Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"Katrina Gras"

How Dick Cheney stole the thunder from one Louisiana artist!

"Katrina Gras" ~ The Art of William Joyce

Written by William Joyce

I was asked some months back to do a New Yorker cover depicting some aspect of how New Orleans was dealing with Mardi Gras in the post Katrina world.

I've done occasional covers for the New Yorker since 1994 and since I am a native Louisianan and still live here they hoped I'd have an informed perspective on the tragedy and its aftermath.

My schedule has been crazed, but this was a labor of love and something I felt I had to do.

Coming up with a concept that tempered my rage with some hope was not easy, but I got inspiration from an old photograph of Mardi Gras in the '30's by J. Guttman, called the" The Game". It's a wonderful, eerie image of New Orleans and its curious magic.

The editors were very pleased with the results. The proof looked great. Some friends cried when I showed it to them.

The image did what I'd hoped. It made people from here sad and proud at the same time.

I was hoping it would, I don't know, somehow help. Help call attention to our plight. Help people understand us.

Then Dick Cheney shot his friend instead of a bird.

A more topical cover was cobbled together. A clever twist on Cheney's folly. I've had covers at the New Yorker bumped before. That's just part of the game. But this one really mattered. The hurricanes have turned the people of Louisiana into activists. We no longer have the luxury of emotional distance with this story.

Louisiana had received its share of coverage lately I was told. They tried to find a place for it inside the magazine. Everyone said they were sympathetic. But nothing happened.

So we've been shunted aside again.

Our collective sorrow and tragedy mattered less than a single hunting accident.

I really had hoped that compassion would win out over clever.

Mr. Cheney's friend is thankfully alive. Meanwhile we're still finding bodies in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras

Monday, February 27, 2006

Politics as usual!

Port scam's dirty details

The outrageous Dubai Ports deal seems like political suicide for the White House, but handing over U.S. seaports to the United Arab Emirates is actually just more big-money cronyism for an administration that no longer cares what anybody thinks ... especially voters who fell for that whole War on Terror.

The Bush Administration bullshit meter!

George W. Bush nominated Dubai Ports senior executive David Sanborn to be the U.S. Maritime Administrator -- "a key transportation appointment reporting directly to Norman Mineta the Secretary of Transportation" -- just three weeks before the UAE takeover of U.S. seaports was made public.

Treasury Secretary John Snow, who approved the deal and now denies it, was chief executive of CTX Corp. until George W. Bush appointed him in 2003.CTX sold its port operations to Dubai Ports for $1.15 billion a year later.

The United Arab Emirates is a major stakeholder in the Carlyle Group -- the same gargantuan private equity firm that employed the elder George Bush as senior adviser.The UAE government-run fim Dubai International Capital backs an $8 billion Carlyle fund.And the Carlyle Group bought CSX Corp. in 2002, while Snow was still CEO.

The UAE even gave more than a million dollars to the elder Bush's presidential library in Texas.


The PUGS are very happy to have daddy home sick today. While I was writing this post, I noticed that sitting side by side, Daisy and Muggs were at the entrance to the kitchen staring at me.

The look was familiar, indicating the demand for breakfast, which on my days off consists of an Aunt Jamima scrambled egg and bacon frozen breakfast (mixed of course with a half cup of Science Diet low fat dry dog food).

The pugs have been served, I can now continue.

The most distinguished Krewe to parade on Mardi Gras day, immediately following ZULU is the KREWE OF REX.

Formal to the extreme, it's members include some of the most distinguished and prominent families in New Orleans society.

The first Krewe to parade on Mardi Gras day, REX surfaced in 1872 when Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans. That year the krewe of Rex made their debut and began the tradition of the "King of Carnival."

Rex also introduced purple, gold and green ( purple represents justice; green, faith; and gold, power) as the official colors of Mardi Gras. Rex was the first krewe to hold an organized daytime parade and introduced "If Ever I Cease To Love" as the Mardi Gras anthem.

One of the high points of Rex is the arrival of the Rex King on a riverboat prior to the beginning of the parade.

In 1909 Zulu (an organization made up of black businessmen leaders) appeared as a parody of Rex. The Zulu King held a banana stalk scepter and wore a lard can crown. He arrived on on oyster lugger instead of a steamboat.

Zulu was destined to become one of the most popular and beloved of all krewes (see the following post).


The Monday before Mardi Gras.......

I allowed Daisy to call the shots this morning as to whether I would go to work or not. First of all, I went to bed last night with the beginnings of a sore throat, congestion, etc., but I have a strong work ethic and I usually have to be nearly half dead to stay home from work.

This morning was different. I was awake fifteen minutes before the alarm was set to go off, at which time Daisy left her pillow and crawled under the covers comfortably nesting against my chest. The deal was... if she gets up and goes back to her pillow, I get up. Otherwise, I do not leave this bed.

Daisy began snoring, "can I hear you say AMEN", I went back to sleep.

Today, I'm focusing on one of the most significant parades of the Mardi Gras Season... the first to parade tomorrow, directly before the Krewe of Rex is the ZULU SOCIAL AID & PLEASURE CLUB

Hardest hit by hurricane Katrina was the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, an African-American group. Ten of its 600 members died in Katrina and the subsequent flooding. Eighty percent of members' homes were destroyed, scattering Zulus around the country. The Zulu clubhouse took six feet of water.

"I lost everything -- house, car, clothes," says Naaman Stewart, Zulu vice president. His New Orleans East neighborhood was inundated for over six weeks. "But the spirit of New Orleans is much more important than crying about what we've lost, so you just keep trying."

For some, the idea of celebrating on the heels of catastrophe seemed wrong. One member sued in a failed effort to keep Zulu from the celebration. Stewart says he can understand, yet he feels Zulu has an important role to play. This year's parade, with a half-dozen fewer floats than last year, will roll under the theme, "Leading the Way Back Home."

