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Wednesday, May 31

What People Believe - By Charley Reese

"The trick is to remember to make the distinction between America in the abstract and America in reality. The America in the abstract is made up of all our experiences, memories, stories, legends and myths. The America in reality consists of what exists right at this moment. And what exists right at this moment is a corrupt federal government with a foolish man in the White House"

PASS THIS AROUND

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13410.htm

How Bad Does It Have To Get...

...Before They Call It A Civil War?

It's not just Baghdad. It's all over Iraq:

"Iraq's new prime minister declared a state of emergency Wednesday in the southern city of Basra...

"A car bomb in the northern city of Mosul, meanwhile, killed five policemen...

"In Baghdad, gunmen killed a Shiite muazzin, the man who calls for the five daily prayers...

"Jamal Kadhim Hassoun al-Zamili, a former governor of Diwaniyah, 180 miles south of Baghdad, was killed in a drive-by shooting...

"...a bomb hidden in an air conditioner exploded in the mayor's office in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad...

Complete article at Forbes.com.


(Side note to buttfuckboy: A while back, you said, "Bring 'em on".
They did.
Any more advice?)

Go Kansas!

Ex-Kansas GOP chair switches affiliation

TOPEKA, Kan. - The former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party jumped ship in a big way Tuesday, switching his affiliation to Democrat amid speculation that he would become Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' running mate.

Johnson County Elections Commissioner Brian Newby confirmed that Mark Parkinson, the state GOP chairman from 1999 to 2003, came to the office and switched his party affiliation shortly before noon.

...

Republican House Speaker Doug Mays said he was disgusted by Parkinson's lack of loyalty to the party that made him chairman, but he isn't surprised by the rift.

The Republican Party, which has dominated Kansas politics since statehood, has shifted to the right in recent years and it inevitably will shift back to the left, he said. Instead of defecting to challenge one another, though, Republicans need to find common ground, he said.( read on)

Who Are The Real Abortionists?

In this article, The Natural Family Planning Abortion, at Talk To Action, I learned that the "pro-life" position on birth control is that the godly way to prevent pregnancy, if you're married, is only to use Natural Family Planning (NFP) which was once called the "rhythm method". That means that you should avoid genital contact during a woman's fertile period around day 14 of the menstrual cycle. (Research confirms however that ovulation can take place at any time during the monthly cycle. The 14th day thing is out.) The official "pro-life" position against birth control pills, which raise the levels of progesterone, is that if the "tiny baby" (blastocyst) fails to implant in a hostile uterine lining (which is caused by raised levels of progesterone), the "tiny baby" will die. Thus birth control pills, in their opinion, produce chemical abortions.

But what about a female's natural progesterone? Breast feeding raises the level of progesterone in a woman's body (which causes "tiny babies" to die) so generally a woman does not get pregnant during this time. Religionists have no problem with using breast feeding as a natural way to space babies however it works the same way as the Plan B pill. "Pro-life" proponents ought to take into consideration then that breast feeding is also a chemical abortion. No?

What should be even more alarming to "Pro-lifers" is that new research also condemns the rhythm method as a killer of embryos. Using a condom or having an abortion causes LESS embryonic death world wide than using the rythm method!
As many as 50% of conceptions may not survive long enough even to disrupt menstruation, Bovens says. It is reasonable to assume then, he adds, that embryos created from sperm that has been sitting for days within the female's reproductive tract before ovulation may be disadvantaged.

The situation is similar, he suggests, for eggs that have been waiting around for sperm to arrive. These are the only two likely scenarios where fertilisation might occur using the rhythm method, he points out.

These embryos may then face a less-than-ideal uterine lining, he points out, since the uterus is not as receptive outside of the most fertile period.

Bovens calculates that, if the rhythm method is 90% effective, and if conceptions outside the fertile period are about twice as likely to fail as to survive, then “millions of rhythm method cycles per year globally depend for their success on massive embryonic death”.
...

If you’re concerned about embryonic death,” Bovens says, “you’ve got to be consistent here and give up the rhythm method.”

...

[Roger Gosden, at the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility in New York, US] recalls that at least one study found that Roman Catholics had higher rates of miscarriage, presumably, he says, due to aged gametes. "Actually confirming this is not easy, though," he admits.
uh oh, anyway.

In The Natural Family Planning Abortion article, this book, Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance by John M. Riddle who researched ancient birth control methods that were passed down from generation to generation of women discovered that the Catholic church in the 1200's offered instructions to the poor for "preventing pregnancy and provoking the menses - an eternal euphemism for abortion." Oh my.

The "pro-life" religionists ought to wake up and smell the science if they are so concerned about the killing of millions of "tiny babies" who meet up with a hostile uterine lining. It might behoove them to try to convince fellow religionists to completely avoid sexual contact with their spouses unless they are trying to conceive and to absolutely avoid sex during breast feeding as it works the same way as birth control pills.

a single incident

Something happened today. It would be easier to say that something happened in the American psyche and perhaps today, after Memorial Day, that we have lost our tolerance for our latest foreign excursion. We may now understand that we haven't been told the whole story. Now and for quite sometime.

But, that is impossible to know and improbable to believe. But something happened closer to home.

My father, with whom I have had terrible fights, philosophically and physically, called me tonight, near tears.

He was calling to ask my opinion about Haditha. He wanted to know if I thought that Marines had murdered innocent non-combatants.

I told him that yes, it appears that Marines did just that.

He said, "like My Lai?"

I said well, one thing is usually not like another. I don't think we should compare or wonder if one murderous rage is worse than another. But, yes, it appeared that young men, under- trained at best and laboring at a task for which they were not trained at worst, have murdered children.

My father said, "I was a soldier once. We were trained to fight the enemy, not children! The U.S. does so much good, but a single incident can undo all of that."

My father had served in the Texas National Guard in the Forty-ninth Armored Division and was activated U.S. Army by President Kennedy during the Berlin Wall crisis. He served in the Thirty-sixth Division from 1961-62 and during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He did not see combat, however, he identifies strongly with military troops.

"Everything is all messed up." he said.

Indeed. American troops are acting now as police officers. The young Marine Lance Corporal Roel Ryan Briones who was ordered to clean up and photograph one site of dead civilians was essentially told to clean up a crime scene. He told his mother, in one of the most dreadful accounts told in this war, that he picked up the body of a child and the child's brains fell out on to his boots. He may have post traumatic stress disorder. It may take him years to recover.

My father and I talked about the lack of training, the lack of discipline, how a killing machine, the U.S. Army, is being used as essentially police officers, not a fighting brigade to kill the enemy and secure real estate. They are not driving an opposing force out of Iraq. They are young and scattered. There are not enough troops there and they have done too many tours.

What we did not talk about was my father's military training that made it difficult for him to adjust to civilian life. What we did not talk about was his rage which was often directed at me as a child. We never talk about how he was abandoned as a child, left literally to die in an empty house while his father took up with a new wife. As a child, I had terrible allergies, I sneezed and got a handful of mucus. He beat me. I gasped in fear when he made a wrong turn on a highway under construction. He screamed at me for hours for gasping aloud. I had forgotten all that, or thought that it was in the past. That I was grown and he would react to me as an adult.

He beat me when I was 27 years old because I told him that he embarrassed me in front of a college friend. We were watching the news on New Years Eve and he screamed at me that I didn't know what I was talking about with my disapproval of the U.S. invasion of Panama.

I had post traumatic stress disorder for years.

All it takes is a single incident to set a person back, to throw them off track.

I don't blame the U.S. Army for my father's rage. He got that from his childhood. He didn't know that he had problems. Mental illness was what his brother, who was born at home, with hydrocephalus and later schizophrenia, had. Not my father. He never knew that there was something that could be done about his anger and violence.

When I called him after he beat me that last time, I asked him why he had battered me and that he needed help. He said sobbing again and again, "There is nothing wrong with me."

Tuesday, May 30

How Unamerican

MANCHESTER, NH – Members of Veterans for Peace yesterday were pulled out of the Memorial Day parade in Manchester and threatened with arrest for refusing to march without banners identifying themselves.

ALBANY, NY - Veterans call for peace on Memorial Day

FRANKFORT, MI - Veterans for Peace push their message

MADISON, WI - For the Madison chapter of Veterans for Peace, Memorial Day is an opportunity to promote peace and also unite against a war they feel has cost thousands of innocent lives.

SAN DIEGO, CA - Members of San Diego Veterans for Peace spent more than four hours painstakingly placing 2,468 small white crosses, Stars of David and crescents in long, neat rows in a corner of Fallbrook's Live Oak Park.

FORT WAYNE, IN - “Eyes Wide Open: The Cost of Human War” exhibit lands in Indiana.

DULUTH, MN - Some people think that Memorial Day shouldn't be politicized. Many others think it should.

