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Thursday, May 31

Uh oh ...

Columnist Georgie Anne Geyer reports that Dear Leader might be losing what little sense he has:

But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."

Anyone besides me apprehensive about this? What next? Swilling gin while raving at portraits of past Presidents?

Think It Doesn't Pay To Be A Blonde?

Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with that expensive double-pane energy efficient kind, and today, I got a call from the contractor who installed them. He was complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and I still hadn't paid for them.

Hellloooo . . . just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So, I told him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year, that in ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves!

Helllooooo? It's been a year! I told him.

There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up. He never called back.

Guess I won that stupid argument.

I bet he felt like an idiot.

News From the War

No sooner did Joe Lieberman tout that progress was being made in Iraq during his surprise visit to Baghdad, did he lose his "joe-mentum" when he spoke to troops. The main question from troops was, "When are we going to get out of here?" and other questions were raised about the body armor and upgrading the Humvees. The troops, it seems, don't feel like they are making any progress according to this report. Lieberman wore a helmet and body armor to a market he described as "bustling" and bought some sun glasses. He told soldiers that it's "important we don't lose our will." Our will, huh? He added,"To pull out would be a disaster." For whom?

One troop who didn't lose his will is Sgt. Tawan Williamson who lost part of his leg in Iraq and wants to go back into combat. The Army no longer discharges amputees who want to return to active duty.

I suppose it's a good thing that some amputees want to remain in Iraq with their buddies because the president envisions US presence in Iraq like the presence in S. Korea for the past 50 years. The president didn't mention where US presence in Saudi Arabia got us on 9/11.

Sweden takes more Iraqi refugees and does more for them than the US.
So far 2 million Iraqi's have fled their country. They are the fastest growing refugee population in the world. Since 2003, the US has only let in fewer than 800 Iraqi's, but now the US says it will allow nearly 7,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of September.

Escapist Stories Thursday

All the recent bad news got you down?

Well sit down in front of your computer and hitch a virtual tramp steamer for Spontoon Island!

Allow me to explain.

Standup philosopher George Carlin said that there were pastimes, and hobbies. The distinction, he said, was that hobbies cost money while pastimes were quite free. So I've been indulging in my favorite pastime, writing creatively for this anthology website.

The major setting for all of these stories is a small Pacific nation in the mid-1930s. It's replete with interesting characters, tropical beaches, warm ocean water, and anarcho-syndicalist military forces. There are quite a few talented contributors to the site, both writers and illustrators.

It may not be exactly your cup of tea, but hey - it's a great way to escape from reality.*


*Shameless plug - my stories are "Luck of the Dragon" and "Tales from Rain Island."

(This is cross-posted to My Two Cents.)

Wednesday, May 30

Pandering to their base of simpletons

Even rich, white men must be rolling their eyeballs at this load of crap.
Why the neocons are a laughing stock:

Tom Delay: “I listen to God, and what I’ve heard is that I’m supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican Party, and I think we shouldn’t be underestimated.”

Why is Tom Delay's infidelity different from Newt Gingrich's infidelity?
Newt had participated in Clinton's impeachment while carrying on an affair with his future 3rd wife and “...was no longer committing adultery by that time, the impeachment trial. There’s a big difference.” Delay added, “Also, I had returned to Christ and repented my sins by that time.”"

And the conservatives wonder why they are losing ground.

A pause for reflection

Scientific research has found that political preferences are half genetic and half influenced by environment. Genetics don't necessarily force someone into a life of conservatism or liberalism however. When someone fears death or terrorism, they tend to become conservative. Research found that after 9/11, 38% of New Yorkers became more conservative while only 13% became more liberal. The article doesn't say whether or not those who became more conservative in NY were suffering from PTSD. Creative people and those who welcome social change tend to be more liberal and people who prefer more order and structure in their lives tend to be more conservative.

Liberals are not very happy people overall. If you ask me, fighting fascism is a full time job and quite frustrating. A Pew Research poll determined that Republicans are happier than Democrats- happiness is determined by life events as well as financial status and church membership.

-------
There is a renewed interest in history among Americans. More and more people want to relate the past with the present. The sales of history books are on the rise. (I love history. I love the future. History repeats itself. hmmm.)

Tuesday, May 29

The Savage Garden

For decades one of my favorite books has been The Magus by John Fowles, both versions. I have read both of them multiple times. I recently had the pleasure of finishing The Savage Garden by Mark Mills. This is only his second book and he looks relatively young which is always a good thing to my mind. I certainly hope he has many more novels in him. The Savage Garden owes quite a lot to The Magus, whether intentionally or otherwise. There are huge similarities and yet they are both wonderfully unique.

The Savage Garden takes place in Italy in 1958. A young Cambridge student of Art History is sent by his advisor to examine a very special garden in Tuscany. The garden itself is full of surprises and is not what it seems at first glance. Nor is anyone in the Docci Villa which owns the garden and surrounding property. Like The Magus there are incidental ties to the German occupation and there are almost as many twists and turns and surprises.There is more than one mystery to be solved by the protagonist and he does so brilliantly. In the end the young student comes away with much more than just his thesis. Mills' writing is so effortless that I could see the garden perfectly in my mind's eye and hear the wind and almost smell the surrounding countryside. Several hours of reading would pass in a flash. Reading like this is what I live for (after my family of course). I have no doubt I will find this book on my shelf in years to come and be delighted to read it again.

Friends who came to dinner yesterday kindly brought me a copy of Al Gore's new book, The Assault On Reason. I have plunged into it and will report soon. I have an idea he is articulating what some of us have been saying for several years now. But, of course, his weight is far more newsworthy.

How do you like this?

The Republicans are reporting that the troops may start coming home starting in September. After all that hoohah with the Dems over the bill that forced Republicans to vote for an increase in the federal minimum wage, the Republicans want the troops out of the clusterfuck, but god forbid they vote for a Democratic bill, the partisan robots with nary a nod to their constituents.

Meanwhile, a delusional president completely spins American sentiment about the war. He says that Americans want to "win." Polls say that Americans want to leave Iraq and do not care about "winning." Bush says that is not true. But he knows that he is lying. That's his job.

