HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008 - A Time To Reflect

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday as I mentioned in an earlier blog. This year was no different. although the gatherings are getting smaller. Pictured are my wife Kim, my wonderful mother-in-law Joy, and Kim's very spiritual younger sister, Kristi, who joined us on thanksgiving morning and, thankfully, i think are going to stay with us yet another evening tonight.

I am truly thankful for all three of these beautiful women! Each brings their own special view point of the world with them that really helps me to see the world differently as well.

I put together what has always been the traditional Heagle farm style Thanksgiving dinner that my mother Alice would serve up so bounteously: In addition to a 15 pound turkey (I had asked for a 10-12!), we had a rice/wild rice with mushroom and Italian sausage stuffing, freshly made cranberry sauce, true sweet potatoes (it wasn't until last year that I found there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes), mashed potatoes and some of the best turkey gravy I have ever produced, and freshly steamed broccoli.

For dessert there was two layer cheesecake (the women's favorite) and a pumpkin pie. Since the three gals went after the cheesecake, it left more pumpkin pie for me!
It's always really enjoyable to have Joy visit as she gets such a kick out of the two kittens and their high jinks. Stella has continued to fight off eye infections -- it has now shifted to her right eye, so we are administering the necessary eye drops four times a day.

Kim got the photo that I wanted to display of Stella drinking from the water bowl as she has such a wonderfully weird approach, straddling the dish with both paws as if to hold it down while she laps away.

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On Thanksgiving Day, the Eau Claire Leader Telegram ran a story on Phong Xiong and Pete Roller and how Pete volunteers part of his acerage to Phong's Hmong family to use for produce farming in the summer months.

I was excited by the article as we have two parcels that could be used for the same purpose here on our land. In fact, it would be a win/win situatiion for me as I wouldn't have to mow the big lot behind the office if cash crops are being grown there and the land would be put to good use!

So I contacted Phong and here are our e mails:

From: Lawrence Heagle
Subject: Possible Land Use
To: phongxiong2008@yahoo.com
Date: Thursday, November 27, 2008, 3:47 PM





Phong:

My wife and I live just out of town, about a mile and a half from
Oakwood Mall, just beyond Interstate 94 -- actually sort of at the
junctions of Highway 53 South and Interstate 94 so it would be a
convenient spot to grow. Of course, first you will need to determine
if the soil is usable. We actually have two plots as we bought up
properties on both sides of our home. One is quite small, the other
about double that size. I know the soil is quite sandy but there is
a stand of rhubarb that grows back every summer on the larger tract.

One of my very best friends, John Buchholz, plays music with Pete
Roller, and I am certain if you mention my name to Pete he will know
who I am as I have been a "musician/comedian" in the area since 1976
when I retired from teaching middle school at (of all places) Delong!

Please do give me a call, hopefully before the snow hits and the
ground freezes and I will tell you how to get out here to look it
over. You can reach me at my cell: 590-8222. I will be home all
this coming weekend so you can also try the house at 834-8815.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your entire family!

Larry Heagle


"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hi Larry,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wife. Thank you so much for the offer. I will be out of town this weekend, but I will call you on Monday for sure. We will set up a time to meet and look at the soil. I will be sure to mention this to Pete. Again, my family appreciates your generosity.




Phong


I am pretty excited about being able to help such wonderful people in my own attempt to show some thanks on this Thanksgiving! I hope it works out.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY -- MEMORIES OF GONEBY

Dear Lar,

You of course know the Thanksgiving I always think of....at the farm...what precious memories of it all.

I don't even want to try to tell you what you mean to me and I am thankful for it each day.

To quote Beethoven again:


Never shall I forget the days which I spent with you....Continue to be my friend, as you will always be mine.

Ludwig von Beethoven

Love,

Matt

Thus was the loving e mail I received yesterday from my very good friend who lives just outside of Napoli, Italy, where his wife Dianne is finishing up her final year of teaching music at the American Naval Base. (Geez! I think I got that right, but I are old so the facts might not be correct on that!)

The Thanksgiving Matt refers to was many years ago. I informed my dear mother, Alice, the best cook I know, that I would be coming over to the family farm south of Menomonie with a dinner guest, (Matt) and I would be bringing the turkey.

I explained to her that Matt and I wanted to do all the food preparation which of course she agreed to as long as I let her do something. We decided she could make the pumpkin pies as she made absolutely the best!

Before I go further, you must understand that this was more than likely at the end of the 1970's and a goodly portion of college age folk had at least tried smoking pot. Since I left education and became a full time entertainer, marijuana was very acceptable to my "profession". Hell, I remember working a little peanut bar off the University of Minnesota campus back in those days and the crowd passed a joint around the room while I was onstage! When it came down front, the harmonica player who was working with me took a hit and passed it over to me.

Unlike Bill Clinton, I inhaled.

So Matt and I jumped in the green ford van, reefer and turkey at hand, and headed for the farm via the "short cut" cross country, south of Menomonie. Even in late November Wisconsin is a beautiful place to be, especially after a good hit on the herb when you become appreciative of all the different shades of brown and gray there really are!

We knew that my mom and dad would be gone to Mass when we got there so we had the farm kitchen to ourselves. We unloaded all the foodstuffs and the goodly bottles of wine -- now that I think of it, I think there WERE several - and took over the kitchen, salivating over Alice's freshly baked pies, still warm, cooling on the kitchen table.

We popped the cork on the first bottle of wine. While I cleaned out the turkey and started the stuffing, Matt worked on peeling potatoes and scrubbing up the yams.

When all was ready, including the pre-heating of the overn, we got the bird into the heat and opened the second bottle of wine.

Here I must stop because truthfully from this point all I can remember is that we laughed until tears rolled down our faces, mom and dad came home to find two really happy lads in her kitchen and it was a day of great love, joy and true thanksgiving.

Hopefully, I can get Matthew to write how he remembers the day and add it to this blog later.

My mother and father have gone to their rest now, as has my father-in-law, Bob. This thursday, however, I will be back in the kitchen here at home, cooking for those I love that are nearest by; Kim's mom, Joy and her sister, Kristi, are coming down to share the day with us.

Thanksgivng has always been my favorite holiday. I guess because it revolves around food! I can hardly wait to slice into the turkey, dip into the yams and mashed potatoes and gravy, the freshly made cranberry sauce, the salad, the rolls, and finish it off with pumpkin pie or cheese cake.

This year there won't be any wine or pot!

I received this e mail from Matt, concerning the above:

" I do remember that Fr. John was there and had a great time. I think eventually everyone was there...even Anson and Diana...I know Bob was there...the whole crowd ...

John was the priest there in town and had done the Mass...I asked him if he forgave us for not coming to Mass to which he said..."it doesn't makde any difference if I forgive you...but He does ...you had to get all of this ready. Ma got out the biggest piece of cheese and crackers and olives etc...for horsdeuvre of which we ate so much there was little room left for anything else...Ma told me when I asked her about the pies...she said the secret was in the milk and cream used...she used fresh milk and mostly heavy cream to make them. I remember the first time I went to the farm Ma asked me if I liked cottage cheese...I love it...so she got a small bowl and a spoon from somewhere in the milk room where the milk ended up...went to the bag holding the drippiing cottage cheese and scooped some into the bowl...then to the cream tank and poured a whole dipper full of heavy cream over the whole thing. The cottage cheese world has never been the same since...all pale in the remembrance of that. I never had the courage to order the homemade bread spread with butter and jam in a bowl filled with fresh cream which is on the menu of the Norski Nook cafe and cardiac clinic. The place with the mile high meragine.

On that Thanksgiving I don't remember going home...perhaps we stayed there overnight...one time we did and I got up at 4 or so to do the early milking with everyone."

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

I AM INDIFFERENT TO YOUR SUFFERING

I spent most of last friday "winterizing" our house. for the first time, we went to Menard's and bought the 3M plastic window coverings that you put up with double sided tape and then tighten up with a blow dryer.

Again, my friend Tom Johnson came to my rescue as he is supremely much more talented in that kind of thing. I became adept at flicking the end of the double sided tape until it freed the backing from the sticky side so tht I could hand it over to Tom to apply it to the window sills.

