Saturday, July 27, 2013

Going the Way of the Elephant

"Fascism should more properly be called 'corporateism' because it is the total merging of corporate and state power."

-Benito Mussolini

What the hell is going on with "the party of Abraham Lincoln"? You would think that in light of the crazy vibes they've been transmitting to an electorate that is becoming more alarmed by the hour, they might temper their act just a tad, wouldn't you? What with the midterm elections only a year away it would be in their best interest to grab the caution that they've recklessly thrown to the wind and reel it back in  just a wee bit. But no; this brain-damaged fish is putting on one helluva fight. With each passing day the rhetoric gets weirder and weirder. These insanity junkies are starting to make Insane Clown Posse look like the Archies. Whassup with that?

Surely these knuckleheads must understand that this basic, Civics 101 rule of electoral politics still holds true: A party that fails to govern will cease to be. And yet their behavior gets more extreme with the passing of every day. And did you notice that when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was effectively gutted by the Supreme Court a month ago their craziness went into full-tilt-overdrive? Do you suspect that there might be a little bit of a connection there? You're getting warmer if you do.

Bad craziness and dysfunctional statesmanship be damned. They have no intention of losing control of either the House or the Senate in 2014. The Roberts Court has given them the green light. These disgusting bastards and bitches are planning a Thousand Year Reich. Sweet.

Benito Mussolini

The quote at the top of this piece by Mussolini should give us all a bit of pause. It was from an interview he gave in 1927 to an English-speaking journalist. El Duce (who can rightfully be called "the father of the fascist state")  was fairly proficient in our language so there is not a smidgeon of room for misinterpretation. This is the direction the Republicans want to take us. That is why they're trying to turn everything over to private industry - even our system of mail delivery. Why do you think they're trying to strangle the post office? These aren't mere coincidences, folks. 

Think about this. In their sick efforts to privatize the prison system, what they're effectively doing is creating a brand-spanking-new, billion dollar behemoth. We all dream of a day when society's ills are washed away and our prison population is a mere molecule of what it is today. With the privatization of America's prisons (or "the prison industry" as they're starting to call it) the conservatives (Republicans and Democrats alike) are creating a new and potentially powerful corporate class whose very existence depends on those prisons being filled to capacity FOREVER!

Corporations are not created merely to whither and die. That's not what the folks who created IBM had in mind when they started that company a century ago. Their intent was for IBM to thrive and grow - and thrive and grow it certainly did. IBM is everywhere - just in case you haven't noticed.

With the creation of the Prison Industrial Complex, you will now see a new breed of lobbyists befouling the halls of congress. They will go there to bribe our "lawmakers" into passing more-and-more punitive laws in order to ensure that those prisons will be doing VERY BIG BUSINESS. We already have the highest percentage of citizens incarcerated than any other country in the world (Land of the free my ass). Expect a prison population explosion in the next decade. This is going to get interesting.

Whatever became of?
The GOP won't reform themselves  because they can't. They don't dare nominate a moderate because they know that by doing so they risk the certain defection of  untold millions of the Tea Party halfwits who will then launch a third-party uprising in the 2016 elections. That is the reason for the Voter ID laws. That is the reason for the assault on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And please bear in mind that their idea of a "moderate" is Mitt Romney - you know - the guy that accused forty-seven percent of the American people of being beggars and thieves? - yeah, that Mitt Romney! In their eyes, the reason they lost last year is because old Mitt is a wild-eyed, unapologetic Lefty. I'm not making this stuff up.

What they have in mind for us in three years is nothing short of an electoral coup d'etat. Keep your eye on the shell with the pea inside of it.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Presidents Club:
Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity
by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

A look into the world of our ex-POTUS's - from Truman to Dubya. One of the best books out of 2012


Chinese Espionage and the Michigan Elections:

A journalist by the name of Vince Wade is making some serious accusations. Thanks to Anne Marie Hall for this.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Justice for Marissa Alexander

Consider this: In the state of Florida, a young woman who "stood her ground" was sentenced to twenty years in prison last year for firing warning shots at her abusive husband whom she had previously filed an order of protection against. The young woman in question, a mother-of-three named Marissa Alexander, had no criminal record. She is an African American - but I'm sure that that's just a coincidence. I'm just kidding. That was no coincidence; in fact the jaw-dropping harshness of her punishment was almost inevitable. Do you believe for an instant that had she been an upper middle class white woman she would have received the same treatment? Are you naive enough to swallow the notion that had she been the daughter of former governor, Jeb Bush (who has a criminal record by the way), she would be looking at a twenty year stretch? If that is the case, go back to sleep. I'm attempting a serious discussion here.

