In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
The Bard on the Bush

All's Well
That Ends

"Thou art a most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality."

All's well that ends well? Sort of
begs the question, in my opinion.

We are living out a tragedy,
not a comedy.

Beauty, Grace, and Sheer Joy

Turn up your
speakers and
click on this!

Second Grade Patriotism

That’s alright, Mr. President, happy we could help. Just give us a call anytime. You’ll
probably need more troops in Iraq, and of course, Iran is coming up soon.

We learned all about patriotism in the second grade, when we learned to recite the pledge of allegiance and didn’t even know what the words meant. And we’ve remembered it just that way all these years. Those of us who, like Vice President Cheney, haven’t enlisted because we had more important things to do, will think about our troops and pray for them often during this sacred Memorial Day weekend while we are watching the games and NASCAR. (Just between the two of us, some of us even have tickets. I hope you were lucky enough to get one.)

That’s all right, Mr. President, any time. Just give us a call. And have a nice day.


The Thanks I Get

I have spent the entire morning, bent like a cashew, working at my computer. At one point, my cat Loudy jumped on my work table and spoke to me nose to nose. I was too busy to pay attention to him, so he finally gave up and jumped down.

When I finally turned to the work table, I discovered that he had peed on everything, today’s Chronicle, a number of articles I planned to address, including several especially great Jon Carrolls I was going to copy and mail to friends. They are all out in the back yard as I speak, plastered by a fairly strong breeze--against fences I hope.

Loudy must have really been mad at me, because there was quite a sizable lake to clean up as well. If you sense a vague smell of cat pee on your computer, blame him, not me.

(Note: By coincidence, I mentioned cat pee in an email to a friend the other day, saying that when I couldn’t smell it in my home anymore, I wouldn’t want to live here. That will give you some idea of my lifestyle at the age of 84.)


Jerry Falwell'sLegacy

There as a very fine article on the power that Falwell accrued to himself and his Moral Majority and the harm that he has done to the separation of powers and freedom in general in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution written by Cynthia Tucker on 5/20/07, titled Falwell Was GOP’s Prophet of Intolerance. Go to for the article. Falwell’s influence, unfortunately, like Bush’s, will be felt for a long time. Remember how hard it used to be to believe Americans used to burn “witches” at the stake?


And Another Thing--About Immigration

And Another Thing—About Immigration

What is all this crap about Mexicans bringing down wages in this country? Employees don’t bring down wages--employers do. It stands to reason that Mexicans are not saying, “Oh, please don’t pay me a living wage! Pay me less.” It is the venality of the employers which forces them to pay less in wages. Likewise, American consumers are delighted to pay less for what Mexicans produce, even if that means the Mexicans who produced it can barely eke out a living.

And the news today is that American farmers are unable to find workers as a result of the crackdown on immigration, legal or not. The result is, not that Americans are flooding into the fields to take these newly available jobs, but that no one is there to work for slave wages, so now the fruit and vegetables are rotting in the fields. Oh, my heart bleeds for the suffering of our generous American people!


Caving to the Cave Man

As I understand it, both Houses of Congress have agreed to knuckle under, at least for now, to Bush’s demand that there be no benchmarks on withdrawing from Iraq, and they will continue to support our troops. Polite language dictates that I should express my disappointment. But that just doesn’t cut it. I am goddam mad, especially at the Democrats who voted for it.

This doesn’t really support our troops, it just keeps them in harm’s way, susceptible to death and dismemberment for a longer time. And the cause is not really “freedom and democracy” for the people of the Middle East. It is personal victory of a very little man with an enormous ego. Rather than exercising control as a co-equal branch of government over a man running out of control, this just validates his illegal and immoral war against another nation. Because we followed him into the war to begin with, regardless of the Great Lie, we as a nation do not have a right to win this war any more than he has.

As a result of this decision, many more human beings will perish, most of them innocents, and hatred for this man and this country will continue to grow, both abroad and here at home. Why didn’t the Congressmen and women who disagreed with him as the sole Decider force him to take full responsibility for his decision?

