Tag: war


February 19, 2011

Hang On, Sloopy was a hit when I was in 7th grade. I was just becoming aware of the Vietnam War, but it wasn’t much on my mind; I had problems closer to home. Other songs I remember most from that year are Satisfaction, which played in heavy rotation in the little cafeteria where we waited to be picked up after the school bus dropped us off, and I Think We’re Alone Now, which suited my teenage desire for privacy and rejection of my parents and authority in general.

It’s interesting that, in the comments on this video at YouTube, some see it as promoting war or honoring vet, or condemn ruining a good song with unrelated pictures from a war — everyone seeing it in a different light, depending on their own world view and experience.

Fortunately, ignorant comments get offset by those from people who might have a better grasp on what they are talking about (and the world beyond themselves in general).

Grunt6869 says “I had ”[H]ang on Sloopy” written on my steel pot=helmet During my tour in Vietnam 68-69…” and fffreddie remembers that “[t]his song came out just the start of the Vietnam conflict. Our service men would play music to help forget the horror they were in. It still helps. Now some of the negative comments are from morons.”

I concur with fffreddie. If music was unrelated to current events, we would not have film soundtrack albums, or “hear” songs in our heads when we see old images, mementos or people. The video in my head for Hang On, Sloopy doesn’t have these images of a foreign war — it has school lunchrooms and buses, a pink bedroom and an AM radio — but this video might be a better reflection of the historical record.

Just wondering

December 11, 2010

US Budget deficit chartConsider how our federal legislators voted on starting and sustaining our wars, how they voted for Bush’s tax cuts, and how they voted on recovery measures, then tell me, which of them are are deficit hawks?

Why can’t we work together to build a coordinated progressive community in Oklahoma?

February 26, 2010

Tonight I found out about yet another campaign of critical interest to progressive Oklahomans that is taking place all this month culminating this week with special events, and Friday at the state Capitol — and it’s Midnight of that Friday as I discover the info (rather accidentally) and write this.

Earlier this week, a health care rally on the Capitol steps sparsely attended because few knew about it. Amazingly, the Oklahoman actually covered it, and printed a picture of three or four people. Imagine if a couple of hundred supporters of health care reform had been there and THAT picture had been printed. It would not have changed the vote of any Oklahoma elected official, but the psychological effect on other supporters, and possibly on the public might have been priceless.

Not that I personally should be singled out for notification, that’s not what I’m getting at. (Though no doubt part of my frustration at the moment lies in the fact that, in addition to this blog, I have been operating what seeks to be a central Oklahoma progressive events calendar, for 5 years or so, and have tried and tried to get it read and recognized by the community as a tool they might find useful for their own work. It remains obscure and I pick up news of events to add to it wherever I happen to come across them, missing many, finding many too late. I also sometimes despair of its point and don’t bother updating it.)

No, this is about community, or the lack of it, in what I somewhat facetiously call the “Oklahoma progressive community.” I know it’s larger than many outside it suspect, but how can you fault them for being unaware, we never are seen together, are we?

We are in the middle of arguably the most conservative, politically closed state in the country. It’s understood that with rare exceptions, we cannot count on the corporate media in this area to do one bit of this communication for us; quite the opposite — we almost hope to be ignored by that media, rather than have our mission, our words, our efforts, sarcastically demeaned in public.

We have to find or create other means, if we want to find a way to support our activities, expand the reach of our voices, engage in making real social change, rather than just bemoaning our fate amongst ourselves.

A number of organizations have their internal email lists and phone banks, which operate at varying levels of efficiency and effectiveness, depending on volunteer activity that ebbs and flows. Sometimes the best to hope for is getting that small list alerted so some event or action.

In the last year, quite a few Okie progressives have found Facebook to be a way to build some worthwhile connections, using tools there for forming groups, posting events and the like. But many, including some of the most informed, either don’t want anything to do with online networking, or if they do, use it sparingly, or just don’t have the time to add it to their already packed agendas.

But why can’t we do better? Why can’t we find a way to communicate with one another? Then, having this community awareness, supporting one another’s actions and events, projects and campaigns.

I believe that finding ways to communicate better would expand our numbers as well as the enthusiasm for participating, volunteering and working for change.

If we did have the tools and commitment to engage in such communication, what would it look like? What do we need to build to make that happen? How do we build it? Once such an infrastructure is build, how do we nurture and promote it to keep it thriving?

