"There's not a Red America, or a Blue America, there's the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." ---Barack Obama, 2004

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


She's the latest to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.

An innocent student ~ Neda ~ marching in protest of a fixed election from a crooked Iranian theocracy.

Be warned...it's a little bloody and creepy with her eyes, which seem to be fixing on the person taking the video (appears to be from a phone camera).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our President is a nice man...sorta.

I realize it sounds like something a kindergartner would say, but it's very basic and true.

This week, Mr. Obama expanded Federal benefits to include same sex partners...and while some say it should have happened sooner, I'm guessing he's had more pressing matters to deal with.

Wow, we have a human being in office. Imagine that.

...but some in the gay community thought he could have done more.

Nevertheless, this is yet another sign of our progress as a society, and a mark of kindness and openness from our President. It's a sign of the great man that he is...even though he isn't personally in favor of all the rights that homosexuals seek in this country (Obama supports civil unions, but not gay marriage), he still understands what it is to be fair.

This also sets an excellent example for states, counties, and cities, which eventually (hopefully) will follow suit...along with Congress, who is the only body that can allow for full bennies to domestic partners of Federal staff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yet ANOTHER "enemies list" in an angered Nixon Camp

It's remembered only by those who are in their mid-40s or older...and the only reason I remember it in my early 40s is due to the fact that I grew up in a Republican household that kept the television on after I watched Sesame Street and my afternoon cartoons.

It's the story that keeps on giving, and seems to never want to die.

It's called WATERGATE.

Aside from having evolved into part of the political linguistics that define anything resembling a scandal with a President or Governor (x-gate), Watergate seems to rear it's head back every few years with new information. There were the Frost-Nixon interviews of the late 70s...then there was always the "What's he doing now?" period at the end of Nixon's life, when he was trying to salvage his image. For years we didn't know who Deep Throat was, but then that was revealed in a deathbed confession in the last 10 years.

Now, in 2009 and 15 years following Nixon's passing, a new (and most amusing) twist on Watergate has arisen.

According to Newsweek, the Nixon Presidential Library, in commemorating the 37th Anniversary of Watergate (Nixon was also the 37th President of the United States), has decided to invite none other than John Dean to speak at the event.

Yes, you read that correctly...the John Dean who resigned as Nixon's White House attorney and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice after testifying about his boss's role in the cover-up.

Needless to say, the Nixon Camp is livid...a former communications aide of Nixon's has been quoted as describing it this way: "It's like having Monica Lewinsky speak at the Clinton Library."

It doesn't end there.

Caught in the crossfire is historian Timothy Naftali, who took over as the library's director over two years ago when the Nixon Library was handed over to the publicly run archives. It was his idea to invite Dean.

It's also helpful to understand that before the library was handed over to the public archives, it was run by the Nixon Foundation...and when I personally visited it in 2002, the whole operation was completely sanitized of anything Watergate-related or ANYTHING, for that matter, that even suggested anything negative about the Nixon Presidency.

That being said, it's the privately run Nixon Foundation and its officials (comprised of Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and Nixon's two daughters), who are upset about the Dean appearance...so much that they have compiled an "enemies list" to the effect of this anticipated event.

An enemies list in the Nixon camp? Really? Like the long blacklist of names Nixon himself had in the Oval Office during his Presidency?

You know, THAT list...the one with the reporters and conspiring Hollywood actors on it...and some 95 yr old grandma who was thought to be a spy when she was merely mailing the White House to shame Nixon in the early 70s.

Now do you know what list I'm talking about?

I can't begin to express the level of amusement that this conjures up, having been fascinated with Nixon since I was basically 4 years of age...and this only further perpetuates the enigma surrounding Nixon, who I see as the most fascinating and complicated President of the 20th Century.

Such an interesting development...I guess the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree.

My guess is that these new developments are a reaction to how sanitized the Nixon Library has been up to this point...and believe me, it has DEFINITELY been sanitized, sterilized, and disinfected.

Until now.

In anticipation of Dean's appearance at this event, apparently we can expect some serious fireworks! Apparently Dean is going to be revealing some damning new details with Nixon's role in Watergate. Quoting Dean in a recent interview with Newsweek: "They're going to be particularly unhappy when they hear what I have to say."

I'll leave you with another nice little ditty from the Trickster himself...and this one isn't altered...it's the genuine article from Tricky Dick himself!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yes, the World hates you Sarah. That's why you feel this way.

The GOP's Cruella DeVille wannabe, Sarah Palin, is at it again...this time it's with a late night talk show host.

Really? Is that the best you can do? Really? Really? Really?

Ohhh Sarah.

Once again, Sarah Palin and her husband are either the most moronic idiots of this early 21st Century, or they're struggling for an opportunity to stay in the media spotlight by manufacturing drama that began with David Letterman joking about her in his nightly Top 10 list this past week.

Uh, it was a joke, Sarah...even if part of it involved your daughter.

