Monday, December 24, 2007

My Favorite Holiday Card

The title of this card is "Frozen Thung", and inside it says
"Hathy Holidayth".

The first thing I like is that it looks a bit like I did back when I was a little kid.
The other thing is his resemblance to the younger brother in the classic Christmas movie "A Christmas Story" who also froze his tongue to a metal pole. The only thing missing are the kids gathered around him laughing.

So here's to wishing everyone "Hathy Holidayth"!

Here's the info from the back of the card (with my comments added):

Contemporary American Photographers

Photograph [Copyright] 1994 Joe Lampi (<- This guy is good)
Dublin Productions (<- really neat site w/ Flash, check out the photos)
Frothen Thung

[Copyright] Palm Press, Inc. 1995 (<- Interesting cards)
1442A Walnut Street #120

Berkeley, California 94709

Holiday Thoughts on Christmas Eve

I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.

I'm celebrating a traditional but solitary New England Christmas here in New Hampshire, missing my father greatly but recalling wonderful Christmas memories from childhood.

The traditional reading of "The Night Before Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", remembering how hard it was to get to sleep on Christmas eve listening for any faint sound that might actually be Santa on the roof, and the rush of anticipation in my belly keeping me awake 'till I finally drifted off to sleep. Then waking up early on Christmas morning, wondering if it's too early to wake mom and dad to get the day started, feeling like it's taking them forever while they make their coffee and have a bit of breakfast before finally gathering around the tree to see if your wishes had been answered by Santa.

I'm also thinking of all the people who might not be having a 'merry' Christmas for whatever reason, including those not able to be with their loved ones for the holidays and those who can't afford to get their kids what they've been asking for the past year. And most recently, the employees who have found themselves suddenly without their jobs just before Christmas.

To many of those folks, remember that there are people out there who care, and tomorrow's always a new day.
And as my father would always say to me when times were tough, "this too shall pass", then he'd remind me to "keep smiling".

Bless you Dad.
And bless all of you, one and all..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Critical Question For Candidates

Knowing the history of the Presidency regarding the unwillingness to give up presidential powers once their predecessors have gained them (despite how they gained them and whether they're constitutional or not), I think it's imperative that the current candidates for the presidency are asked whether they will reverse the "questionable" powers that Bush has claimed since becoming President. Especially if he's not impeached as he rightfully should be.

If Bush isn't impeached, (as I've stated before) a terrible precedent will have been set on many levels for future Presidents. Candidates need to be on the record (not that that matters anymore) saying that if elected they will renounce the unconstitutional claims of presidential privilege the Bush administration has stubbornly held to since 9/11, clearly and unconditionally.

Instead of the mostly asinine questions asked of candidates, we must ask this one and other critical topics! Electing a president has rarely had so much at stake for the future of our country as this one. If we're not able to reverse the downward decline this president and the majority of the Republican party have "led" us into we will have completely lost the honored position as respected and envied leader of the free world.

Not only thoughtful and respectable people in this country, but people all over the world are waiting to see what happens after the debacle of the Bush presidency is over.

The direction the President has taken us, compounded by the severe lack of representation of the citizenry by Congress in favor of big business interests (and their own) will lead to our downfall eventually. It's surely not what our founders put into place so thoughtfully.
As a matter of fact it's starting to resemble what they rebelled against all those years ago.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tonight's Countdown [Without] Keith Olbermann

Just a few thoughts regarding tonight's show.
First of all, of all the people who sub for Keith when he's off Allison Stewart is in my opinion the best. That said, I need to say something about tonight's discussion concerning former President Clinton's "roll the dice" comment from the Charlie Rose show.

I don't understand the questioning of what Clinton's statement 'meant'. It's plain to me that it meant that Hillary is a fairly well known commodity with a good deal of experience, as are the other candidates, except for Barack Obama. It's simply a matter of experience. Now I understand that political journalists like to read 'between the lines' and divine "the real meaning" of statements like this, and sometimes that's necessary, and sometimes the journalists are correct, but sometimes 'a cigar is just a cigar'.

"Roll the dice" means gambling, taking a chance. And to elect someone with a limited amount of experience, even when they have a lot of good ideas and are charismatic, is a calculated risk. Is it not?
In some ways you could say that voting for any of the candidates is a gamble. We've seen too many politicians take stances and vote on issues that oppose what the majority of their constituents want, and in some instances are in direct conflict with the oath they swore to when elected (you know, "To protect and defend the Constitution..."?).

There's no doubt that Hillary's campaign has encountered some bumps in the road, and being almost dead even in the latest polls has undoubtedly made them anxious to draw distinctions between her and Barack Obama. That major distinction is experience. They'd both be a welcome change from what this country and the world has painfully experienced over the past seven years, and are both head and shoulders above anyone running for the Republican party.

Now the idea that Bill Clinton was doing anything other than being truthful when he said that "Obama is a person of enormous talent". I didn't read that as "damning him with fake praise" as it was characterized by Allison and Howard Fineman. And I think Clinton characterized the rest of the field of candidates correctly when he said that all but Obama had a long and fairly extensive history of foreign policy and legislative experience.
I think the same thing. The first time I heard Barack Obama speak he amazed me by how much sense he made and how well he communicated. So much of what he says reflects the same way I feel about many issues. In some ways he has characteristics that none of the other candidates do, and part of that [I think] comes from not being part of the Washington scene for too long. But as far as other (meaning the good) aspects of experience go, he just hasn't had the time or the experience(s).

As for David Gregory's questioning of Hillary Clinton regarding the quote, he clearly interpreted it negatively as simply a 'dig' and not as a simple [political] way to make the distinction between Hillary and Barack Obama. He could have phrased it differently, but competitive politics isn't a case of being as nice to your opponents as you can. These days that was being [relatively] nice!
The questioning by Gregory had the odor of another try for a 'gotcha' moment from a member of the press as opposed to unbiased critical questioning of a candidate and Hillary didn't oblige him.
I truly miss Theresa Heinz Kerry and her forthright and unabashed responses to questions like that. I'd like to think that she would have responded by saying "My husband said it, why aren't you asking him?".