First and foremost: Fuck Florida. There ought to be a nationwide tourism boycott of what must be the most overrated peninsula on this planet. You want to take your kids to a nice spot for a vacation? Try a mountain lake resort or a national park. To hell with Disney World. 

The Sunshine State is a sick joke. I spent enough time there in the eighties - lived there on and off for a spell - that I am able to speak with some authority on the subject. When I arrived there in  the late winter of 1984, I set up headquarters in Naples, which overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. You wanna talk about humid? The summer of 1986 was particularly brutal. I never dreamed it could get that hot. In fact it's too damned hot for some people to think rationally. That's becoming more and more apparent these days, isn't it - George Zimmerman is a free man. Marissa Alexander languishes in a prison cell. Do they even have air-conditioning in those jury rooms? You gotta wonder.

Twenty Years
At the time I lived there (or so it was told to me by the gloating locals) Naples had the highest rate of millionaires per capita than any other town in America. For the first four months of occupation I did not see one black person. It was only after I had hauled across Alligator Alley into Fort Lauderdale to visit an old friend of mine, that I finally encountered one - a woman behind the counter of a deli who sold me a six-pack of Budweiser Tall Boys. I remember staring at her for a few seconds in utter disbelief. I felt like a bird watcher who had just come across a passenger pigeon. You want to check out a REALLY Jim Crow town? Take a little trip to Naples sometime.

YO, FELLOW HONKIES!  Let's stop kidding ourselves, alright? We may not admit as much out loud, but we all know damned well that there are two different standards of justice here in Bonkers Land: one for them and one for us. Enough with the self-deception, alright?

It has been suggested to me that had Marissa just shot her husband dead, a justifiable argument for the Stand Your Ground defense could have been made and she, like Georgie Boy Zimmerman, would be walking free as a bird today. It's interesting to note that the two people who have made this suggestion to me (posted on my Facebook page) are both white men. Let's get real here, guys. If Marissa Alexander had shot and killed her husband she would be rotting on death row at this very moment. Get a grip.

Boy George
Marissa was convicted of attempted murder. Why the hell is that? She didn't "attempt" to murder anyone. She fired at the wall inside of her home. Her husband has a history of violence - and he was in a rage when he found the record of a call from her ex-husband on her cell phone. If Stand Your Ground can apply to a twit with an action-figure-complex like George Zimmerman who (lest we forget) shot and killed an unarmed, seventeen-year-old boy, why does it not apply to Marissa Alexander? Would somebody please explain to me what is wrong with this picture? Anybody? The judge who sent Marissa to prison is named James Daniel. One wonders if he has read that little blurb in the Constitution about "cruel and unusual punishment".

Or maybe Stand Your Ground only applies to non-black males. Never mind.

Am I "fanning the flames" here? You bet I am, Buster! A good-sized fire is capable of lighting even the darkest American night. Inside the courtroom when Marissa was sentenced on May 12, 2012 was her eleven-year-old daughter. "I really was crying in there", she told a reporter from WETV, "I didn't want to cry in court, but I just really feel hurt. I don't think this should have been happening." An understatement if ever there was one. I've got a funny feeling that this poor kid is going to grow into maturity with not much faith in the system of justice they've got down there in Florida. Can you blame her? 

And don't hold your breath waiting for a little compassion from ├╝ber aryan, Rick Scott. Poor old Rick is a bit of a sociopath - a fact that is revealed in every one of his public deeds. I'm sure that Rick has a list of a few (or more) of his white-collar-colleagues that he plans on pardoning before his term of office is complete. Marissa Alexander's name is not on that list. Call it a silly hunch on my part. Compassion is not his schtick.

Now would be a pretty good time for all of us to get mobilized on Marissa's behalf. She's already been in prison for over a year. Even a sentence that long should be deemed unreasonable. Her's was not a victimless crime. She is the victim. In case it's escaped your notice, these are not the greatest of times for women in this country. Double Trouble if you happen to have been born an African American woman. What has been done to Marissa Alexander should send thinking people everywhere into a blind rage. If the governor of Florida refuses to grant her a full and unconditional pardon (as I said, don't hold your breath) then the president of the United States should do it. This just isn't right.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


Here is a link to the Facebook page that was put up in support of Marissa Alexander:

Log in and show her your support when you can, okay?


