Monday, August 30, 2004

...and Edwards...and Bush...

So now my region will be visited by Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards and Republican Presidential nominee-presumptive George W. Bush before the week is out. It really feels good to be loved, and to have everybody telling you how important you are to them. The question is, will the winners remember us after election day? Particularly if we vote for the "wrong" candidate?

Thunder, outside. Better log off and disconnect before my poor old computer gets fried, or worse. Later!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Mike McGlynn on DICK!'s visit

Citizen's Voice columnist Mike McGlynn offers his thoughts on DICK!'s visit to our area here.

I've enjoyed Mike McGlynn's writing for as long as I've been reading him, which has been since high school. He's funny, he's smart, and he's on a level with many nationally syndicated columnists. He looks like Terry Jones from Monty Python, and the first time I saw him, he was picking his nose. What a guy!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

We've been DICK!ed

DICK! came, and then left. He did a barnstorming tour of Northeastern Pennsylvania yesterday. Here's an article from one local paper, and here's an article from another. Predictably, he made the war against terrorism a centerpiece of his speech. (It's amazing that the United States suffered its worst attack on its home soil from a foreign foe during the Bush/Cheney watch, and these guys have been able to turn that into a positive for themselves politically. Under the same circumstances Al Gore would have been impeached, if not strung up by his intestines, by the Republican-dominated Congress.)

There were no riots, no tomato tosses, and no mention of the jobs that have been lost in this area during the Bush administration. He brought his grandkids along, in an effort to soften his Agent of Evil appearance. In fact, he seems to be making a play for the "compassionate conservative" role with his recent comments about gay relationships, suggesting that he has a special insight into this because his daughter is gay. Now, I'm not the judgmental sort, but there are some who would accuse DICK! of a little bit of moral relativism there. (Next we'll hear that just because somebody's teenage daughter is pregnant by a rapist, they think that they have a special insight into the abortion issue.)

Anyway, DICK! is gone. But the rumor is that we may be getting a load of BUSH! dumped on us right after the Elephant Dance in New York City next week. Oh, won't that be fun.

George Bush vs. the 527s, Part 3

As predicted in this very blog on Monday, George W. Bush is now setting himself on a crusade to end the ability of 527's to finance political advertising.

As I have said elsewhere, I seriously think that the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth campaign was orchestrated (or manipulated) by the Bush team or its allies as a way of creating a situation where George W. Bush could call for an end to all advertising by 527 groups, and then insist that Kerry join him in this demand or be called a hypocrite.

Bush is scared. He's afraid of groups like, of its members, and of their collective strength. He's seeing Democracy in action, and it's got him worried.

And he has the nerve to call 527's "shadowy"? A man who lets shadow advisors like Grover Norquist steer the ship of state? (For more information of Grover Norquist: here's a bio from, another from, an article from The Nation, here's an interview with NPR's Terry Gross, and here's a review of that interview.) A man who John Dean has called "the most secretive president this nation has ever had"? I seem to recall some quote about those who call the light darkness, and the darkness, light...

Like I said earlier, stick it to the man - join REGISTER TO VOTE. And then, this November, use your political power to get George W. Bush out of office.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

DICK! is coming to town

Dick Cheney (henceforth known as DICK!) is blowing through Pennsylvania tomorrow, with a stop in Wilkes-Barre, the next city over from Nanticoke. Considering how the local economy has suffered during the Bush administration, he sure has a lot of nerve. If he weren't surrounded by armed guards, DICK! might very well find himself being ridden out of town on a rail, or at least pelted with tomatoes.

You may recall that back in June DICK! suggested that Senator Patrick Leahy perform an impossible physical act with himself. While DICK! just laughed off any criticism of this suggestion (with that snide, sneering, mocking, condescending laugh of his), it would be impossible to repeat the actual statement in public without violating various obscenity laws. But I do hope that when DICK! comes to town, the good people of Pennsylvania forget their sense of decorum and invite DICK! to perform a sex act with himself. And then tell DICK! to get the hell out of town.

