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Tuesday, February 28

are you comforted yet?

Our war time commander in chief is looking mighty presidential on the White House side walk speaking with ABC's Elizabeth Vargas. He discusses with Vargas, who keeps a straight face, the difference between the merely "catastrophic" and a "major catastrophic" event.

Tune in tonight to hear the president sound better than his words read:

PRESIDENT BUSH: I agree that we didn't do as good a job as we could have done on Katrina. However, I would remind people that there was a hurricane right after Katrina that hit Louisiana and Texas, and the response was much better coordinated, and the situational awareness on the ground was much improved. And so while I can't predict a hundred percent success on a catastrophic—major catastrophic event, I can say that lessons learned from Katrina were being implemented quickly. And the case I make is that hurricane that hit down there in Texas is one where the response was much better. (The hurricane that hit Texas was not a Cat 5, but a Cat 3 and did not involve the kind of devastating flood and wind damage. There is simply no comparison. Coordinated my ass. People sat on State Hwy 59 20 hours and never left the Houston area.)

Listen, here's the problem that happened in Katrina. There was no situational awareness, and that means that we weren't getting good, solid information from people who were on the ground, and we need to do a better job. One reason we weren't is because communications systems got wiped out, (really? Then why didn't you prepare for that event? You only had about a week's notice) and in many cases we were relying upon the media, who happened to have better situational awareness than the government. (Really? They could broadcast with video and microwave and y'all don't know how to do that?) And when you have the media have better situational awareness than the government, the American people are saying, "Wait a minute. What is happening? How come the Federal Government and state government and local governments couldn't do a better job of providing information necessarily so that people could react better?"

ELIZABETH VARGAS: So you don't agree with that report that calls the U.S. "woefully unprepared?"

BUSH: I think the U.S. is better prepared than woefully unprepared. There's no question we've got more work to do, and our report on Katrina outlined the work that needs to be done.

I thought, for example, the reaction to the 9/11 attack (where you counting how many seconds it took Bush to mention 9/11? That disaster was several city blocks, not an entire region of the nation. It was falling buildings that quit burning quickly and there was no flooding) was a remarkable reaction, positively. When the terrorists attacked and destroy two buildings, there were rescue teams rushing in to save lives. There was a response by the city that was a coordinated response. Katrina was one that we could have done a much better job, and we're learning the lessons from Katrina. (The good folks of Louisiana called but no one answered the phone. There local response was blocked by floods. With all due respect to New York, their first responders had dry pavement to roll on up to the site. South Louisiana was the site.) But the country has got to constantly be evaluating our capabilities and preparing for the worst.

VARGAS: When you look back on those days immediately following when Katrina struck, what moment do you think was the moment that you realized that the government was failing, especially the people of New Orleans?

BUSH: When I saw TV reporters interviewing people who were screaming for help.
(No shit.I bet people jumping out of those burning towers thought that your government failed to protect us from foreign attack. Well, probably not. But their families certainly did every time you brought up their dead loved ones to save your political ass. The situation in South Louisiana and Mississippi called and told you it was coming but you were on vacation, not listening to the Weather Channel. Oh yeah, you were on vacation when you got the memo from the National Security Agency that bin Laden was determined to strike New York or D.C. ) It looked — the scenes looked chaotic and desperate. And I realized that our government was — could have done a better job of comforting people.

Lest we forget... New Orleans, Part 2


These are the rest of the legible pictures that we got at Halloween. And this is just in the Quarter and its outlying areas, so we didn't see that much remaining damage except for hotels that were dumping tons of ruined mattresses & carpet on the banquets (sidewalks) of the Quarter. When we went to the Dungeon Halloween party, we went straight to the Quarter and straight out, because travelling in the outlying areas was verboten. Too many looters (and too many of them were cops) and looky-loos. Notice the NY State Trooper car --- there were three cops for every civilian. Makes the white people feel safe, the black people feel controlled/watched, and makes the stoners more paranoid than ever.

I think that Oracle got me this map --- gives a pretty good idea of how much attention was actually paid at the time, eh?

We cannot forget Katrina and Rita, even as the parties and the parades roll on. We cannot forget the people who died. We cannot forget the way that "our" government committed widespread genocide in pursuit of neverending class warfare.

Those levees breaking WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT. Cutting the budget on the Army Corps of Engineering, year after year, ever since he invaded the White House, was not an accident. And now they've got primo "redevelopment"/"gentrification" territory, so that they can bring in young, wealthy, white Republicunts to replace the generations-faithful black Democrats who were dispersed all over the friggin' country.

Yeah, they're partying today, and you'll find pictures of that all over the web. Anderson Cooper, throwing beads with that evil, beady-eyed, republicunt troll Ed Muniz's Endymion krewe. Woo de fuckin' hoo. Dan Akroyd, drunk and falling off of the float. Nothing new there. But I was there Sunday for an Irish Wake (story to follow soon, with pictures), and it wasn't even a SIXTH of the crowds that it should've been. They're BEGGING people to come get drunk, piss in our streets, and fuck in our alleys this year, but it's still too much like a war zone. Even though the tourist areas have been prettied-up first (before providing housing for the poor LOCALS, certainly), there's still the taint of death and decay. There's still heaps of rotted sheetrock, splintered wood, destroyed artwork & dreams, laying all over the curbs of New Orleans, even in the French Quarter.

THIS AIN'T OVER. And I'm hardly the only person who really wants to go home. The local rednecks (especially in the Baton Rouge {toilet}paper) are just THRILLED that all of the poor blacks who were shipped-off to Arizona, New Mexico, Illinois, and UTAH (UTAH!!! Those people can't COOK!!!) are "thriving" in their new concentration camps. They're just shickled titless to have them off of the food stamp rolls and out of the decayed public housing of New Orleans. They couldn't be prouder. Isn't that just the sweetest thing you ever heard?

Wait 'til y'all read the conversation that I had with a redneck emigre to the white-flight suburbs, who doesn't know jack SHIT about New Orleans proper. White people piss me off SO much moreso these days... As if they weren't bad enough before Katrina...

Squinty-eyed Conspiracy Theorist's Smart-Ass Questions Of The Day:

Why would the PTB want to wipe out 94 percent of the world's population through such programs as "Global Cleanse 2000"? Isn't it more rewarding to have 6 billion adoring subjects bowing down before our emperor of the earth instead of a paltry 20 million or so?

Ack

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The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know

Here's an interesting story in BBC News: Bin Laden 'likes hugs not kisses'

I really don't give a hoot about that, but the story is about a 32 year old Australian man who converted to Islam and met bin Laden in Afghanistan but decided against orchestrating terror attacks in his home country because bin Laden wanted to recruit white men to be sleepers in non Muslim countries. He also had a problem with giving up beer for his religion.

"I never really thought I'd be a Muslim," he told ABC. "I'd say, 'Oh look, you know, I really love your religion but I really love my beer'."

Birth Of A Movement


Never before seen (by the public) photos from Birmingham News of the civil rights movement have been found in the news archives. Take a look at the photo galleries from c.1962 at the amazing struggle and fortitude of black people in the south to simply be treated like human beings.

My memories of this time are from listening to the radio my mom always had on in the kitchen. We heard of the "negro uprisings" in the south and the painful movement for desegregation. I remember wondering why the heck those negroes were causing such a stir and then I asked mom what a negro was. She explained that they were "colored" people- the dark skinned people and that in the south, black people couldn't sit near white people on buses or restaurants. She explained segregation. It finally dawned on me that black and white people were considered different. Up until that point, I had played happily with black kids at the playground and never gave it a thought. As far as I was concerned, some kids had dark kinky hair made orderly by those little braids in their hair. That's all. I wasn't taught to hate these people nor were black people ever pointed out as different. Then of course, as time went by, the shit really hit the fan in the mid-late 60's and I learned a lot about man's hatred for his fellow man.

These pictures brought to my eyes the painful struggle that went on in the south and to a lesser extent here in the north. Fear and hatred are taught.

Talk About Captive Audiences!

