Sunday, December 30, 2007

HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY NOELLE



NOELLE'S BIRTHDAY BALLOON!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

NOELLE NOEL



Tonight we drove around showing Noelle the Christmas lights. There is one house a couple of miles away, just off of Camelback Rd and 44th St, that each year has the largest lights display I have ever seen - they even sell Christmas crafts and serve hot chocolate and coffee...for a donation.

Noelle enjoyed it... hope you do!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

PERFECTION



Saturday, December 15, 2007

ROSIE ON DAVID LETTERMAN REPEAT



For those who missed the David Letterman repeat with Rosie O'Donnell the other night - here it is for anyone interested in watching.

This initially aired in the fall of last year after a few weeks on the View and all was harmonious.

Watch her play with hands and crack her knuckles throughout. You can tell she is nervous.

CONGRESSMEN CALL FOR CHENEY'S IMPEACHMENT



Today I received an email from Democrats.com with the following message. I find the next to last paragraph extremely telling. Our national media is complicit in the Bush/Cheney crimes. Too much money is at stake and they will not report the truth.

Rep. Robert Wexler (FL-19) and two other Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee - Luis Gutierrez (IL-04) and Tammy Baldwin (WI-02) - today called on the committee to begin impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney.

They declared, "The charges are too serious to ignore. There is credible evidence that the Vice President abused the power of his office, and not only brought us into an unnecessary war but violated the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens. It is the constitutional duty of Congress to hold impeachment hearings."

The three Democrats wrote an op-ed to announce their position, but none of the nation's leading newspapers would publish it - just as they refuse to include impeachment in their polls, and just as they refuse to publish their own investigations of the crimes of the Bush Administration. Why? Because the Corporate Media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, as it has been since the Reagan Revolution of 1980.

Rep. Wexler needs to collect 50,000 signatures to convince his Democratic colleagues that the American people truly support impeachment hearings. So please sign his petition: WEXLERWANTSHEARINGS

Go to Congressman Wexler's website and sign the petition and pass it on to everyone you know.

Its the right thing to do.


Friday, December 14, 2007

IS JODIE FOSTER GAY?



CNN ran this story today, "Is Jodie Foster Gay?"

How relevant is the question?

Does she need to come out?

I do not know that Jodie Foster needs to confirm or deny that she is gay. In my opinion is isn't important.

It doesn't change the fact that over 4,000 American servicemen and women have died in the Iraq War or that there are millions of Americans without health care. Homeless people are not sheltered and children do not go to bed with a full belly because she announces she is gay. Her "lesbian proclamation" doesn't give the elderly reasonably priced prescription drugs or a lower income high school senior a college education.

In my opinion, no prominent gay person is obligated to "come out" unless they wish to for their own reasons. They are under no obligation anymore than average Joe the butcher or Jane the bank teller.

It is personal - no public declarations are necessary, and I disagree with those that say they NEED to do it to become role models.

In their private lives celebrities live their lives as honestly as they choose, on their terms, not on the terms of the media or society.

Is Jodie Foster gay - Well Probably!

Does she need to shout it from a rooftop - it is her decision.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CORRESPONDENCE FROM JOHN MCCAIN


Today I received an email from John McCain. It was a response to an email I sent him last week regarding the impeachment of President Bush.

The once well respected decorated war hero with the sole conscience of the Republican Party has morphed into a has been republican lap dog and it is nearly pathetic to watch. The John McCain of today is not the same John McCain that ran for president against George Bush in 2000 and I believe it is time he retire from public life.

His letter follows:


Dear Mr. Willi:

Thank you for contacting me to express your view that President Bush should be impeached and removed from office. I'm afraid that we will have to agree to disagree on this issue.

The impeachment and removal of a President are extraordinary actions that should be taken only when the individual holding that office has been found to have committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. President Bush has committed no crime and has dedicated his time in office to protecting the people of this nation to the best of his ability.

At a time when our nation is at war with radical extremists, we should all work together to secure our Nation from the very real threats it faces. Stoking partisan fires by calling for the impeachment and the removal of the President only harms our unity and our security at a time when acting as one nation is crucial.

Please know that I cherish the right of speech and dissent and, while I respect your views on this matter, I simply disagree. I thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts.

Sincerely,

John McCain

United States Senator



JM/dkr


Monday, December 10, 2007

HILLARY INTERVIEW



I like her - don't know what it is, but I like Hillary and I think that if people would just listen to what she has to say and get past their pre-conceived, mistaken impressions of her they will find one very bright woman who will lead this country in a different direction than King George and Dick Cheney.

I still have not figured out why people don't like her:

- Is it because she is a woman in a tankful of male sharks?

- Is it because she is Bill Clinton's wife?

- Is it because she stood by Bill Clinton during his adulterous affairs?

- Is it because she is a democrat?

- Is it because she is smart and some-what tough?

- Is it because she should be home backing cookies?

I've never heard a single, valid reason why they don't like her.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS


It was gray, cloudy and occasionally rainy all weekend here in Phoenix. Temperature only in the 50s. I HATE it.

Puts me in a funk. Days like his are few - that's why I live here.

No sleep Friday night and can't say I slept any better last night (and Noelle wasn't even here).

Spent the entire day today reading the last book of Harry Potter.

I have loved the Harry Potter books since Rosie O first had JK on her show. I have all of the books and read each one immediately after being released. For the 6th one I happened to be awake late that night and drove up to BN to pick it up at 1 am. Got home and finished it before the end of the day.

This latest one I started while in NYC in August. I read 365 pages in one setting and never got back to it until today - and today I read until the end - page 759.

I recently spoke with someone who had finished it and I started to ask the questions I believed I knew the answers to.... Was Dumbledore really alive? Did it turn out that Snape wasn't a bad guy? Harry doesn't die, right? Do Herminone and Ron get together? And how about Harry and Ginny?

I wasn't disappointed and was right about almost all of it, but I found the book cumbersome to read - too many pages and too much detail!

I found myself tearing up at a few parts - not as much as the other books. I remembered these adorable and adventurous little friends I've grown to love over the years, but when it was over, instead of feeling a need for more, I was relieved.

I was happy with the ending but felt the the final battle was anti-climatic. What happens happens and there isn't much fan fare. I think it was a paragraph.

I am sitting outside by the fire, which has now faded and the air is cooling. Tomorrow it is forecasted to rain all day long.

Was suppose to start work...but it isn't happening.

I hate it.

Perhaps I can start another book from my stack.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

SWEENEY TODD - NOT WHILE I'M AROUND


Not While I'm Around is one of my all-time favorite songs. It comes from Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - which opens in theaters December 21st.

Synopsis: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton join forces again in a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's award-winning musical thriller "Sweeney Todd." Depp stars in the title role as a man unjustly sent to prison who vows revenge, not only for that cruel punishment, but for the devastating consequences of what happened to his wife and daughter. When he returns to reopen his barber shop, Sweeney Todd becomes the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who "shaved the heads of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard from again." Joining Depp is Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney's amorous accomplice, who creates diabolical meat pies. The cast also includes Alan Rickman, who portrays the evil Judge Turpin, who sends Sweeney to prison and Timothy Spall as the Judge's wicked associate Beadle Bamford and Sacha Baron Cohen is a rival barber, the flamboyant Signor Adolfo Pirelli.

NO SLEEP FOR GPAWILLI


Today I am tired - no - I'm exhausted.

Was up over half the night with the wee one who could not sleep. Lately she doesn't like to sleep in her bed here so in with me she crawls.

Restless all night and then about 1am she started. Never really figured out what her problem was. She said she was hungry, said she was thirsty, wanted me to change her diaper. Still the whimpering continued.

Fettit took her to his bed for quite some time but she never fell alseep.... Just kept lying there awake looking at him saying "Hi Papa." Melts the heart.

He brought her back to me and at about 4am and she finally fell back to sleep. She is not fun to sleep with, always moving and kicking me.

Love the little snot too much!

By 9:30 I texted her mother, I am out of diapers. Do you want me to drop off diapers or pick up Noelle? Please come get her! I'm in a foul mood but try to keep it to myself. Never directed at her.

There is talk of trying for another one. Maybe a little boy - Christopher Sterling. How will I ever handle two?

Friday, December 7, 2007

CONGRATULATIONS BARBRA




The 2008 Grammy Award nominations were announced yesterday and the greatest voice of all time, Barbra Streisand, has received a nomination in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category.

I was fortunate enough to see this concert two times...

- Once in Chicago in October 2006 with my brother, Kevin, his partner Craig (Brad), and sister Karla. It was here that Kevin and I met Rosie O'Donnell - A DREAM FULFILLED.

- Fettit and I saw Barbra in Phoenix the next month, November 2006, and our seats were so close that when I yelled out "I love you Barbra" she heard me and replied "WHY THANK YOU SIR" - acknowledgement - THE LIFELONG DREAM COME TRUE.