Bolstered by this victory, Bush’s ego can only grow larger, and his support by those who are easily susceptible to propaganda, as well as those who stand to profit by his success, will also find reason to continue their support. Running for, or seizing further time as Head of State beyond January, 2009 has assuredly crossed his mind.

The Democrats had a chance to save this godforsaken land, and they crapped it up.


It's Not Easy to Tell the Heroes from the Zeroes

You Would Never Have Guessed

Captain Kangaroo passed away on January 23, 2004 as age 76 , which is odd, because he always looked to be 76. (DOB: 6/27/27 ) His death reminded me of the following story.

Some people have been a bit offended that the actor, Lee Marvin, is buried in a grave alongside 3- and 4-star generals at Arlington National Cemetery . His marker gives his name, rank (PVT) and service (USMC). Nothing else. Here's a guy who was only a famous movie star who served his time, why the heck does he rate burial with these guys? Well, following is the amazing answer:

I always liked Lee Marvin, but didn't know the extent of his Corps experiences.

In a time when many Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces often in rear echelon posts where they were carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions, Lee Marvin was a genuine hero. He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima . There is only one higher Naval award... the Medal Of Honor!

If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even greater show of bravery.

Dialog from "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson": His guest was Lee Marvin Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima ...and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and w! ere seve rely wounded."

"Yeah, yeah... I got shot square in the bottom and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi. Bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys getting' shot hauling you down. But,Johnny, at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew... We both got the Cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. That dumb guy actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move forward and get the hell off the beach. Bullets flying by, with mortar rounds landing everywhere and he stood there as the main target of gunfire so that he could get his men to safety. He did this on more than one occasion because his men's safety was more important than his own life.

That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me, lying on my belly on the litter and said, "Where'd they get you Lee?" "Well Bob... if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!"

Johnny, I'm not lying, Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew. The Sergeant's name is Bob Keeshan. You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo."

On another note, there was this wimpy little man (who just passed away) on PBS, gentle and quiet. Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he now portrays to our youth. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. He wore a long-sleeved sweater on TV, to cover the many tattoos on his forearm and biceps. He was a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat

After the war Mr. Rogers became an ordained Presbyterian minister and therefore a pacifist. Vowing to never harm another human and also dedicating the rest of his life to trying to help lead children on the right path in life. He hid away the tattoos and his past life and won our hearts with his quiet wit and charm.

America's real heroes don't flaunt what they did; they quietly go about their day-to-day lives, doing what they do best. They earned our respect and the freedoms that we all enjoy. Look around and see if you can find one of those heroes in your midst. Often, they are the ones you'd least suspect, but would most like to have on your side if anything ever happened.

Take the time to thank anyone that has fought for our freedom. With encouragement they could be the next Captain Kangaroo or Mr.Rogers

Send this on, will you please? Nothing will happens to you if you don't, but you will be telling others what a HERO is made of.

Robert Scheer on Upcoming Talks with Iran in Baghdad

With his usual style and incisiveness, Scheer sees the upcoming talks between Iran and the Bush administration in Baghdad with Iran definitely in control and the U.S. in a secondary role. If he is correct, and it looks as though he is, it should be a very interesting meeting.

For those of you more practiced than I on the computer, his article, entitled U.S. Cozies up to Nearly Nuclear Iran, appeared in full in the San Francisco Chronicle for 5/16/07.


Senate Deal on Immigration Reform

The compromise worked out on how illegal immigrants can eventually earn a right to citizenship in America is still so punishing that it would seem to me as unachievable in a normal lifetime.

Return to Mexico or elsewhere where pay is so low and unemployment so high would involve separation from loved ones for long periods of time. Attempting to hide in this country and hope you wouldn’t be found, drug running across the border, and suicide all seem tempting possibilities.