The press can often be so petty.

PS, Allison's comments about Michael Jackson almost made me snort water out my nose!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crazy For The Holidays

I plead guilty to neglecting this blog recently.
A few of the reasons are here:

1. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the magnitude of scandals, dirty tricks, self-serving talking heads, and election coverage that treats it like a game or spectator sport. Bush and his gang lie with impunity, and right-wing water carriers are still lugging their bilge water.

2. Meanwhile my ADD addled brain is jumping from the holidays, to increased seasonal depression, to a new blog for the Concord Monitor Online's "blogsNH" that I'm about to start. Add to that an upstairs neighbor who walks like Frankenstein, shaking this 100 year old former hotel, a new management company for us who looks to be doing it on the cheap, and the second year of being without my dear old Dad and wanting to move back to Western Mass to be close to my mother who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's.

When it gets really bad I remember my father's words of wisdom (not that he came up with this, but..) "This too shall pass", and one of his favorites "Smile a lot".

So that's what I'm trying to keep in mind this winter as I do my best to keep all the balls in the air. And if I drop one, rest assured that I'll bend down and pick it up, and toss it back up in the air with the rest as soon as I can.

Troubled times only make the good times that much sweeter to savor.

And remember to "Smile a lot".

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Comment On Comments

I leave comments from time to time, mostly on political sites like ThinkProgress,The Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars, Firedoglake **, and TalkingPointsMemo. I'm not quite sure of what this says about me, but so many of the comments I read are either nonsensical, poorly thought out, mis-spelled, childish, or off-topic. Many are varied combinations of that list.

Now I'm certainly not immune to some of this either, but in my defense I've gotten better since I started using WordWeb, some other writing aids like an additional thesaurus (Mobysaurus Thesaurus), the web site, and many others. And the best aid of all, taking my time and re-reading my thoughts before clicking "Post".

I know some of this is unfortunately the way many younger people are communicating these days. No capital letters, no punctuation, etc.. And then there's the fact that just because you have a computer, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're educated (or course there are some people that aren't 'educated' but are plenty smart).

I hope this doesn't come across as conceited or anything like that. My formal education ended after high school (and later in life one year of photography school). And to call that an 'education' is being generous. During high school (in the seventies) I was a rocker and a serious partier. I spent most of my time playing the drums with a local band, smoking pot, and drinking beer. But somewhere in there, mostly before and after that part of my life I read a lot. It also helped that my parents were highly intelligent graduates of Colby College and my mother quickly corrected me whenever I mis-spoke.
I'm far from perfect, and I prove it often, but I try to take the time and steps necessary to minimize that fact when I leave comments.

Nowadays I deal with chronic depression, ADD, and severe anxiety, all of which conspire to make writing and thinking clearly a difficult process. I guess that in some ways that forces me to be more careful about what I write and how I write it. And sometimes when I don't put the effort into it I let things go that I'd otherwise spend more time on. The end result being writing that I'm less than proud of, and usually exhibits itself towards the end of whatever I'm writing as my attention and energy fade. My writing is far from perfect, but at least I make the effort to make it understandable.

I assume that this happens to others also. The reasons for thoughtless (or 'less than thoughtful') comments are many, but the reasons for poorly spelled comments aren't. There are typos, which are easily remedied by simply re-reading before posting. Then there are many people who can't spell, which is almost as easily remedied by using one of the hundreds of spell-checking utilities available that underline the mis-spelled words for you.

Then there are the comments that seem to have been written by aliens, some of which actually were written by people from other countries who don't have a good command of english, and others that seem to have come from some beings that are not of this world.
The former is understandable, but there are many that fall into the latter category, undecipherable by the best translators. They're the ones that leave you thinking, HUH?

It's a tossup as to which is more maddening, the inane comments that people pull out of their butts, or the fact that some people are so lazy that they won't bother to use a simple spelling utility that could at least allow them to fake it and not look so stoopid.

These days with all the blogs, forums, and comments sections, most of which are solely print-based, you have to take extra care to make sure your thoughts are conveyed clearly. There are no facial clues or voice inflections for others to notice and thereby access your true feelings or the actual meaning of your comment as opposed to what they think you meant.

I haven't touched on THE PEOPLE WHO FEEL THEY HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS, JUST SO...__________________(fill in the blank).
Most veterans of internet forums and such know that this is considered 'yelling' and is bad form, but with more and more new people coming online with computers everyday and joining the world wide conversation there are just so many that haven't learned the proper etiquette, let alone bother to use proper english or spelling. Some know better and do it anyway.

I haven't mentioned 'trolls' either. Those who 'troll' the comments sections of web sites looking to engage in arguments with people that don't share their point of view, and some who purposely go there to derail the legitimate discussion. The reasons are many. These days the small but vocal minority of 'loyal Bushies' seem to be everywhere standing up for their hero, the facts be damned. Among those there are also the religious zealots, well-meaning and otherwise.

I'm finding myself less and less prone to even read the comments sections these days. I am finding some sites that seem to have a more thoughtful and less fanatical commentary but I don't know how to avoid the lazy posts with the typos, et al.
Maybe at a site like

I've 'replied' to people's comments from time to time, politely mentioning how easy and helpful spelling assist utilities are, but they're usually met with the 'spelling nazi' reply or some other defensive retort so I don't bother anymore.

I wish it didn't bother me as much. I'd blame my mother, but it's not her fault. I'm glad for her guidance. I feel sorry for those whose parents aren't good role models. I know all to many. Unfortunately ignorance usually breeds ignorance as I'm sure many teachers would agree. The exceptions are wonderful to see and are to be encouraged. But this trend towards 'no rules writing' is bad. I've had people tell me that "it's just the way kids are communicating these days", as if there was nothing that could be done to change it.

