It is a time of freedom and fear, of Gaia and of borders, of many paths and the widening of a universal toll road, emptying country and swelling cities, of the public bought into privacy and the privacy of the public sold into invisible data banks and knowing algorithms. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection.

These are the times when maps fade and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread.

Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.


CALLING ALL TROOPS AND THOSE WHO LOVE THEM
Saturday, July 10, 2004
 
Let's get this straight: People who protest war do not hate men and women in combat. We do not think that these men and women are incompetent. They are not "the enemy."

What many of us don't like (and thus protest against) is a government that puts our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, moms and dads in harm's way for reasons we just don't buy.

Also, many of us believe that there are other ways to solve problems (between individuals and nations) that can avoid death.

THEREFORE, I AM CALLING ON PEOPLE CURRENTLY SERVING IN THE MILITARY, or those of you who know military personnel, to be selected for personal interviews that will be posted on Irregular Times.

If the interviewee desires to be anonymous, that is fine.

As an interviewer, I am interested in listening and recording, not preaching or telling anyone what choices to make in their lives. If you want to join up with the armed services to protect our country, that's your business. I just don't want you to die or to kill unless you have to.

Please send interview requests to : submit@irregulartimes.com

Thank you. Your voices are essential for any kind of thoughtful, rational contribution to this discussion.

Posted by at 9:06 AM. # (permalink)
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More Evidence: How Bush Skews Science
Friday, July 09, 2004
 
In its new and meticulously-documented report, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making, the Union of Concerned Scientists has uncovered extensive evidence of the Bush Administration interfering in scientific studies, mandating skewed administrative and research interventions in the scientific process to result in findings or actions of benefit to the industrial groups that are contributing so mightily to Mr. Bush's re-election campaign. Let's review just a few:

  • In one such instance, J. Stephen Griles (a political appointeee to the Bush Administration's Department of the Interior) mandated that scientists preparing an environmental impact statement on mountaintop-removal mining were to "focus on centralizing and streamlining coal-mining permitting," and to cease consideration of environmentally beneficial changes to the mining practice.



  • Another instance of political meddling in the scientific process occured as the Bush administration made it clear it wanted to lump together fishery-raised salmon and wild salmon for purposes of establishing whether salmon should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. However, the National Research Council-approved Salmon Recovery Science Review Panel documented that there was a solid scientific basis for concluding that fishery-raised salmon and wild salmon were genetically distinct, and therefore should be counted separately for purposes of Endangered Species Act protection. The scientists constituting the Review Panel say that Bush Administration officials told them either to remove that conclusion from the report or to find their report shelved. The conclusion was subsequently removed.



  • Another instance of political meddling in the scientific process by the Bush Administration came as real estate interests pushed for permission to develop critical areas of the Florida panther's habitat. The Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) scientific review panel found that the Bush Administration's Department of the Interior mandated several faulty assumptions in order to inflate the apparent number of breeding pairs of Florida panthers in the wild. For example, every reported panther -- including the very young and very old -- was counted as a member of a breeding pair. Although the review panel informed Bush Administration officials of the problem and recommended a change in the practice, Bush Administration officials repeatedly declined to do so, to real estate developers' benefit.



  • Yet another skewing of the data for political purposes: In 2003, the Bush Administration was court-ordered to designate critical habitat protection for the bull trout of the Pacific Northwest. In a report associated with that plan, economists working for the Fish and Wildlife Service enumerated the financial costs of enacting habitat protection and the financial benefits of doing so. The section of the report detailing financial costs of enacting the protection was kept in the final version of the report released by the Bush Administration; the section of the report detailing the financial benefits of enacting that protection was deleted. Fish and Wildlife Service officials reported that "The removal was a policy decision made at the Washington level; it did not come out of Denver or Portland."



