Wednesday, September 29, 2004

What do solar power, George Bush and marijuana have in common?

Remember that Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the others..." See if you can guess which one does NOT belong on the following list:

George Bush

Solar power





Yes, the correct answer is mayonnaise. All the rest are "kind of the same".

See if you can guess the similarities between the other five, boys and girls. What do all these other things have in common? If you guessed "local taxes," you guessed right.

Bush's humongous tax-and-spend policies are driving local taxes through the roof and cities and states across the country are SCRAMBLING to make ends meet.

Here in California, there are so many fund-raising initiatives on the November ballot that it looks like a PTA bake sale. Oakland is toying with the idea of legalizing marijuana -- hey, it's revenue. Berkeley has a measure on the ballot to increase its citizens' tax base by giving "working girls" a break. And at the state level, there are several ballot initiatives that would strongly encourage gamblers to contribute money to the state.

Everywhere across America, thanks to Dubya, cities and towns are trying to figure new ways to break into their piggy banks.

What if Berkeley specialized in legalized cat houses? What if Oakland specialized in growing dope? What if Contra Costa County became the new Las Vegas? What would this achieve? Financial solvency. Something the Bush Administration is not providing.

For the last four years we have had to listen ad nauseam to George Bush's cult Christians cry out against the wages of sin -- yet these very same people have now put the rest of us God-fearing Americans in the terrible position of having to sell "sin" in order to make ends meet. That's just not right.

Unfortunately, there is only so much money that cities, counties and states can raise to counteract Bush's gigantic corporate welfare giveaways. (However, there still may be hope. Our local governments haven't tried holding yard sales yet.)

But, you may well ask, how did solar power get onto this list? Me! I'm trying to balance MY budget too. If I had solar power, I wouldn't have to worry about nothing -- not wars, terrorists, depressions, earthquakes or hurricanes. I would be self-sufficient. If you had solar power, you would be too.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Madame Jane predicts: Bush will take the 2004 election!

It's in the stars. George Bush will take the 2004 election. Get over it. I've seen the future. I've had the dreams. Whether he wins by electoral vote, declares martial law or jimmies the Diebold, Dubya will be our man in the White House for four more years. "The cards do not lie."

Having successfully answered that question, let's move on to other future predictions -- ones that are more vital and more important. What will happen AFTER November 2? Cross my palm with silver! I will tell you all.

Madame Jane says, "Guard your money well. Forget about stocks and bonds. Buy gold and bury it in your basement. You will need it."

Madame Jane predicts, "You got a 14-year-old son or daughter? Send them to military school so they will have a leg up when they get shot at in Iraq." There WILL be a universal draft. "I predict endless war."

Madame Jane sees trouble in your future. "You will lose your job. You will lose your house. You will, however, still have the dog. This is a good thing. He will forage for you in the woods."

Madame Jane gets spiritual. "Ritual death cults will enslave you if you don't watch out. Read your Bible. Pray. Satan disguised as General Boykin and Jimmy Swaggart will be after your soul. Don't be fooled."

Madame Jane tells all. "As Bush's war policies in the Middle East spiral out of control throughout the entire global south, the spillover to our shores will grow and grow. His 'all stick, no carrot' approach to governance will piss billions of people off. America will face its greatest test. House-to-house fighting will be involved. Be prepared."

On the other hand, Madame Jane sees global unity. "Russia, China and the European Union will join Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and kick our butts." But why? Worldwide depression will spur them on.

"But Madame Jane! What can I do to protect myself!" Find romance. Find that special someone who is just right for you. Watch a lot of television while you still can. And party like there's no tomorrow! Because with Bush in the White House, there won't be.

PS: This article is a satire! I'm not Ezekiel and I'm not Cassandra! This doesn't have to happen! We could stop corporate welfare? We could refuse to send our kids to false wars? We could elect leaders who can think and chew gum at the same time! (It doesn't take a professional necromancer to realize that four more years of George Bush's tax-and-spend, shoot-it-if-it-moves policies will completely bankrupt and destroy our country.)