Why Talking to Iran Matters

US Ambassador Ryan Crocker sat down yesterday with some officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Iraqi Prime Minister's office. The topic of discussion was Iraq, but it's important that we note this one fact:

It's the first time in 27 years we've sat down at the same table for direct talks.

Ever since the Revolution of 1979 (and the 444-day hostage crisis that followed) the US and Iran have been studiously talking AT each other, and never TO each other. And all the while things have festered and grown between us. To quote The Bride in Kill Bill, "We have unfinished business."

You betcha. Starting with an apology for our CIA backing of the Mossadegh coup in the 50s (and don't think the Iranians have either forgiven or forgotten that incident), and all the way up to our continued sequestration of their assets since 1979, there are serious issues that need to be addressed. Among those issues are Iraq and the Islamic Republic's nuclear weapons program.

First, Iraq: Our invasion and occupation of Iraq was the greatest boon to Iran since 1991. By first emasculating Saddam Hussein's regime and then destroying it, we created a regional power vacuum that Iran was only too glad to fill (who did the neocons expect to see step into the gap, Israel?) and now we have to deal with them on that basis. Whether our troops leave now or in 2008 or 2020, Iran will still be there and in a position to dictate matters to the Sunni Gulf states.

Believe me, it's just pure nut-cutting Realpolitik. There's no way around it.

Iran has suggested that it shoulder the burden of equipping and training the Iraqi Defense Forces. Since it appears inevitable (based on the power calculations in the region) that Iran will remain the biggest fish in the pond even if we don't leave, it will be a friend to the majority Shiite government in Baghdad. Of course, "friend" eventually becomes "client."

Their envoy also stated that our presence in Iraq is an occupation, and in that he is certainly correct. More than half of the Iraqi Parliament have signed a bill asking for a withdrawal timetable; will Bush ignore that if it comes to a vote in Baghdad? Will the al-Maliki regime go the way of Nguyen Van Thieu's, to dredge up a tired analogy?

Stay tuned.

Now, for Iran's nuclear weapons - the Genie of the Atom was released from its lair on July 29, 1945. That was almost 62 years ago, and there's no way to stuff that genie back into its bottle no matter what the US does or how hard Bush stamps his little cowboy-booted feet. The Hiroshima bomb ('Little Boy' for those playing along at home) was so simple that it didn't need to be tested - the brains at Los Alamos knew it would work. To this day, the Hiroshima or gun-type weapon remains the simplest form of nuclear weapon.

No matter what we do - whether we bomb them ourselves or allow our catspaws in Tel Aviv to do the job for us - we are going to have to adjust to the new power realities in the region. We helped create them, and we'll be stuck with them for a long time to come.

And that's why talking to Iran matters.

Cindy Sheehan Quit The Anti-War Movement

"Good-bye America ...you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

"It’s up to you now."

Read her diary entry, "Good Riddance Attention Whore"

If you turn on the news at night, what are they talking about?
Rosie vs Elizabeth (making Rosie out to be the kook even though anyone who actually watches the View can tell you that Elizabeth is the biggest pain in the ass on television), Linsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, American Idol and reporting from the WH like stenographers, not journalists. I can only stay tuned to half of "Countdown" on MSNBC because the second half is all celebrity news as if it makes one bit of difference to the future of our country. If I want celebrity news, then I would watch E!

If you talk to so called "pro-war" people, they don't even know what's going on in Iraq, but they know that "Iran is a huge threat to Israel" so we better do something about that. They don't know any details. They don't want to pollute their minds with stinking details.

I keep hearing that war is good for the economy. No one can prove it unless they have grown wealthy investing in war machines. As far as they know, Cindy Sheehan was a thorn in the side to the commander in chief. Even lefties shunned her. People are afraid to be unpatriotic as if patriotism is some sort of virtue when your country is acting like a murderous bully. Patriots in history stood up to the machine.

Cindy was my hero. I went to see her speak on several occassions. She spoke the truth about the war machine, but most people probably thought that she was a conspiracy theorist and turned her off. I wish I knew what more I could have done to help her cause. I wrote letters constantly and I showed up where I was supposed to show up. America is asleep at the wheel.

It's hard to find a competent executioner these days

It took so long for the executioners to get the lethal needle into the prisoner's arm in Ohio that he needed to take a bathroom break.

Death penalty opponents saw this as a "botched execution" and called for a moratorium on executions in Ohio. The ACLU said, "What is clear from today's botched execution is that the state doesn't know how to execute people without torturing them to death."

But Christopher Newton, the condemned man, killed his cellmate in 2001 and insisted on the death penalty. He got into jail in the first place for deliberately leaving his fingerprints on a burglary because he wanted to go to jail. He joked with prison staffers during the delay in finding a suitable vein. Newton's attorney did not seek to have the execution stalled because Newton wanted to die and his job is to "represent his client."

This story kind of makes you wonder if prison was the right place for this obviously mentally ill man.

-------
Speaking of executions in the US- Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Georgia and Montana have made pedophilia an offense punishable by death even if no life was taken. Gov Rick Perry of Texas will sign a similar law.

Monday, May 28

Everyone thinks of changing the world

"So say, generally, the ruling classes, with such
assurance that patriotism is a noble feeling, that
the simple populace, who are ignorant of it, think
themselves, in consequence, at fault, and try to
persuade themselves that they really posses it,
or at least pretend to have it.

The sentiment, in its simplest definition, is merely
the preference for one's own country or nation above
the country or nation of any one else.

It is quite possible that governments regard this
sentiment as both useful and desirable, and of
service to the unity of the State; but one must see
that this sentiment is by no means elevated, but
on the contrary, very stupid and immoral.
Stupid, because if every country were to consider
itself superior to others, it is evident that all but
one would be in error; and immoral because it
leads all that posses it to aim benefiting their
own country or nation at the expense of every
other - an inclination exactly at variance with the
fundamental moral law, which all admit,
"Do unto others as you would not
wish them to do unto you."

"Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself."

Leo Tolstoy

Sunday, May 27

With Muffled Drum ...

