Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What a president looks like

In case you've forgotten (I very nearly had.)

Our long, national nightmare is almost over... for that I give a hearty thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spineless to the end

This is why I am a proud Independent. Not a Lieberman Independent... because I actually stand for something. Lieberman is a snake.

I have some hope for Obama... but Reid and Pelosi are pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. If they really think this guy (who is no doubt off laughing with his Neocon friends) will actually caucus with them, they are not only pathetic -- they are insane.

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Legacy of oil

Fire Sale! Everything must go!

(AP) The view of Delicate Arch natural bridge - an unspoiled landmark so iconic it's on Utah's license plates - could one day include a drilling platform under a proposal that environmentalists call a Bush administration "fire sale" for the oil and gas industry.

Late on Election Day, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a Dec. 19 auction of more than 50,000 acres of oil and gas parcels alongside or within view of Arches National Park and two other redrock national parks in Utah: Dinosaur and Canyonlands.

The National Park Service's top official in the state calls it "shocking and disturbing" and says his agency wasn't properly notified. Environmentalists call it a "fire sale" for the oil and gas industry by a departing administration.

Coming soon to an iconic natural wonder near you!

There are still a few months in which to finally make good use of this wasted public land before the liberals get their tree-hugging hands on it again.

Here are a few lucrative improvements that can be made before our oil administration leaves office. For your viewing pleasure.

Mesa Verde

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Tetons

Mount Rushmore

Dinosaur National Monument

Oregon Coastline

Drill baby drill! From sea to (once) shining sea.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Zydeco Obama!

Cajuns for Obama! (Boy, I wish I was eating that food right now!)

French lyrics:

Oui On Peut!
Oui on peut - sauver notre pays
Oui on peut - reprendre notres vies
Oui on peut - changer notre histoire
Oui on peut - vivre dans l'espoir
J'ai un rêve pour mon pays
Que on peut marcher ensemble
Et notre promesse de liberté
Peut vivre pour tout le monde
Pour faire cette grande vision
Il y a seulement juste un homme
Notre prochain président
Qui s'appelle Barack Obama
Pour quitter l'ignorance
Et arrêter les contes
Et faire vivre le grand pays
Que on voudrait pour nos enfants
Oui on peut - sauver notre pays
Oui on peut - reprendre notres vies
Oui on peut - changer notre histoire
Oui on peut - vivre dans l'espoir


Yes We Can!
Yes we can - save our country
Yes we can - take back our lives
Yes we can - change history
I have a dream for my country
That we will all walk forward together
And that the promise of liberty
Will live for every one of us
To achieve this grand vision
There is only one man
He is our next President
And his name is Barack Obama
To leave ignorance behind
To stop the fairy tales
To bring life to the great nation
That we all want for our children
Yes we can - save our country
Yes we can - take back our lives
Yes we can - change history
Yes we can - live in hope

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A. Lincoln: Concerning the Greater Good

Dear President Bush:

At the behest of my late friend and fellow Hoosier (yes we also claim him) Abraham Lincoln -- I believe you would know him as a former occupant of your current residence, The White House -- I am sitting before this keyboard to offer his reflections on your historic unpopularity.

It has been over a year since we last collaborated on a correspondence. Alas, Congress showed little interest in our concerns about the sad state of democracy in this country, or the war in Iraq.

However, with the recent election of former constitutional law professor and current Senator from Illinois Barack Obama, Mr. Lincoln is greatly encouraged and has expressed his hope for the future of our beleaguered nation.

And so Mr. Lincoln and I have determined that the time is right for the drafting of this humble letter. It is our shared and earnest hope that you will soon desist - at least for the remainder of your administration - from any further breaches of the public trust.

Mr. Lincoln has assured me that he is quite familiar with unpopularity, as it is experienced by one in your position. He has suggested that displeasure over 'this action' or 'that word' is quite common when serving a nation of often competing interests with conflicting passions and needs.

However he wishes to advise -- if you would but hear him out -- that there are some truths, some ideological lines that must never be crossed. A president must uphold his oath to serve and protect the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Lincoln finds your determination to cross -- no, to completely obliterate these lines -- reprehensible. He also finds your shocking disrespect for that "goddamned piece of paper," which We The People revere as our beloved Constitution, to be unworthy of your office.

And so Mr. Lincoln is requesting but a few minutes of your time to make the case that your disregard for our Constitution, and your deliberate flouting of our nation's Rule Of Law are the rank and stinking rot that fester at the heart of your abysmal approval rating among the citizens of this nation.

My words are only an introduction; I will let Mr. Lincoln take it from here (his words will be notated in blockquotes.)