It's bad for the future of increased online interaction and bad for accurate communication where all you have to go by are written words.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to re-read my post. I could really use an editor to help me with that, but for now I'll have to muddle through as best I can.

Did I mention the ones who overuse the bold highlighting feature?
** Edited on 2/21/2011 4:50 PM: Added strikethrough because of the recent distasteful and unprofessional behavior of Jane Hamsher on Twitter.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Disgusting "comments" at

I followed a link from the newsletter to an article about an award-winning AP photographer from Iraq who's been 'detained' and imprisoned without charges for 19 months.

After reading the article I went to check out the comments (Join the Discussion) and was disturbed and disgusted by what I read.
(Because the URL is so long for the comments/discussion page here's a shortened URL .)

I suggest you read the article, then the comments, and judge for yourself...

Here are some examples from the "discussion":

"I can't believe it took us this long to capture him. Doesn't surprise me at all."
"Just an AP photographer? Hell, I think nearly the whole lot at AP is a cheering section for the terrorists."
Originally posted by 67NOV:
Just an AP photographer? Hell, I think nearly the whole lot at AP is a cheering section for the terrorists.

"You and me both Sir."
"Michelle Malkin has links to the pictures he's taken... all of insurgent activity, apparently without any fear on his part. If he isn't collaborating with them I'll eat my hat."
"About time the military starts investigating all of this so called "journalists"

First AP,next CNN and finally Aljazeera "
"Well, I've been wrong before, but I think burying this turd in a holr with his head sticking up and letting locals stone the head would probably be a good idea. I'm just old-fashioned like that."
"Well, when you serve, maybe you'll think differently about those who are Terrorists. Enjoy being Protected by others"

- And when someone posted a dissenting view, here's what some wrote:

"Actually, What is laughable,... no it's more like pathetic is all the clueless mouth diarrhea from liberals on this site."
-------------------------------------------- Followed by:

"LMAO, good show, sir. I will buy you a beer for that one. BeerGulp, ahhh.....the beer is nice and cold."
"A corporation will stand behind it's employee regardless of the scurrilousness of the employee only to protect their own image.

We probably have tons of terrorists who have infiltrated many businesses in the U.S. ready to strike. Many others have lawn services.

I am sure the U.S. military wouldn't make these claims without substantial evidence. Of course he is probably photographing military operations and smuggling it to the insurgency in his nose. Can you imagine how many volumes of micro file you can stuff in that jobaruby?

Yikes so that is where all the air is going."
"GEEEEEEEZ! The article states they're going to turn the AP photographer guy over to the Iraq authorities in a few days, so what are all these libs crying about!

Remember, that AP photographer isn't an American and isn't in the USA, he's in a foreign country. Things work differently over there and when under arrest you don't have any rights over there. So if they want to lock the guy up and never let him out, shut him up, or torture him to with in an inch of his life to find out what he knows....... well, that's just how it goes. That's how they do it over there. The guy is a terrorist and his efforts have no doubt cost others their lives, so......... this guy is getting what he deserves, whether you agree with it or not."

- There's more, but that's enough to give you the general flavor. As I said, only one person showed any sense of decency (and respect for the rule of law) and supported the AP photographer.

The feeling I got when reading these comments was that they could have been written by those who committed the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. The absolute lack of humanity and the disregard for human rights goes against what I thought the US military stood for and has spent blood protecting.

I have to wonder how prevalent is this ignorant and malevolent attitude in our servicemen and women?

Is this some of what you get when you send people to fight and die in an asymmetric war?

Is it what happens to soldiers when they see their comrades get blown up daily by fighters who look just like the ones they're there to protect?

Does it come from bad leadership?

Just where in hell do these comments come from?

C|NET - -- Are you confused?

This is what happens when I (successfully?) log in to

As you can see, I'm logged in and it displayed my user name
(Welcome back, "trdaggett"). And if you look at the bottom it also says "Sorry, the identifier/password combination you've entered is invalid.".

I just sent another issue 'comment' to CNET about the ongoing login issues. I've been registered with CNET and ZDNet for years, and it seems like nearly every time I go to log in something like this happens. They don't screw up my email
address though, I get everything I've signed up for.

After I finished sending the support comment, it presented me with a page that went something like this; 'We think you requested information on Limewire...'.
I wish I'd taken a screenshot of it. It obviously parsed my comment and made a guess as to the content....badly. Nowhere did I mention Limewire or anything remotely similar.

In the second screen grab you see it shows all the different requests that "NoScript" detected.
For those who don't know about it NoScript is a Firefox 'extension' that blocks Java scripting in web pages until I 'allow' it. It's perhaps the most valuable add-on available and protects me from malicious scripting exploits.
Everyone should use it unless you're a security freak and are using another method.
The author Giorgio Maone is to be congratulated and deserves all the donations we can send!
Now back to CNET, I don't know what causes this/these issues, I'm thinking that it might have something to do with all the different scripts running on their pages, and all the different browsers and combinations of security ware and add-ons people use. But it's not like I'm using an obscure browser or shouldn't be using an excellent security extension like NoScript.
Obviously something is screwed up, and usually the more things you have going on inside a web page, the better the chance for conflicts.
As an end-user, I don't care.
All I want is a web page that works. And guess what happens if an end-user has trouble every time they try to log in? -- Adios until you get it straight.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, But...

But, remember the indigenous peoples who don't share the same feelings. Their experience was entirely different from the English settlers. For one group it was the beginning, the other the beginning of the end.

I have mixed feelings about the day as my family was to follow these pilgrims path in 1630 when the Winthrop Fleet brought them to the shores of Massachusetts. I hate to think that Daggetts or Purintons (or any settlers for that matter) were in any part responsible for the downfall and destruction of the local tribes' way of life. Of course they were, in the most basic sense by being part of a group of people who thought that they had a right to 'settle' on someone else's land. I'd like to think that they were at least cognizant of that fact, and were possibly ones who at least tried to have a mutually beneficial relationship.

