Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Brunch

No other meal stands out as distinctly American as Sunday Brunch. Sure, you could argue for Thanksgiving dinner or the neighborhood cookouts on Independence Day or Labor Day, even a Memorial Day pic-a-nic. And I don't have any quarrel with any of those, but they're all once a year events.

But week in and week out, we can count on Sunday Brunch. Whether we're on our way home from church, still dressed better than we will be at work all week, or just heading out in jeans, t-shirt and flip-flops, a Cincinnati Reds cap on our uncombed hair and sunglasses covering our bloodshot eyes, still hungover from Saturday night, Good Old Sunday Brunch will instantly make us feel like a part of the great American family. Think about it: have you ever gone to Sunday Brunch and stood in that buffet line and NOT felt comfortable enough to talk to complete strangers like they were third cousins at the family reunion? No, it doesn't happen like that, because Sunday Brunch is with the family, and as soon as we walk in the doors of that Old Country Buffet or Denny's or even the fancy joints you'd never dream of going on date night with the old man/old lady because you can't justify spending that much money on his/her old ass when 20 years of marriage still isn't enough to guarantee you're getting laid tonight no matter how much you drop on dinner, you're part of a much bigger family than just your own 3 screaming kids and the two others who slept over last night without any parents being notified. You're part of the entire extended family in that particular restaurant at that particular moment. And ultimately, you're part of the American family subset of EVERYBODY IN EVERY CITY AND STATE who decided to do Sunday Brunch that morning.

And when you realize that and reflect on its implications, that you could very well be having the exact same cooked-to-order shallot and asparagus spear omelet with Swiss cheese and malted Belgian waffle breakfast that the President of The United States is having that very moment, you feel overcome with emotion; a rush of pride in our nation and all the good it represents. Sure, we screw up on stuff, lots of stuff, big stuff, like the economy and helping other Americans out after hurricanes. But we also do lots of stuff right; more stuff than any other piddly little country in Europe (those smug bastards) will ever dream of getting right.

That's what Sunday Brunch does for us. That's what it's about. And for a fleeting moment, we feel like we could even listen to a little bit of the chorus of that song about being proud to be American without feeling like punching the first redneck you hear singing along. For a moment, we are so content that we can restrain ourselves from even THAT.

Do you feel it too? Sure you do. So I'm giving you all a present this morning, not because it's a special occasion (although it IS my sister Ruth's birthday tomorrow, so everyone reading this in Troy please call her tomorrow and make her feel good) but just because it's Sunday. And this is my Sunday Brunch gift for you, my faithful reader. I mean readers. Hell, who am I kidding, it's just for me, cause nobody else reads this and I'm a failure and I'm never gonna be good at anything........

Sorry. I'm better now. So enjoy the gift, and happy Sunday Brunch.




Friday, May 29, 2009

Monty Python Weigh In On SCOTUS Nominee Sotomayor

The good people at Monty Python's Flying Circus have created a fresh perspective on the Right's reaction to President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Enjoy the show.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Is No Longer the America We Love

On a daily basis now, we are being shown the extent to which George W. Bush and Richard "Dick" Cheney pillaged our nation. The 43rd president laid waste to the Constitution, enriched his cronies, and created millions of enemies. I am sickened by the actions of Bush, Cheney, Gonzales, Rove, et al. The damage they have done to this great nation is still being assessed. One can only hope that the vehicle isn't "totalled".

Reader(s), this era will be regarded as one of the darkest times in America's 233 year history. I predict that the Bush Jr. "Administration" will be viewed by our children's children as on a par, or worse, with the years of slavery or the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. The swiftness with which Bush's malevolence surpassed that of the Nixon Presidency is stunning.

This is not the America I love. This is not the nation in which I grew up, the nation in which I was taught to have pride, the nation to which the rest of the world looked for leadership.

Would our fathers recognize America now? Would those who died on the beaches of Normandy, or fell at Antietam, look at this country and see the ideals for which they sacrificed? Or would our patriarchs view what their bravery helped create and recoil in horror?

The news today recalls a story that first came to light in 2004. At that time, the abuses of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison were described by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as the actions of a few "bad apples". Since then, we have learned that those apples were cultivated by the hand of Dick Cheney. Cheney has not wasted any time in his rush to claim credit for "enhanced interrogation" techniques that he maintains kept America safe. That "enhanced interrogation" simply means "torture" is no longer in dispute, Cheney's defenders having dropped any pretense in their slavish adoration of the Dark Prince.

