Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ignoring the Tears

This is priceless from Shana at From Behind the Cheddar Curtain. Regarding Indians and their “sovereignty” she says:

That “sovereignty” as you call it has caused more harm than good. Most of the people on the reservations are in horrible condition, often drunk and poor, living off of government checks. Those that have been ambitious enough to leave the reservations have done well for themselves, living mostly like the rest of us. Not perfect, but far better off than those living on the reservations. It probably wouldn’t hurt to take away some of that “sovereignty” and convince them to support themselves. They’d be far better off.
Unbelievable. This from a self-professed Christian. Do you think, Shana, that their ancestors for just one minute wouldn’t have preferred to give up that “sovereignty” and to have lived as they had on their own lands? Instead, forced to accept patches of land in return for peace (and the promise not to kill them off), they lived in a fashion totally foreign to what they were accustomed to, with no means for fending for themselves (do you think industry just miraculously popped up around them), and denigrated and hated by the surrounding whites.

You and many of your conservative brethren think it so easy for someone to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make themselves into something more like you. You, Shana, do not have the weight of centuries of abuse on your shoulders. You do not see the hate in other people’s eyes.

Shana, did you ever hear of or read about the “Trail of Tears?” Here is an example of Indians endeavoring to be more like us and what happened to them for their efforts.
The Cherokees in 1828 were not nomadic savages. In fact, they had assimilated many European-style customs, including the wearing of gowns by Cherokee women. They built roads, schools and churches, had a system of representational government, and were farmers and cattle ranchers. A Cherokee alphabet, the “Talking Leaves” was perfected by Sequoyah.

In 1830 the Congress of the United States passed the "Indian Removal Act." Although many
Americans were against the act, most notably Tennessee Congressman Davy Crockett, it passed anyway. President Jackson quickly signed the bill into law. The Cherokees attempted to fight removal legally by challenging the removal laws in the Supreme Court and by establishing an independent Cherokee Nation. At first the court seemed to rule against the Indians. In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, the Court refused to hear a case extending Georgia's laws on the Cherokee because they did not represent a sovereign nation. In 1832, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee on the same issue in Worcester v. Georgia. In this case Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the Cherokee Nation was sovereign [emphasis mine], making the removal laws invalid. The Cherokee would have to agree to removal in a treaty. The treaty then would have to be ratified by the Senate.

By 1835 the Cherokee were divided and despondent. Most supported Principal Chief John Ross, who fought the encroachment of whites starting with the 1832 land lottery. However, a minority(less than 500 out of 17,000 Cherokee in North Georgia) followed Major Ridge, his son John, and Elias Boudinot, who advocated removal. The Treaty of New Echota, signed by Ridge and
members of the Treaty Party in 1835, gave Jackson the legal document he needed to remove the First Americans. Ratification of the treaty by the United States Senate sealed the fate of the Cherokee. Among the few who spoke out against the ratification were Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, but it passed by a single vote. In 1838 the United States began the removal to Oklahoma, fulfilling a promise the government made to Georgia in 1802. Ordered to move on the Cherokee, General John Wool resigned his command in protest, delaying the action. His replacement, General Winfield Scott, arrived at New Echota on May 17, 1838 with 7000 men. Early that summer General Scott and the United States Army began the invasion of the Cherokee Nation.

In one of the saddest episodes of our brief history, men, women, and children were taken from their land, herded into makeshift forts with minimal facilities and food, and then forced to march a thousand miles (Some made part of the trip by boat in equally horrible conditions). Under the generally indifferent army commanders, human losses for the first groups of Cherokee removed were extremely high. John Ross made an urgent appeal to Scott, requesting that the general let his people lead the tribe west. General Scott agreed. Ross organized the Cherokee into smaller groups and let them move separately through the wilderness so they could forage for food. Although the parties under Ross left in early fall and arrived in Oklahoma during the brutal winter of 1838-39, he significantly reduced the loss of life among his people. About 4,000 Cherokee died as a result of the removal. The route they traversed and the journey itself became known as "The Trail of Tears" or, as a direct translation from Cherokee, "The Trail Where They Cried" ("Nunna daul Tsuny").
It is said that President Andrew Jackson met with leaders of the Cherokee Nation. They did not plead or beg, but asked that he reconsider. His answer was “Endeavor to persevere.”