These days those issues aren't what most people think about on Thanksgiving day. Come to think of it, on the original Thanksgiving most were thinking of themselves and the fortunes of their group and little of the people whose lives and lands they would eventually dispossess.

This Thanksgiving while we are giving thanks for family and friends, the bountiful feast, and the fellowship of the day, it would be good to give some thought to those whose lives were irrevocably changed by our forefathers. I certainly will.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The News From A True Citizen Journalist In Iraq

When I hear talking heads commenting on how the surge is working, and how the media isn't covering any of the good news from 'Eye-rack' (what the hell is so hard to pronounce?), my head wants to explode in frustration. So desperate to be vindicated in some way for their support of this devastating war, yet unable to produce any tangible (and believable) evidence themselves, they continue to live in a bubble of denial.

I wonder how they'd feel if they had to live in Iraq (outside the Green Zone), or if they were the manager of this clinic cited in a book by Dahr Jamail called "Beyond the Green Zone - Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq" that I just read about over at Firedoglake:

"The boxes of medical supplies we brought into the clinic were torn open immediately by desperate doctors. A woman entered, slapping her chest and face, and wailing as her husband carried in the dying body of her little boy. Blood was trickling off one of his arms, which dangled out of his father’s arms. Thus began my witnessing of an endless stream of women and children who had been shot by the U.S. soldiers and were now being raced into the dirty clinic, the cars speeding over the curb out front, and weeping family members carriying in their wounded."

"Standing near the ambulance in frustration, Maki [the manager of the clinic] told us, They (U.S. soldiers) shot the ambulance and they shot the driver after they checked his car, and knew he was carrying nothing. Then they shot him. And then they shot the ambulance. And now I have no ambulance to evacuate more than twenty wounded people.[...]"

Gee, I didn't hear about this on the news either.

Those have to be some thick bubbles these people are hiding in.

Lets make two lists, one with the 'good' news, the other with the bad. If you survive to complete the first part you'll already have a jump on the second.

And a large part of it depends on your perspective. How much good news do you have to report if you're one of the 2+ million displaced Iraqis? Probably more than if you're still living in Baghdad. How much good news do you think Maki has to report?

It seems that the only ones reporting "good news" are the officers who still support Bush, or the ones that know from experience that anything other than good news will put you on the fast track to "retirement". Oh, and Fox'ers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Ineptitude On Bush's Watch

I just finished the New York Times article "Death of Spy Satellite Program".

I wonder how many billions of dollars have been wasted due to the lack of oversight, mis-management, and corruption in the past seven years of George Bush (and Republican domination). At least in this case they know how much was lost, but between Katrina and Iraq there are billions completely unaccounted for.

Bush Opts For Time Off Rather Than Honor Veterans

I'm not surprised that president Bush is down in Texas spending most of the day at his ranch on a day that America honors it veterans. Despite his brief appearance at a Veterans' Day speech in Waco Texas, he plans to veto $3.5 billion for veteran's benefits Democrats had to insert into the latest defense appropriations bill.

When it comes to honoring military veterans all he gives them is lip service, but today he's barely making the effort to do that. It seems that he thinks of them as a great backdrop for a speech, or as fodder in his neocon approach to international relations, but not enough to spend a whole day honoring them publicly.

As our military is currently overstretched, overworked, underpaid, and under-rested, he's well rested, under worked, and overpaid.
Bush is not even trying to appear interested in the welfare or the sacrifices of those who served our nation.

If Bush wants to truly honor our veterans
he should start by keeping them out of unnecessary wars, providing them with adequate equipment when deployed, giving them the required time between deployments, and taking care of (and fully funding) all their medical/psychological needs.

To me this says about all you need to know about what George Bush thinks of those who wear the military uniform (and actually serve).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tough Questioning From Tim Russert. Too Bad It's To The Wrong man

Tim Russert is interviewing Presidential candidate Chris Dodd on Meet the Press and he's asking him "Do you believe the troops have died in vain?". After slightly dodging the question by giving the 'political' answer, Russert again pressed him "But answer that question, all that loss for what, what did they die for?".

As soon as I heard that question, and how forcefully it was asked my thoughts shot back to Russert's numerous sessions with Vice President Cheney. I seem to recall those were mostly congenial affairs with Tim smiling and avoiding the tough questioning like I'm hearing today.
Why won't he ask the man most responsible for the war and it's thousands of dead the same damn question? And in the same tone.

Sure, Russert framed the question referring to a quote Dodd made the other day, "All that loss, for what?",which is an excellent question that should be honestly answered by Cheney and President Bush, but what stopped Russert from asking Cheney that same question when he's had the chance? He's had Cheney on his show multiple times since the beginning of the "war".

And if/when Cheney gives him the same 'political' reply only in a much more sanctimonious way as he does so well, would Mr. Russert pursue an answer in the same way? We would hope so, but I seriously doubt it. Maybe Russert is afraid that Cheney would somehow choke him with his mind.

If you think about it, that could be closer to the truth than you know.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mika Brzezinski's at it again on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

Mika Brzezinski's at it again on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", spreading FUD and assisting the administration and the terrorists with her coverage of shoes found with blasting caps in the hollowed out heels. What she fails to also mention which would add a little bit of context to the viewer's understanding of the issue are the news reports citing a report that states airport screeners "failed to spot 70% of the knives, 30% of the guns and 60% of the dummy explosives carried by secret investigators in the months after September 11."

This recent catch, despite how it was hyped, is nothing new and barely 'news'. I'm trying to figure out if it was 'filler' for the show, TV 'hype', or intentional right-wing FUD. Maybe I'm being overly cynical, but either way you slice it the story was poorly done. News should be about getting stories to the viewers with little to no personal bias evident, putting the issue in the correct context, and providing the basic who - where - when - why - and how of the story. Even those basics are woefully missing from so much of the 'news' we see these days in the main stream media.

