Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Text of Stewart speech

Great event. Well done, Jon. Well done.

From Rolling Stone:

"What exactly was this?" Jon Stewart asked the crowd toward the end of Saturday’s Rally to Restore Sanity. It’s the one question everyone had been asking since the event was announced, and the answer, if based on the preceding 170 minutes, would have been: Certainly not a conventional comedy show, and not really a concert, but more like an attempt at a live variety show for an audience of 150,000. (Which proved a less than ideal format; the reviews of that aspect of the rally are unlikely to be kind.) But Stewart was about to make it clear that merely treating his guests to a good time was not the rally’s goal, despite his claims to that effect. There was, indeed, a message he wanted to send.

That message, if you were to boil it down, was that the media, and especially the part of the media represented by cable political shows, kind of sucks. It’s not an unfamiliar one to Stewart fans -- he hits it during nearly every episode of The Daily Show -- but here he expounded on it at length, and with minimal punch lines to soften the blows.

To reduce his 10 minute speech to a sound bite or two would be to commit the very sin he railed against. So we won’t. Here (with an assist from this Examiner post and the New York Times’ live blog of the event) is our almost-complete transcript of Stewart’s closing monologue. We’ll swap in the full video clip if it becomes available.

I can't control what people think this was. I can only tell you my intentions. This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith. Or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear. They are and we do. But we live now in hard times, not end times. And we can have animus and not be enemies.

Unfortunately, one of our main tools in delineating the two broke. The country's 24-hour politico pundit panic conflict-onator did not cause our problems, but its existence makes solving them that much harder. The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems and illuminate problems heretofore unseen, or it can use its magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous-flaming-ant epidemic. If we amplify everything, we hear nothing.

There are terrorists and racists and Stalinists and theocrats, but those are titles that must be earned. You must have the resume. Not being able to distinguish between real racists and tea partiers, or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rich Sanchez is an insult -- not only to those people, but to the racists themselves, who have put forth the exhausting effort it takes to hate. Just as the inability to distinguish between terrorists and Muslims makes us less safe, not more.

The press is our immune system. If it overreacts to everything we eventually get sicker. And perhaps eczema. Yet, with that being said, I feel good. Strangely, calmly good, because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false. It is us through a funhouse mirror, and not the good kind that makes you slim and taller -- but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass like a pumpkin and one eyeball.

So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own? We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is -- on the brink of catastrophe -- torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don't is here or on cable TV. Americans don't live here or on cable TV. Where we live our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done, not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.

Most Americans don't live their lives solely as Democrats or Republicans or conservatives or liberals. Most Americans live their lives that our just a little bit late for something they have to do. Often it’s something they do not want to do, but they do it. Impossible things get done every day that are only made possible by the little, reasonable compromises.

With footage of lanes of slow-moving traffic playing on screens behind him, Stewart went on to build a metaphor based on the traffic merger at the Lincoln Tunnel between New York and New Jersey.

These cars -- that’s a school teacher who thinks taxes are too high…there’s a mom with two kids who can’t think about anything else...another car, the lady’s in the NRA. She loves Oprah…An investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah…a Latino carpenter…a fundamentalist vacuum salesman…a Mormon Jay Z fan…But this is us. Everyone of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear -- often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers.

And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile-long, 30-foot wide tunnel carved underneath a mighty river…And they do it. Concession by concession. You go. Then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go. You go, then I’ll go -- oh my god, is that an NRA sticker on your car, an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s OK. You go and then I’ll go…"Sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute. But that individual is rare and he is scorned, and he is not hired as an analyst.

Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together and the truth is, there will always be darkness. And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land. Sometimes it’s just New Jersey. But we do it anyway, together.

If you want to know why I’m here and what I want from you I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me. You’re presence was what I wanted. Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine. Thank you.

Original.

Angel Valley Farms

These guys have it together. Click here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome to Crazytown

You can call ME crazy, but I still think that the Democrats will keep both the Senate AND the House. They might even pick UP a few seats. We'll see come Election Day. Meanwhile, remember this ...

Will you fight?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Voter Fraud!

Well, it's election time again, and so the rightwingnuts are all screaming voter fraud! It's like clockwork and it's a lie 99% of the time, if not 100%. I think a lot of these asses charge voter fraud to cover their own cronies who are electronically flipping votes in the hackable electronic voting machines. Similar to those who intone the loudest against homosexuality are in fact themselves gay.

In the final days before the midterm elections, following a very familiar pattern, conservative media have yet again turned to hyping baseless and misleading claims of voter fraud.

Right-wing media baselessly claim SEIU rigged machines to cast votes for Reid
Conservative media hype claims of voter fraud in Nevada to baselessly suggest SEIU is stealing votes for Reid. Several conservative media figures, including the co-hosts of Fox & Friends, The Washington Examiner, the Fox Nation, HotAir, Jim Hoft, and Michelle Malkin all promoted a Fox5 Las Vegas story highlighting claims from early voters that when they went to vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's name had already been checked on the electronic ballot. They cited this story to baselessly suggest that because the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) represents the technicians to repair the voting machines, SEIU is engaged in a conspiracy to fraudulently cast votes for Reid.

However, Fox5 Las Vegas also reported Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax called claims of fraud "patently false." Fox5 also reported that although "some voters complained that Sen. Harry Reid's name had been pre-selected" in Clark County voting locations, "election officials insisted on Tuesday that electronic voting machines were not malfunctioning." The article quoted Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax as saying "those claims were 'patently false' " and "at no time did any of those voters report the incident to staff at their polling location." From the article:


Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said those claims were "patently false" and
said at no time did any of those voters report the incident to staff at their
polling location.

"In fact, although over 160,000 people have voted early in Clark
County, those allegations that have been made have gone directly to the media as
opposed to election board officers," he said.

Lomax advised voters to be aware that touch-screens on the screens are
sensitive. For that reason, a person may not want to have their fingers linger
too long on the screen after they make a selection at any time.

"Especially in a community with elderly citizens (they have) difficulty
in (casting their) ballot," Lomax said. "Team leaders said there were complaints
(and the) race filled in."