From The Nation:

Arundhati Roy, one of our era's more eloquent voices:

"On his triumphalist tour of India and Pakistan, where he hopes to wave imperiously at people he considers potential subjects, President Bush has an itinerary that's getting curiouser and curiouser.

"For Bush's March 2 pit stop in New Delhi, the Indian government tried very hard to have him address our parliament. A not inconsequential number of MPs threatened to heckle him, so Plan One was hastily shelved. Plan Two was to have Bush address the masses from the ramparts of the magnificent Red Fort, where the Indian prime minister traditionally delivers his Independence Day address. But the Red Fort, surrounded as it is by the predominantly Muslim population of Old Delhi, was considered a security nightmare. So now we're into Plan Three: President George Bush speaks from Purana Qila, the Old Fort.

"Ironic, isn't it, that the only safe public space for a man who has recently been so enthusiastic about India's modernity should be a crumbling medieval fort?

"Since the Purana Qila also houses the Delhi zoo, George Bush's audience will be a few hundred caged animals and an approved list of caged human beings, who in India go under the category of "eminent persons." They're mostly rich folk who live in our poor country like captive animals, incarcerated by their own wealth, locked and barred in their gilded cages, protecting themselves from the threat of the vulgar and unruly multitudes whom they have systematically dispossessed over the centuries.

"So what's going to happen to George W. Bush? Will the gorillas cheer him on? Will the gibbons curl their lips? Will the brow-antlered deer sneer? Will the chimps make rude noises? Will the owls hoot? Will the lions yawn and the giraffes bat their beautiful eyelashes? Will the crocs recognize a kindred soul? Will the quails give thanks that Bush isn't traveling with Dick Cheney, his hunting partner with the notoriously bad aim? Will the CEOs agree?

"Oh, and on March 2, Bush will be taken to visit Gandhi's memorial in Rajghat. He's by no means the only war criminal who has been invited by the Indian government to lay flowers at Rajghat. (Only recently we had the Burmese dictator General Than Shwe, no shrinking violet himself.) But when Bush places flowers on that famous slab of highly polished stone, millions of Indians will wince. It will be as though he has poured a pint of blood on the memory of Gandhi.

"We really would prefer that he didn't.

"It is not in our power to stop Bush's visit. It is in our power to protest it, and we will. The government, the police and the corporate press will do everything they can to minimize the extent of our outrage. Nothing the happy newspapers say can change the fact that all over India, from the biggest cities to the smallest villages, in public places and private homes, George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America, world nightmare incarnate, is just not welcome."

New Orleans, Part 1






When we went at Halloween, this is what little of New Orleans that we got to see. We were broke as hell and had very limited time to be there, so it's not much, but these are what we got. Cafe' Du Monde, which was, for the first time I've seen it, damned near empty at 12A. The river end of Canal Street, where the only lights were the few streetlights and that damned casino. The four or five people on Bourbon Street. The FEMA Tent City in the pay lots on Decatur. The t-shirts. And since apparently Blogger hates my guts tonight, that's it for Part 1. Lame, I know, but I'm trying to tell a story here, and eventually, there'll be a point.

Monday, February 27

SHE LIVES!!!!!!

Miss Missouri Mule JUST got home, and she's all in one piece, and the surgery went WONDERFULLY, and they have got her on the BEST drugs possible. So, while she feels like she's been beat-down with a 2-by-4, she really doesn't CARE.

So, there's your news alert for the day --- Miss Vicki is back on the ranch, and Long-Sufferin' is deserving a two-week vacation in Bermuda... And she knows that all of y'all have been worried sick about her crazy behind, and she just wants to let everybody know that she appreciates all of the kind thoughts & words that y'all have sent her way.

She's gonna be pretty much blind for the next 6 weeks, until the next surgery, but she IS going to have Long-Sufferin', Liz & me to read the blog to her, so she will DEFINITELY be keeping abreast of things here in BlondeLand, and she said to tell everybody howdy, send y'all a big hug, and to let y'all know that she'll be out there lurkin' her ass off... Which is probably good, 'cause from the way she sounded on the phone, her spelling is the least of her worries right now... heh heh heh... That's our Mule.

Oh, and the reason we haven't been able to track her or Long-Sufferin' down all this time is, they left the cellphone in AMES, IOWA, at the hotel they stayed at on the way up to Mayo Clinic, but they stopped back by on the way home, and got all of our messages, to boot!

And in blonde news...


THE modern gentleman may prefer blondes. But new research has found that it was cavemen who were the first to be lured by flaxen locks.

According to the study, north European women evolved blonde hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to make them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition for scarce males.

The study argues that blond hair originated in the region because of food shortages 10,000-11,000 years ago. Until then, humans had the dark brown hair and dark eyes that still dominate in the rest of the world. Almost the only sustenance in northern Europe came from roaming herds of mammoths, reindeer, bison and horses. Finding them required long, arduous hunting trips in which numerous males died, leading to a high ratio of surviving women to men.

Lighter hair colours, which started as rare mutations, became popular for breeding and numbers increased dramatically, according to the research, published under the aegis of the University of St Andrews.

read on if you dare

More damning health news


So you spend your life trying to do the right thing. You don't drink, smoke or carouse. You're punctual, industrious, detail oriented, neat, clean, tidy and you avoid risk.

You should live a long healthy life, right?
Wrong.
Recent studies show that the above personalities are ripe for Parkinsons disease.

So you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Everything gives you cancer.

Forget the housework, let's go bungee jumping and then out for cocktails.

PS. This blonde doesn't fall into the parkinson's personality at all. What's housework?

Trip to Merry Olde England

My, but being from the UK is getting interesting. Let us see if we can follow the tinfoil dots (and yes, I'm sleep deprived so bear with me)

English legend says that a terrible evil will befall the kingdom if the Tower of London loses its ravens, which have lived at the landmark for more than 300 years. - enter the H5N1 bird flu, most recently spotted in migratory ducks in France.


America's secret service had been monitoring the Bruichladdich distillery because the difference between distilling a fine whisky and making chemical weapons was “just a small tweak”.

Yep, apparently our government is afriad not only of sex, but of whiskey too. Although they should know that popular myth has God creating whiskey to keep the Irish (and Scots) from taking over the world (Personally I'm good with the whole Celts rulling the world, gotta love a man in a kilt)

And now we find out that Chimpy is as bad at following the laws of other country's as he is at following ours, is ANYONE surprised by this?

In Scotland, an accident such as the one at Gleneagles could have led to police action. Earlier this year, Strathclyde Police issued three fixed penalty notices to errant cyclists as part of a crack-down on rogue riders. Legal experts also suggested lesser mortals could have ended up with a fixed penalty fine, prosecution, or at least a good ticking-off from officers. - It seems the officer was injured so badly that he was out for 14 weeks.

Anything else to add to the list? What about the prime minister? I saw that the mayor of London was suspended for four weeks due to Nazi comments. And let us not forget the Downing Street Memo, the pending lawsuit looking to charge the Iraqi war as a crime of aggression and a few other memorable (and hopeful) events.

Pulp Economics

If you haven't been reading Dark Wraith, you are missing out on very enlightening and colorful economics lessons made palatable. If you're like me, you slept through economics class or you skipped it altogether if you were smart. Now we can get up to speed.

I star in DW's latest post along with some babe named "Misty the Clam Digger", so naturally it's more interesting than usual. I even get to use and abuse Peter of Lone Tree in the story. What drama.

Amazingly, you get to learn that
"Inflation has one cause: too many clams chasing too few pineapples."

I would have been able to produce more pineapples, but I was busy designing a line of swimwear.

Plan B, Emergency Contraception in the News Again

I'm thinking that if you live in a red state, you ought to get your friends together and start educating your legislators about emergency contraception, namely Plan B. Citizens simply don't know what it's all about and legislators are making moral decisions for them for political gain. What's more, making Plan B hard to get actually may increase the chances for actual abortions to take place... and I thought we were trying to make abortions happen less. Silly me.