The huge sliding patio doors were somewhat of a nightmare since "Hammy" got into the plastic while it was still on the floot and poked a hole in it with his back claws, forcing us to do a patch job after getting the sheet of plastic in place.

So here it is -- a sunday without Packer football -- when I finish a bit of office work I have oveer here, I will nap the rest of the afternoon away as I am still suffering from an "adrenaline" hangover" from yesterday's appearance at Annz Books in Chetek.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heading North On 53? Make A Stop at Annz Boutique and Books, Chetek



Last week my amazing marketeer, Liz Fischer, whom I have watched work her marketing skill and charm - she could sell cement blocks to a drowning man - e mailed me and wanted to know how I would feel about making a personal appearance at Annz Boutique and Books in lovely down town Chetek, Wisconsin.

It had been a while since my last jaunt to a book store to promote my CD's and since I now have a new one,"Living On The Edge" produced entirely by Ms. Fischer (it came out magnificently if I may say so myself) and getting the news that Ann was somewhat of my vintage, only younger and in much better condition, and in addition, a "fan" of mine, it was really easy to say yes, load up a small amplifier and the venerable Gibson J45 guitar, steep a thermos of strong java and hit the road north.

Arriving at 526 2nd Street (okay, so I missed it on my first swing through town and embarrassedly had to stop at the grocery store to ask the clerk exactly where it is - she was obviously a voracious reader as she said "I think it's the place with the fence in front -- that's the only place with books that I can think of") I walked in the front door which is in actuality the middle section of three and the focal point of Chetek's version of Starbucks, but with much more small town charm. I was immediately greeted by one of the on site artists with a hearty good morning.

I took a right and went into the section pictured and encountered a woman in a red sweater and matching hot red shoes, who fixed exclusively on my Packer jacket, exclaiming how beautiful she thought it was, wanting to know where I got it, and how she wished she had her camera because her son needs to see it. I explained that it was a jacket I bought some 15 years ago and have sort of built over the years with various patches representing the history of the team.

I then asked her if she was Ann and when she said that she was, I extended my hand and said "Larry Heagle". This made her very happy. She told me of how she had been one of my "groupies" for some 34 years (not so -- I've only been at this for THIRTY!) and that she was very happy and honored to have me at the boutique.

It turns out that Ann. like both Kim and myself, is a former educator turned book store owner and that she really has found her little corner of the world in Chetek.

After taking some photos of the jacket with my camera, I began bringing in my equipment to set up and be ready to go by 11AM. About the time I was making the second trip out to the Scion, I noticed a youngish, suited man with two gals in tow making their way into the store. Two things stood out -- he was the first male to arrive in a store full of women and he was wearing a dark suit. I thought the suit was a bit much for Chetek on the first saturday of deer hunting season but dismissed it -- as an elderly woman once dismissed me way back in the day when I used to wear ruffled shirts to my gigs and walked into the chiropractor's waiting room and plopped down next to her. She gave me the once over and said loudly: "IT TAKES ALL KINDS."

At 11 AM, being a punctual Catholic boy, I launched into the show, explaining that I would be running the gamut of all three CD's, doing some serious tunes from Irish Heart, some bawdy stuff from "Rude, Crude, and Poor" and some of the monologues from "Living on the Edge", all the while vamping in G and then belting out (as best I could at this "early hour") "Rocket Action Oldsmobile".

I followed this with the monologue about teaching eighth graders which naturally leads into "The Vasectomy Song". I no sooner launched the intro to "Vasectomy" when the suited gentleman and entourage purposefully got up and beat a hasty exit. Ann was in the other section at the time, waiting on a customer and when she returned I told her that I had already cleared the store of three of her patrons.

She explained that this was not a problem. Turns out he is the local Jehovah's Witness.

This tickled me much more than probably was appropriate at a book store in a small town but truthfully I received this news with a great amount of glee. Before I let my addled brain think it over, I blurted: "Hey! That's great! Finally justice for all those early mornings when his ilk rang my door bell, waving The Watchtower in my face!"

Other highlights of the morning: together we celebrated a great elderly man's 89th birthday, albeit a bit late, as John's birthday was November 6th; the school secretary from my days of teaching at DeLong Junior High showed up with her daughter, who had been in one of my 8th grade classes, and there were even a couple more men who showed up, shunning deer hunting and the call of the wild to instead listen to me -- the guy that as one of the men who came in right in the middle of the Vasectomy monologue and was warned of what he was about to participate in, simply said "Don't worry about it -- I'v already been told -- you're crazy."

Another great moment - when the Lutheran minister and his wife arrived shortly after I had finished my presentation, and upon overhearing their conversation with Ann and seeing the disappointment on their faces for having missed the show, decided they would buy one of my CD's. When he picked up "Rude, Crude, and Poor", Ann headed him off with: "You probably don't want that one."

That's when I stepped up with a copy of "Irish Heart" and told them to please take it home with them as an early Christmas present as I am most proud of the poetry and music on that CD.

The wife was genuinely touched by the gesture and said: "A man who understands how very little a minister makes in a small town!' Thank you."

Liz called me earlier this evening to see how it went. I told her it was a great day of justice. I chased out a Jehovah's Witness and gave of myself to a religious family.

Cd's sales upon conclusion were brisk and I somehow managed to not succumb to the Olson's Ice Cream that was available in the coffee section -- even now that I had some actual money in my pocket.

How embarrassing is this? I had to use my credit card to get a sausage, egg and biscuit on my way out of Eau Claire in the morning!

Still in all, a great day!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Rush Limburger - Blow hard and Danger to American Leadership

It had ben years since I last heard Rush Limbaugh's right wing bullshit on radio one day while traveling west on a comedy club tour. I remember thinking "This guy has some serious mental problems." Turns out he is nothing more than a fascist "shock jock" and king of Oxycontin who has made a name for himself by spewing hate over the airwaves.

That's why I took such pleasure in reading Senator (R) Chuck Hagel's assessment of this modern day version of Germany's minister of propaganda, Josef Geobbels, in a recent news article:

"Two months before he leaves office, Sen. Chuck Hagel is increasingly unrestrained by political niceties.

Appearing at a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advances International Studies, the outgoing Nebraska Republican leveled harsh criticism at his own party, the lack of intellectual curiosity among some of his colleagues, the Bush administration's handling of nearly every aspect of governance and -- perhaps most bitingly -- the conservative radio voices that often dictate the GOP agenda.

"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh," said Hagel, sarcastically referencing the talk radio host who once called him "Senator Betrayus." "You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office. They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly," he offered. "[The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."

Well put, senator! But on an even darker note, writer Steve Weissman had this to say yesterday:

Leave it to Rush Limbaugh. We have just elected as our president an African-American, who would not have been able to vote in large parts of our country less than 50 years ago, and we have proved to ourselves and to the world that we remain a land of enormous opportunity. Yet, the country's best-known radio talk-show host wasted no time using our airwaves to attack the president-elect for preaching "racism" and "socialism," and for creating our current economic collapse by scaring off potential investors who fear higher taxes. "The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen," Limbaugh proclaimed only two days after the election. "Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression."

Limbaugh went on to call Obama "a Chicago thug," and suggested that the incoming president would take advice, or even direction, from the 1960s radical Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground and the "terrorist" bogeyman that John McCain and Sarah Palin accused Obama of "palling around" with. "Bill Ayers is a silent adviser," warned Limbaugh. "Don't think he's not."

Many Democrats will dismiss Limbaugh as a voice of the past, who is simply trying to boost his audience ratings. But that's just the point. For all his noxious rhetoric, the motor mouth from Missouri knows precisely the kind of red meat his listeners crave, and he's happy to serve it up - just as right-wing broadcasters did against John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., with results we know too well. Pray for an era of Kumbaya, if you will. My bet is that Limbaugh is only an opening wedge for the anti-Obama war still to come. To paraphrase an earlier column, welcome to the counterrevolution."

It is Limburger Limbaugh the druggist and "You betcha Palin" that have gotten every crackpot right wingnut foaming at the mouth so badly that the drool is rusting up the receivers of their 307 deer rifles.