Lomax previously called for an investigation into allegations that ACORN engaged in voter fraud. In 2009, The New York Times reported that Lomax called for an investigation into allegations that ACORN had engaged in voter registration fraud, noting that Nevada's Secretary of State "investigated Acorn at the behest of the Clark County registrar of voters, Larry Lomax, who noted a high number of forms turned in featuring the names of famous football players and cartoon characters."

Right-wing media hype Angle's fabricated claim that Reid is stealing election with bribes of free food.

Angle campaign attorney: Reid "intends to steal this election" by offering free food in exchange for votes. The Las Vegas Sun reported that Nevada GOP senatorial candidate Sharron Angle's campaign attorney, Cleta Mitchell, wrote a fundraising letter to supporters in which she asserted that "Harry Reid intends to steal this election if he can't win it outright" and that "Harry Reid has been offering free food" at "voter turnout events." Mitchell went on to say: "What Harry Reid is doing is clearly illegal. Nevada law (NRS 293.700) provides that, 'A person who bribes, offers to bribe, or use and other corrupt means, directly or indirectly, to influence any elector in giving his or her vote or to deter the elector from giving it is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.' "

Conservative media picked up and ran with the Angle campaign claim. Several conservative media figures advanced Mitchell's claim. For example, Sweetness & Light blogger Steve Gilbert linked to the Sun article and added: "If Democrats didn't buy their votes, you have to wonder if they would win any elections anywhere." Similarly, the Fox Nation linked to the Sun article with the headline, "Reid 'Intends to steal this election.' "

NV Secretary of State: Angle's campaign "fails to cite any evidence of 'vote buying' "; offering voters free food regardless of who they voted for does not violate election law. In a statement responding to the Angle campaign's allegations, Nevada's Secretary of State Ross Miller wrote that the campaign "fails to cite any evidence of 'vote buying.' " Miller added that activities such as offering free food to voters "irrespective of how and for whom they voted" does not violate state law so long as "it is not connected to any specific candidate and does not compromise the will of the elector." Miller also wrote that actions which "promote the act of voting," such as offering food to voters, "support the democratic process." Additionally, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State reportedly noted that despite Mitchell's allegations, the office "has not received a single report of voter fraud from someone who experienced it personally."

This is just so typical. The volume of outright lies coming from the FOX "network" should be a national scandal and embarrassment, but as we have seen countless times, there is simply no shame on the right, and the Democrats are too timid to stand up to the haters.

There is a lot more of this story, and you can go there by clicking here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Impeach Clarence Thomas

Is there a statute of limitations on perjury before Congress? I suppose it will never happen, because Democrats are too timid to bring any serious charges against Republicans, while Republicans will grasp at any straw, or lie, to impeach Democrats. Nobody said life was fair.

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court
By Robert Parry

In late 1998, when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach President Bill Clinton for lying under oath about a sexual affair, many on the Right insisted that the issue wasn’t the sex but the perjury. They are now confronted with a parallel case in which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas quite clearly perjured himself to get his seat on the bench.

On Friday, former federal prosecutor Lillian McEwen, one of Thomas’s girlfriends in the 1980s, broke a long silence and confirmed that Thomas did engage in sexual harassment of women at work and did discuss pornography in the way that Anita Hill and other women described to the Senate during Thomas’s confirmation hearings in 1991.

During those hearings, Thomas angrily denied the allegations, calling them “a high-tech lynching.” Simultaneously, his right-wing allies mounted an aggressive campaign to destroy the credibility of Hill and other accusers.

The tactics worked. Thomas narrowly won Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he has remained a reliable vote for every right-wing position that the justices consider.

However, it is now obvious that Thomas committed perjury as a necessary element of gaining his seat as one of nine justices on the Supreme Court – and only its second African-American. Though perjury before Congress is a felony, the Right appears to have suddenly lost its enthusiasm for demanding impeachment as the proper remedy for high officials caught lying under oath.

The new evidence of Thomas’s perjury emerged this past week following a bizarre voice-mail message that Thomas’s wife, Virginia, left for Anita Hill asking her to retract her testimony and to apologize to Justice Thomas. Hill, now a professor at Brandeis University, rejected the request and reiterated that she was telling the truth 19 years ago.

But Mrs. Thomas’s voice mail had an unexpected consequence. It spurred McEwen, now 65, to speak up in an interview with the Washington Post, which appeared in Friday’s editions.

Thomas "was always actively watching the women he worked with to see if they could be potential partners," McEwen told the Post. "It was a hobby of his."

That was a key point that Hill had raised in her televised testimony in 1991, that Thomas treated women – especially black women – as if they were prey for his sexual stalking.

Hill said Thomas had repeatedly and inappropriately pressed her for dates, including making lewd comments about pornography and once suggesting that he had detected a pubic hair on a Coke can.

“He spoke about acts that he had seen in pornographic films involving such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes,” Hill testified. “On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess.”

Denying All

Thomas denied everything and cast aspersions on Hill’s credibility.

"If I used that kind of grotesque language with one person, it would seem to me that there would be traces of it throughout the employees who worked closely with me, or the other individuals who heard bits and pieces of it or various levels of it," Thomas told the Senate Judiciary Committee in sworn testimony.

But McEwen told the Post that during their relationship over several years in the 1980s – while they worked together at two federal agencies – Thomas made sexual remarks in the work place, including comments about hard-core pornographic movies that he had watched.

"He was obsessed with porn," McEwen said. "He would talk about what he had seen in magazines and films, if there was something worth noting."

McEwen said Thomas also would discuss the breast sizes of women at work, expressing special interest in women with large breasts. McEwen recalled him being so impressed with the endowments of one government employee that he asked the woman her breast size.

McEwen’s statement corroborated the testimony of not only Hill but the statements made by two other women to the Senate Judiciary Committee, though those women were not called to testify.

Regarding Thomas’s obsession with women’s breasts, Angela Wright, who was one of Thomas’s subordinates at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, told Senate investigators that Thomas pestered her for dates and once asked her, "What size are your breasts?"