The Autobiography of Malcolm X
by Malcolm X (with Alex Haley)

Coincidentally (and very ironically) it was when I was living in Naples, Florida in 1986 that I first read this book. Walter Cronkite once said of his memoirs that people will be reading it five-hundred years into the future when most other books of the twentieth century are long forgotten. The Autobiography of Malcolm X grabbed my previous worldview, shook it up and then turned it upside down. This is a book that EVERYBODY - white or black - needs to read.


And send me a friend request if you'd like. The more the merrier, as they say!

BREAKING NEWS, 10:39 AM: It has just been announced that Helen Thomas, the trailblazing journalist who covered the White House as a reporter for ten consecutive administrations, died this morning at her apartment in New York City. She was ninety-two.

According to POLITICO: "Thomas was the first woman to join the White House Correspondents' Association, and the first woman to serve as its president. She was also the first female member of the Gridiron Club, Washington's historic press club."

I always admired that gal. Like the old Rat Pack tune says, "You've either got or you haven't got style". Indeed. Helen Thomas had style to spare. She didn't merely blaze a trail, she incinerated it.

AFTERTHOUGHT, 7/21/13 - 7:53 AM:

I was in Chester, NY yesterday afternoon at Monro Muffler having my oil changed and a brake light replaced. I was walking past a group of cars being worked on when the license plate of one of them caught my eye:


I love it!

UPDATE, 9/27/13, 7:15 AM: 


It was announced yesterday that Marissa will be receiving a new trial. It turns out that the sentence was even too excessive for the dingbats down there. It's a beautiful day.

For more recent postings on this site, please go to the link below:

"The Rant" by Tom Degan


Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Sunday Too Bleak For Words

The image at the top of this piece is not a technical glitch as you might suspect. It is what thousands of people - black and white - across this troubled land are posting on their Facebook pages on this gloomy Sunday morn. I lifted this one off the page of a stranger from Ione, California named Lisa Maren Santiago.

Justice was besmirched late last night. We can take some comfort in the fact that this is Florida we're talkin' about here. Any people idiotic enough to send a flaming asshole like Rick Scott to the governor's mansion is bound to have certain...."issues", shall we say? Back in the early eighties a group of my friends decided to emigrate - en masse - to that state. They wanted me to join them in their exodus from New York. "Thanks but no thanks", I told them. Not one of them had ever spent any time there. I had.

I really wasn't expecting George Zimmerman to be convicted of second degree murder; but I thought that they would at least convict him of manslaughter. I never thought - in my wildest and stupidest dreams - that the demented little killer-nerd/cop-wannabe would  walk. As Lenny Bruce once said of that hideously overrated peninsula:

"Florida: Geographically a groove; politically a cancer."

Good old Lenny. The guy really had a way with words, didn't he?

So, George says that it's his voice on that 911 recording? Trayvon's parents swear that it's their son's voice. You would think that they would instinctively know. If it is George's voice, let him replicate it. While it might be hard to discern what the person begging for help is saying, the timbre of the voice is unmistakable. C'mon, George! Let's hear that voice! Unless he's the second coming of Frank Gorshin, don't hold your breath waiting for him to give us a little demonstration. 

If Trayvon had really been the aggressor (a scenario of which I am not convinced by the way) all George had to do was brandish the gun, hold it to his head and say "One false move and you're dead, pardner!" - that's it. He didn't. When he told the police dispatcher that he was trailing the boy (lest we forget: he was only a boy) he was told - in no uncertain terms - "You shouldn't do that", George continued the pursuit in spite of the admonition. That's why he bought the gun with him. Georgie was looking for a  little action. If Trayvon had shot and killed George Zimmerman - in the exact same circumstances  - are you delusional enough to swallow the notion that he would have walked out of the police station that night with no charges filed against him? Do you honestly believe that Trayvon Martin - in the state of Florida - would have been acquitted of the murder of George Zimmerman? If that's the case, have another sip.

According to every account, Zimmerman had no history of racial bias - and I accept that - maybe. But this is not  merely about race, folks; it is about a grown man who recklessly used lethal force on a seventeen-year-old boy when caution and common sense would have been called for.