Several weeks before the election I stopped out at Gander Mountain to check prices on end of season spinning rods. As I was returning to my car, an avid Limbaugh groupie was staring at the "Bush is a war criminal" bumper sticker on my rear bumper and muttering his favorite curse word: "liberal".

I would like to give notice to all the sicko racists, including Rushie-baby -- when the revolution comes, you will find me standing with my brothers -- ALL my brothers -- white, black, red, olive -- with my 16 gauge pump shot gun -- and then we shall see just how liberal I really am.

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Important Tips For The Next Time You Go Out To Hear Live Music

When requesting a song from the band, just say "play my song", or "it
goes something like this" then hum a few bars! We have a chip
implanted in our heads with an unlimited database with the favorite
tunes of every patron who ever walked into a bar & all songs ever
recorded, so feel free to be vague, we love the challenge.

If we do not remember exactly what tune you want, we're only kidding.
Bands know every song ever recorded, so keep humming. Hum harder if
need be ... it helps jog the memory.

If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they
either forgot that they know the tune or they are just putting you on.
Try singing a few words for the band. Any words.

If one member halfway knows part of a chorus, the rest of the band
will instantly learn the entire song by osmosis. Knowing this, if the
band still claims to not know your song, it helps to just keep
requesting the same song every time there is a break.

It also helps to scream your request from across the room several
times per set followed by the phrases, "AW COME ON!" and, "YOU SUCK!"
Exaggerated hand gestures expressing disapproval from the dance floor
are a big help as well, such as the thumbs down or your middle finger.
Put-downs are the best way to jog a band's memory. This instantly
promotes you to the status of "Personal Friend Of The Band."

Entertainers are notorious fakers & jokesters and never really prepare
for their shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to
what they will do once they arrive. An entertainer's job is so easy,
even a monkey could do it, so don't let them off the hook easily. Your
request is all that matters.

If a metal band had played at the club a few weeks ago, the next band
that follows will automatically know every metal tune the previous
band ever played, even if the current band is a blues or country
band. It's the law. Feel free to yell AC DC or SLAYER!! to a band that
plays strictly originals or jazz for example. Conversely, Deadheads
may yell for Grateful Dead tunes at a dance or metal band.

IMPORTANT

When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her
head in both hands and yell directly into their ear, while holding
their head securely so they cannot pull away. This will be taken as an
invitation to a friendly & playful game of tug of war between their
head and your hands.

Don't give up! Hang on until the singer or guitar player submits.
Drummers are often safe from this fun game since they usually sit in
the back, protected by the guitar players.

Keyboard players are protected by their instrument, & only play the
game when tricked into coming out from behind their keyboards. Though
difficult to get them play, it's not impossible, so keep trying.
They're especially vulnerable during the break between songs.

TALKING WITH THE BAND

The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way
is at the middle of a song when all members are singing at the same
time (such as a multi harmony part). Our hearing is so advanced that
we can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound
blasting all around us. Musicians are expert lip readers too. If a
musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune,
it's because they didn't get a good look at your mouth in order to
read your lips.

Simply continue to scream your request & be sure to over emphasize the
words with your lips. This helps immensely. Don't be fooled.

Singers have the innate ability to answer questions & sing at the same
time. If the singer doesn't answer your questions immediately,
regardless of how stupid the question may seem, it's because they are
purposely ignoring you. If this happens, immediately cop an attitude.
We love this.

HELPING THE BAND

If you inform the band that you are a singer, the band will appreciate
your help with the next few tunes, or however long you can remain
standing on stage. Just pretend you're in a Karaoke bar. Simply feel
free to walk up on stage & join in. By the way, the drunker you are,
the better you sound, & the louder you should sing.

If by chance you fall off the stage, be sure to crawl back up &
attempt to sing harmony. Keep in mind that nothing assists the band
more than outrageous dancing, third & fourth part harmonies, or a
tambourine played out of tempo. Try the cow bell, they love the
challenge. The band always needs the help & will take this as a
compliment.

VERY IMPORTANT

Remember to allow enough time to make it from the stage to the
bathroom in case of an emergency. On stage accidents are bad form. The
band will carry on.

BONUS TIP

As a last resort, wait until the band takes a break and then get on
stage and start playing their instruments. They love this. Even if you
are ejected from the club, you can rest assured in the fact that you
have successfully completed your audition. The band will call you
immediately the following day to offer you a position.


See you at the next gig ... The Band


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wisconsin Housing Alliance Makes For Great Audience

Wednesday, November 12, took me to the Marshfield Holiday Inn to perform for the Wisconsin Housing Alliance.

I arrived early enough to have a nice visit with my employer, Julie Patten, Director of Member Services, out of Madison, Wisconsin. I then had a chance to visit the various distributors who had their displays set up in the lobby. After a goodly cocktail hour, they sat down to dinner. (One of the things I like about being an after dinner performer is that by the time the "audience" has eaten, any rowdy edge that they may have had right after cocktail hour is dulled by the food and makes for a much better crowd.)

The show went well, and I was on my way by 9:45 PM. It took a while to negotiate good old Highway 10, or as I call it, "Wisconsin Death Trip", as it was extremely foggy and this is the time of year when the white tails are at their craziest and have been known to wander out on the highway and just stand there staring at you. Fortunately I made it home without mishap!

(I just looked at the photo and MAN! Do I need to lose weight!)



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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remember The Line From the Movie? "THEY'RE HERE!"



For several years now it has been rumored that cougars (mountain lions) are walking amongst us. Here is actual photographic proof that indeed, they're here! These photographs were taken by an automatic tree stand camera that is triggered by any movement in the area where bait has been set out.

Obviously, the cougars took up a position and awaited the arrival of the deer and then pounced. Incidentally, these pictures were taken in Buffalo County, Wisconsin, just across the river from Winona, Minnesota.

I, myself, am thrilled that so much wildlife is making a strong comeback. I can still remember my trips to Iowa over 20 years ago and seeing my first wild turkeys fly out of roost and across the highway.

I hope that we don't go "Sarah Palin" on these beautiful animals and start shooting them from planes.

Here's some of the wild and woolies I have spotted on my own property out here on Otter Creek: black bear, full size, and baby, racoon, badger, red fox, turkeys, many deer, possum, hawks, pileated woodpeckers, and occasionally a bald eagle fishes down in the creek.

Man, I wouldn't have it any other way!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AFGHANISTAN AND DETROIT CAN KISS MY ROYAL BEHIND!

I guess because I see them almost every day, I don't notice how fast the Krazy Kats of Hobbs Road are growing. Yesterday we weighed them and Hammy weighed in at nine pounds and Stella at eight!
The trouble is, in the process, I found out that I have gained way too much weight! No wonder my jeans feel like they are cutting me in half!

Trouble is, I have gotten into the very bad habit of watching television late into the night and then doing the midnight snack thing. Yesterday I started with hopefully a new regimen and had a very light breakfast, skipped lunch, and split a 10 inch Sammy's pizza with Kim for supper. We have to get back to splitting all our meals!

Do you like the photo of Stella doing her impression of Snoopy on the roof of the dog house?

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Over the past two days I have received two wonderful e mails from two friends for whom I have a great deal of respect. Jerry Way sent me this:

I remember on the very day of 9/11/2001 praying that our response to those horrific acts would not be war--"Please let every person responsible be hunted down and punished. Please not war!" When Bush spoke at St. Patrick's Cathedral memorial for the victims, I even thought I saw signs that, through the tragedy, he had grown up enough to lead our country in a responsible manner. Then came the speech when he said our country would move against all those responsible and all those who harbor them. What? From that point it was a downward slide into bombing Afganistan, shock and awe in Iraq, Mission Accomplished, breaking the Geneva Conventions, and all the drunk-with-power arrogance we and the world have endured.

We rang in the new Century and Millenium in 2001 and 911 and W swiftly turned it into the Dark Ages. With President-Elect Obama can we all (the whole world) work together make the light begin to shine again? I pray the answer is "Yes, we can!"

Jerry

And John Buchholz sent me this:

This presidency is finally over. We can say goodbye to an administration whose misdeeds have piled so high that the size of the mountain no longer shocks us. In our lifetimes, we will see administrations of varying degrees of competence and integrity, some we'll agree with and some we won't. But we will probably never see another quite like the one now finally reaching its end, so mind-boggling a parade of incompetence and malice, dishonesty, and immorality. So at last -- at long, long last -- we can say goodbye.