Right now, almost every state is embroiled in discussions over whether to make Plan B, which is a large dose of a birth control pill and not an abortion pill, more accessible or less accessible. It appears to be a red state/blue state thing. Unfortunately for those who live in red states, legislators who claim to be "pro-life" are trying to make it very hard for women to have access to emergency contraception after unprotected sex. These people pay no attention to science and medicine but consider that stopping an egg from being fertilized is akin to abortion. This is absolutely untrue. This is more proof that so many Americans are left behind ... or they just weren't paying attention in biology class as to when a pregnancy actually begins.

What's even more shocking is that there is a debate about whether or not to have Plan B available in emergency rooms for women who are raped. Catholic hospitals say they will refuse to administer Plan B.

Misogy-nazis: When I studied moral theology in the Catholic seminary, one of the reasons that Catholic theologians were against invitro fertilization was that the conception was missing the loving interaction between the couple. Yes, the physical part of pro-creating was not there and that was a big issue. It was all about love AND the physical act. (I remember that I had a lot to say about that as you can imagine.)

Now doesn't it seem strange that if a woman is raped, and we are talking about a possible conception based on hate and violence (not to mention that a rapist's violent tendencies could be further introduced into the gene pool) that simply giving the woman an option to prevent the egg from being fertilized, but not causing an abortion if the egg was already fertilized, would be the loving thing to do -to help the young woman heal from emotional and physical battering she underwent because of a deranged person's actions without furthering subjecting her to carrying the child of a rapist? She should be further punished by having to carry a hated life to birth when that life didn't even have to begin in the first place? Are these Catholic hospitals so inhumane as to believe that a raped woman's possible conception is blessed by god? This is yet another reason, that I am glad I am not Catholic anymore.

Sunday, February 26

Get Your Telescopes Ready

NASA Detects 'Totally New' Mystery Explosion Nearby
By Robert Roy Britt
Space.com
23 February 2006

Astronomers have detected a new type of cosmic outburst that they can't yet explain. The event was very close to our galaxy, they said.

The eruption might portend an even brighter event to come, a supernova.

It was spotted by NASA's Swift telescope and is being monitored by other telescopes around the world as scientists wait to see what will happen.

Neil Gehrels, principal investigator for the Swift mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, called the event "totally new, totally unexpected."

If the eruption indeed precedes a supernova, then it would reach peak brightness in about a week, scientists said.

Experienced backyard astronomers can see the explosion with a telescope by using these coordinates: RA: 03:21:39.71 Dec: +16:52:02.6

The event, detected Feb. 18, looks something like a gamma-ray burst (GRB), scientists said. But it is much closer—about 440 million light-years away—than others. And it lasted about 33 minutes. Most GRBs are billions of light-years away and last less than a second or just a few seconds.

Other aspects of the newfound eruption were inexplicable, astronomers said. It was dimmer than most. Even so, the newly spotted point of light in the sky outshines the entire galaxy in which the event occurred.

"This could be a new kind of burst, or we might be seeing a gamma-ray burst from an entirely different angle," said Swift scientist John Nousek at Penn State University.

Astronomers don't fully understand gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). But they theorize that when one is pointed our way, it appears brighter than when the beams it produces shoot off in other directions.

The explosion has been catalogued as GRB 060218. It is the second-closest GRB ever detected. But it's not clear if it will ultimately be called one.

Italian researchers using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile found signs in the event's optical afterglow that it may become a supernova. The scenario outlined by some researchers is that a very massive star has collapsed into a black hole and then exploded.

If the event is indeed a supernova in the making, scientists may get the first look at one unfolding from start to finish.

The eruption occurred in the constellation Aries.

Pat Tillman

Kevin Drum:
Tillman, a genuine hero who wanted to go to Afghanistan to fight al-Qaeda, was instead sent initially to Iraq to fight in a war he thought was stupid and illegal. On the big screen, this would play out as a symbol of George Bush's feckless attitude toward Osama bin Laden that practically kicks you in the face. What's more, Tillman's death didn't come during combat, but instead was the result of an enormous fuckup by our own troops. His parents are convinced — not without reason — that the Army tried to cover this up, and that the Bush administration then spent five weeks touting a phony version of what happened in order to help their political cause during an election year. To cap it all off, his friends say Tillman blamed Bush for the mess in Iraq and supported John Kerry in the 2004 election.

Sounds like an Oliver Stone picture to me. Read the whole article
And even more on Tillman's sacrifice here.

Something to remember always

I hope Liz can forgive me for this (I feel like a bit of a piggy for posting so much in such a short time) but I saw this copied on several blogs I read (I apologize that I cannot find the original post or s/n name) and I feel it needs to be spread around, remembered and repeated as much as possible.

Bigotry and gay adoptionThe Rovian Republicans are at it again.

As the 2006 election approaches, right-wing strategists realize that to maintain power, they must again rile up their base. Give conservatives a reason to fight the culture war from the ballot box, the thinking goes, and their presence will help guarantee top-ticket results.What were statewide gay marriage bans in 2004 appear to be gay adoption bans this fall. Ballot initiatives in 16 states speak to the fact that the Republican Party is again relying on deeply held biases to stay in office.

To me, however, there's no moderation on this issue. There's no gray area. There's no coalition to be formed. There's right and there's wrong. There's love and there's hate. Call me stubborn and close-minded, but if you are against gay adoption, you are a bigot. A hateful, prejudiced bigot.Why put these shameful measures on the ballot now? Whatever happened to putting forward an agenda of real ideas and inspiring voters to choose which party most embodies their beliefs? When did playing on ignorance and hatred become a get-out-the-vote tactic?

Only a weakened party unable to govern would make this strategy its top priority.The fact that issues like this are even up for a vote proves that the Republican Party is not only morally bankrupt, but also absent ideas. It's not about helping people, of course, because to do so would mean a radical shift in Republican policy. It would mean treating actual human beings with the same respect the right treats clumps of cells. It would mean helping children in the early stages of their lives. It would mean teaching parents and potential parents to make educated decisions. Above all else, it would mean more attention paid to the very safety net Republicans have steadily eroded.Where are the Republicans stepping up to adopt children clearly starving for love? Where are the Republicans backing the comprehensive sex education that would help prevent unwanted pregnancies? Where are the Republicans working for solutions that don't involve hate, that don't involve the continued stigmatization of normal, good-hearted Americans?

Republicans supporting these bans, you see, don't care about families. Nor do they care about children. They care about using people as scapegoats. That way, they can divert attention from their own shortcomings to a common enemy. Government in tatters? Blame liberals! Economy in the tank? Blame immigrants! Marriage in trouble? Blame homosexuals! If the right couldn't answer charges with "They did it," they would have nothing. No group has better perfected buck passing and blame gaming than the Bush-era Republican Party.

Today's Republicans aren't about progress. They're about being a thorn in its side. How else could you explain a party whose constituents spend more time fighting evolution, complaining about Howard Stern and protesting outside of hospices and abortion clinics than working for solutions to more pressing problems? Only small-minded people think SpongeBob SquarePants is a greater threat to the American way of life than myriad actual concerns.

Like many people, I can speak to this story personally. One of my very best friends is a gay man who happens to have adopted a beautiful son. The only thing atypical about the situation is the love and attention the doting father provides his son. The only thing unusual about the situation is the undivided attention my friend gives his one and only. The only thing abnormal about the situation is the massive amount of toys, books and puzzles in their home.

In fact, he's a better father than those who would have prevented the adoption could ever hope to be. He's a better man, too. His son, accordingly, couldn't have it any better. The thought that there are people in this country who would fight to have kept them apart sickens me. And it should sicken you, too.This isn't, as the right would have everyone believe, about special rights. It's about equal rights. The rights we take for granted. The rights to start a family, to be able to tuck your child in at night and know that everything you've done has led to this. To attend the recitals, plays and games. To enjoy watching them grow from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. To share the same love that my parents shared with me. If that is special, doesn't everybody deserve special?

I have no idea who originally wrote this, but I am so very glad they did, the distractions and 'hot button' issues (along with voter fraud, et al) has played a HUGE part in the elections since 2000 and we, as citizens, need to educate ourselves and our friends to see these antics for what they are. Distractions put in place by a government that has NOTHING to offer us, an adminstration that has failed us repeatedly. 9/11, Katrina - NOLA, Wiretapping, Illegal wars, Gulags, the list goes on and on.