  • When William R. Miller, professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, was interviewed by the Bush Administration for a position as a scientific advisor to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, he was asked whether he had voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 elections. After his response, Miller's appointment was cancelled. In another interview for a position at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Claire Stark was repeatedly asked by a staffer at the White House whether she had voted for George W. Bush. Dr. Stark repeatedly refused to answer, noting that the position she would take was scientific rather than political. But the White House interviewer continued to ask for Dr. Stark's confidential and professionally-irrelevant voting record.



  • When Nobel laureate in medicine Torsten Wiesel was nominated to serve on the advisory board of the Fogarty International Center at the NIH, Bush Administration officials reportedly rejected Wiesel because he had written too many letters to the New York Times that were criticial of George W. Bush.


It is becoming painfully clear that the Bush Administration just cannot handle the emergence of unvarnished truth.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 3:10 PM# (permalink)
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Down the Memory Hole!
 
It turns out that three months of George W. Bush's military records -- the exact three months during which nobody can be found who saw George W. Bush showing up to serve in the National Guard -- have been irrevocably destroyed. It was all an inadvertant "accident" on the military's part, the White House says. Oh, dear. Whoopsie! (Source: New York Times July 9, 2004)

Now, there are two possibilities here. The first is that it wasn't an accident, but it was rather an action taken on purpose. This would not be a surprise given the Bush Administration's shenanigans to date. And that brings us to our second possibility: that it actually was an accidental destruction. In this case, broad swaths of the American citizenry are just not going to believe the president when he says it was an accident, because he's deceived us so many times in the past. If we've really gotten to such a poisoned point with the Bush Administration, then it's time to clear the decks and let someone with credibility take Bush's place.

Posted by Matthew Cook at 7:45 AM. # (permalink)
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Call on Bush to Debate the Environment With Kerry
Thursday, July 08, 2004
 
It's one of the least discussed issues, but in the long term, one of the most important: the environment. Consider this: Under George W. Bush, the government has allowed huge amounts of poisons and filth to enter our nation's drinking water. The pollution from Bush and Company includes arsenic, mercury, and even sewage. Yum!

Here's how you can do something about this problem: John Kerry has called on George W. Bush to take part in a debate that is devoted solely to environmental issues. Bush has refused. He says that the American people don't care. We can prove him wrong by signing the petition currently being circulated by the League of Conservation Voters. The petition calls on Bush to accept Kerry's challenge.

In just the first few hours, the League of Conservation Voters has gathered over 15,000 signatures, but they'll need a lot more than that to pressure the Republican elite into allowing Bush to participate in the debate. Do your part by putting your name on the petition. It only takes a few clicks, but it makes a big difference.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 7:22 PM# (permalink)
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Michael Moore and Singing the Progressive Blues
 
This last Monday I saw my first Michael Moore film. Long overdue, as he is my home-boy (we're both from Michigan.)

I was so impressed with the format of "F 9/11," that I had a mini Moore film fest later that night: his other two films, "Roger and Me" and "Bowling for Columbine." Ever since viewing "Columbine" film, I've been rather down in the dumps. Perhaps, if you've seen the film, you understand what I mean.

Earlier this morning, I emailed a friend of mine who works with me in rural politics, and decided, on instinct, to write a list of things to be happy about. We've been two of several people circulating election petitions the last few weeks, and have had to take a bit "on the chin" from registered voters because of it. Again, anyone who has circulated petitions may know what I mean.

I am posting a modified happy things list, becasue writing the original made me feel a bit better. Perhaps if you've seen "F 9/11" and may be feeling overwhelmed, the list may help. If you can think of other items to add, in a positive spirit, I encourage additions.

Thanks.

Furrjen

THINGS TO BE HAPPY ABOUT

* The weather is much better than, say, January

* Petitioning is almost over

* Edwards, not Gephart

* We are not the only ones working for progressive change
in this world

* Farenheit 9/11 doing a record-breaking job at the box office

* We are influencing our children

* Name five people who love you just the way you are. More?

