Reflections from the Grounded Center


Patty McFatty

I really can't believe I am posting this, but it is really quite extraordinary that I agree with Mr. Buchanan on something...except for maybe his inappropriate comments regarding Mexico's two biggest imports.

OK, here goes:

CAFTA: Ideologyvs. national interests

Using the Clinton playbook for enacting NAFTA in '93, the White House is twisting arms and buying votes to win passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

And the seductive song the White House is singing sounds familiar. It is the NAFTA theme song. CAFTA will ease the social pressures that have produced waves of illegal aliens. CAFTA will increase U.S. exports. CAFTA will not cost U.S. jobs. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

If Tom DeLay's caucus delivers 200 votes for CAFTA, economic patriots will begin to look outside the GOP for leadership.

In 1993, Republicans, by four to one, signed on to NAFTA. They believed the promises that our $5 billion trade surplus with Mexico would grow and illegal immigration would diminish. They were deceived. The NAFTA skeptics were proven right. The U.S. trade surplus with Mexico vanished overnight. Last year, we ran a $50 billion trade deficit. Since 1993, 15 million illegal aliens have been caught breaking into the United States. Five million made it, and their soaring demands for social services have driven California to bankruptcy. As for Mexico's major exports to us, they appear to be two: narcotics and Mexicans.

With Middle Easterners turning up on the Rio Grande, patriotic Minutemen are patrolling the border because President Bush will not enforce our immigration laws. Who can believe this White House is serious, then, about halting the invasion from the Caribbean and Central America?

It is time for Republicans who represent a Middle America that never wanted NAFTA to tell the White House the old talking points will no longer do. The open-borders, free-trade ideology of Clinton and Bush has run its course and begun to endanger our national existence.
Today, "free trade" is about something other than the simple exchange of goods. Henry Kissinger tipped the Trilateralists' hand in 1993 when he wrote that NAFTA was the "architecture of a new international system," a great "step forward toward the new world order."

Today's trade agreements are about reshaping the world to conform to the demands of transnational corporations that have shed their national identities and loyalties and want to shed their U.S. workers. Tired of contributing to Medicare and Social Security and having to deal with Americans who need health-care and pension benefits, they want to dump them all and hire Asians who will work for $2 an hour.

Trade treaties have become enabling acts by which global companies desert their home countries. CAFTA will enable U.S. firms to shut down factories here, lay off their labor force, and hire Dominicans and Costa Ricans, but retain free access to the U.S. market. They get to fire their American workers – and keep their American consumers. What a deal.
NAFTA and CAFTA are the shield laws of corporate absconders.

What these companies want ultimately is a world government that will protect their absolute freedom to go where they wish and do what they want – the country be damned.
Before Republicans go down to the well of the House and vote for CAFTA, they need to look at what has already happened to America.

Under Bush, 3 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared, one in every six. States like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois – which went for Reagan twice – are gone. A shift of 60,000 votes in the GOP bastion of Ohio, and Kerry would be president.

The U.S. trade deficit in 2005 will exceed $700 billion – 6 percent of our entire economy. We are awash in foreign debt.

With China, our trade deficit last year was $162 billion. Beijing is using its trade surplus to buy U.S. bonds, giving her a giant claim on U.S. interest payments – and to build and buy the ships, planes and missiles needed to fight a naval war off her coast. Wal-Mart is subsidizing China's strategic buildup.

The industries we are losing now are not only textiles, shoes, TVs and toys, but autos, airplanes and computers. We are no longer the self-sufficient nation of 1940 or 1960. Even American sovereignty is being eroded, as the World Trade Organization orders Congress to change U.S. tax and trade laws, and Congress meekly complies.

America can yet turn this around, but we are reaching a tipping point – where a sovereign, independent and self-sufficient American republic will cease to be.

Thirty House Republicans can stop this process cold by just saying no to CAFTA. The Business Roundtable will get over it. After all, they have no place else to go.


EDMONTON - Perhaps he is still stomping around somewhere, but a DNA test has confirmed that it was not Bigfoot roaming the Yukon earlier this month — it was just a bison.

A hair sample was reportedly plucked from a bush near Teslin in the Yukon at a spot where several people claimed they saw and heard a large, hairy creature making a late-night run through their community. They also reported seeing an unusually large footprint. The witnesses speculated that they had seen Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, an ape-like creature said to haunt the wilderness of western Canada, among other places.

