Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday Poetry Break:
Song of the Open Road

I'll be hitting the open road tomorrow to spend some time with family in Vermont. Although I'll have my laptop with me, I'm not sure what the Internet access will be like, so I may not post for a few days.

Do not fear, dear reader, Pooky Shoehorn will return! In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy this snippet from one of my favorite poets.

Song of the Open Road

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

— Walt Whitman

ABC News playing favorites with its coverage?

From the Kucinich campaign:

The Kucinich campaign is still awaiting an official response from ABC News about the unexplained – some have charged “inexplicable” — way in which the network has handled its post-debate online coverage of Ohio Congressman and Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich over the past few days.

Among the “outrages“ that have energized tens of thousands of Kucinich supporters - and even non-supporters - thousands of whom have flooded the ABC News website and other online news sites with comments of protest:

  • Congressman Kucinich was apparently deliberately cropped out of a “Politics Page” photo of the candidates.
  • Sometime Monday afternoon, after Congressman Kucinich took a commanding lead in ABC's own on-line “Who won the Democratic debate” survey, the survey was dropped from prominence on the website.
  • ABC News has not officially reported the results of its online survey.
  • After the results of that survey showed Congressman Kucinich winning handily, ABC News, sometime Monday afternoon, replaced the original survey with a second survey asking “Who is winning the Democratic debate?”
  • During the early voting Monday afternoon and evening, U.S. Senator Barack Obama was in the lead. By sometime late Monday or early Tuesday morning, Congressman Kucinich regained the lead by a wide margin in this second survey.
  • Sometime Tuesday morning, ABC News apparently dropped the second survey from prominence or killed it entirely.
  • AND, as every viewer of the nationally televised Sunday Presidential forum is aware, Congressman Kucinich was not given an opportunity to answer a question from moderator George Stephanopoulos until 28 minutes into the program.
The campaign submitted objections and inquiries to ABC News representatives on Monday and Tuesday. ABC News representatives have failed to respond — or even acknowledge — those objections and inquiries.

Where is Dennis?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Today's blog recommendation: Mock, Paper, Scissors

It's beautifully eloquent in less than 10 words per post. Check it out:
Mock, Paper, Scissors.

Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?

Remember when the politicians used to ask that question? I haven't heard anyone in the Bush Administration ask it lately. That's because, as the the New York Times reports today, we're much worse off.

Americans earned a smaller average income in 2005 than in 2000, the fifth consecutive year that they had to make ends meet with less money than at the peak of the last economic expansion, new government data shows.

While incomes have been on the rise since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, still nearly 1 percent less than the $55,714 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation, analysis of new tax statistics show.

The combined income of all Americans in 2005 was slightly larger than it was in 2000, but because more people were dividing up the national income pie, the average remained smaller. Total adjusted gross income in 2005 was $7.43 trillion, up 3.1 percent from 2000 and 5.8 percent from 2004.

Total income listed on tax returns grew every year after World War II, with a single one-year exception, until 2001, making the five-year period of lower average incomes and four years of lower total incomes a new experience for the majority of Americans born since 1945.

The White House said the fact that average incomes were smaller five years after the Internet bubble burst “should not surprise anyone.”

Read the rest of this depressing story here.

Wal-Mart recalls dog treats

I personally don't shop at “the Evil Empire,” aka Wal-Mart. But I know a lot of people who do, so thought I should pass along this story from the Huffington Post:

LITTLE ROCK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. quietly stopped selling two brands of dog treats in July, after customers voiced concerns that the Chinese products may have caused their pets to fall ill, but no recall has been announced, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

The world's largest retailer started pulling Chicken Jerky Strips from Import-Pingyang Pet Product Co. and Chicken Jerky from Shanghai Bestro Trading on July 26, spokeswoman Deisha Galberth said late Monday.

If you do shop at Wal-Mart, I hope you understand why the prices are so low. There is another type of price we all pay for those low prices. This particular recall happened because of the death of a pet in Philadelphia, which is covered in more detail here.

As CBS News reports, this is the second “quiet recall” for Wal-Mart year. “In May, Wal-Mart pulled sets of baby bibs from stores after the products tested positive for high levels of lead. An advocacy group that tested the bibs said they, too, were made in China.”

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jenna & Henry: Ah, the magic!

The Wonkette has a wonderful summary of the life and times of Jenna Bush and Henry Hagar (the horrible).

Why do we care? I don't know, I guess it's the wonderful irony of the rats jumping ship, the empire falling down around them, and now the rightwing conservative pseudo-Christian's wild-child daughter is pregnant out of wedlock and being forced into marriage.

It's delicious to watch this plastic family pretend nothing's wrong. Everything's fine. (Predictions that their first child will be 4 months premature?)

The Great American Bake Sale

Everyone's getting ready to go back to school (or is already there today), so it seems like a good day to talk about bake sales. But this bake sale isn't for your local PTA or band or basketball team. This one is to end childhood hunger in America.

Until August 31st, you can sign up to be a part of this national effort put together by Share Our Strength. You can hold your own bake sale, find someone else's bake sale to join, or simply donate. Need a reason why you should get involved? How about any of these reasons:
  • 1 in 4 persons standing in a soup kitchen line is a child
  • 12 million American children face hunger
  • Only 20% of low-income children who receive school lunch also receive food in the summer when school is out
  • Even short periods of hunger seriously impair a child’s ability to learn and grow