And good riddance.



-- Paul Waldman

And to that, John added: AMEN!

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Today is the day when my honeymoon with the president-elect is officially at an end. Oh, I am still happy with his election, but that doesn't mean I am going to agree with everything that he does. Take the Auto Industry bailout for instance. Obama is suggesting that we need to give them millions of dollars. The auto industry says they will take the money but it has to be with no strings attached (as in "we will give you money on the understanding that you will re-tool and start producing cars that get 60 miles per gallon and reduce emissions.")

I say if that is their attitude, then screw them! Why should you and I pay tax money for them to produce the same old shit that got them in trouble in the first place? We are at the point when we all need to pull together! Putting Americans back to work is supposedly a top priority of the new administration.

The only way we will accomplish that is to make automobiles that will compete with the Prius and other foreign cars that are light years ahead of us in hybrid technology.

Then there is the war in Afghanistan. When are we going to learn from history???? Ask any Afghan standing along a road in Afghanistan about the possibility of America winning an all out war against his country and he will just motion towards that burnt out, rusting Russian tank in the ditch behind him and expound upon how not only were the Russians defeated, but the British and on and on -- all the way back to Alexander the Great.

What makes us think we will fare any better, especially with conventional warfare? As I talked about in a recent blog, we need to approach the capture of Bin Laden the same way Al Queda lays out their plans: with small groups, long term planning, and the help of all our newest technology such as the Predator.

I am tired of trying to save Afghanistan from itself. If they are stupid enough to let the Taliban run their lives without a fight on their own part, so be it.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

SPECIAL OPS -- THE WAY USA SHOULD HAVE STRUCK BACK AFTER 9/11

I have long disagreed with the way our supposed great military minds handled the situation immediately after 9/11. In my opinion, the attack was obviously not made by a particular country. I don't think you can even try to pin it on Afghanistan.

This was a criminal act! Military intelligence told us that the criminal, Osama Bin Laden, had taken up living in the country of Afghanistan. So after only a short time, our leadership came up with the bright idea to begin bombing the hell out of the country. Indeed, we had our opportunity to capture Bin Laden in the mountains, but he bought his way out.

Had we approached the whole problem as a police vs. criminal, we would have been much more patient and deployed just a few well-trained Special Ops troops (police) and let them slowly and methodically, using the newest cutting edge technologies, hunt him down and cut the son of a bitch's throat under the cover of darkness.

We then would not say a word, but slip away silently into the dark, and let that work on Al Queda's psyche.

Instead, we let George Bush and his own criminal bunch lead us astray and put thousands of men on the ground in Iraq. IN IRAQ!!!

Now, in a story of last Sunday, November 9, the New York Times reveals that the United States defense department didn't figure this out until 2004:

This, from the Times:

Washington - The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.

These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.

In 2006, for example, a Navy Seal team raided a suspected militants' compound in the Bajaur region of Pakistan, according to a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency. Officials watched the entire mission - captured by the video camera of a remotely piloted Predator aircraft - in real time in the C.I.A.'s Counterterrorist Center at the agency's headquarters in Virginia 7,000 miles away.

Some of the military missions have been conducted in close coordination with the C.I.A., according to senior American officials, who said that in others, like the Special Operations raid in Syria on Oct. 26 of this year, the military commandos acted in support of C.I.A.-directed operations.

But as many as a dozen additional operations have been canceled in the past four years, often to the dismay of military commanders, senior military officials said. They said senior administration officials had decided in these cases that the missions were too risky, were too diplomatically explosive or relied on insufficient evidence.

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Who knows how many years it will take to get Bin Laden. Look how long it took us to get OJ Simpson.

New Auburn Bear Urges "Get Out the Vote!"

This morning I received this jpg from my banjo pickin' friend, Andy Munich. This patriotic bear, wearing the hat of Uncle Sam and waving the American flag, reminding all who pass by the property of Jack and Sue Perry, just north of New Auburn, Wisconsin, to get out the vote.

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With the television set tuned to MSNBC (that Communist station), I was making the bed this morning and heard some great news. The narrator was talking about how some items that Bush had gotten into law could very well be rescinded under the new 44th President of the United States. The example given was the stem cell research snafu.

Don't tell me we are finally going to step forward and join the 21st Century!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Remember Joe The Plumber? Now Add Sarah The Hate Monger

In a story by Tim Shipman of The Telegraph UK, Shipman says:

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin's credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.

Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."

Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africawas a continent rather than a country.

The advisers have branded her a "diva" and a "whack job" and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as "jerks" who had taken "questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context."

She said: "I consider it cowardly. It's not true. That's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news that's not fair and not right."

She was not asked about her incendiary rhetoric against Mr Obama. But she did deny the spending spree claims, saying the clothes in question had been returned to the Republican National Committee. "Those are the RNC's clothes, they're not my clothes. I asked for anything more than maybe a diet Dr Pepper once in a while. These are false allegations."

Speaking as she returned to her native Alaska, Mrs Palin claimed to be baffled by what she claims was sexism on the national stage. "Here in Alaska that double standard isn't applied because these guys know that Alaskan women are pretty tough, on a par with the men in terms of being outdoors, working hard," she said.

"They're commercial fishermen, they're pilots, they're working up on the North slope in the oil fields. You see equality in Alaska. I think that was a bit of a surprise on the national level."

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If Ms. Palin is peddling "equality between the sexes" as an Alaskan attribute, it's no wonder she thinks that Africa is a country! I know a guy who works the north slope.

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HAMMY AND STELLA -- KUDOS TO EAU CLAIRE HUMANE SOCIETY!

Here is a copy of an e mail (and photo) that I sent out to our local animal shelter this morning:

Here is a photo of Hammy and Stella, a brother and sister team that Kim and I adopted from you several months ago. We have always had cats in our house and this time we adopted the two BEST of all time!

They are a never-ending source of entertainment, caring, and love. They are the first cats that we have had that are not afraid to say hello to anybody that walks through the door and they are both lovers and snugglers.

Thank you for all the great work you are doing with God's forgotten creatures!

Larry Heagle

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I AM NOT A "REAL AMERICAN" -- MY VIEWS COINCIDE WITH TERRORIST BILL AYERS


I have been thinking it over and have decided that neither John McCain nor his lovely running mate would like me very much. I am too Bill Ayersian, which of course, makes me less than a real American.


First of all, I think that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and Don Rumsfeldt are all war criminals and should, once they are all out of office, be tried in international court. They are responsible not only for the deaths of thousands of young Americans but even more Iraqi men, women, and children.

I am not a real American because, like Bill Ayers, I believe that "The war in Vietnam was an illegal invasion and occupation, much of it conducted as a war of terror against the civilian population. The U.S. military killed millions of Vietnamese in air raids - like the ones conducted by McCain - and entire areas of the country were designated free-fire zones, where American pilots indiscriminately dropped surplus ordinance - an immoral enterprise by any measure."

In a recent article written by Mr. Ayers, he states:

" McCain and Palin - or as our late friend Studs Terkel put it, "Joe McCarthy in drag" - would like to bury the '60s. The '60s, after all, was a time of rejecting obedience and conformity in favor of initiative and courage. The '60s pushed us to a deeper appreciation of the humanity of every human being. And that is the threat it poses to the right wing, hence the attacks and all the guilt by association.

McCain and Palin demanded to "know the full extent" of the Obama-Ayers "relationship" so that they can know if Obama, as Palin put it, "is telling the truth to the American people or not."

This is just plain stupid.

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy's heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

The McCain-Palin attacks not only involved guilt by association, they also assumed that one must apply a political litmus test to begin a conversation.

On Oct. 4, Palin described her supporters as those who "see America as the greatest force for good in this world" and as a "beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy." But Obama, she said, "Is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America." In other words, there are "real" Americans - and then there are the rest of us."

Count me in with "the rest of us"!