So we are all agreed that the Cheney/Bush syndicate advocated, encouraged, and facilitated the use of torture on "enemy combatants". The abuses at Abu Ghraib, or "Abu Garef" as W. so eloquently put it, were not just isolated actions of a handful of "bad apples", but were in fact actions committed in a systemic violation of the Geneva Conventions and any semblance of good taste.

Now to address the new developments in this five-year-old story: the website CommonDreams.org reports today that previously unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib (and, to be accurate, those photos are still unreleased) document the rape and sexual abuse of prisoners, both male and female. The photos are being kept from release by, surprisingly enough, President Obama. Citing the safety of American soldiers in Iraq, Obama is suppressing the distribution of these pictures. The Huffington Post also reports these abuses, adding that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs denied the existence of the photos.

This brings us back to the excesses of the Cheney, I mean Bush, administration. When Dick Cheney can walk freely among us, after confessing to war crimes, something deep within the foundations of our nation has gone terribly wrong. That George W. Bush was the Worst President Ever is indisputable. That he and Cheney and the rest of the gang may go unpunished for their crimes is unconscionable. President Obama has made it clear that he wants the country to move forward, not remain mired in the past eight years. While this is an honorable sentiment, and, given the many challenges facing us as a country, the importance of keeping an eye on the road ahead is muy importante, we must not forget that the previous president, vice president, and most of their immediate circle are not only war criminals, but furthermore, are responsible for the problems which make it imperative that we keep our eyes on the road. In other words, Bush drove the bus into the ditch. While it is important that we all work together to get the bus out of the ditch, it would be irresponsible to not hold Bush accountable for his driving.

I cannot stress this enough: To allow Bush and Co. to get away with their crimes is to become complicit in those crimes. We must either seek justice from Bush, Cheney, et al, and do so with expedience and grave seriousness, or we will all be adjudged guilty by association for their crimes.

Write your Representative, Senators, Governor, whatever it takes. Write the President. Call the White House. Do whatever it takes to bring these criminals to justice. For the good of the country, we must do this.

If we fail in this, we will answer to future generations. We know how history will judge Bush. How do we want history to judge us?

Yours for the Greater Good,

D.H. Swinehart

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

If you follow these posts (and my Spidey-Sense tells me that nobody does), you may have noticed that I don't post often. I know that in the blogosphere, staying current is the only currency, and have noted that before. However, I have always been of the opinion that if I have nothing to say, it's best to say nothing. While this may make for a boring source of opinion and information, it allows me to stay true to myself. I will today venture to say that President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor is bold, courageous, and very wise. What the right, increasingly led by the likes of foaming at the mouth hydrophobes like Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, does with the nominee is predictable. They will attempt to pillory Ms. Sotomayor in a "high tech lynching", to quote the Right Honorable Justice Clarence Thomas (insert pubic hair joke here). However, she will be seated as the first Latina on the Supreme Court. The Republican Party cannot afford any more bad press, and will jump to the aid of the Democrats in Congress to confirm the nomination, if only to save face.

Yours for the Greater Good,

D.H. Swinehart

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Parable

Once, there was a little swallow who decided not to fly south for the winter. Autumn passed, and the swallow seemed happy in his insulated nest. But then the weather turned colder, and the swallow started questioning the wisdom of his decision. Then, about mid-January, a severe snow and ice storm convinced the swallow he had made a mistake. So he began the long journey, a few months late, but better late than never, he consoled himself. Soon, though, ice began to stick to his wings. As the ice accumulated, he became heavier and heavier until eventually, he crashed to the ground. So there he was, cold, disoriented, and miserable in some God-forsaken pasture with no hope of completing his journey. Just then, a cow came along and shit right on top of the little swallow. The heat from the cow-shit melted the ice on the bird's wings and warmed him. This cheered the little fellow up, so he poked his head out of the turd and began to sing. A cat happened to be passing by, heard the bird's song, and promptly dug the swallow out of the cow dung, cleaned him off, and promptly ate the bird.

So, what lessons have we learned from this tale? One: He who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy. Two: He who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend. And Three: If you're warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your fucking mouth shut!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yusuf Islam (nee Cat Stevens) performs Peace Train

This from a concert in LA last night.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For the Geeks among Us

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite shopping sites. It's called Think Geek, and it's got some of the coolest stuff you'll find. My favorite is the Screaming Monkey. Check it out.