Hey, DICK! You're going to be moving back to Texas pretty soon. (Oh, sorry, you claim to live in Wyoming.) Shouldn't you be packing?

George Bush vs. the 527s, Part 2

Here's a more complete article on this issue from the New York Times. Again, a free registration may be required to view. Bush is not only calling for 527's to not run television commercials - he actually said "I don't think we ought to have 527's."

The Federal Election Commission begs to differ, as I pointed out yesterday. And so do I. 527's allow everyday people to band together and unite their political and economic resources to work for political change. Bush's objections are based not on any principle, but on the fact that 527's have given the people opposed to him the ability to confront him and his fat-cat supporters on a more-nearly-level playing field.

Stick it to the man. Join a 527 today. I recommend , which is the group Bush has in mind when he says he wants to get rid of 527's. You don't need to contribute time, money, or anything to join, but once you're in, you can participate as much or as little as you want.

Democracy should be more than just a word. Take part in the process that will decide the future of your country. And most importantly, REGISTER TO VOTE.

Monday, August 23, 2004

George Bush vs. the 527s

Great. George Bush has finally come out against the attack ads being sponsored by the ironically-named group Swift Boat Veterans For Truth - not because he believes the attacks are false, or because he admits that, in violation of election rules, members of his election committee coordinated attacks with members of the SBVFT group. No, he did it because he says that 527 groups shouldn't be running television ads at all - because they're "bad for the system."

Once again Bush and his handlers have manufactured a win-win situation for themselves. If the SBVFT ads run without rebuttal, the message goes out that Kerry is a liar who didn't earn his Purple Hearts. If Kerry attempts to respond to the ads, suddenly the ads themselves become a news story and get far more exposure than they would have on their own - which is what has happened. Bush, rather than condemning the ads, has instead condemned the general principle by which the ads have come into being - 527 groups, some of which incidentally pose at least as big a danger to Bush's re-election prospects as the Kerry/Edwards ticket.

So what's a 527 group? Here's a definition - and an interesting tidbit of information:

During April of 2004, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) held hearings to determine whether or not 527s should be regulated under campaign finance rules; see campaign finance reform for additional details. In May, they decided to delay any ruling for an additional 90 days, almost certainly pushing it to past the 2004 presidential election. *

The meeting was held last Thursday, August 19th, and in what must have been a great disappointment to the Bush gang, the FEC did not propose any dramatic restrictions or sweeping changes. Here's the New York Times article on the subject, but a free registration may be required to view it.)

But I doubt the Bush team will let the issue rest there - why else would he bring it up now, rather than directly addressing the truthfulness of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth ads, and their coordination with the Bush election campaign? So George's boys get in a few dirty punches; he denies any connection, and then (at some point in the near future) makes a noble-sounding recommendation to the FEC on what action they should take to avoid the appearance of future impropriety - and thereby block any possible future ads by 527 groups like And if Kerry disagrees with Bush on this issue - well, then he's just a hypocrite, right?

Dirty tricks and smear campaigns are nothing new in politics, and Bush and his cronies certainly have a good deal of experience in both areas. So, expect more of the same from the Bush gang. They're fighting dirty, and they're running scared. But don't be surprised by any dirty tricks they may pull out of their sleeves.


Saturday, August 21, 2004

Oh yeah baby, I'm back!

So I have returned from Stone Harbor and somehow managed to avoid death by drowning, sun poisoning, or jellyfish stings, although I did have some experience in each of these areas this past week.

I also managed to avoid taking any notes while I was at the beach. Partly this was because there were way too many bikini-clad distractions walking around for me to be able to write coherently for any stretches of time, but it was also because I found myself engrossed in a good book. Despite its frivolous-sounding title and frivolous-looking cover art, Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing Is Turning America into a One-Party State is a very serious (and thoroughly researched and heavily annotated) look at the real way that the party that currently controls all three branches of the U.S. government really does its business. Other people may talk about a "vast right-wing conspiracy", but this book names names. (Do you know who Grover Norquist is? He's possibly the most influential conservative/anarchist in America today, and perhaps as great a threat to the U.S. government as any terrorist out there.) This book should be required reading for anyone who plans to vote this November - and for the people who aren't planning on voting, too.