Newspapers and online news sites do a much better job of covering these basics but there's no good reason that twenty four hour news channels can't do the same if they chose to. I don't want to hear the same old excuse that blames the attention span of the 'average viewer'. That might be partially true, but only because they've been trained that way by the very same institutions that use this as an excuse.

News shouldn't be presented the same way advertising is. Maybe the marketing industry's techniques have been co-opted by the big media owners for news coverage, filtering down to the producers over time but the end result is a shorter attention span of the average viewer and diminishing the end product, which should be news that educates the viewer rather than just entertaining them or lazily parroting the talking points the White House sends out.

It has contributed to the 'dumbing-down' of viewers and to a certain extent contributed to our country being misled into supporting the Iraq quagmire.

[Edited for clarity on 10/27/07 1:15 PM]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Impending War with Iran - What The White House Doesn't Want You To Know

I just came across this article over at Crooks and Liars. If you haven't already read about this you need to and so do your friends. Please pass it around.

Few labs can test 'dirty bomb' exposure - Yahoo! News

The way this administration talks you'd think they were on top of things like this, but unfortunately that's all it is -- talk. Just a superficial sugar coating (that's what the main stream media "reports"), with a dank dangerous filling. (The following is a clip from the article with a link to the full story below) - TRD

By EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The U.S. has a shortage of laboratories to test the thousands of people who might be exposed to radiation if a "dirty bomb" detonated in a major city, according to a recent congressional investigation.

The federal government established 15 disaster scenarios for federal, state and local officials to plan for, including one in which a dirty bomb goes off in a major downtown area and potentially exposes 100,000 people to radioactive materials.

A dirty bomb would contain some radioactive material that could cause contamination over a limited area but not create actual nuclear explosions. Should this happen in real life, the nation would not be able to quickly conduct tests for these people, because there are few labs capable of doing so in the country; and the tests available only address six of the 13 radiological isotopes that would likely be used in a dirty bomb, according to the report prepared for the House Committee on Science and Technology. Instead, it would take four years to complete all these tests, according to the report to be released Thursday.

"I had hoped since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that our government had smart people lying awake at 3 o'clock in the morning, trying to think through everything that terrorists could be dreaming of, every kind of attack they could be dreaming of, and trying to think of ways to prevent it and to respond to it if it does happen," said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C. "Learning how poorly prepared we are for a dirty bomb, a radiological attack, makes me think that that's not happened."

Miller is chairman of the subcommittee holding a hearing on the report's findings.

The report acknowledges that this type of dirty-bomb scenario would probably not cause massive casualties, but Miller said four years is too long to wait for results of whether people are contaminated.

"I can't imagine a parent, who is told that their child can be tested for cesium in two-and-a-half more years, is going to be reassured to hear that their child probably won't die," Miller said.

- Article continues... (follow link below)

Source: Few labs can test 'dirty bomb' exposure - Yahoo! News

Monday, October 22, 2007

Think Progress » Gonzales may face criminal charges.

Think Progress » Gonzales may face criminal charges.: "Gonzales may face criminal charges. At a speech on Friday, ousted U.S. attorney John McKay revealed that the “U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month.”"


I've seen all too many "may"s in the press lately concerning the prosecution of crimes committed by members of President Bush's administration.

I want to read a headline telling me that any/all of these crooks are facing imminent criminal prosecution.

Think of the precedent it will set if the multitudes of crimes committed by members of this administration go unpunished.

When someone like John Dean states that the apparent crimes of the current administration have gone beyond what even Nixon's committed, and that the members of Bush's crimino-political administration have gone mostly unpunished for, and others like Bruce Fein and Jonathan Turley speak about the multiple abuses of power and Presidential authority, I can't understand why the heck so little is being done to address those criminal acts and bring those responsible to justice so that it will be less likely to be repeated in the future.

To me, the failure of Congress (for one) to effectively redress these crimes is a bit like a mother in denial of a child's criminal activity. It's easier to be in denial, otherwise you have to do the hard work of dealing with the problem.

Democratic (and Republican) leaders, you need to grow up and do not what's necessarily best for you, but what is right, and what is best for our country, our rule of law, and our future!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

CNN's Miles O'Brien vs. "An Inconvenient Truth"

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I was too harsh in condemning the whole program because of the items I mentioned. On the whole it did make the argument that the best thing to do is be aware of the issues involved and address them sooner rather than later.

If done correctly, the negative aspects of doing what's necessary can be minimized, and the transition into what are evolved and much healthier industries can work for all those concerned.

It's always difficult to see the necessity for change from within.
People's livelihoods are at stake and that's threatening if not seen in the right context. It's part of the evolution of humanity, and as we learn more, certain industries have to change or put at risk the health of the earth itself, but it cannot be denied without making the problems worse. I'm thinking of industries like logging, fishing, and energy where sustainability over the long term is necessary. The earth is remarkably tolerant and adaptable, but only to a certain extent. We need to work towards eliminating those who would carelessly squander it's resources for temporary profit in favor of those with wisdom who will intelligently use what resources we have in a measured and responsible way.

When I think of the process working correctly, I think of some of the most 'primitive' cultures, and how they only use what's necessary, aren't wasteful, and protect their resources carefully for future generations.

If you think about it, who are the real "savages"?

---------------------------------- Original Post ->

The first thing I noticed
was the purposeful error CNN made in their show description of "Keeping them Honest", and no despite the humorous and disingenuous title of the show, I'm talking about the way they quoted the name of Al Gore's film "
The Inconvenient Truth" instead of it's actual name "An Inconvenient Truth" and later "Inconvenient Truth". Small difference, maybe, but that was just the beginning. Not quite the same thing as when Fox "News" identifies Republicans as Democrats when they get into trouble, but in the same vein of subtle subconscious attempts to effect the viewer.