RIP Barney Fife

I know it seems like 'fluff' on a basically political blog, but I grew up on his movies and my Da loved the Andy Griffith show. Don Knots passed away Friday, he was the all time nerd, trying so hard to fit in and be 'cool' and of course, no matter how hard he tried it just never worked out for him. Although I do seem to remember him getting the girl in Mr. Limpet and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

So, anyone else with any fond memories of Mr. Knots?

Saturday, February 25

The Tide May Be Turning

After all the horrible news of the past week, perhaps some bits of hope might be welcomed. Or if not hope at least a few instances where the administration is facing a bit of a fight.

Scott Tooley, a Republican, and former Congressional aide and law school graduate, educated at renowned Christian universities, has filed suit against the President, Vice President and relevant federal agencies for their illegal surveillance programs.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday, February 17, 2006. Mr. Tooley is represented by Larry Klayman, former Chairman of Judicial Watch and former U.S. Senate candidate from Florida.



WASHINGTON - A federal judge dealt a setback to the Bush administration on its warrantless surveillance program, ordering the Justice Department on Thursday to release documents about the highly classified effort within 20 days or compile a list of what it is withholding.



Initially, Google resisted the request from the DoJ and in court documents filed over the weekend has formally rejected it. The 25 page document uses strong language to criticise the request for a list of the search terms used in a typical week.

The document expressed its disbelief in US government assertions that the list of search words would help understand user behaviour.

"This statement is so uninformed as to be nonsensical," comments the document.



State Senator Outraged, Says Machines, Certification Violates State, Federal Standards and Law... SoS' Own Report Agrees! McPherson Waits Until 5pm Friday of Holiday Weekend to Announce!

Last summer, after a massive mock election test with Diebold touch-screen machines revealed that 10% of them failed entirely with screens freezing and printers jamming -- later reports would reveal that as many as 30% of the machines actually failed!

Re-inspection in light of the news out of Leon County, Florida that the memory cards used "interpreted code" which is specifically banned by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). A "hack test" in that county revealed that an entirely election could have its results flipped by a hacker exploiting that "interpreted code" -- without a trace being left behind.


Campaigners ask courts to rule Iraq war a 'crime of aggression'
Britain's most senior judges will be asked today for a ruling that could lead to the war in Iraq being declared an illegal "crime of aggression". Until now, the courts have taken the view that they cannot rule on the Crown's prerogative powers to wage war. But today the law lords will start hearing appeals by peace protesters who claim they were entitled to commit "criminal" acts in an attempt to prevent what they saw as the greater crime of launching an illegal war.


The BEST science based site on the web, many science based blogs are housed under the SEED umbrella.

Utah: Stud Judge Ordered Off the Bench


SALT LAKE CITY - A small-town judge with three wives was ordered removed from the bench by the Utah Supreme Court on Friday.

He has 32 children by 3 wives who happen to be sisters.

He was disappointed by the decision:
"I had hoped that the court would see my case as an opportunity to correct the injustices that are caused by the criminalization of my religious beliefs and lifestyle," Steed said in a statement.

Well he has a point.. but then again- why couldn't we all come up with various religious sects that authorize the use of marijuana or ecstasy, hold orgies for worship, celebrate spaghetti or start street gangs for Christ? Plus we can be tax exempt as long as we don't get involved in electoral politics. Oops. This opens a can of worms.

Personally, I don't give a hoot about polygamy if all the parties are game and the stud muffin can afford to take care of the brood and they keep to their own Stepford neighborhoods. But the judge was breaking Utah law, along with some 10,000 other polygamists living there. At least twice as many children would be out on the streets if their parents were thrown in jail. Utah is an interesting state. I look forward to visiting there when I drive across the country in the spring.

Good news from the IRS.

Did I really write that?

Apparently I am not the only one who has written numerous complaint letters to the IRS regarding the tax exempt status of religious groups who are taking an active part in electoral politics. The IRS has been reviewing all the complaints of illegal electoral activity during the 2004 election season. These churches will have to shut the fuck up about guilting the flock into voting against their interests or pay their taxes to the government that they adore.

Good article by Frederick Clarkson at Talk To Action: IRS to Vigorously Enforce Rules on Church Politicking

Saturday Playtime

Take a visit to The Hospital
You'll be glad you did.

(and don't forget to use mouseovers and clicks on the images)

-------

Try another time waster: Moebius Syndrome

For You History Fans:

(And UFO students):

Today is the 64th anniversary of "The Battle of Los Angeles".

Another nice link: http://ufocasebook.com/battleoflosangeles.html
"Case and point: A UFO event of mass proportion: a giant Alien spaceship hovering over one of our major cities, threatening our very existence. A scenario from "War of the Worlds," "Independence Day," or "The Day the Earth Stood Still"? NO! it is NOT science fiction, it has ALREADY happened. When? February 25th, 1942 in the Los Angeles area."

This Link includes a photo of the Los Angeles Times with the headlines "Army Says Alarm Real" "Roaring Guns Mark Blackout"

Only On Fox

What Was I Just Talking About In the Previous Post?





Conservatives always look on the bright side.

If they can see a bright side to a civil war, then I want to know what they sip at happy hour.

Screen Shots Courtesy of Media Matters




UPDATE SATURDAY FEB 25:
Well it's not only Fox that is looking at the upside of a civil war in Iraq...

A pundit on CNN (via Think Progress) says "I think actually these attacks on Shia shrines can be attributed to the potential success of the Bush strategy."

So there ya go. When I tried to view the world as a conservative on Friday's post titled, "A Call For Peace" (Scroll down one post), I was right there with the president and the corporate media new channels! Who knew? Unfortunately while I was able to pay lip service to looking at the brighter side of disasters, in my heart I didn't feel it. I certainly hope I am wrong and that there is hope for Iraq. We'll see, now won't we?

Friday, February 24

A Call For Peace

I may turn conservative after reading how conservatives are happier. I want to be happy too. I think I will post some things from a more positive angle once in a while. God forbid that I seem grumpy.

Here's some good news: Religious leaders in Iraq called for peace after all "H-E-double hockey sticks" broke loose and a Shiite Shrine was toppled. Our president, George W. Bush said, "This is a moment of choosing for the Iraqi people."

Oh yes, indeed. They will most certainly choose something.

People want to look at the bright side of danger, death and explosions though.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad acknowledged the grave danger facing Iraq, but said the attack on the shrine also presented the country with a "moment of opportunity."

"I think this attack has had a major impact here, getting everyone's attention that Iraq is in danger ... that they must lead and compromise with each other to bring the people of Iraq together and to save this country," he told reporters.
President Bush acknowledged that there would be lots more bloodshed in Iraq, yet he also told a handpicked audience of veterans to look at the sunny side...
"But I'm optimistic because the Iraqi people have spoken and make their intentions clear... They want their freedom. They want their country to be a democracy," Bush said.

Now I'm not quite sure which intentions he is talking about but we'll just have to trust him. Ya know?

Toodles,
Conservative Blonde

ha ha?

"I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I'm outraged by Chappaquiddick."

Roger Ailes on the rise of conservative comedians.

They Have Named It The Long War

The sun is shining but it is a dark day in southeastern North Carolina with Donald Rumsfeld jetting in for a ceremony to welcome the marines into the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with the launch of the Marine Special Operations Command (MARCOC). This story is the headline on the local fishwrap this morning and I haven't been able to find it on the newswires yet. It may get five seconds on the evening news tonight certainly not enough time to consider all of the implications of the story.

It's part of a long-range plan as reported here by CNN on Feb. 3, 2006.

Here is Dick Cheney swooning with joy over it last summer. Yes, Iran/Conta taught him the importance of having secret forces doing covert operations all over the world. These boys do it all from setting up hospitals and providing aid to training death squads and overthrowing elected governments. They came to mind this week when I heard of the destruction of the golden mosque. Come on, you know you thought the same thing. If you didn't maybe you should brush up on some history.

