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We salute the Grammy nomination of the late great Dave Van Ronk's final concert album:
". . . and the tin pan bended and the story ended . . ."
DVR Grammy CD
Watch the 47th Grammy's and look for DVR's Wife and Producer, Andrea Vuocolo Vanronk, and our beloved Christine Lavin [who helped edit it]
February 13, 2005 8PM on CBS.

click here

William Valdez is our Son-in-Law Extrodinaire.
You can support our troops via this site, and support William, personally, if you wish. His TFT ID is 1862195
Thank you!

don't recycle bush


Listen to Hober

US Faces of the Fallen:
US Fatalities in Iraq

US Fatalities; "Operation Enduring Freedom"

Civilian casualties update
  Friday   June 4   2004

I saw most of this... it was wonderful, and Bill's choosing to vote for Kerry this election speaks volumes because he's a staunch libertarian, but feels that it's too important to get Bush out of office and start to repair the damage and heal...read the transcript!

Some snippets follow, but to read it in full is well worth your time in my opinion:

MAHER: It hasn't always been tough, and I do love time off, but this period has been tough because so much has been going on. I mean, I never thought that I would see so many things in the world and happen to our country that made me sad, angry. I mean, did you ever think it would get any lower than hearing people brag that our torture wasn't as bad as Saddam's? You know, you hear that. People say, Well, he -- you know, he killed a lot more people. I am so proud -- I am just so proud to be an American, Larry, that our torture wasn't as bad as Saddam Hussein's torture.

KING: Is all this, then, hypocrisy to you?

MAHER: What? Which part of it? I mean, there's so many aspects of it that are. Yes. But I do think that President Bush relies on hypocrisy. You know, even if you give him a credit that he's a nice guy and this was a sincere effort, you know, it's one thing to run an election based on two-dimensional platitudes, like, They hate us for our freedom. It's another thing to send men to die for a platitude like that.

I honestly think that a lot of these people who have died over there, perhaps all of them, will have died in vain because they screwed up this plan so badly that we'll never know if democracy can take hold in Iraq. I mean, under the best conditions, this might not have worked. But considering how badly they screwed it up from the day after that they pulled Saddam's statue down, I don't think it's possible that democracy is going to be able to grow there, and then these people will have died in vain.

KING: Should any heads roll? Should Rumsfeld leave?

MAHER: Rumsfeld.

KING: Where does the buck stop?

MAHER: I still like Rumsfeld a lot. I can't help it. And he is at least honest and direct. When he was called on the carpet, he said, I apologize, as opposed to Bush's -- remember Bush's apology? He said, I told the king of Jordan I was sorry about the prison scandal. Imagine apologizing to your wife that way? Honey, I told my producer that I'm sorry I slept with your sister.

(LAUGHTER) MAHER: I mean, I don't think you'd get away with that. And also, when somebody, I think it was -- I forget -- Lindsey Graham, I think, said to Donald Rumsfeld, he said, What about quitting just as a way of saying to the rest of the world we're really sorry about this happening and we've turned over a new leaf? Do you think that would help? And Rumsfeld went, Quite possibly. And I think that's a good reason we need to get President Bush out of office. And this isn't a commercial against President Bush, but same principle obtains, as a way to say to the rest of the world we are turning over a new leaf.

KING: Bill Maher usually takes no prisoners, so we'll ask his thoughts on Mr. Kerry.

MAHER: And when I do, I don't torture them.


MAHER: I mean, that's the thing. We're still treating this president with kid gloves. I mean, if anybody...

KING: That's not kid gloves, they're making fun of him. MAHER: Yes, but the people who aren't comedians are treating him that way. I mean, what we let him get away from -- no wonder he loves that T-ball. He gets to hit from the tee, don't you think so? I mean, remember when he went before the 9/11 commission and he said, I have to do with my vice president? Can you imagine any other president doing that? Couldn't you imagine LBJ saying, I need Humphrey? I want you to see my body language. Can you imagine Nixon? Spiro Agnew is going to come with me on this. You know, I...

KING: OK, let's...