"We want to be instrumental in bringing the city back," Stewart says. When the club holds its coronation ball, at the Hilton, television viewers will see 1,200 people from the city's black community "getting together dressed to the nines, looking good, feeling good," Stewart says.

Zulu will march on the shortened route from Uptown to Canal Street and the convention center as requested by the city. Afterward, they will leave their floats at the Superdome and "second-line" through the streets to their rebuilt clubhouse in the Mid-City neighborhood.

The second line is a jazz funeral tradition in which marchers start somberly, then "cut the body loose" and dance to celebrate those who remain. It took some doing to get the city to permit the second-line.

"It was necessary to go back," Stewart says. "There's too much history and tradition. We are Mardi Gras."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sunday Satire ~ The Sheik

WASHINGTON (IWR News Satire) - The New York Times reported today the shocking revelation that a secret provision of the controversial Dubai Port Deal would make George W. Bush "The Sheik Of Araby".

Scott McClellan immediately downplayed the story saying that Mr. Bush was not aware that this official title would be bestowed to him.

McClellan also said Bush was not aware of the fact that he would receive a harem of 250 belly dancers, a herd 10,000 of elephants or that humungous kickback from the Carlyle Group.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Blogzie and the little red crockpot!

In last Sunday's St. Petersburg Times, there was a Target insert advertising a crock pot on sale.

Never having owned a crock pot, the $17.99 advertised price was mighty tempting, although the available colors left much to be desired; white or red. With the exception of two polo golf shirts and one sweatshirt, noting in my home is red (I actually hate that color) which made me immediately decide that I needed a red crock pot! I would get one on my way home from work the next day.

All quickly forgotten until today. I visited dear Blogzie's blog today where she had posted a recipe for chicken made in a crock pot. The recipe sounded delicious so off to Target I go to buy my little red crock pot on the last day of the sale.

My first stop at Target's was the garden furniture section. With spring coming, I'm considering some changes to the patio. As I turn the corner, there on an end cap is a selection of bedding from the international bazaar collection on sale for 90% off.

On the bottom shelf, I spot a comforter (rust background with two wide stripes one tan, the other chocolate with contrasting appliqued symbols on each stripe). Looks expensive but at 90% off, it can't be too much and I do need something to put on the bed to preserve my present comforter from the dogs.

No price tag on the comforter and no others in sight, I call a sales clerk over. We reopen the comforter, check for tags and no tags. Justin (the clerk) calls the store manager (Monique) and explains the situation. I hear Monique tell Justin to find something like it, and charge me that price.

On the shelf above the comforter are two beautiful mohair lap throws priced at $49.95, so I suggest to Justin that is the most similar item in the area, who relates this to Monique. I hear Monique tell Justin to have the clerk charge me $49.95 for the comforter.

I forget the little red crock pot and head for the register. I tell the clerk "this is $49.95 less 90% off, any questions call Justin or Monique. Without hesitation, the clerk rings in $49.95 less the discount and tells me, the will be $2.50 plus 7% tax.... total $2.68. That didn't sound quite right, so I checked my receipt on the way out and saw that the clerk had given me 95% off.

I was on my way back to tell her she had made a mistake in the % off when I saw a woman with the identical comforter in her shopping cart. "I just bought the same one", says I, and noticed her comforter had a price tag on it reading $129.95. I find Justin on my way out and tell him (honest me) about the price tag on the other comforter. "Well since Monique said you could have it for $49.95 less the discount, it's yours for the quoted price. AMEN!

I'm on my way out the door when I decide that at those prices, I want one of the lap throws so back into Target I go. The throws are Mohair, and like the comforter imported from South Africa and the colors are brilliant. I can't decide which to purchase, the tan or the rust colored so I purchase both along with a matching decorator pillow. Original price of each throw, $49.95; decorator pillow $49.95. total cost after the 90% discount, $14.97 added tax of 7% total sale is $16.02.

I'm ready to leave for home when I remember the red crock pot. Back into Target I go and this time directly to the crock pot aisle. I pick up the crock pot and decide that I need two more decorator pillows. Still part of the bed ensemble but different sizes, the two pillows I choose are $29.95 and $34.95 or $6.90 with 90% off plus 7% tax for a total of $7.38..........

Total price of 1 comforter, 2 lap throws, 3 decorator pillows, including tax $26.08!
Original price of above merchandise $344.70

Not a bad day at all, and yes I did purchase the little red crock pot, marked down from $19.99 to $17.99; and finally on my way out the door, I saw a penny on the ground and picked it up!

On the way home, I stopped by Starbucks for my usual grande mocha frappucino. Cost $3.91.

As for cooking in the crock pot, sorry Blogzie, I'm much too tired. I'm going to pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the deli section of Publix for dinner.

Tomorrow, it's back to Target to purchase a plastic storage container. These colors a more suited to fall/winter and it's just getting too warm here now which means everything goes into storage with the exception of my little red crock pot!

Friday, February 24, 2006


I'm dedicating the following Mardi Gras Posters to christian fundamentalist "skreechers" Michael Marcavage of "Repent America" who immediately said after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina "Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city,"

........and the reverend Bill Shanks who said "New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now,"

........and finally the Rev. Robert Guste of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Kenner, La. who said at the start of the first New Orleans City Council meeting since hurricane Katrina that the disaster may have been brought on by gays "and other sinners";

........this one's for you!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Just another day in Pugsville, USA!


The sleeping arrangements in my home are not at all complicated; one double bed accomodating one adult male and two pugs.

For years, it's been understood that the males in the household, (Muggs and I) sleep on the right hand side of the bed (Muggs at my feet), occupying one-third of the space.

The female in the family (Daisy) occupies the other two-thirds of the bed (said space consisting of the PUG and a varied assortment toys she chooses to take to bed with her).

We apparently do not adapt well to change.

