Monday, October 31, 2005

Virginia Time Travel Politics

Vote Kilgore! If he had a time machine, spoke German, could worm his way into the Third Reich and keep Hitler from killing himself, he'd bring him to justice by killing him!

Sorry folks, life's been crazy lately. But here's a bit of humor for us Virginians - and here's hoping that people see Kilgore for the idiot he is.

Ghost Busting Virginians for Truth.

Friday, October 21, 2005

It's a good time to be a liberal...

Tom Delay looks downright giddy in his mugshot. Smiling and happy with not a care in the world. That’s not right. I wanted to see a cross between Nick Nolte and Noelle Bush. Someone really needed to muss up his hair just a bit. Smear his make-up. Maybe they’re saving that for his cellmate. Let’s call it institutional foreplay creating a whole new meaning (not to mention disturbing images for you visual thinkers) to his oft toted catch-phrase “bringing down the hammer”. I figure it'd be turnabout as fair play. He's been screwing us for years.

With the wheels coming off the Whitehouse wagon I have to wonder where are the Democrats? Sure it’s fun to watch the republicans turn on each other and eat their own. Ann Coulter getting flack from the religious right. Conservative fighting conservative over the rampant cronyism epitomized by the appointment of Harriet Miers. But without an effective voice of dissent and a vision for a better tomorrow all we have is the spectacle which will fade at the whim of the media spotlight or metamorph under the able manipulation of the political spin machine.

It is very telling that the most effective voices of opposition have come not from any elected official but from among the people themselves. Cindy Sheehan. Bloggers. Veterans speaking out against the war. Grassroot organizations taking the dissatisfaction and disgust which has finally moved from simmer to full boil and given that anger voice.

I don’t know if a progressive politician (if such an animal can ever actually exist) will rise to follow our lead. I hope so. I hope the democrats will stop stumbling and fumbling and sitting on the sidelines and decide to actually get into the game.

I know it's tempting to sit back and watch. It's nice to have something to smile about again on the political side of life. It's a good time to be a liberal.

But there’s too much at stake for us to be satisfied with the spectacle.

Just my rambling 2 cents (Canadian)


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Official Welcome to Kidcanuck!

I'd like to officially welcome my better half as a contributor. He makes me look downright middle of the road in comparison. Here's hoping I can coax a few thoughts out of him from time to time.

Oh, and unlike me, he can actuallly write.

Virginia Gubernatorial Race

In May, 2004, I had the opportunity to hear Virginia governor Mark Warner (D) speak at a college graduation ceremony. I wasn't sure what to expect - politics had taken a particularly nasty turn as the presidential election loomed large on the horizon. I watched the governor greet people and talk before the graduation began. He seemed at ease with people and honestly glad to meet those being introduced to him.

I remember thinking he looked taller in person than he did on television.

As he took the podium and spoke to the class of 2004, I was immediately impressed. It was clear he was there to honor those graduates. There were no jabs at the Republican party. No partisan rhetoric. No political jokes although I think the crowd would have given him some latitude. He was just a man (albeit a prominent one) sharing some words of wisdom with some kids about to get their sheepskins. Truly, a class act.

I will be sad to see Governor Warner go. I hope will continue in politics and would be proud to campaign for him as a presidential candidate some day. (There are some folks who think he should be a candidate in 2008.)

Now Virginians are faced with a choice: Tim Kaine(D), Warner's Lieutenant Governor during his tenure or Jerry Kilgore(R). Personally, I don't think it is much of a choice. Virginia has been named the Best Managed State in the Nation and frankly, I can't think of a better person to mentor a future governor than Mark Warner. But, here's a few thoughts for those of you from the Commonwealth who may be riding the fence:

- Car tax. Come on folks, it wasn't that long ago that former governor Jim Gilmore deadlocked the government over this issue. Who benefited from these cuts? I can tell you it wasn't me, driving my 10+ year old Pontiac with 150K miles on it. A vast majority of the cuts benefited seven localities in the northern part of the state. I think that Kilgore has made it plain that he intends to pick up Gilmore's hatred of taxes (for the wealthy) and run with it even though we know it was disastrous. (See below!)

- State deficit. Now, if you listen to Jerry Kilgore, there was no deficit. While answering a question at the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce on September 8, 2005, Kilgore stated that the administration was "not meeting revenue expectations." Yeah. To the tune of $1.5 billion.

You can check it out for yourself.