Memorial Day, 2007


We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when
But I'm sure we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through, just the way you used to do
Till the blue skies chase the dark clouds far away
Now, won't you please say "Hello" to the folks that I know
Tell 'em it won't be long'cause they'd be happy to know that when you saw me go
I was singing this song
We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when
But I'm sure we'll meet again some sunny day
- Vera Lynn

Remembering the Living

"Rather than film the war and its combat, journalist Laurence Haïm was interested in the morale of American soldiers in Iraq. With a camera on her shoulder, for three weeks she followed the 32nd brigade - also known as the Stryker unit.
"Her documentary, scheduled to be aired on the program "Exclusive Investigation" on M6, shows GIs on the edge of depression - and sometimes fully-fledged depression. In fact one soldier in three suffers from mental disorders after returning home."


More at The Broken Lives of American Soldiers.

Way to ruin a graduation, U-Massholes.


What the hell was the administration thinking at UMass when they gave andrew card an honorary degree at the commencement ceremony? A degree in what? Undermining a democratic government? Shouldn't he be in jail?
What a slap in the face to the students and faculty!

We don't need no stinking code of honor
Speaking of graduations. Darth Cheney criticized the Geneva Conventions at the West Point commencement. Instructors and even the dean of West Point have had a hard time persuading Army cadets to adhere to the principles of the Geneva Conventions during this war. So why the heck did they invite Cheney to speak? Antiwar protesters were barred from Cheney's West Point visit.

Saturday, May 26

Do Not Bite the Hand That Created You



The $27 million Creation Museum, “Answers in Genesis”opens this weekend in Petersburg, Kentucky. If you've got no big plans for this Memorial Weekend, I suggest that you go and then give me a full report. The "museum" website touts:
A fully engaging, sensory experience for guests. Murals and realistic scenery, computer-generated visual effects, over fifty exotic animals, life-sized people and dinosaur animatronics, and a special-effects theater complete with misty sea breezes and rumbling seats. These are just some of the impressive exhibits that everyone in your family will enjoy.
This article at WCPO reveals names of people who have attended the museum already and thought it was great. (Jersey Cynic, get them on the phone for me.)

There's a website devoted to debunking “Answers in Genesis Museum” and they will hold a Rally For Reason at the gates on opening day, Monday. They do not challenge the "museum's" right to exist, only to show that there are some people who do not believe in creationism and that it defies logic. Ken Ham is not afraid of them.

Ken Ham is the founder of the creation "museum." I'm not sure if he is a direct descendant of Noah's son Ham. (I will have to do some fact checking.) Mr Ham believes that since the world was created in only 6 days, mere thousands of years ago, that dinosaurs must have existed in the Garden of Eden and that dinosaurs only went extinct a few hundred years ago as evidenced in the painting of the Last Supper (see detail below).



If you go to the museum you will find out exactly what caused dinosaurs' extinction. This roused my curiosity. I hope that many paleontologists will visit that exhibit and report back to me.

See also this article at Counterbias which explains more about the exhibits and explains the neurological disorder present in those who prefer fairy tales to science- and whose religion dictates that one dismiss whatever faculties of reason were present when they were born.

Did you know that Creationists consider those who believe in science and evolution are at the root of all evil in the world? I did not know that. Now I do.

I'd really like to visit the planetarium at the Creation Museum and see a demonstration of how the dome that covers the flat earth works close up. I wonder if you can see the gears?


I don't know who to believe. The Flintstones or Disney World. There were no humans in the dinosaur exhibit in Disney World, yet there were humans living in harmony with dinosaurs in the Flintstones. I'm so confused.



Nevermind, the Simpsons explained it all here and here and here. Thank God for You Tube.

Friday, May 25

Scoop of the Day:

No, I don't have it. John Aravosis has it over at Americablog.

What's the scoop? The scoop is the poop. That is, he has pictures of boygeorge wiping himself off after A BIRD TOOK A SHIT ON HIM DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE.

I will now go out with bread scraps and bird feed, and also caution the stray cats that hang around my shop (4 of 'em at last count) to treat my feathered friends with more respect.

Maybe pigs can fly. Cows? I'll check it out.

Military Techniques

In an article entitled "Population Control" can be found the following quote:
"The Tartars had the idea of infecting the enemy by catapulting bodies infected with bubonic plague over the walls of the city of Kaffa."

Sounds like a real "That'll fix'em maneuver", eh? Well, maybe not; the next sentence reads:
"Some historians believe that this event was the cause of the epidemic of plague that swept across medieval Europe killing 25 million."

What's this got to do with anything? From "Depleted Uranium":
"As of February 2003, nearly 225,000 U.S. veterans have been awarded service-connected disability for health effects collectively termed Gulf War Syndrome with many more claims not yet officially acknowledged. This means that 40 percent of our veterans are sick, a shocking figure! Increasingly researchers and health practitioners believe that exposure to DU is a major contributor to the Syndrome. It is now believed that as many as 11,000 Desert Storm I U.S. veterans have already died, most attributed to the Syndrome for lack of any other explanation. Professor Malcolm Hopper of the University of Sunderland in the U.K., who has extensively studied health effects of British and U.S. soldiers who served in the Gulf War, has indicated that as many as 21,000 U.S. Gulf War veterans have died, due not just to DU exposure but to the astounding amounts of organophosphate (OP) poisoning from various toxins (or supposedly anti-toxins) given to the troops as "preventive" medicine."

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

Let's see what researchers at universities are coming up with lately:

The temperature of your scrotum does matter:
Fertility researchers at State University of NY at Stony Brook warns males that heat from your laptop computer (if used on your lap) had a median increase in scrotal temperature from 2.6- 2.8ºCelsius. Subjects were also asked to sit for an hour without a laptop on their laps and their scrotal temperature only rose 2.1º Celsius. The test didn't measure sperm production, but it is known that a rise in scrotal temperature diminishes healthy sperm production by up to 40%. There is no direct conclusion that laptops and decreased fertility are linked, but researchers want to issue a caution warning for the time being if you want to be a daddy.

Oral Sex may cause throat cancer
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland discovered a link between HPV and throat cancer for both men and women. HPV may be transmitted via oral sex. The more oral sex partners you have, the more likely you are to contract throat cancer. If the HPV vaccine can be shown that it also prevents throat cancer, then a vaccine will be made available for men as well.
People who had one to five oral-sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity - and those with more than five oral-sex partners had a 250% increased risk.