CATONSVILLE, MD - Veterans for Peace marked the 38th anniversary of the Catonsville Nine protest with a May 17 march along Frederick Road.

AUSTIN, TX - Protesters Rally For Peace

SANTA BARBARA, CA - Twenty-four thousand crosses in the sand at West Beach made up "Arlington West." Each cross represented an American soldier who died during the war in Iraq.

ORANGE COUNTY, CA - Thirty-five seniors, ranging in age from 60 to 90, stood in the sun on Seal Beach Boulevard for two hours Saturday to make their displeasure known.

-------
Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War- As Many As 250,000

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed In Bush's War?- 2464

The War in Iraq Costs $284,158,553,915

avoid watching bush on television

That Look -- It's Catching!
Emotions, Like Germs, Are Easily Transmissible. The Trick Is Passing and Receiving the Right Ones

Excerpt:
"In a study at Uppsala University in Sweden, researchers exposed people to pictures of happy or angry faces for 30 milliseconds, immediately followed by neutral faces. Even though the participants didn't realize they'd just looked at a happy or angry face, they responded with distinct facial muscle reactions of their own that corresponded to the emotion they'd just seen.

"Those incremental muscle movements then trigger the actual feeling by causing the same neurons to fire in the brain as if you were experiencing the emotion naturally, according to Hatfield..."

Read the whole thing, it's a good article.


A Blonde Fish Outta Water

This "northeastern", "liberal", "intellectual", "metropolitan", "elitist", cum very amateur astronomer ventured 7 hours inland (north-central Pennsylvania) over the weekend to gaze at a dark sky rarely seen (unless there is a power grid failure) by those of us who are constantly blinded by the bright lights of the big apple.

We are not too elite to drive westward or southward because we think that certain states are meant to be "flown over"... it's just that it is a royal pain in the ass to get out of here by car. So don't take it personally that we don't visit more. I've often said that if gawd forbid we ever HAD to evacuate to the mainland via the bridges and tunnels, they might as well pass out cyanide pills.

You really have to want to or really need to get out of this eclectic mind trip that is the New York City metropolitan area for the rising blood pressure experience on the Cross Bronx Expressway to the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River, to head west, or the nightmare that is the Verrazano Bridge through the parking lot that is the Staten Island Expressway to yet another water crossing, in order to head south.

It's really much easier to travel north towards New England, that bastion of heathen liberalism and homosexuality, by car, where the highways are plentiful in all directions, than it is to hop on Route 80 traveling westward ho or Rt 95 heading south. It's easier to endure JFK airport than to drive to the mainland. (I could have driven to Portland, Maine (one 1 tank of gas) in holiday traffic faster than I drove to the Susquehanna State Forest to see the Milky Way.)

And just when you think you are on your happy way heading west through the less populated areas of western New Jersey at 70 MPH, there comes the great traffic snarl that is the gateway to Pennsylvania- the very narrow crossing of the Delaware Water Gap, which rivals the George Washington Bridge for extreme right leg fatigue (gas, break, gas, break, gas, break....) and aggravation, although the terrain is much prettier. Oh goodie, we made it to Pennsylvania. Now we can cruise the rest of the way... Au contraire, city slicker, you've entered the Poconos vacation area. You must slow down to a grinding halt once again for what seems like 100 miles, but it probably is only 20 miles or so yet seems an eternity.

Uh oh, looking at the map, it appeared that our destination would eventually take us off the major highway and through the winding mountain roads. Oh man, we are never going to get there. This really sucks.... but au contraire once again.... this was the best part of the trip. All the towns and villages with no obvious corporate sponsorship awaited us, as we wound our way, up and down from town to glorious Americana town. Main St. USA, where no one was in a rush to do much of anything on Memorial Day weekend, where the mom and pop shops closed early or shut down for the day, because after all, it was a holiday weekend, ya gotta go to a cookout or something to commemorate all those who fought for our freedom from fascism, and there were no corporate headquarters dictating that they must stay open 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. People just learn to deal.

I remember this! This is the way life was when I was a kid on Long Island... long before we ever heard of McDonalds, 7-11's, The Gap and chain restaurants. They don't have traffic lights on every single corner either. There's an occasional stop sign though. Oh my gawd, there are spaces between the towns! I remember that. They don't have 15 gas stations per town with required corporate convenience stores operated by non English speaking persons who cannot give directions and don't care or even have an idea of where they are on earth. I remember that too. Look at the pretty houses. Why, they are all different from each other. I almost forgot that I grew up in a neighborhood like that, (but you wouldn't recognize it as such today because they crammed cookie cutter houses, Blockbusters and strip malls in all the spaces.)

And oh yeah, this whole trip was to go star watching like I've never done before. You stay out under the stars all night long and then sleep during the day. (They could shoot a Red Bull commercial at a star party.) I felt like I was in the Hayden Planetarium. Oh, that's why the people who wrote Genesis described the night sky as a black dome with pin dot holes. We arrived with the car loaded to the gills with technological astronomy equipment, but I couldn't stop looking upward with my bare eyes drinking it all in. A Long Islander could barely find the usual guide stars and the constellations amid the billions of visible stars at Cherry Springs State Park- stars and galaxies that we can only see via telescope armed with GPS at home. Silly me, the Milky Way is the "clouds" we saw during the power grid failure a few years ago. Isn't it beautiful. I just have to lay on the top of the car and look at it an hour longer. Ok, let's look through the telescope at all the nebulae now. Ahhhhh.

Monday, May 29

prayer and pardon

Now that we know that Ken Lay is a good Christian and that the jury prayed to reach a verdict, will someone have the sense to stop reporting this and start reporting on the real story of the year, Lay and Bush?

One would have thought that the trial was about God's swift sword of Justice. I wonder if the jury's very public dependency on prayer and evidence as opposed to evidence alone is a basis for appeal? It is well known that if a jury employs the Good Book during deliberations, they have created grounds for a mistrial or appeal. It will be difficult for Lay's appellate team to employ religion as the basis for a new trial since Lay so quickly evoked that God is Good and the trial and the verdict was in His hands. All along I thought it had something to do with man's law and not God's law. If it was the later and not the former, would stockholders get to cast the first stone?

Why is it when someone is found innocent it is by the grace of God but when found guilty, it isn't God's fault? How could God hate Ken Lay so much? How could anyone think that years in a minimum security federal prison means that they are blessed?

Ken Lay was the biggest contributor to the Bush/Cheney White House bid and of course loaned his friends the corporate jet to bring the Good News--we are going to be richer and you're not--to the rest of America. Bush would not get involved in Enron's screwing of California and the subsequent end of Pete Wilson (remember him?). Bush even contacted Tom Ridge, yes him, the once head of Homeland Security (sounds just like an insurance company, there with their hand out until you need them) and Governor of Pennsylvania to open that fair state to Enron.

Lay met Cheney at the White House to develop the nation's energy policy. Not that you can review the documents surrounding that policy because the Supreme Court said you can't. Cheney and his fellow duck hunter, no not that lawyer fella from Texas but Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, didn't think we had a right to view those documents.

People in Houston talk chat radio have said some strange things. First in the parade of oddities is the notion that no one in Houston could be Ken Lay's peer. How could Kenny Boy get a fair trial by a jury of his peers ( to use the misleading cliche) when no one but 12 accountants could possibly understand spread sheets?

The government didn't base its case on accounting. It based it on law. Fraud is fraud. Accounting may be evidence of fraud, but usually the smoking gun isn't in a memo on a ledger. It is in the testimony of witnesses and in this case the strained credulity of Lay and his co-conspirator Jeff Skilling. The jury believed that they were lied to when the "boys" as one commentator called them, said they didn't know what was going on. It was someone else's fault. But the articles of incorporation and the stockholders charge Lay and Skilling with knowing what is happening. Trial analyst stated that the government's success was due in part to its lack of focus on accounting and its devotion to law.

The other weird statement was that Bush would have to be a fool to pardon Lay. Why wouldn't he? The pardon power is what wonky political science types call "an absolute power." There are no institutional checks and balances on it and their aren't any public opinion checks, either. Clinton made some well publicized pardons, but so did Reagan and Bush I, and of course Ford. Who did pay a heavy price for his pardon of Nixon.

Bush is leaving the White House and returning to business. Would it hurt his brother Jebby's chances? I don't think that it would. After all, Neil Bush didn't hurt either one of his brother's political ambitions. Would it hurt the Republican Party? Why? They expect payoff for their investments. They can only hurt themselves. Lay is Bush's friend. Didn't Lay expect something in exchange for those campaign contributions? If there is a quid pro quo relationship--campaign money in exchange for a rainy day--then that would indeed make an interesting story. One that won't be found at the Federal Election Commission's finance reports filed by Lay and Bush.

