Sunday, July 31, 2005


Another quotation from a Republican President whose leadership seems so very much a part of the distant past. We're talking light years here, folks.

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and co-operation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
US general & Republican politician (1890 - 1969)


Want to know what the USA Patriot Act's really all about (other than the Bush Administration's talent for making George Orwell look like a piker, that is)? Sure you do.

It's an acronym for:

"Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism."

I learned this true fact (those are always the best kind, right?) from listening to Harry Shearer's weekly radio show.

The show's home base is a fine National Public Radio station in Santa Monica, California, a place I've never visited but someday will.

Harry is also known as Spinal Tap bassist and cucumber aficianado Derek Smalls, the voice of a wonderful cast of characters on The Simpsons, a Huffington Post blogger, a film director, and much more.

With all due respect to Jon Stewart, Al Franken, et al., Harry's Le Show is the funniest, smartest, and best cultural and political satire available in the US, and has been for 20 years.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

War Hero Asks Republicans To Support Troops

This is an Associated Press news story from 30 July 2005. During World War II, Inouye's right arm was severed in combat and he continued to fight after being wounded. For more information on Inouye and the valor of other Japanese-American WWII veterans, read Double Victory: A Multicultural History of America in World War II.

Inouye: GOP Not Doing Enough for Troops

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, an Army veteran who lost his right arm in World War II, criticized Republicans on Saturday for not doing enough to help troops fighting in or returning from Iraq.

In the Democrats' weekly radio address, Inouye said Senate Republicans were focusing on legislation sought by the gun lobby while ignoring the needs of troops.

On Tuesday, the Senate put off completion of a $491 billion defense bill to act on the National Rifle Association's top priority: shielding gun manufacturers and dealers from liability suits stemming from gun crimes.

"For years, we've heard the president and congressional Republicans speak eloquently about honoring our troops," Inouye said. "But this week — when push came to shove — their priorities were different."

The senator added: "Our men and women who have served should not worry about funding for health care year after year, and our soldiers on the front lines should get the resources they need. Our Congress could consider our men and our women in uniform as our nation's top priority."

The gun bill cleared the Senate 65-31 Friday, with Inouye voting against it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Above: Actress Isabelle Huppert and Director Michael Cimino
working on Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980)
An epic film set in 1890s Wyoming (home of the
real Elk Mountain)

Above: Huppert and Actor Christopher Walken


Fifteen years ago this week, former President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, mandating civil rights for people with disabilities for the first time in the history of the nation.

The law has changed this country for the better but there is still much room for improvement. There is also a great deal of ignorance about the law and about people with disabilities in general, and, not surprisingly, those who are more interested in profits than people continue to lie about and resist the law.

The U.S. Supreme Court justices, including some of its so-called moderates and liberals, have been hostile to the ADA in recent years and that situation is likely to grow worse with the choices of nominees during the 2nd term of George W. Bush -- an ironic situation given his father's support for the ADA.

Here are some important statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau:

37.5 million: Number of Americans older than 5 with at least one disability.

42 percent, 34 percent: Percentage of working-age men and women, respectively, who are employed.

847,000: Number of people ages 18 to 34 who have disabilities and are enrolled in school — 5 percent of all students in this age group.

2.5 million: Number of veterans who received compensation for service-related disabilities as of 2003.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hackett For Congress

If I still lived in Ohio, as I did from 1994-1997, I would vote for this man:

A good Democrat and an Iraq War veteran - who served even though he believed that the war was wrong.

I'm Flattered

This morning I found a comment that wasn't a comment on the post with the photos of Kan and Wolfie (see below). No, it was simply a link to a site that is dedicated to "destroying" so-called "Moonbats," which someone thinks I am. Seems that the likes of Michelle Malkin and David Horowitz, two of my favorite comedians and reactionaries, are key figures in internet campaigns to identify and try to intimidate those who dissent from Republican authoritarian rule over the Planet Earth.

That my humble blog became a target of opportunity for some solid citizen or citizens who think I'm stinking up their cultural atmosphere couldn't make me happier. But I wonder why they didn't put their comment on the post(s) in which I do offer seditious screeds? Instead, they went after my cats -- very typical of conservatives, picking on the least powerful inhabitants of this Land of Freedom. They made a mistake, however, in crossing the paths of not just one but TWO black cats (well, Kan is actually black and white).

Oh yeah, don't bother looking for the link. I deleted it. Just taking a page from George Bush's 2004 campaign, in which opponents and potential opponents were excluded from his revival meetings--uh, I mean, reelection rallies.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Now, dear readers, here are some fine companions. These handsome devils are named "Kan" and "Wolfie." Once in a while, Wolfie PUKES, but other than that, you couldn't ask for a nicer pair of felines.
Recently, against my better judgment, I've visited and posted at a blog entitled "Angry Republican Mom." And it sure lives up to its title, let me tell you. One of the posts criticizes "liberals" for criticizing President Bush in a manner that implies we know him personally.