Emmett Till
I don't really have much more to say about this insanely depressing subject. I'm too disgusted to even think about it at the moment. It's a given that George has a healthy future ahead of him as a "special contributor" on Fox Noise; or quite possibly an AM radio gig is in store for him. As we all know, AM has no standards whatsoever. Maybe he'll be announcing his candidacy for public office in a matter of time. He's custom tailored for the Tea Party crowd, you know. The possibilities are endless! Whatever the future holds for him I'm sure he'll be fine 'n' dandy. He's only twenty-nine and has his whole life ahead of him. Trayvon Martin, on the other hand, lies under six feet of dirt. He is the twenty-first century's version of Emmett  Till.

If you aren't aware of him, Emmett was a fourteen-year-old Chicago boy who was visiting his grandfather in the Mississippi Delta region who was murdered in the summer of 1955 for supposedly whistling at a white woman. Compare his story with that of Miami native, Trayvon Marin, who was visiting his father in Sanford, Florida, two-hundred-and-fifty miles to the north....

In 1955 Emmett Till learned - the hard way - that while whistling at a white woman  might have been no big deal for a black kid in Chicago, it was considered (to put it as mildly as possible) "bad form" in Mississippi.

In 2012 Trayvon Martin learned - the hard way - that while wearing a "hoodie" was no big deal for a black kid in Miami, it could cost him his life in Sanford.

In fifty-eight years one would have thought that we've progressed a bit, wouldn't one? Apparently not.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Murder of Emmett Till
The American Experience (PBS)

Emmett Till was the sacrificial lamb that launched the Civil Rights movement. This is a documentary that everyone should watch.


Here is a link to a piece I wrote last year on the subject of Trayvon Martin:

I'm going back to bed. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

I've Been Consulted by Franklin D

Friday, 5 July 2013 - Photo by Andrea Steindorf

As I've said too many times to count, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY is one of my favorite spots this side of the Milky Way. Since I live slightly less than forty miles from the place getting there is not too big a hassle for me. The museum has been closed down for several months for renovations and was reopened to the public last week. That was as good an excuse as any to head back up there. On Friday, July 5, my friend Andrea Steindorf and I spent a few hours jamming with the Frankster. 

If you've even visited the FDR Library recently, it's time to head back up there. The refurbished museum is something to behold - particularly the new audio/video presentations. That's one of the truly remarkable things about living in "modern times". As much as we know about the life of Abraham Lincoln we can only take a wild guess as to what he sounded like; all that remains of him are frozen, ghostly images. Even his smile is lost to history. Not true with FDR. Less than two years from now will mark the seventieth anniversary of his passing, and yet thanks to the miracle of recorded sound and the motion picture, we can see him throw back his head in delight. We can hear the magnificent voice that reassured an economically paralyzed nation in its darkest, most desperate hour. Franklin D. Roosevelt lives.

It was said of him at the time of his death on April 12, 1945, although he never regained the use of his legs - much as he wanted to, much as he tried - he taught a crippled nation how to walk again. Have I mentioned that he's my favorite president? 

Ironically, America has forgotten the walking lessons that were provided to to us by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. There are too few people left alive today who have a conscious memory of the living, breathing FDR. Consider this: My mother will be eighty-two years old on August 5. When Roosevelt died she hadn't yet entered high school. The youngest person to cast his or her vote for him on Election Day 1932 would today be one-hundred-and-one years old. That is, I believe, one of the reasons America finds itself in the slump that it's in today. We don't remember the economic lessons taught to us so long ago by the men (and one woman - Francis Perkins) that comprised the Roosevelt cabinet - the "Brain Trust" as they were called by the press of that time.

Whenever people come up to me bitching and wailing about the "extreme liberalism" of the Obama administration (and it happens damned-near everyday) I always have to restrain myself from slapping the silly bastards upside the head for no other reason than their abysmal lack of historical knowledge. The very notion of Barack Obama as a "wild-eyed socialist" (as he is constantly portrayed by the right wing media) doesn't even come close to passing the giggle test. Franklin Roosevelt wasn't merely a "liberal" - he was a radical. He's also on every list compiled by historians as one of the greatest presidents in the history of this damaged republic. Some place him second only to Lincoln; others put him at the top. That's not a coincidence. The vanishing middle class (which until only recently we took for granted in this country) didn't even exist when Roosevelt was inaugurated on March 4, 1933. I often wonder what this place would look like had Herbert Hoover won that election. I get the dry heaves just thinking about it.  

"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate of me - and I welcome their hatred."