Shana, by one estimate, almost 15,000,000 Native American Indians were killed during the years white America occupied their lands. It's a fairly significant price don't you think?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Busy Busy Busy

Wow. Lots of action over here. Like the debate and appreciate dad29 (I've said some harsh things, but hey he's got pretty thick skin ... and so do I, bring it on), Clint and Billiam joining the fray.

However, more important things to do. Just got back from baby doctor visit with the lovely Mrs. Rock. The little one's heart is strong and racing like a horse. Too small for a run at Belmont.

Everything continues to go well. Mrs. Rock is beaming.

Kids coming over for a sleepover tonight. Gotta go to clean up the basement and buy the prerequisite junk food (pizza, soda and ice cream). It's just for one night so why not indulge them a little, especially at the ages of five and six.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wisconsin: Second Most in Danger

Oh my, Jessica McBride has been right all along.

The National Asset Database was released Tuesday and little old Wisconsin is number two on the list by Homeland Security. Yes, Wisconsin has been identified to have more than twice the number of terrorist targets as the most populous state in the Union, California. The state that comes in first? Why, Indiana of course. Read on:

It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.

... In addition to the petting zoo, in Woodville, Ala., and the Mule Day Parade in Columbia, Tenn., the auditors questioned many entries, including “Nix’s Check Cashing,” “Mall at Sears,” “Ice Cream Parlor,” “Tackle Shop,” “Donut Shop,” “Anti-Cruelty Society” and “Bean Fest.” Even people connected to some of those businesses or events are baffled at their inclusion as possible terrorist targets.

“Seems like someone has gone overboard,” said Larry Buss, who helps organize the Apple and Pork Festival in Clinton, Ill. “Their time could be spent better doing other things, like providing security for the country.”

Angela McNabb, manager of the Sweetwater Flea Market, which is 50 miles from Knoxville, Tenn., said: “I don’t know where they get their information. We are talking about a flea market here.”
Anyway, someone let Jessica know. Please.

In the meanwhile, I have a suggestion to make us more secure. Perhaps our conservative blogger brethren (and Jessica) could line up along the borders with those terrorist havens of Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan. You know, like the wall F.(at) James is recommending along the southern border of the U.S.

We then can drive by and wave, secure in the fact that conservatives have got our back.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Proud Sister's Kiddies Take the Field

by Kate Rock

The evening of Tuesday, July 11, 2006 in Bay View, Wisconsin at the now infamous Lewis Field played host to the much anticipated baseball game, where the two Rock boys would play a game of baseball against each other.

My 9 year old son, Kiefer Rock, catcher, first basemen and pitcher for the 9/10 year old Nationals team, and also -- because of a player shortage -- center fielder for the 11/12 year old Padres team, has become a very productive hitter. My youngest son, Keaton Rock, 7 years old, pitcher, catcher, and third baseman for the 7/8 year old Bats, and newly acquired right fielder for the 9/10 year old Marlins, is also hitting the ball like a pro. Keaton has a solo home run this season with the Bats.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned that the Marlins needed a ball player. Gus, who is Keaton’s coach on the Bats, and the manager of the entire Bay View Area Redcats baseball program thought that Keaton would be ready to play with the older ball players in the 9/10 division. Gus asked what I thought about Keaton helping out the Marlins. I was concerned, but agreed with Gus that Keaton was a good ball player with a swift swing. Not to mention a great throwing arm. Afterwards, I joked with the boys that they may soon be playing against each other. The stage is set…

I worried all day long at work that the rain and thunderstorms predicted would cancel the big game. It was sprinkling as I picked up the boys at daycare. No messages left from any coaches that the games were cancelled on the answering machine at home.

The boys and I arrived at Lewis Field for the Bats/Timber Rattlers game, the first game of the double header. Kiefer and I played catch while we waited for the rest of the Bats team to arrive. The entire Timber Rattlers team were already to play. Unfortunately, only 4 Bats arrived. The coaches decided it would be just a practice game. Keaton was the starting pitcher for the Bats. Uncle Kevin arrived just before the practice game began and Keaton's mentors, Lynn and Greg (mentors through Big Brothers and Big Sisters) arrived around 6:45 p.m. and planned to stay for the much hyped Nationals/Marlins game which was to begin at the opposite field at 7:30 p.m.

Since the Bats/Timber Rattlers practice game started late, they were still playing when 7:30 p.m. rolled around. Across the field you could see the players assembling for the Nationals/Marlins game. One of the Marlin players ran onto the Bats field and asked Gus if Keaton could come to the other field and begin playing for the Marlins right away, because they were one player short. Gus told the Marlin player no. I believe this was the right decision, because Keaton has a commitment to the Bats team.