Is this a pipe dream in Oklahoma? Are we just fated to be permanently alienated, in our small disconnected cliques, griping about how ineffectual it all is?

Or am I just having a bad week?

The poster boy of the Roberts Court

January 28, 2010

I don’t know about you, but I don’t mouth words when I’m thinking. When I mouth words, slowly and carefully enough to be easily deciphered by non-professionals, I very much intend to be seen.

… the behavior of Justice Alito at last night’s State of the Union address — visibly shaking his head and mouthing the words “not true” when Obama warned of the dangers of the Court’s Citizens United ruling — was a serious and substantive breach of protocol that reflects very poorly on Alito and only further undermines the credibility of the Court. It has nothing to do with etiquette and everything to do with the Court’s ability to adhere to its intended function.

There’s a reason that Supreme Court Justices — along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff — never applaud or otherwise express any reaction at a State of the Union address. It’s vital — both as a matter of perception and reality — that those institutions remain apolitical, separate and detached from partisan wars. The Court’s pronouncements on (and resolutions of) the most inflammatory and passionate political disputes retain legitimacy only if they possess a credible claim to being objectively grounded in law and the Constitution, not political considerations. The Court’s credibility in this regard has — justifiably — declined substantially over the past decade, beginning with Bush v. Gore (where 5 conservative Justices issued a ruling ensuring the election of a Republican President), followed by countless 5-4 decisions in which conservative Justices rule in a way that promotes GOP political beliefs, while the more “liberal” Justices do to the reverse (Citizens United is but the latest example). Beyond that, the endless, deceitful sloganeering by right-wing lawyers about “judicial restraint” and “activism” — all while the judges they most revere cavalierly violate those “principles” over and over — exacerbates that problem further (the unnecessarily broad scope of Citizens United is the latest example of that, too, and John “balls and strikes” Roberts may be the greatest hypocrite ever to sit on the Supreme Court). All of that is destroying the ability of the judicial branch to be perceived — and to act — as one of the few truly apolitical and objective institutions.

Justice Alito’s flamboyantly insinuating himself into a pure political event, in a highly politicized manner, will only hasten that decline.

Are OK Dems opposed to opposing Coburn?

December 25, 2009

Senator Tom CoburnOver on the Democrats of Oklahoma Community Forum, there is a discussion about the Senate race against Coburn next year. Unless I am misunderstanding it, some are apparently arguing that Dr. No should not even have a Democratic opponent next year, he’s just “unbeatable,” the party’s broke, etc.

I’m registered as a Democrat because of this state’s restrictive ballot access laws that let the R’s and D’s freeze out third parties, but I’m a Green at heart. It seems to me that if a supposedly “major” party that gets a ballot listing regardless of its strength in the state can’t field a challenge for U.S. SENATE, it shouldn’t be in a position to keep other parties on the sidelines.

Frankly, if the Oklahoma Democratic Party doesn’t run a candidate for the effing SENATE, it deserves to fade into obscurity. Talk about an embarrassment! Unexpected things can happen, you know, to candidates and to public perceptions — even in Oklahoma. George Allen (remember him?) was supposed to be a sitting Senator with a lock on the R presidential nomination in 2012. Ted “Series of Tubes” Stevens was supposed to be Senator from Alaska for life, and now Begich (D) has that seat and is voting aye for health care reform. Of course it will be difficult and odds-defying, but to not even field a candidate is even more insane.

This is especially the case with Coburn’s recently exposed shenanigans with “The Fellowship” aka “The Family” in DC, as a negotiator between Ensign and his mistress. Just to have a chance to throw that dirt on the campaign trail must have some Okie salivating!

I can’t believe this can be the case, although no one has announced publicly, it’s still possible that a candidate is waiting until after the beginning of the year (though for a race of this magnitude, it’s getting quite late). If it is, I hope the Libertarians (the largest third party) or even the hibernating OK Greens will run someone. It would be a great opportunity for those forced to be benchwarmers to get on the political map around here.

Miss Manners takes on Bill O’Reilly

December 23, 2009

Yes, it’s war all right, but on civility and multiculturalism, not Christmas.

Dear Miss Manners:

I work as a cashier during the Christmas season, and I often wish my customers “Happy holidays.” Sometimes customers get all offended and reply with something like “I choose to celebrate Christmas,” or they go into this long angry rant about the use of the word Christmas.