There was an even stronger link between oral sex and throat cancers clearly caused by HPV-16 (those tumours that tested positive for the strain). People with more than five oral sex partners had a 750% increased risk of these HPV-16-caused cancers.
Smoking and drinking only give you a 3% increased risk of getting throat cancer.

Sexual orientation Matters
Researchers at the The University of Warwick discovered that sexual orientation, not gender, affect how we navigate and recall lost objects.
In general, over the range of tasks measured, where a gender performed better in a task heterosexuals of that gender tended to perform better than non-heterosexuals. When a particular gender was poorer at a task homosexual and bisexual people tended to perform better than heterosexual members of that gender.

However age was found to discriminate on gender grounds but not sexual orientation. The study found that men’s mental abilities declined faster than women’s and that sexual orientation made no difference to the rate of that decline either for men or women.
The impact of teen sex is low if the couple has a close relationship
Researchers at the University of Minnesota
concluded that teenage sex does not affect teen's mental health unless the teens were very young, if the couple was not very close or if the relationship did not continue afterwards.

I'm going to "spin" the news today.

The sparrow of happiness took a crap on the president in the rose garden yesterday bringing him good luck.

When the Republicans had control of the house, the Democrats rarely had a chance to debate, let alone get a bill to the House floor. There is a reason Democrats are called Democrats- They honor the democratic process (unlike the Republicans who honor the rich and the white of the male gender with little or no regard to those who put them in office. They are robots.)

John Boehner (R-Ohio) wept openly on the house floor during the Iraq debate. He said that it was because we need to keep fighting in Iraq to avenge 9/11. It was really because he is unable to vote with his conscience as long as Karl Rove is around.

An Anti-War Book That Will Make You Laugh

Liz has kindly asked me to do some guest blogging/book reviews for a spell. I hope you all enjoy.

With the passing of Kurt Vonnegut I felt the urge to reread Slaughterhouse Five. If you are unfamiliar with Vonnegut's writing it might be an acquired taste. There is no one I know who writes like him - I might give him his own genre.

Slaughterhouse tells the tale of Billy Pilgrim, an American prisoner of war in Dresden just in time for the firestorm. Sort of like Vonnegut who, as an American prisoner of war, was in Dresden for said event. If you have read Vonnegut, you know his quirky style: characters flit in and out of all his books peripherally. There is an element of science fiction but one would never put his books on that shelf. Instead, in his inimitable fashion, with his hapless characters, Vonnegut makes you see the horror and moral corruption of human life in the Twentieth Century and beyond. You will definitely laugh when you read this book. You also may come close to tears. Speaking through his characters, here is Vonnegut on religion: "The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel". On the American poor: "It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters". The book was published originally in 1968 and one of the characters has a bumper sticker saying 'Reagan for President'. I had to laugh at that. It was probably funny in 1968.

It is sad to have lost such a unique voice but he will live on in his books forever.

With regard to Dresden, Frederick Taylor's Dresden came out in 2004. It is the most recent study of the event that I know of. He does debunk some of the 'known facts' which Vonnegut uses in his book. As more archives from this period are opened, information will have to be shifted. If you wish to know more about the night of Feb. 13, 1945, Taylor's book would be my recommendation.

This is cross-posted at my blog, Not A Walking Encyclopedia, where you will find recipes and other book reviews.

Palast has the goods on Goodling's testimony

Oh man. If you watched Cable news on Thursday, it was the same old garbage... and who won American Idol and why that show sucked and Rosie vs Elizabeth on the View. You would never know that we were a country at war and that we are being taken over by thugs in DC.

It appears to me that the MSM is involved in a cover up for not reporting real news in the DOJ scandal.

It also appears that those questioning Monica Goodling either didn't know what to look for or they just don't know how to question.

From Palast:
Huh?? Tim Griffin? "Caging"???
...
The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Why weren't these African-American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation --- and the soldiers were overseas. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote. Mission Accomplished.

How do I know? I have the caging lists...


I have them because they are attached to the emails Rove insists can't be found. I have the emails. 500 of them --- sent to our team at BBC after the Rove-bots accidentally sent them to a web domain owned by our friend John Wooden.

read the article at bradblog here.
This is a huge felony and could send Rove, et al to jail.
If only.

Thursday, May 24

Drums Along the Tigris

While our attention (when not being drawn to the Next Shiny New Thing, like who won on some clotheared reality show - trust me, reality is bad enough without making stupid shows about it) is on Iraq and the fighting currently going on in Gaza and Tripoli, things are rapidly going from bad to worse along the Iraqi-Turkish border.

The reason, as you can tell from the CNN article, is the Kurdish PKK, which has been setting off bombs and killing Turkish soldiers. The Turks have massed about 150,000 troops near or along the border, with every intention of invading to put a stop to this.

Caught in the middle of the Turks and the Kurds are the Americans, who want to stop the PKK but don't want a new war starting in what had been a heretofore relatively quiet part of Iraq. The fact that Turkey's an ally of ours (a fellow member of NATO) won't matter to the Turks. If they want to march, they'll march.

There's also an internal political angle to be watched here too. The ruling party in Ankara could use the violence as a rallying point to gloss over the fact that many Turks see it as a threat to the secularist constitution and the separation of mosque and state.

Ought to be interesting to see how the Bushies manage to fuck this up, because you KNOW they'll stick their hands into that hornet's nest just as hard as they can. American dilpomacy ain't what it used to be.

Conversations

I've been attending a sort of management seminar over the past few days, and while on break I had occasion to start talking about the Iraq Hubbub with a coworker. From the outset he asked, "Do you support the war?"

"I don't," I assured him. Another coworker chimed in with "He'll vote for Hilary."

I hastened to assure both of them that I had no plans to vote for any of the current crop of weasels in either party, but thought that Ron Paul was the clearest thinker. I then took a few minutes to excoriate Giuliani.

When I paused to catch my breath the first coworker asked, "So you think it's all our fault?"