MAHER: ... mean, his answer to the commission -- he got out of there, he said, I answered all the questions. That's where we have the bar for this president, I answered all the questions. I mean, I think it's...

[BTW, it was extremely unusual regarding the people that phoned in -- usually there are people dialing in to attack Bill Maher and annihilate Bill's credibility, or to attack his views -- there was none, zero, nyet, nil, a big fat goose-egg number of calls to contradict Bill's POV -- curiouser and curiouser...] I urge y'all to read the transcript.


 08:26 AM - link -    

  Thursday   June 3   2004

We heard & "felt" it but too stupid to get up and look, dang!!!

I thought it was an earthquake, and kept waiting for the after-shock. Here's the article locally:

Meteor Lights Up Sky Over Western Washington

[link to URL above to see 2 video's -- it will probably be defunct some time soon ..zoe]

A meteor about the size of a computer monitor lit up the Northwest sky early Thursday morning, setting off sharp booms that stunned witnesses.

"There was some question as to whether it was a piece of space junk burning up, but it was not," said Geoff Chester, a spokesman for the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. "People always want to know, was it something we put up there coming down again? As far as I've been able to figure out, it was simply a rock falling out of the sky, as they are wont to do on occasion."

Chester said it was a type of meteor called a bolide, one which appears bright like a fireball in the sky.

Nothing unusual was detected on National Weather Service radar, and authorities also ruled out aircraft problems or military flight tests.

Toby Smith, a University of Washington astronomy lecturer who specializes in meteorites, said the skybursts were reported over a wide area around 2:40 a.m.

Bright flashes and sharp booms were reported in the skies over Western Washington. Viewers from Lakewood to Camano Island called KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, saying they were awakened by light or the booms.

Witnesses along a 60-mile swath of the Puget Sound region from the Tacoma area to Whidbey Island and as far as 260 miles to the east said the sky lit up brilliantly, and many reported booms as if from one or more explosions.

Jay Neher, a weather service meteorologist, said the agency's radar on Whidbey Island showed nothing unusual but added that the dish could have been pointed at another part of the sky at the time and could not detect objects above about 20,000 feet.

Civilian pilots reported seeing the flash from Ellensburg, east of the Cascade Range, said an FAA duty officer who did not give her name.

At Whidbey Island Naval Air Station about 40 miles north of Seattle, Petty Officer Andrew Davis said he and others saw the skyburst.

"It made a pretty big bang," Davis said. "We thought it could maybe be a meteorite or something."

In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, about 260 miles to the east, Dick Haugen said he was driving to work at KVNI Radio when he saw a flash that he took to be lightning about 2:40 a.m. -- then learned there were no lightning storms anywhere in the region.

Ralph Gaume, head of astronometry at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., said he knew of no likely source from outer space, such as a passing comet or meteor cluster or shower, but added that meteors commonly appear at random.

Astronometry is the branch of astronomy that measures the size and location of celestial objects.

 05:00 PM - link -    

June 3, 2004 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- Thousands of soldiers who had expected to retire or otherwise leave the military will be required to stay if their units are ordered to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The announcement Wednesday, an expansion of a program called "stop-loss," affects units that are 90 days or less from deploying, said Lt. Gen. Frank L. "Buster" Hagenbeck, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel.

Commanders can make exceptions for soldiers with special circumstances. Otherwise, soldiers won't be able to leave the service or transfer from their units until they return to their home bases after their deployments end.

The Army is struggling to find fresh units to continue the occupation of Iraq. Almost every combat unit has faced or will face duty there or in Afghanistan, and increased violence has forced the deployment of an additional 20,000 troops to the Iraq region, straining units even further.

Initially, the expanded order will affect several units about to go to Iraq: most of the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, from Fort Drum, N.Y.; the 265th Infantry Brigade of the Louisiana National Guard; the 116th Armored Brigade of the Idaho National Guard; the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the Tennessee National Guard, and the 42nd Infantry Division's headquarters staff, from the New York National Guard.

