Friday, December 09, 2005

Trial run

Friday, December 9, 2005

This is a test run to see if you can access the blog. Some were having trouble . . . so much for the aol attempt. Let me know if you can't get it.


Next year marks a high school reunion. Haven't decided if I'm going or not, but a book I started reading last night has me reflecting on my acne years. Rock 'n' Roll Radical: The Life and Mysterious Death of Dean Reed is a biography of a high school classmate who came to be known as the Red Elvis.

Some months ago, I was talking with a Russian emigre who is too young to have been caught up as part of Dean's fan base in Russia during the Cold War. But Anna knew of him and his fame as a singer and actor. It's hard to imagine the crew cut, freckle faced, skinny Dean becoming a rock star anywhere, let alone in the Soviet Bloc.

His international fame was kickstarted in Latin Amreica. It's interesting for me that one of our readers is currently visiting the cities where Dean first toured in 1961: Buenos Aires and Santiago to name two. Ian, if you read this, see if you can pick up a Dean Reed memento for me. An old poster, whatever.

Since I used to write book reviews for a newspaper, matbe I'll get my act together and review the book when I'm finished.

Another interesting twist to the story is another reader who roomed with Reed's first wife when they were students at Colorado Women's College in Denver. Judie, if you read this, maybe you can provide some insights via your continuing contact with Dean's ex.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Overheard in the gym locker room yesterday: "Whenever Bush is smiling, we're getting f----d!"

Later, Christina, who cuts my hair, "I cannot stand to watch Bush on TV."

This morning, some of us had the misfortune of listening to the misleader of the marginally free world lying about progress in Iraq. Perhaps his biggest whopper was saying that the rebuilding of Iraq was going well after the devastating governance under Hussein. Excuse me, was it Saddam who shock and awed Iraq's infrastructure into dysfunction? I thought it was primarily a result of an illegal invasion by an illegally placed dimwit and his band of pillaging neofascists.

Another projective lie catching my ear characterized Hussein as a bad man who was concerned about his own self aggrandizement and that of his followers! Wasn't it about a month ago that Bushco men were in Congress justifying their windfall oil profits?

A reader sent this in a few days ago:


By Richard Reeves Fri Dec 2, 8:13 PM ETPARIS

President John F. Kennedy was considered a historian because of his book "Profiles in Courage," so he received periodic requests to rate the presidents, those lists that usually begin "1. Lincoln, 2. Washington ..."But after he actually became president himself, he stopped filling them out."No one knows what it's like in this office," he said after being in the job. "Even with poor James Buchanan, you can't understand what he did and why without sitting in his place, looking at the papers that passed on his desk, knowing the people he talked with."Poor James Buchanan, the 15th president, is generally considered the worst president in history. Ironically, the Pennsylvania Democrat, elected in 1856, was one of the most qualified of the 43 men who have served in the highest office. A lawyer, a self-made man, Buchanan served with some distinction in the House, served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and secretary of state under President James K. Polk. He had a great deal to do with the United States becoming a continental nation -- "Manifest Destiny," war with Mexico, and all that. He was also ambassador to Great Britain and was offered a seat on the Supreme Court three separate times.But he was a confused, indecisive president, who may have made the Civil War inevitable by trying to appease or negotiate with the South. His most recent biographer, Jean Clark, writing for the prestigious American Presidents Series, concluded this year that his actions probably constituted treason. It also did not help that his administration was as corrupt as any in history, and he was widely believed to be homosexual.Whatever his sexual preferences, his real failures were in refusing to move after South Carolina announced secession from the Union and attacked Fort Sumter, and in supporting both the legality of the pro-slavery constitution of Kansas and the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott class declaring that escaped slaves were not people but property.He was the guy who in 1861 passed on the mess to the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Buchanan set the standard, a tough record to beat. But there are serious people who believe that George W. Bush will prove to do that, be worse than Buchanan. I have talked with three significant historians in the past few months who would not say it in public, but who are saying privately that Bush will be remembered as the worst of the presidents.There are some numbers. The History News Network at George Mason University has just polled historians informally on the Bush record. Four hundred and fifteen, about a third of those contacted, answered -- maybe they were all crazed liberals -- making the project as unofficial as it was interesting. These were the results: 338 said they believed Bush was failing, while 77 said he was succeeding. Fifty said they thought he was the worst president ever. Worse than Buchanan.This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:# He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;# He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;# He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;# He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;# He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign (Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);# He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;# He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;# He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney.


Last night I had a dream that wouldn't go away. It started off with reflections upon a seemingly simple concept I was exposed to in a management seminar years ago. The presenter drew three circle on the board. Written in the first circle was "The way it is", in the second, "The way I see it", and in the third, "The way you see it". If I remember correctly, the purpose was to illustrate truth, the way it is, and the difficulty in getting there in a universe of circles representing a myriad of differing frames of reference. In education, the goal is to collegially bring the circles together.

In a perfect world of the fully enlightened, there would be but one circle, the truth and concurrence about what that is. In the real world, however, information, versus knowledge coupled with wisdom, passes for truth. The way it is, becomes the way we are told it is. The center does not hold and chaos rules. It is our world. Intentional lies are pressed into service as a matter of course to shape the truth rather than unveil it

This dream had a centering influence upon me, an aha! moment. Like those moments, it's difficult to relate to others. After I woke up and was puttering with breakfast it occurred to me that the demented Christians whose circle of truth is confined strictly to the contents of the bible have no room for other circles but their own. They feel they own the truth, which is an empowering feeling . . . and dangerous.

Quotes from

"Oh, there's pessimists, you know, and politicians who try to score points. Our troops need to know that the American people stand with them, and we have a strategy for victory." --Dubya, on Howard Dean Link

"A former prime minister of Canada said, 'It's not so much that we Canadians are anti-American, it's that we are very, very worried about a headless giant.' And that stuck with me because that is an apt metaphor in some cases for this superpower right now. It seems leaderless. It seems directionless." --Lawrence Wilkerson, Link

"We were abandoned. City officials did nothing to protect us. We saw buses, helicopters and FEMA trucks but no one stopped to help us. We never felt so cut off in all our lives. We were cursed when we asked for help for our elderly. We had guns aimed at us by the police who were suppose to be there to protect us." --Patricia Thompson, a victim of Bush's Katrina bungling Link

"I have no regrets that the U.S. toppled Saddam. I think we can finish our job there, and as part of it - really transform the Arab-Islamic world." --Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the toast of FOX News, to Sean Hannity, Link


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