Monday, September 20, 2004

Personal ads:

Travels with Amy is a great book. Read it at If you happen to be a publisher or an agent, feel free to contact the author directly at

If anyone has any information regarding which boot camp Paul Zipperman and Betsy Collins sent their son Jesse to this time, please contact me at Thanks!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The tail end of Hurricane Ivan has just hit Berkeley, California!

Most of the members of my e-mail group, The Front Porch Philosophers, live in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee. Being mostly Wobbly types who don't take kindly to having the 2000 election stolen, our treasury sacked, corporate welfare queens running Congress, our national security endangered and Lord knows what else the neo-cons have been up to, the FPP has joked a lot about Ivan lately. "It's God's wrath on the idiots who foisted George Bush off on us," they wrote me. "The blue states pay most of the taxes but the red states have all the power? Tell that to Charlie, Frances and Ivan!"

I had to laugh when one FPP reported that, "Some of the cult Christians down here think the End Times have come."

FPP members also e-mailed me hair-raising stories of storms and winds, about going for days without power -- and how only the rich are getting instant aid from FEMA. "You have to have an assessor's report to get aid," said one FPP hurricane victim, "and those of us on Social Security can't afford to pay for one."

Being safely out in sunny California, I worried about them and sympathized with them -- but I generally felt that Hurricane Ivan was THEIR problem.

However, last night I got a strange e-mail from one FPP in Arizona. "Can you believe it? Hurricane Ivan just hit Arizona! You'd better watch out, Jane! California is next!"

"You gotta be kidding," I e-mailed her back. "It NEVER rains in California in September. Never."

Guess what? I woke up this morning to the sound of torrential rain, heavy wind and even thunder. Hurricane Ivan has come to California! My house is flooding! My apple tree is tilting. My car is up to its hubcaps in wet stuff. And my cat looks like the Little Mermaid.

Have End Times come to the Golden State too? How can that be! We didn't even vote for George Bush!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Finding Jordan (with a little help from the New York Times!)

The parents of an abused child I know just sent their kid off to boot camp. Again.

If parents send their kid off to boot camp, is there a chance in hell of anyone else being able to get him back? Not really. But, having read the horror stories about boot camps and having been a "de facto" parent to this child, I still keep trying to get him back. And trying. And trying. And trying.

First I went to Child Protective Services. "PLEASE help me find this child! He is being held against his will." That was a bust.

"I'm sorry," they said. "There's nothing we can do. Parents have the right to do that. And you must have concrete proof that the child is being PHYSICALLY abused." Scars from the last boot camp he went to won't do? "I'm afraid not."

Next, I called Children's Legal Services. They were helpful. "We only represent children but you could file for a guardianship." A guardianship! Great idea.

Then I talked to a lawyer about it. "Obtaining guardianship over a child is one of the most difficult legal processes there is. We're talking months -- if not years -- in court and thousands of dollars here."

So I called the Legal Aid Society to see if I could get free help. "We are only taking new clients on the fourth Friday of each month. From 9 to 11 am." Those guys must be swamped!

Next I e-mailed a "lawyer online" advice chat room. I called various pro bono organizations. I went to court and got the forms so I could do a guardianship filing myself and at the Alameda County Bar Association, they gave me a website,, where I could fill the forms out on line. but even with help from, The forms looked hopelessly complex. I spent days exploring all the legal avenues -- but still no Habeus Corpus. That's Latin for "You have the body". No I didn't.

If I could get a hold of Jordan for even one minute, he could sign a request to become an Emancipated Minor. But I have NO idea where he is.

Next I asked my retired social worker friend Sonya for advice. How can I beat this system? "Well, first you have to understand that abused children are like abused wives," she said. "They keep returning to the husband or parent because they still believe that, despite everything that has happened, the husband or parent still loves them or will change." Jordan thought that way too and look where it got him. Incommunicado at boot camp. (You can always tell a bad boot camp when the child is allowed no outside contact.)

We have a voice mail message from Jordan, dated August 29. "My father convinced me to come home last night to show me that he wanted to work things out and wouldn't hurt me any more. But when I got there, he secretly called the police so I ran away and then came back after the police had left. My father told me that he had only called them to tell them that I had arrived home safely. I told him that I trusted him. But then I heard my mother in the bathroom, calling the police on me again. As I ran out the back door, I could hear her screaming, `He's right there! He's right there! Get him! Get him!' while my father yelled, `Damn it! F*uck! He got away again.'" Jordan turned himself in to the police again two days later. A day after that he was "transported" to boot camp.