Last night for some strange reason (testing the waters?) Muggs settle in at the foot of Daisy's side of the bed and was already asleep when Daisy and I sauntered into the bedroom. I got into bed and after a few minutes, I realized that Daisy was still sitting on the floor. After much coaxing, Daisy finally jumped into bed and within minutes, began to have an anxiety attack from hell. Deep labored breathing, tongue hanging out of her mouth, drooling so extensive that large wet spots were forming on the sheets......

In a panic and not fully understanding what was going on, I sat up and held her in my arms trying to calm her down which only made it worse. I was ready to call and take her to the emergency animal hospital (it's now 1:15 AM) when I remembered having been given a liquid tranquilizer by her vet to calm her down before she goes to the groomer. I filled a tablespoon full, opened her mouth and poured the liquid down her throat.

After about 15 minutes, she finally calmed down. I carried her back into the bedroom where Muggs was still asleep on her side of the bed. When Daisy saw that he was still there, I could feel her body tensing and realized that this had been the cause of the anxiety attack.

I moved Muggs back to "our" third of the bed where he immediately went back to sleep, placed Daisy on her pillow, where finally exhausted, she dropped down and fell asleep.

I on the other hand, was awake with worry all night.

Tone deaf or brain dead!


The "final throes of Bush's journey toward self-destruction may have found expression" in the port deal.
Kathleen Parker of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel and TMS

I tried........ really I did! I promised myself I would refrain from political blogging during this Mardi Gras season but somehow, this story is so incredibly unbelievable, I have to address it!

Only a fool for president would say that he was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration.

Defending the deal anew, the administration also said that it should have briefed Congress sooner about the transaction, which has triggered a major political backlash among both Republicans and Democrats.

Bush on Tuesday brushed aside objections by leaders in the Senate and House that the $6.8 billion sale could raise risks of terrorism at American ports.

In a forceful defense of his administration's earlier approval of the deal, he pledged to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement involving the sale of a British company to the Arab firm.

Dubai Port's top American executive, chief operating officer Edward H. Bilkey, said the company will do whatever the administration asks to enhance shipping security and ensure the sale goes through.

Bilkey said Wednesday he will work in Washington to persuade skeptical lawmakers they should endorse the deal. At least two Senate oversight hearings already are scheduled."We're disappointed," Bilkey told The Associated Press in an interview.

"We're going to do our best to persuade them that they jumped the gun. "The UAE is a very solid friend, as President Bush has said.

"Bush faces a rebellion from leaders of his own party, as well as from Democrats, about the deal that would put Dubai Ports in charge of major shipping operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

While Bush has adamantly defended the deal, the White House acknowledged that he did not know about it until recently."He became aware of it over the last several days," McClellan said. Asked if Bush did not know about it until it was a done deal, McClellan said, "That's correct." He said the matter did not rise to the presidential level, but went through a congressionally-mandated review process and was determined not to pose a national security threat.

Michelle Malkin of Creators Syndicate called the port decision "boneheaded," and added: "I stand with critics on both sides of the aisle who want to stop the secretive deal transferring operations of our ports to the UAE -- a Middle Eastern government with a spotty record of fighting terrorist plots and terrorist financing. ... From every angle -- political, safety, and sovereignty-wise -- Dubai Ports World's business transaction ... looks bad and smells worse."

Another Creators columnist, Joseph Farah, wrote: "I don't know what's crazier and more politically inept -- the original decision to contract the management of six major U.S. ports ... or the White House's continued defense of the idea in the face of overwhelming criticism. You tell me: Is Bush tone deaf or brain dead?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mardi Gras!

Three day weekends are a luxury I could easily live with. I love my job, what I don't love is having to get out of bed in the morning. The PUGS make it even more difficult by sleeping until I'm just about ready to leave the house; reluctant to get up to take a quick walk outside.

The weather is perfect, high 70's with a mild breeze coming in off the Gulf. I want to crawl back into bed with the puppies, I want to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I want to stay home from work today, I really need to hit the lottery!

Tomorrow begins the official final carnival days leading up to Mardi Gras.

The parades will get increasingly larger and more elaborate as each day go by.

The elaborate carnival balls, the private parties, the crowded restaurants, bars and streets this year will only be a cameo of happier times.

This weekend will most likely be the time when those displaced by hurricane Katrina miss being home the most. Surely, a majority will eventually return.

Mardi Gras, for the residents of New Orleans is a way of life; a holiday celebrated with as much, if not more enthusiasm than Christmas. For the children, it's a holiday where schools are not in session; a time to watch parades, catch beads and assorted "throws".

The first parades leading up to Mardi Gras begin Thursday with the following parades.


The Krewe of Babylon
The Krewe of Chaos
The Krewe of Muses


The Krewe of Hermes
The Krewe d'Etat
The Krewe of Morpheus


The Krewe of Iris
The Krewe of Tucks
The Krewe of Endymion

Elsewhere in America, from as far north as Biddeford, Maine to the West Coast in San Diego more and more organizations will be celebrating Mardi Gras this year; many being held as benefits for disaster relief.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Democratic Unity!

It appears that there is a misconception about the ability of Democrats to agree with each other on several issues.

Let it be understoon that although we sometimes disagree, be assured that there is definately one cause in which every Democrat could not be more strongly united:

"That cause is to depose the absolute worst ruling regime this fine country has ever experienced. And in that unification, we shall overcome and give this country back to the citizens of the United States of America."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Car wash day!


Refusing to spend the last day of my three day weekend doing absolutely nothing, I stopped by a couple of malls today to do some shopping. First stop, Starbucks for a Mocha Frappucino!

The weather has been beautifully warm with a cool breeze coming in off the Gulf of Mexico.

The roads were unusually crowded for a Monday and I blamed the winter visitors until I realized that today is a holiday; Presidents Day........ although we can only celebrate the great presidents of the past, certainly not the one we presently have in the White House.

