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DOMA Arigato
Author: BobR    Date: 07/09/2010 11:19:43

In what may be one of the most important court rulings this year, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Boston ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. In many ways, this is a huge win for the supporters of gay marriage. The rationale behind the ruling, however, is a double-edged sword.
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74 comments (Latest Comment: 07/10/2010 13:18:28 by BobR)

A Strong Economy is National Security
Author: Raine    Date: 07/08/2010 12:59:46

I am trying to figure this one out... Tea Partiers keep yelling and screaming about the "out of Control Spending" by the big evil government but when it comes to defense -- that is where they want more.

Queen Teabagger, Sarah Palin is quoted as saying:
"Something has to be done urgently to stop the out-of-control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine, and no government agency should be immune from budget scrutiny," she said. "We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military. If we lose wars, if we lose the ability to deter adversaries, if we lose the ability to provide security for ourselves and for our allies, we risk losing all that makes America great. That is a price we cannot afford to pay."
I would like to tell you that I understand this logic, but I don't. Even Secretary Gates understands that we need to cut the Pentagon budget for the good of the Nation as well as our national security.
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52 comments (Latest Comment: 07/08/2010 22:26:20 by livingonli)

By the People, For the People
Author: BobR    Date: 07/07/2010 11:46:12

Back in the days of this great country's infancy, our founding fathers invested great amounts of intellectual capital crafting the blueprint for our democracy. They envisioned a system where the people had a say in how their country was run by electing representatives to be their voices, and three branches to ensure no single branch held too much power. Eighty-seven years later, Pres. Lincoln summarized it succinctly as "Of the people, by the people, for the people". This what we have always believed, that government is "us", not "them"... that is - until (relatively) recently.
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36 comments (Latest Comment: 07/08/2010 01:45:29 by clintster)

Ask A Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 07/06/2010 10:24:46

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,666th day in Iraq and our 3,194th day in Afghanistan.

We'll start as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from our ongoing wars, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4411
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4272
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3950
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3552
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 183

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 318
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 1,152
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 744
Contractor Employee Deaths - Iraq: 1,457
Journalists - Iraq: 338
Academics Killed - Iraq: 437

We find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$ 1, 013, 807, 950, 000 .00

Seeing that we've just celebrated our nation's birthday, I'll try to start off with a couple of "good" news stories, inasmuch as war stories can be "good".

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34 comments (Latest Comment: 07/07/2010 03:23:20 by livingonli)

Happy July 5th!
Author: Raine    Date: 2010-07-05 14:45:24

Sorry for a very late and light blog, friends. I slept in on a Monday...

So for today, as you enjoy the day, I just want to share this with you.


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the roof of the White House. July 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

5 comments (Latest Comment: 07/06/2010 00:35:13 by Raine)

Happy Birthday America!
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 07/04/2010 13:15:22

Fourth of July! Independence Day! The day Americans celebrate by having BBQ's, shooting off explosive devices, flag waving, drinking beer, parades and of course, listening to Lee Greenwoods "Proud to Be an American" over and over and over and over.

"And I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free"

I'm a cynic. Sorry 'bout that. But many of my fellow countrypeople aren't quite sure about American history or why we celebrate some of our holidays. To say these people tend to be FOX watchers is really..... well okay, it's probably true.

Its the same people that mix up Veterans Day and Memorial Day with stupid questions like "What's the difference?" (Yes, I actually heard this once, "why do we have two holidays to honor the military"). Ye Gads!
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7 comments (Latest Comment: 07/05/2010 00:33:42 by livingonli)

Summer Weekend
Author: TriSec    Date: 07/03/2010 12:05:43

Good Morning!

Well, here we are, in the heart of another long summer. It's Independence Day weekend, so it must be time to find a local patriotic display and eat some "All-American" foods.

What's more American than Ice Cream, right? In the past, we in New England were blessed with a multitude of locally-owned shops and small chains, some of which had regional or even national prominence.

But over time, that's slowly eroded, and now you'd be hard-pressed to find a local ice cream shop. Waltham has Lizzy's on Main Street, and Pizzi Farm, but the one I used to walk to is long gone and the site is full of houses nobody can afford.