But Bigfoot's presence was refuted after a geneticist from the University of Alberta did tests on the sample, and said the DNA match for a bison was 100 per cent. David Coltman, the geneticist, says the DNA suggested the hair sample was not fresh.

Coltman agreed to do the tests as a favor to a colleague, and had said Monday that he suspected the hair was actually left behind by a much more mundane Yukon bison. “If Sasquatch is indeed a primate, then we would expect the sample to be closer to humans or chimpanzees or gorillas,” Coltman said at the time.


I just think this is really hilarious. They thought a bison looked human-like. What does that say for the residents of Western Canada?

As for Sasquatch, he may not exist, but I am stil certain that somewhere out there sloofoot roams free.


Cut and Spend

So no media posting today, but I would like to begin a discussion that can hopefully stay civil. I have been speaking with a close friend of mine about tax cuts for the past several days (Friday and again today), and we seem to be at an impasse.

So the argument goes somehting like this:

Tax cuts, even if only to those that earn the most, are a way to encourage investment and growth, and a way to energize the economy. The numbers are - GDP 1st quarter growth of 3.8% (higher than 1st quarter 1995,1996,1997,1999,2000,2001), unemployment rate 5.0% (1997 levels), inflation rates holding, even with the jump in oil and the DOW is back over 10,600. While I think most very achieved economists would have a hard time giving the cuts credit for bringing up the DOW...the rest seem to ring positive. And besides, healthcare, standard of living, education and the rest of it are seperate issues from taxation. So why would you want to roll them back? They have clearly helped to fuel the resurgence of our economy.

The counter argument is that these numbers may reflect quarterly results in our market (that by the way may change and over which the admin. holds little sway), but do not reflect the reality of people's lives - 45 million without healthcare, a great deal of the "employed" earning below the poverty line, personal savings in the country being lower than any other nation in the developed world (something which tax cuts are supposed to change), an addiction to foreign debt and all in a time when prices are climbing and it is getting harder to make ends meet for poor and low-income families (the number of which is growning, not shrinking). Further, Reagan-esque tax cuts might make sense when you cut spending significantly as well, but assuming that the above items are priorities, given our necessary increase in war-time and security spending as well as the vast expansion of government we have seen in the past 5 years, tax cuts now seem to be quite irresponsible and counter-intuitive.

So the question I pose to you is three-fold:

1) Are taxes and items like healthcare and education connected or seperate?
2) Why does the economy seem to be getting better if the tax cuts are so terrible?
3) Assuming we have to cut spending, what items are priorities, and which should go?



"Riding for a Fall"

I think this reading material is excellent for anyone that is concerned/interested in our economic forecast here in the US. It really changed the way I look at our fiscal reality, and after having several conversations about this today I think it is important for people to read.

I have been following this guy for a while after hearing an interview on NPR (the link to the transcript is the second link), and I think he is brilliant. As much as my lefty friends are going to cringe when they realize he is a life-long Republican and Sec. of Commerce for Nixon, don't sweat it. He is Chairman of the Federal Reserve in NY, and is extremely pragmatic about our circumstances. Just give him a shot. I think both sides can find value in what he says.

The first link is an article, and it is a bit of a read (but well worth it), and the second is an interview which summarizes his points quite well. You may have to copy and paste. ENJOY!

NARAL for Bloomberg

Major Abortion Rights Group Gives Approval to Bloomberg

Published: July 22, 2005

A major New York City abortion rights group gave its approval to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday, saying his record of support outweighed his affiliation with a party whose national leadership was overwhelmingly opposed to abortion.

Announcing her group's endorsement in Brooklyn yesterday Kelli Conlin, the executive director of Naral Pro-Choice New York, called Mr. Bloomberg's record on abortion "unparalleled in the city."

The endorsement is unquestionably a boon to Mr. Bloomberg and a setback for the Democrats, who just last week had to deal with the desertion of another group traditionally aligned with the party when the city's largest union of municipal employees, District Council 37, endorsed Mr. Bloomberg. The backing from Naral could also help the mayor court female voters otherwise reluctant to vote for a Republican.

The group's endorsement, coming long before the Democratic primary is held, could greatly help Mr. Bloomberg to hammer home to the predominantly Democratic city electorate that, party affiliation aside, he is generally a liberal on important issues.

Mr. Bloomberg was said to be furious four years ago when Ms. Conlin backed Mr. Green instead of him. He had been a longtime donor to the group's national foundation and had supported its positions in his campaign fliers. He did not cease giving money to the group, though at the time he told some aides he might.