I bought a few things, stopped for lunch and on the way home, decided it was time to pamper the car with a thorough cleaning at the neighborhood car wash!

The post you have just read is true, with the exception of the car wash....... that photo arrived in today's e-mail and I just had to share it!


Good news!


Better than 90 percent of French Quarter shops, attractions, hotels, restaurants, clubs and nightspots are recovered and reopened after Hurricane Katrina. Antoine's, Galatoire's, Broussard's, Palace Cafe, Morton's, and Arnaud's recently joined the "ready for you" list".

The Quarter is primed, polished and eager for the extra guests expected for Mardi Gras 2006. The Carnival season officially began with Twelfth Night January 6 when purple, green and gold King Cakes, flags and banners appeared all over town. Now, there are only a few days left til Fat Tuesday.

The 150th anniversary celebration of New Orleans' signature event, which began Friday, is smaller than usual, but many say the eight days of revelry are the cornerstone of the city's reconstruction. Civic leaders hope that by the time people gather for Fat Tuesday, Feb. 28, it will be clear the Crescent City is back.

The krewes that run the floats take their names from Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology. Some poked fun at FEMA and elected officials.

One, with a giant head of a Roman emperor, proclaimed, "The federal government: They fiddle while we drown." Another, laden with a group of cartoon characters, was labeled "Levee Protection, a real-life fairy tale."

"New Orleans is Mardi Gras, and Mardi Gras is New Orleans," said King Logan, a leader of a krewe called Rex, whose 27-float caravan, set to roll on Tuesday, will be this year's biggest.

Rex craftsmen put the finishing touches on 18-foot-high images of kings and giant animals in a warehouse where a human body was found floating in floodwater after Katrina.

A group of students from the MAX, a new school serving kids who normally attend three local high schools now temporarily closed, marched Saturday, even though several had lost their homes and some lost loved ones to Katrina, said music director Lester Wilson.

Before Mardi Gras, organizers scrambled to clear abandoned cars along the parade route and to find high school bands and krewe members who scattered across the country.

Many organizers and participants said the event is too important to the city's economy to cancel.

"If Mardi Gras were not to happen, we would struggle to pay our police, fire (and ambulance) services for months to come," said Kim Priez, vice president of the city's convention and visitors bureau.

About 25,000 hotel rooms are available and more than 760 restaurants are open, compared with pre-Katrina totals of 38,000 rooms and 3,414 restaurants. Mardi Gras usually draws more than 1 million people and generates more than $1 billion in business in New Orleans. The celebration, usually 12 days long, normally accounts for 40 percent of the city's annual tax revenues.

"We've got to prove to the world that we are open," said Jim Funk, executive vice president of the Louisiana Restaurant Association.

Peter Frank, editor-in-chief of, a New York-based Web site catering to luxury travelers, said a successful Mardi Gras and JazzFest, beginning in April, have a good chance of reviving the city's status as a worldwide vacation destination.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A three day weekend and exactly what have I accomplished?

Absolutely nothing! As it should be. I've spent time sleeping late, playing with the pugs, writing and reading blogs, watching some really bad movies and eating.

One week ago, I was wearing gloves, a knit cap and a heavy jacket......... today, at 79 degrees, it's almost short sleeves and shorts weather!

Spring is in the air, flowers are in bloom, traffic going to and from the beach is unbearable.

At this time of year, it's really much too cool for locals to be at the beach, which means a large percentage of all that traffic is made up of tourists or "snow birds", the winter residents who go back north after Easter.

Wonderful news on the home front. The Diva (my sister) telephoned me from the boat yesterday and informed me that the sheriff (my nephew) and the sheriff (his fiancee) will be getting married in July in Las Vegas. This is a preferred location because the bride to be has family in the mid-west and Vegas is a favored vacation spot for my family.

The nephew is an only child which means he is also an only nephew, an only grandchild, my god son........ he is much loved and much spoiled. The "niece to be" is a sweetheart. They make a beautiful couple, and the family is pleased; which is not always an easy thing in my family.

Something to look forward to; a wedding and reception, spending time with family, wonderful shows, great food and a little gambling.

It's just a silly rumor!

An article by Guest Blogger Donatella Biachi!

Rumors are flying that Dick Cheney's little incident with the shotgun was covered up for hours so the Secret Service could get rid of his gal pal.

Pamela Willeford was appointed by George W. Bush as ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein in 2003 after she and her family gave more than $23,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign and other Republican candidates just since the 2000 elections.

Willeford was with Cheney when he shot his elderly lawyer in the face and chest, according to the
Austin American-Statesman.

But Sirius radio host
Alex Bennett and the Huffington Post say there’s something going on between Cheney and the woman, and the mysterious coverup was all about hiding the vice president’s mistress.

"The real story is already emerging, if you're willing to do a little digging," blogger
R.J. Eskow wrote Wednesday."

Cheney and Whittington went
hunting with two women (not their wives), there was some drinking, and Whittington wound up shot. Armstrong didn't see the incident but claimed she had, Cheney refused to be questioned by the Sheriff until the next morning, and a born-again evangelical physician has been downplaying Whittington's injuries since they occurred.”

On Wednesday, the following appeared on Wonkette:

Cheney rumor we don’t believe:

The delay in reporing the incident was to cover up Cheney’s affair with
Pamela Willeford.

We thought long and hard about this one, and we just can’t wrap our minds around the idea of any heterosexual woman fucking Dick Cheney. Hence, Lynne.

Today, The Washington Post will be publishing the following article:

Hunting for Camaraderie With Shotguns and Friends
Companions Say Pastime Gives Cheney a Timeout
Peter Baker Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 19, 2006; Page A07

"Yet several hunting companions say the trips include more political gossiping and storytelling than horse-trading."

