act of adulterous ignorance, but not illegal. Mark Felt was bringing a criminal to justice. Linda Tripp was gossiping about a person's private life. Adulterous affairs take place on a daily basis. None of them are right, but neither are any of them illegal in the eyes of the law. However, impeding a federal investigation qualifies as both immoral and illegal. Linda Tripp is not deserving of the same status as Mark Felt. Comparing the two is nothing more than a juvenile attempt to paint Felt as a gossip hound, which he is not.

So despite the constant barrage of pro-Nixon/anti-Felt bloviating that we hear eminating from the right these days, I believe it's clear that what Felt did is nothing short of courageous. And I'm not saying this because I'm a Democrat and Nixon was a Republican, I'm saying this because Mark Felt helped to bring the truth to a public that is too often kept in the dark and that should never be considered treasonous in any day and age. Thank you Mark Felt. The integrity of our country is in your debt.

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