Time Out


I took a couple days off. I know that's suicide in blogworld, but then again, I never was one to play by the rules. So what's been going on? Well, Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake debuted their sequel to "Dick in a Box", titled "Mother Lover" on SNL over the weekend. Funny shit, and it's gotten people discussing whether J.T. will be one of Saturday Night Live's best hosts, on the list with Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. I think Timberlake is an extremely talented young man: his voice is the best I've heard in years; his acting chops have been proved in "Alpha Dog" and "Black Snake Moan"; he has shown an enthusiasm for poking fun at himself; still, to put him in a league with Steve Martin may be a bit premature. The fact that J.T. doesn't take himself too seriously is encouraging, something we see less and less in celebrities.

What else? Well, Dick Cheney is wasting no time in trying to discredit our President. Ironic, considering that anyone who dared criticize the Bush "Administration" was branded a traitor. Moreover, it is unprofessional, unprecedented, and unconscionable for a former Vice President or President to smear a sitting President. Even Bill Clinton held his tongue, which is saying a lot about Clinton. What really strikes me about all this is Cheney's complete honesty about using torture on prisoners. He has just admitted to war crimes on his part and on the part of George Bush, and nobody seems to find this offensive. This can no longer be swept under the rug. An investigation must take place, and Democrats and Republicans who were made aware of these tactics should be found complicit and punished. I am seriously disappointed in President Obama for his reticence to launch an inquiry.

That's all for now kids.

Yours for the greater good,

Dale Howard Swinehart

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wanda we hardly knew ye.

Wanda Sykes delivered the comedy portion at last night's Washington Correspondents' Dinner. Afterward she was criticized by MSNBC's panel of humorless morons. Pat Buchanan, who wakes up every day thinking it's still 1972 and Nixon is still president, said Sykes was disrespectful and crude. Buchanan is best known for being the choice of West Palm Beach Jews in the 2000 Presidential Election. He was also a speechwriter for Richard Nixon. How the fuck did that work? You write two speeches: 1. "I am not a crook." and 2. "I quit."

Sykes, whose full bit can be seen here, was, in my opinion, hilarious. The joke about telling her kids to get into a car with a stranger rather than get into a car with Dick Cheney was dead on. But what did Buchanan and company expect? It's Wanda Sykes. Anyone who has followed her career would know that she's going to be crude and caustic. I'm sure Buchanan never heard of her before she got a part on Julia Louis Dreyfus' vehicle, The New Adventures of Old Christine.

But Sykes has been around the block. I'm sure President Obama has heard of her. She achieved mainstream name recognition with Monster In Law, playing a perfect complement to Jane Fonda's insane mother act. She also appeared in Chris Rock's Down to Earth. Both roles required Sykes to indulge in scatological humor. I liked her best as Biggie Shorty in Pootie Tang, one of the funniest movies ever. The scene where she is mistaken by a couple old men for a prostitute is analogous to Buchanan's mistaken impression that Sykes was going to be a black Bill Engvall. It's like going to see Bob Saget expecting to hear "Full House" humor.

So Wanda Sykes will get skewered for a few days by the mainstream press. Then something important will happen, and everyone will forget about it. Then I can go back to enjoying Pootie Tang.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Time

Lately I've been thinking of my misspent youth. Not in regret, mind you; just......well, there are things you just don't ever forget. And trust me, there is a LOT about my younger days I forgot. Most of it instantaneously. But the things you remember. Ah, that's what a memory's for.

Anyway, it brings me to contemplate the passage of time. I don't feel any different at 46 than I did at 16. Mentally. Physically, forget it. I can't even jump a puddle on the sidewalk anymore. But mentally: I still look at the world from the same eyes, I guess.

All this has been prologue to my main point though. If I gave it time, no pun intended, I could state my thesis with my customary eloquence. But I'm tired, and want to cut to the chase.

So here it is: the passage of time as described by two different poets, separated by centuries. The attributions should be obvious.

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way."

or

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death."

Either way, it's pretty bleak.