How Dare They

Well how do you like that?

Pew Research concludes that conservatives are happier than liberals.

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Get on over to Democratic Underground and read It's Munich in America by David Michael Green. (Also available at Common Dreams and Information Clearinghouse)



And after you walk through it with Professor Green, come back here and help me think about when we weren't struggling to seize democracy from the hands of our government? The Japanese in internment camps--FDR how could you?--McCarthyism, domestic spying by the CIA and the FBI, Vietnam, Watergate, Nixon, Reagan, impeachment in the face of two elections where Clinton didn't do anything that rises to the level of illegal wiretaps, and now 9/11, which no one could foresee, Katrina that no one could foresee, Iraq where we were supposed to be greeted like the Americans liberating Paris, and as Senator Lindsey Graham said today, "the tone-deaf" presidency.

I agree with the Professor that things are at a new low with little relief in sight. No, Toto, we don't have the Warren Court anymore. Women are going to lose civil rights like sand through our fingers. With so much sand in our eyes, so many distractions, we won't even understand how it got that way. It gets more Orwellian everyday and I too have a difficult time remembering when we weren't at war with Eastasia.

It is tempting to romanticize the "good ol' days" and normally I wouldn't trade living in modern times. But I miss the optimism of Clinton, Johnson, and Kennedy. But we seem to be reliving the horror of Johnson's foreign policy under people who thought that Johnson and Nixon didn't try hard enough in Vietnam.

Today, President Bush did it again. He said something that was more absurd than the absurd statements he made yesterday. "People don't need to worry about security" after he has spent the last election scaring the hell out of us. But notice when commentators linked terror alerts with drops in Bush's popularity in his first term, those terror alerts have stopped. We don't need to be scared anymore: he got his second term. The one his father couldn't win.

And speaking of Freud, Bush said today that if we would just listen, we would see that the decisions made by "my government" are good decisions.

I thought that the government was us. The whole "my government" is grounded in a European view of government, close to the divine right of kings to govern, but more modernly rooted in the prime minister view of government. Woodrow Wilson thought that the presidency should be like the British model--a legislative body that rubber stamps the prime ministers desires into law. Bush and the unitary approach to government is just that. He can interpret law, make law, break law and it means that if the president does it, it isn't illegal.

Richard Nixon is George W. Bush's dark father.

If it is Mr. Bush's Republic, get a good look at him and what he has done. The port deal can be opposed because of the UAE's ties to terrorism and the Bush family ties to UAE. Mr. Bush is shocked, shocked that Americans don't want Arabs running their ports while they didn't mind the British running our ports. Well, that is true. We haven't been subjected to British terrorism in over 200 years. The British recognize Israel and the equality of women. The UAE does not.

But some perspective, please. We are not being arrested for what we write. We can protest the Bush government. We will find ourselves wiretapped without warrants.

Thursday, February 23

Mississippi gets one right... ?

As unbelievable as it may seem, I'm actually almost wanting to side with the State of Mississippi against the ACLU on this one.

Putting the names & faces of "the most egregious cases" of sex offenders, especially those found guilty of statutory rape on BIG-ASS BILLBOARDS, all over the state of Mississippi --- yeah, on the one hand, it is more than vaguely reminiscent of "Big Brother" and the wall where they hung the bodies of those "convicted" of sex crimes in "The Handmaid's Tale" --- after the womenfolk had shredded them with their bare hands (but not NEARLY as permanent); on the other hand, can there really BE a punishment harsh enough for douchebags of this caliber? And don't tell me that "She lied about her age!" --- if you're old enough to be too old to fuck a minor, YOU KNOW BETTER.

The ACLU says that if they're "already serving," then what's the point?

Here's a hint:

THE POINT IS THAT THESE FACES & NAMES WILL BECOME KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE STATE, POSSIBLY PROTECTING POTENTIAL VICTIMS FROM THESE SCUMBAGS.

If only we could do so much in my own apartment building, which currently houses two douchebags convicted of molestation of minors, in a federally-subsidized building that HAS OVER A DOZEN KIDS LIVING HERE.

Like maybe lifesized cutouts of the two molesters in question, spray-painted with "CHILD MOLESTER!" in bright blood red, posted in the lobby for all visitors to see...

(And yes, I've been nagging Rural Development about this shit since I moved in, still waiting to see some action... And see how long it takes for the crooked-ass management company to find a reason to evict MY ass...)

BUT: Here's the problem(s): 1. Will every one of these alleged scumbags be convicted using the most up-to-date DNA technology available? With Mississippi's budget, don't hold your breath. I'm sure that they'll be convicted, but we won't know 100% if they're really the scumbags who did it. They've been wrong before, as have all of the other 49.

2. One thing that the Hinds County public defender brought up, and I think that it's a very salient point: How is going to feel, to the children/young women/young men who've been victimized, to be rolling down U.S. 61, and to see the face, about 20' high, of the animal who abused them? I'll take "SHITTY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE" for $1,000, Alex.

Obviously, this is just another attempt to pander to the fearful suburbanite/rural white voters of Mississippi, to give them the ILLUSION that their government CAN protect them and WILL, when there is no such guarantee either promised or delivered. It's like promising old people that they won't get mugged down at the Piggly Wiggly, or telling someone who's lost a loved one to senseless drugs/violence/modern life that you're "fighting" for stricter punitive sentences: It sounds good, it might feel good, but it ain't really gonna deliver SHIT.

What the State of Mississippi NEEDS to do is to EDUCATE THEIR YOUNG PEOPLE. Equip them to defend themselves. TEACH YOUNG PRETEEN GIRLS THAT IT'S NOT COOL TO BE A MOMMY IN 5TH GRADE, AND NO, A 20-YEAR-OLD GUY DOES *NOT* REALLY "LOVE" THEM. The State Of Mississippi needs to do something about teenaged mothers who don't know their asses from a hole in the ground about raising their OWN kids, much less their GRANDkids, before they're THIRTY.

A little fucking sex education would be a good start.

(Of course, this goes QUADRUPLE for the State Of Louisiana.)

Teaching those girls how to remove testicles from the human body could be an excellent second step.

(It only requires 16 pounds of pressure to do so. Even with fibromyalgia & arthritis, I still have 45 lbs. of pressure in my left hand and 60 in my right.)

Now, as to the ACLU protecting the "privacy" of convicted child molesters, or considering this to be "cruel and unusual punishment"?

FUCK 'EM.

The Day Our Founders Lost Sleep Over

Found this at ICH:
It’s Munich In America. There Will Be No Normandy by David Michael Green.
(it's also at Democratic Underground and Common Dreams)

"If we flip completely over to the dark side, nobody will be storming our beaches and scrambling up our cliffs to liberate us from our own folly."


Indeed.

The article was written by my son's favorite poli-sci professor.

Could Be Juicy

Long Dong Silver's memoir is due out next year. His agent says there is a lot of interest in the book and he is going to talk quite openly about everything. The American people probably won't be interested in his judicial stories as much as his sex-capades if I know Americans.

What is the gay agenda anyway?

I keep reading about it at rightwing innernets sites, but no one really defines it. I can't imagine what a gay agenda would consist of other than fighting off homophobes and doing the same stuff that everyone else does.... wake up, go to work, come home, eat, watch tv, go to bed.

If anyone out there reading this is gay, what is your agenda?

Bush: What Me Worry?


"WASHINGTON - President Bush on Thursday sought to calm an uproar over an Arab company taking over operations at six major American ports, saying "people don't need to worry about security.""


And everyone breathed a sigh of relief.


UPDATE: This just came over the AP

"...Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the panel's ranking Democrat, said the UAE backed the Taliban and allowed financial support for al-Qaida.

Levin also charged that the UAE has an "uneven history" as "one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan." He added that millions of dollars in al-Qaida funds went through UAE financial institutions."

Then bush charged that no one had a problem with the ports being run by the British company, so what is the big deal.

Well the difference is that "London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which previously operated at those ports, is a publicly traded company while Dubai Ports World is effectively controlled by the government there."

But bush never adressed the questions about The UAE's links to terrorists.