"While women sometimes come along, such as Armstrong and Pamela Pitzer Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland who was also at the Texas ranch a weekend ago, Lynne Cheney does not seem to be a regular on these trips!"


As I said........ it's all just silly rumors and I don't want to make this a gossip rag; I've known about all of this for a week, but now that the Washington Post has published it's article, the only question I have is "why did it take a full week for a leading newspaper to publish the fact that Pamela Willeford was present at the ranch during the shooting?"

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dermot the pug wins Best of Breed and Best of Toy Group at the 150th Annual Westminster Dog Show.

Since we're a pug family, the PUGLETS insisted that I acknowledge Dermot today with a reminder that if you are thinking of adopting a dog, you might like to consider a PUG.

My boy Muggs was rescued from an abusive home and he's the most loving and devoted friend anyone could have.

Most states have a PUG RESCUE organization!

And now...... here's Dermot!



Friday, February 17, 2006



Finally, the weekend! After an incredibly busy week at work, I'm finally taking three days off. Three days of sleeping in and just hanging around, playing with the PUGS, reading, listening to music and watching movies.

Daisy, my 10 year old puppy is developing arthritis in one leg and despite all efforts to keep her from running and jumping, she continues. She wants to play and I try to make her slow down, which she thinks is punishment.... which upsets me.

I've finally discovered a way for her to take her medication by crushing the pills and mixing them with chicken. Tonite was a success. Next are visits to two vets... I want an evaluation and a second opinion after which we are going holistic and possibly accupuncture.

Oh, and the dreaded diet. Daisy is overweight weighing in at 23 pounds when she should be, according to vet number one... about 15 pounds. Of course because of the arthritis, exercise is held at a minimum. What to do?

What we will do, is make every effort to keep her as comfortable as possible.

My girl isn't going anywhere!

My favorite Mardi Gras parade held anually in New Orleans; THE KREWE OF BARKUS is being held this year on Sunday the 19th of February.

The Krewe of Barkus is the dog parade...... held in the French Quarter with approximately fifteen hundred dogs and their owners, in costume.

Like all two legged parades, the Krewe of Barkus has a king, a queen, and the royal court followed by the the loyal subjects..... people love it!

Each year, the parade has a theme. This years theme is appropriately named:

The Wizard of Paws "There's no place like home"

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I'm sure you've all either heard or read about the song recently recorded by country singer Willie Nelson.... about Gay cowboys.

Thanks to my BLOGMASTER and friend CrackerLilo, you can hear it here on 009!

This is your chance to put on your cowboy boots, tie a bandana around your neck, take that cowboy hat out of the closet, "click and go" and sing along with Willie!

Click here:

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Vice president Cheney bitterly complains that national security leaks are endangering America. Unless, of course he's doing the leaking, tapping Scooter Libby to reveal national security information to punish a political critic.

President Bush says he will not talk about specific security threats to America. Unless, of course, he needs to talk about a specific threat to Los Angeles to confuse the public and gain some cheap political advantage.

The White House says it has done everything possible to protect the homeland. Unless, of course, it hasn't. Then it can lie to hide the callous portrait of Incurious George in Crawford as New Orleans drowned.

The attorney general can claim that torture and warrantless wiretapping are legal, and mislead congress. Unless, of course, enough republicans stand up and say, as Arlen Specter told the Washington Post that if the lickspittle lawyer thinks this is all legal, "he's smoking Dutch Cleanser."

The president doesn't know Jack Abramoff. Unless, of course, W. has met with him a dozen times, invited him to Caarwford and joked with him about his kids.

The Bushies can continue to claim that the invasion of Iraq was justified because Saddam was a threat to our security. Unless, of course, he wasn't, and the Cheney cabal was simply abusing the trust of Americans to push a wild eyed political scheme.

At the Bush White House, the mere of the word "terror" justifies breaking any law, contravening any convention, despoiling any ideal, electing any Republican and brushing off any failure to govern.

A final absurdity of dysfunction junction was reached last week when GOP leaders awarded Tom Delay with a seat on the Appropriations subcommittee, overseeing the Justice Department which is investigatiing Jack Abramoff, including his connection to Delay.

Does this just all not make you crazy?

Excerpts: Maureen Dowd

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


My first recollections of Mardi Gras date back to before most of my readers were born....

I was a young child, living in true Acadian country...... New Brunswick, Canada. We lived in a small parish (too small to be called a village) of about 200 families.

There were no fancy balls, grandiose parades; but we masked, we partied, we danced. I was from a deeply religious family (times do change) and this was the last day to party before the beginning of the lenten season.

At the age of seven, we moved to the United States..... Boston to be exact.

Mardi gras was replaced by Halloween and it wasn't until many years later; when I began visiting New Orleans every three or four months, that Mardi Gras began to have major significance again.


The revitalization of New Orleans, rising again like the Phoenix from cinnamon ashes; this year's poster by artist Sandy Mistretta shows the face of hope during this the 150th year of celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

New Orleans will indeed rise from the ashes; keeping the promise of past blues and jazz greats, the charm of the French Quarter and the undying heart of a great people who call New Orleans home.

This is the weekend I would normally be in New Orleans as part of the Mardi Gras celebrations without being there for the massive crowds that surface for the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras.

This is the weekend when I would reunite with my friends; Paul from New York, Joey from Jacksonville, Bob and Rudy from Denver or my friend Tim here in Clearwater.

This is the weekend of my favorite parade, the Krewe of Barkus.

As the dogs get older, I'm more relulctant to leave them home (even with a sitter), and I already have a commitment in New Orleans in March; but I will be celebrating Mardi Gras here in Florida, and on this blog!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Hello, is anybody there?

You just have to believe that somewhere, within the Democratic party, there is a savior..... someone with a pair of "balls of steel"; man or woman.

Personally, I don't think that person has yet surfaced.

The party bigwigs -- both those on the record and off -- come across as dithering, hand wringing poltroons, worried about taking too strong a stand on... anything. It's as if they've learned nothing from the last three elections.