Would a pardon be the Christian thing to do? That hasn't swayed Bush before now. He wouldn't pardon Karla Faye Tucker who found God after she went to death row in Texas for leaving a pick axe in her victim's head. But then again, Bush wasn't friends with Karla Faye and Ken Lay didn't kill anyone.

Sunday, May 28

we know Harry S Truman & George W. Bush, you are no Harry S Truman

Bush compared himself and his "war on terror" at yesterday's West Point graduation to Harry S Truman and his Cold War.

Can we get a grip on this? Just saying it doesn't make it so.

Some scholars suggest that Truman followed then Senator Arthur Vandenburg's suggestion that Truman had to "scare the hell out of the American people" if he wanted to get funding from Congress to fix elections in Greece and Turkey to insure that governments would be established there that were friendly to the United States and not the Soviet Union. Where the Red Army occupied, governments friendly to Moscow were in control. Where the American forces occupied, governments friendly to Washington were in place. Truman and then Prime Minister Winston Churchill went to Missouri and Churchill delivered the Iron Curtain speech saying that the specter of Soviet Communism was descending like an Iron Curtain across Europe.

Which would be a neat trick because the Soviet Union had lost at least 20 million people to the war and most of its industrial bases. But never mind, we were on a tear. We had The Bomb and we knew how to use it.

Truman too thought that he was a war president. He attempted to control the steal industry and the Supreme Court reminded him that he could not because he was not running a declared war.

Bush thinks that he too is a war president. He too does not have a declared war. The Supreme Court has told him that he cannot hold combatants without charges and without providing them access to attorneys. Truman believed that the Supreme Court had the final word. Even though he said that when a president puts a friend on the Supreme Court, the president has lost a friend. Truman did not attempt to expand the reach of the American Presidency--certainly no further than atomic weapons pushed it. He stopped his efforts to run the steal industries. Bush has ignored the Court. Their rulings are mere suggestions to Bush.

Truman believed the buck stopped with him. Bush made a truly strange concession speech late at night, late last week with Prime Minister Tony Blair. He admitted he made mistakes, thought their had been WMDs, shouldn't have said, "Bring it on." As Truman would say of Richard Nixon, even when Nixon didn't have to lie "he did just to keep his hand in." Would he say that of Bush? Even the apology seemed to be a lie because Bush didn't apologize for anything substantive. Apologizing for thinking their were WMDs when he knew that there weren't isn't much of an apology. He didn't apologize for lying.

When Mrs. Roosevelt called Truman who had been presiding over the Senate to the White House, Truman didn't say I will be right there after I finish my drink with Speaker Sam Rayburn. He walked to the White House not knowing he was now the president of these United States. He didn't wait or hesitate or as Bush stayed on task in a school room in Florida as the country was under attack. He didn't know why Mrs. Roosevelt called, but he went because duty called.

Truman made the decision to use atomic weapons against Japan. Will Bush draw on the Truman example if he decides to use nuclear weapons in Iran? Will Bush then travel to Iran to survey the implications of his decision as Truman went to Japan?

Truman, a Southern Baptist, was thrown out of his church for his insistence the Army be integrated. He laughed it off. Bush doesn't laugh at the religious conservative's far out plans, he implements their desires. Truman didn't speak to anyone in code. Bush speaks to the religious right in their coded language promising them all they want in exchange for their votes for tax breaks and welfare for the wealthy while the religious right can't qualify for those tax breaks.

Truman never "swift boated" any veteran. Or cut their benefits. And he certainly never said the job of the president is hard. He never justified his actions by saying he was the decider.

Saturday, May 27

Fred Rogers

I just had to share this post. It's from Bob Cesca over at Huffpo.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-cesca/a-break-from-cynicism-mr_b_21668.html

It's a clip from a 1969 senate hearing regarding PBS funding.

I sure do hope we will be seeing another "Mr. Rogers" real soon.

In the meantime, I hope parents of young kids today are showing his re-runs. My kids are older now, but once in a while I still throw in a Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood tape in the VCR; just to hear his voice. He sure has a way of making everything OK.

For The Young'ens Looking For a Summer Job

Every now and then, I like to share some solid, sensible advice with young people who are thinking about getting a summer job. This is important because----and I'm sure we all agree---today's young people are tomorrow's old people and our nation's greatest natural resource. Well, along with that cool striped ketchup.

Having had a few summer jobs in my own teenhood, allow me to explain, my young friends, how to dress for a summer job interview.

For starters, you will want to avoid wearing any T-shirt that appears to be stained, torn, faded, or reads Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder.

While this is admittedly hilarious, it is doubtful that your prospective employer will get the joke. Most prospective employers pride themselves on being serious types, who will remind you that they are not paying you to be funny.

Young people, aside from dressing sensibly, you should also take great pains to check your vocabulary, avoiding the popular job applicant pitfall of lapsing into teenage slang. This slang will only confuse/scare your potential employer. Here is an example:

CORRECT: "I want to become a valued member of the Widgetville team!"

INCORRECT: "That weird machinery sound coming from over there is harshing my mellow, playa."

Now seems a good time to mention that you should always remember that, no matter what summer job you end up with, the customer is always right. No, really, I'm serious. The customer can basically treat you any way he or she wants and you must remain courteous and helpful. As in: "May I please show you the way to the exit door, you rotting corn pad of a human being?"

Once you are secure in your new job, my young friends, you must avoid the temptation to engage in what is commonly known as "white collar crime." This dastardly practice occurs when workers take home office supplies, etc, rationalizing that no one will miss packs of pens or notepads or the random laptop or three that can be sold on eBay.

I understand the tempation. Let's just say that during a brief period in the early 1970s, customers at a certain seafood restaurant never really got the forty-shrimp "barge" as ordered because five to ten of those suckers would mysteriously topple off the barge and into my mouth. Then again, what kind of a lard-ass orders anything called a barge? Talk about a cry for help.

Finally, don't ever talk back to your boss if you expect to keep your summer job.

CORRECT: "I'm sorry I was late, sir. In the future, I will check the schedule for possible last-minute changes!"
INCORRECT: "Yeah, right. Next time, I'll be sure to look in the sky for the frikkin' bat signal to tell me you buttholes have changed my shift again."

I don't want to limit my helpful advice to teenagers, of course. Let's see what we can do to help those unemployed dot-com'ers out there circling the want ads at their mommy's kitchen table and wonderin why they ever bought that silly Mercedes Benz SUV (Billy Bob meets the snooty Grey Poupon dude, what is that?)

I don't wish unemployment on anyone, except perhaps Chimp Boy and Congress, so now seems a good time for some resume-polishing advice.

A lot of downsized techno types like to post their resumes on the Internet where they can be assured that it will not be ignored by dozens of human resources managers but rather will be ignored by many thousands of human resources managers across this great land of ours.

The truth is, nobody gets a Real Job unless they know somebody. It has never happend in the history of jobgettingdom. Just ask Melissa Rivers. It's just like the experts say, location, location, location. No, wrong, experts. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Like if you know someone who has photos of the boss doing the nasty with the chick who changes the toner in the copying machine once a month, your job future is rosy indeed.

If blackmail is repulsive to you, take the high road and get a job the old-fashioned way: Stalking. Try to make friends with somebody who works high up in the company where you're looking. Hang out at the gym where they work out, manage to dine one table over at their favorite restaurant, shop in the same stores.

After a few weeks of this, you will either (1) have made small talk and a new friend who is dazzled by your knowledge and experience or (2) have Mr. Restraining Order filed against you.

One final note of caution: On the off chance that somebody acturally does slip up and call you to come in for an interview, your telephone answering machine message should always be crisp and professional.
WRONG: "I'm just a love machine, ooooh baby, I'm just a love machine, and I won't work for nobody but you, oooh, baby....."
ALSO WRONG: "Hi, you've reached Mike and Mary's answering machine. We are currently screening our calls because you people make us sick!"
WRONGEST OF ALL: "(Sound of heavily congested toddler mouthbreathing into the phone for several seconds, then) "Mommy and Daddy not home. Please moofully moofala." (sound of phone crashing to floor and loud wailing) Beeeep.

Headline of the Day:

Treasury’s Snow seen ready to resign

You 'spose the Dark Wraith (which is where I first heard about this), is gonna put in for the job?

Who better than The Wraith to be the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse?

And FWIW, here's a partial list of rats who have deserted the sinking shi... uh, er, those folks who have decided to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Actually, there's some good folks on that list who probably value their mental health more than how they make a living.

Friday, May 26

God's Weed

"No Association At All...Even A Suggestion Of Some Protective Effect" Between Heavy Smoking Of Marijuana And Cancer...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/05/26/no-association-at-all_n_21654.html

Most excellent comment thread going on over at huffpo now:
" I believe this calls for a joint session of Congress." You've gotta check it out...


Party on Garth!