As the Post article noted, Wright’s story was backed up by a former EEOC speechwriter, who told investigators that Wright had become increasingly uneasy around Thomas because of his comments about her appearance.

But the Republicans challenged Wright’s objectivity because Thomas had fired her and because she had an otherwise spotty employment record. Those concerns caused Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden, D-Delaware, to shy away from calling her as a witness.

Still, the Senate panel had other corroboration of the Hill-Wright complaints. Sukari Hardnett, who worked as a special assistant to Thomas in 1985 and 1986, wrote in a letter to the committee that "If you were young, black, female and reasonably attractive, you knew full well you were being inspected and auditioned as a female" by Thomas.

Though Thomas's Republican supporters called several friendly women as character references for Thomas, he apparently feared what McEwen might say if she went public in 1991. McEwen told the Post that Thomas wrote her a short note before the confirmation hearing coaching her on what she should say if asked about their relationship.

McEwen said Thomas encouraged her to take "the same attitude of his first wife" and decline to say anything, advice that McEwen followed for 19 years.

A Right-Wing Campaign

Beyond the seemingly obvious point that Thomas committed perjury to gain his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, there is also the ugliness of how the Republicans and the Right sought to victimize the women who already had been victims of Thomas’s predatory behavior. To accomplish that, an early form of the modern right-wing news media swung into action.

Though still in its pre-Fox News days, the right-wing media used its print outlets and its presence on TV and radio chat shows to demonize Hill and the others.

David Brock, then an aspiring right-wing hatchet man at The American Spectator, struck it rich by smearing Hill with the infamous description of her as “a little bit slutty and a little bit nutty.” He followed that up with a full-length assault in a best-selling book entitled The Real Anita Hill, which further denounced Hill and defended Thomas.

Brock skyrocketed to fame and fortune as the exemplar of conservative investigative journalism. However, Brock’s career path was complicated by the fact that he was gay and that the “family values” conservative movement viewed homosexuality as a sin and a perversion.

Though Brock continued as a well-paid right-wing spear-carrier into the Clinton administration, starting the spread of sexual innuendo against Bill and Hillary Clinton that would culminate in the impeachment crisis in 1998-99, Brock gradually rebelled against his personal hypocrisy.

In 2002, after his right-wing propaganda had inflicted grievous damage on individuals and the nation, Brock recanted. In a new book, Blinded by the Right, he admitted that he had defamed a number of his targets, including Anita Hill and the Clintons.

Brock also described the inner workings of the campaign to destroy Hill. Brock wrote that the propaganda operation was aided and abetted by President George H.W. Bush’s White House and right-wing federal judges.

For instance, Brock wrote that he received support and encouragement from U.S. Appeals Court Judge Laurence Silberman and Silberman’s wife, Ricky. Even after Thomas had won Senate confirmation, Silberman still was pushing attack lines against Hill, Brock wrote.

After Bush-41’s White House slipped Brock a psychiatric opinion claiming that Hill suffered from “erotomania,” Silberman met with Brock to suggest even more colorful criticism of Hill.

“Silberman speculated that Hill was a lesbian ‘acting out’,” Brock wrote. “Besides, Silberman confided, Thomas would never have asked Hill for dates: She had bad breath.”

In 1993, after Brock published his book-length assault on Hill, the Silbermans and other prominent conservatives joined a celebration at the Embassy Row Ritz-Carlton, Brock wrote, noting that also in attendance was Appeals Court Judge David Sentelle, whom Chief Justice William Rehnquist had put in charge of picking special prosecutors to investigate the Clinton administration. (For more on Silberman and Sentelle, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.)

These right-wing operatives – masquerading as jurists and journalists – had no regard for what was fair or true. They were committed to gaining or holding power for their ideological and personal benefit and doing so by whatever means were necessary.

Though Thomas was safely ensconced on the Supreme Court bench, the organized Right continued to target Hill. Right-wing activists pressured her employer, the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law, to fire her, contributing to her decision to resign in 1996. However, the following year, she landed a teaching job at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

The long-running assault on Hill apparently had the goal of wearing her down and eventually coercing her into recanting her testimony, a development which could then have been used to discredit anyone who had defended Hill. That strategy – the notion that eventually Hill would buckle – apparently led Thomas’s current wife, who herself is a right-wing activist, to press Hill for an apology in a voice mail this month.

As it turned out, Virginia Thomas’s request backfired, bringing out of the shadows another compelling witness to Clarence Thomas’s vile personal behavior – and to his perjury.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Stupid Party

I'm dismayed but not that surprised that more of the "mainstream media" has not labeled the "Tea Party" as Ostroy does: The Stupid Party. But journalism is just one of the sectors of this country that is diseased, co-opted, and rotten to the core. What is rather surprising is that this country has not collapsed and burnt by now. We seem to have been teetering on the edge for a long time.

Let's Stop Being PC and Call The Tea Party What It Is: The Stupid Party

There. I've said it. And it feels damn good. I'm sorry, but I'm sick and tired of watching the mainstream media, and seemingly everyone else for that matter, give legitimacy to this cabal of embarrassingly under qualified non-intellectuals who seek to reverse the social, educational, scientific and economic progress America's made since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper and drafted the U.S. Constitution...ya know, that little document which Tea Baggers like Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell like to refer to ad nauseam despite not having a clue as to what the hell's actually in it.

Yes, I'm sick and tired of the sheer stupidity of this movement called the Tea Party. I'm aghast at the stupidity of both its candidates and its constituents. They decry and denounce everything modern, logical and rational. They're against everything and think government should stand for nothing. And what's truly stupid is that they don't even understand the very principles for which they stand. Just witness the level of ignorance in the following video at a D.C. Tea Party rally:



These uninformed lost souls vehemently shout for "small government" and "less government handouts," but ask them if they'd like to lose their Social Security and Medicare and they smile and say, "Oh no, that stuff I like!" They don't know what the hell they want, yet that hasn't stopped them from being really, really angry anyway. And they support candidates who stand for nothing and are against everything. They mock science, think evolution is "a myth,", claim President Obama is an illegal alien, are against stem cell research, the Department of Education, the EPA, Social Security and Medicare, health care reform, financial reform, cap and trade and other environmental protections.