After the Bats/Timber Rattlers practice game was over, I quickly helped Keaton get his Marlin's shirt on (He asked me to put the blanket around him for privacy). I walked over to the other field and Keaton ran over to the Marlin bench. I looked over and I noticed that Kiefer was pitching. Kiefer has only pitched a couple of games for the Nationals and he was hoping to pitch tonight. His coach had promised Kiefer that he would be pitching again. I got to see Kiefer strike out a batter, which was their third out. I later learned that Kiefer had walked a couple batters, but no runs were scored.

Now the Nationals were up to bat for the first time. It started raining lightly about this time, and I was glad I brought the rain ponchos. When Kiefer was up to bat, he hit a double and two runs were scored. I believe that three runs were scored by the Nationals in that inning. The next inning Kiefer is pitching again and, who should come up to bat second, but my little Keaton guy. Keaton has a grin a mile long, and we are all cheering madly for him. The coaches on Kiefer's team finally realize that Kiefer is pitching to his little brother. Lots of buzzing in the stands and on the benches about the two Rock brothers playing against each other…someone quick call ESPN.

I don't recall the count, but the third pitch Kiefer throws it inside and hits Keaton in the shin and he starts hopping and tears start to flow. The coaches rush to Keaton’s side. Aunt Lisa who had arrived shortly after me with her daughter Kara and Kara’s friend Raoul, yelled out jokingly to Kiefer that he was grounded. Kiefer kinda grins in his own nervous way, and finally at our urging, checks on Keaton. Keaton says he is okay, and wipes his tears and trots off to first base.

The next batter is up and Keaton steals second, and on the following pitch steals third. He is a little antsy on third, I can tell he wants to steal home. He is not allowed to steal with his 7/8 year old Bats team. Kiefer throws a pitch and the catcher misses it and it rolls behind the catcher. I yell to Keaton to steal home, not thinking that there are two outs. He runs with all his might and has a perfect slide, but the catcher had picked up the ball quickly and throws the ball to Kiefer, who tags his little brother, and the ump calls Keaton out. (I realized right then I was wrong and I should not have urged Keaton to steal home.)

Now the Nationals are up to bat again and their own Damian Miller (who has met the Brewer's player of the same name) has a solo home run and the score is 4-1. The Marlins are able to get out of the inning without another run being scored. The Marlins are up to bat and now Damian is pitching for the Nationals. Several Marlins were walked and now the bases are loaded with two outs. Keaton gets up to bat, he hits several foul balls and it is a full count. Keaton has only been walked in his three games playing for the Marlins. I know that he can hit the ball, and he is anxious to get his first hit. Keaton’s coach tells him to hold the bat higher, so that he will swing the bat faster, and Keaton does as he is told. The pitch comes in and Keaton hits the ball and it bounces between first and second base and it rolls into the outfield. Keaton is safe at first base.

Kiefer is now playing first base and Keaton just smiles at Kiefer. Kiefer turns and looks at him and sticks out his tongue. Two more runs are scored and the game is tied 4-4. Keaton however, was stranded at third base when the third out was made. I contained myself this time and did not yell for Keaton to steal home.

The Nationals, being the home team, have the last at bat. Kiefer is the first batter. I discussed with family and friends around me that Kiefer generally hits the ball to left field. Kevin said that he has a hunch that Kiefer will hit it to his little brother in right field. One of Keaton's coaches tells Keaton to back up.

The first pitch is low and Kiefer swings and misses. The second pitch is high and Kiefer again swings and misses. The third pitch comes in and Kiefer hits a rocket out to right field over Keaton's head. Kiefer is running around the bases and we are enthusiastically cheering for him to go home. Keaton throws it to his cut off man, who then throws it home, but Kiefer is safe. It is Kiefer’s first official home run of the season and the Nationals win it 5-4. Their fourth straight win of the season.

It was an exciting game for the two Rock brothers and I will never forget it. Kiefer received his team's game ball, his second game ball of the season. Keaton was so happy that he got his first hit playing with the 9-10 year olds. There was no indication in Keaton’s demeanor that his team had lost.

With Friends Like These

Bob Dohnut, er, Dohnal, is a funny guy. Here is what he had to say about Glenn Grothman's decision not to run against Herb Kohl (spelling errors corrected).

There is nothing like an indecisive leader.