Ms. Conlin said yesterday it was "a real show of his character" that among Mr. Bloomberg's first acts as mayor was an executive order directing that resident doctors at city-run hospitals and clinics be trained in performing safe abortions, unless they were opposed on moral or religious grounds.

"We didn't support him," Ms. Conlin said, "and one would expect a person of less character and principal to hold that against us, to treat us as persona non grata at City Hall."

Mr. Bloomberg has since begun a $3 million campaign to help reduce unwanted pregnancies that included a provision to increase access to emergency contraceptives, and he has publicly urged Gov. George E. Pataki to sign a provision allowing women to obtain morning-after pills directly from pharmacists.

Naral's endorsement did seem to have one string attached: a strong statement by the mayor concerning President Bush's new Supreme Court nominee, Judge John G. Roberts.

Mr. Bloomberg did not go as far as the group did in criticizing Mr. Roberts, but he did say he would support him only if he gave "a clear indication that he accepts Roe v. Wade as the law of the land."

After the endorsement, reporters asked Ms. Conlin and Mr. Bloomberg several questions about his financial support for the Republican Party and members who have taken anti-abortion stances.

Ms. Conlin said, "We have to remove ourselves from that kind of partisanship and really look at a person's record and what they've done."

Mr. Bloomberg said he tried to back candidates who suport abortion rights whenever possible but has veered here or there to support those whom he said had been helpful to the city in other ways.

"If you cut out donations to everybody who disagreed with you on any one issue, you would support nobody," the mayor said. "The people I agree with are people that are clearly pro-choice, but there are times there are other issues."

On Wednesday, the campaign of one Democrat seeking to unseat Mr. Bloomberg, Fernando Ferrer, had sent a list of Republicans that Mr. Bloomberg has supported who it said were anti-abortion. It noted that Mr. Bloomberg had donated not only to President Bush but also $4,000 to Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama in 2003 and $2,000 to Vito Fossella last year. It listed votes by both men against late term abortions. Mr. Fossella is also a chairman of Mr. Bloomberg's campaign.

Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said the mayor had supported them because they were on Congressional committees crucial to the city.

Mr. Ferrer told reporters yesterday that Mr. Bloomberg was trying to "have it both ways" by saying he was pro-choice and supporting Republicans who were not.

The New York County Republican committee, which has backed Mr. Bloomberg, sent an e-mail message with past statements from Mr. Ferrer about late-term abortions and one from a former spokesman for him in 1997 saying Mr. Ferrer "doesn't believe in late-term abortions because it is a horrendous procedure."

Mr. Ferrer's campaign responded that by 2001 he had given his full support to the Naral agenda and it provided a 2001 quotation from Ms. Conlin - who had been critical of him in 1997 - saying she believed he fully supported her cause.


R.I.N.O.'s...such an interesting breed. Mr. Bloomberg was a Democrat before he decided to run for may be of interestv to note. This is one of the reasons that we will not in the near future have a President Giuliani, Pataki or, even though I don't think he has this ambition, Bloomberg. The Democrats will never accept them, and the Fundamentalist zealots will never endorse their bid in the primaries. Maybe sad, but true.

I was kinda sorta struggling with who to vote for this November, but I really do think Bloomberg deserves another term. That could stem from the fact that I was pro-West Side Stadium and pro-Olympics. And even given that pesky lawsuit the city filed RE: gay marriage, I think that we are in good hands with Mike.



I haven't seen the movie, and I have to say that I probably wont. I take issue with it because the original show was about two good 'ol boys, never meaning no harm, that everybody could love because they were just good guys caught in the corrupt, tangled web of Boss Hogg.

However, with the casting of notorious troublemaker Johnny Knoxville and Stiffler, I feel like this frat-boy version of Bo and Luke are sure to disappoint. In fact, just watching the previews makes me already hope that at the end of the movie the General Lee is in flames, Jessica Simpson is knocked up and the two boys are in a Federal "don't-drop-the-soap" prison.

Maybe it is also a reflection of my general disappointment that every show of my youth has been remade and changed to be super-fandango and 21st Century. Have you heard about "Adventures in Babysitting?" That's right...being remade. This is very disturbing.

P.S. Jessica, leave the boots for Nancy - you sound awful.


Lord of Illusions

ATLANTA - Zell Miller said Wednesday he has paid $156,668 to the state to resolve questions about money he kept from an entertainment allowance he received when he was governor.

