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January 25, 2006


We're back! After nine days in which I had no Internet connection -- thanks to the incompetence of Time-Warner, which has a cable monopoly in New York City, where I live -- DIRELAND is once again on-line. My apologies for my Molly_ivins_1 absence, and you can be sure I'll be posting regularly from now on. I have a lot to catch up on, and I just read a right-on column by the inimitable Molly Ivins (left), of Texas, which she wrote four days ago. Here are some excerpts:

"I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for President.

"Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever Hillary_clinton_2_20050105_3 straddling, enough not offending anyone This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terri Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.

"The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times.There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.

"If no one in conventional-wisdom politics has the courage to speak up and say what needs to be said, then you go out and find some obscure junior senator from Minnesota with the guts to do it. In 1968, Gene McCarthy was the little boy who said out loud, "Look, the emperor isn't wearing any clothes." Bobby Kennedy -- rough, tough Bobby Kennedy -- didn't do it. Just this quiet man trained by Benedictines who liked to quote poetry. What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

"The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

"I listen to people like Rahm Emanuel superciliously explaining elementary politics to us clueless naifs outside the Beltway ("First, you have to win elections"). Can't you even read the damn polls?....

"If Democrats in Washington haven't got enough sense to OWN the issue of political reform, I give up on them entirely. Do it all, go long, go for public campaign financing for Congress. I'm serious as a stroke about this -- that is the only reform that will work, and you know it, as well as everyone else who's ever studied this. Do all the goo-goo stuff everybody has made fun of all these years: embrace redistricting reform, electoral reform, House rules changes, the whole package. Put up, or shut up.  Own this issue, or let Jack Abramoff politics continue to run your town....." You can read the entire Molly Ivins column by clicking here.

If you're not lucky enough to have your local newspaper running Molly Ivins' syndicated column, you ought to tell its editor they should. And you can always read her most recent three columns on the Creators Syndicate's website by clicking here. Molly is a national treasure.

ASSIMILATION DOESN'T WORK  I don't often find a lot to recommend in Borg_in_startrek the New York Blade (I write for their competition) but I rather liked an inelegant but effective Christopher Stevens piece in the last issue headlined, "Progress does not often come through subtlety, but through confrontation." He writes: "Words like 'assimilate' ought to be as close as a gay person can get to a dirty word and still get a PG-13 rating. Assimilation is 'Big Brother.' It's the Borg on 'Star Trek.' (above left) Assimilation means being absorbed into a larger whole by forfeiting your own individuality. It is what the body does with food. We would do well to remember what the body does with food that it cannot assimilate, for which  it has no use, and how we think about that substance...." Read the rest of Stevens' piece by clicking here......THE OTHER BIG BROTHER Newsweek's star investigative reporter, Michael Isikoff (left) lifts Michael_isikoff the veil today on the Pentagon's very own domestic spying program, which, Rumsfeld_giving_finger under Rummy (right) has been giving the finger to the Constitution by illegally gumshoeing everything from a Quaker anti-war meeting to a protest against Halliburton, scooping up "thousands" of Americans in its top-secret surveillance net, which operates under the name Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA). I've long appreciated Mike's work -- he's a journalists' journalist and one of the best and most fearless in the business -- ever since he covered the drug war beat for the Washington Post a few years back, and he adds yet another scoop to his record with this must-read eye-opener, which you can read by clicking here. Let's see if the rest of the media (or the spinless Democrats) turn their spotlights on Rummy's own domestic spying, now that Mike has exposed it....GAY LIFE IN BUCHAREST The English-language Bucharest Daily News (a business-oriented publication in Romania's capitol) has a piece about Romania's gay nightlife that claims, "a city once puritanical and narrow-minded has managed to offer its gay community all the necessary means for an utterly Adrian_coman hedonistic existence." Well, this piece seemed a little too rosy to me, so I asked Adrian Coman (left) -- former executive director of the Romanian gay rights group ACCEPT, he now lives and works in New York for a non-profit NGO -- what he thought of the article. Adrian replied, "Things are a little overstated. I went to Bucharest in November '05 and visited two gay clubs (and I have not heard there would be other ones). One of them is Queens which they speak about here. It is not a paradise. When I think about the long list and diversity of clubs in the neighbouring capitals of Budapest or even Sofia, Bucharest is clearly lagging behind (although the city is much bigger). As I used to say when I worked for ACCEPT, I am trying to understand why market economy does not work when it comes to gays and clubs in Romania." Keep Adrian's comments in mind when reading the article, which you can do by clicking here.....PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS Dilip_hiro TomDispatch has a smart piece by Dilip Hiro (right) dissecting why the reasons for the advance of political Islam differ from country to country in the Near and Middle East, including today's voting in Palestine, where he explains why a Hamas breakthrough is expected.

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Posted by: ds | Oct 25, 2006 5:30:50 AM

I continue to struggle with what is needed.
I can point to the progress made in circles of assimilation re: corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

I cannot find any progress made on the growing poverty in the United States and the harm to our overall health, especially children, when every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with autism or every 10-12 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. (I could not find my source on Breast Cancer, so this may be my inaccurate memory.)

I spend my day trying to find faith and hope from small steps of progress that do not seem to counteract the larger glaring problems that some believe are only solved by defense, war and deficit spending.

Thank you Molly for what you write.

Posted by: Lavinia Weissman | Feb 23, 2006 9:27:57 AM

Also glad you're back...direland always one of my cherished reads.

You might want to check http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com inre Palestinian elections. Her comments on that sorry part of the world are always insightful and worth reading.

Posted by: Bob Machover | Jan 27, 2006 2:15:20 PM

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