Keep Your Cats Indoors

Or kill sea otters. Your choice.

simply shocking

If I were a young woman living in SD, I'd move the hell out there. Today.

They are working hard to ban abortion in their godly state but this really really takes the cake:

"The momentum for a change in the national policy on abortion is going to come in the not-too-distant future," said Rep. Roger W. Hunt, a Republican who sponsored the bill. To his delight, abortion opponents succeeded in defeating all amendments designed to mitigate the ban, including exceptions in the case of rape or incest or the health of the woman. Hunt said that such "special circumstances" would have diluted the bill and its impact on the national scene.

So if daddy rapes his little girl, she gets to be a mommy and if the pregnancy kills her because she's only 11, all the better... we wouldn't want to dilute the bill, now would we?

Plan Or Stupidity?

Perhaps, like Flame said below about Katrina victims, "it's all part of the plan". I was just thinking after reading about Iraqi violence pitting Muslim against Muslim, that perhaps it was all part of the plan too. It's getting worse there.

But on the other hand maybe we shouldn't attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.

Tough call.

You KNEW it was bad, but Yeeshhh

Okay, we all know that the response to Katrina was less than stellar. No one (outside of the government) will argue that point with you. But how bad does it have to be that a bunch of Congressional yahoos can come up with 125 ways to improve response to national disasters.

The down side? They want the pentagon to take a more active role. NOW I'M WORRIED. Tinfoil hat aside, does anyone else get the sneaking suspicion that perhaps this was part of the goal all along? Sure we know they wanted some prime real estate, the dilution of the usually democratic vote in many of the wards, etc. But what about FEMA, what about Homeland Security? Why does the Pentagon need to be involved?

Wednesday, February 22

keep up with changing reality--there will be a test on this material

First a hearty "howdy" to the new blondes. Welcome!
Second, I realize that the topic has been covered but I already wrote this and a topic isn't covered until I have covered it, right?
Third, I am hunting and pecking because I am having problems with my wrists. Not carpal tunnel, but diabetic neuropathy. So bear with me.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a partial birth abortion ban case next fall. In the middle of campaign season. The Court probably granted certiorari in order to reverse the three appellate courts' ruling that banned the enforcement of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The Bush administration has appealed the appellate courts' decision that invalidated the federal law which denied doctors the ability to perform a medical procedure to terminate pregnancies in the second or third trimester. If doctors performed the procedure, they can be charged with a crime.

With the use of the word "ban" it is easy to be confused. Look at it this way: Bush v. Women's health. Bush wants to control women's health, the lower appellate courts want to protect women's health, and the Supreme Court that had once recognized a woman and her doctor's ability to protect her health, now believe that a woman's life must be endangered before her doctor can perform an abortion procedure to save her life. Abortion to protect her gynecological, reproductive, physical and or mental health isn't reason enough. So a woman must carry a fetus to term that endangers her health.

The Second, Eighth, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal struck the act as unconstitutional because while the law in question before the Supreme Court provides an exception which allows the procedure in order to save a woman's life, but not in order to protect a woman's health. The Supreme Court six years ago recognized that any law regarding abortion must provide doctors with the ability to not only to save a woman's life, but to preserve her health. All three appellate courts issued an injunction which prevents enforcement of the medical procedure's ban.

The Bush administration is appealing the ban on the enforcement of the ban of partial birth abortion. Not to belabor the point, the federal appellate courts have declared the law banning partial birth abortion unconstitutional, upheld the health exemption recognized by previous abortion laws, and the Bush administration wants the federal law which denies a woman a medical procedure that will protect her health enforced. Bush wants to prosecute doctors who perform the procedure that preserves a woman's health.

The Court is revisiting its earlier 5-4 decision in which they declared a previous attempt to ban the procedure unconstitutional because it did not provide an exception to protect the health of the woman. Evidently the Court is going to rule that the current law is constitutional or they would have allowed the lower appellate courts' rulings to stand. Or perhaps since there is a split--where some circuits believe the law in unconstitutional and other circuits have not ruled on the federal law--the Court thinks it should lay down a ruling for all circuits. In other words, the Court may reverse itself because the votes are there to change reality. Justice O'Connor is gone. Therefore Justice Alito is there. Stare decisis is after all, not carved in stone. (Recall that if stare decisis was carved in stone, Plessy v. Ferguson would not have been overturned by Brown v. the Board of Education.) So Congress' finding that the procedure is unnecessary to preserve a woman's health but might be necessary to save her life will become law.

And you thought Bill Frist's diagnosis of Terry Schiavo without ever touching her was odd. Congress has made their interpretation of medicine law without the benefit of a medical education.

While the Court may not have the votes to declare abortion unconstitutional, they can continue to erode a woman's right to chose until they have reached the critical point where abortions cannot be performed unless the woman's life is at stake.

Since it takes four justices to vote to hear a case, Scalia and Thomas probably voted to hear the case since they ruled in favor of the law that banned the procedure six years ago. They vote to hear the case on other grounds than simply abortion. Rehnquist and Kennedy also voted in favor of banning the procedure. Kennedy has voted in the past to uphold a woman's right to choose in the past so he is something of a wild card. He objected six years ago not on the subject of abortion, but on states' rights to decide such matters.

Breyer, Stevens, Ginsberg, O'Connor, and Souter voted to declare the Partial Birth Abortion Ban unconstitutional because it had no health exception. O'Connor is gone. Roberts and Alito are here. Assuming that these remaining four justices stay with their previous ruling and Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy rule against the appellate courts, partial birth abortion will be an option only to save the life of the woman.

Further proof that Kinky has sold out...

He's got a REALITY SHOW. On CMT.

Just break our fuckin' hearts, whydontcha Kinky?!

Just when I was starting to think that Texas wasn't a lost cause after all...

*sigh*

Spook Politics

I love this term, completely adore it.

There never was a “terrorist threat” to western civilisation or democracy, only to western lives and property. The threat becomes systemic only when democracy loses its confidence and when its leaders are weak, as now. Terror attacks are for the police. For George Bush and Blair to demand a “long war” against Bin Laden and, by implication, a long suppression of civil liberty is ludicrous. Western civilisation is not some simpering weakling that cowers before a fanatic ’s might, pleading for leaders to protect it by all means, however illegal.

This is an article well worth reading, I think it sums up the entire matter quite nicely and is an important tool in the re-re-educating of American citizens

The He-Man Woman Haters Club Is At It Again


The Supreme Court has reopened a key abortion case that attempted to ban late term abortions in 2003 that was deemed unconstitutional. Now with a SCOTUS consisting of a bunch of conservative men, here we are again.

Heinous, outspoken critics of abortion (mostly men) have labeled late term abortions barbaric and a key part of the US culture of death, overlooking the fact that the US is at war and plans to be at war for an indeterminate time. I'll give them a culture of death, right up their asses with my foot.

These men assume that pregnant women in their last trimester of pregnancy must wake up one morning and decide to have an abortion. I don't know what kind of women these sleezeballs associate with, but late term abortions are not the norm. We women know that these men conjure up scenarios that are completely ridiculous and that women with serious health risks during pregnancy may be sentenced to death if a total ban on late term abortions is signed by the courts regardless of the health and safety to the woman. There are no numbers available as to how many women undergo late term abortions but it is safe to assume that serious health issues lead up to such a decision. Anti-abortionists do not seem to care about women's health.

It's all political.

Bush To Objectors: Shut Up

The president said that he would veto any legislation that would prohibit Dubai Ports in control of 6 major US ports.

More senators and governors are speaking out against this idiocracy of the bush administration. Long Island's only Republican congressman, Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Commitee has vowed to fight the administration. Governor Corzine of NJ has joined the governors of NY and MD in the fight to stop this from happening. Even Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist called for a moratorium on this most secretive deal.

Bush has said that forbidding a UAE company from doing business at the ports may be viewed as discriminatory.

UPDATE: Oh get this: Bush Unaware of Ports Deal Before Approval












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Welcome to Blondesense Blog, Flame!

Latin America, the Newest Threat?

