All that I want...

Is to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season...

Stimulate the Economy and Your Brain!

Every once in a while I am going to put up a link here and there to some Blogging friends (well, I think of them as friends? They link, they read and comment occasionally - as do I at their Blogging homes) that have put some serious effort into the causes many of us support and that have something like a book, some art, or maybe something to support a cause dear to their hearts for sale. I don't think it will be more than once a week, give or take, because I don't want to alienate my 3 regular readers (Me, myself and I).

Some may be doing it for a cause, others may be doing it to pay for their bandwidth, and others may be trying eke out a meager living in this piss poor outsourced and unemployed based economy.

In all of those cases, I think that it makes them worthy of our support. I get absolutely nothing from them for these little blurbs - except, maybe, an "attaboy" and the satisfaction of knowing that the few people that click through here may learn about a new site or a new author/artist/cause.

I figured that I would start with this book, The Pains, written by John and available for pre-order over at The Wetmachine, and since my verbosity is generally limited to and usually starts and ends questionably with 4 letter words ("What the fuck?"), I'll let John's words try and sell you on it:

Let's say you're the Savior, Fred Christ.
Would you want your frozen head to be
reanimated in 1984?

The book will be going to press in November, 2008, and printed books will be in hand sometime in early-to-mid December, 2008.

This book is way off schedule. Sometimes stuff happens, and since I announced The Pains, stuff has happened in giant bucketsfull. However, the book essentially done. Originally I promised it for Summer, 2006, then I said March 2007. Thank you to those of you who have waited, (sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently) and encouraged me to finish writing the book. Well, I have finished. Selah. I hope you like it.

Starting with Chapter 3, attentive readers may notice some allusions to, and borrowing from, the work of the late Chis McKinstry, creator of the Mindpixel project. As far as I've been able to determine, there is no copyright holder. I'll have more to say about this when the final book is prepared for publication, but for now I just want to make this acknowledgment.

I have made fair-use use of songs by Kate Bush, Leonard Cohen and Social Distortion, and I have borrowed themes, characters, and even a bit of prose here and there from George Orwell's 1984. Proper attribution will be given in the printed version.

I hope that if you like the book, you'll buy a printed copy or make a donation using Paypal. Cheeseburger and I could really use the money. Really.

This little story is dedicated to the memory of my late brother Paul Damien Sundman and of my late sister Maureen Sundman Angevine. I know that Paul liked the early chapters, and I think he would have liked the finished book. Maureen probably would have hated it--she didn't approve of blasphemy. But I like to think she's in heaven now, putting in a good word for me on the grounds that I'm too stupid to know any better.
You can even get a peek at the book's contents:
Here comes "The Pains," by me, John Damien Sundman, with illustrations by Cheeseburger Brown. The HTML version is [here]; the PDF version that will be used to create the printed book will be along soon. Feel free to read, save, print, copy and share among your friends.
So you can decide for yourself. A couple of other books by John - Acts of the Apostles, and Cheap Complex Devices - are there to take a look at, as well. Also, I encourage you to poke around the Wetmachine site just to get a better idea of where John and his Blogging friends are coming from and going to. And you may just like the Blog... I do.

Support The Blog!

I am going to be filing these under a convenient tag - "Support The Blog" - so you can find them all as they accumulate. I believe that when you support a fellow Blogger you are supporting everything you are fighting for. My next stops - yeah... I have been thinking about doing this for a while - are going to be in the heart of Liberal America and somewhere around Hooterville... Just so as you know. If you have any suggestions for future features feel free to contact me through my profile email and use the title "Support The Blog" so I can find it easily and pull it out of the spam box if it ends up there. By the way... You can always find something new to read over here. And thanks for reading this!


Are the Big Banks Completely Bankrupt?

Bob at Politics in the Zeros seems to think there is good reason to believe this is the case...

Jim Rogers is a legendary investor and partner of George Soros. He is known for being blunt, and, I’ve found from watching what he says, usually quite correct. He is now saying most major US banks are bankrupt.

And it it just gets worse from there in a back assward game of "theftocracy"...