The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille

Memorial Day Weekend – summer has begun! Wishing you all a safe and memorable long weekend. I’ll be taking the kids to a ceremony at the local Iwo Jima Memorial. Then we have the parade. Don’t you just love a parade! Nothing like a LOUD marching band. The fife and drums, the fire engines, the Shriners circling around in their little go-carts. For me, it’s quite the emotional experience.

THEN…my favorite part of the weekend – taking that ‘good book’ and my sand chair to the beach.

Oh so many good books on my must read list – too many choices – I’m on overload lately and can’t make a decision to save my life. I really don’t have the extra $ this week to buy one (I’m a book snob - only read hard covers) so off to the library. I just HAD to get one of my all time favorites-- The Gold Coast. DeMille’s character Mr. John Sutter is, well….he just DOES ME IN! He is the master snark! DeMille’s story is “Compellingly told with its relentless sense of impending tragedy, yet with an underlying gift for irrepressible, redeeming humor….”(cover)

I had been thinking back to when I first read the book. There was something Mr. Sutter had said about his wealthy “Gold Coast” mother when he compared her to his own son Edward. I just had to check it out again. Sometimes you miss something the first time around, maybe it’s the mood you were in at the time, or maybe you just have a different perspective on life years later.

I thumbed through and found the words he wrote. John and wife Susan (remember Lady Stanhope and her naked horseback rides!) were at a Southhampton club for dinner with their children Edward and Carolyn and John’s ‘aristocrat’ parents. He’s about ready to disown them:

…..and so we passed the time, my parents not inquiring after Susan’s parents or any of her family. They also did not ask about anyone. And while they were at it, they made a special point of not asking Carolyn or Edward about school. THERE ARE CERTAIN TYPES OF PERSONS, as I have discovered, who have a GREAT LOVE OF HUMANITY, like my parents, but don’t particularly like people……..As I addressed my parents upon leaving, “we have almost nothing in common and never did, so I would like to end these meaningless dinners if it’s all the same to you.” My mother snapped, “What a hateful thing to say,” but my father actually looked saddened and mumbled, “All right.” On the way home Susan asked me, “Will you regret that?” “No.” Carolyn spoke up from the backseat, “Did you mean it?” “Yes.” Edward said, “I kinda feel sorry for them.” EDWARD DOES NOT LOVE ALL OF HUMANITY, BUT HE LIKES PEOPLE, and he feels sorry for everyone. Carolyn feels sorry for no one, Susan doesn’t know what sorrow is, and I…well, sometimes I feel sorry for myself. But I’m working on that.

Have you ever thought about what kind of person you are. Do you love all of humanity but don’t particularly like people? Do you love people, but not all of humanity? I always considered myself a people-person. Lately though, I am disliking a lot of people. I need to work on that. I wonder if it makes a difference if you have a lot of money. Most people in power have a lot of money. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the people in power were the ones with the great love of humanity, and all the ones without a lot of money were the ones who cared for all the people? Do people with a lot of money feel sorry for other people? Is it easier to feel sorry for someone if you don’t have a lot of money?

Well, that’s what is going on in my head this morning.

I can’t wait to sit in that sand chair Sunday.....

Enjoy your weekend.

the story the NY Times sat on before 9/11

"The NSA had been listening in on a conversation between two members of Osama bin Laden's terror network. One was overheard saying to the other, "Don't worry, we're planning something so big now that the U.S. will have to respond."

......

Ultimately one can't help but wonder - if only… If only the Times had put something, anything, in the paper about the threat of an impending Al Qaeda attack "so big now that the U.S. will have to respond," perhaps the attack might have been averted. Or perhaps the people in the second World Trade Center tower would have known that the first plane to hit was a terrorist attack, and evacuated the building, saving hundreds of lives. Passengers on the hijacked planes that hit the WTC and the Pentagon might have reacted like those on United Flight 93." Rory O'Connor, AlterNet
Judith Miller didn't have all the details except that the NSA heard something big was going to happen. She said she "tried" to find out more and would have written something for the paper, but ya know, she was also trying to write a book at the time. Sooooo.... the rest is history.

bush says Abu Ghraib was biggest mistake


You don't even need to read what went on at the press conference last night if you look at the faces on the world leaders who fucked up the world.

Bush admitted a couple of mistakes. But not the mistake of invading and occupying Iraq to begin with. He blamed Abu Ghraib on ... well here's the quote:

Q: Mr. President, you spoke about missteps and mistakes in Iraq. Could I ask both of you which missteps and mistakes of your own you most regret?

PRESIDENT BUSH: It sounds like kind of a familiar refrain here. Saying "Bring it on." Kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. That I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner. You know, "Wanted dead or alive," that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted. And so I learned -- I learned from that.

And, you know, I think the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq, is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time. And it's -- unlike Iraq, however, under Saddam, the people who committed those acts were brought to justice; they've been given a fair trial and tried and convicted.

The whole transcript is here

Thursday, May 25

Load and listen

"Ann Coulter's Snatch," by Hamel On Trial, is the funniest (and most true) shit that I've heard this year.

Big props to Miriam for the info.

Kenny Boy Lay:

"I firmly believe I'm innocent of the charges against me. We believe that God in fact is in control and indeed he does work all things for good for those who love the lord." (more)

Happy Birthday, Texas Jaye



Hope you have a great one (if the world doesn't end today).

Now let's all sing a rousing chorus. Those of you with bad singing voices, please just raise your glasses in toast.

Power Outage Snarls Northeast Rail Service

"It's getting pretty hot in here, and the bathroom is getting backed up," he said.

Sorry...I don't know much more than that -- check out the AP reporting - see if you can figure out what happened


Maybe that comet is coming.... (good - I don't feel like watering today)

Might explain my major migraine -- I must be feeling the earth groans - PoLT??

Wait -- am I hallucinating -- I think our local preacher is knocking on my door.....maybe he's coming to have a chat with me about this secret FEMA plan.
I don't think I'm going to answer the door. --

I just came back from a visit with the Dark One -- he has an interesting graphic up today. Time for a nap.....

I hope you all will be here when I wake up
TTFN

UPDATE: 11:01 -- Another AP story on the Rail situation: (can't sleep)
"Thursday's outage was "shaping up as one of the worst ever."

"It's a kind of eerie, end-of-the-world feel," said Piasecki, who boarded the train in Trenton. "You have these two trains sitting here dead, not moving. You can't see any cars or anything else moving."

OMG what these poor, poor people must have had to endure!! -- WALKING A WHOLE MILE! OMFG! UFB!

PLEASE.....someone.... just put me out right now -- anybody got a golf club?

Am I succumbing to the arrogance of age, or, the feeblemindedness of old fartery?

That's the question I asked of a fellow blogger/musician after reading Joe Cannon's latest post entitled "Your-mission-find-this-video-update" wherein Joe says, "I always felt the Jesus-shtupped-the-Magdalene meme originated not with the Da Vinci Code, not with Holy Blood, Holy Grail, but with Ian Gillan's performance on the original (Jesus Christ) Superstar recording." "Jesus Christ Superstar" premiered at the West End in 1972. Controversial? I'd have to say not as much then as now. Maybe back then it was considered "frivolous".

What kinda bugged me was the realization that sometimes I assume too much; that I expect others to be as aware of recent history as me, who has lived through much of what others can only read about in history books--if it's to be read at all, and not suppressed. I just kind of figured everybody already knew it was a controversy. I apologize for that.

Anyhow, here's the lyrics to "Mary's Song":

I don't know how to love him.
What to do, how to move him.
I've been changed, yes really changed.
In these past few days, when I've seen myself,
I seem like someone else.
I don't know how to take this.
I don't see why he moves me.
He's a man. He's just a man.
And I've had so many men before,
In very many ways,
He's just one more.
Should I bring him down?
Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of love,
Let my feelings out?
I never thought I'd come to this.
What's it all about?
Don't you think it's rather funny,
I should be in this position.
I'm the one who's always been
So calm, so cool, no lover's fool,
Running every show.
He scares me so.
I never thought I'd come to this.
What's it all about?
Yet, if he said he loved me,
I'd be lost. I'd be frightened.
I couldn't cope, just couldn't cope.
I'd turn my head. I'd back away.
I wouldn't want to know.
He scares me so.
I want him so.
I love him so.

Strange News

"Typical looking grandmother" is accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of yarn in Woodstock, Georgia. She even took a silk skein worth almost $40!

Two elderly women in Los Angeles would take out life insurance policies on homeless men... and then run them over with their car.

GEE WIZ!

"Hey, you! Yeah, you! Having a few drinks? Then, listen up! Think you've had one too many? Maybe it's time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home. It's sure safer and a hell of a lot cheaper than a DWI! Make the smart choice tonight. Don't drink and drive!"
No, you're not hallucinating. God didn't speak to you from the urinal.