No, the other daughter...the one that HAD the baby.

Instead, of course, the Palins reacted to Letterman's self-proclaimed bad taste by calling him a petifile and putting the spotlight on their 14-year-old daughter...the one Letterman DIDN'T include in his joke.

The Palins have brought this on themselves. The daughters wouldn't be in the spotlight if the parents hadn't marched them onto the stage like royalty during the GOP convention in Minneapolis last year.

Moreover, Sarah, the status of how the World hates you (minus the brainwashed or insane mini-sectors of the right-wing freak show) is utterly and completely of your own undoing. Cause and effect. It also probably has something to do with your over-the-top reaction to jokes coming from a talk show host, and your defensive posture.


The Palins should assess the structural integrity of your own glass house before throwing rocks...but you're not going to do that, Sarah, are you?

Well then, you have a loooooooooooong and torturous road ahead of you. Good luck with it...oh, and try laughing about things like this sometimes. You might live longer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Honoring "Tank Man" 20 years later

I actually thought of this back in March of this year, and put it up with a delay so it would come out on the 20 year anniversary of the incident, which occurred on June 5, 1989.

This image is burned into the brains of many people who witnessed it at the time, including my own.

I'm reposting a post I found from 2006 on a blog called A Liberal Mormon.

I think of tank man as one of the all-time heroes in human history...he's definitely in my hall of fame.

Tank Man By Derek Staffanson

I have a very un-macho thing to confess. I get choked up every time I see the tank man.

You know who I mean.

Tiananmen Square. 1989. The government is pulling out all the stops to stamp out the peaceful demonstration for political change. The military has been called in. A column of tanks is rolling down the multi-lane street. And this guy steps out in front of the tanks. He doesn’t appear to be a demonstrator. He looks like some guy on his way home from work with a couple of bags of groceries. And for whatever reason, he just walks out a few feet in front of the tanks and stops. The tank hesitates, and then tries to drive around the guy. But this guy slides back and forth, making sure he is standing directly in front of the tank. And this tank–this column of tanks–is stopped. This one man holds up millions of dollars of Weapons of Mid-level Destruction. It only lasts a few minutes before (if I recall correctly) a handful of men run out to grab this guy and usher him out of sight. Police or soldiers whisking him off to disappear permanently? Friends rushing him off before he gets himself in serious trouble? I’ve no idea. But in those few minutes, he burned himself into (albeit anonymous) immortality in the minds of people around the world.

Seriously, my throat is constricting and my eyes watering even as I write this. I honestly get choked up. Embarrassing but true. I’m that emotionally invested in that image.

This man represents so much I believe in on a social/political level. Just an average person, a regular guy, standing up against evil (not the tank driver per se, but the use of force and political oppression). He has to know he can’t win. He can’t win the revolution. He can’t bring down the government of Bejing. If he is identified, he faces certain imprisonment at the least. He can’t even stop this column of tanks from going where they want to go.

But he does it anyway.

He walks in front of the tanks because, no matter how futile, he is standing for what is right.

And for a few brief moments, he wins.

It shows immense courage. Incredible conviction.

And what a display of hope and faith in humanity! He could not have walked out there if he did not have faith in the goodness of humanity. He had the hope that, no matter what his orders and to whom he was loyal, the tank commander was ultimately a decent human being; that he wouldn’t casually roll over one harmless man.

That is the man I aspire to be. I want to stand for what is true, noble, and good, no matter the odds. I want to have the positive belief that I can do some good simply by doing what is right. I want to believe that I will be doing some good by fighting for what appears to be futile causes when those causes are just. And I want to have the integrity to stand for something not just when I have planned the action, but when important opportunities present themselves.

Tonight on local PBS affiliate, Frontline is presenting an episode on the Tank Man (more info here). I can’t wait to watch and learn more about him and his legacy. I have no idea if Tank Man has ever been identified or if we will learn his fate. Hopefully he isn’t languishing in some prison, but who knows? I can’t wait to learn whatever there is to learn, and I look forward to the time after this life when I can express my appreciation to him for the example he has set.

One of the comments from the blog had this to say:

I just came upon this while searching for information on the Tank Man. Very well-written entry. But I just want to comment on one thing you said:

“Just an average person, a regular guy, standing up against evil (not the tank driver per se, but the use of force and political oppression).”

Although you rightfully acknowledge that evil doesn’t refer to the tank driver, I think you’re making an enormous understatement.

What people often fail to appreciate is that the tank driver is as much a hero as the man in front of the tank.

There have been several reports (though all lacking hard proof, like a lot of things associated with the tank scene) that the tank driver was told to run the man over but refused. Some have speculated that he was punished through demotion or even jailing as a result. The tank man gets all the credit, but the tank driver stood up against oppression just as much. In some ways, that’s what makes the scene so haunting yet so beautiful.

BOTH men, though seemingly on opposite sides, stood up for humanity.