Back to my quest to spring Jordan from boot camp. I still hadn't given up. Next on the list: I consulted with several "Boot camp survivor" groups. They were quite supportive and gave me good advice -- but nothing that panned out.

So. What else could I do? I couldn't think of ANYTHING. The legal system had me over a barrel. Then Jordan's mother called. "Where is he?" we asked. She wouldn't tell us that but she did say, "Jordan will be away for another month then we'll go visit him to see if he's got his priorities straight." Say what? And what exactly do they plan to DO to him so that his priorities will be straight? Pull out his toe nails?

There seemed to be no way to rescue Jordan from boot camp -- or even to find out where he was. My daughter and I went to sleep last night totally frustrated and blocked.

Ah, but this morning I woke up with a totally wicked idea!! I'm gonna run an ad in the New York Times! Personals column. "If anybody knows what boot camp the parents of Jordan Zimmerman sent their son to this time, please contact me at ." And I'll run this ad in the high school PTA e-tree and Craig's List too.

Jane, that's just plain mean.

But, hey. After observing George Bush and Karl Rove use "Fear and Smear" for the last four years, I've finally learned how to administer spin, circumvent the law and get down and dirty too!

Note: Jordan Zimmerman is not this boy's real name. I didn't use it. Why? I don't want to get sent off to boot camp too!

Sources: From Project No-Spank:

International Survivors Action Committee

"Loving them to Death: The Story of one Teenager's Wilderness Experience"

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

"Nothing will hold us back," sez Bush -- not the Bible, the Constitution or the voters!

When George Bush announced at the Republican National Convention lately that "Nothing will hold us back," he really meant it! And he may be right. So far the Bible, the Constitution, legitimate elections and basic human decency have not been able to hold him back.

"Nothing will hold us back" says George, not even the voters! According to one Texas National Guard officer, Bush even plans to declare martial law on the day before the elections if it looks like the voters might have the audacity to try and get in his way.

Will the National Guard or the Army be able to hold me back from voting? I gotta admit that It's going to be kind of hard to vote if a Marine with a gun is telling me not to. What to do? Avoid the rush and vote absentee!

PS: And what exactly are Americans holding Bush back from? Reading between the lines of Jay Bookman's Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, Americans appear to be holding Bush back from SELLING HIS SOUL TO THE DEVIL!

Sources: Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

The Oakland Tribune,1413,82%257E1865%257E2377995,00.html?search=filter

Alex Jones:

Monday, September 06, 2004

Un-crossing Jordan: Changing our standard to children not gold

This essay may be a bit disjointed. Bear with me. What with the blowing up of the children in Russia, this topic is urgently important and if I didn't get it exactly right, please go out and write a better one yourself!!

There was a gold rush in California in 1849. People sold their very souls for gold. Nothing has changed. It's still like that. Wall Street hangs on Alan Greenspan's every word. Billionaires are worshiped like gods. Our stocks and bonds are protected in vaults. Money appears to be the most important thing in the world.

But that's not true. Children are.

Children are the human race's most precious commodity. Children are more precious than gold.

But do we have Brinks trucks guarding our children? Do we spend 60% of our national treasury protecting our interests in them? Do we have whole sections of our newspapers devoted solely to them? Do we hire armed guards to keep them safe? Hardly.

What would happen if someone abused your gold? You would be OUTRAGED. Gold is never abused. Yet, globally, we have children being blown up in Russia, butchered in Darfur, sold for sex in Afghanistan, living on the streets in Detroit and San Francisco, exploited in Mexico and Asia, enslaved in Africa and starving in India.

How come there is no Fort Knox for kids?

Sure, people get upset and take to the streets if fetuses are harmed. But real, live children? No.

What would we do if all the gold in the world suddenly disappeared? In its place, we would think of something else. But what would we say if there were no more babies in the world? The phrase "Deep dog dookie" comes to mind. Children ARE more precious than gold.