Not too different from that was Miles' claim that "many scientists disagree..." with the conclusions drawn by the film about Global Warming. No Miles, the only way that statement would be true is if you said "many scientists on the fringes of the scientific community who work for energy companies and the Bush administration disagree...". (edit 10/26/07)

Wow, as far as we've come lately in coming to terms with the fact that we as humans have altered the earth's climate to the degree that we need to change our behavior and move away from burning fossil fuels, and on comes Miles O'Brien and CNN insinuating that it's not true and Al Gore and the vast majority of independent (and respected) scientists are just alarmists. Quite a public service you're doing there CNN, way to shill for the deniers.

And as for Miles O'Brien, well this doesn't surprise me a bit, but it is disappointing that instead of being on the side of humanity and common sense, you're working to aid those who would have us remain ignorant in favor of corporate profits.

I expect this kind of propaganda from Fox, now "The Most Trusted Name in News" has joined "Fair and Balanced" as examples of the antithesis of 'truth in advertising'. If this is CNN and Miles O'Brien's idea of "Keeping Them Honest", I'll pass.

A sad day indeed, but expect more and more of this as a result of the FCC ruling that allowed so few big media companies to control so many media outlets. If it wasn't for the internet (and the ethical portion of print journalists, PBS' Bill Moyers, and a scant few in the MSM like Keith Olbermann) providing a door through the propaganda machine, their control over the perceived 'reality' would be complete.

Friday, October 19, 2007

How long has it been like this?

In our country we're supposed to be represented by politicians we choose locally to be our 'voice' in Washington DC. When did that end?

I don't recall any news advising us that what we want doesn't matter anymore. As far as I know our representatives still claim to listen to and represent our concerns, especially while they're running for office. But recent events prove otherwise.

Now I'm not referring to my own state of New Hampshire in this case, but the fact that 80% of Americans favored the passage of the recent "SCHIP" legislation that the president vetoed, that should have been overturned if the people's representatives truly represented their constituents.

The same holds true regarding many other issues.
The "war"*, impeachment, domestic spying, retroactive immunity for Telcos, universal health care, and others where the majority of the American people aren't seeing their wishes translated into votes.

In so many ways
it's like the 2006 elections and the mandate for change that was so evident never happened. The majority changed hands, and there was so much optimism that all the excesses, corruption, and back room deals were, if not over, substantially reduced.

We're seemingly left with nothing
but the power to organize and attempt to replace them, but is that really a solution? There is so much institutional corruption inherent in the way the entire government works, especially these days that even fresh faces won't help. They're ineffective and repressed if they try to change the status quo, and the only way to get anywhere is to conform to the culture and the demands of the entrenched leaders.

I don't want to hear that it's always been like this,
or that we don't understand how things work and that we have to trust them to do what's best. That's a huge load of bull.

Sure there are many valid considerations
that go into legislation and oversight that most Americans don't usually think about or even know about, but that's not the point in this case. This failure to overturn the President's heartless veto directly contradicts of the clear wishes of the majority of the American public, and that's just plain wrong.

I send the political action emails
to my state reps (that I write myself if given the option), and I get neat little form emails back thanking me for my thoughts, but does it do any good?
Are they effective? Sometimes I wonder, are they even read?
In this case it appears the answer is a resounding no!

And what does that teach people who are trying to be good citizens, trying to make a positive difference by letting their elected representatives know how they feel about certain issues?

Our "leader" says he issues vetoes "just to be relevant".
If that isn't the most asinine and irresponsible statement by a President of the United States in living memory I don't know what is**.

* It's called war, but I define loosely it as some form of military action against different adversaries where people are needlessly dying.
** And Bush has made many worthy of consideration.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thanks Keith Olbermann, kind of..

It's obvious that you are trying to dissuade those who would confront you personally, which I can completely understand. There certainly enough examples of crazies taking things too far, noting recently that Michelle Malkin went to the home of 12 year old Graeme Frost. And not to be ignored are the malevolent threats posted on the internet sites. There's a big difference though, you aren't an elected official. Congressman Knollenberg is.

But in the case of activist Bruce Fealk you came very close to tossing at least part of him (maybe just his foot?) under the proverbial bus. I got the impression that your personal fear colored part of tonight's piece. Absolutely nothing in the video shown on your show was illegal. You should have investigated that aspect and made it clear. The visit to the politician's home as I understand it was done in 'good humor' (with ice cream offered), and the 'fear' alleged by his wife and their neighbors is completely manufactured.

Politicians might not like dealing with their constituents face to face, but really that's too bad. And when they're out in public as they were in this video they shouldn't expect any form of 'privacy' or just happy contented citizens praising them.

That's not the real world, and that's part of the big problem we're fighting, especially these days. All too many politicians try to live (and legislate) in a separate reality. It's been that way forever to a certain extent, but over the last seven years the Republican Party has brought it to a whole new (and unconstitutional) level, and it has no place in a representational Democracy. Peaceful dissent is a right and a responsibility of a conscientious citizenry isn't it? I believe that you might even find something written about it in a recently 'crumpled' piece of parchment kept in Washington, DC. called the Constitution.
(The actual wording is quite a bit more forceful than mine if I recall correctly.)

You work for a news network (well, partially at least) whose reporters and photographers stake out and intrude on people's lives whether they're politicians or not.

Political activists, doing their patriotic duty as citizens obviously need to act within the bounds of the law, and hopefully in a polite and legal manner (which Bruce Fealk appears to have done), and if they stray beyond that point they should expect the consequences.

If I knock on someone's door and politely ask them directions and they claim 'assault', it's not my fault that they over-reacted. I don't believe there's any law prohibiting citizens from going to their elected representatives homes to ask questions is there? It's not something that I personally would do or advocate except as a last resort, but if otherwise denied, political activists maybe should, and I think the Founders of this great nation would agree!

You can plainly see what kind of staff controls access to Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), and I commend Bruce Fealk for maintaining his civility during this exchange. It can't be easy trying to have a civil discussion in the face of such a apoplectic response from Trent Wisecup (the person controlling access to the congressman).