Miller, who retired from the U.S. Senate earlier this year, said he obeyed the law "by the strictest standards," but returned $112,956 plus interest to erase any doubts. At issue is the $40,000 annual allowance Georgia governors receive for entertaining at the executive mansion. Atlanta's WSB-TV reported that Miller had kept and reported as income thousands of dollars that he did not spend from that allowance when he was governor from 1991 to 1999.

Miller cited a 1969 attorney general's opinion saying such allowances are part of a state official's gross income. Keeping the excess is legal, as long as taxes are paid on the amount, he said. "It was legally mine," he said. "But rather than let people think Zell Miller has some taxpayers' money, I sent the whole thing back to them."


Oh, like rather than making people think that Zell Miller is a Democrat with his own ideas, you came to NYC last September and admitted to Chris Matthews that you just read what they wrote for you. By the way, does anyone else think it is weird that he refers to himself in the third person?

RE-POST...not mine originally

David Corn
Tue Jul 19, 6:23 PM ET

Now that I've been sucked into the right-wing disinformation machine, I am struck by how unrelenting it is. Cliff May posted a dumb column claiming that Joe Wilson told me on background that his wife was an undercover operative and that I was the first person to really out Valerie Wilson (nee Plame). I debunked that nonsense here. But pesky May still sent me email asking me to explain what I had already explained. By not accepting my explanation--and by claiming that what I've written previously is misleading--he is essentially calling me a liar. I take such things personally. (This fellow once asked me if I would be willing to be his partner in a right/left cable-TV face-off. I'm glad it never came to pass.) And there he was again yesterday on CNN expanding his web of fabrication. He said:

"You can say what you want about Bob Novak. He has insisted since the beginning that he didn't know she was a secret agent. He just knew she worked at the CIA. Nobody told him that. And if he had known she was secret, he wouldn't have published her name. Now who did publish her name first was David Corn of "The Nation," and he was the first one to say she was a secret agent, and he did that in a conversation with, guess who, with Joe Wilson."

How does one combat repeated silliness of this sort? Who knows what Novak would have done had he been told Valerie Wilson was an undercover officer? And maybe he was told. All we know is that Novak claims the CIA informed him it would prefer if he not name her but did not go ballistic about it. This tale may be true; it may not. (In his own account, Novak still turned down the CIA.) Moreover, Novak did publish her name first. It's right there in the column that prompted the CIA to ask the Justice Department to investigate the White House. CNN anchor Carol Costello should have stopped May and told the audience he was either lying or misspeaking. And May states as a fact that Wilson told me his wife was an undercover officer, even though he has no evidence of this and I have said precisely the opposite. What chutzpah! He doesn't even have an anonymous source to rely on. Is this the sort of journalism he learned when working at The New York Times? Or did he perfect his smear skills when he subsequently served as a spokesperson for the Republican Party? In his absurd article, he at least had the courtesy to present his bogus charge as the product of his own deductive reasoning (as defective as it was). On CNN, he stated as a fact that Wilson had spilled the beans to me about his wife--which is not true.

Having responded fully to his initial piece, I was not going to fuel this sideshow with further comment. But yesterday, I was on a public radio program--Warren Olney's To The Point--discussing the Rove scandal with Byron York, a columnist for the National Review. And as our segment was ending, he piped up and said, Well, Bob Novak didn't really out Valerie Wilson as an undercover official; it was David Corn. The show was ending, and I barely had time to exclaim, "Preposterous," and refer listeners to my website. But this is what happens: one person launches an unfounded smear and then others employ it. The point: I'm now thrown on defense, and, perhaps more importantly, a distraction has been achieved.

Disinformation, distraction--that's the plan, as trouble-causing details emerge from the investigation that threaten Karl Rove and other senior Bush aides. For GOP operatives, it's all-hands-to-the-deck time. And the strategy is to fire whatever ammunition the have, whether it is real or a dud. They want to turn this into a partisan mud-wrestle, realizing that much of the public turns off to such cat-and-dogs nastiness. They try to make the victims the culprits, calling Joe Wilson the biggest liar of all time and making claims about Valerie Wilson that are unsupported by the known facts (e.g., she was no more than a desk jockey). Change the focus to anything but what Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and other White House aides did and whether the White House and the president has covered up for them.

One could spend all day responding to the disinformation and misinformation--and that's their goal. A few days ago, The Washington Times put into circulation a quote from a former CIA officer who once supervised Valerie Wilson and who claimed she wasn't really a covert officer. The newspaper wrote:

"A former CIA covert agent who supervised Mrs. Plame early in her career yesterday took issue with her identification as an "undercover agent," saying that she worked for more than five years at the agency's headquarters in Langley and that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she was a CIA employee."