Just consider the sheer lunacy of some of the statements found in a NY Times article Thursday by several Tea Party supporters interviewed about their denial of global warming:

"It's a flat-out lie," said Norman Dennison, a 50-year-old electrician and founder of the Corydon Tea Party. He added that he had based his view on the preaching of Rush Limbaugh and the teaching of Scripture. "I read my Bible. He made this earth for us to utilize."

"This so-called climate science is just ridiculous," said Kelly Khuri, founder of the Clark County Tea Party Patriots. "I think it's all cyclical. Carbon regulation, cap and trade, it's all just a money-control avenue." She added: "Some people say I'm extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too." (um, that's because it is)

And yet another Tea Baggin' genius: Lisa Deaton, a small-business owner in Columbus, Ind and founder of Tea Party affiliate We the People Indiana, said "They're trying to use global warming against the people. It takes way our liberty. Being a strong Christian, I cannot help but believe the Lord placed a lot of minerals in our country and it's not there to destroy us."

Even worse are the certifiably loony candidates that these dopes are supporting. Let's take a look at the Tea Party's "A Team:"

Consider O'Donnell, who's cheated on her taxes, lied about her education, defaulted on her mortgage, defaulted on her college tuition, reportedly used campaign funds for personal use, campaigned against sex and masturbation, and admits to "dabbling in witchcraft." She has also made a series of very bizarre statements about scientists cloning humans with animals which produce "mice with fully functioning human brains;" and believes homosexuality is "an identity disorder" and that having women in the military "cripples the readiness of our defense." Her latest embarrassment involves her complete, utter lack of knowledge about the Separation of Church and State and the U.S. Constitution's 1st Amendment establishment clause which protects it:



Or Harry Reid's Senate opponent in Nevada, Sharron Angle, who during an interview about abortion, when asked hypothetically what a 15-year-old girl who was raped by her father should do, Angle suggested that she "turn lemons into lemonade" and find a solution. She also wants to repeal health care reform; is against financial reform; seeks to cut Social Security benefits; and scoffs at global warming. Just this week she told a group of Hispanic students that they look Asian.

Or how about Joe Miller up in Alaska, who thinks that unemployment insurance is unconstitutional, and who had his goons assault a reporter this week simply for asking a question? Or Rand Paul in Kentucky, who doesn't believe in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or Colorado's Ken Buck who thinks "this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated." Or the "refudiatin" Sarah Palin, who Tweeted her followers this week urging them to support Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Raese. Only problem: Raese is running in W Va. Can you say, airhead?

And what about Newt Gingrich, who's blatant racist comments about President Obama last month were shocking let alone moronic: "What if Obama is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together his actions? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."

To be sure, what we're witnessing with the Tea Party is politics at its stupidest best. This is a dumb party, with dumb ideas, dumb candidates and even dumber voters. Someone just has to say it, and I'm fine with it being me.

Original.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Soros gives 1M to MMFA

This I am very glad to see. FOX News is a national disgrace. Never before have we seen an entire network dedicated to one political party tearing down another. While I am an advocate of free speech, does free speech really mean the right to distort and lie continuously and incite people to violence? FOX News deserves to have their license yanked.

There is no doubt that Glenn Beck is inciting violence among the unbalanced and crazy people out there. But anything goes with Rupert Murdoch, as long as you make money (AND support the "conservatives"). Now the ass Murdoch (you want a picture of evil? just look at Rupert) is extorting cable and satellite systems out of more money to carry his channels. And when the networks give in, they'll have to raise everyone's rates to make up the shortfall, effectively making everyone subsidize Murdoch and put more money in his filty pocket. People ask what has happened to journalism? A big part of the problem is FOX News and Rupert Murdoch. Another part is the consolidation and over-corporatization of the media.

George Soros Donates $1 Million To Media Matters To Fight Fox News

Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has donated $1 million to Media Matters for America in an effort to fight Fox News.

Soros, a prominent Democratic fundraiser and donor, is a frequent target of Fox News hosts, particularly Glenn Beck. He said in a statement that he is donating the money — his first donation to the group — because of "recent evidence suggesting that the incendiary rhetoric of Fox News hosts may incite violence":

Despite repeated assertions to the contrary by various Fox News
commentators, I have not to date been a funder of Media Matters. However, in view of recent evidence suggesting that the incendiary rhetoric of Fox News hosts may incite violence, I have now decided to support the organization. Media Matters is one of the few groups that attempts to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast. I am supporting Media Matters in an effort to more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.

Soros funds the Tides Foundation, the organization recently targeted by an assassin who claimed to have been inspired by Beck's program.

"The next 'assassin' may succeed, and if so, there will be blood on many hands," Tides Foundation CEO Drummond Pike said, urging advertisers to boycott Beck's program.

On his radio show Wednesday, which is not aired by Fox News, Beck accused Soros of having "collapsed four economies" and of having "global governance plans."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's a no-Bahrainer!

Notes from one of my current "heroes" ...

Voting Democrat This Year Is a No-Bahrainer!

“The problem with failing to choose the lesser of two evils is … you end up with the greater evil.”– Swami Beyondananda

The greatest frustration in the bipolar insanity of our “two-potty” system is that until we the people find a way to speak in one voice, we inevitably must choose between two unsatisfying alternatives – the shameless and the spineless.

Well, the choice just became a lot easier, with the revelation that the chief financier for the Republican election efforts, the “U.S. Chamber of Commerce” has its offices in Bahrain.

Huh?

Well, it kind of makes sense. If we’re going to outsource all of our jobs, why not outsource governance itself?

If there has been any doubt that the “new world order” intends to turn the world into one big third world country with the ruling elites safe in gated communities, this should put that doubt to rest. One can only hope that those social conservatives who habitually vote Republican for patriotic reasons will join the upwising and awaken to the realization that Tea Party or not, putting the Republicans back in power will reinforce government of, by and for the power of money – and not necessarily American money.