There is only one country in the whole world that puts children first. Their education, well-being, healthcare? Top budget priority! How does our government feel about having this wonderful example being set? America has been at war with this country for 40 years. What country am I referring to? Come on now -- half of Miami will immediately know what country I'm talking about.

When Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, had a choice between negotiating with rebels or blowing up 1,000 children, which did he chose? As one father put it, "It would have been different if they had been Putin's children." Guess what? They are ALL our kids.

Maybe my daughter's friend Jordan is not being blown up in Russia (the rebels from Chechnya were apparently teenagers themselves -- coming from a place where having one's childhood playmates killed by Russian soldiers was everyday stuff.) Maybe Jordan wasn't working in a sweatshop in Haiti or living in the gutters of Baghdad. But he is an endangered child that I know -- an endangered American child. In a land of milk and honey, even among the rich, children are still abused -- psychologically if not physically. (Wouldn't you just hate to have a stern, critical and cold-hearted mother like, say, Joan Crawford -- or even our own Barbara Bush?)

Jordan's birth mother couldn't afford another child and gave him up for adoption at birth, hoping to give him a better life. "Money isn't everything," she was just about to learn.

The new parents were respected medical professionals. On paper, they looked very good. The new father was secretly abusive and the new mother was a secret drunk. But their bank accounts balanced and that's what counts.

By age 12, Jordan's father had put him in a half-way house for abused children and his mother was forced to have a liver transplant. BUT. Everybody admired this couple. They were career professionals. AND they owned their own home.

The father, told by child protective services to cool it with the hair brush, had turned to psychological abuse instead. It didn't leave a scar. Being a psychologist, he systematically tried to convince Jordan (and us) that his son was insane. "My son is severely disturbed," he told us, "and should be locked up." Not true. Jordan was normal -- only understandably suicidal.

I begged Jordan's father to read John Gray's book, "Children are from Heaven". It is my child-raising Bible! The father wasn't interested. Having a happy, well-adjusted and well-behaved kid? Where is the drama in that? No excitement. Not attention. No Munchausen Syndrome.

Finally, when the father sent Jordan away to yet another desert boot camp, I called protective services for help. "Sorry," they told me. "You are not the parent." I already KNEW that! The parent is the PROBLEM! "And," they also told me, "without evidence of actual physical abuse, there is nothing we can do." Nothing we can do? Nothing we can do? This child is being psychologically herded over a cliff and there is nothing we can do?

"Wait until the child turns 18."

"If he lives that long."

"I'm sorry. There's nothing else we can do. He has to show signs of RECENT PHYSICAL abuse." Oh. Only fresh blood will do?

I told all this to my daughter. "No problem," she said. "The last time his father sent him to one of those desert boot camps, he came home with scars all over his back."

We may not be able to save children in Darfur or Kabul but we just might be able to save the child down the street from us.

And that's money in the bank.

Acknowledgments: Wayne aka Punditman at

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Explaining Bush to swing voters: Think of him as "The Fairy Godfather"

George Bush is reading bedtime stories to Americans. And these bedtime stories are putting them to sleep. Bush's personal favorite is Little Red Riding Hood.

I watched The 700 Club this morning and what they said about George Bush made even ME want to go out and vote for the man. Patriotism? Honesty? God-like wisdom? What more could I possibly want in a candidate? "President Bush will bring America to new heights with his programs to vitalize the economy, educate our children and give us the good life." Wow! I want that! "And freedom and democracy too."

Bush plans to do an extreme makeover on me personally. I can own a house now. I can drive a Cadillac. I will be free from fear. And my kids will behave themselves too. Sign me up! Sign me up!

Alas, like Hans Christian Anderson tried to warn us, it's all too good to be true.

If half the things George Bush has promised us in the last four years had actually happened, we would already be living in the Golden Age of America, right? So why are there so many homeless people? Why have our local taxes skyrocketed? Why do college tuitions now cost an arm and a leg? Why are they shutting down our schools? Why have our libraries closed? Why are our sons and daughters being given back to us in body bags? Why is our military falling apart? Why are vets losing their rights? Why have our HMOs become like casinos (where the house always wins)? Why are so many of us unemployed? Why has the bankruptcy rate zoomed? Why are our children now doing "terrorist" drills in school? WHY ISN'T AMERICA SAFE? And why has the price of cucumbers risen 50 cents in the last month alone?