Am I wrong? “Happy holidays” is more of a habit for me than “Merry Christmas.” I mean it as a gesture of goodwill, and am rather hurt to be yelled at for my choice of words.

But they mean it as a gesture of — well, of what? The spirit of Christmas? Their interpretation of the proper Christian attitude toward those who wish them well?

Miss Manners realizes that those who deal with the public will encounter some nastiness, which professionalism requires them to ignore. But please do not allow the misuse of religion to browbeat others to make you doubt yourself. “Happy holidays” is the general greeting because, as you know, not all your customers are Christian, but they all do get legal holidays for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Attorney to challange Sally Kern for HD 84 seat

September 28, 2009

Brittany Novotny and Todd GoodmannIn what may prove to be the most interesting House race in Oklahoma next year, local attorney Brittany Novotny announced her campaign to challange uber-wingnut Sally Kern.

The voters of House District 84 deserve a representative who will fight for them.  So today, I’m officially announcing my candidacy for State Representative.  I believe I have the drive, dedication, and determination to fight for the people of the district on the real issues they face—jobs, education, and transportation.  I look forward to the opportunity to meet with my neighbors and voters in the district in the coming year as we build this grassroots campaign to give the voters a real choice to have a representative who will fight for their issues and build a brighter future for Oklahoma.

Some coverage of the news;
Tulsa World

Photo of Brittany and Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Todd Goodman, taken tonight at the fundraiser in El Reno for Larry Peck, who is running to fill the seat vacated recently by Ryan McMullan.

The difference between liberals and conservatives

August 28, 2009

… on health care and everything else.

Edward Kennedy wanted all Americans to have access to the kind of health care he had and to make sure everyone had a safety net in place that allowed them to take the kind of risks necessary to become a millionaire if that’s what they wanted to do. His conservative enemies, on the other hand, want to keep Americans enslaved by the wealthy, in jobs they loathe, scared to make any moves for fear that they will lose everything, including their lives, if they do. It’s the essence of the difference between liberals and conservatives regardless of their personal place in the class structure.

 – digby

Because I have relatives who are conservatives who vote Republican, and some of them are compassionate on a personal basis, they are generous to family and friends and when suffering is directly before them they would give or do most anything — they just vote the complete opposite, and mouth what they hear on Fox because that’s all they hear, because of that, I make a third category in my overall thinking about the character of conservatives.

  1. heartless (lobbyists, activists and media)
  2. corrupt (all those in elected office)
  3. brainwashed and deluded by media and religion (the victims, viewers and voters of 1 and 2)

Yes, there is some overlap.

You could go on for volumes trying to understand their nature, and many have. But in this current political environment, it really is this simple. Why pretend otherwise. Digby again in a later post discussing the horrific scene at a health care reform town hall in California where Rep. Wally Herger, a voluntary member of the federal government who has put his hand on a Bible, presumably, and taken an oath to the Constitution, cheers on a self-described “right wing terrorist” and his cheering neighbors, who seemingly hate the U.S. government as much as Timothy McVeigh or Mohammad Atta did:

I am not the type of person to wish that someone would get sick and lose everything they have, but if I were, these are people I would wish it on. It’s a hateful thing to say, but these are hateful people and I’m not going to pretend they aren’t just to be politically correct. Watch the fevered looks on their faces, high fiving and stimulated to near hysteria at the notion that they are completely self-sufficient and need not care for their fellow man. It’s quite clear that they have no empathy at all and therefore must personally experience things in order to understand them. I certainly can’t see much hope of rationally explaining why they themselves are likely to suffer under their own philosophy and I wouldn’t even bother trying to appeal to them on grounds of being a decent human being.

I guess they think they are immortal. Clearly they believe they are superior. But contrary to this self-destructive, unenlightened worldview, many of them are going to be disabled or stricken with illness and if they are lucky they will get old and infirm. And I hate to break it to them, but every last one of these people, good or bad, fat or thin, rich or poor, is going to die someday. Being a selfish jackass won’t save any of them from that fate.

I guess they think they are immortal. Clearly they believe they are superior. But contrary to this self-destructive, unenlightened worldview, many of them are going to be disabled or stricken with illness and if they are lucky they will get old and infirm. And I hate to break it to them, but every last one of these people, good or bad, fat or thin, rich or poor, is going to die someday. Being a selfish jackass won’t save any of them from that fate.