For the past two weeks, I have been in Germany and Norway, and I can say that these European nations are now facing the same kinds of threats from the forces of globalization – which the Swami has called “gobble-ization.” They are being assaulted by the Monsantos and other mega-corporations that seek to rule the world at any cost. The good news is, there is a growing worldwide realization that the awakening people of the world must speak and act in one voice to counterbalance the unchecked power of the financial elites.

As I wrote in a recent post, my prayer is that the election of 2010 be the last bullshit election where the corporate media calls the shots, and the two conspiring parties of the corporate state limit our choices. We have a ways to go until there is a truly independent and powerful citizens movement, but this movement will indeed make itself known in the next 6-8 months. Meanwhile, my suggestion – particularly to those of a progressive bent – is that we come out in droves next month to show the world (and ourselves) that the crest of awakening that swept Barack Obama into office is fully present, Obama or Nobama.

Earlier this year, California’s PGE spent $46 million to convince the electorate to give it a monopoly over California’s electric energy industry.

But the public wasn’t buying it, and the proposition was defeated. In terms of the “up-wising,” this is very positive news. So … now is no time to be intimidated or discouraged by the huge amounts of money the Chamber of Commerce (along with California Republicans Whitman and Fiorina) is spending to prevent any check or balance on corporate rule. Instead, we need to use this “disadvantage” to our advantage, to assert our strength, and to demonstrate that the power of citizens acting in concert is more powerful that the raw power of money.

I happen to think that the Tea Parties are a positive thing, a sign of up-wising of the conservative citizenry. While I largely identify with the progressive “tribe,” I find many of the policies of the liberal establishment to be flawed. Voting Democrat this year is not about either punishing or rewarding the Democrats. It is about asserting the power of the people, and in this election it means “refudiating” the Republican Party.

Or as the Swami says, “If we want to kick Ass, we must first get the Elephant off of our neck.”

Swami and Steve’s Oslo to Jupiter tour is underway. Read about it here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fountain Mountain

Grayson will win

I hope all of the weak-willed, spineless, pusillanimous pussies we call our elected Democrats will sit up and take notice of how Alan Grayson is handling his Republican opponents in Florida. Could be that none of them have the brains that Alan does, or that they are much more beholden to special interests than Alan. Grayson is one of the very few bright spots in the Democratic party these days, and that is almost too sad for words.

An email from Alan:

Dear Russ,

Is there any well-known right-winger in America who has not yet taken to the airwaves during this past month to savage me? Let’s see – Sarah Palin. Mike Huckabee. Newt Gingrich. Glenn Beck. Sean Hannity. And – I almost forgot to mention – Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh says that I am “certifiably insane.”
Please contribute to our “Rush Limbaugh, Mind Your Own Business” Fund.
Now, Rush Limbaugh saying that I am certifiably insane is like George Clooney saying that I’m good-looking. It’s like Shaquille O’Neal saying that I’m big-boned. It’s like Michael Jackson saying that I can sing and dance. It’s like Bill Gates saying that I’m rich.

Rush, tell me this: which one of us was hooked on drugs for years and years? Not me. Which one of us was arrested for criminal fraud? Not me. Which one of us made fun of Michael J. Fox because Fox has Parkinson’s disease? Not me. Which one of us called Chelsea Clinton “the White House dog”? Not me.

Let’s show Rush Limbaugh that every time he opens his mouth, that’s another $20, or $40, or $50 for whomever it is that he attacks.
The reason why Limbo got so angry with me is that a few weeks ago, on national TV, I alluded to the Presidential Daily Briefing for August 6, 2001, delivered to President George W. Bush five weeks before the 9/11 attacks. The briefing with the headline “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.” The briefing that said that Bin Laden “would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and ‘bring the fighting to America.’” The briefing that said that “Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington.” The briefing that said that “Al-Qa’ida members – including some who are US citizens – have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks.” The briefing that said that the FBI was reporting “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” The briefing that President George W. Bush did absolutely nothing about, between August 6, 2001 and September 11, 2001.
You know, the Presidential Daily Briefing that we’re not supposed to talk about. Because if you do, then on national radio, Rush Limbaugh calls you “certifiably insane.” And a “lunatic on the left.” And “destructive and destroying.”
“Destructive and destroying.” Now, that’s bad.

Please contribute to our campaign today, the “Rush Limbaugh MYOB Fund”. And Rush, remember what Abraham Lincoln said: It’s “better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.” As Rush Limbaugh proves every day.

Truth,
Alan Grayson

P.S. Can someone go toe-to-toe with Rush Limbaugh, and survive? We’ll find out on Nov. 2. But remember, someone once wrote a book called “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.” A certain Senator from Minnesota.

Alan Grayson's website.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Citizens United=Treason

Traitors in the Supreme Court Erased Our Most Precious Security
By Rob Kall

It has become clear that the Citizens United Supreme Court decision went beyond free speech. It was a betrayal of American security that opened the gates to an assault on American Demcracy.

It would have been easy and simple for the Supreme court to include in their decision that allowed unlimited funding of advertising by companies and organizations to forbid funds from foreign nations, individuals or entities. The SCOTUS could have blocked contributions by organizations that accepted funding. I'm no lawyer, but it could have been done.

They chose not to. They left the floodgates wide open to make it easy for wealthy sheiks, foreign corporations, even terrorists and terrorist groups to fund advertisements supporting or opposing candidates.

That decision, by five right wing extremist SCOTUS judges, it is now clear, will change the face of American politics as foreign money and the filthy lucre of billionaires, like the Koch Brothers, has tipped the balance in election after election throughout the US. Just as conservative Justices accomplished a coup by interfering with the 2000 presidential elections. Again, these traitors are again turning American justice and Democracy upside down, threatening to perhaps permanently put the USA on a downward trajectory towards third world status and oligarchic rule.

They didn't do it alone. They did it with the passivity and impotence of Democratic leaders who allowed war crimes and violations of constitutional freedoms to go un-punished, perpetrators un-tried, un-impeached.

It may not be possible to reverse the process. This election, many Republican governors and state level legislators will, after they win election, begin gerrymandering their states to make matters even worse.