Dear Sir:

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.[1]
There are no accidents in my philosophy. Every effect must have its cause. The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future. All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite.[2]

I have borne a laborious, and, in some respects to myself, a painful part in the contest [the war between the States.] Through all, I have neither assailed, nor wrestled with any part of the Constitution.[3]

I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service -- the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them.[4]

I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act.[5]

It was in the oath I took that I would, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. I could not take the office without taking the oath. Nor was it my view that I might take an oath to get power, and break the oath in using the power.[6]

We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions, conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty, than any of which the history of former times tells us. We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings.

We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them---they are a legacy bequeathed us, by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors. Their's was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves, us, of this goodly land; and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys, a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; 'tis ours only, to transmit these, the former, unprofaned by the foot of an invader; the latter, undecayed by the lapse of time, and untorn by usurpation---to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task of gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

How, then, shall we perform it? At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.[7]

Let me first state what I understand to be your position. It is, that if it shall become necessary, to repel invasion, the President may, without violation of the Constitution, cross the line, and invade the teritory of another country; and that whether such necessity exists in any given case, the President is to be the sole judge.

Before going further, consider well whether this is, or is not your position.

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose---and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after you have given him so much as you propose. If, to-day, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us'' but he will say to you "be silent; I see it, if you don't.''

The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object.

This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood.[8]

Has it [popular sovereignty] not got down as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death?[9]

The question of Revenue we will now briefly consider.

For several years past, the revenues of the Government have been unequal to its expenditures, and consequently, loan after loan, sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly in form, have been resorted to. By this means a new National debt, has been created, and is still growing on us with a rapidity fearful to contemplate---a rapidity only reasonably to be expected in time of war.

This state of things has been produced by a prevailing unwillingness, either to increase the tariff, or resort to direct taxation. But the one or the other must come. Coming expenditures must be met, and the present debt must be paid; and money cannot always be borrowed for these objects.

The system of loans is but temporary in its nature, and must soon explode. It is a system, not only ruinous while it lasts, but one that must soon fail and leave us destitute. As an individual who undertakes to live by borrowing, soon finds his original means devoured by interest, and next no one left to borrow from---so must it be with a government.[10]

What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle.

Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.

Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises.[11]

I know the American People are much attached to their Government;---I know they would suffer much for its sake;---I know they would endure evils long and patiently, before they would ever think of exchanging it for another.

Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come. [12].

Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it.[13]

There is a spirit in the people, sometimes slumbering, but never extinct, which, when thoroughly aroused by usurpation or tyranny, will overwhelm the usurper and his devices in an undistinguished ruin; nor can they long escape this generous indignation, who prostitute the power bestowed by the people to unworthy ends or selfish purposes.[14]

I believe you do not mean to be unjust, or ungenerous; and I, therefore am slow to believe that you will not yet think better and think differently of this matter.[15]

Yours truly,

(Cross-posted on ePluribus and Daily Kos)

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Keith Olbermann Special Comment: Proposition 8

Very moving special comment. Couldn't have said it better.

And thanks for the reminder of our history...

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Election flashback


Friday, November 07, 2008

A Rudderless Government

When Barack Obama takes the helm of the national ship in January, he is going to have to bring in some cheerleaders for federal employees who have held on through the Bush Administration. According to the Washington Post, these people are seriously demoralized under the current administration:

In numerous agencies, federal civil servants complain that they have been thwarted for months or even years from doing the government jobs they were hired to do. Federal workers have told presidential transition leaders they feel rudderless, their morale impacted by the Bush administration's opposition to industry regulation, steep budget cuts or the departures many months ago of Bush political appointees. Though they fear publicly identifying themselves, numerous federal workers said in interviews that they are down, but also excited about new leadership.

"Many we talk to are weary, but cautiously optimistic that with this change in administrations they will get to do their job again," said Jeff Ruch, of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. "In the environmental agencies we deal with, they weren't allowed to do their jobs because the Bush White House operated on a very centralized basis. The rule was, that which the White House doesn't want to hear shall not be said."

It is interesting to hear that the departments that suffered the most under the Bush regime were the regulatory agencies such as the Department of the Interior, the Department of Labor, the EPA, the FDA and the Consumer Protection and Safety Agency. We have definitely suffered from their lack of effectiveness as well.

Due to the Bush Administration's opposition to any regulation of corporate (greed,) hundreds of federally-employed scientists, researchers and lawyers created and studied regulations that sat collecting dust for 8 years. Meanwhile our food (and our pets' food) was contaminated, our toys are now full of lead, and our air and water protections have regressed back to levels not seen since the 1970s.

We need these federal agencies back. And it appears they need to be needed.

Although generally federal workers can expect to do their jobs without excessive presidential interference, the Bush Administration was different.