Having always counted my non-personal acquaintance with the President as one of my many blessings, I don't think I am one of the vermin who have gotten stuck in ARM's seething craw.

However, the kinds of people the President chooses to shape the lives of the world's citizens is a valid reason to criticize him. I'm talking about, first, Dick Cheney, then John Bolton, and now, John Roberts, who is being given one of the freest rides to decades of dominance in the Supreme Court I've ever seen.

Now this is indeed disgraceful, and "liberal" Democrats should be subjecting this reactionary to a merciless grilling.

But no--and look who's jumping on the bandwagon. It's Hillary Clinton.

Usually, I have very little use for Michael Moore, but his assessment of Bill Clinton as "our best Republican president ever" is all too true. I've always considered the Clintons to be vastly overrated, but now I'm becoming hostile to them.

This country needs, and will have, a genuine Left Wing party soon, but the first step is to get away from all the B.S. hero and heroine worship of the Clintons and the Democratic Leisure Class.
warren oates
"bring me the head of alfredo garcia"

welcome cooksferryqueen!!!

I've just read the first guest comment to Elk Mountain, by my good friend and one of my favorite people, cooksferryqueen!

Thank you for making Elk Mountain a less lonely place -- I trust I'll be reading more of you!

(And if you have photos you'd like to share, "Bring 'em on!" to paraphrase our fearless leader!!)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

why elk mountain?

why not? seriously, I chose to name this blog after a feature of Wyoming's gorgeous landscape that has been accumulating interest in my memory banks ever since I was a kid and my dad and mom would take me on weekend driving trips in the regions of southcentral Wyoming, where we lived in a tiny town calle Sinclair from November 1971 to June 1977.

There's a picture of Elk Mountain I took in July 2005 on this blog--not the one with the cattle, that's from someone else. I stuck it here when I was experimenting. The huge old hotel photo and the stark photo of refinery stacks come from a brief visit to Sinclair. That town is where I grew up, assuming that I have in fact grown up. As most women know, growing up is something that challenges the typical male.

If you surmised that Sinclair is named after the Sinclair Oil Corporation, you hit the bullseye. But it hasn't always been called Sinclair. The town was founded by the Atlantic Richfield Corporation in the 1920s because they needed some sort of community to go along with the gargantuan oil refinery, which is now, I've heard, either idle or close to it. Sinclair itself sure is quiet, as evidenced by the closure of the sole bar in the town, once located inside the hotel pictured below. You know times are tough when a bar in a Wyoming town packs up the shot glasses and puts the guns behind the counter back up in their racks.

From the "Big Fucking Deal" department: Mel Gibson has inked a contract to direct his first movie since the smash (s)hit, "Passion of the Christ." In a startling career departure for Mel, the movie, whose working title is "Apocalypto," is said to feature abundant violence. Whatever the case, I'm sure Mel will correct those who crack wise about his new movie and "Apocalypse Now." He did something similar regarding Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Gospel According to Saint Matthew," which bothered him because it was "boring" and in black and white. Moreover, Pasolini had the gall to focus on Christ's gospel rather than his bloodletting. Plus, Pasolini was gay, and we know how Mel feels, so to speak, about those homos.

welcome to elk mountain

My blogger name is bennyoates. It's my modest tribute to one of the most memorable movie protagonists in a favorite movie from an admired filmmaker, Sam Peckinpah (1925-1984). "Benny" is the protagonist in Peckinpah's 1974 picture, Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia, recently preserved and released on DVD for the 1st time in the U.S. (other countries were ahead of the U.S. in appreciating this one).

Warren Oates, who died in 1982, played Benny, hence the use of the actor's last name. He wasn't simply a wonderful character actor, he was a wonderful actor. I miss him and Peckinpah a great deal, as you might have guessed. More than that, I miss the integrity and passion they brought to their movies, and they did a bunch of them together. I look for those qualities in today's cinema and I rarely find them.

Obviously, movies and actors and directors will be a topic on this blog. I need an outlet for my writing, daily, and the chance to share it with others whether they stumble onto this blog or seek it out.

Music will be another topic. In a little less than 2 weeks, I'm going to my 2nd concert by Bruce Springsteen. His work and values have shaped my work and values since I became a fan at age 14 in 1977. At this point, Springsteen's the only music artist whose new releases I buy the day they hit the stores. For me, his contributions to our national and individual stories have been a survival kit over the last 28 years. In these bleak times for the kind of America that my parents raised me to believe in, Springsteen's integrity is more valuable than ever.

Which is my cue for bringing up the political aspect of this blog. It's taken me a while (I'm almost 42) to begin to understand what it means to make positive and true contributions to one's country. I think that my biological father and mother, and my stepfather, made such contributions. Of these three, only my mother is still living. All three grew up in the Depression and worked hard and honestly. My father was a World War II veteran and my stepfather served in the U.S. Army infantry in the Korean War. These are humble people who paid their dues, played by the rules, and set good examples.

I think the current condition of the U.S., as ruled by Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, is an affront to my parents and people like them. There will be further comment on this in future posts.

Saturday, July 23, 2005