That will take the next elections even further from being truly fair and democratic.

The arrogant, aggressive attack on democracy by surrogate organizations with hidden funders will not get better in the next election. It will become more aggressive, with more foreign, billionaire and corporate assault on elections.

There were limitations, restrictions, constraints in place, for the first hundred plus years of the United States. The most powerful corporations and oligopolies, like the railroads in the 1880s, the financial and energy giants now, have plotted and connived with willing politicians to harvest the promise of America's resources and future.

The germ of selfish destruction was present in the birthing of America. The five SCOTUS traitors may have cast the final blow in ending the founders' dream.

Original.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Insanitea Party

3,339 texts per month?!

Teens are sending over 100 text message per day?! That's pretty hard to imagine, and almost unbelieveable, until you notice how many people, especially younger people, walk around with their heads bent down looking at their hand-held devices. And stopping right in front of you and blocking your path!

All those text messages flying around, and hardly anything worthwhile being said. Man, do I feel old!

New Study: Average teen send 3,339 texts every month

Texting is on the rise in a major way. The average U.S. teenager sends an average of 3,339 texts per month, or six texts every hour he or she is awake, according to an extensive study by The Nielsen Company. Kids ages 13 to 17 send roughly twice as many texts as any other age group, outpacing 18 to 24 year-olds, who send about 1,630 texts in any given month. The study tracked data usage from the monthly cell phone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers from April to June 2010 and combined this data with survey answers from more than 3,000 teenagers.

Interestingly, though teenagers send the most texts, they don’t talk on the phone much. Voice calls among teens were down 14 percent. Teenagers use fewer minutes than any age group except adults 55 and older. Adults in their 20s and early 30s tend to use the most minutes.


Since 2008, the main reason teens buy a cellphone has changed. While safety used to top the list, text messaging is now the main reason 43 percent of teens buy a phone. Keeping in touch with friends ranks third at 34 percent, followed by family at 26 percent. Other top reasons for owning a phone include convenience, to ensure they’re “always available,” peer pressure, and to avoid having to use the family’s home phone. No teen wants to be caught using a landline; how embarrassing.

Data usage among teens is up about dramatically across the board with 94 percent of teens identifying themselves as “advanced users.” Sixty-two percent of teens use picture messaging (MMS), followed by the Internet at 49 percent, app downloads at 38 percent, e-mail at 38 percent, and text alerts at 38 percent.

Finally, in almost all age groups there is a gender gap when it comes to how teens use their phones. Females, especially teenagers, exchanged significantly more texts and used more minutes communicating. For example, teen females received an average of 4,050 texts per month, while males the same age received only 2,539. Voice usage is much the same, with females talking an average of 753 minutes per month, while males talked for 525 minutes. However, data usage is a different story. Teenage males used an average of 75MB of data, higher than females who logged an average of 53MB. It appears that men use their phones more as gadgets, while women use them to communicate more.

Now if we could get teens and adults to stop browsing and texting while driving, this study would be less concerning. Unfortunately, it’s also on the rise.

Original.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rally to restore sanity

It's looking more and more like we aren't going to be able to make it to DC for Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity. Boo hoo. I certainly hope there is a huge turnout and it helps to restore a modicum of sanity. I still think that Americans are not going to turn back to the Republicans on election day.

If you go here, the link will take you to a listing of 140 current signs being generated for Stewart's rally. There are some pretty good ones in there. What kind of sign would you take if you were going?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New rules

No, not the Bill Maher kind of New Rules. The new rules for deepwater oil drilling are out, and no doubt some will bitch and moan about all the new rules with which they have to comply. The US will have to hire more rig inspectors and they should hire some from the oil industry. Just don't let an ex-BP employee inspect a BP rig, etc.

If Obama had NOT imposed a moratorium after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, he would have caught hell for that. At least they are trying to make the endeavor safer and cleaner. What's so bad about that?

Gulf Drilling Ban Lifted; Salazar Declares "Immediate Crisis" Is Over

The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted the temporary ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico set in place after the Deepwater Horizon blowout in April. The moratorium was originally set to expire November 30.

The temporary ban affected drilling operations on 36 deepwater offshore rigs in the Gulf, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Salazar said in a press conference that the rigs must undergo additional inspections before resuming operation, and rig operators must prove they can meet safety standards set by new rules introduced in late September.

The Gulf oil industry has called for an end to the drilling moratorium for months, arguing that the ban put people out of work and did further damage to the Gulf economy.

Environmentalists have called on the Obama administration to extend the moratorium on deepwater drilling and broaden it to include shallow water drilling.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) blocked the confirmation of Jack Lew, Obama's nominee to run the Office of Management and Budget, until the moratorium was lifted, according to The New York Times.

Salazar said he made the decision to lift the ban after reviewing a report from Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Salazar said that the well that leaked for months following the BP blowout has been dead since September 19, and the appropriate disaster response resources are now available to the rest of the Gulf."We are now past that immediate crisis," Salazar said.

Bromwich said rig operators must prove their rigs comply with new rules issued last month governing blowout preventors, well casing, worker safety and emergency response. Operators will also have to prove sufficient access to containment resources in case of a spill or leak.
Salazar called the rules set a "new gold standard," and he expects those in favor of deregulation to complain that the rules go too far.

"Others will say we are lifting too soon ... The truth is, there will always be risk in deep water drilling," said Salazar, who used the conference to promote a new wind-power facility in Colorado as evidence of the Obama administration's investment in clean energy.

Bromwich said it is unclear how soon idled rigs will be back in business, but "it's not going to happen tomorrow." He said that his department is in the process of recruiting more inspectors to enforce the new rules, but hasn't made any considerable additions to its staff.

Original.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dr. Bob Randall

We were honored by the presence of Dr. Bob Randall, Ph.D, at our Groundbreaking for our Midtown Community Garden this past Saturday. He is one of the co-founders of Urban Harvest.

Bob has written a great book for those who like to garden in the Houston area. It is called, "Year Round Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers for Metro Houston." It's currently in it's 12th Edition. The spiral-bound book can be found at Urban Harvest and a few local booksellers, like Borders Books. Buchanan's and Wabash also carry it. It's a little expensive at $30, but worth every penny.