I know that I am not a real American because I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Ayers when he says:

" In a robust and sophisticated democracy, political leaders - and all of us - ought to seek ways to talk with many people who hold dissenting, or even radical, ideas. Lacking that simple and yet essential capacity to question authority, we might still be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings today.

Maybe we could welcome our current situation - torn by another illegal war, as it was in the '60s - as an opportunity to search for the new.

Perhaps we might think of ourselves not as passive consumers of politics but as fully mobilized political actors. Perhaps we might think of our various efforts now, as we did then, as more than a single campaign, but rather as our movement-in-the-making.

We might find hope in the growth of opposition to war and occupation worldwide. Or we might be inspired by the growing movements for reparations and prison abolition, or the rising immigrant rights movement and the stirrings of working people everywhere, or by gay and lesbian and transgender people courageously pressing for full recognition.

Yet hope - my hope, our hope - resides in a simple self-evident truth: the future is unknown, and it is also entirely unknowable.

History is always in the making. It's up to us. It is up to me and to you. Nothing is predetermined. That makes our moment on this earth both hopeful and all the more urgent - we must find ways to become real actors, to become authentic subjects in our own history.

We may not be able to will a movement into being, but neither can we sit idly for a movement to spring full-grown, as from the head of Zeus.

We have to agitate for democracy and egalitarianism, press harder for human rights, learn to build a new society through our self-transformations and our limited everyday struggles.

At the turn of the last century, Eugene Debs, the great Socialist Party leader from Terre Haute, Ind., told a group of workers in Chicago, "If I could lead you into the Promised Land, I would not do it, because someone else would come along and lead you out."

In this time of new beginnings and rising expectations, it is even more urgent that we figure out how to become the people we have been waiting to be.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

DRINK RED WINE, STAY DRUNK, LIVE LONGER?



A group of scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison says there is a new reason to toast to the benefits of red wine.


A study suggests that red wine can keep you young.

Scientists have long thought a natural compound called resveratrol, which is found in some red wines, could help slow the aging process by helping to protect tissues inside the body. The question has been whether just a glass or two of wine could really make a difference.

The Wisconsin researchers announced today that it doesn't take as much red wine as many researchers had previously thought.

And at wine bars in New York City, they were already fielding calls.

"This morning I started getting phone calls saying, 'we heard about the red wine that prolongs your life. Which wine has it?'" said Nikos Antonakeas, owner of Morrell Wine Bar and Cafe.

Scientists at Harvard Medical School who have studied the impact of resveratrol on mice showed ABC News images of two rodents. Both were the same age, but the one on resveratrol was much more agile and running much more quickly than the other.

Many scientists are convinced that humans could see the same kind of anti-aging benefits, but there is a catch. How much resveratrol would it take?

In previous studies, mice had been given the equivalent of what they would have gotten from 100 bottles of wine a day.

But that's what is different with the findings in the Wisconsin study released today. The researchers used much lower levels on their mice and still had positive results.


"The precise number of glasses of wine or bottles of wine are difficult to predict," said Wisconsin-Madison professor Richard Weindruch, the author of the study.

As the research continues, some scientists are already popping corks, wondering if it is possible to put resveratrol in a pill.

David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School is trying, and just this week, his start-up company was sold to a pharmaceutical giant for $720 million.

"I used to think it was probably 100 years in the future that we'd see these anti-aging drugs come around," Sinclair said. "Now, I'm optimistic that we'll see these within the next few years."

Still, many in the medical community say "not so fast," and warn that there is plenty of research to come.

Even so, red wine lovers have already been given another reason to toast.

WE ARE ALL AMERICANS -- AND NOW MORE THAN EVER WE NEED TO SET ASIDE THE PETTY AND THE DEVISIVE

The past eight years of hell known as the Bush years put songs of the 1960's running through my head almost constantly -- at least daily. John Prine's "Your Flag decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore", The Beatles, "All You Need Is Love", -- "c'mon people, now, smile on your brother -- Everybody Get Together Try to Love One Another Right Now" (Youngbloods), and after reading the editorial that follows, Jackie DeShannon's "Put A Little Love In Your Heart", the lyrics of which are:

Put A Little Love In Your Heart

Think of your fellow man
Lend him a helping hand
Put a little love in your heart

You see it's getting late
Oh please don't hesitate
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

Another day goes by
And still the children cry
Put a little love in you heart
If you want the world to know
We won't let hatred grow
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see
Wait and see

Take a good look around
And if you're lookin' down
Put a little love in your heart

I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in -
Put a little love in your heart...

I guess I am still filled with so much HOPE with the election of such a good man! Here is the editorial:

Whether you're Democrat, Republican or Mugwump, you look at Tuesday night's remarkable election results and the nationwide reaction and can't help but wonder at how far our young country has come - and, at the same time, how long it's taken.

You probably saw those photos of the big Obama rally in St. Louis, Missouri, a couple of weeks ago - 100,000 people attended. If you looked closer, in the background, you could see an old building with a copper dome turned green with age.

That used to be the courthouse. Slaves were auctioned from its steps, and in 1846 - 162 years ago - Dred Scott and his wife, two slaves, went there to appeal to the court for their freedom, arguing that they had lived in states and territories in which slavery had been outlawed and so should be let go.

They were, briefly, but soon were returned to slavery. When their appeal reached the United States Supreme Court in 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney refused to free them. He ruled that slaves did not have the rights of citizens because Dred Scott and his wife were, quote, "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

Seventeen years later, January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and in November of that year, 145 years ago this month, he traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the battlefield was still freshly soaked in the blood of North and South, to assure all Americans that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

And yet, more than a century would pass before we would come anywhere near making his words true. Much more blood would be shed and lives lost toward achieving Lincoln's aspiration, the one for which he was martyred, too. Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma. In 1964 came the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act the following year.

And still there was violence and still there were words of hate. There's a certain irony that this year it was in the electorally important state of Pennsylvania and from Lincoln's own party that so much bitter, often racially-oriented attack came during this campaign. In their hunger to turn their state to the McCain column (unsuccessfully), the Pennsylvania Republican Party in particular pulled out the stops with virulent robocalls, flyers and last-minute TV ads that once again tried to stir ugly emotion and jingoistic reflex by re-conjuring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

As gracious in defeat as John McCain was Tuesday night, it cannot be denied that his candidacy and the desperation with which the status quo tried to cling to power created an atmosphere of ugly accusation and insinuation unlike any we've seen in our lifetimes, and not just in the race for the presidency. Take, for example, the unsuccessful campaign in North Carolina of Senate incumbent Elizabeth Dole who, in the ultimate Hail Mary play, accused her Democratic opponent Kay Hagan of Godlessness.

Yes, some Democrats did it, too, and in the past, candidates have accused each other of far worse; of traitorous, seditious acts and heinous, imaginative transgressions of the flesh. But this year's venom was conceived in kneejerk ideology and instantly brought to your home or office by the Internet: cyberspace, 24-hour news and talk radio deliver poison into the body politic's bloodstream with unparalleled speed and unfiltered ferocity.

This week, the majority of this nation rejected such hate. President-elect Obama ran a campaign in which the color of his skin was not so much an issue but an integral aspect of what has made him the complex and original man he is.

When Harry Truman became president after the unexpected death of FDR, he said he felt like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on him. Barack Obama must feel a little of that, too, but unlike Truman, he has chosen this particular trajectory of his own free will and been given a mandate for change. He will reside in a White House and rule this country with men and women who work in a white marble Capitol, both of which were built by slaves long ago but not so faraway.

And so we will hold this moment dear, turn it in the light to savor the beauty of each facet, even though we know there are hard times ahead, difficult decisions and, as Obama said, false steps. Chances are, he and we will be disappointed; sometimes by him, sometimes by each other. From time to time, hearts will break. So it goes.

Yet, as the song goes, the world will be better for this. After 9/11, the French newspaper Le Monde's headline read, "We Are All Americans."

In the years that have followed, we denied that proffered hand; we drove wedges, built walls, waged war that not only isolated us from other countries, but squandered the solidarity and strength that existed within ourselves.

On Tuesday, as a nation we stood in line, waited our turn to cast our ballots, did what we do best. And when the results were announced, we watched a man and his family stand on an outdoor stage in Chicago. He asked for our support, regardless of party or race, and finally, for a moment at least, together we were all Americans once again. It's a good start.