GOP Declares War on American Economy

How else can you anyone view what they are doing right now?
Republicans spent the last eight years like drunken sailors on their first shore leave after years at sea. They wantonly drained the treasury of billions and billions of dollars on harebrained schemes to induce "birthpangs of democracy" around the world, chasing phantom enemies and enriching their defense contractor contributors. They created a lobbying culture so corrupt it finally collapsed of its own weight. They deregulated the financial industry so thoroughly that it created an elaborate ponzi scheme that has just about destroyed the world economy.

They have no standing to lecture anyone about responsibility, fiscal or otherwise, and no right to obstruct the cure for the problem they created.

It's true that Democrats have, over the years, enabled Republicans and helped their ideology to run amock. But right now they are all we've got and their intentions, quite clearly, are to keep the economy from tanking, if only out of self interest.
And, clearly shown, the GOP's hatred of the American worker... They blame you hard working Americans for the banking scams the GOP caused and that flushed this country down the drain.

Fortunately for us in this case... The GOP knows absolutely nothing about winning wars. See Afghanistan and Iraq.

Christianity as a Lifestyle Choice

That is what it is. You always hear them talking about personal choices and lifestyle choices of others.

For over seven minutes last night, Jon Stewart grilled former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on his opposition to gay marriage. Huckabee is touring the country to promote his new book, “Do The Right Thing.” When Stewart compared gay marriage bans to interracial marriage bans, Huckabee restated his view that homosexuality is simply a behavior choice:

STEWART: Segregation used to be the law until the courts intervened.

HUCK: There’s a big difference between a person being black and a person practicing a lifestyle and engaging in a marital relationship.

STEWART: Okay, actually this is helpful because it gets to the crux of it. … And I’ll tell you this: Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality. And the protections that we have for religion — we protect religion. And talk about a lifestyle choice — that is absolutely a choice. Gay people don’t choose to be gay. At what age did you choose to not be gay?

Huckabee tried to insist that “60 percent of the American population” opposes gay marriage. Stewart interrupted him, calling it a “travesty” that gay Americans have to plead for their civil rights... (READ ON)
The truth is that being gay or lesbian is not likely a lifestyle choice. The facts would seem to suggest that it is the way you were when you born - in pretty much the exact same way that you are born black, white, whatever, etc. - and environment may only be a factor in how it can effect the genetic code that people are born with. And not just no, but HELL NO! I am not going down that Nazi like road of eugenics to "eliminate or treat" what some of you crazies want to call a disease... That is just sick.

And even if it were a choice?

Who cares... Exercising free will, to make your own choice, is as much a right as it is a personal responsibility. Even according to the Bible, Free Will is a Divine Institution:

1.Free will, 2.Marriage, 3.Family, 4.Government etc.

Yeah... You hear a lot from the religious wing nuts about the "Divine Institution of Marriage" - the second divine institution...

But they conveniently choose to skip the First Divine Institution in their bankrupt arguments.

Free Will - The one God supposedly gave everyone to choose their own destiny.

Religion is quite simply and for certain nothing more than a lifestyle choice...

You aren't born that way. Even if you are a believer - God gave you the free will to choose to believe. In fact some of these religions make a big deal out of converting people into believers. Because. People. Were. Not. Born. That. Way.

They made a choice.

People choose their religions all the time. Often they change their choice of religion on a whim.

Often that religion of choice has clearly bigoted views that they would like to force upon the rest of the world. Anti-Marriage Equality views would be included there. It is no different than other bigoted religious views that have been argued for in the past:

The term "miscegenation" has been used since the nineteenth century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sex, and more generally to the global process of racial admixture that has taken place since the Age of Discoveries, particularly through the European colonization of the Americas and the Atlantic slave trade. Historically the term has been used in the context of laws banning interracial marriage and sex, so-called anti-miscegenation laws. It is therefore a loaded word and is considered offensive by many.

Today, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests a distinct biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships. The word is considered offensive by many and other terms such as "interracial," "interethnic" or "cross-cultural" are more common in contemporary usage. However, the term is still used by scholars when referring to past practices concerning multiraciality, such as anti-miscegenation laws that banned interracial marriages.