That's the talking message that wizzing men will hear from the urinals in 100 drinking establishments in Nassau County, NY. I'm so proud of my county. We're so progressive in fighting DWI.

"The Wizmark replaces the plastic apparatus that holds a sanitizing soap puck at the base of a urinal. The Wizmark's built-in battery and microchip releases a recording that lasts through 10,000 flushes, although guys with spotty potty habits will learn that the Wizmark's motion-sensitive device doesn't require a flush to begin operating."

I can't wait to see the faces of guys coming out of men's rooms this summer. No, I can't wait to see how many guys run out of the rest rooms with wet pants.

Humans Will Be Next On The List

Uh, only those humans which are unfit for breeding that is. They'll probably screw the program up though. Where's Adolph now that we really need him?

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island could become the first state to require cat owners to spay or neuter their pets under legislation passed Wednesday by the General Assembly.
The measure would require pets older than 6 months to be spayed or neutered unless owners pay $100 for a breeder's license or special permit. Violators would be fined $75 a month.


Full story at The Associated Press.

Wednesday, May 24

Afghans' uranium levels spark alert

By Alex Kirby BBC News Online environment correspondent

A small sample of Afghan civilians have shown "astonishing" levels of uranium in their urine, an independent scientist says. Critics suspect new weapons were used in Afghanistan.

He said they had the same symptoms as some veterans of the 1991 Gulf war. But he found no trace of the depleted uranium (DU) some scientists believe is implicated in Gulf War syndrome.

Other researchers suggest new types of radioactive weapons may have been used in Afghanistan.

The scientist is Dr Asaf Durakovic, of the Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), based in Canada. Dr Durakovic, a former US army adviser who is now a professor of medicine, said in 2000 he had found "significant" DU levels in two-thirds of the 17 Gulf veterans he had tested.


Rest of story at the BBC.

Orlando in April

NO, its not the title of a porn movie staring Orlando Bloom

Just keeping up on the Measles outbreaks, ODDLY ENOUGH, there seems to be a small epicenter in FLORIDA, you know, Jeb Bush's backyard.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has become aware of three laboratory-confirmed cases of measles associated with travel to Orlando, Florida in mid-April 2006. One case is in a 41 year old Allegheny County resident, one is an unvaccinated 2 year old from New York State, and one is in an adult international visitor from Venezuela. All three were in Orlando the week of April 16th.

Venezuela...isn't the misadministration angry at them for something? Ah yes, for having heaps more oil than we do, I wonder if Hugo Chavez has all his immunizations. Or maybe its a pre-emptive strike, get them all sick first and then launch the invasion. And then there is Disney; tourist capital of the free world, rife with both non-Amerukans and oodles of children. Why do I say this? Guess who suffers the most from complications of this disease

Complications of measles are more common among children younger than 5 years of age and adults 20 years of age and older.

Let me give you a wee bit of background on this:
CDC and state and local health departments continue to investigate an outbreak
of mumps that began in Iowa in December 2005
(<
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5513a3.htm>) and involved at
least 10 additional states as of May 2, 2006.


Eight confirmed and five probable cases of mumps linked to the Midwest outbreak have been reported in Pennsylvania. Six counties are affected. The eight confirmed cases are on a single college campus in Lancaster County. Two of these are laboratory confirmed. Cases range in age from 18 to 57. Dates of onset are from 2/4/2006 through 5/14/2006.

As a result of increased surveillance for mumps, 65 additional confirmed, probable and suspect cases have been identified. In previous years, most of these cases would probably not have been reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. These cases are not related to the Midwest outbreak, and are not included in the above totals.



So 11 states now, well over 1,000 cases and spreading. WTF? I do realize that vaccines do not always give lifetime immunity and that there was a 'bad batch' of vaccine during the early 70's, but come on now. Can THAT many people in the United States be unvaccinated? Don't you need these to get into public school. (wonder how many patients were homeschooled and missed out on basic medical care?) And what will happen now that vacation season is fast approaching? Does anyone think Disney will be forthcoming if they become a breeding ground for disease? Talk about a hub of humanity, coming and going, constant interactions, physical contact, just consider how many hands have touched the door handle or safety bar of that ride.

Truth IS Stranger than Fiction or Conservatives Are Cracked

And now a word from your Auntie Roo:

Yes indeedy! There's no way I could make shit like this up.

Two goodies from ThinkProgress:

First we have the case of Pat Robertson's amazing " age-defying protein shake". Maybe he does have a special relationship with the Main Man upstairs. His shake sounds like it can work miracles.

In a recent email to get donations for his defense fund, Tom Delay makes an unusual choice in who he uses to prop up his political reasoning.

Too Good to Pass Up

From the Washington Post.

That's Bill "Cat Killer" Frist operating on a gorilla at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Poor gorilla. If it doesn't live, can we then refer to him as Bill "Gorilla Killa" Frist?

Captions, please

Love Thine Enemies. Matthew 5:44

"Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may in indeed see the basic weakness of our own conditon, and if we are mature, we many learn and grow and profit from the the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition."

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Riverside Church, New York City, 1967

And if that's not so, then God's a possum!

Waking up, are we?

New Zogby Poll

75% said they trust government less than they did five years ago
5% said they think corporations do right by the consumers they are in business to serve

25% feel the reporting is fair and accurate in the newspapers or television.
60% said they believe the “state of honesty in America” today is in poor shape
(18% said it is in the worst possible shape).

3% said they think Congress in general is trustworthy
24% said President Bush is trustworthy
29% said they can put their faith in the national court system
7% said corporate leaders in America are trustworthy.

Can You Still Hate Wal-Mart?

It's a shockingly eco-friendly plan from the world's most toxic retailer. Did hell just freeze over?
By Mark Morford

Sometimes you just have to let the possibility breathe.

Sometimes you just have to allow that something grand and good and healthy might actually be born from the bowels of the dank and ravenous megacorporate world, like flowers from a dung heap, like vodka from old potatoes, even if it comes right alongside the nastiest, most abusive federal environmental policy you will see in your lifetime.

Take Wal-Mart, the most famously offensive, town-destroying, junk-purveying, labor-abusing, sweatshop-supporting, American-job-killing, soul-numbing, seizure-inducing, hope-curdling retailer in the known universe (just ask the fine local town of Hercules), moving upward of $300 billion in cheap mass-produced slurm every year via nearly 5,000 landscape-mauling eyesore stores stretching all the way from Texas to China and Argentina and South Korea and Mexico and your backyard, with U.S. stores accounting for fully 8 percent of all retail sales in our entire nation.

There has been, to date, very little good to say about this most voracious and powerful of low-end, trashy retailers, and certainly nothing from anyone even remotely concerned with the health of the planet and of the attuned consumers who inhabit it. Wal-Mart has always been, quite appropriately, the devil. ...

(click here to read the rest)

Can this guy write or what?

Just My Opinion. I Could Be Wrong.

One of the few things that I agree with Laura Bush on, is the fact that a gay marriage ban doesn't need an amendment to the constitution and it will hurt the GOP (not that that is a bad thing). She must be as heterosexual as I am, because straight people simply don't spend time worrying that legalizing gay marriage will ruin straight marriages. As a parent, I would feel much better knowing that if I had a homosexual child, he or she wouldn't feel compelled by society to live a lie or be persecuted for living as nature intended. Our kids will have enough to worry about in the future.

If a marriage is truly between straight people, what is there to worry about? Those who fight vehemently in congress and the senate for the ban on gay marriage must be living a lie in a "straight" marriage or it really wouldn't bother them in the least. Sour grapes. Maybe in some cases, if a politician's base is mostly christianist homophobes, they may be pretending to care. Have you ever met a homophobe who wasn't inherently gay? I haven't. Have you ever met a jealous spouse who wasn't cheating him or herself? Of course not. Your mother was right.

Read First couple splits over constitutional amendment banning gay marriage


UPDATE: Speaking of marriage amendments... in the comments, 100th Monkey, provided a link to an interesting article at boston.com
The article is written in defense of all the nastiness directed at John Kerry and Massachusetts by the Bushistas during the election campaign.

The divorce rate in Massachusetts is the lowest in the country. The states with the lowest divorce rates are not in bush's base: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. How can bush's base explain that commie heathens in Massachusetts value marriage 2:1 over Texans?

The states with the highest divorce rates are in bush's base states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas
------

As an aside, according to Watchdogblog, Massachusetts was also vilified for being "Taxachusetts" by the "values" voters. In fact, "Massachusetts has a combined state and local rate of 5.6%, ranking it the 34th highest out of the 50 states. For comparison: Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Idaho, and New Mexico are among those with higher rates." (NY should be in there too with high tax states)

Hey bushie, I'll give you unsettled. Right here.