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Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program, "Bill Moyers Journal," which airs Friday nights on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at www.pbs.org/moyers

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Friday, November 7, 2008

AMERICA BEATS RUSSIA IN HOCKEY AND HEAGLE ESCAPES JACKSON, WYOMING ALIVE

In 1980 I land a new booking agent working out of small town in eastern Wisconsin. The first gig he sends me to is a week's stand at a Holiday Inn in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, where the bar manager takes an instant dislike to me and my show. By wednesday night, however, I am starting to fill the lounge with returnees who have brought friends.

After I finish the evening on wednesday, he calls me into his office and fires me. I immediately get on the horn to my agent, who since he got me the gig, has moved to Jackson, Wyoming.

He says not to worry, that he can land me a gig for the weekend at a ski lodge at the base of the Tetons that will cover my air flight plus more.

He meets me at the airport and as we are driving toward Jackson Hole, while I am observing the first elk I have ever seen in the wild, he informs me that his room mate (with whom he is not getting along) is dealing cocaine. He also tells me that this guy carries a pistol, has a very angry german shepherd, and sleeps most of the day, so I should do my best to "steer clear" of him for the weekend.

These are disturbing facts that I wish he had told me on the telephone before I booked my flight out!

So I tiptoe into the house with the agent to my room, unpack my bag and lock the bed room door.

The next morning, cognizant of the fact that I have to be down town Jackson, ready to perform at 7:30PM, I stay in my room and listen carefully for activity in the house, fully expecting arguments and gun battles.

The agent makes no attempt to talk to me! I count the sound of two departures through doors slamming and cars starting. Then I venture out slowly and quietly, fearing that at any moment I will have a german shepherd ripping out my throat.

I breathe more easily when I realize that Mr. Drug Dealer has taken the dog with him in the truck. Seizing my window of opportunity, not knowing when there will be a return, I quickly shower, grab my guitar, and escape, seeking out the ski lodge I am to be working.

I find it, talk to the management, leave my guitar, and take a walking tour of Jackson Hole. I piddle away the late afternoon, return to my workplace and prepare to work.

The gig goes really well and I walk back to the hoouse, again making a silent entry. This time I can hear the dog growling but fortunately for me, he is locked in his master's bed room.

Saturday, the routine repeats itself. While I am waiting to go on, my agent stops in and we visit for a while, planning out my "escape" to the airport on sunday morning.

As they had on friday night, the bar crew has the television turned on to the winter olympics. It turns out to be a great moment in American sports history as the American hockey team is up against the Russians.

As the game proceeds and the excitement builds, the bar manager tells me I can knock off for the rest of the night as patrons want to watch the game. (I DO, TOO!) So I get my paycheck and watch hockey and as you may remember (if you were around in 1980) we won! There was much celebration after the game and I didn't get much sleep before my agent drove my out to catch my plane.

That was the last time I worked for that agent!

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David Letterman's Top Ten New Revelations About Sarah Palin

10. Thinks Fox New may still declare her and John McCain winners.

9. At her wedding instead of saying I Do said "You betcha!"

8. She and Goveernor Schwarzenegger once exchanged swimsuit posing tips.

7. Prepared for gampaign by watching "Legally Blonde Two".

6. Thinks NAFTA means "Need another fifty thousand for accessories."

5. Begins every day by reading a passage from the hilarious "Late Show Fun Facts" book (available everywhere).

4. She's a person of interest in five unsolved snow mobile hit and runs.

3. Abused position as governor to get free appetizers at Anchorage Appleby's.

2. Already has a new job as Brief Case Babe Number 12 on "Deal or No Deal".

1. Her secret service code name was "huh?".

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My email of today:

Dear Mr. Solomonese:

My wife and I watched the news in disbelief as Californians passed Proposition 8. After this nation took a step forward with the election of Senator Obama as president, it is obvious that deeply rooted prejudices live on in this country. We wish you well in your fight and I wanted you to know that on this day there are fellow Americans who stand with you and sympathsize!

Larry Heagle
Fall Creek, Wisconsin


"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."
-Dan Quayle -

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

"LEFTIES" PROPOSE THE NEW BLUE UNITES STATES OF AMERICA

Soaking my tire and sore bones this morning in the office bath tub, I came across interesting statistics:

29 men have experienced a sudden loss of hearing related to the use of erectile-dysfunction drugs since their inception. WHAT?

48 per cent of Americans say they would rather help someone move than deal with a computer problem. (To them, I say, you shoulda bought a MAC!)

34 per cent of Americans believe in ghosts.

Which reminds me of a joke:

One day, on her show, Oprah was discussing the phenomena of ghosts. She asked her studio audience: "By a show of hands, how many of you believe in ghosts?"

A number of hands went up.

"Interesting," Oprah said. "How many of you believe you have actually seen a ghost?"

This time a significantly smaller number of hands were raised.

"Oh, I see a lot less hands raised," Oprah said.

Then Oprah said: "Is there anybody here who has had sex with a ghost?"

In the back of the room, an elderly man raised his hand.

"Sir," Oprah said excitedly, moving toward him, "You have had sex with a ghost?"

"Oh -- Oh, no! "he replied, "I thought you said goat!"

And speaking of Oprah, after appearing on her show to promote her cook book, Jessica Seinfeld gave the host TWENTY ONE pair of shoes that in total cost more than $16,000.

No wonder people say that Oprah is "well heeled"!

MORE STATISTICS

The U.S. military is paying some 70,000 former Iraqi insurgents $10 a day each to fight Al Queda instead of American forces.

In the recent presidential campaigning, candidates spent almost $50 million campaigning in the Iowa caucuses -- that comes to around $200 a vote.

Brazil, home to the world's largest Catholic population, gave out 19.5 million free condoms before Carnival.

From December 2006 to December 2007 the number of unemployed Americans with a least a bachelor's degree rose by 153, 000.

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An open letter from my "lefty" friends To Republicans

We've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and
we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't
aware, that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington,
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and all of the Northeast.
We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and
especially to the people of the new country of New California.


To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the
slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We
get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and
Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss. We
get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You
get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make
the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the
Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a
bunch of single moms. Please be aware that Nuevo California will be
pro gay-rights, pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want
all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to
fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently
willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care
if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home.
We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but
we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80
percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the
pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95
percent of America's quality wines, 90 percent of all cheese, 90
percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur
coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and
Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with
88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care
costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of
the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all
Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists,
Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of
Georgia. We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah
was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is
sacred unless we're discussing the war, the death penalty or gun
laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent
that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazies
believe you are the people with higher morals then we "lefties."

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Want to see Bill O'Reilly at his finest? enter the following URL:

www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/05/palin-didnt-know-africa-i_n_141653.html

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And in the interest of keeping things light (or as they sing in "The Producers" -- "keep it gay, keep it gay, keep it gay!":

Why Parents Drink...

The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent but had not phoned in sick one day. Needing to have an urgent problem with one of the main computers resolved, he dialed the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whisper. ' Hello ? '

'Is your daddy home?' he asked.
' Yes ,' whispered the small voice.

May I talk with him?'

The child whispered, ' No .'

Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, 'Is your Mommy there?' ' Yes '

'May I talk with her?' Again the small voice whispered, ' No '

Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, 'Is anybody else there?'

' Yes ,' whispered the child, ' a policeman. '

Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, 'May I speak with the policeman?'

' No, he's busy , ' whispered the child.

'Busy doing what?'

' Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman and the priest , ' came the whispered answer.

Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background through the earpiece on the phone, the boss asked, 'What is that noise?'

' A helicopter ' answered the whispering voice.

'What is going on there?' demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive..

Again, whispering, the child answered,
' The search team just landed a helicopter'

Alarmed, concerned and a little frustrated the boss asked, 'What are they searching for?'

Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle..

' ME ! '

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

GEORGE BUSH'S SINGULAR ACCOMPLISHMENT OF EIGHT YEARS

It is the morning of November 5, 2008, and I awoke with the same feeling of euphoria that I went to sleep late last night with. It is not a euphoria brought on by gloating. No, it is a euphoria of hope and promise.

