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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dems disrespect Feingold

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has introduced a measure to censure the president for illegal domestic spying. Feingold’s Democrat senate colleagues are not backing him up, some saying that more investigation is necessary. I’m not sure why that is, since Bush already admitted what he did in his Dec. 17, 2005 radio address:

"…I authorized the National Security Agency…to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations…This is a highly classified program…it was clear that terrorists inside the United States were communicating with terrorists abroad before the September the 11th attacks…The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September the 11th helped address that problem…."

This is illegal and contradicts what he said Apr. 20, 2004 in Buffalo, NY:

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires--a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

This censure resolution is a good litmus test for Democrat senators. If they don’t support it, Democrat voters need to throw them out, or better yet, switch to the Green Party.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Green Party Women Candidates

I’d like to see the Green Party field a lot of women candidates for statewide office this year. We already have Mike Cavlan running for U.S. Senate and Dave Berger running for Auditor, but no one has announced yet for the other offices—Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. As much as I’d like to see more women in office, I cannot vote for Mike’s opponent, Amy Klobuchar, because she is not a peace candidate and is not fighting election fraud. And I sure won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton in 2008. Her wing of the party gave us NAFTA and continued high auto emissions. The Green Party and other third parties can balance these threats by nominating strong women candidates of their own.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Movie Review: Failure to Launch

Failure to Launch, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey, is a fun, light-hearted movie about a guy who lives with his parents. As somebody in that situation, I was concerned how he would be portrayed, and was relieved that he was seen as likeable fellow. Yes, there’s a stigma, but it seems to be a benign stigma. The movie points out that sometimes the parents also benefit in the form of relational or economic support. I’ve heard that in Latin America a lot of people live at home out of economic necessity. In these days of high credit card debt and increased home foreclosures, there might be something to be said for this type of arrangement. Tripp, the guy in this movie, is quite pampered at first—his mom makes him pancakes for breakfast—but takes on more responsibility as the film goes on. The supporting cast is hilarious, the dates are creative, and I especially enjoyed the motif of the harmless animals. A great romantic comedy!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Good talking points

I watched a one-hour cable TV interview from the Cavlan campaign, and it contained some good phrases and talking points:
"Corporate Media" – Corporations pay for television and newspaper ads, and they own most major media. Corporations don’t always want what’s best for the people. They want to make money. People need to understand the corporate media can’t be trusted.
"Democracy at Risk" – Election fraud, domestic spying, and unlawful detention are among the threats to our freedom.
"Political Cowardice" – Ohio 2004 had long lines, tampered voting machines, and unsecured ballots, but Kerry did nothing to initiate a recount. It took minor parties like the Greens to make it happen. And when the accuracy of the vote could not be verified, Greens called for a revote.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Torture cruel and unusual

Torture is cruel and unusual. It’s un-American. If you’re for it, you want to trample the Constitution. Torture doesn’t work. It’s sick. There’s no excuse for it. It can never be justified—no ifs, ands, or buts. Only God can know for sure if the person you’re torturing has the information you’re looking for. If you’re wrong, you’re torturing an innocent person and you’re evil. Even if you’re right, you’re still evil because you’re playing God. Jesus was tortured. Torturing makes you one of the bad guys. If you’re in favor of torture, don’t call yourself a Christian.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Michael Cavlan March 7

Minnesotans remember to attend your Green Party caucus this Tuesday March 7 and support Michael Cavlan for U.S. Senate. Below is a letter I wrote to Pulse of the Twin Cities regarding their lack of press coverage:

Just a heads up, Michael Cavlan has had a lit piece out for some time now, listing his key issues of foreign policy, corporate accountability, voter integrity, and health care. He has a one-hour video, and I’ve seen him at numerous public events, including the Green Party Winter Conference, the "Blue State Ball," March Forth, and a number of local forums, including one on Personal Rapid Transit.

As much as I’d like to see more women in office, I have to rule out Amy Klobuchar because she is not a peace candidate. It’s great to hear Ford Bell adopting a lot of Cavlan’s ideas with a heavy advertising presence on Air America Radio. Maybe next he can come out with a strong radio ad condemning the voter fraud in Ohio. Cavlan was an election recount observer there.