And what did we experience last year, folks? What... a surplus? Under a Democrat??? Stop. Surely we're in some weird turnaround universe where you have to look to Democrats for fiscal responsibility!

- Republican Kool-Aid. Seriously, Kilgore takes every play out of the how to confuse and frighten your voters and fuck with your opponent playbook by Karl Rove. There was no deficit. Pay no attention to the published reports of such. My opponent favors RAISING TAXES. You're paying over $3 a gallon and the evil Tim Kaine suggests raising the GAS TAX! We're going to have the HIGHEST GAS TAX in the nation! Tell him to go to hell and vote for me!

Uhm... Mr. Kilgore? Really. That was a Republican initiative to raise the gas tax. Now, Mr. Kaine isn't saying he won't raise the tax on gas (the lowest in the nation, btw) but he never supported this plan.

When you can't dazzle 'em with substance, make shit up. Scare people. It's a hell of a tactic.

I remember the Gilmore years. I remember lay-offs and hiring freezes and rumors of forced unpaid time off for state workers. I remember the state workers didn't get any pay raises but kept working their butts off regardless with hopes of "better days." Well, the better days came with Mark Warner.

So, Mr. Kilgore, aka Gilmore Light? I'm still driving a piece of shit and I think I'll stick with Mr. Kaine, thanks.

From November 4, 2004

I was doing some research for another post I'm working on and happened upon the words I wrote on that dark day in November when John Kerry conceded the election. I thought it appropriate to post here, for my new readers. (You're out there - I know you are!!)

Yesterday was pretty bleak. I was unapologetically miserable. Even my faithful sense of humor, which has gotten me through the worst times in my life, failed me. There was nothing positive about yesterday and I said as much to anyone who asked.

I listened to people say that folks like me were blowing things out of proportion. I smiled as many people joked about the world not ending. I listened without comment to Bush supporters as they celebrated their victory and cried quietly as the man I voted for conceded the election.

Politics is a funny thing. Rarely is there a position between passion and indifference. Even those who follow with mild disinterest will have some issue that pushes their buttons. And for someone like me, who has been engaged in this process and believes very strongly in her convictions about this country and its leadership, the word passion doesn't really adequately communicate how completely invested I was in the outcome of this election.

Nobody likes to lose. Losing sucks. And when you personally feel that so much is at stake... well, losing certainly feels like the end of the world. I will not apologize for mourning yesterday. I will not apologize for being angry or feeling betrayed when I heard that the concession call had been made. I will not apologize for my tears.

John Kerry was not my first choice for our presidential nominee. I was a Deaniac. I found Howard Dean refreshing and electrifying. I was caught up in his momentum and for the first time in a long time, believed that I could make a difference. I was and am proud to say that I supported Dr. Dean. I even contributed to his campaign. Would Dean have been able to win? Apparently the Democratic Party didn't think so. Shame on all of us for letting him be thrown to the wolves in favor of the "safer" more mainstream candidate.

I'm still on the Dean mailing list and the very first political email I received yesterday was from Dr. Dean. Here's what you're not going to hear today, he said. Here's the good news - the victories that are going to get overshadowed by the bad news. We're not going away. Thank you, Dr. Dean. Thank you for reminding me that while it is bleak now - and it should be in the wake of such a disappointment - it won't be this dark forever.

I'm not going away, Mr. Bush. I'm not going to sit down, shut up, and let you get back to the business of flushing our country down the toilet all in the name of "unity". I despise everything you and your thugs stand for. I am a LIBERAL.

Democrats, you're not off the hook. Get your shit together. It's time to take some chances, stop being such suck-up wimps, and get in some faces. It's okay - don't be afraid. What have we got to lose???

We're angry now but it is only October, 2005. Who knows what will happen between now and November, 2006? I heard a liberal talk radio host suggesting the other day that Bush still has plenty of time to pull things out, to work with his smoke and mirrors - to get people thinking that all of the things going on right now are just some bad dream. I wanted to remind myself of where I've been... and what I need to do.

I need to remember.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Pregnancy Permission Slips...

I don't think there is anyone in the liberal blog world who hasn't read about and commented on the deplorable legislation suggested by Sen. Patricia Miller - R of Indiana that was quickly withdrawn after a "firestorm" of criticism according to the GOP spokeswoman Jamie Jorczak. But just in case you missed the party, you can learn more about it here.