The 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, a South Korea-based unit, is expected to deploy later this summer and will be subject to the expanded stop-loss program as well, officials said.
[This is the unit Will is in -- he has been doing "hardship duty" in So. Korea -- before he left for Korea from his tour in Germany (where he and Jenny met) he was home, and Evan Valdez was concieved! She had to phone and email him with the news. Throughout her pregnancy, Jenny was alone here until William's leave; he was here (thank god /dess Evan was late ) for the birth here at the Whidbey Naval Station Hospital. He had to leave way too soon (evan 5 days old), and his COs would not let him stay longer. In retrospect, they (his commanding officers) were already aware he'd not be finish his tour in Korea in the expexted 8+ months, heading for Fort Lewis, WA, but was already slated for removal to Iraq. I think that it was "cruel and unusual" to not be more sensitive to letting him spend more time with his family, especially with the information they now had -- and as this article states, he will not be deployed until late summer, so they easily could have been compassionate and let him have more time (he had requested an extension while here)... this is so wrong to me on so many levels, and on up the food chain to our "Commander in Chief" who never was in a place of conflict in his life...how dare he! (set /rant = off) ...back to the article]

There has been criticism of the program as contrary to the concept of an all-volunteer military force. Soldiers planning to retire and get on with their lives now face more months away from their families and homes.

In an opinion piece in Wednesday's New York Times, Andrew Exum, a former Army captain who served under Hagenbeck in the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, called the treatment "shameful."

"Many, if not most, of the soldiers in this latest Iraq-bound wave are already veterans of several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan," he wrote. "They have honorably completed their active duty obligations. But like draftees, they have been conscripted to meet the additional needs in Iraq."

Read the entire Salon article

 12:10 PM - link -    

  Tuesday   June 1   2004

Even the Washington Post has noticed and wrote an article...
This is from the June 1st 2004 edition:

From Bush, Unprecedented Negativity
Scholars Say Campaign Is Making History With Often-Misleading Attacks

By Dana Milbank and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, May 31, 2004; Page A01

It was a typical week in the life of the Bush reelection machine.

Last Monday in Little Rock, Vice President Cheney said Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry "has questioned whether the war on terror is really a war at all" and said the senator from Massachusetts "promised to repeal most of the Bush tax cuts within his first 100 days in office."

On Tuesday, President Bush's campaign began airing an ad saying Kerry would scrap wiretaps that are needed to hunt terrorists.

The same day, the Bush campaign charged in a memo sent to reporters and through surrogates that Kerry wants to raise the gasoline tax by 50 cents.

On Wednesday and Thursday, as Kerry campaigned in Seattle, he was greeted by another Bush ad alleging that Kerry now opposes education changes that he supported in 2001.

The charges were all tough, serious -- and wrong, or at least highly misleading. Kerry did not question the war on terrorism, has proposed repealing tax cuts only for those earning more than $200,000, supports wiretaps, has not endorsed a 50-cent gasoline tax increase in 10 years, and continues to support the education changes, albeit with modifications.

Scholars and political strategists say the ferocious Bush assault on Kerry this spring has been extraordinary, both for the volume of attacks and for the liberties the president and his campaign have taken with the facts. Though stretching the truth is hardly new in a political campaign, they say the volume of negative charges is unprecedented -- both in speeches and in advertising.

Three-quarters of the ads aired by Bush's campaign have been attacks on Kerry. Bush so far has aired 49,050 negative ads in the top 100 markets, or 75 percent of his advertising. Kerry has run 13,336 negative ads -- or 27 percent of his total. The figures were compiled by The Washington Post using data from the Campaign Media Analysis Group of the top 100 U.S. markets. Both campaigns said the figures are accurate.

The assault on Kerry is multi-tiered: It involves television ads, news releases, Web sites and e-mail, and statements by Bush spokesmen and surrogates -- all coordinated to drive home the message that Kerry has equivocated and "flip-flopped" on Iraq, support for the military, taxes, education and other matters.


 10:12 PM - link -    

"walk this way..." Igor [prnounced Eye-gore] from "Young Frankenstien" [pronounced Steen] -- there's more!