CONGRATULATIONS AUNT BARBRA

HUCKABEE FOUGHT TO RELEASE SERIAL RAPIST BECAUSE OF ANTI-CLINTON HYSTERIA


I was reading an article on Young Turks this morning that lead me to the following indepth article found on the Huffington Report. It is one of many articles out there regarding the subject - Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign is on the verge of imploding and he may want to consider withdrawing from the race.

One major factor in Huckabee's decision to commute the rapist/murderer's sentence was his pathological hatred for Bill Clinton.

The following article is quite long but well worth reading.


Little Rock, Ark -- As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee aggressively pushed for the early release of a convicted rapist despite being warned by numerous women that the convict had sexually assaulted them or their family members, and would likely strike again. The convict went on to rape and murder at least one other woman.

Confidential Arkansas state government records, including letters from these women, obtained by the Huffington Post and revealed publicly for the first time, directly contradict the version of events now being put forward by Huckabee.

While on the campaign trail, Huckabee has claimed that he supported the 1999 release of Wayne Dumond because, at the time, he had no good reason to believe that the man represented a further threat to the public. Thanks to Huckabee's intervention, conducted in concert with a right-wing tabloid campaign on Dumond's behalf, Dumond was let out of prison 25 years before his sentence would have ended.

"There's nothing any of us could ever do," Huckabee said Sunday on CNN when asked to reflect on the horrific outcome caused by the prisoner's release. "None of us could've predicted what [Dumond] could've done when he got out."

But the confidential files obtained by the Huffington Post show that Huckabee was provided letters from several women who had been sexually assaulted by Dumond and who indeed predicted that he would rape again - and perhaps murder - if released.

In a letter that has never before been made public, one of Dumond's victims warned: "I feel that if he is released it is only a matter of time before he commits another crime and fear that he will not leave a witness to testify against him the next time." Before Dumond was granted parole at Huckabee's urging, records show that Huckabee's office received a copy of this letter from Arkansas' parole board.

The woman later wrote directly to Huckabee about having been raped by Dumond. In a letter obtained by the Huffington Post, she said that Dumond had raped her while holding a butcher knife to her throat, and while her then-3-year-old daughter lay in bed next to her. Also included in the files sent to Huckabee's office was a police report in which Dumond confessed to the rape. Dumond was not charged in that particular case because he later refused to sign the confession and because the woman was afraid to press charges.

Huckabee kept these and other documents secret because they were politically damaging, according to a former aide who worked for him in Arkansas. The aide has made the records available to the Huffington Post, deeply troubled by Huckabee's repeated claims that he had no reason to believe Dumond would commit other violent crimes upon his release from prison. The aide also believes that Huckabee, for political reasons, has deliberately attempted to cover up his knowledge of Dumond's other sexual assaults.

"There were no letters sent to the governor's office from any rape victims," Huckabee campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart said on Tuesday when contacted by the Huffington Post.

Subsequently, however, the campaign provided a former senior aide of Huckabee's who did remember reading at least one of the letters.

But Huckabee and his aides insist that his receipt of the letters is irrelevant because the decision to release Dumond was made by the parole board. Huckabee on Tuesday again denied allegations by former parole board members that he lobbied them to release Dumond. "I did not ask them to do anything," he said. "I did indicate [Dumond's case] was sitting at my desk and I was giving thought to it."

Charmaine Yoest, a senior adviser to the Huckabee campaign, told the Huffington Post: "I think what should be considered here is that if he [Huckabee] could have changed what happened, he would. His whole life has been about respect for life and understanding the value of each individual life. Nobody regrets the loss of life here more than him."

In 1996, as a newly elected governor who had received strong support from the Christian right, Huckabee was under intense pressure from conservative activists to pardon Dumond or commute his sentence. The activists claimed that Dumond's initial imprisonment and various other travails were due to the fact that Ashley Stevens, the high school cheerleader he had raped, was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, and the daughter of a major Clinton campaign contributor.

The case for Dumond's innocence was championed in Arkansas by Jay Cole, a Baptist minister and radio host who was a close friend of the Huckabee family. It also became a cause for New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy, who repeatedly argued for Dumond's release, calling his conviction "a travesty of justice." On Sept. 21, 1999, Dunleavy wrote a column headlined "Clinton's Biggest Crime - Left Innocent Man In Jail For 14 Years":

"Dumond, now 52, was given conditional parole yesterday in Arkansas after having being sentenced to 50 years in jail for the rape of Clinton's cousin," Dunleavy wrote. "That rape never happened."

A subsequent Dunleavy column quoted Huckabee saying: "There is grave doubt to the circumstances of this reported crime."

After Dumond's release from prison in September 1999, he moved to Smithville, Missouri, where he raped and suffocated to death a 39-year-old woman named Carol Sue Shields. Dumond was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for that rape and murder.

But Dumond's arrest for those crimes in June 2001 came too late for 23-year-old Sara Andrasek of Platte County, Missouri. Dumond allegedly raped and murdered her just one day before his arrest for raping and murdering Shields. Prior to the attack, Andrasek and her husband had learned that she was pregnant with their first child.

Dumond died of natural causes while in prison on September 1, 2005. At the time of his death, Missouri authorities were readying capital murder charges against Dumond for the rape and murder of Andrasek.

* * *

Huckabee has refused to release his gubernatorial administration's records on the matter, saying that he was concerned for the privacy of Dumond's victims and that the records contain sensitive law enforcement information.

The Arkansas Parole Board also refuses to make public any letters or warnings it received from Drumond's victims. "We don't release comments for or against a clemency application or a parole case," the Board's spokesperson told Huffington Post, "except when they are comments from public officials."

But most of the women assaulted by Dumond and interviewed for this story say that Huckabee could have made information public while guarding their privacy. Law enforcement authorities also scoffed at the idea that anything in the records would have harmed an ongoing investigation since Dumond is no longer alive .

The records revealed in this story -- including correspondence between Dumond's victims and Huckabee, as well as the governor's own file regarding Dumond -- were provided to me in the fall of 2002 by a Republican staffer to then-Gov. Huckabee.

I made the decision not to make the files public at that time because of concern for the privacy of the rape victims and their families. I felt that their right to privacy outweighed the public's right to know, although I understand why many people would disagree.

Now that Huckabee is running for president, and after consulting with the victims and their families, I have decided to proceed, given what his actions on the case - and his attempts to whitewash his involvement in it -- say about his judgment and integrity.

During a 2002 bid by Huckabee to be re-elected governor of Arkansas, the staffer who provided the documents attended a meeting where Huckabee and top aides expressed concerns that information in the files showing that other women had told Huckabee about being raped by Dumond might somehow become public, and thus become an issue for his opponent. The information remained secret, and Huckabee won a tight race for re-election.

The staffer said that during that same period, another senior aide to Huckabee suggested asking other state agencies, which might have portions or even the entirety of the Dumond file, to transfer their records to the governor's office. If the files were transferred, the aide to Huckabee said, they would no longer be obtainable by reporters or political opponents under the state's Freedom of Information statute.

Arkansas has one of the most progressive Freedom of Information laws in the country. People need only to make requests orally whereupon state officials have to quickly respond and make them public. Governors, in sharp contrast, have wide latitude in deciding which of their own files to make public.

"The files had to be disappeared because there just wasn't a plausible explanation for the governor's stance," the former staffer said. "I mean, what could the governor say? That he believes these women made up their stories? That women lie when they say they are raped?"

Asked on Tuesday whether Huckabee would release his file on Dumond, campaign spokesperon Alice Stewart said, "We're not the governor, we don't have the file." Asked if Huckabee would ask the current governor to release the file, she responded, "No. I don't want to see it. You apparently want to see it."

* * *

Dumond raped Ashley Stevens, Clinton's distant cousin, in 1984 when she was a 17-year-old high school student in Forest City, Arkansas.

He was convicted in 1985 and sentenced to life in prison, plus 20 years. In 1992, Jim Guy Tucker, who became governor of Arkansas after Clinton left office, reduced Dumond's sentence to 39.5 years.

Shortly after taking office in 1996, Huckabee announced his intention to commute Dumond's sentence to time served. A public outcry ensued.

Stevens, her father, and Fletcher Long, the Arkansas state prosecuting attorney who sent Dumond to prison, met with Huckabee to protest.

"'This is how close I was to Wayne Dumond,'" Stevens says she told Huckabee at the time. "'I will never forget his face. And now I don't want you ever to forget my face.'"

Stevens now says: "This isn't and was never about politics. This is about a rapist. This is about a murderer. ... I might never forget Dumond's face, but there are other women [for whom] Dumond's face was the last thing they ever saw on this earth... I would hope that Huckabee would remember the faces of his victims."