Ask Little Red Riding Hood. Ask Hansel and Gretel. Ask Bush himself.

Bush will smile at you sincerely and say, "Once upon a time..." And once again we will all believe him. Why not? He is our Fairy Godfather.

Why not? Why not? Because America is currently being eaten alive by neo-con ogres, giants, witches, werewolves, vampires and trolls! That's why not.

Speaking of Grimm reality, watch this video: 9/11 In Plane Sight:

Friday, September 03, 2004

Calling the police on your own child: Another form of Munchausen Syndrome by proxy

Remember the famous story about the mom in Florida who was all loving and caring to her poor dear sick child? While this child was in and out of hospitals and enduring exploratory surgery, the mom was always so saintly and comforting. "What a good parent," the medical professionals all said. Until one day a nurse caught this perfect parent placing fecal matter in her child's IV.

"Why did you do it?" she was asked.

"I wanted the attention."

Recently, I think that I have had the unfortunate experience of running across another case of Munchausen Syndrome by proxy. A15-year-old boy that we know has a father who is a psychologist. And this boy has been in and out of mental hospitals, desert boot camps and mental health facilities all his life. He has been kidnapped by so-called "transporters" in the middle of the night and dragged off to the Utah badlands to be starved and force-marched "for his own good." He has been shipped off to half-way houses for juvenile delinquents and recovering drug addicts. And he has been going to shrinks since he was three.

This is a sweet child who doesn't use drugs, isn't sexually active, doesn't drink, can play sonatas on the piano and has a great sense of humor. What gives?

Two years ago, this boy made friends with my daughter. Immediately the boy's father started calling me and telling me how screwed up his child was. "You don't know his history," he'd say. "He spends too much time hiding in his room, is afraid to go to school and often runs away." The actuality of the child belied everything the father told me. I just didn't understand.

One day last week, young Jordan ran away -- again. "My father called the police on me!" he said. Meanwhile, the police officer involved in the incident called my house and told me that the father had done this sort of thing before. Many times. "The kid seems normal to me," said the officer.

I didn't know what to do. I sent Jordan back home. That was the law. Then we planned to go on a vacation. We were going to New York City! But Jordan ran again. The father started calling me again. "Has Jordan showed up yet?" At 3 am, Jordan finally showed up. He begged us not to send him back. Then the father started calling me and calling me and calling me and telling me in his most professional voice that, "We need to sit down and talk." At first I wanted to work with Jordan's father. After all, he was a psychologist. And he had such good arguments too. "You just don't know Jordan like I know him. He is a sick kid. He needs help!"

Then Jordan ran to another house but the father's calls kept coming to us. After several days of almost hourly calls at all hours, I began to feel like the father was stalking us. Finally we left for our trip, but he kept calling me and my daughter, even in New York. Then Jordan called me at our hotel. "I am in your house. My father is outside and he has the house surrounded by police! I'm so scared! What should I do?" Finally Jordan voluntarily gave himself up to the police.

Although I was thinking that probably this wasn't as severe a case as when the police in Milwaukee gave the Laotian boy back to Jeffery Dahmer because Dahmer was a smooth-talking man with a very good story, that's the way I felt when the police gave Jordan back to the father.

We have not heard from Jordan since -- except for one small phone call in the middle of the night when Jordan sadly told my daughter that he wanted to commit suicide. We talked him out of it but for how long?

It was then that I finally had the realization. This father had Munchausen Syndrome by proxy! And he was blossoming under all the excitement and attention that he was getting -- from me, from child psychologists but especially from the police. Sirens, uniforms, badges and everything! But perhaps the ultimate attention he craves will come only when, at Jordan's funeral, he will be the ultimate center of attention -- comforted by his friends as they as they say to him, "You poor man! What you went through! We realize what a wonderful father you were. We know that you did all that you could."

Is there ANYTHING that anybody can do to help Jordan? I myself feel so helpless. I feel like I am in way over my head.

PS: My daughter just got an e-mail from Jordan. It said, "My father has done it again. A new set of transporters have just arrived. They are letting me send this to you before they take me off to another boot camp program. Goodbye." My daughter is in tears.