I like Glenn personally …

Glenn has a fabulous intellect, but can’t seem to figure out how to add 2 and 2.

Another wing-nut who is full of himself, and not very bright to boot.


Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and chief blogger at Unclaimed Territory, paints a frightening picture of right-wing bloggers gone berserk. In similar fashion to local blogger Peter DiGaudio of Texas Hold’em Blogger (who thought it appropriate to publish e-mail addresses of people that he disagreed with), these whackos:

… find the home address and telephone number of the latest enemy and then publish it on the Internet, accompanied by impassioned condemnations of that person as a Grave Enemy, a race traitor, someone who threatens all that is good in the world. A handful of the most extremist pro-life groups have used the same tactic. It has happened in the past that those who were the target of these sorts of demonization campaigns that included publication of their home address were attacked and even killed.

There is no law against this sort of thuggish behavior. One hopes that local bloggers will condemn DiGaudio and these others who threaten the lives of people for no reason more than payback.

More Syd Barrett

Here's a link to an excellent obit written about the recently deceased, Syd Barrett.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Tree of Liberty is Alive and Well

Master Metaphorist, Owen Robinson at Boots and Sabers, is at it again. And this time he seems to be advocating revolution. His latest column in the West Bend News is titled “The Withering Tree of Liberty,” and he waxes poetic about the demise of everything he believes in (because he and his group of true believers cannot convince others to vote en masse in similar fashion). Well, here’s some of what he says …

I can’t recall a good rebellion for the cause of liberty in any of the great Western democracies in the past century or more. I don’t mean a trifling riot here or there that telegraphs a healthy love of liberty. I mean a true insurrection with all of the blood and mayhem that such a societal upheaval entails.

We have not seen a 1688 or a 1776 or a 1793 in a great while. This void of revolutionary vigor in the historical timeline exists despite the fact that it could be easily argued and substantiated that the citizens of these democracies enjoy less liberty than they did in the age of Bossuetian Divine Rule.

In the United States, we have seen a steady erosion of liberty over the past several decades. For example, oppressive government restrictions on political activity, politely referred to as "campaign finance reform," have become the norm.

The government restricts how much and how often you or I can give money to a political candidate whom we support.

This is a bit disengenuous. Bi-partisan campaign reform was rammed through, but against the wishes of the most ardently conservative Republicans (like Robinson). Its major provisions had to do mostly with accountability, but they also were a brake on the big corporations who have in the past tried to buy elections and legislation.

It is now against federal law for a group of us to get together and run advertisements against an elected official within 60 days of an election. Wisconsin Right to Life went to the Supreme Court when they were forbidden from running a television ad that mentioned Sen. Feingold, and lost.

The regulations on why, how, when and what we say during political debates shows that we have abdicated any pretense of freedom when it comes to political speech.

Well, we agree here (somewhat, though I wouldn't go so far to say we've abdicated any pretense of freedom, that's really a bit extreme) and surprise, the ACLU does too.

The level of taxation in our nation would have brought the serfs of medieval Europe to revolt, yet we endure it - nay, we rejoice in it and christen it "progress."

Huh? For a moment there I saw a Shakespearean actor reciting his lines, hand raised to the firmament. A Dohnal moment (ask me another time).

Taxation consumes about 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in America today. In Europe, that percentage hovers nearer to 50 percent. As recently as 1900, taxation in America only comprised about 10 percent of the GDP. Even 10 percent would have been intolerable for our colonial forefathers, who rebelled when they paid less than 5 percent.

Although taxation is a necessary evil which is collectively paid to protect our individual liberty, every dollar spent in excess of what is necessary for the protection of liberty leads to a reduction of liberty because each dollar is one less dollar that you or I, who earned that dollar, can spend for our own necessities or niceties.
I won't even speak about how misleading it is to compare taxation levels 100, 150 and 200 years ago. Currently though, the United States spends more on military than the next nine nations combined plus an additional $100 billion. Since, other than China and Japan, those other nations are European, just who the hell are we defending our liberty against. In fact, the government spends almost seven times more on defense than education. But, according to Robinson and his crew, all in opposition to public education, that would be fine. An uneducated population is less likely to care.

And who is going to pay for the upkeep of roads, hospitals, schools, etc.? Guess what, these were all necessary evils to which the public in majority fashion agreed. Robinson can spin it any way he wants, but it’s true.

If taxes are deemed too high, the remedy is the ballot box. But therein lies the rub, the public does not agree with Robinson … hence the end around effort called TABOR in which the public was left out of the process. IT STILL failed.