Stevens, who had been silent about her rape and not identified in the press for more than a dozen years, finally spoke out publicly in 1996 after feeling frustrated by her meeting with Huckabee. Twenty women members of the state House of Representatives protested the commutation proposal. The editorial pages of some Arkansas newspapers questioned Huckabee's judgment and suggested he reconsider.

What the public never knew, however, was that other women who had been sexually assaulted by Dumond had privately written Huckabee about their anguish. Their very private attempts at changing Huckabee's mind, they later told the Huffington Post, were based on concerns that speaking out publicly would have been too painful and traumatizing.

One such letter was from the daughter of a Dumond rape victim:

When you ran for office, one of the reasons I voted for you was the fact you are/were a Baptist preacher. I come from a very strong Baptist background... [O]ne of my grandfathers is also a preacher. I have always been a faithful church member where I am the choir director, yet this is one event that is not so easily forgiven.
I have prayed about these feelings, but once someone hurts your mother, or daughter the way this man hurt my mother I believe that you would feel the same...

Please understand that this letter is coming from my heart.... I would love to have the chance to talk to you about this matter as a daughter of a surviving rape victim.

The woman provided Huckabee with her personal phone number in hopes that he or at least someone on his staff would call. She says that she never heard back.

What was left unsaid in her letter to Huckabee was that she was three years old when, in the 1970s, Dumond raped her mother. The girl was in her mother's bed asleep when the rape occurred. Dumond held a butcher's knife to her mother's throat during the assault.

In an interview, her mother told the Huffington Post how she fought with Dumond to wrestle the knife away from him, willing to risk her own life rather than suffer at Dumond's hands.

But Dumond overcame her resistance. He pointed to her daughter sleeping next to her and threatened: "If you don't cooperate with me, she'll be next."

The woman did as she was told. As Dumond continued to violently rape her, the woman recalled, she lay consciously and deliberately silent. Even as she was being assaulted, she gently stroked her daughter's hair, praying she would not wake up.

When the assault was over, the woman said, Dumond threatened to come back and rape and kill her daughter if she told anyone.

Twenty-three years after the rape, the girl who had been protected by her mother's silence attempted to persuade Huckabee to keep Dumond behind bars. Fearing that the rapist would attack her mother again, she wrote to the governor:

Governor Huckabee, I really wish you could spend one night in my mother's home. Even though twenty years have past [sic?] she still has trouble sleeping at night. The house is never dark...
Friday afternoon when I heard the dreadful news [that Huckabee intended to commute Dumond], I was the one to tell my mother. She was on her way out of town and I didn't want her to hear this on the radio while she was driving. I wish you could have heard the emptiness in her voice.

In her own letter to Huckabee, the woman who was raped by Dumond in the 1970s wrote that she felt deep guilt over what happened later to Ashley Stevens:

I feel responsible for Ashley's years of suffering at Dumond's hands because I was so naïve as to believe that since Dumond was arrested for raping me that he had learned his lesson and would not do it again. I was raised to take a person at their word, so I believed him when he said he was sorry.

The woman said in an interview that she wrote Huckabee out of concern for him. If she felt so much guilt about what happened to Ashley Stevens, she wondered, what private Hell would Huckabee go through if he commuted Dumond's sentence, and Dumond harmed or even killed someone else?

If Huckabee had any doubt that the woman and her daughter were telling the truth, included in the materials provided to him was a police report in which Dumond confessed to authorities that he had raped the woman.

According to the report, "Wayne stated that he went upstairs to the bedroom, and that the woman was asleep when he went into the room. Wayne stated the woman woke up, and he held a knife on her while he committed the rape, and that the woman's baby was in the bed with her."

When police detectives pressed Dumond to admit his involvement in other rapes, however, he "stated that he desired not to answer any further questions" and also "refused to read, sign, or initial the statement that he had made in the presence" of police officers.

Also in the file sent to Huckabee was a letter from yet another woman who said that Dumond attempted to rape her, with some striking similarities to other accounts of Dumond's assaults.

This woman wrote that she awoke in her bed to find Dumond above her: "Standing there, yielding a butcher knife above his head was the shadow of a man..."

Startled, she asked who was there. Dumond threatened her by saying he would cut her throat. But, as the woman wrote, once Dumond's "eyes got accustomed to the darkness, he saw the figure of someone laying next to me." When Dumond saw her boyfriend, he became frightened and skittish.

"At this," the woman wrote, "Wayne realized we were not alone, jumped up from the bed, and leaped down the stairs in three bounds and I heard him go out the front door...and ran across the street into the darkness."

The woman explained in her letter why Dumond was not arrested: "I was talked out of filing charges by the city police because they said rape cases are hard to prove, that I might be able to charge him with breaking and entering, assault and battery, etc., but that the evidence was slight. I took their advice."

There was additional and compelling evidence available to then-Governor Huckabee that releasing Dumond would pose a threat to society.

Dumond had been previously arrested for violent acts and an attempted sexual assault of an underage girl.

In 1972, Dumond had been arrested for his involvement in the beating death of man in Lawton, Oklahoma. Court records showed that the man who was murdered had been dating an ex-wife of a Dumond friend named Bill Cherry. Enlisting the aid of Cherry's underage daughter to lure the man to a public park, Cherry, Dumond, and a third man bludgeoned the individual to death with a claw hammer.

Dumond was granted immunity from prosecution in the case in exchange for his testimony against the other two men. On the witness stand, Dumond admitted to beating the man repeatedly over the head with a claw hammer, but denied that he struck the fatal blows.

Dumond said that when Cherry asked him to finish off the victim, he refused, only to have one of the others do the deed. Dumond's accomplices, however, claimed that it was he who was responsible for the killing.

The following year, in 1973, Dumond was arrested again, this time for attempting to assault a teenage girl in a parking lot in Tacoma, Washington. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to five-years probation.

In an effort to preempt scrutiny of the Dumond case, Huckabee has said that if the issue were to be raised during the '08 race, it would be because his rivals for the nomination feel threatened by his campaign. "Suddenly I seem to be in the cross hairs of every predator who is out there," Huckabee told reporters recently. "To me that seems to be a good sign of life."

When he was governor of Arkansas, Huckabee similarly attempted to deflect Dumond-related criticism by claiming that those raising the issue -- among them, members of the state's parole board, women state legislators, journalists, and even one of Dumond's victims -- were doing so for partisan political purposes.

"If he makes it about politics, he doesn't answer the hard questions about why he did what he did," says Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' sixth judicial district. Jegley is a Democrat who campaigned against Huckabee when he ran for re-election because of Huckabee's actions on the Dumond case, as well as his commutation of the sentences of other convicts who went on to commit additional crimes.

Although Huckabee has yet to give a detailed account as to why he pushed to free Dumond, he provided his fullest explanation to date in his published campaign manifesto "From Hope to Higher Ground." In the book, he wrote that he was moved to act on Dumond's behalf because he believed Dumond might have been wrongly convicted. Ashley Stevens and Fletcher Long confirmed in interviews for this story that when they met with then-Gov. Huckabee, he insisted to them that Dumond might be innocent.

Huckabee also wrote in "From Hope to Higher Ground" that he moved to act on Dumond's behalf out of compassion. He said on numerous other occasions that he felt sympathy for Dumond because Dumond was allegedly castrated while awaiting trial for raping Ashley Stevens. Dumond had claimed that unknown assailants wearing masks broke into his home, hogtied him, and then surgically removed his testicles.

Evidence has since come to light indicating that Dumond might not have been attacked but engaged in an act of self-mutilation. A physician who treated Dumond after his alleged attack told police, according to state police records, that Dumond's own wife asked him "if it was possible for Dumond to have inflicted the wound himself." The Forest City Times Herald, which published a series of articles about the Dumond controversy in 1996, quoted experts on sexual predators as saying it was not uncommon for them to engage in acts of self-mutilation to garner sympathy or because they feel guilt for what they have done.

Huckabee also wrote in his campaign book that his intervention on Dumond's behalf reflected his broad philosophy that the criminal justice system is too harsh, and that his religious faith requires him to take chances to act with compassion towards the accused.

Regarding the Dumond case, a Huckabee adviser says: "It might have been wrongheaded for him to do what he did. But his heart might have been in the right place even though the outcome was horrific. What he did was for reasons of faith and compassion."

But the daughter of one of Dumond's rape victims -- herself devoutly religious -- wrote Huckabee wondering whether his faith was leading him down the wrong path:

You were called to deliver the work of the Lord as you interpret the Bible. [But] the actions you are taking you are taking in regard to Dumond's release makes me believe that you are trying to act as the Lord. There were twelve people on the jury that convicted him of this crime. There have been numerous people on the jury that convicted him of this crime.