Looking back on America's history, I can name numerous instances of when luck or "God's hand", you choose which, came to our rescue and saved our beloved country from sheer disaster. Once again, with the election of a man that is fairly being compared to Abraham Lincoln, "God shed his grace on thee".

I am currently reading president elect Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" and I am overwhelmed with his honesty and wisdom at such a young age.

I received an e mail from my beloved friend, Tiit Raid this morning. In that e mail, Tiit says:

"Well...there we have it! History has been made.

As Ann (His wife) said this morning..."I am proud." I would agree...finally there is hope that the world will see that there is 'something' to the American people...and if President Elect Obama can do what he said in his acceptance speech last night then we are in for an interesting time. And...I hope that the people and the Congress will get behind him...as McCain promised HE would...then there is a chance that we will have some hopeful times ahead.

I woke up this morning to the thought that if it hadn't been for G.W. we may not have witnessed this historic event...at least at this time. Ironic...it takes a 'fuck-head and fuck-up' to wake people up...but that is how humans seem to function...something disasterous needs to happen before they take action. Let's hope that we take action NOW concerning things like the environment...and our attidudes and beliefs concerning race and gender.

The time is right to ask some serious questions about the above...and hopefully we don't squander another opportuniy to ask these and other questions as 'we' did after 911. It seems to me that one of the questions 'we' could have asked was 'what brings some to take their frustrations out on innocent people?'...or...'why do we still think that aggression is the only way to respond to aggression?' Seems a pretty crude and primitive way to solve problems. "

I told Kim last night as it became clear that Barack was going to clearly win this election that the only good that came out of the eight terrible years this country suffered under George Bush is that it obviously made Americans cry out "ENOUGH!"

So, for at least one day, I can take a deep breath and thank God or luck for the timing of this event. There are those who still believe that Barack is a liar. I can tell you for certain that he is not.

The path that lies before him and all of us is a daunting one and I am certain he will jump in running and do the best he can to start the healing and the return of America's position of respect in the world. The celebrations that went on all over the world last night should tell us something.

Senator McCain gave a very moving concession speech last night; a speech that moved me very deeply. But I cursed the gathering who booed when he said Barack Obama's name. How very small, how very "red neck", how incredibly tasteless that was. And to his credit, Senator McCain looked embarrassed.

I want to take a moment to apologize for some of the things I have said in previous blogs, for they too, were beneath me. I can do this with an open heart because just through reading "The Audacity of Hope" did I come to realize that I was starting to become the thing I so much detest.

Now we all must pray every day that our new president will be able to govern without being assassinated. it is and has been the greatest worry that I have carried since the campaign began.

Let the healing begin. God bless America.

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A PERSONAL MESSAGE TO MY INTERNET FRIEND MPLSPCKR: Thank you for voting yesterday and especially thank you for casting your vote for Barack Obama, the soon to be 44th president of these United States! Now if only Al Franken can somehow pull out a win over Norm Coleman in your home state, how sweet it will be!

i received a last hour request by e amil from Mr. Franken on November 3 and immediately got out the charge card and sent him a "ground roots" contribution!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

AN HISTORIC DAY FOR AMERICA AND AMERICAN VOTERS -- AND I WAS THERE!


There is such an electricity in the air today! I couldn't help but find myself back at Obama headquarters this morning even though my right knee was still in bad shape from yesterday's foray. The first person I saw when I walked in the office was Ginny Jordan, who taught Home Economics in a room just down the hall from mine! She, too, got out of teaching and is working as a dietician.

I spent the first hour on the phone banks, calling people to remind them to vote. I was given a script to follow but I "went rogue" and changed it a bit to truly represent myself: "Hi, this is Larry Heagle, an independent voter, calling from the Eau Claire Democratic Office --"

Then the staff asked me to report to a voting site at a church behind Delong Middle School, where I taught for a number of years, to work as an Election Monitor. I found the location and joined Liz, another worker, in the chore of checking off registered Democrats as they voted.

I could tell that the election official seated directly in front of me (they wouldn't allow us to sit) was a Republican by his attitude. Before I arrived he had insisted that we had to be at least six feet away from the voting check in station that we were to monitor, thus effectively eliminating any chance of us to hear the names of those signing in to vote and rendering us useless.

Fortunately, the Dem office sent out an attorney who got that squared away. but now we were forced to continually bother him for the names we had missed whenever there was a lull in arriving voters. This irritated him greatly, but he had brought it on himself.

The woman election official at the end of the table next to him asked him why we were present and he snapped "Voter flushing!" She giggled a bit at this, to which he said: "I'm serious. They want to know who hasn't voted so that around mid afternoon they can get on the phone and "flush" those absent voters out and get them to the poll."

I said nothing but thought to myself: "He is familiar with this tactic because he has used it in the past." The Republicans don't want everybody to come out and vote. It's not good for their candidate. Yesterday they even admitted it on television.

Unfortunately, the standing around for so long led me to an early retreat as an Election Monitor. My already over-extended right knee started barking at me and I had to give it up. It's just as well because this polling station draws a lot of Republicans and I was becoming depressed.

I did take time, before returning home, to go to Starbucks for my free cup of coffee that they had advertised for anyone who votes.

__________________________________________________________

I received the following e mail from my pal Stan Johnson, one of those damn "liberal" attorneys from Madison, Wisconsin, who years ago gave me a great bumper sticker that reads: "Have you slapped a Republican Today?" Actually, Stan gave me two. One I put up (pictured above) on my office fridge and the other I put on the rear bumper of my now long gone 1965 Oldsmobile '98 -- such irony!

Any way, I digress. Here is the beautiful e mail I received:

I Didn't Vote For Obama Today

November 4, 2008, 9:37AM

I have a confession to make.

I did not vote for Barack Obama today.

I've openly supported Obama since March. But I didn't vote for him today.

I wanted to vote for Ronald Woods. He was my algebra teacher at Clark Junior High in East St. Louis, IL. He died 15 years ago when his truck skidded head-first into a utility pole. He spent many a day teaching us many things besides the Pythagorean Theorem. He taught us about Medgar Evers, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and many other civil rights figures who get lost in the shadow cast by Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I didn't vote for Mr. Woods.

I wanted to vote for Willie Mae Cross. She owned and operated Crossroads Preparatory Academy for almost 30 years, educating and empowering thousands of kids before her death in 2003. I was her first student. She gave me my first job, teaching chess and math concepts to kids in grades K-4 in her summer program. She was always there for advice, cheer and consolation. Ms. Cross, in her own way, taught me more about walking in faith than anyone else I ever knew.

But I didn't vote for Ms. Cross.

I wanted to vote for Arthur Mells Jackson, Sr. and Jr. Jackson Senior was a Latin professor. He has a gifted school named for him in my hometown. Jackson Junior was the pre-eminent physician in my hometown for over 30 years. He has a heliport named for him at a hospital in my hometown. They were my great-grandfather and great-uncle, respectively.

But I didn't vote for Prof. Jackson or Dr. Jackson.

I wanted to vote for A.B. Palmer. She was a leading civil rights figure in Shreveport, Louisiana, where my mother grew up and where I still have dozens of family members. She was a strong-willed woman who earned the grudging respect of the town's leaders because she never, ever backed down from anyone and always gave better than she got. She lived to the ripe old age of 99, and has a community center named for her in Shreveport.

But I didn't vote for Mrs. Palmer.

I wanted to vote for these people, who did not live to see a day where a Black man would appear on their ballots on a crisp November morning.

In the end, though, I realized that I could not vote for them any more than I could vote for Obama himself.

So who did I vote for?

No one.

I didn't vote. Not for President, anyway.

Oh, I went to the voting booth. I signed, was given my stub, and was walked over to a voting machine. I cast votes for statewide races and a state referendum on water and sewer improvements.

I stood there, and I thought about all of these people, who influenced my life so greatly. But I didn't vote for who would be the 44th President of the United States.

When my ballot was complete, except for the top line, I finally decided who I was going to vote for - and then decided to let him vote for me. I reached down, picked him up, and told him to find Obama's name on the screen and touch it.