He continues …

No tyrant is as powerful or as unmerciful as the one who is elected.

And yet, that redoubt of democracy, Winston Churchill, laid naked the truth: no matter how repressive a representative government becomes, mankind has not yet devised a better system with which to govern ourselves.

It seems that our tree of liberty is withering without the blood of patriots.

This is ridiculous drivel from a man who thinks he is the second coming of Thomas Payne. The fact is that in everything Robinson dislikes he sees the evil machinations of government. If his conservatives ran the government, however, Robinson would gleefully goosestep in time to the martial music he so admires. Their disdain for the voting public is spectacular.

If words such as these were spouted from the pen of a liberal writer, Robinson and his ilk would loudly proclaim treason. But when one of their own drips poison from his pen, he gets a round of “well dones.”

Actually, one can’t help but feel a twinge of sympathy for Robinson. He and his followers have managed to fool some of the populace through the use of loathsome gimmicks like gay marriage. But the real problem is that Robinson and his group haven’t convinced enough people. Somehow, it reminds me of Vladimir Lenin in exile. One then cannot but be just a little worried over these sentences …

But there is a tipping point where a representative government loses its legitimacy and insurrection threatens. It is the point at which the people no longer feel that elections are credible enough to legitimately embody the will of the people. It is the point at which fraud, corruption, suppression, incumbency, gerrymandering and ignorance overwhelm the true will of the people and elect a counterfeit government. At that point, the will of the people no longer rules and the seeds of revolution are rightfully sown.

Is Robinson waiting for the Germans to help him and his followers to power, brought to Washington or wherever by shielded carriage?

Actually the truth is that the revolution is occurring already and the fraud, corruption, suppression, gerrymandering and ignorance of the Republican party, and of Robinson and his followers, has already sown the seeds. He rightly fears that.

We Had Lots of Paperclips

Having signed the closing papers yesterday for the second floor addition to our home, I can't help but be asking myself: Why didn't I think of this?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Metaphorically Speaking

Buoyed by the promise of endless and contradictory metaphors from Owen at Boots and Sabers, Glenn Grothman today donned his body armor and walked out of his office ready to do battle with the forces of common sense. The first victim was a little old lady. She approached him to ask a question and a withering crossfire mowed her down.

The Grothman campaign later issued a press release regarding the incident and blamed her death on "... The forces of liberalism against which we issue forth from our citadel of righteousness, with cannon blazing, aircraft strafing, UFOs raining phasor blasts and with any other romantic or applicable metaphors applied as we see fit. If that fails, there's always Kevin Barrett."

UPDATE: Nevermind.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

This is What Marriage is Really All About

The old man ordered one hamburger, one order of french fries and one drink. He took the food back to his table, where his wife waited for him. Then, the old man unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half. He placed one half in front of his wife. He then carefully counted out the French fries, dividing them into two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife.

He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them. As he began to eat his few bites of hamburger, the people around them kept looking over and whispering. You could tell they were thinking, "That poor old couple, all they can afford is one meal for the two of them."

As the man began to eat his fries a young man came to the table. He politely offered to buy another meal for the old couple. The old man said they were just fine, they were used to sharing everything.

The surrounding people noticed the little old lady hadn't eaten a bite. She sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink.

Again the young man came over and begged them to let him buy another meal for them. This time the old woman said "No, thank you, we are used to sharing everything."

As the old man finished and was wiping his face neatly with the napkin, the young man again came over to the little old lady who had yet to eat a single bite of food and asked "What is it you are waiting for?" She answered ...


Run Glenn Run

Surprise. Surprise. I disagree with something Chris at spottedhorse 2 is saying. He states in a post today that Glenn Grothman running against Herb Kohl is a mistake. He says that Grothman running is just a cover for the inept leadership of the Republican Party in Wisconsin.

Chris is right about one thing. The RPW is inept.

But he is wrong about Grothman. Grothman running is another great opportunity for Wisconsin to see the real face of conservatism in Wisconsin. Along with Paul Bucher, Grothman represents the anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-responsible gun laws, anti-freedom of speech, and the anti-freedom of the press forces in Wisconsin.

Grothman is so extreme that if he lived in South Dakota, their Republican lawmakers would be considered liberal.

Grothman is so extreme that he makes State Senator Tom Reynolds seem almost palatable and sane.

I'm surprised his mom will let him come out and play. Nonetheless ... run Glenn run!