The Democratic arsenal is stocked with powerful weapons -- Iraq, Katrina, Abramoff, Libby, Osama, illegal spying, repeated lying, etc., etc -- and yet, according to the New York Times, "party leaders are divided about what Democrats should be talking about."

What's more, if they ever manage to decide what to talk about, Dems are apparently clueless how they should talk about it -- "divided over whether to take on the Republicans in a more confrontational manner, ideologically and politically, or move more forcefully to stake out the center on social and national issues."

Oh, boy. Here we go again. Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Dithering Dems have become the Party That Couldn't Think -- Let Alone Run -- Straight.

Will somebody please, get me outta here?

Excerpts: Arianna Huffington

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'm certain my northern friends don't want to read this, but it's freezing here in Tampa Bay, Florida.

In less than a week, we've gone from weather in the high 70's to the low 40's... which happens to be cold!

Even the PUGS, who happen to love the cooler weather took a few steps into the yard, turned around and came back inside this morning, which means that I had to put on a few layers of clothing and accompany them around the block a few times to TCB.

The remainder of the day is gonna be spent indoors, heat on high, drinking coffee, cooking (anything as long as the oven stays lit), and finishing the work I took home for the weekend.

The new template celebrating Mardi Gras is finally up and running. I was glad to finally tone down things a bit, since the bright yellow of the last template was beginning to give me a headache.

Although many countries and American cities celebrate Mardi Gras, the focus this year will be on New Orleans with everyone seeming to have a different opinion as to whether or not they should be celebrating after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Personally, I'm glad they're decided to hold the annual event.

This will certainly not be a celebration of the devastation. It will, on a much smaller scale begin to rebuild the economy that is so badly needed at this time.

After all, New Orleans was dependant on the tourist dollar to keep it's economy flowing; it has to begin somewhere.

There are usually 56 parades held the month leading up to Mardi Gras. This year, there are only 18.

The first parades roll out Saturday at noon ......
There will be five parades; one following the other in the following order:

The Krewe of Pontchartrain
The Krewe of Shangri-La
The Krewe of Pygmalion
The Krewe of Sparta
The Krewe of Pegasus

I had to smile when I saw this sign for a 5 cent cup of coffee; as I thought of my friend "Pobble Thought" who uses "That and a buck fifty will get you coffee" as a signature on her posts.

Times sure change!

Last week was one of those "weeks from HELL" at work. I made the mistake of accepting the challenge of cleaning up some of the work left undone by previous case managers which means aside from issues with my own client base, I'm trying to complete (fine tune) the work of others.

I love the challenge but I don't think I understood the scope of unfinished business.

The goal, clean up their act by the end of February....... I'm still not certain it can be done, but I'm giving it 100%. At work, I'm suddenly not the most pleasant apple in the bunch; at home, the dogs make believe they're sleeping and leave me to my work.

I'm trying to post on a regular basis and reading all of my blogmasters each morning and some in the evenings. If I don't comment as regularly as I like, understand that I'm reading and enjoying your posts. Know that soon enough, I'll be putting in my "five cents worth"!

I actually did upload photos today, but they came out blurry and not at all like the originals. I will try another avenue next Sunday, sorry.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Jack Abramoff said in correspondence made public on Thursday that President Bush met him "almost a dozen" times, disputing White House claims Bush did not know the former lobbyist at the center of a corruption scandal.

"The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids. Perhaps he has forgotten everything, who knows," Abramoff wrote in an e-mail to Kim Eisler, national editor for the Washingtonian magazine.

Abramoff added that Bush also once invited him to his Texas ranch.

The messages were made public by the American Progress Action Fund, a liberal activist group. Eisler confirmed their accuracy to Reuters but said he did not intend them to become public.

"They reflect the feeling of frustration he has not just with Bush but with all these guys claiming they didn't know him," said Eisler, who knew Abramoff through a book he wrote about the Pequot Indian tribe.

Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges in early January and is cooperating with prosecutors in a corruption probe that could implicate lawmakers and officials across Washington.

Bush has said he never had a discussion with Abramoff and does not remember having his picture taken with him.

Out of bounds.....

Former Giants lineman Roy Simmons and celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred want an investigation into whether Simmons was denied access to the Super Bowl media center because he is gay and HIV-positive.

Simmons and Allred held a news conference outside NFL headquarters Thursday before delivering a letter to the league asking it to look into why Simmons wasn't granted a media pass.

Simmons requested a credential for the center Feb. 2, three days before the Super Bowl. He also asked for two tickets for the game, which the Pittsburgh Steelers won 21-10 over the Seattle Seahawks, and a party.

He said he was told there were no more credentials available. But Allred, whose clients have included Scott Peterson's former mistress, Amber Frey, said the NFL indicated that it would give others passes after Simmons asked for one.

Simmons, who also played for the Washington Redskins, said he stood outside the media center in Detroit and watched many past and present football players go in and out.

"I was once part of the inner circle -- now I'm standing on the outside looking in," said Simmons, who also wasn't given passes to the game or the party.

In a letter addressed to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Allred listed questions she said the NFL should answer, including whether Simmons' request was denied because he no longer fit the image of an NFL player or whether the NFL "is inherently homophobic and prefers that a gay football player remain in the closet."

The NFL said in a statement that people throughout the league are inundated with last-minute requests for Super Bowl game tickets, party invitations and press credentials. An NFL spokesman said some requests are handled by the league and others go through the public relations staff at the media center.

"It is impossible for all of these requests to be met, and there were many people, apart from Mr. Simmons, who were disappointed," the statement said.

It said that "far from being hostile to Mr. Simmons, the last word back to him from our office was to contact us after the Super Bowl about the possibility of speaking to our rookies at their annual June symposium."

Simmons said he never asked for credentials in the past and wanted access to the media center this year to talk about the importance of HIV testing.