Syndrome by Proxy (MSP)
Munchausen's Syndrome refers to a psychiatric disorder where patients pretend to have illnesses, and therefore are subjected to many medical tests and surgical procedures. Of course, these would never have been performed if the patient had not tried to fabricate them. However, the most notorious patients have often had dozens of surgical procedures for factitious (false) symptoms. Thus, this is a form of self-mutilation.
Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy (MSP) is a parenting disorder where parents, usually the mother, fabricate symptoms in their children, thus subjecting the child to unnecessary medical tests and/or surgical procedures. In some cases, the parents also inflict injury and can kill their children in the process. MSP is not rare in Apnea Programs. Apnea is the perfect disorder for MSP, because infants appear normal between episodes. Therefore, a parent can bring her baby to a medical facility, fabricate a history of an apparent life threatening event, and the baby will be admitted, many tests performed, sometimes even surgery (such as tracheostomomies) are performed. MSP parents can be quite good at this, often switching from doctor to doctor so that it is difficult for one individual to put it all together. There have been documented cases of MSP in apnea clinics. However, these are much rare than "true" infant apnea.
There is a profile of a parent who is likely to cause MSP. They are usually the mothers. They are often health professionals, especially nurses and respiratory therapists. They often are very friendly with health professionals and cooperative with medical procedures. They appear quite concerned about their child, and are sometimes described as overly concerned. Some psychiatrists believe that this is an attention-seeking behavior. Obviously, not all health professionals who are nice to deal with have MSP.
I would think that MSP is more likely a problem in Apnea programs than it is in babies who have died from SIDS. The diagnosis of MSP is difficult to make. Pediatricians are uncomfortable even suspecting someone of MSP. After all, in training, pediatricians are trained to listen to parents' histories of their children and to believe them. Confirmation of the diagnosis is very difficult. Covert video-surveillance has been used in some settings, but a court order is often required to do this without the parent's knowledge. When the diagnosis is made, the baby must usually be placed in protective custody and psychotherapy is used on the parents.
I hope this helps. Thank you.
Thomas G. Keens, M.D.Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Munchausen's Syndrome is the condition we name when a person makes himself ill purposely often to get the attention and friendship of medical personnel. For example, a person that secretly injects himself with his own germs into the blood stream to make themselves sick and needs to be hospitalized on a regular basis will often see the same medical staff who feel sorry for this person with this strange disease. This person and the staff become friendly. However, after this happens three or more times, people become suspicious and catch the person doing this to himself. Sometimes people will die from making themselves ill. Once someone who has Munchausen's Syndrome is identified, psychological and psychiatric intervention is necessary.
Now, Munchausen by proxy is when a parent makes their child ill on a recurrent basis. This is child abuse. These infants will usually come to medical attention with the complaint of stopping breathing (apnea) with a color change. If this complaint from the parent is not taken seriously, the parent will often make the infant more ill before they see the doctor. Frequently, the infant is brought into the emergency room by ambulance after getting resuscitated by the paramedics. It is true that sometimes these babies do not survive the damage induced by the parent (usually only one parent is inducing the injury and the other is unaware). If there is no autopsy or death scene investigation, these infants can wrongly be labeled as SIDS. This is not often the case.
Most often, the infant will have recurrent episodes of this "illness" and seek medical attention with the same complaint. Doctors are aware of this Syndrome and are looking for this type of pattern. There may also be signs from the parent or a type of attitude that go along with this type of abuse.
In its worst form Munchausen's by proxy results in the death or permanent damage of the child. In one case in upstate NY, the Hoyte family had 5 recurrent deaths in the children that were thought to be SIDS. Now, years later, the mother confessed to the murders. These deaths were thought to be SIDS at the time, but now would have undergone more careful investigation by both the police and the pathologist.
Because of these crazy people, when there is more than one SIDS death in a family, doctors become more concerned with the welfare of the new siblings. These infants will frequently undergo testing to look for medical problems and be placed on monitors at home. The family is looked at with some suspicion as well.
JDDeCristofaro, MDSUNY @ Stony Brook, NY

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I got an article in the Berkeley Daily Planet! Here it is!