Which brings me to something I'm going to be mentioning a lot over the next few months: REGISTER TO VOTE. If you're over 18 and a U.S. citizen, I want you to register to vote. It's fast, it's easy, and being registered will let you help determine the fate of this nation. There's even a quick and easy form available at the Federal Election Commission website that allows U.S. citizens to register to vote from (almost) anywhere.

Whether you believe George W. Bush is the Second Coming or the worst president in U.S. history, your opinion won't mean squat unless you vote - and use your powers of persuasion to convince others to vote in the same way. But first things first: REGISTER TO VOTE. Do it. Now.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Down by the seaside

Gone Fishin' Posted by Hello

Actually, I'm not going fishing, but that's the traditional indicator that someone has gone on vacation. I've never been fishing. My grandfather used to fish, but he died when I was little, and I never went out with him.

I will try to keep a journal while I'm at the shore. This will help me make sense of my vacation after the fact, when it tends to be a blur. Maybe I'll transcribe those notes when I get back.

If you happen to be in Stone Harbor, NJ, try to find me! I'll be the big guy on the beach reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin, or the 9/11 Commission Report, or writing notes in a spiral-bound sketchbook.

I should be back online sometime after August 21. Until then, take care!

Ye doom is ycomme true

So it looks like my vacation at the Jersey Shore will begin with a visit from Bonnie and Charley - or what's left of them, anyway. Well, it will certainly be interesting. And just in case we get stuck indoors, we're taking a DVD player, an RF converter (to connect it to the TV if it's an older model), DVDs, playing cards, UNO, board games (Scrabble and Chutes & Ladders, which I think I might be able to turn into a drinking game), and alcohol (rum, Kahlua, and the ingredients for Margaritas.) And even if there is rough surf, I intend to stand on the shore and howl at the storm. Storms. Mess with my vacation, will they? Watch for me on The Weather Channel, or maybe CNN ("Visiting Idiot Swept To Sea, Friends Say 'Eh, he was asking for it'".)

As of today it has been one calendrical month since I started walking with Haley in the mornings, which amounts to 24 walks together. In that time she has lost 9 pounds, going from 61 lbs. to 52 lbs., and the vet says she's doing great. I have no idea if I have lost weight, and if so, how much.

I will try to file one last post tomorrow, as I don't think I'll have any time Saturday morning. If I fail in that, then adieu, adieu, mes ames! (Is that even remotely right?) Assuming I don't wind up in Jimmy Hoffa's Locker, I should be back sometime after the 21st.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Another Another Monkey

Shortly after I started this blog, I noticed that the address went from having a message of "This page cannot be found" to "This name has recently been registered by one of our clients." I assumed this was a cybersquatter, possibly the work of a bot that would seek out newly-registered blog names and try to grab related top-level names on the assumption that the blogger might eventually want the top-level name and might be willing to pay a hefty price for it. Not me. But I was curious as to what might appear at that address.

Yesterday I took a look over there and found a full-fledged website that looks like it's been up since July 5. It's the online portfolio of a Joanne Green, who is apparently based in the UK and is working on a Master's Degree in Creative Imaging. I will eventually put a link on my site to her site, and maybe I will ask her to put a link to mine; there are few things so annoying as thinking you're on one website when you're actually on a completely different one (I once spent some time at the website before I realized it wasn't - now the .com address seems to have been acquired by National Public Radio, and simply redirects users to

I never claimed that Another Monkey was an original name, and that's part of the point: we are all just monkeys on typewriters here. I was glad I was able to get this blog name before somebody else claimed it, and before I created it I did a Google search for other uses of the phrase. There were a few reviews on Amazon and Epinions by someone called anothermonkey, there appears to be a punk band by that name, there are quite a few references to "Another monkey island blog!", and quite a few people have used the apocryphal-sounding quote "Never monkey with another monkey's monkey." There will probably be more uses of the term in the future. I wasn't the first, and I won't be the last. Maybe we can find hope in the fact that there will always be another monkey, somewhere!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Shove It!