Huckabee has also tried to deflect criticism over his role in freeing Dumond by saying that his two immediate predecessors, Jim Guy Tucker and Bill Clinton, were responsible for Dumond's release.

Huckabee wrote in "From Hope to Higher Ground": "In 1992, while Governor Bill Clinton was out of state campaigning for president, Acting Governor Jim Guy Tucker, the lieutenant governor, commuted Dumond's sentence, making him eligible for parole... While there was speculation at the time that Governor Clinton was unaware that the commutation was going to take place, I know from my understanding of the inner workings of the process in the governor's office how impossible that would be."

Tucker, however, only reduced Dumond's initial sentence of life in prison plus 20 years to a total of 39.5 years -- which meant that Dumond was still unlikely to get out of prison until he was an elderly man, if at all.

Moreover, Tucker told the Huffington Post in an interview that, in stark contrast to Huckabee's advocacy on Dumond's behalf, he had told his parole board that he did not believe Dumond should be paroled. Tucker also said that, contrary to Huckabee's claim, Clinton had entirely recused himself from the matter because Ashley Stevens was a distant relative.

Huckabee and his aides have always denied that he secretly pressured the Arkansas parole board to free Dumond in an effort to hide his involvement and avoid political fallout.

But, in a 2002 story I wrote for the Arkansas Times about Huckabee's role in freeing Dumond, four board members -- three of who spoke on the record -- said that Huckabee lobbied and pressured board members on the matter. This included a 1996 executive meeting at which the board's recording secretary -- who ordinarily tapes the entire sessions -- was asked to leave the room. Several board members and members of the state legislature have said the secret session violated state law.

Huckabee, in turn, has said that all four parole board members have lied about his role in Dumond's release from prison.

So while Huckabee continues to rise in the polls, Dumond's victims are left with questions as to why the former Arkansas Governor did what he did.

The woman who was raped by Dumond while her 3-year-old daughter lay beside her tells the Huffington Post that one day she worked up the nerve to call Ashley Stevens to tell her how sorry she was. The two began to discuss their shared trauma.

"It was when I first began talking to Ashley that I began to heal," the woman said.

When Huckabee pushed through Dumond's parole, she says, "It was like he believed we were lying and Dumond was telling the truth. I wish he would now say in front of the entire world whether we told the truth or lied. And if he believes we told the truth, explain why he did what he did."

In 2001, the woman ran into Huckabee in her hometown. She wanted to know if he had any regrets in light of the Missouri murders.

"He was down here on a fishing trip," she recalled, "He was in one of the convenience stores and I went in to get me a Coke. And I went up and spoke to him.

"And all he said was, `How are you doing?' That was it."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

PENTAGON FORCING WOUNDED SOLDIERS TO REPAY BONUSES

I found this on http://warcomeshome.org thanks to our sweet Kelly W.

Who isn't outraged by this?


Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) revealed the Pentagon is telling wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan repay bonuses as big as $10,000 for not finishing their service commitment.

"They're shocked and there's a sense of betrayal," Schumer said at a news conference Sunday in Manhattan. "Everyone knows the Army is a huge agency and sometimes the left arm doesn't know what the right hand is doing but ... this one tops the cake in terms of its unbelievability."


The issue surfaced earlier this month when a soldier who was partially blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq told media outlets that the Army asked him to repay $2,800 of his $7,500 enlistment bonus because he had only completed about a year of his three-year service.

Former Pfc. Jordan Fox, 21, of Pittsburgh, received the bill in late October and a week later received a notice that he could be charged interest if he didn't make a payment within 30 days.

The Army says Fox's case is an "isolated incident" and a simple clerical error. But at his press conference Senator Schumer said many New York veterans have called his office and reported similar problems.

Wounded veterans whose bonuses have been revoked can call the Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline at 800-984-8523.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

OVER DA RIVER AND THROUGH DA WOODS



This is what happens in my house ... often.

Fettit is a comic. He (and my brother Kevin) is one of the most deranged and funny people I know. I love that he can make me laugh after 25 years.

No one else may get it... but if you only knew this crazy guy I live with......

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

SUNDAY BOWLING WITH NOELLE

This past Sunday we joined Noelle and her parents at the bowling alley. A brief video follows. Enjoy my little dance at the end. I have a long way to go before I become a Spielberg, Coppola, or even Fred Astaire!



STOP BUSH'S WAR MANIFESTO

President Bush was on television again today – pursuing his agenda to invade Iran and fulfill his World War III manifesto. He may have changed his verbiage some, but his stance is still the same.

In the past he has said, "If you want to avoid World War III..." and now he has changed it to "if you want to avoid a really problematic situation you need to stop Iran."

It is obvious that his use of the term "World War III" did not spin well with the US public, or the world, and his advisors must have told him to back off using the term, but the substance is the same and doesn't change his stance. He is itching to send our young people to die so he can get his hands on their oil.

He claims Iran is enriching uranium to build a nuclear bomb, but according to international law, Iran is entitled to pursue peaceful nuclear capabilities. To continue his raping rampage of the middle east, President Bush insists the country has, is, or will be attempting to develop them for non-peaceful purposes and must be stopped.

Why don’t we deal with those that have committed a crime against our country (including King George)instead of pursuing those that he thinks may harm us? Keep an eye on them, for sure, but someone needs to tell the profiteering pretender to stay the hell out of Iran and find Osama Bin Laden so our country has some closure.

The Iranians, just like the 22 million people in Iraq, must view the United States and Great Britain to a lesser degree, the same as we view Al Qaeda. They must fear the United States and see us as “terrorist.” The difference is that we were attacked by a radical Islamic group who did not invade and continue to occupy us. They did not strip us of our natural resources and divide them as they saw fit.

Iran has every right to be concerned that they will befall the same fate as Iraq.

Instead of spending $1 trillion dollars on a war that enriches his friends and creates a military industry, and continuing that in Iran, why isn’t our President pumping more money into bringing the mastermind of the apocryphal tragedy on September 11th to justice. There must not be enough money in it for him and his friends.

It is important that each of us write our senators and congressmen to tell them not to allow the Pretender in Chief to spill the blood of more young people, be they Christian, Jew, or Muslim.

To write your congressman/woman click this link: http://www.house.gov/writerep

Sunday, December 2, 2007

SWEET-TART

We were invited over to the "Wiley-Conforti's" yesterday for an afternoon bbq - Josh's mom and aunt are in town - and while there Steven decided to show the world the new drink he concocted - The Sweettart!

I love Fettit's reaction at the very end....

ENJOY!!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

WORLD AIDS DAY




I HAVE A VERY LONG MEMORY.... AND I REMEMBER IT ALL

I LOVE YOU STEVE!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

JUST SAY NO TO SKULL FUCKING


THIS CLIP CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE AND IS NOT INTENDED FOR VIEWING BY MINORS... OR MINERS

My friend Palestar brought this to my attention and I refuse to believe it is serious.

It is HILARIOUS!!

If it is real, and not a hoax, it is no wonder we are still in Iraq, our children are without heathcare and our infrastructure is crumbling.

I comes from www.theonion.com and there are many other oddities to be found there.

VIRTUAL WORLD IGNITES REAL WORLD DISTANT MEMORIES

When creating my website, I secretly hoped I was building a bridge from the past to the future and it would help me reconnect with far-away, but not forgotten friends. I purposely included captioned photographs hoping someone would find me while searching Google or Yahoo, or somehow word would filter back, rekindling old memories and spark renewed contact.

For the past few days memories of a long-ago life-changing secret love have been orbiting my cyber presence and swirling around in my consciousness. Recently my virtual front door has been knocked on frequently, welcoming unnamed visitors who unintentionally search his name from my past and inflame warm thoughts of distant memories.

My former love remains young, beautiful and perfect as ours was an instance of two youthful innocents wrestling against untested boundaries and fears. We were never forced to confront conformity or bend to acceptance because we never crossed the line or challenged its limits.

Ultimately for me it was a time of cowardly indecision and confusion, and the echoes, both joyful and filled with pain, constantly ring in my head.

My memory of him has never tarnished with the stale breath of reality. I look back at him now and can still see our beauty wrapped in the simplicity of the age, and the endless avenues of a yet lived life.

I have yet to receive that “voice from the past” email looking to re-ignite a long dormant distant passion, and unconsciously I am not certain I truly welcome it or how I would react. Perhaps it is best to keep past memories of unfulfilled love buried deep within and only unearth them in the privacy of our solitude.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

BARBRA STREISAND ENDORSES HILLARY CLINTON


POSTED TODAY AT WWW.BARBRASTREISAND.COM
Today I endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Below is the announcement the Clinton campaign released to the media with my endorsement statement. Barbra

Streisand Endorses Hillary Clinton

Legendary filmmaker, artist, and Democratic activist, Barbra Streisand, today endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Streisand cited Clinton's ability to bring about change and the historic nature of her campaign as reasons why she is supporting Hillary's candidacy.