The Globe has a brief slideshow concerning the 20 best ice cream shops in the region. My old fave Richardson's clocks in at #6.

We are a strange lot, us New Englanders. You'd think someplace like Florida, or Texas, or California would eat more ice cream than us, but you'd be wrong. And it's inevitable that at least once every winter, the Globe features a photo of some youngling all bundled up in the snow eating an ice cream cone....but I digress.

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9 comments (Latest Comment: 07/03/2010 21:34:55 by BobR)

Wotta Boehner!
Author: BobR    Date: 07/02/2010 11:16:21

When it comes to politics, there are always those rare birds that epitomize the cliché politician. These guys are hard-drinking narcissists that love power for the sake of power, and are always raising money, posturing for the press, pontificating with obvious insincerity, and so entrenched, they'll never leave. Often caricatures of themselves, they are living cartoons. No current politician fits this bill better than Rep. John Boehner (R-OH).
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30 comments (Latest Comment: 07/03/2010 00:38:17 by TriSec)

Ghosts of Katrina
Author: Raine    Date: 07/01/2010 12:43:15

It's like a bad story that never seems to go away. What happened during the aftermath of Katrina keeps resurfacing in all sorts of ways. This time it's the infamous FEMA trailers used to house so many thousands of displaced people. They're re-surfacing in the Gulf region and despite a Federal Government ban on using them for residential purposes, workers involved with the cleanup of the oil spill are living in them. In many cases they are being provided by the companies they are working for.
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39 comments (Latest Comment: 07/02/2010 02:40:50 by Raine)

BP = Blue Sky Mine
Author: BobR    Date: 06/30/2010 11:31:34

...But if I work all day on the blue sky mine
(There'll be food on the table tonight)
And if I walk up and down on the blue sky mine
(There'll be pay in your pocket tonight)

And some have sailed from a distant shore
And the company takes what the company wants
And nothing's as precious, as a hole in the ground!...

-- from "Blue Sky Mine" by Midnight Oil

Driving home from work yesterday, I popped an old CD into the radio, and listened to Midnight Oil's "Blue Sky Mining" album. For the younger readers, they were an Australian band in the 1980s that sang catchy pop tunes with social messages, mostly relevant to Australia, but applicable elsewhere as well. One might say they were the U2 of their continent.

The lyrics to "Blue Sky Mine" struck me, right down to the name, as I thought about BP (Beyond Petroleum) and their underwater fountain of death in the Gulf of Mexico. The song is actually based on a true piece of ongoing history at the Wittenoom mine in Australia, where the Australian Blue Asbestos company mined blue asbestos. The company was charged with shortcutting safety for the sake of profits. "Nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground"? How true is that? How little has actually changed?

The candy store paupers lie to the share holders
They're crossing their fingers they pay the truth makers
The balance sheet is breaking up the sky

Right from day 1 of the spill, BP was underestimating (or under-representing) the amount of oil that was coming from their "hole in the ground". They also made false claims about how safe the drilling was, and how prepared the were for an accident. As time has passed and more evidence exposed, the truth has been laid bare, with the Gulf of Mexico and everyone that makes their living there paying the price. Meanwhile, they try to limit media access to the site and cleanup efforts, for fear of losing their inconceiveable profits.

So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine
The sweat of my brow keeps on feeding the engine
Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night

Meanwhile, those fisherman who have taken the jobs that BP offers (after having their only livelihood destroyed) are risking their lives for the company that has raped their back yard. Because BP wants to play down the health risks of exposure to crude oil, they aren't letting the workers wear respirators. They might as well be working in an asbestos mine.

As for Australian Blue Asbestos, the company is defunct, and the lawsuits are still bouncing around the courts. Will it be any different this time? The likely only difference is that BP will not go defunct - they're too powerful and connected for that to happen. The lawsuits and disease and death, however, will be here for a very long time.

44 comments (Latest Comment: 06/30/2010 21:41:53 by clintster)

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