In a perfect world the politicians would have nothing but happy contented constituents, but in the real world citizens with serious questions have every right, and really the obligation to speak directly with their elected representatives, and when you deny them that [belligerently] and your chief of staff calls those who ask the hard, legitimate questions "un-american" and worse, some of the more 'active' activists might actually go to their home with a video camera trying to ask them the questions they were denied asking earlier. And I realize that Mr. Fealk was at the congressman's home prior to this on-camera incident, but he also had prior run-ins with Trent Wisecup, and as you noted, the staff had a meeting deciding to 'confront' Mr. fealk for being a terrible 'un-american political activist' who dared to ask pointed questions!

But in closing, tonight you chose the safer path, and in so doing strayed from your usual confrontational 'Truth to Power' discourse which so many of us admire.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

This is one case in which I will not be tolerant!

- This is a copy of a comment I just posted over at Think Progress(.org) :

I just made the mistake of following the link over to Redstate….

Amazingly I made it most of the way down the first page.

Most of the comments read like they were written by dangerous psychopaths. Some of the comments border on threatening violence and hate speech, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some of them would actually act out their hatred if given the opportunity.
This is not covered under ‘freedom of speech’ and they should realize that.

On the right there was a link to “Conservatives are more tolerant that lefties”, and to the left of that was nothing but comments filled with intolerance and hate.

The nastiness and venom is so thick there, but it’s worth remembering that their actual numbers are thankfully small and closed, as are their minds. That does not mean that it’s to be tolerated or accepted. Decent people have the obligation to say “We don’t accept this, this is wrong!” as loudly and forcefully as we can.

We will prevail in the long run, but not by tolerating this kind of malevolence.
This is one case in which I will
not be tolerant!

Comment by TRDaggett — October 13, 2007 @ 11:51 am

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chris Matthews, Alan Greenspan, and Keith Olbermann

Watching Chris Matthews tonight, I couldn't help but be embarrassed for him. He melted like a pad of warm butter all over Alan Greenspan. As I see it, this is one of Chris' major flaws. He seems so personally awed by so many of the major players in and around Washington he exhibits no professional distance in his interviews. It's more like he's interviewing his best friend each time, and god forbid he ask them a hard question that would endanger their personal relationship. He's "embedded" himself in the Washington scene far too long and has lost almost all of his impartiality.

Even when talking about someone like president Bush, who's record of failure should speak for itself, he's stated how much 'respect he has for the man'. Sometimes when Chris says things like that it almost makes my head spin around and I think, did he really just say that?

What's equally weird are the times when he really seems to be back within the bounds of reality. Sure, if you're honest with yourself your feelings can change about certain things as you grow and learn, but as I've watched Chris over the years it appears depending on the day, his mood, or something unknown [to me] that he'll be on opposite sides of the issue.
It's like there's two separate Chris Matthews, one voice coming from his head and the other coming from his heart.

Now regarding Greenspan's comments tonight about how social security should ultimately be 'fixed', he says that cutting entitlements will have to be done.

Now I'm currently "living" on a single social security disability payment each month, similar to what retirees with no other source of income do (I have no 'assets' whatsoever).
I'm just trying to think about what they're supposed to do if their benefits are reduced.
Barely above the poverty line as it is, there is no way that they should have to even contemplate trying to get by on less than they already have, especially when the rich are getting richer (and growing in numbers). Greenspan's cold assessment doesn't include those factors it seems.

They seemed to dance around the fact that one of the major factors in the equation is the massive profits the HMOs and pharmaceutical companies suck out of the system, made worse by raising their rates far above the rate of inflation. The subject about reigning in that major problem is rarely mentioned, and when it is, the agents of the health care lobby (and their partners on strategic government committees) come to their rescue.

The way our government runs these days is shameful. Sure lobbyists aren't new or inherently bad, but the balance is so tilted to one side now that the public's 'representatives' don't work for them, but in many cases look to be working directly against them, giving much too much weight to the upper class and major business interests. And although there are some wonderful, caring people included in this upper class, all too many seem to live by the motto "I've got mine, if you can't get here by yourself, too bad" (or "Sucks to be you!")

When I try to distill this in my head and relate it to the Democrats and Republicans, the Democrats lean towards helping their fellow Americans who are in need, and the Republicans lean towards helping only themselves, and only those who share their philosophy (and wealth). And this attitude has been 'distilled' over the past seven years by the man and administration who promised to "unite" the country.

And briefly, I want to get into my feelings about why someone who I admire greatly, namely Keith Olbermann, is so reticent to say anything relating to some other members of the media's comments, especially (but not solely) in the case of Chris Matthews, "My good friend".

I hope he does speak up at least privately behind the scenes. I know he has to work with him, and it's unreasonable for me to expect absolute honesty from Keith in this particular situation, but from what I've seen of Keith's character, and the 'special comments' that are so right-on, he must cringe [inside] at some of the inane statements and positions Matthews has come out with.
And to speak out against comments others in the media have made, as he does regularly (and rightly so), then neglect those made by his "good friend" is less than I expect (even if it is unreasonable) from the conscientious professional I admire.

The other night after the Republican debate Chris was his usual manic (rude?) self interrupting Keith and not taking time to hear the points Keith was making in favor of his point, whatever that was.. I got the feeling that even his good friend was testing his patience at that point.

So often Chris' interviews are more like an interrogation than an interview.
Chris calls it "Hardball", but all too often it's just him rudely pushing his own twisted philosophy down the throats of his 'guests'.

What makes me shake my head is
every once in a while he acts perfectly normal, reasonable and courteous. Seriously, it makes me think he needs medication. I wonder what psychiatrists think when they watch his show?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not the way I wanted to start my day

It started like most of my days start, waking up from a strange dream, and although this one had some new characters starring in it, it was disturbing. On the other hand, it was interesting to see some old high school friends again!

A bit groggy, I got on with my business and soon was out the door on my way to the grocery store about a block away to exchange some pork that had gone 'green' before it's expiration date.