"Madame President of the United States...it's an extraordinary thought. We truly are in a momentous time, where a woman's potential has no limitations," said Streisand. "Hillary Clinton has already proven to a generation of women that there are no limits for success. She is driven by her passion for public service and her belief in the enormous potential of our country. Smart, capable and strong in her convictions, Hillary has transcended the dictates of what is thought to be possible for our time.

"Hillary is a powerful voice for change as we find our country at an important crossroads. Under her leadership, our country will regain its respect within the global community. She will prioritize issues of global climate change, universal healthcare and rebuilding a strong economy. After 8 long years, the public will once again have faith in their government.

"Another former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, 'In government, in business, and in the professions there may be a day when women will be looked upon as persons. We are, however, far from that day as yet.' More than 50 years later 'that day' is now upon us...and Hillary Clinton is ready to shatter through that glass ceiling for all women."

Streisand has been working on behalf of Democratic candidates for over forty years, performing at fundraisers and participating in campaign events. In addition, the Streisand Foundation has raised millions for causes including the environment, women's equality as well as human and civil rights and liberties.

"I'm honored to have Barbra's support," said Clinton. "Barbra has used her immense talent to be an advocate for truth, justice, and fairness and I deeply appreciate her confidence in my candidacy as we work together to change the direction of our nation."

Barbra Streisand is a singer, theatre and film actress, composer, film producer and director. She has won Oscars for Best Actress and Best Original Song as well as multiple Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards. She is considered one of the most commercially and critically successful female entertainers in modern history.


Monday, November 26, 2007

SUNDAY BRUNCH - MY STYLE



Fettit woke up in a good mood yesterday. Well known for being a hermit and creature of habit, he rarely likes to go anywhere, so when he asked if I was interested in taking a road-trip to Tucson, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to get out of town.

The differences between Phoenix and Tucson are vast. The 115 miles between the two cities allow each of them their own distinctive personality.

In Phoenix, in an attempt to appear more tropical than we really are, we have green lawns and imported trees and flowers, where as Tucson celebrates the uniqueness of the desert.

The mountains that circle Tucson are breathtaking, especially the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, and the desert around Tucson is much more diverse, lush and greener than ours in Phoenix.

I always welcome an opportunity to get out of Phoenix. Although I love living here I enjoy traveling, even if it is only a road trip, and Tucson holds many precious memories of my grandparents, and my life when I went to college.

Fettit said it would be fun to take a drive and then go to one of the many authentic Mexican restaurants I had told him about - My mind instantly flashed to the Crossroads, a place I went nearly every Thursday with my friend Adela. He reminded me that due to an unfortunate circumstance, our current boarder, Rich, hadn’t seen much of Arizona so he also saw it as an opportunity to show Rich some of the state.

The plan was vague, but we decided that after he returned from pumping his organ at church we would take a leisurely drive.

My imagination, and my fingers on the keyboard, went to work immediately as I started to plan our trip. I can’t stop myself sometimes. I had to find a different way of going to Tucson because driving the freeway is a bore and life was meant to be experienced on the back roads. I saw this as an opportunity to see some off-the-beaten-path locales.

In my head I saw a margarita tour. I envisioned us driving 45 minutes or so and stopping in a random little dirt town at a quaint little Mexican restaurant, the kind with authentic, homemade food and drinks where the help barely speaks English. We would load back in the car and drive another 30 or 40 minutes, find another margarita and tortilla chips and repeat.

On my computer I pulled up Mapquest and quickly found the route I wanted. The direct route being 115 miles I thought that an extra 65 or so miles wouldn’t be that big of a deal since we would be having fun along the way and seeing new places.

The route set, Rich and I showered and patiently awaited Fettit’s return from church. He was late and Rich and I were impatient. We were ready to start our adventure.

While getting into the car I told them of my margarita tour plans. Fettit’s was in a good mood and said he was up for anything, as was Rich.

We drove the interstate 50 miles or so south to Casa Grande and I turned west towards San Diego. From looking at the map I knew Chuichu Road was within a few miles from our last turn-off so I started looking for it – and don’t see it. I continued to drive and past several exits and still didn’t see it. I asked Fettit and Rich to start combing the car for an Arizona road map but they don’t have any luck. I have fifteen maps in the car and not one is for the state of Arizona.

There are few exits and the ones there are have not businesses or people. They are just endless roads leading to no where.

At this point I was waiting for short-fused Fettit to burst and start yelling at me – it’s what we do – but he didn’t say a word.

After close to 20 miles I give up and turn around. As I re-approach Casa Grande I look up at an exit-less overpass and I see Chuichu Road. We have now driven 40 miles out of our way and I still have to find a way back this road.

I took the next exit and worked my way over the Chuichu Road, leading us to Indian Highway 15. As I turned south I recalled the names of the towns on this part of the trip - Santa Rosa, Ak Chin, and Sells. All three places fit my fantasy perfectly, and as my stomach growled and my mouth watered, I pictured pulling into each dusty little town and finding the quaint local restaurants filled with friendly, sun-baked locals. I could practically smell the fried chips and fresh-made salsa and taste the tartness of the margarita.

We Had been driving for about an hour and a half and we were all starting to get hungry. Nearly an hour earlier I mentioned starting the margarita tour in Casa Grande but Fettit said he was afraid if we started there he would get tired too early so we continued.

The first town we came to was Santa Rose. My senses were on high alert as we neared and I mentioned to Fettit that I was certain there would be a cute little Mexican café like I envisioned, but boy was I wrong. Santa Rosa was a tiny speck of a town, just off the highway but there was no restaurant, gas station or convenience store. We didn’t even see a resident. There was only a school.

By now Rich was sleeping in the back seat and I looked over at Fettit, waiting for him to hemorrhage from frustration, and he just smiled at me.

The next town was Ak Chin and my hopes were not high that we would find food there because I remembered from the map that the two towns were the same size.

Hell, Ak Chin didn’t even have a school.

Over 30 years previous I had passed through Sells on my way San Diego. I remembered it as a dusty and sleepy desert town and in my mind I saw the businesses and people. I told Fettit with certainty that in 40 miles we would be relaxing with margaritas and tacos. With no hint of dissatisfaction on his face, he nodded.

As we approached Sells, the three of us started to laugh about our little trip and how it really hadn’t turned out as planned. We had been on the road for what seemed like an eternity and each of us was ravenous, but I assured them that Sells was the answer to all of our thirst and hunger needs.

The speed limit changed from 65 to 55 and 55 to 45 then 45 to 35 as we entered Sells. In my head I qualified that since we had to reduce speed then we had definitely found our oasis. One of the first buildings we found had a sign that read “Career Center.” Bingo - a career center meant people and businesses and both of those meant Mexican restaurant to me and then to my left there was a Basha’s grocery store, we have them in Phoenix, so our margaritas were just around the corner.

The road curved and we saw buildings ahead and I felt my vindication at hand, but I was wrong. Sadly, the buildings were mostly in disrepair, and each was surrounded with six foot chain linked fences. I couldn’t figure out if they were meant to keep outsiders at bay or the inhabitants captive.

I continued driving and on the right hand side of the road is saw a sign that read “Business District – Turn Right” so I followed the instructions and still didn’t see a restaurant. I didn’t see a gas station. I didn’t see a post office. I didn’t see people. All I saw was poverty and fenced-in non-descript beige buildings that all looked like they were about to implode.

Fettit’s humor continued to remain intact. I was amazed. He was starting to rattle off jokes and much to my surprise they weren’t aimed at me.

Three hours into our journey and we remained margarita less and our empty stomachs were shouting to be filled. For an instant I saw a buzzard circling over my malnourished body, waiting to attack, but then I realized it was a border patrol helicopter hovering over what I suspected to be a group of Mexican nationals trying to make it north. Every tenth car I passed on the highway was a border patrol vehicle en route to the site of the helicopter suspended over its prey.

An additional forty-five minutes passed and our arrival into Tucson was imminent. I remembered that I had packed my cameras for the trip and had planned to visit Saguaro National Monument, just west of Tucson to capture its beauty, but I soon realized because of my missteps hunger and thirst took priority.

I drove us to South Tucson, a tiny municipality surrounded by the city of Tucson - the heart of authentic margaritas and Mexican food. Looking for the Crossroads, we stumbled upon a local legend, Minidito. Secretly fearing the long lines, and Fettit’s wrath, I apprehensively agreed to make this our destination. I had kept them hungrily locked in the car long enough.

Once inside the host told us the wait would be 25 minutes at which point I was certain Fettit would blow his cork, but he was fine. While we waited we had a margarita that did not disappoint. After a nearly 15 year absence from Tucson’s Mexican restaurants I had forgotten the taste of a traditional margarita.