Bob gave us a lot of good tips on gardening during his visit. I'll be fixing up the Facebook page for the Garden soon.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Red Tide in Hungary

Oh, Lord, what a disaster. Tons of toxic red sludge is released from an alumina plant in Hungary, killing at least four and covering large swaths of western Hungary.

No doubt there are ticking time bombs like this all over the developed world. One accident; one wrong move; one terrorist attack, and devastation results.

Chickens? Roost!

EU to Hungary: Don't Let Toxic Sludge Hit Danube

KOLONTAR, Hungary – Hungary opened a criminal probe into the toxic sludge flood Wednesday and the European Union urged emergency authorities to do everything they can to keep the contaminated slurry from reaching the Danube and affecting half a dozen other nations.

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated after a gigantic sludge reservoir burst Monday at a metals plant in Ajka, a town 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest, the capital.


At least four people were killed, three are still missing and 120 were injured as the unstoppable torrent inundated homes, swept cars off roads and disgorged an estimated 1 million cubic meters (35 million cubic feet) of toxic waste onto several nearby towns.

It was still not known Wednesday why part of the reservoir failed. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said authorities were caught off guard by the disaster since the plant and reservoir had been inspected only two weeks earlier and no irregularities had been found.

National Police Chief Jozsef Hatala decided to take over the probe because of its importance and complexity, police spokeswoman Monika Benyi told The Associated Press, adding that a criminal case had been opened by the country's top investigative body into possible on-the-job carelessness.

The huge reservoir, more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) long and 500 yards (450 meters) wide, was no longer leaking Wednesday but a triple-tiered protective wall was being built around its damaged area. Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said guards have been posted at the site to give an early warning in case of any new emergency.

The red torrent has already reached the Marcal River but it was not clear Wednesday how far down the river it had spread. Emergency workers were pouring 1,000 tons of plaster into the water to try to bind the sludge and keep it from flowing into the Danube, 45 miles (72 kilometers) away.

The Hungarian Water Regulation Authority estimated Tuesday it would take the sludge about five days to reach the Danube, one of Europe's key waterways. South of Hungary, the Danube flows through Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Moldova before emptying into the Black Sea.

Hungary's National Rescue Service said engineers considered diverting the Marcal into nearby fields but decided not to, fearing the damage from the diversion would be too great.

Workers were also extracting sludge from the river and using plaster and acid to neutralize the toxic chemicals. Initial pH measurements showed the sludge had an extremely alkaline value of 13 after the spill, the service said.

The European Union said it feared the toxic flood could turn into an ecological disaster for several nations and urged Hungarian authorities to focus all efforts on keeping the sludge from the Danube.


"It is important that we do .... everything possible that it would not go, that it would not endanger the Danube," EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik told the AP in Brussels.

"We have to do this very moment everything possible ... (to) limit the extent of the damage."

"This is a serious environmental problem," EU spokesman Joe Hennon told Associated Press Television News. "We are concerned, not just for the environment in Hungary, but this could potentially cross borders."
Greenpeace was even more emphatic.

The sludge spill is "one of the top three environmental disasters in Europe in the last 20 or 30 years," said Herwit Schuster, a spokesman for Greenpeace International.

Greenpeace workers took sludge samples on Tuesday and were having them tested in labs in Vienna and Budapest to find out how contaminated the sludge was by heavy metals.

"It is clear that 40 sq. kilometers (15.5 square miles) of mostly agricultural land is polluted and destroyed for a long time," Schuster said. "If there are substances like arsenic and mercury, that would affect river systems and ground water on long-term basis."

Red sludge is a byproduct of the refining of bauxite into alumina, the basic material for manufacturing aluminum. It contains heavy metals and is toxic if ingested. Treated sludge is often stored in ponds where the water eventually evaporates, leaving behind a dried red clay-like soil.

MAL Rt., the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company that owns the Ajkai plant, has insisted the red sludge is not considered hazardous waste according to EU standards. The company has also rejected criticism that it should have taken more precautions to shore up the reservoir.

In Hungary's hardest-hit towns, emergency workers and construction crews in respirators and other hazmat gear strained Wednesday to clear roads and homes coated by thick red sludge and caustic muddy water.

In Kolontar, the town nearest to the plant, a military construction crew assembled a pontoon bridge across a toxic stream so residents could briefly return to their homes and retrieve some belongings.

But Kolontar mayor Karoly Tily said he could not reassure residents that Monday's calamity would not happen again.

In sharp contrast to the emergency workers, locals salvaged possessions with little more than rubber gloves for protection. Women with pants coated with red mud cleared the muck away from their homes with snow shovels.

The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube, which manages the river and its tributaries, agreed that sludge spill could trigger long-term damaging effects for both wildlife and humans.

"It is a very serious accident and has potential implications for other countries," Philip Weller, the group's executive secretary, said from Brussels.

The Danube, at 1,775 miles (2,850 kilometers) long, is Europe's second largest river and holds one of the continent's greatest treasuries of wildlife. The river has already been the focus of a multibillion dollar post-communist cleanup, but high-risk industries such as Hungary's Ajkai Timfoldgyar alumina plant, where the disaster occurred, are still producing waste near some of its tributaries.

Weller said the commission's early warning alarm system was triggered by the spill, which means factories and towns along the Danube may have to shut down their water intake systems. The Vienna-based commission was waiting for further details of the spill from Hungarian authorities, he said.

He said large fish in the Danube could ingest the metals and then transfer them to humans who eat the fish.

The ecological catastrophe has already left a trail of shattered lives in its wake.

There was no stopping the avalanche of toxic red sludge when it rammed into Kati Holtzer's home in Kolontar: It smashed through the main door and trapped the woman and her 3-year-old boy in a churning sea of acrid waste.

She saved her son by placing him on a sofa that was floating in the muck. She then called her husband Balazs, who was working in Austria, to say goodbye.

"We're going to die," she told him, chest-deep in sludge.