Sunday’s Marchers Deserve Olympic Gold in Niceness, Freedom of Speech: By JANE STILLWATER

Special to the Planet (08-31-04) The Internet cafe on 96th and Broadway—around the corner from our flea-bag hotel in New York—closes in just six minutes so here is my very-improvised report on the Republican National Convention:

If the U.S.A. were competing in the Olympics in an event called the Protest March, we woulda won a Gold Medal today! One-fourth million people crossed the finish line! Even me. We marched from 14th Street to Madison Square Garden with only a few moments out to window shop and chit-chat with cops. Streams of people just kept pouring past these poor dazed Republicans as they sat in the windows of their high class restaurants.

“Where did all these people come from?” they must have asked themselves.
We were created by George Bush!

Today was a very special day for American patriots. The U.S.A. took the gold. A gold medal in free speech. A gold medal in niceness too. And an all around good time was had.

Ooops. They are closing the internet cafe on me. Do I have time for spll check? How could they deny a few extra minuts to a Gold Medal Winner!!!!

Farewell My Concubine: My final report from the RNC

According to Chinese legend, every season has a color attached to it. Here's a huge fashion tip (Paris Hilton, please take note!): If we wear clothes related to the color of the season that we are in, then we will always feel well-dressed. I can go into any store and, within minutes, pick out the most fabulous things to wear. Saks Fifth Avenue? Goodwill? No problemo.

Let's start with Indian Summer. Yellow, gold and brown. Even from the free box at People's Park, I can dress better than you. Tan work boots, orange kente cloth wrap-around and gold sequined tank top? Tyra Banks, eat your heart out.

In New York City this week, you could always tell a Republican watering hole by the number of black Lincoln Town Cars parked out in the front. Want to take a break from the Republican convention? Take the subway. You would NEVER find a Republican there. I LOVE the New York subways. They are clean and efficient people-movers with a five-star rating for soul. And the Staten Island ferry is free too.

The highlight of the Republican convention was a "Ring of Bells" on Saturday. Someone handed out 5,000 handbells and we made a ring around Ground Zero and we rang the bells. It was a very moving tribute to the victims of 9/11 -- much more appropriate than the post-9/11 Republican cuts to the city's budget. The sound of bells floating up to Heaven from all around the bleak Ground Zero scar was hopeful and inspiring. All the delegates trapped in Madison Square Garden missed that. But we were there.

This week, New York truly was a summer festival and I was so glad I had come. Frankly, I am going to have to thank the Republicans for choosing this great and courageous city; for giving it a chance to really shine. You got to love the Repubs for bringing us all here. Too bad they missed all the fun.

When I monitored the "March for our Lives" for the NY Civil Liberties Union, I was surprised by the composition of the group that stood in front of the UN. There were about a hundred cops there and they were all pissed off at Mayor Bloomberg for refusing to give them a raise. Over half the ones I talked to sided with the demonstrators. The demonstrators themselves, numbering about 500, wanted to peacefully express themselves. Yet the air was full of tension. Where was all this tension coming from? The reporters! There were about 75 of them, milling around, searching for a story, hoping to God that there would be a riot so they could film it.

Fall is coming. What will I wear? White and gray. What will the top Republicans be wearing in 2004? Black and white stripes.

The point I want to make is this: The 2004 election isn't about what Cheney and Miller said it was about. It isn't about which sitting president can bomb the most civilians, no no no. This election is about money, pure and simple. Who has it? Who doesn't? Sure we had fun sleeping on friends' floors and in flea-bag hotels. Sure the Repubs enjoyed shopping on Fifth Avenue and eating five-star. Which group enjoyed the RNC the most? It doesn't matter. What matters most is the Repubs' bottom line message: What's ours is ours and what's yours is ours. And we plan to keep it that way too."

So. What will I be wearing this winter? According to Chinese tradition, I'll be dressed in black and blue. And it doesn't matter to me where I get my clothes. I'm always in style.

But I'm rambling. I haven't slept in days. As the signs in New York say, "You can sleep when you get home."

The convention is almost over. I can prove it too. I took 60 pages of notes! But tonight the fat lady sings and then we can all go home. And vote.