But we were hungry and the room full of people didn’t seem to be moving toward the dining room so I suggested we try to find the Crossroads. Much to my amazement Fettit’s good mood continued to remain intact and after paying for the drinks we were back in the car.

Any typical Sunday Fettit and I go out for margaritas. Our favorite place is 15 minute away in Scottsdale, but Fettit often complains about the drive so we usually end up someplace closer; therefore, I was dumbfounded that after four hours in the car, for a trip that should have taken one and a half, he wasn’t screaming at me.

As we turned the corner I saw the Crossroads restaurant and could see it wasn’t busy. At first I feared they had gone out of the business and this would be the end of Fettit’s pleasant demeanor, but the restaurant was open and we got a parking spot right in front.

When I embarked on our journey, I was seeking a traditional Mexican restaurant, staffed with waitresses with limited English speaking and comprehension skills, serving a homemade, full-bodied, somewhat sweet and deliciously tart margarita, and food that was authentic and el fresco. Four hours later I had arrived where I should have planned to go all along.

While we were still in the restaurant Fettit told me he wanted to go to a casino and play some video poker. Ah Ha - The reason for his good mood. As I suspected, he had an agenda all along, but I didn’t care. His humor never left him all day. After our delicious margaritas, amazing chips and salsa, hand made tacos and chimichangas we drove through Tucson towards home. With each turn that took us deeper into the city, he never complained. I wanted to see a little of the place that had once been my home, and although he was most assuredly ready to go gambling, he allowed me to meander the city streets before entering the crowed freeway to make out way north.

We decided we would stop at one of the casinos on our way into Phoenix and just as the freeway traffic started to slow with our approach, Fettit instructed me to get off the freeway and where to turn.

I lost $40, Rich won $200, and I do not want to think how much Fettit lost.

Later, when I told Fettit that I had been waiting all day for him to blow up at me he laughed and said that he hadn’t minded at all. He enjoyed seeing the different landscape and experiencing new places, even if it was from within the confines of the car.

I’m hoping he’ll be game for a road trip again soon. I found the “Salsa Trail,” about 200 miles southeast of Phoenix which is four towns, all within a few miles of each other, with twenty-something award winning Mexican restaurants, tortilla factories, and salsa shops – each known for their margaritas, chips and salsa and Mexican food.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

WHAT I'M THANKFUL FOR



She lies here next to me snoring (she has a bit of a cold still)!

I'm thankful for my parents for giving me life
I'm thankful for my grandparents for opening up the world to me
I'm thankful for my Fettit for giving me a home
I'm thankful for my daughters for loving me
I'm thankful for my brother who loves me and makes me laugh
I'm thankful for my friends who share my life and my dreams
I'm thankful for Noelle for giving me joy and a purpose

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ZEALOTRY IN THE HEARTLAND

For close to a month I have grappled with the idea of writing about the Westboro Baptist Church and its founder, the self-proclaimed prophet, Reverend Fred Phelps. Strangely enough, for the past few days I have been receiving signs – everywhere I look there is a photograph or news story, then yesterday I saw a photo (below) on Rosie O’Donnell’s website of Dawn Budge (Rosie’s Nip/Tuck character) and I knew it was time to finally buckle down and write.



The Phelps family and the Westboro congregation are the para-religious group from Topeka, Kansas that spews their home-spun venom against the federal government’s “fag lust.” Their message, although distasteful to many, isn’t the shocking part, it’s where they conduct their hate-filled protestations - outside the funerals of fallen American soldiers and those that have succumbed to AIDS - waving their God Hates Fags, Sodomites, Thank God for Dead Soldiers, and God Hates America placards.

Fred Phelps has a pathological hatred of homosexuals and has indoctrinated and recruited his entire family into his crusade. His minions even picket other churches and temples, and protested Jerry Falwell's funeral because "he (Jerry) was too lenient on "fags." Reverend Phelps has also forewarned Evangelical preacher Billy Graham that come the time, the Westboro Baptist congregation will be demonstrating outside his funeral.

Westboro Baptist Church has a congregation of somewhere between 75-100 believers, primarily made up of family members, many whom are lawyers who work for the very government they claim to hate. They live in a Waco-like compound and freely disgorge their hatred and disdain for American soldiers, gays, Jews, Catholics and politicians, as well as all others who don’t believe as they do.

Last year the hate-group protested outside a young soldier’s funeral and it so enraged his father that he filed a suit against the Phelps and his clan. Claiming defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, agreed and award the father $10.9 million in damages.

Phelps laughed at the decision, claiming it will be overturned on appeal.

Several states have changed demonstration laws in an effort to keep the Phelps clan at bay. In some states they are now required to stay at least 300 feet from funeral services. Other states are trying to pass legislation requiring them to be no closer than 500 feet.

It was while watching the BBC documentary on the Phelps family that I started to think about the clan’s children - and there are many.

Phelps’s daughter Shirley, the new power behind the protests, asked her young nephew Noah if he knows what fag troops are and the five year old replies, “ yeah, its this nation of these fags, it’s a nation of fags, that’s what Fag troops means.” She then asks, if you are not a practicing fag what are you, or if you support fags, what does that make you, to which he replied, “You’re a dyke!”

The original generation was not raised with the venom and hatred that the grandchildren believe is their heritage. Hate and poison spew from the youngest members who have no clue what it is they are saying and they are spoon fed abhorrence for this country and each of its citizens.

In my eyes, it is a form of child abuse at its very core. It is corrupt and damaging the minds of it's youngest members. They are being raised without compassion, empathy and love for mankind. In its stead they are force fed a despicable hatred for their neighbors.

As I watched the hour-long BBC documentary I was struck by the young women who have been brainwashed by their hard-hearted parents and grandparents to believe that their only place on this earth is to serve God, and due to the path their elders have chosen, they are shunned by society.

I listened with sadness as a granddaughter spoke with resignation about how they do not have friends, are ridiculed at school and will never have opportunities for dating or marriage.

Jael Phelps, one of Fred’s granddaughters, stands along the party line and almost everything that comes out of her mouth is textbook zealot craziness, and yet, the interviewer, Louis Theroux, saw a glimmer of hope in her and I think he was correct.

She claimed to have no desire for dating and marriage but her eyes and body language betrayed her words. For a second there wasn’t the conviction in her voice and several times in the conversation she giggled like a school girl. If she wasn’t typically a religion spewing robot, it would be easy to mistake her for any other young lady of her generation – attractive and intelligent with an eye of the boys.

With that said, she is the same Jael Phelps who ran against Topeka’s first and only openly gay councilwoman, and who told the New York Times, “The prescribed punishment for homosexuality in the Bible is death. They are worthy of death, and those people who condone that action are just as guilty."

Fortunately she finished last in the race.

Is it any wonder they spew hate-speech when they have been raised in a society that shuns them. They have always known conflict and the outside world has always received them with animosity. They have never known normalcy or had a typical life with school dances and sleep-overs, and they will never know true love and the gift of sex and the miracle of childbirth.

Their parents have sentenced them to a life of loneliness, darkness, hatred and exclusion. They will forever be shut off from society, be outcasts, always feeling different and misunderstood, yet I do not buy for one moment they don’t secretly wonder what it would be like to live in a “normal” family.

Phelps claims to be a “five point Calvinist” who believes in “Unconditional Election” which means that God has selected, or predetermined, certain people for salvation prior to birth. If this is so, why does he protest? According to this way of thinking, eternity is predestined - our actions on earth do not play into what I call “heavenly selection.”

I have heard him say he preaches as he does to save souls for God; however, I have heard him say he doesn’t care about people’s salvation. If that is the case what does he stand for and why does he protest? Secure that he is going to heaven, why does he put on his spectacle and force his congregation, also known as family members, to verbally abuse mourners; thereby placing them in harms way and subjecting them to physical danger and retribution?

The group’s every action is grandiose and protective. They know if they attack first they are less likely to feel inadequate. They rarely stop to listen to others; therefore, truth and reality cannot penetrate them – allowing self-doubt to seep into their souls.

Shouting and name calling are the norm and they inherit it from their rage-aholic patriarch, “Gramps,” who affirms himself not by being correct, or even caring to be correct, but by being a loud, shrill, and most obnoxious huckster. Anyone who challenges him or doesn’t agree with his brand of rhetoric is labeled a "fag", "bull dyke", "whore" and/or "bastard” - regardless of their sexual orientation.

It is about the attention grabbing, fame, and self-gratification.

Fred Phelps knows that by being loud, rude, and in your face he gets television coverage. Other than his inordinate distaste for homosexuality, he does not care what he message is – the message is fluid and changes – what he cares about is publicity. Remember, he believes eternal life is preordained.