After the terror came the pain: Holtzer and her two rescuers were among those suffering from biting chemical burns. Half the house was painted red from the sludge.

Worst of all, her fox terrier Mazli — "Luck" in Hungarian — lay dead in the yard Wednesday, still chained to a stake.

You can see pictures of the disaster by clicking here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Watch it burn!

Hoo boy! Is this what America is coming to?



Read a little about this here.

Fence is complete

Today, Balso, the Brazilian madman, finished building the fence around our Community Garden (see the pic at the top of the blog). He does great work. He worked all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to finish the fence.


The extra-special part of it all is that two of the Members of our Community Garden DONATED the materials AND the labor (Balso) to build the fence for our garden. GRATIS. It is a rather overwhelming gift.


The above picture is shot from our rooftop deck, looking at the "service entrance" that Balso built. And below is a corner of the garden. We put in three regular-sized gates and one service gate.


This Saturday we will have an official "Groundbreaking" for our garden, even though 18 or 19 of the beds have already "broken ground" and plants are growing strongly in most of those.
We also planted four young citrus trees in the corner in a small citrus orchard.


The Members chipped in and bought a shed onsite to keep tools and such in.....


Added a compost bin ... another to come ....


So far, this has been an awesome experience, seeing what people can do when they work together. We've met neighbors ("gardeneighbors" if you will) we didn't know we had, and other Members of the garden we've known for a long time, and we're grateful to have such good friends.
Now, if we can just figure out how to keep the worst bugs AWAY!!

Who's the Democrat?

It's time to play that ol' favorite game again, peeps!

See if you can "Name that Democrat!"

Just watch this ad and tell me WHO is the Democrat in the race!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

One Nation rally

Well, well, it's wonderful to see so many "progressives" coming out. The rightards are trying to make "progressive" a dirty word, like they did to the word "liberal." We couldn't make this rally, but we're still trying to set up a visit to D.C. for Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" on Oct 30.

Tens of Thousands of Progressives Rally at the Lincoln Memorial for Jobs, Justice and Education

Tens of thousands of civil rights, labor, and other progressive activists gathered on the National Mall today for the One Nation Working Together rally, meant to bring attention to the fight for jobs, justice and education and energize the left one month before the midterm elections.

"October 2nd is about November 2nd," SEIU President Mary Kay Henry recently told MSNBC host Ed Schultz, who heavily promoted the event on his show and gave opening remarks today. "And it's about what we do after November 2nd to hold elected officials and corporate America accountable to getting us back to work."

More than 400 organizations representing tens of thousands of individuals sponsored the rally, bringing together groups like the Sierra Club, United Mine Workers of America, and the NAACP. Backers were touting it as the most diverse march in history.

Organizers insisted that One Nation was not a response to Fox News host Glenn Beck's Aug. 28 "Restoring Honor" rally, although some attendees held signs referencing the personality and his network, such as "I want my country back from Glenn Beck" and "Fox News: The more you watch, the less u know." "I didn't really appreciate that he took away from Martin Luther King," said Sheila Robinson, a member of AFSCME's District Council 37, noting that Beck's rally was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the civil rights icon's "I Have a Dream" speech.

"His [Beck's] rally was in response to what the civil rights movement has always been about, which is a multiethnic movement," National Urban League President Marc Morial, who spoke at the rally, told The Huffington Post in an interview on Friday. "But I do invite people to consider the contrast they'll see, in terms of the diversity. This is named One Nation because this rally will look like the way the nation looks. It's going to be yellow, it's going to be black, white, Hispanic and Asian. It's going to be men and women. It's going to be people from various walks, areas and religions. That's what it's about, and that's what the future of America is about. So this is really also a demonstration that that is a future that we should be proud of, and that's a future we should embrace as a nation."

The National Mall looked like a patchwork quilt, with thousands of union workers grouped in clusters wearing t-shirts in their respective colors. Unions such as the AFL-CIO and SEIU bused in workers from all over the country, and many attendees at the event said that they learned about it from their local chapters and were hoping it would mobilize people to get out the vote for November. The Rev. Al Sharpton called the upcoming elections the country's "midterm exams" and said the left needed to get ready. "We've got to go home and got to hit the pavement," he urged attendees. "We've got to knock on doors... We've got to get ready for the midterm."

"I hope that people will go home, be energized to get their neighbors and their neighbors' neighbors out to vote so that we can out-vote those who don't know how to vote," said Lula Stewart, a member of the Office and Professional Employees International Union. "I will be calling, I will be visiting, going door to door, telling them how important this midterm vote is."

There didn't appear to be many conservatives at the rally; all the attendees with whom The Huffington Post spoke wanted to vote Republicans out of office in November, saying the GOP was more interested in defending corporations and the wealthy. There were some people waving signs and wearing clothing supporting President Obama, and most people gave him credit for trying but said he needed a Congress that was more willing to back him up -- both on the Republican and Democratic side.

Only one elected representative, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), spoke today, although Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) was also in attenance. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was invited but was unable to participate. "On TV news, we don't see many pictures of the immigrant sweeping the floor in the hospital or caring for a sick child," said Gutierrez's prepared remarks. "But we see lots of pictures of scary invaders jumping over fences. Of prisoners in handcuffs. For too many people, the two words that come to mind when they think of immigrants are: Go Home. It's our job to replace them with two words that tell the real story: Hard Work."

Most attendees seemed to have received the message about focusing on jobs, justice and education, although there were a smattering of off-topic signs about war, not eating meat, and child abduction.

"I'm hoping this helps to be a counter-balance to all of the press that says there's this right-wing wave that everybody is more concerned about taxes than they are about justice," George Sheridan, a first- and second-grade teacher from California and member of the National Education Association told The Huffington Post. "We want to show that in fact, what we need is good jobs; that's where we'll get taxes from. What we need is social investment. If we educate the children, then we don't have as many people in welfare, we don't have as many people in prison. So we're looking for a just society. This is one step. That doesn't come from today, but this is one piece of a movement we have to build for years."

The One Nation Working Together website is still up. Go here. And you can see more pictures from the rally by clicking here.

Marijuana legalization

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