Last week bush said his low poll numbers mean that Americans were "unsettled" about the Iraq war. I'm not sure who told him to say that, but they probably convinced him that it was true. I think it's more like "outrage" and "disgust" rather than "unsettled". Bush was probably told to use that word because he doesn't know what it means and it sounds good to him. Fewer and fewer Americans are telling me that we have an all "volunteer" Army so it's not like innocent Americans are being maimed and killed in war. I haven't had to tell too many of my (former) friends and acquaintances that they are war mongers in the past year. I can think of dozens more reasons Americans are "unsettled" as well. Perhaps Americans are also sick of fascist lying con artists posing as our leaders. Fortunately Stephen Colbert ran over the list with him a few weeks ago. (Incidently, Colbert's speech is #1 at iTunes. Yup, it beat the new Chili Pepper's CD)

Dahr Jamail is an American freelance reporter who visits Iraq frequently and reports back on the horrors and reality of war that you won't hear from the MSM. This week, he wants you to know how the invasion and occupation of Iraq has led to the near starvation of almost 25% of Iraq's children. It wasn't bad enough that US sanctions under Bill Clinton in the 90's killed over a half million Iraqi children, we are making sure that the US terrorizes children by arresting them, killing their parents right in front of them and torturing and raping children in Abu Ghraib.

Meanwhile, the Taliban reorganized in Afghanistan and things are heating up there. Afghanis fear that their country is becoming another Iraq. Sadly, it probably is.

I wouldn't describe my feelings for bush as "unsettled", I would describe them as sickened to the point where I could vomit every time I see him, read or hear his words or just listen to bushista propaganda on the news. I could vomit when I read about how our young people are trained to torture and kill others and be maimed and killed in return. And they call us civilized?

Tuesday, May 23

Were Iraq & Afghanistan Just A Warmup Exercise?

Back on September 5, in a post entitled "Carefully Line the Inside of Your Combat Helmet with Tin Foil", I wrote:

"Many people believe that the prospect of an impending attack by the United States on Venezuela is the stuff of conspiracy theory at its craziest, and that is certainly correct. How could a country like the United States, which is now laboring under the pain of dealing with the worst natural disaster in its history, even contemplate engaging in a pre-emptive war, especially considering that it is already being pressed beyond its military limits in a conflict of monumental and vexing proportions against a guerilla insurgency on the other side of the globe?"

That was then. Stephen Lendman now writes at Signs-of-the-Times an article entitled,
New Estimate of Venezuela's Total Oil Reserves Makes It the Grandest of Grand Prizes for US with these quotes:

"...the country may be of far greater strategic importance to the US than we likely realized."

"...the country has greater reserves than Saudi Arabia..."

"...a US Energy Department expert believes Venezuela holds 90% of the world's super-heavy tar oil reserves - an estimated total of 1,360,000,000,000 (1.36 trillion) barrels. Let me repeat that - 1.36trillion barrels."

"Venezuela is likely viewed by any US administration as the world's most important source of future oil supply."

"...US instigated serious trouble is heading toward Venezuela..."


Let's see now, install some troops on the Mexican border, militarize the New Orleans area, predict a bad hurricane season for the Gulf, get somebody to check and see if those naval ships are still floating around in the Gulf of Mexico, and...oh yeah, tell the American people that our troops will be greeted with flowers and candy from the grateful Venezuelans for liberating them from their oi...,er, dictator.


UPDATE: Since posting the above article I came across the following:
New Book Claims China and U.S. Headed for War

The number of dead in the Afghan/Iraq Wars ranges from 100,000 to 250,000 depending on the source. Anybody care to speculate on the number of people that will die if the U.S. goes to war with China?

This is Just Insanity!

The New York Police Department has arrested an 8 year old boy for homicide. An 8 year old boy! The boy is alleged to have boarded a vacant school bus and released the parking brake, after which the bus rolled down a hill and struck a young girl, killing her.

My heart aches for the young girl's parents, but geez, folks, have we completely lost our perspective in our thirst for vengence? Must every stupid mistake be made into a crime? This is a young boy being mischevious, albeit with tragic results, and he has been charged with negligent homicide. There used to be a doctrine in the law that kids below a certain age could not be charged with criminal offenses because they were not mature enough to form the requisite criminal intent. If we are down to charging 8 year old boys with murder, I guess we've thrown that doctrine out the window. In this day and age, he must pay!

So let's lock him up and throw away the key! Let's put him in a juvenile facility until he turns 21, with the gangbangers and the real bad kids. Let's make sure he pays and pays and pays for a mistake he committed at the age of 8 for the rest of his life!

Distraction, Much?

Katrina autopsy: Police shot mentally disabled man in back

Autopsy results obtained by CNN show a man was shot in the back when he was killed by New Orleans police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The autopsy contradicts testimony by a police sergeant that the victim had turned toward officers and was reaching into his waistband when shot. Ronald Madison was shot when police responded to a report of gunfire from a bridge six days after Katrina hit New Orleans last year.

AND WHAT IS RIGHT NEXT TO IT ON THE BREAKING STORIES?

Suspect in Holloway case to be released
Attorney: Casino worker indicted on murder charge last week


Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway disappeared in May 2005 during a high school graduation trip to Aruba.


(CNN) -- A man indicted in the Netherlands on murder charges in the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba will be released Tuesday but must remain available for questioning, the man's attorney said.

{ snark}
So how many men have they arrested and then released? (6 or so isn't it?) Seems to coincide with the most horrific stories of home grown nastiness. Although on the plus side, mothers in general must be keeping a closer eye on their blonde daughters as we haven't had a new 'missing white girl' to replace this one. {/snark}

Deja Vu (All Over Again)

By John Fogerty


Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you try to read the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like deja vu all over again
Day by day I hear the voices rising
Started with a whisper like it did before
Day by day we count the dead and dying
Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score
Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you try to read the writing on the wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like deja vu all over again
One by one I see the old ghosts rising
Stumblin' 'cross Big Muddy
Where the light gets dim
Day after day another Momma's crying
She's lost her precious child
To a war that has no end
Did you hear 'em talkin' 'bout it on the radio
Did you stop to read the writing at The Wall
Did that voice inside you say I've heard it all before
It's like deja vu all over again
It's like deja vu all over again

Al's right

From New York Magazine:

Does he, like many Democrats, think the election was stolen?

Gore pauses a long time and stares into the middle distance. “There may come a time when I speak on that,” Gore says, “but it’s not now; I need more time to frame it carefully if I do.” Gore sighs. “In our system, there’s no intermediate step between a definitive Supreme Court decision and violent revolution.”

Hat tip Bradblog

Monday, May 22

God Beats the Devil

Yes, dear readers, it is true. God has FINALLY figured out a way to beat the devil for the souls of humanity.

As we all 'know' from the wingnutters and end timers, the AntiChrist will make his/her appearance on June 6th of this year (6/6/06) HOWEVER, it won't matter, because the world will be ending on May 25th due to a comet* slamming into the Earth.

* Just for arguments sake, there is a growing number of people who say that it is not, in fact, a comet, but the Vogon constructor ship and that keeping your towel with you would be a VERY prudent idea.

In either case, when Old Scratch shows up on June 6th to unleash his vileness upon the masses, he will be sadly disappointed, as there will not be anyone left to torture....oh sure, there may actually be a FEW people who survive the initial impact, but after witnessing the devastation of the world, family and friends and managing to survive for eleven days...well, what sort of torture could REALLY compare to that.

{/ sarcasm}

Flight 77- still waiting for video

Notice how fast a story dies when it's a flop? On May 17th, CNN was abuzz waiting for the release of video footage showing a plane hitting the Pentagon. The footage didn't show an airplane. The story dropped dead.

I was wandering around on Randi Rhodes' website this morning and I came across this thread about the recent DoD video of the "plane" that hit the pentagon on 9/11. Seriously, I don't want it to have been a missile. I'd like to see proof and not because I'm a psycho who wants to see a plane crash. I want the 800 lb gorilla out of the room.

I found this link to flight77.info. This site documents the legal process in order to obtain government held video recordings of flight 77. According to flight77.info website, Judicial Watch was asking for video showing the impact and apparently that is why they got those unclear videos from the parking lot fisheye camera. Flight77.info has requested a second FOIA request for 84 other flight 77 recordings. As you may recall from your readings about Fl 77, there were videos confiscated by the FBI from local hotels and a gas station. Stay tuned.

Music Teachers Use 'American Idol' in Class

This is truly a sad story for me to read. I do not know what my children would do without the music program in their public school. I thank my goddess above that (so far) the town has ALWAYS supported its music and art instruction. I asked my youngest on her way out the door this morning (she plays the drums in band, the violin in orchestra, and sings in a madrigal group) if they ever played american idol in music class. She just gave me that scrunched-up nose/eyebrow look -- "what are ya talking about?" OH I was SO thankful! I immediately sent a quick e-mail off to the music teachers at school, thanking them for not contributing to the success of american idol -- along with the story. Imagine 80% - EIGHTY PERCENT!! of music teachers are using this "inexpensive" teaching tool:

ABC Top News
Music Teachers Use 'American Idol' in Class
Updated 3:44 AM ET May 22, 2006
Thirty-five million people watch "American Idol" every week -- none more intently than Evan Tobias' fifth and sixth graders at Willow Grove Middle School in New York state.