Simmons, who played for the Giants from 1979-81 and Redskins in 1983, disclosed that he is gay in 1992. He was the first former NFL player to come out as HIV-positive 10 years later. He now works as a supervisor at a halfway house in Long Island.

NOTE: Roy Simmons book "Out of Bounds" is featured on my sidebar. djm~

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Department of Defense has admitted that some of its clandestine investigations of foreign terrorist threats dealt "inappropriately" with peace activists and gay protesters, said Sen. Carl Levin.

In a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee that Levin referenced Tuesday, the Pentagon revealed the initial results of an internal investigation into its 3-year-old Counterintelligence Field Activity unit. The results included keeping data deemed "invalid" to terrorist threats for longer than the allotted 90 days.

First exposed by a document leak to NBC News in December, the agency runs an information-gathering project called Threat and Local Operation Notice, or TALON, which spies on so-called "suspicious incidents." Those incidents reportedly have included anti-war campus protests and demonstrations against the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy against gay personnel.

On Monday, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a federal suit against the Defense Department and the Department of Justice, demanding fast action on a month-old Freedom of Information Act request for information about six government agencies, including CIFA. The original request was met with stall tactics, the LGBT legal group said.

The original Jan. 5 FOIA filing demanded documents and information about materials gathered on gay rights groups by CIFA, the National Security Agency, the CIA, the FBI and two units of the Justice Department. It was joined by 13 other organizations, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network sued after it became clear that the materials would not be provided in a timely fashion, if at all.

In addition to the recent national debate over extra-legal wiretapping by the National Security Agency, the FBI has been accused of investigating Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in an effort to rout out "eco-terrorism." As for CIFA and its TALON project, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported in January that the number of Americans listed in TALON reports could be in the thousands. According to Newsweek, these would include a dozen activists who handed out peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches outside Halliburton's headquarters in Houston in June 2004, as well as the 15 or so demonstrators who waved a giant "Bush Lied" sign outside a military recruiting office in a Florida strip mall.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is particularly concerned with the suggestion that TALON snoops spied on "don't ask, don't tell" protesters at the State University of New York in Albany, William Patterson College and New York University. An alleged TALON investigation of an anti-war event on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus led Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to write a letter to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld last month.

"Under what circumstances can peaceful protests at universities or by anti-war groups be monitored?" Feinstein wrote. "What authorities, and under what regulations, do military counterintelligence units have to conduct investigations on U.S. persons?"

Ann Rostow, PlanetOut Network
Thursday, February 9, 2006

Thursday, February 09, 2006

This somehow makes sense!

Does George Bush deserve to be impeached?


So should Democrats rally around nascent efforts to impeach the president?

Absolutely not!

Many have convincingly laid out the case that Bush has repeatedly violated the law and overstepped his constitutional authority -- lying to Congress in the run up to the war, over the torture scandals, and especially by doing an end run around FISA with his warrantless wiretapping program.

Nevertheless, a push to impeach would be nothing but a huge -- and pointless -- distraction.

A majority of Americans believe that if Bush "wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge... Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment." And most favor impeachment if the president lied about Iraq.

But the House is controlled by the GOP and the votes are simply not there to impeach. Instead, the effort would just take up precious oxygen, energy, and passion better used demonstrating to the American public that the president and his party have made us less safe as a country.

This is the case Democrats need to be making: Bush's imperial adventure in Iraq has had devastating consequences on the real battle at hand -- keeping us safe and secure. The evidence is everywhere.

And let's dream for a second that Bush got impeached. Would you really be kicking up your heels at the inauguration of President Cheney?

Election Day 2006 is just eight months away. The best way to hold President Bush accountable for abusing his power is to vote his fellow Republicans out of office and give control of Congress (including the Judiciary Committee) back to the Democrats.

We need to do everything in our power to make that happen. Maybe then we can talk about impeachment.

Excerpts: Arianna Huffington
The Huffington Post

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's the hypocrisy, stupid!

Cardinal Egan is 'actively homosexual'

A blistering lawsuit filed by a New Jersey priest says the Catholic Church continues to cover up terrible sexual abuse against the littlest Catholics.

Even worse, the hypocritical bishops and even New York’s Cardinal Edward Egan are full-time homosexuals who shield pedophile priests to protect their own reputations, according to the lawsuit.

Father Bob Hoatson, 53, was suspended from his priestly duties in Newark after he uncovered a vast child-abuse ring within the New York and New Jersey churches, the Village Voice reported today. When the brave priest tried to stop the pedophiles, the Catholic Church began a pattern of "retaliation and harassment" against him.

Hoatson filed the suit in federal court in December. It is now pending in Manhattan's U.S. District Court.

The priest says he doesn't care if all the bishops and cardinals are homosexuals. In the lawsuit, he specifically states that "consensual, adult private sexual behavior by these defendants" is not the issue.

The problem, Hoatson says, is that all these powerful church officials are living double lives. If word got out that they were all in serious homosexual relationships with other homosexuals, they would be forced to give up their high positions in the church.

Hoatson's suit says this closeted homosexuality "has compromised defendants' ability to supervise and control predators, and has served as a reason for the retaliation."

Besides Cardinal Egan, Albany bishop Howard Hubbard and Newark archbishop John Myers are specifically named as being "active homosexuals" at the mercy of the pedophile priests who supposedly answer to them.

Note: additional references to this article......,lombardi,72095,6.html

This is a copy of the court filing.... interesting read!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Make your voices heard. Sound off NOW!

Sound off, moderate christians!

With Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court, it is not just abortion rights that are endangered. Sandra Day O'Connor often joined the liberal wing of the court in keeping church and state separate. Alito won't.

For the last 40 years, the Supreme Court has been the one government institution that could be counted on to run interference when the elected branches tried to substitute the Bible for the Constitution. Under the unified front of Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, that backstop will wither. Expect the high court to demur more and more when politicians try to insinuate religion into the classroom and the law.