On the way there I took my usual shortcut through an alley behind a bar-restaurant that's on the ground floor of my building. I had some junk mail to get rid of and our dumpster is back there in it's new spot since the brand-new parking garage was built by the city.
Right next to the dumpster is a new set of concrete stairs (in fact the whole back area is brand new concrete), and smack dab in the middle of the stairs was the remnants of a french roll and it's contents, which included some kind of yellowish goopy sauce spread all over the top step.

Now it's not the first time there's been a mess left around the dumpster. Between the mess left behind from the driver emptying the dumpster every morning, the hundreds of cigarette butts scattered around, and anything that doesn't quite make it into the dumpster when the restaurant's employees dump their trash (and the occasional mess from people walking through the area), it gets to be quite nasty at times. Of course nobody seems to want to take responsibility for cleaning it.

Well I made an assumption that this was most likely left by an employee of the restaurant, so I went back to see if the manager/owner was available to speak with (I saw that one of their cars was there). I went in and was told by the young waitress there that she thought "they both just took off together", so I explained the situation. Immediately she started in with an attitude "how do you know it's from us?", she asked with a nasty tone. From there it went downhill.. I tried to remain polite and stated that I'd been in the service (including food) industry for many of my 50 years and it looked in my professional opinion that it most likely came from their place.
"Your professional opinion,huh?" she said snarkilly (sp?), at which point I went to leave, and told her that I could really do without her 'attitude'.

Ten minutes later when I returned from the store the owner was outside smoking a cigarette and had already been briefed by the waitress I spoke to earlier.

We spoke for a while, and I was trying to ease her defensive attitude while getting my point across. It ended by me saying hopefully that "I'd much rather make friends that enemies" and that we all need to work together.

When I got back to my apartment my blood pressure was way up there and figured that the best way to settle down was to write about the situation. I'm not sure of the best way to approach her and her husband with the following thoughts, but I do hope they will be taken in the spirit I intended.

The whole situation needs to be straightened out as to who is responsible for keeping the area clean, is it the city, the management company for the building, the dumpster company, who?

As it stands now nobody is, except for mother nature, who did a wonderful job the other night when a heavy rain swept way all the butts and lobster claws, etc..

Here are my thoughts as far as the bar (and employees in general) goes:
Reminder to managers and owners of a business:

Employees (with the management setting a good example) when confronted with a pushy or rude customer, or with undesirable people inside or outside of their place of business should always be polite. Even in the face of idiots and extremely rude and obnoxious people, they have to maintain a polite (and firm when necessary) and professional disposition.

If you've ever seen the movie "Road House", Patrick Swayze (the 'cooler') stresses that fact forcefully. "Be nice..!".

It's also been one of the basic rules of [good] management since the beginning.

I know that in most places it's an inside joke "sure the customer's 'always' right" or something like that. We know that the saying means that even though someone's wrong, in the long run it's always best for the business to be nice even when they aren't.

When your employees [aren't] 'nice' it's bad for your reputation and ultimately bad for your bottom line.

If there's an ongoing situation, like having an apartment building directly above your establishment* and some of the residents** are creating problems, the solution is not for your employees to be rude and confrontational to them, but deal with the apartment management.
Hopefully they will act professionally in kind and address of the issue(s).

But the bottom line is, for the best outcome everyone should work together (professionally) to resolve the problem.
Once 'attitudes' enter the mix things usually go downhill fast and little to nothing gets accomplished.

Most of this is old-fashioned common sense, learned the hard way, from experience.
People aren't perfect, and very little is black or white in this world, but being polite always pays in the long run (and personally it has always made me feel better afterwards, as opposed to a nasty confrontation).

Thank you.

*As in the case of the "Green Martini".
**Many of whom have psychiatric issues.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Afghanistan: Turning Success into Failure

Afghanistan: Turning Success into Failure:
(FYI: You can find this quote in the "Think Fast" section towards the bottom of the page.)

"Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) has launched an online petition asking conservatives to 'band together' and 'stand with Rush Limbaugh against liberal attacks.'"

Which leads me to say to them, if you're going to 'stand' with Rush, better wear your waders and bring a clothespin for your nose, although they all seem to rather enjoy the smell of Rushcrap.

Q: I try not to look at the Rush too closely, are his eyes brown by any chance?

The Democratic Party | Children's Health: Overturn the Veto

The Democratic Party | Children's Health: Overturn the Veto: "If we can get 2/3 of Congress to stand up to President Bush, we can overturn his veto on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program—a program that provides health insurance for millions of kids. We need your help to get those votes. Use the tool to the right to contact your members of Congress and tell them to reject Bush and fight for children."

Here's a copy of the letter I sent:

Dear Sirs,

In your hearts you all know the right thing to do. As my subject line says "Please don't let politics get in the way", and I sincerely hope that every one of you will put the divisive politics of the past aside and help over-ride this unconscionable veto by President Bush.

The folks that this will help already have enough to worry about. They shouldn't have to avoid taking their children to the doctor because they can't afford it, and the children shouldn't be caught in the middle.

What does it say when we're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a 'military action', billions of which can't even be accounted for, and neglect the needs of our children and poor.
Thank you. I know you'll do what's right.


TR Daggett
Please help to get the Presidents veto overturned. Go to this web site and send your own letter to your state's representatives, and remember to be concise and polite.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Media Matters - Contact Your Local Limbaugh Station

Media Matters - Contact Your Local Limbaugh Station

People with a sense of decency and truth need to stand up to the lies and disgusting contempt for any viewpoint other than his own that Rush Limbaugh displays daily on his radio show.

Contact your local stations that continue to carry Limbaugh's verbal diarrhea and let them know that enough is enough.

Like Bush and other chickenhawks, Limbaugh didn't have the guts to serve his country and has again falsely attacked the patriotism of decorated war heroes and those serving presently in Iraq who don't share his blind obedience to a failed policy.

There IS a line of acceptable behavior and Limbaugh repeatedly crosses it, and the radio stations who continue to provide a platform for his disgusting and dishonest rhetoric need to know that they and the advertisers are 'enabling' it and will pay a price if they to allow it to continue.