Watched in living rooms across the country, the reality show that churns out new pop stars and sets ratings records is required viewing. And it turns out that "Idol" is also a smash hit in music class.

Tobias' students aren't watching to see who gets eliminated or whether Paula is speaking to Simon. They're learning how to analyze music.

"I don't think that I normally thought to include a reality TV show in the classroom," Tobias said. "But because this was directly related to music, and it was directly related to the issues that we'd been talking about, it made sense to bring it in."

In a recent survey done by the National Association for Music Education, 80 percent of music teachers said they are using the nation's number-one TV show to teach. At Plainfield Elementary School in Nazareth, Pa., the second graders take turns playing contestants and judges.

"It gets them excited about music," said Sarah Wallace, music teacher at Plainfield Elementary. "I had record numbers this year in the chorus, and I'm sure that that has something to do with it."

Inexpensive Teaching Tool
There's also a practical consideration at work. At a time when music education budgets across the country are shrinking, a television show makes for an inexpensive teaching tool.

Just this year, 22 percent of school districts reported cutbacks in art and music instruction to make more time for reading, language arts, and math, according to the Center on Educational Policy.

"I think the concept of No Child Left Behind is certainly a good one," said John Mahlmann, executive director of the National Association for Music Education. "But ... because of the greater emphasis on math and science, and the testing that is embodied in that, too many of our parents and school administrators make it an either/or situation."

Tobias said most parents don't mind him bringing "Idol" into the classroom -- because so many of them are following along at home.
ABC News' Nancy Weiner originally reported this story for "World News Tonight."


I can't begin to tell you what the music and art programs have done for my kids. Even myself -- my clearest memories of K-12 were my concerts, plays, projects....LASTING impressions, all of them. I recently wrote a quick note to one of my kid's music teachers after her first solo performance: "you know those 5 people you meet in heaven...well, you are certainly one of those 5 that my child, and many others, will meet". I'm pretty sure most music teachers are the same. I hope the teachers that have no choice but to resort to american idol as a means to get kids interested and exposed to music are doing it in a different style than the version that we watch week after week after week....

Yes, I will probably tune into the final episode (I actually picked the two finalists early on when I first heard them -- you can even ask my daughter!) It is exciting to see who wins. We would have the show on occasionally - but after the'Pickler' I said NO MORE!! and I could not stand the ridicule anymore. I could not stand what it represented. Do you remember those old 'star search' type shows we used to watch? I don't remember them being so obnoxious. This NYTimes Editorial speaks for me:

American Awful
New York Times, January 23, 2005
EDITORIAL
At a time when the self-appointed guardians of family values have been denouncing television programming for everything from wardrobe malfunctions to SpongeBob's squishiness on gay tolerance, it's interesting that "American Idol" seems to be getting a pass. Fox's hugely popular search for the next singing sensation started its fourth season last week with a series of vicious encounters between hopeful but pathetically untalented young people and celebrity judges being paid to make fun of them. While the contests do not feature bare breasts or four-letter words, they send a truly dreadful message to millions of young viewers about the proper way to treat fellow human beings.

The high points of the early episodes of the show are the moments in which desperately clueless singers deliver unbearable versions of pop standards in front of judges who either burst into derisive laughter or helpfully advise the would-be idols that they are way too fat, badly dressed, funny looking or simply "honestly, excruciatingly awful." While some of the contestants have the sort of impenetrable self-obsession that seems to invite that kind of treatment, others react in ways that make it clear they are simply weak and vulnerable. The producers seem to feel it's funny to watch a trio of wealthy and famous adults making fun of a simple 16-year-old girl whose only sin was being "pretty sure I have a good voice" when she didn't.

About 100,000 contestants, all in their teens or 20's, auditioned for "American Idol," and the ones who wound up on national television survived at least two elimination rounds. While Fox said the survivors were chosen to be a good cross section, it is hard to imagine that any of the extremely naïve contestants understood that they were being moved along only because they showed promise for being ridiculous. In the ensuing battle for the "tickets to Hollywood," the viewers are invited to roar while young people who in many cases appear to be poor, of low intelligence or even mildly disturbed, sing enthusiastically and then stand gape-mouthed with shock while their heroes insult them on national television.

One of the points of any reality show is to allow the audience to watch as contestants humiliate themselves by screeching at their spouses on a race around the world, by being voted off the island first, or by failing to get a rose from the bachelor or bachelorette whom they have been desperately and publicly wooing. But there is a very wide gap between demonstrating that life is full of hard knocks and embarrassment, and glorying in the abasement of the utterly defenseless.

Now women can become president

Oh Sure, Now They Invent This
Menstruation Is Fast Becoming Optional

Not only can you avoid unwanted pregnancy, you can avoid getting your period altogether using new birth control pills. I remember back in the day how people said that women shouldn't take powerful jobs because of PMS. Gosh, if a woman were president she might start a world war or something when she was getting her period. Yeah, yeah, take that suckers.

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One Stop Shopping For All Your Birth Control Needs
In upscale neighborhoods, Planned Parenthood is opening birth control quickie marts.
The clinic will not perform abortions. Instead, lotions, essential oils and decorative carrying cases for pills and condoms will beckon shoppers inside, where they can also get oral contraceptives, pregnancy tests and screening for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea — all in about 20 minutes.
These won't replace traditional Planned Parenthood Clinics. Anti-abortion activist moron in Minnesota claims that Planned Parenthood is 'addicted to abortions' therefore, he is against these one stop birth control clinics. I think he doesn't get it.

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Merck cancer vaccine faces Christian-right scrutiny

Merck & Co. Inc.'s vaccine to prevent the world's most prevalent sexually transmitted infection sailed through a panel of U.S. health experts, despite early fears of opposition from the Christian Right that it might lead to promiscuity and a false sense of security.
The 'christian wrong' is sort of backing off... sort of... they just don't want to make it a mandatory vaccination because they think that young women will think that it will vaccinate them against all STD's and then they'll become sluts and with more sluts in the world, it will be hard for 'christian wrong' men to control themselves.


McCain's aide posts a response to Jean Rohe's blog entry at huffpo

I have NEVER read anything more arrogant in my life!

"they could learn a thing or two about tolerance and respect from the students of Liberty University."

I am thankful that these students at New School University ARE NOT TOLERANT of politicians like John McCain. To ask people to tolerate war is not acceptable anymore - it is obvious that many, many americans now feel this way.

Let's work on acceptance a little more than tolerance -- it might help us all.

Here is Mr. Salter's comment:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/05/21/top-mccain-aide-insults-e_n_21405.html

Sunday, May 21

Factoid of the Day:

"A fifth of Israelis now live below the poverty line, up from 15 percent in the 1990s, according to figures from Israel's National Insurance Institute, the government's main welfare arm. Among children, the figure is one in three."

Source: SwissInfo

DeLay On The Big Screen

Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck are Texas- based documentary filmmakers who’ve spent the last three years making The Big Buy; Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress.

THIS LOOKS GOOD!! --
Read about it at TomPaine:

Don’t think it stands up to the likes of Mission: Impossible III or The Da Vinci Code ? Think again. This is turning out to be the year when the country wakes up out of its extended coma. All of a sudden, things look a little more dark. Which makes a noir-political conspiracy movie so timely. That it’s about stuff that’s really happening just makes it scarier. Don’t worry, it won’t break with the well-known Hollywood blockbuster formula.

http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/05/19/delay_on_the_big_screen.php

Hostile Takeover

Today, on Air America you can listen to the national radio show, State of Belief.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, it is important to understand why and be armed with information pertaining to the takeover of America's churches by right wing politics. It is through faux christianity that our democracy is at stake. Right wing think tanks came up with the plan for the take over. Three guests, Dr. Bruce Prescott, Dr. John Dorhauer and Dr. Andrew Weaver will discuss how this politically motivated takeover was achieved.

There is more on this at Talk To Action.
How to listen to this show on the web, on the radio or how to download mp3 podcasts to listen at a different time: Air America

I urge you to become more involved in this issue, learn as much as you can and be prepared to fight back against 'christianists' who claim to be real Christians. If we do nothing but complain about it, many many Americans will continue to support the fascist regime thinking they are voting with Christ.

----------
Please read "Religious Liberals Gain New Visibility" at the Washington Post for more on this issue.