A message to George W. Bush, from Teresa Heinz Kerry Posted by Hello

This is a modification of the classic "Rosie The Riveter" picture by J. Howard Miller, found in the National Archives at this location. You should really go there and surf around. There's a lot of great stuff there, and most of it is public domain. Here's a chilling poster - the image is more than a little reminiscent of a famous image from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Here's a site where a lot of other people have already done some work. There's a scandal behind the guy who started this - he claimed to have been in the Rangers, when in fact he had less military experience than even George W. Bush - but that doesn't invalidate the work. I can see myself doing a lot of this sort of stuff, so let me state for the record: I have never been in the military. I knew some guys in ROTC, and my college roommate used to sleep with a tough-as-nails woman in the ROTC, and I know one guy who was in the Marines (and who wants to see Bush out of office even more than I do), but that's pretty much it. You can quote me on that.

Less than a week to go!

In less than a week I will be in Stone Harbor, NJ, soaking up the sun and the industrial pollution that permeates the sand, air, and water of the Jersey Shore. There are still a million little details to sort out, and we will almost certainly simultaneously overpack and forget to pack some really critical stuff.

This past Friday we worked out that my longest morning dogwalk is about 3.2 miles. I keep adding side streets and extra blocks to the walk to try to push it out a little bit further each morning. I wonder if I'll keep up the walking at the beach? Probably not. But, hell, a vacation's a vacation!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Closing time

The glass factory where I used to work in the summer during college closed on Tuesday, putting nearly 700 people out of work. It used to be one of the top employers in the area, but thanks to cutbacks over the last few years, it no longer played such an absolutely vital role in the area's economy. Still, such a loss will hit northeastern Pennsylvania hard.

If there is any silver lining to be found here, it may be this: Pennsylvania is a key state in the upcoming presidential election, with a lot of electoral votes and (at the moment) a slim majority for Kerry. Union workers, like those employed at the glass factory, could be counted on in the past to vote for the Democratic candidate, but the incumbent George Bush (through the machinations of his political mastermind, Karl Rove) has insinuated himself into the everyday lives of many of these people, associating himself with their music (through country singers like Toby Keith), their entertainment (NASCAR racing), and so many other aspects that they tend to forget that he has more in common with the tax-evading executives who shut down the factories to improve their personal bottom lines than he does with the rank-and-file laborers who keep this country's economy running.

The now unemployed workers from this factory will be getting 60* days of pay and benefits as part of a severance package. That should be running out right around election time. Let's hope that when that day comes, they see to it that a few folks in Washington know what it's like to lose their jobs. Like George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft...

*UPDATE: Turns out that the figure of "60 days" reported today was what is known in the business world as a "lie". The company is now informing its former employees that it doesn't actually have enough money to pay them. What they will wind up getting, I don't know. And on a more personal note, what of the fate of my father's retirement, which provides almost enough income to cover the cost of his medications each month? My mom is trying to get information, but the only number to contact the retirement plan is - get this - a toll call. Ain't it grand?

Thank you, Mr. Bush, for doing all you can to hold onto American jobs. You are dismissed. Please begin packing your crap, now. We want you out of the White House come January. You can expect formal notice in November.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

More chess and more dog pictures

I spent this past weekend in the Poconos at my friends' place. Bill was visiting, too, and once again I lost to him in chess. Twice. The second loss was a stalemate, so I didn't technically lose that game. In fact, everybody won. We were all happy and smiling. Or maybe that was just me.

If you've been following Bill's blog, you'll know that there have been numerous calls for photos of our friends' dogs. You'll also know that he's been having technical issues posting photos. By now he may have gotten them resolved, but if not, he can always link to this picture:

The Hounds Posted by Hello

There's a trick of perspective in this photo. The greyhound on the right appears smaller than the elkhound on the left, even though he is considerably larger. Note the relative positions of the greyhound's elbows and the elkhound's butt. The elkhound is a bit closer to the camera, and also a good deal wider than the skeletally thin greyhound.

Well, it's late, my computer is running hot, and it's behaving oddly. I'll post more later.