According to one article I read, he believes Topeka, Kansas is "the most evil spot on the face of the earth, where Satan's seat is - whose zip codes bear the Mark of the Beast; where bloody, state-sponsored religious persecution on a scale not seen since the days of the Spanish Inquisition rages against humble Baptist preachers - whose moniker (nickname) is The Golden City as in ancient Babylon, city of whores and harlots and whose mascot, The Ichabod, means 'the glory of God has departed.'"

Phelps believes that the United States is “a sodomite nation of flag-worshiping idolators.” Why not leave? If you hate a place so much, why stay?

The Westboro Baptist Church was started by Fred Phelps and he maintains his grip on it and every member; however, rumors swirl around that he is not in the best of health. He may be meeting his maker sooner than later and it makes me question the future of the sect. Will it survive his passing or could the judgment against them for $11 million dollars undo them? Will the youngest generation continue to blindly follow the espoused cause or will they slowly start to migrate away from the church and its beliefs?

I would like to find a way to shut the cult down once and for all, but unlike other cults, this one has very few family members who live outside its confines. There aren’t grieving parents looking to extricate their children from the clutches of a charismatic rage-aholoic leader. They all live within.

Being well versed in the law, as most of them are lawyers, is their strength. They understand their legal rights better then the average American. Legally they may be within their rights but as citizens of the world, they do not know their moral obligation to society.

None of them, particularly the younger generation, understand proper social interactions or norms and it is not their fault. They do not understand what it means to contribute anything but hatred.

How do we get through to their youngest members to let them know what they are preaching is empty and hateful?

How do we censor the Westboro Baptist fanatics without jeopardizing our own rights? Where are the limits to free speech?

I guess none of us know for sure, but stay tuned for their next publicity motivated, God centered protestation – and watch the below clip to learn more about them.



COCK SOUP



Yesterday my friend Steven (you know the one who accuses the RBloggers of being a secret cult) left a comment on my last entry about bringing me cock soup to help with my cold.

At first I actually hesitated approving the post because I didn't have a clue what the hell he was talking about and I didn't want to offend anyone, but in the end I decided to post it anyway. I "try" to make this a "NO EDIT" Zone - there is only one person I always feel compelled to edit, but don't, and it isn't Steven.

Anyway... this morning at 9 am the doorbell rang and when Fettit opened the door there was Steven with cock soup in hand. I'm having it for breakfast

Who knew he wasn't just being suggestive and off-color?

Monday, November 19, 2007

MINI UPDATE

I still haven’t completely shaken this damn cold. It’s been hanging on now for five days now, slowly migrating from my head to my lungs. It still isn’t there completely but it is trying.

Yesterday I was going to make a vlog but because of cold decided against it. I’m sure I will make one this week sometime, but I noticed I hasn’t written anything in a while so I need to find the motivation to do that.

I have had an idea for some time and have picked up tidbits of information here and there and even in some unexpected places so I know I need to write on this particular subject.

I also need to start looking for a job.

I spent a considerable amount of time yesterday pouring over Careerbuilder, Monster and Jobing.com. I found several positions but noticed that the majority of the ones I am interested in are held by Accountemps or Robert Half and after my last conversation with JR at Accountemps, I just don’t think he is going to be putting me up for any positions. I thought I would call or write his manager and have a conversation. I can’t believe they would just throw away a strong candidate.

Ironically today I received an email from Accountemps “regarding the quality of our service.”

I’m off to send out some resumes and to start my new blog article.

Oh... and I wanted to send a heartfelt to a special angel....you know who you are... and NO Kevin... it isn't YOU!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

ONE LAST PEYTON MANNING CLIP



Bobby watched the below Peyton Manning clip and sent me the link for this one. I remember seeing it on Saturday Night Live when it first aired and I thought it was pretty fun.

And since its Sunday I thought I would post this as well. This is the closest I will get today to anything about football as I'm a Saturday (college) watcher, not a Sunday (Pro) watcher.

Several years ago I ran into Peyton Manning at the airport in St Louis. He was just out of college and I remember thinking that he was much better looking in person but also that he was BIG - I'm 6'2" and this guy just towered over me when he walked past.

Enjoy the clip and then......... NO MORE PEYTON MANNING!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

PRICELESS PEP TALK



I was watching the disappointing Michigan v Ohio State football game today and I saw this commercial. I laughed outloud all alone. I was surprised I easily found the clip.

A SHOUT OUT FROM STEVEN - TO MY R CULT



Tonight was game night at the Bishba-Willi house. Even though I had a cold I had a stupid good time... and then my friend Steven decided to leave a message for my RBloggers 4 Peace buddies.

Isn't he a doll?

Take a look at the size of those hands..... as big as ham steaks and so very expressive. WE SO LOVE HIM!

He is truly one of my favorite people.... and the funny thing is that he does know a little about the Rgroup... and he has heard about the t-shirts...... but knows next to nothing about any of it other than that people keep sending me checks. It makes them all wonder....

PEACE OUT MY FELLOW CULT MEMBERS!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

THE $2 TRILLION DOLLAR WAR


I found an article “The $2 Trillion Dollar War” published almost a year ago (12/15/6) on Rollingstone.com, written by Charles M. Young, and I had to include a few lines concerning the war in Iran… whoops… I mean Iraq….

It reminded me of something I forgot….”When America invaded Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would turn a profit, paying for itself with increased oil revenues.”

Mr. Young has a conversation with Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics who estimates the true cost of the war at $2.267 trillion. He explains how the money could have been spent…

“…One quarter of the war budget would have fixed Social Security for the next seventy-five years. George Bush says that Social Security is a major economic problem. IF you believe him – although there are many reasons not to believe him – the war is four times worse as an economic problem. With $2 trillion, we could have funded the entire world’s commitment to foreign aid to poor countries for the next twenty years.”

Just think of all the ways we could be spending that money, money we don’t have by the way.

- We could easily shore up the levy system around New Orleans
- We could pay the college tuition for all American children to attend a 4 year state university
- We could cover healthcare for every American
- We could be investing in alternative fuels so we aren’t dependent on middle east oil

The list is endless………

WHY IS HILlARY A BITCH



Why is Hillary called a bitch? Is it because she is an intelligent, strong woman with opinions? What exactly has she ever done to be called a bitch? I just don't understand why the right dispises her so - especially other woman.

They spent 8 years trying to dig up dirt on both Bill and Hil and all they ever got was a cum stained dress.

IT WASN'T HILlARY'S DRESS!

I think John McCain should have called the woman out for referring to her as such and asked her to re-ask her question in an appropriate manner.

Of course I'm the first to call King George and idiot, but that is evident every time he opens his mouth.

Can anyone give me one example of Hillary being a bitch? Show me a clip. Don't tell me that your second cousin twice removed heard from a friend that she did them wrong. I want real examples of her being a bitch.

If you do not agree with her stand on the issues, that's fine. If you dislike her for standing by her man after he humiliated her in front the the world, that's fine too - but don't call her a bitch.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

THANK YOU JOSH AND STEVEN







Tonight Josh and Steven wouldn't let me say no. They invited Fettit and me to go out tonight. Fettit declined and I tried to say no but they encouraged or insisted that I go with them.

Tonight was the 23rd Anniversary of Charlie's - the Phoenix institution. When I first moved here I found the place curious. Charlie's is a gay country and western establishment where men two step together, as do the women, but after all these years it remains a favorite. I spent many hours in this bar with so many wonderful people, including my friend Steven Budd who left me far too early. The above picture of me and Steve was taken at Charlies in 1990 (the other photo is Steven, Josh and my alter ego at our Halloween Party a 2 1/2 weeks ago.)

So it was special to go out tonight, with two of my favorite people to a magical place that will always be a part of my history.

Thanks Josh and Steven for making me go out tonight!!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

ROSIE FATE


Some one commented on the RBlog for Peace about owning a Rosie O'Donnell doll and I had to share this story.

For years I have carried around three Rosie O'Donnell dolls. One Rosie doll that says "Dreams Come True with Rosie" and two Rosie Barbies. All are in their original packaging and the only reason I bought them was because the money went to one of Rosie's charities.

Like I said, I bought them many years ago. They have lived in more states then most people have been to and travel all the miles along with me. They started in California, went to New York (well, actually they were in storage in New Jersey) and then to Michigan, back to California to Pennsylvania, on to Fort Lauderdale, and now reside in Phoenix.

A few weeks ago my granddaughter Noelle was over and she wanted to play with the Rosie doll and my initial thought was NO. Why that is I am not sure. Possibly its because I can be possessive of my things, but then a second later I thought "WHY ELSE AM I KEEPING IT, IF NOT FOR HER," so I took Rosie out of the packaging and it is now hers.