That means that another approach to protecting religious pluralism, the rights of nonbelievers and even science is needed, and it has to come from moderate Christians themselves - those who understand the danger of transforming our land of the free into the land of the Darwin-free.

And those voices need to be raised soon, because the threat of fundamentalism directing government is growing, even as the bulwarks against it are weakening.


By ROBYN E. BLUMNER, Times Perspective Columnist
Published February 5, 2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I'm with stupid!

While at brunch with my dearest friend and confidante advice columnist Donatella Biachi today, I made the mistake of mentioning the State of the Union address.

Like most of us, Donatella was appalled at the idea that both Cindy Sheehan and Beverly Young were escorted out of the building for wearing tee shirts expressing their respective opinions regarding the war in Iraq.

"Whatever is happening to 'free speech,'" Donatella asked.

Before I had a chance to respond, she quickly added "do you think they would have escorted Laura Bush out if she had been wearing her favorite "I'm with stupid" tee?

According to Donatella, "the only crime committed here was felony tackiness." "A frumpy cotton t-shirt at a formal event? What, there are no Talbot stores in D.C.?"

Sometimes, you just have to smile at the absurdity of it all...... to keep from crying at the state of the union!


Surrounded by morons!

I could have stayed home yesterday. It was a scheduled vacation day but my boss asked me to come in for a few hours to attend a meeting.

I woke up an hour late, and bed just seemed much too inviting. The pugs were still snoring when I finished showering, dressing and ready to take them out for their morning stroll.
The temptation to crawl back into bed was unfortunately overshadowed by my work ethic.

I felt a few drops of rain as we were walking, but thought nothing much of it. Rain had been announced for later in the day. This was at 8 AM.

I arrived at work, attended my meeting which ended at about 11AM and looked out the window to see rain pouring down and beginning to flood the parking lot. Thunder and lightning soon followed and knowing how terrified Muggs is of thunder, I decided it was time to leave for home.

In the lobby, I heard from the security guards that there was major flooding and the bus system was suspended temporarily. I headed for home.

Traffic was unbearable; bumper to bumper, slow moving with people becoming more and more agitated, switching in and out of the four lanes. I could see that some of the exits were flooded. I could witness the insanity.

People were actually trying to drive thru the flooding waters. It was obvious that the water was too deep to drive thru........ the lead car was flooded to the windows (the driver walking away in almost waist deep water) but people kept trying to get thru; each car stalling as the water reached engine level. Amazing! By the time I finally drove by that exit, seven cars were stalled, and others were still trying to get thru. It was total insanity.

On the radio, I heard that the roof of Bed, Bath and Beyond had caved in while several people were shopping. This happened at approximately 10AM. The rain had started at about 8 o'clock and continued. One woman was explaining her shock when the roof caved in while she was buying a toaster. More insanity....... "lady, what the fuck are you doing out in a rain storm buying a toaster?' 'It was already pouring when you left your house!" I just don't get it!

It took me almost three hours to get home (twenty five miles). The rain had stopped, the pugs were sound asleep, snoring.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Only Number 2?

There was a time, I remember it well when we were respected throughout the world.
Whatever happened?

Iran, the United States and Russia -- in that order -- are now the most hated countries in the world, according to a new worldwide survey by GlobeScan and the BBC.

The poll asked people in 33 major countries how they felt about other nations. Because of Iran's political changes and tensions over its nuclear ambitions, it was included in the survey for the first time.That was good news for the deeply unpopular United States, which slipped from the No. 1 most-despised slot to No. 2 with an overall 41% negative rating.

While the USA was the least popular country in the 2004 global survey, the addition of Iran to the list doesn't mean people feel any better about America.

In fact, the "world's only superpower" is 5% more disliked today than a year ago, on average.

Russia also lost global goodwill as news of Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime continues to darken perceptions of the former superpower.

It appears that world public opinion does not look kindly on governments engaging in suspicious nuclear activities as is the case of Iran, becoming more authoritarian as in the case of Russia, or occupying another country without international approval as in the case of the U.S.," said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes.

Americans like their own country a lot less than just a year ago, the study reveals. "Ratings have significantly declined," GlobeScan says.Some 40,000 people gave their opinions between October 2005 and January 2006. The results were released today.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The sound of silence.......

Congress has agreed to ride roughshod over your civil liberties for another five weeks.

In a last-minute compromise, an extension to the Patriot Act was signed this week.

The first extension came ahead of the bill's December 31 expiration date. That came about after four Senate Republicans crossed the aisle, blocking an effort to make the provisions permanent.

"I believe it is healthy to continue to debate the merits of the Patriot Act and to conduct vigorous congressional oversight ... but it is also imperative that we not play political games with the vital tools our law enforcement and intelligence communities need," House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner said.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I posted the following on my blog last nite..... it somehow disappeared! Here it is again.

Top Ten things Bush won't Tell you About the State of the Nation

1. US economic growth during the last quarter was an anemic 1.1%, the worst in 3 years.

2. The US inflation rate has jumped to 3.4 percent, the highest rate in 5 years.

3. The number of daily attacks in Iraq rose from 52 in December, 2004 to 77 in December, 2005.

4. A third of US veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, some 40,000 persons, exhibit at least some signs of mental health disorders. Some 14,000 were treated for drug dependencies, and 11,000 for depression.

5. Increases in American consumer spending come from borrowing.

6. The $320 - $400 bilion deficits run by the Bush administration may push up the cost of mortgages and loans.

7. 58% of Americans think Bush is painting Iraq as rosier than it is. A majority thinks we should never have invaded the country.

8. The US military is at a breaking point.

9. In fact, The US and Iran are tacit allies in Iraq.

10. More money would be needed to finish the US reconstruction projects begun in Iraq.