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Campaign of 1936

FDR loved to say that there was nothing he loved as much as much as a good fight. Unlike today, the forces that controlled so much of the American infrastructure had to contend with a populace pissed off from decades of plutocratic greed and waste that resulted in the economic catastrophe of the nineteen-thirties. These days the American people are too distracted to really comprehend what is happening to them. I think a visit to the FDR Library in Hyde Park would do a lot of us some good. The exhibits that highlight the Great Depression give us a nasty insight into just how bad things were. Twenty-five percent of the country was out of work - and most of the rest were barely getting by. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were rapidly losing faith in the American dream; many of them were looking to Communism as an alternative form of governance (Granny was a Commie???) It was Franklin Roosevelt that restored their faith in democracy. In 2013 we've lost sight of how much we owe this man. A much-needed history lesson is in order.

"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face....we must do that which we think we cannot."

Eleanor Roosevelt 

It was a bit strange to visit the museum on Friday. I used to know the joint inside and out - but so much has changed that at times I became a bit disoriented and couldn't figure out where the heck I was. At first I was disappointed that the Eleanor Roosevelt Wing had been taken down in the renovation - but it soon became apparent that her story has been interwoven quite visibly throughout. Fate was indeed kind to unite this extraordinary woman with so extraordinary a man. Because of his disability she became Franklin's "legs", touring the country, inspecting government facilities, and reaching out to the people on his behalf - and not just white people - all the people. Before Eleanor Roosevelt entered America's consciousness, African Americans were not part of the equation. She sought to change that situation. She was our first activist First Lady. Her legacy is personified in the works and deeds of Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. She lives too.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt did indeed have a perfectly radical idea. It was their belief that the whole purpose of representation in Washington was not merely to declare war and pass bad laws. They wanted a government that was in partnership with the people. As a result of their vision, they changed the sociological face of the United States forever. Today the right wing wants us to swallow the notion that "government is the problem" and that it should be done away with. We should be seeking the perfection of government - not its abolition.

Andrea Steindorf
This isn't the first time I've written about the Roosevelt Library and, knowing me (as I vaguely do), it won't be the last. I can't recommend this place enough. It has been said that those who are ignorant of their history are doomed to repeat it. We need to reacquaint ourselves with this remarkable man and the era that he dominated. We are a much better nation today because eighty-one years ago the people - in their wisdom - chose Franklin Roosevelt to be the thirty-second president of the United States. I always feel better about this country upon leaving the FDR Library. I'm feeling a little better about it today.

On the night of his election in 1932 he asked his son, Jimmy, to pray for him. "I've always been afraid of only one thing - fire" he told the young man, "Now I'm afraid of something else."

What's that, Father?" asked Jimmy.

"I'm afraid I won't have the strength to do the job."

He had the strength. Lucky us.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


No Ordinary Time
by Doris Kearns-Goodwin

The best book ever written about life in the Roosevelt White House. It sometimes reads like the plot of a screwball comedy! If it's not available from your friendly, independently-owned, neighborhood bookstore (There must be at lease one left!) here's a link to order it off

 No Ordinary Time

It's a great read - every page of it.


The Second Bill of Rights, as articulated by Franklin Roosevelt on January 11, 1944. Sadly, he passed away a year later. His dream for the eternal economic security of the American people would never be fulfilled:

He spoke to us then; he speaks to us still. It doesn't get any better than the Frankster. Seriously.


A special word of thanks to Ranger Ken Slinger who gave Andrea and I the tour of the mansion. I learned a couple of things that even I didn't know.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Darrell Issa: So Busted!

As predicted on this site on May 20, "the worst scandal in the history of this Republic" has fizzled out and died without a whimper. There never was a scandal here - and Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, knew goddamned good-and-well that there was no scandal. Their charge was that the Obama White House was targeting the pocketbooks of conservative groups via the IRS. Issa said he was "accumulating" evidence of all the Tea Party groups the administration was going after. Nice try. However according to Dana Milbank of the Washington Post:

"Finally, evidence surfaces that the investigator stacked the deck. Last Tuesday night, the Hill newspaper quoted a spokesman for Treasury's inspector general, Russell George, saying the group was asked by Issa 'to narrowly focus on tea party organizations.' The inspectors knew there were other terms, but 'that was outside the scope of our audit.'"