* You can always unplug the t.v. Or cancel the cable subscription

* Ken Lay gave self up to FBI

* Politics is about bringing good peole together

* Things are never as bad as they seem once you take a good look

* Really good food


Posted by at 2:04 PM. # (permalink)
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Let Freedom Reign? Bwah-huh?
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
 
Reason #1287 to Boot Bush:

When George W. Bush was passed a note by Condoleeza Rice informing him that the latest version of an Iraqi government had been installed, he scribbled back on top of that note the words "Let Freedom Reign."

"Let Freedom Reign." Where to begin? Well, first of all, the phrase is "Let Freedom Ring." If one had only heard the latter phrase, one might be forgiven for misinterpreting the words, but anyone who has read Dr. Martin Luther King's famous historic speeches (or who has even read a high-school American history textbook) should know otherwise. This is yet another piece of evidence for George W. Bush's aliteracy.

If, on the other hand, we assume that Bush really meant to write "Let Freedom Reign," then he must be a fool as well as ignorant. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "reign" refers the dictatorial period of rule of a monarch, not to the period of governance of a free regime, which is callled a "term" or "government." Merriam-Webster tells us that a "reign" is "the time during which a king, queen, or emperor possesses the supreme authority," or as a verb, means "to have superior or uncontrolled dominion." So is Bush meaning to refer to the new version of an Iraqi government as imperial or monarchical? Or is he profoundly unaware of the meaning of the words he uses?

The kicker is that "freedom" describes the state of an individual or a people who are not under the thumb of the dominion of a monarchy or other regime of supreme authority. So what is Bush saying here? Let non-reigniness reign? Let freedom exercise the limiting of freedom? Freedom is slavery? Ignorance is strength? Bwah-huh? (Source: Reuters June 28, 2004)

Posted by Matthew Cook at 11:28 AM. # (permalink)
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Support for Kerry-Edwards Ticket Surges!
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
 
While pundits make vacant speculations about the impact of the addition of John Edwards to the Democratic presidential ticket, we here at Irregular Times can offer more than baseless chatter.

In a very concrete indication of the surge of enthusiasm among voters for the Democratic presidential campaign since the announcement of John Edwards as the vice presidential candidate this morning, we can report that for the first time ever, our sales of pro-Kerry, pro-Edwards bumper stickers, buttons, and other political paraphernalia have exceeded our sales of anti-Bush items. T-shirts, decals, cofffee mugs, clocks, magnets, posters, anything American voters can get their hands on that supports the Kerry-Edwards campaign is pouring out of our hands and into the mail.

John Edwards has turned an anti-Bush campaign into an anti-Bush and pro-Kerry, pro-Edwards campaign.

Wait for the pundits to talk about this phenomenon in a few days. You heard it here first.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 11:30 PM# (permalink)
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Bush Coming to Raleigh; North Carolina is Ready!
 
If you live near the Triangle (Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill) of North Carolina, be sure to make it to the following event for a protest greeting of George W. Bush. If you don't, forward this notice on to someone who does live near the Triangle. It's important to let Bush know that even in the South, which he takes for granted, large numbers of us are sick of his presidency.

Here's the event:


Announcing the George W. Bush Early Retirement Party on Wednesday, July 7th! His Fraudulency Himself will be in town for a $25,000-a-plate fundraiser for the GOP that day (the day after his birthday) at the "humble" home of none other than Cliff Benson (of Raleigh Beltline fame). We plan to publicly announce our very special birthday present for him, to be delivered on November 2nd -- an early retirement, complete with luxury accomodations, in lovely Crawford, Texas! Our gala event starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Capitol grounds, and when all the invitees have gathered and had a chance to express their deep feelings for our beloved Vacationer-in-Chief, we will begin to prominade along the sidewalk, starting at 5:45 p.m., to (Michael) Moore Square, where the festivities will begin officially at 7:45 p.m. Hors d'oeuvres and elegant musical accompaniments will be provided at our $2.50-a-plate Presidential Retirement Soiree at fabulous Greenshields in City Market. No RSVP required.


Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:47 PM# (permalink)
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Kerry-Edwards Buttons now online!
 