Having the attention span of a 20 month old, she turned to me and indicated she wanted to play with a Rosie Barbie. This time I didn't hesitate and I unwrapped one of them for her.

At my Halloween Party a couple of weeks ago, while still putting on my make-up a girl friend came in to say hi and she presented me with a bag. I opened it up and much to my surprise, there was a brand new, still in the packaging Rosie "What A Cutie Patooty" doll.

FATE

20 MILLION REASONS... PLUS ONE



Sunday, November 11, 2007

ELECTION 2008-THE CASE FOR HIlLARY

This past week I received an email from someone I have come to know because of this page (and the rest of my website). This stranger-friend is extremely bright and very articulate and she and I were recently conversing via email on the upcoming presidential election.

Her email prompted me to write this in response and she has encouraged me to post it.... so after some edits here it is….


What I was going to write was about Hillary..... Hopefully the next president of the United States......

First, let me say that I believe Hillary is exceptionally intelligent. Although lacking the charisma of her husband, she is smarter that Bill (who I think is brilliant except when it comes to his willy) and I think she allowed Bill’s career to dominate her life all these years because of his ambition and now its her turn.

The reason I support her (and her husband) is because I truly believe they are good people who want to help Average Joe American. I've believed it 16 years ago when he was first running for office and I believe it today.

Is Hillary really moderate? I don't believe so. I think she is a true progressive that is smart enough to know that in order to get elected you have to appease (and appeal) to a broad audience. I also think WHEN she is elected she will surprise everyone, especially if she has a democratic controlled senate and house.

I do not dislike any of the other candidates, of course I am talking Democrats. I like Barack and John Edwards. Hell, I even like what the weasily little Ross Perot look-a-like Dennis Kucinich has to say. I like what he has to say a lot, and am glad he stood up and called for the impeachment of evil Dick. But I am not convinced that any of them can get elected.

Can Hillary get elected? I've always thought so, however, she is a polarizing figure. BUT... BUT the republicans do not have any candidate that can beat her.... in my estimation.

McCain became a joke after George W got the nomination in 2000 and he fell in line like a foot soldier. After all the unethical games Karl Rove and George Bush played on him during the primary season, he caved and has never had the respect of this country since. He is my senator and I wish he would retire.

Mitt Romney..... he has Ken Doll goodlooks but the majority of people are not going to vote for a Mormon. Americans are thick and they all think the Mormon religion is a cult and their right-wing Christian Churches are Jesus’ real churches. Jesus belongs to them and them alone. The mormons aren’t invited to sit at that table.

I can’t say much about Fred Thompson and I don’t think I need to – except – WAKE UP.

The only hope the Republicans have is Rudi Guiliani - who I genuinely think is a joke. He has been married three times, including once to his cousin. He is running on his 9/11 record (smoke and mirrors at best) and that he turned smut-filled Times Square into Disneyland. He is pro gays and pro abortion and wasn't beating Hillary in their last face off, and wont in this match up.

If the two nominees are Hillary and Rudi - Hillary will win.

One reason is because the big southern “Super” churches for the first time in many years will not be encouraging their voters to vote for either candidate - the (im)moral minority will have to sit this one out. They can’t energize their base with Rudi as the nominee.

I also think you may see a third party "religious" candidate emerge. When the Religious Right sees that they have no true candidate they will find one. I've already heard rumbling about it.


In her initial email to me she was mentioning that she was “looking hard” at Bill Richardson because “of his candor, depth of experience, and practical problem solving approach. He seems like someone who knows how to manage the executive role without being authoritarian, as his method is diplomacy.”

Some of her reply to the above


” actually reassures me that she (Hillary) will stay true to democratic principles, especially restoring our bill of rights, and refusing to allow the executive branch to be almighty. And yes she is--as my teenagers would say--""hella" smart.

You are right in your astute comparison of Kucinich's and Perot's looks/ears, and weasily demeanor. It is too bad that someone with principle has to come in such unfortunate packaging, but beauty is all mathematical really, so I won't refute it.

Mitt Romney, as you say so well, has those Ken Doll looks, also that ken doll blank naive dumb -as- a-post stare. I listened to most of the R. nominees at that family values conference on C-span--missed Guiliani though. I swear if that greasy swindler becomes President, I will have to leave the country.

Now I am annoyed with Bill Richardson for saying we should not waste time with discussing impeachment, that there is business to be done. The dems can conduct business all they like, but it will be futile as long as the President is vetoing, and the republicans are filibustering for a false majority. OUT OUT damn spot, I say!


Kim – I hope you don’t mind me using what you wrote but I enjoyed your words so much…..

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

BE AFRAID - BE VERY AFRAID



THE SIMILARITIES ARE FRIGHTENING!

When I should have been comfortably between the sheets and under the comforter I was up trying my hand at a little creative editing.

The people of Germany and all of Europe let Hilter go a very long time before he was stopped. What is it going to take for the American people to stop this war criminal with the school yard bully mentality and bring him to justice?

Monday, November 5, 2007

HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS MAN SINCE?



This is the one and only time I have ever seen a brave United States citizen be allowed to ask King George an in-depth, substantive question.

I just wonder if this man's family has seen him since that day. I would imagine he is in a secret CIA prison being waterboarded.

King George's continues to show what an embarrassment he is and then lets the gentleman know he is in charge and will violate the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States, no matter what the world and the majority of Americans think.

Friday, November 2, 2007

CHAIN OF MISINFORMATION

Yesterday I received an email from my mother with the subject line “Who is Barack Obama?”

The email contained a list of supposed truths regarding Senator (and presidential hopeful) Barack Obama, insinuating that he is not who he portrays himself to be or everyone thinks he is, and that in fact he is a radical Muslim and may be in on an Islamic extremist plan to destroy the United States. The email is signed by William H. Shay of Yale University Procurement Department.

Initially when I received the email, my mother asking for my thoughts, I responded by telling her that it was nothing more than innuendo and half-truths spun for negative purposes, but I didn’t delete the email because I felt compelled to dispel its contents.

This morning when I got out of bed I searched the internet for Mr. Shay and found that “robotmaster” at http://blog.comedyrobot.com had supposedly called the number and discovered that it was an unassigned number at Yale and that no one with that name works or ever worked at Yale. He adds in his blog entry “…how hard is it to Google something like this? In less than 20 seconds I found article after article saying this email was complete crap.”

I decided to go one step further just to satisfy my own curiosity (and to make sure “robotmaster” wasn’t lying himself) I called the listed number which simply rang and rang. No voicemail greeting was on the phone, but more importantly, no one named William H Shay answered.

The use of Yale University is meant to automatically give it authority, stature and authenticity. The problem is Mr. Shay does not exist. He is only real in the imagination of a cowardly writer.

It is lies like this that get started and ruin people’s reputations (and possibly lives) and the authors of this slander know the fastest way to disseminate any information (lies or otherwise) in the beginning of the 21st century is via email and the internet. And don’t forget, the more people hear the same lie repeated over and over the faster it becomes fact (insert King George’s face and the Fox News logo here). Just ask John McCain.

Eight years ago, King George’s brain, Karl Rove, did the same thing to John McCain. He and his backroom henchmen called unsuspecting republican voters in South Carolina and informed them that John McCain had carried on an extra-marital affair which resulted in an illegitimate black child that the couple was now raising.

The truth is, as Mr. Rove and King George were aware, John McCain and his wife had adopted a child from Bangladesh.

Prior to this smear, John McCain was on his way to winning the republican nomination for president. This lie started the fall of John McCain that led to the illegitimate presidency of King George.

For those that haven’t figured it out on their own, the purpose of this unvetted, often circulated email is to scare Americans. A black man with an Arab name is running to become the President of the United State. Mr. Obama, not having the typical Anglo name is an easy target in these times of finger pointing and terror alerts – and although many will not admit it, his skin color is also an issue for many Americans.

People need to question and not just blindly believe what they read. The old saying is believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see. Today the truth is you cannot believe anything you hear and none of what you see. With technology as it is today photos are easily doctored and conversations manufactured.

As I mentioned previously, spin doctors repeat lies over and over to the point that the public believes it true. Making matters even worse is that traditional, reliable news sources are now creating stories and quoting from less than honest sources. The tabloidization of the American press is in full swing and it is common place for the corporate media to reference tabloid sources when reporting important stories.

Everyday intelligent Americans believe what the news corps feed them, and if they receive an email from a friend, or friendly source, they believe the contents are truthful and have been verified. Most people do not question the origination source of the information they are receiving; trusting that someone along the chain has verified the validity and know it to be fact.

There remains one problem with this…. No one is verifying the information. They are simply passing it along as fact, and the lie perpetuates itself and eventually becomes part of history.

I responded a second time to my mother’s email, including all those that she forwarded it to as well, and I reported my findings. I had to break the misinformation chain. I plan to email her this as well.