What a question! And how should I answer it? Should I take time out of the break to carefully detail to him the entire history of our involvement in the Middle East?

"We are a contributing factor," I replied, and advised him to study the concept of blowback as it applied to our supporting naughty people throughout the world.

When we returned to our seats he asked, "So, you don't believe that the Muslims are going to take over our country?"

"No, I don't." He then proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that Muslims were overrunning the country and were doing it unopposed, because the Government kept looking the other way and granting them more and more rights.

(I refrained from telling him that most people in the US felt the same way about Catholics, blacks, Jews, Irish, etc. for about the last 170 years. Why disrupt his delusion pattern?)

He then threw back in my face the results of a poll I talked about yesterday about a sizeable percentage of US Muslim youth saying that suicide bombing was justified. I countered with the fact that the same question had not been asked to white Christians. He looked confused for a moment and mentioned Eric Rudolph and Tim McVeigh, saying that they weren't Christians. I pointed out that they were members of the ultra-right Christian Identity movement, which he quickly termed a "white supremacist" organization only.

I could see the instructor warming back up, and my coworker's body language becoming more defensive, so I stopped the conversation.

How do you think I handled it?



This is also posted over at My Two Cents - drop by sometime!

Joke of the Week:

Then again, maybe 'tain't a joke. Anyhow, from an old workin' buddy of mine:

An old southern country preacher had a teenage son and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young men, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it. One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects:
- a Bible,
- a silver dollar,
- a bottle of whisky and
- a Playboy magazine.
"I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself, "and when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be. And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasin' bum."
The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table. With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's Centerfold.
"Lord have mercy," the old preacher disgustedly whispered,
"He's gonna be a Politician!"


Thanks, Neil.

Don't quit drinking today

News that makes you want to bury your head in the sand

Raw Story: US issues nuclear warning to Iran as armada enters Gulf

The Washington Note: Cheney Attempting to Constrain Bush's Choices on Iran Conflict: Staff Engaged in Insubordination Against President Bush

Raw Story: Bush: 'I'm credible because I read the intelligence'. Bush tells reporters that al Qaida wants to kill your children.

The New York Times: While Dems cave, American opposition to the war at an all time high. No one cares.

Max Blumenthal: The Diary of a Christian Terrorist
"Uhl's blog, featured on his Myspace page, offers a window into the political underpinnings of his bomb plot. In one post, Uhl implores Christians to die on the battlefield for "Uncle Sam." He justifies his call to arms by quoting several Biblical passages and reminding his readers that the "gift of God" is eternal life."

Unless you're an older, rich, white male...

You are under represented in congress.

Wolfowitz lost his job and lost his girl

Crime does not pay

It must be a conspiracy

Three more Arab translators were fired for being gay and that brings the number of fired gay Arab linguists to 58. WTF is the matter with our leaders? I am outraged.

A desperate bush makes up new reasons for war in Iraq

At the commencement speech for the US Coast Guard in New London yesterday, president bush linked Osama bin Laden to the war on Iraq. Apparently Osama bin Laden is setting up a cell in Iraq in order to strike at America. I guess that OBL didn't take the half assed war seriously.

"In the minds of al-Qaida leaders, 9/11 was just a down payment on violence yet to come."

Oh no. I'm scared now. He defended the troop build up:
"It is tempting to believe that the calm here at home after 9/11 means that the danger to our country has passed."

"Here in America, we are living in the eye of a storm," he said. "All around us, dangerous winds are swirling and these winds could reach our shores at any moment."

Yes indeed, and that is why we need our National Guard here at home because of the deadly tornado season and an expected nasty hurricane season.... so what does that have to do with the war on Iraq?

Call them 202-224-3121

Tell your congresscritters and senators that you're mad as hell. Tell them you want the troops to come home.
The final vote on the Iraqi Supplemental bill is today.

202-224-3121

Bush endorses price gouging at the pumps

The president will probably veto legislation to stop oil companies from price gouging.

It's a boy Mrs Walker, It's a boy

A son! A son! A son!

Evil incarnate himself is now a grandpa. But I digress.... Mary Cheney gave birth to an illegitimate child yesterday. Her life partner will have no legal relationship with the boy since they live in Virginia which does not recognize gay partners and forbids adoption by a same sex partner. I suppose that this will make a point.

Wednesday, May 23

You would think that this administration would go after Sunni's

since the guys who attacked us on 9/11 were Arab Sunni's. But no. We've noticed that there has been a shift away from going after Sunni's. And no, it doesn't make sense. Seymour Hersh explains it.

Jetlag recovery

Viagra only works to relieve jetlag when you're flying from west to east and in conjuction with light therapy. Ok. that's cleared up.

War creates jobs?

Yesterday I read that in Afghanistan, 600,000 of the one million opium addicts are under age 15. Today I read that Iraqi farmers are turning to growing poppies and there is little that the Iraqi government can do.

That ubiquitous Lawn Guyland accent

I brought it up in this post when I read that critics thought Hillary Clinton was using different accents on purpose when she was actually doing what a lot of people do unknowingly- code switching which is adapting one's accent to those around them.

Holy Dipthongs, Batman.
In today's Newsday, Taw-kin' Lawn Guy-land, the local accents are explained by dialect coaches. It pretty much sums up what I had always thought- that it's more ethnic than geographic. There is no one definitive Long Island accent because it's based on Italian, Irish, Jewish or Hispanic. Tony Danza doesn't sound like Rosie O'Donnell or Billy Crystal or Rosie Perez. It's all quite interesting here in the ol' meltin' pot.

Red Writes A Letter. Again.

Dear Senator Webb:

I write to tell you how extremely disappointed I am regarding the Democrats capitulation on the Iraq funding bill. I hope you will pass the following message along to Senator Reid and the remainder of the Senate leadership: we gave the Democrats a majority in Congress in order to effect change in the administration's disasterous policy in respect of the Iraq War. We expect results from our representatives in Congress and have seen precious few to date. Too many soldiers have died, too many soldiers have been mangled, too many soldiers have been psychically damaged. This war must end. We look to you and your colleagues to make this happen.

Very truly yours,
Red State Blues

Tuesday, May 22

While over at The Fat Lady Sings...