In addition to our Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers and posters, we now have put online a series of Kerry-Edwards buttons for you to pin on your chest, and Kerry Edwards magnets to put on your refrigerator or your car.

kerry-edwards 2004 buttonsHave at it, and support this winning team!

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 12:16 PM# (permalink)
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Kerry-Edwards 2004
 
At 9 AM, it will be official: Kerry-Edwards 2004.

John Kerry and John Edwards make the best ticket for rescuing America from the clutches of the Bush cabal in the presidential election of 2004. Show your support with a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker, t-shirt, poster or other item below:



Kerry-Edwards 2004 (bumper sticker)
Kerry-Edwards 2004 Organic T-Shirt
Kerry-Edwards 2004 (bumper sticker)
Kerry-Edwards '04 (bumper sticker)
Kerry Edwards 2004 (bumper sticker)

Kerry-Edwards 2004 11x17 poster



Posted by Matthew Cook at 8:08 AM. # (permalink)
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Please, Not Gephardt!
Monday, July 05, 2004
 
Mother Davis is brought back in memory to her first primary vote years ago as she hears,

Some folks are reading the tea leaves as saying that John Kerry will pick Dick Gephardt as his running mate. My considered comment on this choice is oh no no no no please no I beg you Mr. Kerry don't do it for the love of everything American no no no no no!

Dick Gephardt represents everything that has gone wrong with the Democratic Party since George W. Bush came to power in 2000. When Bush pushed special tax benefits for the rich, Dick Gephardt, as Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, went along with the plan. When Bush pushed for tax benefits for the rich a second time, Gephardt rolled over and played lap dog for Bush a second time. When Bush went for a third round of tax giveaways for the rich, Gephardt offered no effective resistance. With a 2002 mid-term election that should have increased Democratic seats in Congress, Dick Gephardt joined with fellow milquetoast Tom Daschle to mumble his way to massive defeats for his party.

Yes, Dick Gephardt has years of experience, but that's a problem in his case, because he has years of experience at offering the same old bland ideas and racking up huge defeats. Let's say it plainly: Dick Gephardt has not been an effective Democratic leader. We have to look no further to the embarrassing meltdown of his try for the Democratic presidential nomination just six months ago to see why Dick Gephardt has absolutely no place on John Kerry's presidential team.

Go home, Mr. Gephardt, like you said you would when Kerry beat you in the primary game. Missouri is a bit hot this time of year, it's true, but you can always go on a fishing vacation to Minnesota.

We'll be watching over the next week or so, hoping that John Kerry has the plain sense not to pick a tired old workhorse at a time when Americans need more spirited inspiration from their leaders. Dick Gephardt is no Seabiscuit.

Crossing her fingers,
Mother Davis

Posted by Katherine Davis at 9:30 PM# (permalink)
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Recipe: The Anti-Bush Cheesecake
 
anti-Bush cheesecakeNeed something to bring to your local MoveOn or Democratic Party fundraiser? Looking to liven up a bakesale? Need appropriately-themed yummies for viewing this summer's nominating conventions? Or do you just want to cheerfully needle your conservative in-laws at next week's picnic?

Well, then, try out our recipe for the Anti-Bush Cheesecake. Heavens, it's tasty and expeditious. Sorry, Garrison, but it is!

Posted by Matthew Cook at 3:44 PM. # (permalink)
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The Phantom of the Cabinet
Sunday, July 04, 2004
 
Last night I took my family out to see some fireworks, accompanied by music from our local symphony. I expected the patriotic music, but I did not expect Andrew Lloyd Weber. Oddly, between Grand Old Flag and America the Beautiful, the symphony played the theme from the musical The Phantom of the Opera.

What was the explanation? Was the fireworks company experiencing a delay, and needed some more time before shooting off its rockets? No. The guy sitting next to us kindly explained that the song is Donald Rumsfeld's new theme music.

How patriotic.

Posted by J. Clifford Cook at 6:52 AM. # (permalink)
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