Genius at Work
In other words just expose the Tea Party groups whose organizations were being investigated by the IRS. Ignore the liberal groups. When White House spokesman Jay Carney pointed out to the assembled press that the whole thing was much ado about zilch, Congressman Issa went on national television and called him Obama's "paid liar". Someone is owed an apology here, wouldn'cha think? Don't hold your breath. Bill Clinton is still waiting for one for the Vince Foster affair. That was twenty years ago. According to a recent statement from a spokeswoman for that disgusting party, "This scandal has legs". Indeed it does. So did Franklin Roosevelt.

This isn't the first time that Issa has knowingly tried to implicate this president in a fictitious scandal; this is merely his most blatant attempt thus far. The moment he was caught with his pants down, in a laughably desperate attempt to deflect attention from himself, he resorted to that old tried-and-true mantra that has seemed to work so well for the GOP in the past year:


 Another "scandal" with legs as worthless as FDR's.

This is merely the latest  twist in the spiral toward historical oblivion that the "party of Abraham Lincoln" had been descending these last few years - and what fun it's been to watch, huh? I would not have missed this matinee in the Theater of the Absurd for anything. In an article that was posted on the Huffington Post on May 10, a fellow by the name of Andy Ostroy made the following, very astute observation:

"Despite the country's rapidly shifting demographics and social attitudes--a healthy move towards racial, religious and sexual tolerance--the GOP has boxed itself into a corner. There are patterns they simply cannot break. Ideals they can't divorce from. Rhetoric they can't stop espousing. They just can't help themselves."

He might have added the cozy little fact that this is a party that has lost its mind.

You've got to hand it to the Republicans. They've got nearly a century-and-a-half of some heavy duty scandals behind them. From Iran/Contra to Watergate to Teapot Dome; jaw-dropping debacles going all the way back to the administration of Ulysses S Grant. That's not to mention the reign of the village idiot from Crawford, Texas, whose entire eight-year-run was one rolling scandal. About the best they could ever pin on the Democrats was the spectacle of the Bill Clinton years - and that was only after years of trying in vain to pin something on the guy. They had to trick him into lying under oath about a fling with a half-witted intern - something that was totally unrelated to what he was testifying about at the time. I think it's interesting that of all these presidents mired in corruption and shame, Clinton is the only one of the lot who had impeachment proceedings brought against him. The history of this nation is just drenched in dandy little ironies like that one.

Kenny Boy
Where Have You Gone, Ken Starr?

Remember Kenny Boy? He was the asshole who spent over twenty million in taxpayer cash persecuting President Clinton. Four years ago I predicted that, like Bill, Barack would be bombarded with one investigation after another. The racists who now pollute the halls of Congress are ten times as determined than they were fifteen years ago. In their warped little minds, if any president ever needed to go down, this is the president who is custom-tailored to fulfill their twisted fantasies. Remember how much they despised Bubbah? Nowadays they can't pay the man enough compliments. They adore him! Again....all these delicious ironies.

Can these nitwits do anymore damage than they've already done? Well, yeah, they can - and they're trying to. We can expect to endure more of this nonsense until January of 2015 when they are finally swept out of office by the tidal wave of electoral rebuke that I'm almost certain is coming. 

If you're not in a blind rage over what these right wing kooks are doing to your country, you're sound asleep. Sweet dreams!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY


The Gettysburg Address
by Abraham Lincoln 

The Battle of Gettysburg ended one-hundred and fifty years ago today. It proved a decisive victory for the Union. President Lincoln's brief but eloquent speech on that blood-soaked field four months later continues to resonate down through the decades.


Sophie Madeleine

by Sophie Madeleine

A few months ago I was watching on YouTube Joe Brown's rendition of "I'll See You In My Dreams" from the Concert For George. When it was over a few related links were scattered across the screen. One showed the breathtaking vision of an angel with a ukelele in hand instead of the traditional harp....

(FOR THE RECORD: I'm not referring to Tiny Tim).
Talk about your happy accidents. That was the day I discovered the music of a young woman from merrie olde England whose talents I can only describe as "otherworldly". Her name is Sophie Madeleine. You've never heard of her before? You will. She is the most brilliant new recording artist I've come across in decades.

I need Sophie's music these days for no other reason than the simple fact that it makes me happy. It has been a very long time since an artist had that kind of effect on me.
Here is a link to order her CD, "The Rhythm You've Started"  off of I suggest - NO, DAMMIT, I DEMAND - that you purchase it:
The Rhythm You've Started
Sophie Madeleine inspires and astounds.