What really grabbed my attention, though, was the future envisioned by our leaders, in which immigrants who are educated and skilled will be sought and and encouraged to come to this great country. It’s so American! Wouldn’t it occur to anyone that solutions lie in helping those in need rather than US? (The initials, U.S., are so apt.) How would it be if we encouraged Mexicans and citizens of similar countries with education and skills to stay in their home countries and encouraged Americans with education and skills to join them in a renewal of the Marhsall Plan? Don’t our churches teach anything like this, or do they just concentrate on religion?


Awareness, the True Religion

The three major tools of awareness that come to mind for me are birdwatching, hiking, and sailing. Each involves the individual’s independent and personal response to Nature, the mind reacting to what Nature presents during the activity. The participant has to have chosen the activity in the first place, and therefore it is humanly impossible to see Nature without thinking about it.

The next three tools, in order of importance, are education, study, and established religion, the first two involving available information and the third involving unbending indoctrination.

Those of us who were born early in the 20th century were and are probably aware that the19th century, the birth of the Industrial Revolution, made a huge difference in what was available to make life choices easier and more available. Those of us who are around now are increasingly aware how fast the choices are changing, and not all for the good. People born after World War II feel less connected to Nature, and therefore independent of Nature. Many do not even know where the food they eat comes from or how it is raised and harvested, or by whom.

Life for many Americans involves reclining on a moral and eithical chaise longue, dangling the grapes of availability and greed upon their lips. But, increasingly, even for them there is change in the air. Nowhere is that change more apparent than in the oil crisis and the part it MUST play in our changing way of life. Like the birds and the mountains and the sea, our choices for the future are becoming less and less free, and Awareness is staring us in the face, giving us a last chance.

Each of us has a responsibility to respond to Nature in our own way and with our own capacities, and each of us has capacities, however small. (As I said in an earlier post, even picking up cigarette butts and paper clips is a gesture of caring for Nature.) Those of us who can afford more must accept that we are also the people who can give up more. For us, the three major tools and the second group of tools are all available. For those who have not had the advantage of the three major tools, the next three, education, study, and religion must become available, hopefully by teachers who have accepted Awareness as a religion.


George Bush & the Wizard of Oz

Quote of the Week goes to Bill Maher:

New Rule: You can't send the National Guard to Iraq and then claim it's still here. The helicopters, the Humvees, the men... Like Dorothy and Toto, they're not in Kansas anymore. Sorry, Mr. President, but the last documented case of a National Guardsman able to be in two places at one time...was you.

Not a Time to Get Complacent...

But here's how things stand right now.....

Sources here and here.

It's Not Our War

I just woke up from a refreshing nap that rather cleared my thinking. The first words I heard were Rep. John Boehner, Minority Leader of the House, saying words to the effect that “we can’t win the war in Iraq if the funds for our troops are withheld if we don’t meet the benchmarks.” My question is “how can we win a war that isn’t our war to win or lose?” It’s a civil war between two other sides, and we have just chosen to inject ourselves into the middle of it.

U.S. System Trips Up Women Seeking Presidency

Is There Pattern Here?

From Monsters & Critics: When Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni recently suggested Ehud Olmert should step aside and let her be prime minister, nobody batted an eye over the fact she is a woman.

Golda Meir laid that debate to rest in Israel nearly 40 years ago.

Britain had Margaret Thatcher, Pakistan had Benazir Bhutto and India had Indira Gandhi. Women hold high office in a dozen countries around the world, in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, from Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines.

So why has the United States, where Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, never elected a woman to the White House?

Andrew Reynolds, a professor at the University of North Carolina. says, Women have tended to have two main pathways to high office:

  • The first is dynastic, which has been the route in developing countries for many women, like Gandhi and Bhutto, who were daughters of prime ministers.
  • The second pathway is seen in wealthier democracies, where more women pursue careers and political positions that act as a springboard to higher office.
The rules of the game are set up to the advantage of the dominant majority bloc, which is not just Democrat or Republican but is wealthy white males.