Christians and their ever changing views on traditional marriage...

I am pretty sure most of them have given up the bigoted views against interracial marriages.

Huckabee talks about "5000 years of traditional marriage" based on his own personal lifestyle choice's rulebook - the Bible - but will, no doubt, refuse to accept what that loaded definition actually includes if implemented as law:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in
addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a
virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden.
(Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

Added to that list of new laws would be the many forms of rape marriage that are traditionally acceptable according to Huckabee's God and Bible...
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT
If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

Just remember that these are precisely the views and lessons that have formed people like Mike Huckabee's "family values and morals" in the religious lifestyle choice they have made.

History will not be kind to you and yours, Huckster...

Time and time again these family values types have had to be forced to re-define their idea of traditional marriage because of what societies morals have defined as abhorrent practices. This time is no different than any of the other times. It truly sickens me that in a nation where all men are supposedly created equal... That we constantly have to sink down to these morally corrupt and repugnant people's level to argue for the most basic civil rights of other men and women. Their right to choose.

Those of you on the other side of these arguments - and I assure you, they are all the same arguments repeated over and over again - will be viewed in the history books as the bigots and haters that you are. But let's be clear on this...

That was your choice.

Not mine. My choice and belief would be that other people have no right to stick their noses in to the love lives, bedrooms and marriages of other adults. And I never had to ask for Mike Huckabee's or any one else, Gay, Lesbian, heterosexual, religious, atheist or other, for permission to get married - other than my wife-to-be at the time. All of you on the wrong side of this argument have been left with the freedom to choose your religion, your morals, your values and even your spouse.

The LGBT community deserves the same rights, the same freedoms guaranteed to them under the Constitution, to make all of these same choices without your 5000 years of traditionally misguided, immoral and bigoted input.


Open and Shut Case at Window and Door Factory

Or is that a Shut and Open Case in a very real class war?
A company managed by the wife of Republic Windows and Doors owner Richard Gillman recently purchased an Iowa plant that manufactures similar products, according to public records.

Gillman has come under fire in recent days for abruptly closing Republic's Goose Island plant and refusing to provide workers there with the 60 days notice and pay required by federal labor law.

Echo Windows and Doors was created two weeks ago and lists Sharon Gillman as its manager, according copies of records obtained by the Daily News from the Iowa Secretary of the State. According to Cook County property tax records, Sharon Gillman is Richard Gillman's wife.

The couple purchased a $2.6 million Oak Street condo together in 2007, according to property records.
This is emblematic of the heartwarming story of lifestyles of the rich and blameless:
The Los Angeles Times covers the story through the lens of the disconnect between Main Street and Wall Street:
Here, in this corner of the recession, the standoff between the workers and Bank of America has quickly evolved into a symbol of the divide between the financial rescue plans for Wall Street and Main Street.

When they heard the news, some workers were furious. Others cried. Rangel panicked. His wife had been sick for weeks and had recently seen the family physician.

"I got a call from the doctors. The insurance company said they won't pay because the company canceled all our policies and didn't tell us," Rangel said. "I have a mortgage. I have a child. What do we do if he gets sick?"
While it wouldn't resolve the unethical behavior of people that run businesses in the same way as people like the Gillmans, single payer universal health care would help mitigate some of the inhumanity of it.

[update] In comment, from RBA at ePluribus Media:
So it turns out BofA may have been right in the first place: it's Republic's problem. Even so, BoA is 'extending credit' to Republic for the employees. 'Journamalism'. Gotta love it. Another story that got phoned in without deep background on the principals.
Get the feeling that BoA's new found interest in extending credit lies in a mix of CYA with the PR and wanting to be able to reason continuing business with the Gillmans and Ecko in Iowa? (Just taking a guess there...)

If it simply came down to the PR aspect I can't see them doing it. There has to be more of a profit motive behind it, IMHO. And YES! I am cynical. lol

Almost a month of same sex marriage in Connecticut...

and I have yet to see any negative effects on my marriage because of Marriage Equality...

Imagine that?