*Oiy, my first blog entry and I see NC Gal has the same topic. I’ll have to try harder next time*

So, has anyone else been following the Hugo Chavez tempest that is currently brewing to our South?

C Rice, our shoe-fetish Secretary of State seems to be going out of her way to inflame President Chavez (some of you may remember him as the man whose assassination was called for by televangelist Pat Robertson) and cause as much anger and indignation as possible in Central and South America.

While most of the USA’s citizenry is fixated on the Middle East and Muslims in general, things have been quickly spiralling out of control much closer to home. Bolivia and Chile have just elected far-left leaders and Peru looks to elect the VERY militant Ollanta Humala in April. And President Fox will more than likely be voted out of office in Mexico this July, possibly to be replaced by noted anti-US candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. And considering the porous nature of our Southern borders this should send the gun toting minute men into an absolute frenzy.

Now, before you think I’m going overboard on this, let me fill you in on a few details. Venezuela sits on approximately 8.5% of the world’s oil reserves and they are now the subject of an embargo. The administration is blocking US companies from sending them parts to fix and maintain their oil drilling and refining equipment. The Venezuelan government has evicted a group of evangelical ’missionaries’ for spying on the Venezuela for the CIA. Add to that US authorities “saw fit to enforce its own laws on other sovereign nations” by insisting that the Sheraton Maria Isabel (a hotel in Mexico City) expel 16 Cuban Energy Officials from their rooms. ( translated article here) The officials were there to meet with American Energy Officials and was situated in Mexico due to the trade embargo (still) in effect against Cuba. (Helms-Burton Act).

Now before you root Chavez on (tempting though it is) you should be aware that he has suggested an ‘indefinite’ extension of his term. But in his defence I don’t think there is anyone running against him. (translated story here )

Now, playing the devil here I have to wonder what the USA is thinking. I am sure that Venezuela could easily get the correct parts from Russia or China or Japan. Cuba (as you may recall from the Bay of Pigs) is close enough to become a REAL threat if another nation placed a military base or weapons there. And Mexico… well it wouldn’t take much for an army to come marching across the border would it, and don’t you feel comforted by the Administrations response to Katrina? I mean, surely they’ll do just as well with something of this nature, dontcha think?

Tuesday, February 21

Go On With Your Bad Self

Hugo Chavez to Condi Rice:"Don't mess with me, girl."

I hope he did it with a head roll, an eye roll and a snap of the fingers.

So It's All God's Fault

Everything that happens is God's fault according to America’s Providential History, by Mark A. Beliles and Stephen K. McDowell, who call it Divine Providence, and I call bullshit but fun reading. They do have a point though, but it's buried in fantastic allegory.

Various Excerpts From Harpers, Thy Kingdom Come:
"God’s plan for the nations has been unfolding in a specific geographic direction. This geographical march of history is called the Chain of Christianity or the Chain of Liberty. It seems as if God’s direction is westward."

"During the Revolutionary War, God performed many miracles on behalf of the American army, for God desired to see America win its struggle for freedom, become a nation, and fulfill its divine purposes."

"During the Civil War, the Confederate Army’s phenomenal success in almost every major battle induced Abraham Lincoln to seek God for the reasons why." Then Lincoln invoked God and the whole thing changed.

"After the war an ungodly, radical Republican element gained control of the Congress. They wanted to centralize power and shape the nation according to their philosophy. In order to do this, they had to remove the force of Calvinism in America..."

"The loss of Christian character and responsibility led to the failure of many state banks in the early 1900s. In an effort to remedy this situation, power was granted to a Federal Reserve Board in 1913. But this unbiblical economic structure produced even greater problems."

"While many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large, with plenty of resources to accommodate all the people He knew would come into existence. All the 5 billion people on the earth could live in the state of Texas in single-family homes with front and back yards and be fed by production in the rest of the United States."

Air Base in Despair

You didn't hear about this stuff in WWII.

Strain and battle fatigue of war hit home front

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --This sprawling airbase in the swamps of central Georgia sits 6,500 miles from the nearest battlefield in Iraq. But it hasn't escaped the death and injury brought on by war.

The situation at Robins, where thousands of workers repair military aircraft, is a case study on how the war overseas has affected those serving on the home front. Here, a different kind of strain and battle fatigue has surfaced, often in startling ways.

The wounded came not from engaging the enemy, but from scores of workplace injuries that increased as the war intensified. The low morale was measured in rises in drunken driving and domestic abuse, discrimination complaints and lost productivity. Most dramatic were the suicides -double the national rate in 2004 -and murders on the base, the first in Robins' 65-year history.

This is a startling story.

War is not good
for children
and other living things

US History Reshrouded In Secrecy

The NY Times reports today that thousands of historical documents which were in the public access have now been reclassified. Historians are baffled by the decision to reclassify documents that were accessible to the public for years and many were mundane and should be available as US history should be based on facts. Many of the documents have no bearing on national security. What's even more astounding is that the reclassification program is also shrouded in secrecy and costing tax payer dollars to keep it secret. The historians suspect that the CIA and other agencies are behind this. They don't know for sure because that part is also shrouded in secrecy.


On the other hand, Dead Eye Dick says that he has the power to declassify government secrets. So what's going on here?



Hat tip to Terrible

GOP Governors Threaten To Block Dubai Ports World

NY and MD governors Pataki and Erlich have spoken out against the ridiculous notion of Dubai Ports World securing US ports and will explore legal actions to cancel lease agreements at ports in these states. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey said Monday that he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, will introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of port operations to foreign governments. They had better hurry up.

The AP reports that "Critics have noted that some of the 9/11 hijackers used the UAE as an operational and financial base. In addition, they contend the UAE was an important transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by a Pakistani scientist."

Didn't Bush say that you are either with us or with the terrorists? Didn't he say that he won't do business with countries that harbor terrorists? He must forget all the stuff that he tells the American people. He ought to pick a story and stick to it.

Amazingly Jimmy Carter approves of the Bush plan to allow this company to secure out ports. One wonders what to believe. Furthermore, why can't an American company secure the ports with American workers who could certainly use the jobs?

Monday, February 20

Is 'Murka Addicted To Oil or Tax Credits?

"Federal tax rules that took effect last month allow a credit of up to $3,150 for anyone buying a hybrid car. The credit is the same regardless of tax bracket.

However, owners of small businesses who buy a Hummer, Ford Excursion or other SUV weighing more than 3 tons get a deduction of up to $25,000 — depending on tax bracket — if they use the vehicle exclusively for work." -AP

And we all know that the majority of those 'tax break' SUV's are driven by their wives... well at least that's the case around here.

another old rant

(With all of the things that are going on right now, for some reason, this old rant is the one that won't get out of my head. I'm not trying to bring a bad omen on Vicki/MoMu as she's heading into surgery or anything like that, so please don't think it. I know that she's going to be just fine, she's at the MAYO Clinic after all --- but there are a number of factors that bring this rant to mind, and I can't rightly sort them all out at the moment. I wrote this three days before my Nannie (grandmother) died in 2000; and me being me, whenever someone I care about is going through seriously scary shit, I immediately go to the self-imposed guilt trip.)

5/4/00
8:20P

change

SUCKS. Nothing good has been wrought upon my life by change that others have brought.

Changes I have made—well, on occasion, have crashed & burned—I am at least more comfortable with the ashes. The Telecommunications Act Of 1994, for example—was NOT my idea. REAGANOMICS, for example—NOT my idea. My parents building a convenience store in the front yard & subsequently going bankrupt—WAAAAAAYYYYYYYY against my better judgement.

Some change is inevitable—had I had a choice, I would not have picked wrinkles & white hair. Let alone sarcoidosis & a broken back. Changes I have tried to effect to no avail—convincing asshole male sluts—interpret that as you will—that I am worthy of their approval… for instance. Call me a glutton for punishment, I'm a sucker for the underdog.

They say that "god" never changes—but the rules associated with deities always change. My grandmother's been tithing money "to god" all of her 86 years, and what the fuck did it buy her? She's been praying "to Jesus" forever, and what did she earn? Colon cancer. Probably more—we still don't have all the results yet. "God" would take care of her, "God" loves her, "Jesus" would protect her from all the evils in the world, right? Isn't that supposed to be the contract? Give your life to "god" and it all works out in the wash?