And so it came to pass that Alexander Reed, age 5, read the voting screen, found the right candidate, touched his name, and actually cast a vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Oh, the vote will be recorded as mine. But I didn't cast it.

Then again, the person who actually pressed the Obama box and the red "vote" button was the person I was really voting for all along.

It made the months of donating, phonebanking, canvassing, door hanger distributing, sign posting, blogging, arguing and persuading so much sweeter.

So, no, I didn't vote for Barack Obama. I voted for a boy who now has every reason to believe he, too, can grow up to be anything he wants...even President.

_______________________________________________________

WHO LETS THE CAT OUT -- MEOW, MEOW!

Yesterday I spent a glorious late autumn afternoon canvassing for Senator Obama, something I had not done since I worked for Senator Goldwater all those years ago. My partner and I were assigned an eight block square of streets right near where my wife, Kim, used to teach at Roosevelt School. About two thirds of the way through the rounds I knew I was physically in trouble with the artificial right knee but I was a man with a plan and I toughed it out for the entire canvassing!

I learned a few things. Carrying materials for both Kristin Dexter and Senator Obama, I would approach homeowners with the same opening statement: "Good afternoon -- I am Larry Heagle and I am canvassing for senator Orack Obama. May I give you some advertising materials for the candidates?

Replies varied from "Sure" to "I have way too much of this stuff already", "I have already voted" (which meant a vote for McCain) or "I have already voted for Obama". or "Larry Heagle?? Man! Have you ever gotten old!"

We skipped houses that had yard signs for either candidate.

One amusing moment: we started up a long drive way and a youngish woman, from behind an open screened window started yelling at us: "Don't be bringing any of that stuff up here! Yesterday you were here and let my cat out! So turn around and just get out of here. My cat is as house cat, not an outdoor cat and I'll tell you what -- I was going to vote for McCain but after you let my cat out with your Moulton stuff, I'm voting for Obama!"

My partner explained that we were canvassing for Senator Obama. I asked her if she got her cat back. She had.

My knee is still stiff and sore today, but this afternoon I will probably be down at HQ to see if I can assist in getting elderly to the polls.

MAKE CERTAIN YOU VOTE!

_____________________________________________________________

This morning, Tom Brokaw was discussing the advent of using colors to represent political parties -- the brain child of NBC News some years ago. Originally, red represented Democrats and blue represented Republicans. Somewhere along the way it got switched.

I guess there has been much grumbling about being painted red as it is equated with Communism. Personally, I have never liked the idea of dividing the country with colors as it plays up divisiveness and animosity among the American electorate when the truth is, as Senator Obama has repeatedly made clear over these past months that we are not red states or blue states -- we are all AMERICANS. We need to start working together, compromising for the good of the nation. God knows that has not been the case with King George and the Neocons.

I humbly suggest that we do something else to indicate which political party is carrying which state. How about the obvious? A small cartoon of the symbols of the parties. Elephants and donkeys. That should please backers of the GOP as they think Democrats are asses anyway.

____________________________________________________________

All during the campaign I kept wondering when the GOP would trot out Senator Obama's "Pastor of Hate" from Chicago. Turns out, he is their last ace in the hole. And the ads are, of course, very misleading, saying that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been Orack's pastor for 20 years but that Obama did not distance himself from Wright until after he began his run for the presidency.

My opinion is that we have no evidence that Wright began spewing the hate for America until he knew the national spotlight was on him.

In my estimation he is no different than Joe the Plumber.

And one last thought. I wonder why we haven't heard from Osama Bin Laden this election year.

___________________________________________________________

Monday, November 3, 2008

ENDORSEMENTS -- YOU DECIDE! INCLUDE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD, THE BOSS, MAYOR OF MARGARITAVILLE

Last night "The Boss" performed at a rally in Cleveland for Orack Obama, singing "This Land Is Your Land" for one -- meanwhile, Governor Palin was introduced to the strains of "Red Neck Girl".

Here then, are some endorsements for candidates to help you decide whom you would vote for tomorrow:

ORACK OBAMA:

WARREN BUFFETT
COLIN POWELL
HILLARY CLINTON
BILL CLINTON
JIMMY BUFFETT
SENATOR FEINGOLD, WISCONSIN
SENATOR KOHL, WISCONSIN
SENATOR GEORGE MCGOVERN (RETIRED)

Military
John Adams, Brigadier General US Army (Ret), Former Deputy US Military Representative to the NATO Military Committee
Clifford Alexander, Jr., former Secretary of the Army
Susan Ahn Cuddy, first female gunner officer in the U.S. Navy and daughter of Korean Independence fighter Ahn Chang-ho[262]
Wesley Clark, former General, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, 2004 presidential candidate]
Tom Daniels, Texas Air National Guard
Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy]
Larry Gillespie, Brigadier General (Ret), Assistant Deputy Commanding General, (ARNG) Army Material Command]
Scott Gration Major General (USAF-Ret), former Director of Strategy, Policy, and Assessments of the United States European Command in Germany
Donald Joseph Guter, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, current Dean, Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh
Richard D. Hearney, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps]
John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy]
Jeh Johnson, former General Counsel of the U.S. Air Force]
Lester Lyles, former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force
David 'Dave' McGinnis, Brigadier General (Ret), former Chief of Staff of the National Guard Association of the U.S.]
Merrill A. McPeak, four star General (Ret), former Secretary of the United States Air Force during Operation Desert Storm,
John B. Nathman (Ret), former Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Vice Chief of Naval Operations
F. Whitten Peters, former Secretary of the Air Force[
Hugh Robinson, Major General (Ret), Commander of the Southwestern Division]
James Smith, Brigadier General (USAF-Ret), former Commander, Joint Warfighting Center, U.S. Joint Forces Command, Joint Training Analysis and Simulation Center
Robert 'Willie' Williamson Rear Admiral (USN-Ret), served as military Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition and Director, Office of Program Appraisal.
Ralph Wooten Major General (Ret), former Commanding General of the Army’s Chemical Arsenal, currently the Executive Vice President of Management Systems, Inc.
Colin Powell, General (Ret), former General in the United States Army, National Security Advisor (1987–1989) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ]

BUSINESS:

Elisabeth Murdoch - )daughter of FOX magnate Rupert Murdoch

Family members of major political figures
Jack Carter, Nevada politician, son of Jimmy Carter
Jill Docking, Kansas politician, daughter-in-law of Robert Docking, former Governor of Kansas
Kitty Dukakis, wife of 1988 Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis,
Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of Richard Nixon and wife of grandson of Dwight D. Eisenhower
Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower
CC Goldwater, granddaughter of former Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater
Kathleen Hensley Portalski, half-sister of John McCain's wife, Cindy Hensley McCain
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy
Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert F. Kennedy
Joe Kennedy, son of Joseph Patrick Kennedy II and grandson of Robert F. Kennedy
Max Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy
Rory Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, documentary filmmaker
Ann McGovern, daughter of fmr. Sen. George McGovern (D-SD)
Stephanie Miller, host of The Stephanie Miller Show and the daughter of former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate William E. Miller[870]
Elizabeth Moynihan, widow of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan,
Christine Pelosi, a member of DNC (superdelegate) and the daughter of the current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Dorothy Peterson, wife of Former New Hampshire Governor and Republican Walter Peterson
Nathan Portalski, nephew of John McCain's wife, Cindy Hensley McCain
Alma Rangel, wife of Rep. Charles B. Rangel
Ron Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan
Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Maria Shriver, journalist, niece of John F. Kennedy, First Lady of California and wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rabbi Ethan Tucker, stepson of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT
Lilibet Hagel- wife of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska)

THESE ARE BUT A FEW! check out the entire list at your leisure. I particularly like the endorsement of Rupert Murdoch's daughter!!!


JOHN MCCAIN:

GEORGE H. W. BUSH
GEORGE W. BUSH
DICK CHENEY
DAN QUAYLE
FRED THOMPSON
MICHELLE BACHMANN
JOE THE PLUMBER (SCAB)
TITO THE BUILDER
SARAH THE PALIN
KARL ROVE

(THERE ARE MANY, MANY MORE, IF YOU CARE TO CHECK THEM OUT -- BUT THOSE LISTED ABOVE ARE ENOUGH SAID AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED.)