I found an MSNBC link. Here's what's on the site:

Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment? * 469285 responses

Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial.
88%

No, like any president, he has made a few missteps, but nothing approaching "high crimes and misdemeanors."
4.2%

No, the man has done absolutely nothing wrong. Impeachment would just be a political lynching.
5.7%

I don't know.
1.8%

(When you first click on, you'll be asked to vote, and the results will then appear.)

Christian Madrassa?

At Jerry Fallwell's funeral, there were protesters, which does not surprise me, since Fallwell's outrageous comments throughout the years against gays and lesbians, and "no good pagans" outside the "born-again" religious cult.
A freshman from Liberty University (read Christian Madrassa) was arrested with at least six explosive devices in his possession, with the intent to use it against the protesters. His own family tipped off the police. We don't know at this point whether he intended to use it as a suicide act, or other means.
Anyway, religious fundamentalism, regardless of faith, islamic, christian, jewish, or whatever, is the scourge of the Earth.

Another evangelist GOP'er brought up on charges of unspeakable acts with young women

Radical right wing "evangelist" and former SD state representative, Ted Klaudt may finally be brought to justice. Down With Tyranny writes:
"Like so many tightly wound repressed and mentally ill Republicans, Klaudt was preaching the moral superiority of the far right while he was abusing molesting children-- his own foster daughters and 2 state legislative pages! He "faces a long list of charges: eight counts of rape, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of witness tampering, sexual contact with a person under 16, and stalking."
"More absolutely disgusting descriptions of Klaudt's outrageous crimes against young women: He told them that they could earn money for college if he collected their eggs and donated them to a fertility clinic? An affidavit outlines the charges. God help him.

Ron Paul Not Republican Enough For Republicans

But his message resonates with Americans and the Republican powers that be just don't get it.

Said Ron Paul, "How can anybody say I'm not Republican? I'm the most conservative member of the Congress. I vote for the least amount of spending and the least amount of taxes, and they say I'm not Republican enough?"

I think Mr. Paul missed the GOP memo that explained the new Republican party is opposed to democracy and free thought.

Ron Paul said in an interview with CNN's John King regarding foreign policy, "Non-intervention is a real political victory. We cannot win as Republicans next year if we just continue to dig our heels in, send more men and women over there to die on a policy that has failed." (read the interview here.)

Fraudulent Voter Fraud

You know how you always had a sneaking suspicion that all this commentary about voter fraud by the DOJ was a bunch of huey? You were right. It's not like the newspapers were overflowing with stories about millions of citizens who voted in 2 places on election day. Sure, maybe there were a couple of people who voted in two places, but you'd hardly think that it was enough to turn an election around. You certainly can't imagine Democrats pulling anything like this off either, can you? wimps But all a battleground state needed to suppress votes from a particular group, like minorities for instance, was anecdotal evidence of someone voting in more than one place and then pushing through voter ID legislation which invariably leaves poor people and minorities who would vote for Democrats, home on election day. Then the DOJ scandal arose where prosecutors were told to prosecute voter fraud cases and they were fired when they couldn't find any to prosecute. Oh just read this good article at Slate about the American Center for Voting Rights which just up and disappeared off the face of the planet recently.

See also this story in McClatchy news, Efforts to stop `voter fraud' may have curbed legitimate voting Hans von Spakovsky who wrote under a pseudonym, falsely claiming that voter ID wouldn't restrict minority voting is now under investigation that he was a part of the voter suppression plan of the GOP.
Mr. von Spakovsky was central to the administration's pursuit of strategies that had the effect of suppressing the minority vote," charged Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief who worked under him.

He and other former career department lawyers say that von Spakovsky steered the agency toward voting rights policies not seen before, pushing to curb minor instances of election fraud by imposing sweeping restrictions that would make it harder, not easier, for Democratic-leaning poor and minority voters to cast ballots.
This story is unbelievable. The evildoers will stop at nothing.

Monday, May 21

I think it's letter writing time again.

It looks like the Democrats are planning to give the president an Iraqi funding bill with no withdrawal timetables.

Shame on those who wouldn't vote for the previous bill. But since they have no conscience and no regard for human lives other than their own and those like them, I couldn't have expected anything other result. Silly me

While Americans overwhelmingly want this illegal war to stop, this morning the Pentagon claimed that it's considering keeping troops in Iraq for decades.

What do people have to do to get these maniacs out of the government? They are bullies who stamp their feet until they get their way. I just read that the Smithsonian toned down it's exhibit on climate change for fear of angering congress and the bushistas. Screw congress. What good have they done?

A Weekend of Commencements

Newt Gingrich gave the commencement speech to Falwell's Liberty University. According to Think Progress:
Gingrich claimed Americans draw strength from Falwell’s “life model,” and said that Falwell, who infamously called the 9/11 attacks God’s punishment on the United States, “bore witness to the Truth” and “knew this truth in his bones.”

But perhaps Gingrich’s most controversial remarks came in an interview after his speech, in which Gingrich cited the opportunity “to convert all of America.”

Gingrich said after his speech that Falwell’s death would not slow the Christian right’s efforts.

“Anybody on the left who hopes that when people like Reverend Falwell disappear that the opportunity to convert all of America has gone with them fundamentally misunderstands why institutions like this were created,” Gingrich said.
Oh good heavens. It's so disturbing that young people go to an institution of higher learning and come out less learned than they probably were when they went in. I'm glad this made the news because Americans need to know what an agenda this nutcase who may run for president is thinking. Newty boy is living in a fantasy world which is about to explode in his face. Sure there are learning institutions whose goals are to dumb people down and create human robots, but the great human spirit is to rise up despite all obstacles. I'm not afraid of Newt. I would say that he is just a log in the eye of vocal minority. He will be seen for who he is what he stands for.