You get more and more women in parliament and then you get more and more women in the Cabinet, and then you sort of have this critical mass where it becomes no longer surprising that a woman makes it into being president or prime minister.
Reynolds says the USA is on the latter track but lags many of its European counterparts. Only 16 percent of lawmakers in the U.S. Congress are women. Compared to countries of similar wealth, one would expect 30 to 50 percent.

The U.S. political structure is partly responsible. Many parliamentary systems encourage alternative voices by allowing small parties, but the United States fosters a two-party system in which the parties have to appeal to a broader audience.

Ann Gordon, a political scientist who co-edited the book 'Anticipating Madame President.
Women have more difficulty being elected in presidential systems. Historically, some 69 percent of women leaders have been prime ministers with only 31 percent from presidential systems.
It's a piece of the puzzle, she said, but there are greater challenges.
The single biggest obstacle in this country is that voters are uncomfortable with the idea of a woman who is commander in chief. That's due to gender stereotypes.
Susan Carroll, a senior scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics, said women seeking the presidency still had to address the perception that they were less able than men to deal with military issues and international crises. For example, Clinton, a New York Democrat, has tried to address the issue by sitting on the Senate Armed Services Committee and taking a strong stance on terrorism during debates. It also may be a factor in Clinton's refusal to apologize for her Iraq war vote, an issue that has caused her difficulty among many Democratic constituents.
I don't think Hillary Clinton has the options that other candidates have,' she said. 'She cannot for a moment appear to be weak on defense or admit to any kind of failing like that.
Women also have been hampered by media coverage, which often focuses on their viability as candidates rather than their message. And structural issues have made it difficult for women as well as minorities to pursue the presidency. Carroll:
One of the biggest barriers is simply that we haven't had one. People have to get used to the idea.
Women have been seeking the U.S. presidency since Victoria Clafin Woodhull ran on the Equal Rights Party ticket against Ulysses S. Grant and Horace Greeley in 1872. Despite the difficulties, Gordon says the United States would eventually elect a woman.
It's not a question of if but when. And yeah, I think the time is now.

A Dog's Tail Tells his Tale

If You Want to Know if Spot Loves You So, It’s in His Tail

Every dog lover knows how a pooch expresses its feelings.

Ears close to the head, tense posture, and tail straight out from the body means “don’t mess with me.” Ears perked up, wriggly body and vigorously wagging tail means “I am sooo happy to see you!”

But there is another, newly discovered, feature of dog body language that may surprise attentive pet owners and experts in canine behavior. When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left.

A study describing the phenomenon, “Asymmetric tail-wagging responses by dogs to different emotive stimuli,” appeared in the March 20 issue of Current Biology. The authors are Giorgio Vallortigara, a neuroscientist at the University of Trieste in Italy, and two veterinarians, Angelo Quaranta and Marcello Siniscalchi, at the University of Bari, also in Italy.

To read more
and reference
an interactive video,
go the New York Times

Impeachment Increasingly Imperative

Have you noticed that starting early in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the motive of the U.S. was retribution, which moved on to self-defense, thence to killing or capturing the “enemy”, whoever they might be, and finally to winning. In short, it is now motivated by the same emotions that characterize American sports, WINNING.

There has been little mention of bringing PEACE among peoples, which can only begin if all sides come to the table, and only succeed if all sides achieve a sense of deserved recognition.

Bush, our leader who claims (no, brags) to be motivated by the teachings of Christ, cannot conceive of shared success in any endeavor. His promised veto of the bill for funding of our armed forces is an excellent example of his inability even to recognize the growing wish of most Americans to get them out of harms way. For him to accept this bill with the amendment calling for a time for withdrawal would be for him the ultimate humiliation.

As was pointed out by someone on CNN just now, Nancy Pelosi is in a very awkward position, because if Bush and Cheney were both impeached (AND IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THEY GO TOGETHER) she would become president. Nevertheless, the people of this country must continue to press for impeachment of these two dangerous men.