So why am I mentioning it now? Well, thanks to a link in the comments over at Shakespears Sister I've learned that bad ideas don't really die, they just go someplace to be born again when fewer people are paying attention.

Idea shelved but not dead.

I may not be a Hoosier, Ms. Miller, but I will be watching. Because if something like this can get through in Indiana, tomorrow it will be Virginia... and reasonable people have to be vigilant to keep the government OUT of our reproductive lives.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Maybe now it's time for an intro...

I started this blog as a means to vent my anger and frustration after Hurricane Katrina. Everything was coming so fast and furious that there was no real time to introduce myself.

I'm CJ. I'm old enough to know better and still too young to care. I am proudly liberal. There are many other labels that apply: wife, mother, daughter, sister, educator, administrator, pagan, American...

While I suspect that my blog will continue to have a political bent, I'll be straying from my thoughts from time to time to share on other things as well.

For example:


Join the Browncoats - SERENITY - September 30, 2005

Thursday, September 08, 2005


This account left me stunned and sick.

I'm completely speechless. And now isn't the time for figuring out who was responsible for these horrors??

Article first seen on Bitch Ph.D.

Maybe FEMA needs a map...

Somehow, this just does not instill confidence in our Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Is anyone going to be held accountable for this debauchle? Stay tuned!

The blame game...

This post started as a comment to a friend's LiveJournal. I decided it would work here as well.


Everyone in power is currently saying "Don't play the blame game. Now isn't the time. We need to focus right now on helping these people." The opposite viewpoint has been, "Look, if not now, when? This did not have to be as bad as it was and we need some answers why our governments (local/state/federal) fucked up so badly."

See, those of us who remember 9/11 clearly without all of the crap that was piled on afterwards remember a president who didn't know what the hell to do and spent the day flying around in Air Force One, a Vice-President who was taken away to a "secret" location. A few weeks afterwards he was suddenly the Great White Cowboy Hero whose "resolve" and "swift action" were commended round the world. WTF??

Now I agree that sitting around and asking "Why, why, why did this catastrophic hurricane hit us?" seems counter-productive, especially when you have these folks in the mix:
Abortion, gays and voodoo actually to blame.

But, I do think some very serious questions need to be addressed. For example:

- Would the levee repair that was sacked thanks to the war in Iraq have changed anything? (I'm not naive enough to think that there would not have been devastation with a category 4 hurricane with a category 5 storm surge pounding the gulf coast - but was the infrastructure gutted to the point that a category 3 storm would have taken the town out?)

- Why weren't appropriate arrangements made for the poor and infirmed to get out of NOLA and similar places prior to the storm? Ray Nagin, the Republicrat Mayor of NOLA knew that he had numerous ultra-poor in his city who would have no means of evacuation. (In fact, prior to this storm, those families were being told if a big storm came, they were on their own.)

- Where the hell was FEMA? Read the governor's request for federal assistance prior to the storm here. (It's a pdf so it loads slowly.) The response of the "you have to vote for us, the other guy is going to let you DIE" Bush government was and is sickening. The death toll, when all is said and done, is going to be staggering. How many drowned awaiting rescue? Whether you believe that the response was intentional (either out of racism, classism, victim blaming or party philosophy) or unintentional (flat out incompetence) or a little of both there's no reasonable explanation for allowing people to die like that.

- Could the administration appear any more callous and uncaring? After two days, Bush reluctantly cancels the last few days of his five week vacation to go see (from a plane) what was happening. Guess he couldn't just phone it in at that point and look like he gave a shit. Cheney didn't bother to cancel his vacation at all and is just now returning to work. Condi Rice was on vacation and finally, after people booed her at a play and yelled at her in a shoe shop, returned reluctantly to D.C. (Hey, in this age of technology you don't have to cancel your tennis game to actually help work on the death of thousands of your own citizens in their own homes. You can just do a web conference!!) This is the government that was going to keep us safe, folks. To me, this is why the whole "can't play the blame game now - we've got important work to do!" doesn't ring true. It didn't interrupt Cheney's fishing trip. It didn't keep Dr. Rice from shopping.

Now is the time to ask these questions, before the nation's memory moves onto something else - before the spin on all of this is SO thick it begins to look like GWB and his cronies held back the tide themselves to keep the death toll from climbing higher. Because like it or not, our administration is all about image. Do you think it's any mistake that when asked, George W. Bush could not come up with a single mistake he felt his administration had made since 9/11?