Welcome Friends of the Swinedog

If you are visiting because of an invitation you received from me, thanks. This is only the beginning. If Meghan McCain can do this, hell, so can I. Please stay tuned, come back often, and continue to support my efforts. (Oh, and if it's not too much trouble, click on an ad every so often. Thanks :)

Alan Keyes to attend Notre Dame Commencement (But Not How You Think)

Right-wing politician and suspected African-American Alan Keyes has announced that he will be attending Notre Dame's commencement May 17. Except he won't be there to support President Obama. He intends to join the protest against Obama, a noted politician and baby-killer. Notre Dame's choice of Obama to deliver the commencement address has been a flashpoint lately, as Catholics are opposed to abortion as a condition of membership. So far, noone has drawn parallels to George W. Bush's commencement address, which should have drawn controversy since, as governor of Texas, Bush presided over the execution of death-row inmates. Bush even went ahead with the execution of an inmate despite a last-minute plea from the Pope. Apparently, the Catholic respect for life begins with conception and ends with conviction.

Read more about Keyes' batshit-crazy plans at Wonkette.

Buckeye Pride (and Shame)

Some days I just want to let everyone know that I'm a Buckeye, born and raised in Troy, Ohio. I am proud of this. My father attended Ohio State University for 6 years (no, he wasn't slow, that's how long it took him to finish 4 years of undergrad and 3 years of law school). In fact, when he went to High School in New Philadelphia, Woody Hayes was Dad's History teacher.

Yes, I am proud to be a Buckeye. And as long as I live in Indiana or anywhere else, I will always be a Buckeye. I also happen, by virtue of being from Troy, to be a sometime member of Ohio's 8th congressional district, which is represented in the U.S. House by whosoever the voters choose.

Lately, and for the past 19 years or so, the voters of Ohio's 8th Congressional District have chosen John Boehner to be their elected representative in Washington, D.C. A quickly rising star in the Republican Party and popular hydrophobe, Boehner has risen to the position of House Minority Leader. (Actually, he was Majority Leader up until this past January, after American voters decided that 8 years of Republican control of the government created economic and social conditions that, shall we say, needed changed.)

Ever the loyal Republican, Boehner refuses to let this setback affect how he does business. Even now, he is on the attack against President Obama, a freely elected representative who wants, he claims, to put partisan attacks behind him and concentrate on the healing and regrowth of the nation.

In a recent post on The Plum Line, a commercial spot, sponsored by Boehner, suggests that Obama is making America safe for terrorists. I find this disappointing, because Obama promised us that he would keep us safe FROM terrorism. But Congressman Boehner, along with colleagues Eric Cantor and John McCain, show us otherwise. The awful truth is that Obama hates America and wants the terrorists to win. Just watch the video they produced for us.

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's An Early A.M. Caffeine Rant


As I am new to this type of communication, I feel a certain freedom with the form that I would not feel in other, more traditional, more familiar forms of journalism. (This is, in fact, a journal, which I maintain by writing new ideas, notions, and rants; one could call this form of communication, therefore, ipso facto, journalism. QED.)

For instance, at first blush, the need for factual evidence to back up my claims seems not to apply to this form of communication (Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limburger, I feel ya brothers.)

But in fact, the medium is as reliable and fact-based as I choose to make it (Murdoch employees take note). I could fill these simple lines of code with fond reminiscences of my misspent youth; or I could choose to pass on blatant lies and hypocrisies generated by the paranoid right and lunatic fringe of Nugent and Cunningham; or, and here's where it gets good, I could actually report the truth, putting my own skewed stamp on fact and presenting fact-based stories to the small but dedicated (start dedicating yourselves friends) readership I have.
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So saddle up. We've got a long ride ahead.

Yours for the greater good,

Dale

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mission Statement

The purpose of this blog is to maintain an online journal of my thoughts, beliefs, and arguments as I deal with the larger world (that being the one outside my sphere of influence [my sphere of influence being myself only]). I will share my views on politics, social issues, education, sports, and any other topic that may interest me. I promise no celebrity gossip or reality tv bullshit.

So you're thinking, alright, I can deal with that, but what's the title mean? Well, it's kind of sentimental. I'm not ready to reveal the exact meaning of it right now, (some readers who claimed residence in Athens, Ohio between 1980 and 1984 may have an idea) but I promise I will reveal the meaning and purpose of it in good time. In the meantime, understand that we are all.....

Dancing Madly Backwards Again

Let's Get the Legal BS Out of the Way


Not that anyone would care to extract text from this drivel, but some guidelines must be set first off. This blog, and all contents herein are copyright and sole intellectual property of Dale Howard Swinehart. Any unauthorized use of said contents will be construed as plagiarism, copyright violation, and very bad taste.