"She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat," Fred Rustmann, a covert agent from 1966 to 1990, told The Washington Times.
"Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this. A lot of blame could be put on to central cover staff and the agency because they weren't minding the store here....The agency never changed her cover status."

Mr. Rustmann, who spent 20 of his 24 years in the agency under "nonofficial cover"--also known as a NOC, the same status as the wife of Mr. Wilson--also said that she worked under extremely light cover....

"She was home for such a long time, she went to work every day at Langley, she was in an analytical type job, she was married to a high-profile diplomat with two kids," Mr. Rustmann said. "Most people who knew Valerie and her husband, I think, would have thought that she was an overt CIA employee."

The newspaper didn't emphasize that Rustmann knew nothing about Valerie Wilson's CIA duties after he left the agency in 1990. Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst who went through training with Valerie Wilson at the CIA, told me that "my understanding is that Valerie went undercover after 1990." If that's true, then quotes from Rustmann are rather irrelevant. Yet I saw his remarks scattered across the Internet, as the distracters and disinformationalists look for any stone to hurl. Even The Washington Times partially refuted Rustmann's remarks when it quoted one neighbor of the Wilsons--David Tilloston--who said he did not know she worked at the CIA and thought she was an economist.

So much to disabuse, so little time. Let's turn now to Victoria Toensing, a Republican lawyer and commentator who was involved in drafting the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. I've had pleasant dealings--professional and social--with her over the years, and many moons ago I was friendly with her daughter, a wonderful photographer. But Toensing sure is doing her duty for her side. Here's a bit from today's Washington Post:

Victoria Toensing, a lawyer and longtime Republican who helped write the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, which is at the center of this case, said Bush is now saying what he probably meant to say when the leak investigation was launched. "Of course you are going to be concerned if a law was broken," she said. "But what is it that somebody did wrong if they didn't break the law?"

Toensing has been in Washington long enough to realize that not all wrongdoing in Washington is criminal. But she's now toeing the White House line: only aides convicted of a crime will be fired. (In Washington, when the supertanker White House changes its course, all the tug boats have to follow.) Compare her observation to a portion of a New York Times article published today:

"Elaine D. Kaplan, who from 1998 to 2003 was head of the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that investigates complaints of prohibited personnel practices, said: 'Government employees and officials who are negligent with classified information can lose their jobs for carelessness. They don't have to be convicted of intentionally disseminating the information. Crime has never been the threshold. That's not the standard that applies to rank-and-file federal employees. They can be fired for misconduct well short of a crime.' "

Much of the attention has (justifiably) been on the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. But as Representative Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record) has recently noted, when Rove shared Valerie Wilson's employment status at the CIA--which was classified information--he might have violated Executive Order 12958, which says:

"Officers and employees of the United States Government...shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently....disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified. "

So the Bush/Toensing standard--leaking classified information that outs a CIA undercover officer and then not coming clean about it is not a firing offense; you're in trouble only if you break the law--is not based in law. Shouldn't she know that?

But truth is not the issue at hand. Winning is. For the right, that means firing up the fog machine and creating as many smokescreens as possible. This comes as no surprise. Still, I find it disheartening. (I can only imagine how Valerie Wilson feels.) Larry Johnson says it's a sign of how desperate the White House and its pals are. He quips, "I love the smell of fear in the morning. It smells like victory." Perhaps. A conservative journalist I know recently emailed to say he was coming to Washington and to ask if I wanted to have drinks with him (which we have occasionally done in the past). I told him I'm in no mood these days. He has yet--as far as I know--not pushed Cliff May's ridiculous Corn-did-it trash. But I need some way to vent my anger and disappointment at folks like May, York and Toensing. This episode is causing Bush's defenders to go to the most ugly extremes. Maybe Larry Johnson is right.

Cautiously Hopeful

So yes...I have to write something about George's Supreme Court nomination, John G. Roberts. I have to say that I am hopeful of his choice, given the fact that I could not have expected someone totally in-line with my views. He doesn't, however, seem to be too hard core...which is all we can hope for these days.