How many "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards does this administration get before someone calls BULLSHIT!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Maybe I'll apply...

So it seems that none of the top people at FEMA are qualified for their jobs.

Anyone surprised?

Now, I'm certain there's some sort of Arabian horse emergency planning that Mr. Brown could find transferable to our current situation, you know, like if a horse stumbles or something... wait, wasn't he fired from that job?

So, based on my nearly 20 years of crisis intervention, emergency planning, dealing with the public and budgeting - it would appear that I am more qualified than these bozos. Well, and I've got some common sense which seems to be in short supply in our government these days.

Why do I think that perhaps Messrs Brown, Rhode and Morris aren't the only ones over their heads in this current administration?

Monday, September 05, 2005

On another note

Just spent $40 putting half a tank of gas in the MomStar.* A few gas stations are out of gas entirely. Even more are just out of regular grade.

I keep waiting for announcements of rationing or calls for smarter use of resources until things normalize again. Then I remember that I'm living in George Bush's America where we damn the consequences and live as high on the hog as we want because, dammit, this is AMERICA! If we start conserving, the terrorists win!


*The MomStar is a 2001 Ford Windstar I purchased a few years back when I realized that in order to properly care for a smallish infant, I needed to be prepared for the invasion of a small nation. I'm looking forward to replacing the MomStar with something more economical and, well, sporty, when I can actually afford to consider a car payment again - probably when the smallish infant is out of college in 2022.

So tired...

There are so many people, far more eloquent than myself, posting about the post-Katrina horrors. I've been offline for a few days and will catch up, but for right now, I just have one question:

How does the government's response to Katrina fit with the whole "culture of life" rhetoric that was being spewed during the whole Terri Schiavo nightmare?

You may remember it - our government officials were locked in debate over whether or not this affluent white woman (with no brain function) should be allowed to "live". They wasted time, money and breath each trying to be holier than thou, saying they represented a "culture of life" that holds all life sacred. To quote President Bush:

...our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected...

(The entire statement can be found here.)

So, after Katrina blew threw, and those who were at the mercy of others for assistance... what? Deserve to wait until it was a political liability for those in power to do something? How exactly did we value, welcome and protect the residents of the Gulf Coast?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Welcome Back, Mr. Moore...

Finally, something from Michael Moore.

Where have you been, Mike? Those of us who count on you to be a burr under the saddle of this particular administration have missed you!

Fight from the inside

The truth is rarely pretty...

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint.

That's easy for YOU to say, Mr. Brown

Victims bear some responsibility for being placed into HELL according to Mr. "I've Never Gone Hungry" FEMA Chief Brown.

You know, Mr. Brown - I've spent the better part of the last two days in complete anguish and disbelief over what is going on in my country. I've seen what the networks feel is appropriate to show and know that the horrors these people are enduring are far, far worse than the worst they can show on CNN. I listen to my neighbors, comfortable in their dry homes, their only inconvenience being the folks at the McD's drive-thru can't get their breakfast sandwich right, complain about gas going to over $3 a gallon and clicking their tongues in disapproval over the deplorable looting and violence in post-Katrina New Orleans.

I think you're all missing the point here.

Do you have a car Mr. Brown? I'm sure it's a nice one that gets you where you want to go. Do you have money for gas to drive a few hundred miles? Yes, I'm sure that as FEMA Chief you're making above minimum wage. How about credit cards, sir? Are you able to get a hotel reservation?

Now listen up, you sanctimonious prick. Most of the people remaining in the areas of the gulf coast did so because they had no choice. Sure, there are a few yahoos that stayed behind because they didn't believe the storm would be that bad or because they'd rather stay with their precious stuff. Those aren't the folks who are dying at the New Orleans Convention Center. These are the poor of our nation - the people that those of your ilk would like to pretend don't exist.

Mr. Brown, I have some more questions for you. If it was that important for them to evacuate, why wasn't there adequate transportation to get them out of the city? Why wasn't shelter arranged out of the storm zone to keep these folks safe? Why weren't adequate provisions put together in the days before the storm to keep these people taken care of? Why didn't your agency give these people a choice?

It's so easy in the aftermath of something like this to go public and say, "Sure, these people are suffering but they are partially to blame!" from your nice, comfy, DRY office far removed from the torture that these people are suffering through. You folks dropped the ball on this one. This is what EMERGENCY management is all about, Mr. Brown. Look it up.