At EPA, a regional staffer who works on wetlands protection said the agency's political appointees have stalled and erected roadblocks on work to clean air, water and soil. Headquarters waited a year to advise staff on how to handle a Supreme Court decision that threw wetlands rules into doubt, then issued vague, "useless" guidance, he said.

"There's been an inability for people to do their jobs and do it well, " said the staffer, who asked to remain anonymous. "The administration's purpose has been to do nothing."

At Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), career scientists were told in 2001 by arriving Bush appointees to stop work on nearly completed regulations to reduce exposure to four well-documented workplace poisons. The new leadership explained that it wanted the office to focus on regulating other workplace hazards, but even then, little progress was made.

"It was discouraging for many employees to sit for so long," said Charles Gordon, a Labor Department career attorney who recently retired after 33 years overseeing OSHA matters. "They felt they weren't fully utilized." One veteran OSHA staffer who asked not to be named said her agency has now worked for 15 years on the same draft regulation, most recently on management-ordered revisions, without completion.

"Even though we can show bodies on the floor from this danger, nothing gets out the door," said the OSHA veteran, who ticked off a list of Ph.D.-carrying colleagues who retired to be more productive elsewhere. Some agencies are also suffering from double-digit percentage cuts in staff and resources, and the strain on federal workers has been noted in several independent reports. The staff of the Small Business Administration, for example, dropped from 2,975 to 2,166 since Bush took office. The volume of federal contracting has nearly doubled during that same period, from $207 billion in 2000 to $400 billion last year, while the number of staff monitoring contracts has declined.

President Elect Obama is going to inherit one hell of a mess January 20th. Fortunately he is already gearing up to tackle many fronts at once:

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.

Change is on the way at last. Maybe one of these days I can make true on my 'About me' description and simply write about Lincoln... at ease in the knowledge that our government is finally in the hands of a sane and responsible leader!

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Election night for the Obama family

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Spontaneous celebration in D.C. election night

I can't really tell where this is... the Washington Mall? The guy who filmed it didn't keep the camera very steady (shades of Blair Witch!) but its a great gauge of the excitement. Wow.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lincoln speaking from the grave

I was overwhelmed to hear the timeless words of Abraham Lincoln deftly woven into President Elect Barack Obama's speech Tuesday night in Grant Park.

Not once, but twice, Obama reminded us first that 'a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth' and that 'we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.'

Lincoln's words. Lincoln's dream.

Now today, as Rahm Emanuel accepted the position of chief of staff in Obama's new cabinet, he too expressed appreciation and even reverence for Lincoln's great eloquence and foresight:

It has been almost 150 years since Americans turned to a proud son of Illinois as their President. Early in his first term, Abraham Lincoln said, "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.

Today, once again, our country is piled high with difficulty, and Americans have put their trust in President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden to think and act anew. And Mr. President-elect, I promise that your White House will do everything in our power to rise to the occasion.

To finish that thought: "We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our nation."

Yes we can.

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Harlem erupts with joy for Obama

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Indiana University-Bloomington celebrates

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McCain's finest moment

McCain finally morphed back into himself (the self we once knew as our senator of Arizona) when he gave his concession speech last night. He appeared... strangely peaceful; even relieved. He called for national unity... and finally showed signs that he still dislikes the 'agents of intolerance' among us.


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The world reacts

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Crowds celebrate outside the White House

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Redemption for a nation, unity for all!

The Dream

"I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed."

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

"I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."²

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with."

"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true."

"And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California."

"But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring."

"And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Hey Martin... Hey Jesse! The dream came true today!

Let freedom ring!

I cannot even express in a blog - there are no words - for what it means to see voters of Indiana flood in record numbers to the polls, and cast their ballots in favor of Barack Obama. This state hasn't turned blue since 1964. This is a traditionally red, conservative state -- the most reliably red of all of the red states in the nation. It also has a long dark history of Klan activity.

Today... we have overcome our racist past.

I can't help but notice that the Midwestern demarcation of the Mason-Dixon line is back. Indiana has rejoined the Union. Once Indiana farm boys proudly fought alongside Ohioans, men from Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. We fought against slavery. The Underground Railroad ran right up through this state.

It makes my heart proud to see that the state of Lincoln's boyhood has once again remembered its proud pre-Klan history and embraced diversity and the highest democratic ideal of freedom for all. We are all Americans now. Together. And maybe soon we can once again be a nation undivided, healed and once again made whole. We are well on our way!

There will still be some pockets of racism, fear and hatred. But the majority of Americans - including Hoosiers - have responded to Barack Obama's message with a resounding "YES WE CAN." We have overcome our racist past. Surely anything is possible!

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