For those that may not have heard...though I don't know how that is possible if you read the an advocate in the court, he argued that nowhere in the Constitution is a woman's right to choose specifically protected. However, in another statement he stated that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, and as a follower of legal precedent he will uphold it. Could it be that Bush's claim that judges should not "legisate from the bench" (which is ridiculous) will actually work in the favor of the pro-choice movement? Unlikely, but it is unclear...we'll all have to stay tuned.

However, aside from this one issue that everyone seems so focused in on, what about the other issues that he will have to help decide? Is it true what Arlen Specter said, that his arguments as an advocate/lawyer do not necessarily act as a guide to his expected findings as a Justice?

No doubt the Senate hearings will clear some of this up, and for many issues, say gay marriage, we'll have to wait and see - though I can assume how he would rule. For now I will hold off on my judgement, hopeful that GW chose someone that, although conservative, our country can live with for 20-30 years. However, I have to say that it is a thin hope, at best. If this goes the way the rest of his legacy seems to be going, I will soon be disappointed yet again.


Secrets, Secrets are No Fun...

A new poll shows that only a quarter of Americans believe the White House is fully cooperating with the investigation into who leaked the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame (search). But the public seems less disapproving of media figures that are not cooperating.

In the case of New York Times reporter Judith Miller (search), who is in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail for refusing to reveal her source, 60 percent say she did the right thing.

--Brit Hume


First of all, FoxNews should be rather happy that Judith Miller did not cooperate seeing as whomever gave her info was most likely another tie to the administration, and as such an FNC ally. But that is just speculation.

What I do know is that there is a clear difference between the cooperation of the very Federal body charged with enforcing law and protecting national security, and one that is to report on the state of such a government body. As President, your administration's first priority (and indeed we have had this point rubbed in our faces) should be the welfare and protection of your ctizens, so why would you not cooperate? It is intolerable to have a President who appears to be in collusion with those that did something of this nature. G Dubs may very well not be, but when you are not forthcoming with the public regarding your investigation or involvement (including lack thereof), people get suspicious. And lets remember, in a Democracy OR a Republic, you are accountable to your electorate.

As for Judith and the press, I think we all have a vital interest in the privacy and sanctity of media sources - though I don't really expect Fox News to promote this. It is called the free press, and (unlike marriage defined as only between a man and a woman) it IS part of the Constitution...that pesky little First one, to be exact. Maybe the reason people support her defense more than the President's lack of cooperation is because, much to the chagrin of some members of the GOP (I said "some"), our populous is not ready to be ruled by a single-party despot.

Poor Harry!

New Mexico Church Protests Potter
Monday December 31 11:04 AM ET

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) - As hundreds protested nearby, a church group burned Harry Potter and other books. Jack Brock, the Christ Community Church founder and pastor, said the books burned Sunday were "a masterpiece of satanic deception.'' "These books teach children how they can get into witchcraft and become a witch, wizard or warlock,'' Brock said. Members sang ``Amazing Grace'' as they threw Potter books, plus some other books and magazines, into the fire. Across the street, protesters chanting "Stop burning books'' stretched in a line a quarter of a mile long. "It may be useless but we want (the church) to know the community is not behind them,'' said Joann Booth, who protested with her four grandchildren. One protester dressed up as Adolf Hitler. Brock told the congregation that he viewed the attention the church received as a blessing. "There are those that are doing their best to make us look bad.'' Brock said. "But because of this, I've been able to preach the gospel around the world.''

A letter to the Alamogordo Daily News inviting the community to attend the fire sparked debate in the town of 36,000. On Tuesday, protesters held signs reading "Book burning? Shame on our town'' in front of the public library. Inside was a display highlighting the books.


Are you kidding me? "A masterpiece of satanic deception." To think all this time I could've been well on my way to becoming an all-powerful wizard or warlock.

My favorite part of the article is how they bill the event as a "good, old-fashinoed book-burning," and how much their members are enjoying it. I would think that they would have something better to do like, convert the Jews or, blow up abortion clinics or, hey, instead of books, why not just burn the gays?

One thing I will give them, the hyphens and commas are placed correctly in the picture's caption.


My first entry

When my brother announced the launch of his blog ( for those so inclined), and after my subsequent reading of his commentary, I knew the time had come when I myself needed to find a corner of cyberspace. Maybe to the credit of my parents for having raised independent free-thinkers, my dear brother and I have differing views on many things of the socio-political nature. I could not let him alone represent my bloodline to the masses, so here is my little column ;)

I give you, "The Daily Pragmatist." Check back for my ideas and reactions to the world's daily happenings, and check out the comments for what others (including my brother to the right, I am sure) will have to say.