At my son's graduation from Hofstra University on Sunday, there was some booing heard from students in the "school of business" section when Sen. Chuck Schumer spoke and more when the president of the Museum of Natural History in New York City brought up such controversial subjects as climate change, taking care of our planet and peace. A little bit more liberal arts needs to be infused into the Hofstra undergraduate business school curriculum I would say. I thoroughly enjoyed the commencement speeches at Hofstra and I'm glad my son went there despite the abundance of college Republicans who refuse to "see". Both sides need to know what they are up against in the future. I went to nursing school and ended up graduating with an art major and then went on to work in investment banking. I attended Hofstra for my MBA and didn't become a fascist. I worked on Wall Street by day and played in a punk band by night. I attended a religious seminary for my masters in theology and became an atheist. I have my dad to thank for always exhorting me to question everything. I have my mom to thank for exhorting me to take Zoloft and stop thinking so much. Sorry mom, while your advice was never heeded, I learned a lot from it.

I hope my son turns out all right after having me as a mother. He will go on to a career in anthropology and archaeology after field school and then graduate school. Who knows what else he will do and in what part of the world. Chances are he will have many careers in his lifetime. He has great empathy and I am confident that he will be one of those young people who connects the dots between the past and the present and does something about it.

I often wonder since becoming an atheist, surviving menopause and knowing all I know, what makes me get out of bed in the morning still giving a shit about future generations and those living on the fringes of society. I admit that some days I just want to stay in bed and wait to die, but the human spirit usually wins out and I rise again.

You hear so many people saying that if it weren't for god, they would do all sorts of horrible things. I suppose then that there is a purpose for religion for some people if it causes them to do right. Unfortunately I see more people use religion as a justification to do wrong.

On the Sopranos last night, another psychiatrist told Dr Melfi that talk therapy with sociopaths is counterproductive because sociopaths hone their ability to con people with their therapists and become an even more destructive force in society. Tony Soprano who had just killed his nephew and almost killed a guy by pistol whipping him told his therapist that he thought of himself as a good guy. I thought of people like Newt Gingrich and Jerry Falwell.

Speaking of the Soprano's, my nephew married into the Soprano family on Saturday. His lovely bride, it turns out, was the "Meadow Soprano." Who knew? It was still a fabulous wedding.

Well, DUH ...

From the LA Times on May 20th comes additional evidence (as if we needed any more) that George W Bush is the best recruiter al Qaeda has ever had. I'll just toss out a few of the more glaring passages:

"In one of the most troubling trends, U.S. officials said that Al Qaeda's command base in Pakistan is increasingly being funded by cash coming out of Iraq, where the terrorist network's operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the anti-American insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity."

"Al Qaeda's efforts were aided, intelligence officials said, by Pakistan's withdrawal in September of tens of thousands of troops from the tribal areas along the Afghanistan border where Bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, are believed to be hiding."

"Everything was undermined by the so-called peace agreement in north Waziristan," said a senior U.S. intelligence official responsible for overseeing counter-terrorism operations. "Of all the things that work against us in the global war on terror, that's the most damaging development. The one thing Al Qaeda needs to plan an attack is a relatively safe place to operate."

"Some in the administration initially expressed concern over the Pakistani move, but Bush later praised it, following a White House meeting with Musharraf."

***

Worst. President. Ever.

Best. Terrorist Recruiter. Ever.

Any questions?


This is cross-posted over at my own blog, My Two Cents. Drop in sometime!

Sunday, May 20

I Told You So...

Last year the conversation was pretty heated about Bush, that he might declare Martial Law before his tenure is over.
We were talking but deep inside we really didn't believe that is a possibility, considering the strength of our democracy.

Well,

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency

I wonder if there are plans to create a catastrophic crises, to justify the above?!

October surprise?

Tell us what you think!

Saturday, May 19

Michael Moore has a question:

From REUTERS:

"Director Michael Moore says the U.S. health care system is driven by greed in his new documentary "SiCKO", and asks of Americans in general, "Where is our soul?"

"He also said he could go to jail for taking a group of volunteers suffering ill health after helping in the September 11, 2001 rescue efforts on an unauthorized trip to Cuba, where they received exemplary treatment at virtually no cost.

"The controversial film maker is back in Cannes, where he won the film festival's highest honor in 2004 with his anti-Bush polemic "Fahrenheit 9/11".

"In "SiCKO" he turns his attention to health, asking why 50 million Americans, 9 million of them children, live without cover, while those that are insured are often driven to poverty by spiraling costs or wrongly refused treatment at all.

"But the movie, which has taken Cannes by storm, goes further by portraying a country where the government is more interested in personal profit and protecting big business than caring for its citizens, many of whom cannot afford health insurance.

"I'm trying to explore bigger ideas and bigger issues, and in this case the bigger issue in this film is who are we as a people?" Moore told reporters after a press screening.

"Why do we behave the way we behave? What has become of us? Where is our soul?"


Michael, I would venture the opinion that some of us were born without souls, and some of us have sold whatever souls we might have had. Unfortunately, this describes the few who have all the money, power, and control.

And at this point I'm reminded of a not-so-rhetorical question Bill Maher asked one time when he was being interviewed (by Larry King IIRC): "WHY are we so sick?" To this, I would answer: Because the PTB are shittering our food supply, they're shittering our water supply, and they're shittering the air we breathe.

Picture of the Week

To Bleed or Not To Bleed

The new pill set to be ok'ed by the FDA, Lybrel (liberal) from Wyeth, can let women suppress their monthly periods indefinitely. There are other pills on the market that let you menstruate less frequently or let you have shorter monthly periods. Where were those when I was young? I'm sure there are side effects, but life has side effects. Menstruating has side effects. Seven years of the Bush administration has side effects.

One of the drawbacks to indefinitely suppressing your period is that if you are among the 1% of women who can get pregnant while taking hormones, you won't have a way of knowing you are unless you've been pregnant before and know the other early symptoms (vomiting, nausea, bloating, cramping, crankiness, sleepiness, etc etc).

I have mixed feelings about this. I never took the pill except for a short time, to regulate my monthly joy of womanhood when it was out of whack, (and then I went off on a sex binge and screwed every man I could get my hands on) but a pill to eliminate it or at least shorten it would have been great in my younger years when I was downright ill every month. I could have worn white pants all summer to boot!

As usual, this is a personal decision between a woman and her doctor. I certainly wouldn't judge a fellow female who wished to suppress her monthly visitor from hell, (unless she was screwing around with her best friend's husband, and then I would have draw the line.)