And now the bible-thumping troglodytes are calling it "God's Will". My mother says, "She's lived a long, full life—" –that bitch can't wait for her to be in the ground—she's got a ready-made bed and breakfast right next door, as soon as she gets rid of "that old-lady-smell."

If I could have, I would have kidnapped my Nannie a week ago, or longer, and taken her to a real hospital--NOT CHARITY—something like Baptist or Touro. If I could have, I wouldn't have let my mother take power of attorney—taking away Nannie's last scrap of control over her own damned life. And 95 times today, I have kicked myself for ever escaping the sticks for this shit-hole. If I'd have stayed, it might have been different. If I hadn't fucked-up so much, she might not be alone in that hillbilly ICU right now. Call me a narcissist, but I can't help the guilt trip—she doesn't have the strength to inflict it, so I do it to myself. I might still weigh 293, but I would have been there—but no, I had to make a change.

And I stand there, my thumb up my ass, and watch the tubes and wires hanging off of her body. Fluids go in, fluids come out, blood pressure too low, hit that Demerol button again… and she cries to go home after the second surgery. And I can't do a fucking thing. I can't change any of it—the Beastmaster has power of attorney.

I'm the only one she bitches at—despite the knuckle-walking cunt 'nurse' who talks to her like she's a retarded 5-year-old. I'm the only she bitches at—despite the inbred hillfuck cousin-in-law who prattles at top volume in the ICU. I'm the only one she bitches at—despite the Beastmaster telling anyone who'll listen how "confused" Nannie is.
I'm the only one she bitches at—because I'm the only one who gets it. Just for a moment, I wish that I could change that.

Club Gitmo Dining Room



The force fed prisoners experience nausea and bleeding but the commander of Guantanamo's hospital says that 'Experience teaches us' that such symptoms must be expected 'whenever nasogastric tubes are used.'

It is claimed that the staff always uses a lubricant when forcing tubes into the bodies of the tied down prisoners and does it slowly so as to not inflict pain deliberately. Nevertheless, it does cause a great deal of pain so the kindly medics give some ibuprophen to the prisoners. The important thing is that the prisoners are kept alive.

Scandal of force-fed prisoners

It's Not That America's Poor Don't Have Jobs...

I can't believe how many people I speak to who quote Jesus out of context when the issue of poverty in America is brought up, "The poor will always be with us." So that makes it ok? You can quote Jesus, the champion of the poor, while shrugging your shoulders at the working poor?

How about all the people who say that everyone has an equal opportunity in America? That would be true if people who work 40 hour work weeks actually earned a living wage.

Millions of poor in America who work several jobs and still end up on the bread lines? There is something wrong with this picture.

While 45.8 million Americans lack any health insurance, the top 20 per cent of earners take over half the national income. At the same time the bottom 20 per cent took home just 3.4 per cent.

The gap is ever widening. Obviously we are not all born with the same opportunities. Our children our going to bed hungry because the minimum wage is a farce and our legislators refuse to deal with it.

37 million poor hidden in the land of plenty

DON'T FEEL MUCH LIKE WRITING THIS A.M. SO I JUST COPIED PART OF THE FOLLOWING STRAIGHT OFF THE DARK WRAITH'S SITE

Special Announcement:Hell Made Permanent
By Dark Wraith

The following Proposal for Amendment to the Constitution of the United States has been submitted and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. (Introduced in House)

HJ 24 IH
109th CONGRES
1st Session
H. J. RES. 24

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 17, 2005

Mr.HOYER (for himself, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. SENSENBRENNER, Mr. SABO, and Mr.PALLONE) introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years after the date of its submission for ratification:

'Article --

'The twenty-second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed.'

Note carefully the date of submission as published.

With thanks to contributor Kaiyn at BlondeSense.
The Dark Wraith offers his condolences to the family of the departed democratic and free republic.

From http://www.termlimits.org/Current_Info/22nd-Amendment-text.html

"The 22nd Amendment Section1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term. Section. 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress."

Coming soon to a corner near you

Homeland security plans on expanding it's surveillance capabilities by installing cameras everywhere. Al posted this link in a comment the other day and while I find the whole thing very disturbing what really jumped out at me is that they have put cameras in forests. Forests? What are they looking for there? Terrorist squirrels? Bomb-making Bambis? Or could it be that they are watching for those tree-hugging eco-terrorists which the FBI would have you believe are the biggest threat to America today.

It seems to me that if Homeland Security really wanted to make this country safer they would install their security cameras in the White House and keep a closer eye on this administration. After all if they aren't doing anything wrong it shouldn't bother them.

Yeah, yeah, so the republicunts say that Cheney's Got A Gun jokes are SOOOO over, BUT:

Special thanks to Suzanne for the graphic!

Sunday, February 19

DU in England?

Times Online: RADIATION detectors in Britain recorded a fourfold increase in uranium levels in the atmosphere after the “shock and awe” bombing campaign against Iraq, according to a report.

The article says that some speculate that DU from Iraq made its way via the wind all the way to Britain. The detectors noted a significant rise in uranium levels during the bombing campaign in March 2003.

I'm not sure I buy the above theory, but I'm not a radioactive specialist like some of our readers. hint hint.

Almost missed it


Longtime commenter bud AnnaMissed sent me this info a while back, but as we all know, I've been more than remiss in my online duties.

At any rate, if you're up Seattle way, he has this incredible exhibit going on until the 25th of his poignant, topical-at-the-point-of-a-spear work (beautiful stuff, and very true) at the Linda Hodges gallery.

The work pictured here is "untitled" --- but I know I've come up with a few good words for it... any contributions?

Update: When I posted this originally, I brain-farted the links. As y'all can see, they're here now. Early-onset Alzheimer's?

My Bags Are Packed---I'm Ready To Go

I swear, to hear ppl tell it, nobody ever just went in for surgery without dying or wishing they would die. There always seems to be a competition about who had the most intolerable level of pain, who had the the meanest doctor, and , of course, who had the most cruel, heartless, and unfeeling nurses. To hear these post-op tales would led one to believe that if a person retired as a torturer in a Turkish prison, or just got bored being one, they would get hired on as a nurse. That they would play the fiddle and dance a jig while the doctor yanked your eyeballs out and then stiched ya up with bailing wire (if your lucky, cuz they would prefer to let ya bleed to death).

I have spent my entire adult life in mortal dread of being "put under" in surgery. So firmly I am convinced of the treachery that now that I find myself in need of these services, I am......well, I am in a state, is all I can tell ya.

I'm leaving today for Mayo Clinic. I've been up since three a.m., baking about eight thousand of my famous chocolate-chip cookies........enough for the nurses who will actually be attending my surgery as well as all the nurses on the floor for every shift that day I arrive. I'm taking no chances with any of them. I'll arrive on the scene bearing gifts------and edible ones at that.

It doesn't hurt that I am what is known as a good patient. I do what the doctors say. I don't complain. I don't whine. I always thank everybody for everything they do for me, and I don't ask them to do stuff I can easily do myself. Yes, they are paid to take care of you, they are not, howerver, paid to take shit from you. And they are not maids. Nurses are people, for crying out loud, and they are people who have a direct effect on the quality of your hospital experience, therefore, it behooves you, as a patient (read: helpless, at their mercy) to be nice to these people. I have often marveled at the sheer, stupid bravado of sick people with balls enough to treat their caregivers like crap. What are they thinking? It's the same with ppl who are rude to waiters and waitresses. Yes, they will spit in your food and they should. Everybody within a six-table distance of you would love to come spit in your food, you asshole.....they're doing it for the team.

Moral: Be nice to people who are doing something for you, whether it's bringing drugs and bedpans or drinks and fries.


I want to thank all of you for your warm and best wishes. Y'all are the best, and I'll miss ya somethin fierce.

Oh, and for good measure, I'll be wearing my best tiara, and spurs, during the whole ordeal. Just in case they don't know, by gawd, I'm somebody, dadgumit!