I’m afraid that Bell will be just another decoy candidate, luring progressives into the Democratic Party where they are ultimately blown out of the water. Bell can begin to gain credibility by promising, if he cannot get the DFL nomination, to support Cavlan. Then perhaps the onus would be on Cavlan to respond in kind as part of an unlikely but sensible scenario. Unless that happens, however, I’m sticking with Cavlan.

Tom Cleland
Golden Valley

Hands off Iran

Attacking Iran would not only be immoral, it would be stupid. It's even bigger than Iraq, which we can't stabilize. Beating down Iran would be more dangerous than dealing with them maturely. We have to accept that countries will get nukes, but they won't use them because they know that we have them too.

Bush strummed

Just as Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Bush strummed while New Orleans drowned:

Now we're learning that former FEMA Director clearly warned Bush that Hurricane Katrina was "the big one."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Tom Cleland Radio

Ted introduced me to Pandora.com, where you can set up your own radio station. I’m still training it, so to speak, but it sometimes comes up with some great sounds. The style I’m going for is upbeat, melodic, danceable, progressive, and non-repetitive. Probably everyone thinks their own station is the best, and I am no exception. To have a listen, click "Tom Cleland Radio" under "Links" at the right of this blog.

Minnesota Open

I didn’t do so well at the state chess tournament this year. In 2002, I won 4 out of 6 games, but this year all I got was a draw. I play the Grob, an opening which is unorthodox and underdog, similar to my politics. When I do win, it’s sweet. Below is my draw. The computer analysis says I was winning, but I was running out of time, drained, faltering, and anxious to avoid a shutout. My opponent had a long drive home, offered the draw, and I took it:

Cleland,T - Konczak,J [A00]
MN Open (6), 19.02.2006
[Fritz 6 (30s)]
1.g4 A00: Irregular Openings 1...c5 2.Bg2 e6 Secures d5 3.c4 Nc6 4.a3 Consolidates b4 4...a6 5.h3 Qc7 6.Nf3 h6 Covers g5 7.d3 Nge7 8.Nbd2 Ng6 9.Ne4 Be7 10.Bd2 Nh4 [¹10...d5!? and Black can hope to survive 11.cxd5 exd5³] 11.Nxh4± Bxh4 12.Nxc5 Qb6 13.Be3?? a transit from better to worse [¹13.Ne4!? Be7 14.Bc3±] 13...Qxb2 [¹13...d6 14.b4 dxc5 15.Bxc5 Qc7µ] 14.Na4 Qf6 15.Nb6 Rb8 16.Rb1 0–0 17.Qd2 Ne5 [17...d6 18.Be4²] 18.Nxc8 [18.0–0!? d5 19.Bf4 dxc4 20.d4+- (20.Nxc4?! Nxc4 21.dxc4 e5=) ] 18...Rfxc8² 19.0–0 [19.Bxb7? is no good because of 19...Rc7–+; 19.Rxb7? is a blank shot 19...Rxb7 20.Bxb7 Rb8–+] 19...Nc6 20.Rb6 Nd4 [20...Qd8 21.Rfb1=] 21.Qb2 Nc6 22.Qxf6 Bxf6 [22...gxf6? 23.Rfb1+-] 23.Rfb1 Rc7 24.Bc5 Be7 25.Bxe7 Nxe7 26.Rxb7 Rcxb7 27.Rxb7 [Instead of 27.Bxb7 Nc6 28.d4 Nxd4³] 27...Rxb7 28.Bxb7 a5 29.Kg2 f5 30.gxf5 Nxf5 31.Bc8 Nd4 32.Bxd7 Nxe2 33.Bxe6+ Kf8 34.Bd5 Nd4 [34...Nf4+ 35.Kf3 Nxd3 36.Ke3+-] 35.Be4 Ne6 36.Kf3 Ke7 37.Kg4 Kf6 38.h4 Ke5 39.Bd5 Nf4?? an oversight. But Black was lost anyway. [¹39...Nc5 40.f4+ Kf6+-] 40.Be4 [¹40.d4+ and the rest is a matter of technique 40...Kxd4 41.Kxf4+-] 40...Ne6 41.Kf3 Nd4+ 42.Kg2 Ne6 [42...Nc2 43.a4 Kd4 44.Kf3±] 43.Kf1 Kd4 44.a4 [¹44.Ke2+- and the scales tip in favour of White] 44...Nc5 45.Bc6 Nxd3 46.Bb5 Kc5 ½–½