"The wind is changing. Folks -- not just leaders -- are fed up with what is being portrayed as Christian values," said the Rev. Tim Ahrens, senior minister of First Congregational Church of Columbus, Ohio, and a founder of We Believe Ohio, a statewide clergy group established to ensure that the religious right is "not the only one holding a megaphone" in the public square.

You can also scroll down on this blog to Friday's post "Some Good News"
On May 22nd, Clergy for Fairness, a broad coalition of mainstream religious voices in America, will host clergy members and other religious leaders from across the country in Washington, D.C. to defend religious liberty and speak out against the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA).

Hospice

The NYTimes has an article about home hospice care.

Something moved me to have hospice come in to help my mom (and me) with my dad's last months in this life. There is something to be said about allowing a loved one to pass with dignity.

Barbaro

I don't know much about horses, much less about horse racing, but this just makes me very sad. He's a magnificent creature. I hope he will be okay.

Saturday, May 20

Three things wrong with public education: students, teachers, and parents

Having finished another semester in 17 years of teaching community college classes, one constant is abundantly clear: students, parents, and teachers are responsible for the deterioration of public schools.

My remarks are limited to community colleges and secondary schools. They do not have anything to do with your school experience or even with your above average college student.

Students do not want to make the effort to earn their grades. Just like students generations before, they cheat. They do so in more high tech, sophisticated ways, but they cheat. They also feign ignorance. While busily insisting that they are brilliant, they suddenly do not know how to write a research paper or understand how to use Microsoft Word or any other computer and software. They can play solitaire to beat the band, but they don't know how to use a computer. These students don't want to try. They think they have reached the limits of what they should know and know how to do. They are right, they have. Every student should be required to take a class in Microsoft Word before they sit in a college classroom. They do not want to study largely because they hate to read. They do not have a good relationship with words, the English language, or with books. They are horrified at the length of books and really are ill equipped to shop in a bookstore.

This semester, I showed my classes political campaign commericals aimed at a general unsophisticated television viewer. You know, voters. The students thought that if it was on a television commerical that the candidate's proposals were real, were in place, whether that candidate was in office or not. They do not know that if a candidate loses, or even if they win, there is no guarantee that those promises are reality. I know I am supposed to teach them to be more sophisticated consumers of political information, but we are talking about a basic inability to comprehend the difference between a sales pitch and public policy.

What they hell did they do with these people in public school?

But that isn't the worst example. One young woman this semester couldn't take her finals because she was raped. She is dropping out. Tell me that her experience isn't any different than that of a black person traumatized by being refused admissions or attendance on a college campus because they are black. She was attacked because she is female and rape is indeed a civil rights violation. Not under our laws.

But that isn't the worst example. Perhaps the worst was when a woman asked me should she leave home to call the police after her children's father beat and raped her or should she wait until he passed out drunk and stay in the apartment to call the police. Our discussion on the court structure included how to get a protective order. The textbook we require her to purchase for $60.00 does not. How is she supposed to learn when her life has no relationship to what she is required to read? Do we have on campus counseling for domestic violence? No, but we throw one hell of a Cinco De Mayo party.

Parents are uninvolved with their children's education. After working all day, they come home, open a beer, and watch American Idol. They don't help their children with their homework or read to their children. They worked all day, they want the schools to educate their children but they certainly don't want to pay taxes to fund the school system. They speak contemptuously of their employers who make them do work and their children embrace the same attitude toward educators. They cheat on their taxes and their spouses so no wonder their children are such skilled cheaters in school. Their children beat the hell out of each other because their parents beat them when they are not ignoring them. Parents in Arlington, Texas recently learned via a new video for sale that their middle class kids beat the hell out of homeless people and listen to anti social music. These parents just don't know where their nice middle class children learned this. These same parents think nothing of listening to country music--which is incredibly shallow and violent--and they talk about killing and beating people they don't like. They scream kill the quarterback and kill the pitcher in front of their children and get drunk at the little league games and fight with the coach. And of course kids see their parents drunk and beating each other. No wonder they are little animals because they are raised by big animals.

Students don't take education seriously because parents don't take education seriously. And people who hold Ed.Ds should not be taken seriously. If the teacher who is teaching your child math doesn't have a math degree, why aren't you down at the school finding out why? Why can't you go to the school board and say this is unacceptable? Until you get into a screaming match with an education bureaucrat, you are not a fit parent.

The schools are job programs for people who shouldn't have graduated from college. The education departments at colleges, which should be abolished and the earth salted so they cannot reemerge, accept the lowest grade point averages and have the least demanding curriculum. Until they refuse anyone but a B+ student we are going to produce teachers with the intellectual curiosity of plants. Teachers are unprofessional. Unlike doctors or lawyers, teachers refuse continuing education courses to keep their licenses. We allow them to get away with that. Actually, people should be required to have degrees, preferably Master's degrees in the subjects they teach. They should not actually have teaching certificates which literally mean they have been told where to put the trashcan in their classrooms, but not how to teach youngsters who have drug problems, been raped either by a grown man their mother lets them date or by their fathers and step fathers and have been treated for sexually transmitted diseases -- often spread by the boys they have known since grades school and who have had abortions. That is who your child is sitting next to in Algebra which seems a little silly to be teaching to students who are so abused they don't know what normal life is. Or normal life is abuse.

Teachers really do believe that the best three things about being a teacher is June, July, and August off from work. Until teachers start acting like professionals and renew their licenses every year, they should not be paid as professionals. Teachers teach so they can be home in the afternoon with their children. Great. Their children are more important, they think, than your children. Professionals in the workplace should be home with their children in the afternoon, too. But that isn't our economy because we refuse to pay people a living wage to own a home, a car, and allow one parent, any parent, to stay home with the children. So we raise feral children. Teachers get no training in these issues from the schools of education at colleges and universities. None. But as a holder of a lifetime secondary teaching certificate, I have notes on where the trashcan goes in the classroom. I shit you not.

So stop funding college education courses. No more degrees in education. Close them down. Allow anyone who has a college degree teach subjects and require students to take classes and counseling in what a life without abuse might be. George Bush and Bill Clinton could not teach high school government because they don't have teaching certificates. Teach students to have self respect by accomplishing material that is difficult. Tell teachers to respect themselves enough to demand excellence from themselves and from their colleagues. When teachers know that other teachers are having sex with students--and they know because they too are gossips--the other teachers should be charged with aiding and abetting.

When students are violent, kick them out of school. Require that their parents attend classes in parenting before the student is allowed back around other people. Divorced people who the court finds dangerous must attend parenting classes before they can see their children. What is the difference. Do not have alternative schools because that lets the parents off the hook. The school district is not responsible for the behavior of your child, dear parents, you are.

If students won't study at home, make them study in the classroom. Teachers should shut up and lay off the worksheets and the crossword puzzles and the classroom games and allow the kids to read and write about their assignments. And people who want to be teachers should help the teachers grade the essays. Because the teachers are too busy going to faculty meetings and thinking up silly exercises for the students to do to actually do any teaching.

Every third administrator should be fired. Just randomly and as arbitrarily as they make decisions that affect students and teachers. We do not need anyone in a school that isn't teaching a class. Principals and Vice Principals might be busy. But if coaches can teach health and government courses, everyone else should teach. Including deans and vice-chancellors in charge of diagonal parking. If they aren't teaching they are part of the problem. They don't know who is sitting in class and what their needs are.

Every teacher who teaches adults should know who has a criminal record in their classes. The college should provide teachers with a list of the their convictions and plea agreements. Every ethnic group is involved in gangs, violence, and drugs. Every group is struggling with broken homes, poverty, and fear. College should have the right to say, no felons in my classroom. And remember, they have no training on how to teach felons. We don't talk about that at "in-services." We give each other awards and applaud each others well drafted lesson plans to teach the Constitution by having students break up into groups and write their own. Never mind we don't actually read the real Constitution or talk about how the prison system really works. The students know more about the court structure because they have been through it than the textbook authors who are so arrogant they won't research how it really works. There should be enough police on every campus to patrol the halls and be visible not watching video monitors of the halls. They need a show of force. If the Army can have recruiters on campus, the teachers should demand a cop in every hall and nothing less.

Every semester I feel like this and every semester it literally gets worse. These problems really aren't new. My grandfather quit school after the third grade to work in the fields. He couldn't read and my father has never read a book. The only way out of the field and poverty is education. My public school teachers wouldn't teach school today--today they are doctors, lawyers, judges, and CEOs. They crawled out of the classroom as quickly as it became more accepted for women to do something with their brains. Intelligent people wouldn't tolerate teaching under these modern conditions. It isn't about how much money we spend on public schools, it is about how much mediocrity we are willing to tolerate. We could produce average factory workers that show up, make widgets, and draw a check, however, that economy is gone. We cannot teach people to follow directions, think for themselves, protect their lives and stop acting like the thugs that raised them and soak up their tax money on that waste of public trust and money called public schools.