I suppose that the very "religious" among us will view this as a license for year-round promiscuity- that women should embrace cramps, bloating, depression, crankiness, headaches, backaches, leakage, anemia and nausea because God created women that way and modern pharmaceuticals should not interfere with what God has wrought upon women due to the sins of Eve. But I am jumping the gun. I await word from the religious wrong.

Friday, May 18

Imagine the Babies

His whole article is great, but these 2 paragraphs stood out in Mark Morford's, "Oh right, We're Still at War":
Me, I like to imagine the babies. I like to imagine all the children born back in 2003 (or 2001, if you count the equally failed Afghan campaign), the Year of Brutal Idiocy, the Year It All Went Wrong, the Year America Jumped the Shark.

All these children born at the war's beginning are well over 4 years old now. They are walking, talking, speaking in complete sentences with more complexity and coherence than the president himself. And for their entire lives, America has been at war. They have never known a day where we have been at peace, where we haven't lived under this bitter cloud of rampant incompetence, violence, a deep sadness, a sense that something has gone very, very wrong with the American idea, and no one really has any clue how to fix it. How will they be affected? What sort of perception of a broken, lost America will they have drilled into their baffled little bones?

----------
Morford's latest column has some more quotes from Jerry Falwell that I had missed. Check these out:
"The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible, without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etcetera."
"The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the National Order of Witches."

"I listen to feminists and all these radical gals -- most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men -- that's their problem."
"God doesn't listen to Jews."
"If he's going to be the counterfeit of Christ, [the Antichrist] has to be Jewish. The only thing we know is he must be male and Jewish."
"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!"

"I am such a strong admirer and supporter of George W. Bush that if he suggested eliminating the income tax or doubling it, I would vote yes on first blush."

"The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews."
"You'll be riding along in an automobile. You'll be the driver perhaps. You're a Christian. There'll be several people in the automobile with you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds you and the other born-again believers in that automobile will be instantly caught away -- you will disappear, leaving behind only your clothes and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile will suddenly be startled to find the car suddenly somewhere crashes. ... Other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly be out of control and stark pandemonium will occur on ... every highway in the world where Christians are caught away from the drivers wheel." (from Falwell's pamphlet "Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Christ")

"You know when I see somebody burning the flag, I'm a Baptist preacher I'm not a Mennonite, I feel it's my obligation to whip him. In the name of the Lord, of course. I feel it's my obligation to whip him, and if I can't do it then I look up some of my athletes to help me."
What a vile, hateful little man he was.

Immigration: Just my little old opinion

There are a lot of opinions out there on both sides regarding the new immigration deal. Some complain that the new bill would give amnesty to illegal aliens in our country, however it also states that in order to get a new non-immigrant Z-type visa and eventually permanent residency or a green card, the illegal alien would pay $5,000 fine. I wouldn't call paying a fine, amnesty. Generally, if you break the law in this country, you pay a fine or go to jail or both. So this fits in with the program. It makes no fiscal sense to throw illegal immigrants into jail simply for just being here. The fine should satisfy both sides to some degree. As far as deporting millions of illegal immigrants, I doubt that our government could ever pull off anything like that and we could end up having a witch hunt which would be counterproductive. Not only that, I could see the economy collapsing if 12 million people were deported.

The deal is that the above so called "amnesty" would happen after the borders were secured with 18,000 new border guards and "scores of radar and camera towers" were installed on the US border with Mexico. If the jobs created by these new projects don't pay a living wage, you can guess who will be working at the border, can't you. If it's decided that the US is going to build a fence along the border, who do you think will do that job?

Historically, immigrants came here to reunite with their families and to escape oppression. That would be done away with under the new bill unless the persons wishing to move here display some talents and skills needed by the workplace in America. It would be a merit based system. This is a serious bone of contention that deserves some debate. Personally, I would be satisfied with some sort of compromise in this area because immigrants have historically learned new trades once they got here and excelled at them due to their eagerness to achieve the so-called "American Dream." I employ immigrants all the time and I am so impressed with their willingness to learn to communicate in English, give their children a better life and their dedicated work ethic. The passion that they bring with them is what makes our country so great.

The immigration issue isn't something to take lightly because it would redefine our country. You don't redefine a country without some debate. We used to welcome tired, weary, poor, huddled masses and now that we are well stocked with foreign as well as homegrown tired, weary and poor people, it might be a good time to rethink the number of huddled masses we receive.

I am not opposed to immigration at all, in fact I enjoy that so many of my neighbors and friends come from somewhere else in the world. However living in a terribly overpopulated part of the country, I would like to see future incoming immigrants move to less populated states (unless they have family here) and give those states a reason for having 2 Senators.

What do you think about this new immigration deal?

Movie Night?

There are times when I actually feel sorry for movie reviewers. Like many critics, some reviewers do nothing productive which makes them feel entitled to criticize the work done by creative people.

But I feel a debt to the staff over at Pajiba! (Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People) for the following two movie reviews:

This one;

And this one.

One strikes me as brain-squishingly bad, the other as hamster-splittingly nasty. You make the call as to which is which.

Friday Sex Post: The Bible

Hong Kong residents have called the decency of the bible into question due to its sexual and violent content and would like it to be classified as "indecent" which means it could only be sold if sealed in a wrapper to those over 18 years of age.

Indeed the bible is a sexy and violent book. It is no wonder that fundies are so very obsessed with sex and guns.

Rush and Big Dog

This is pretty funny. Rush Limbaugh ran into President Clinton at a restaurant in New York. They were friendly and pleasant towards each other. Clinton complemented Limbaugh on his appearance. Matt Drudge then twisted the story around and people intimated to Rush that he was falling in with the "enemy." And who knows how much Limbaugh twisted the story. You never get a straight story from anyone in the media or politics. I found the story just simply amusing.

Giving Long Island a Bad Name Again

I happened upon a local news channel because I wanted to see what was up with yet another nor'easter hitting our area, and lo and behold, look what the ocean regurgitated- there was Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuocco (buttafucka) strolling through Port Jefferson, Long Island, then going to a restaurant for dinner with the TV cameras rolling. OMG. Just shoot me in the face.

It was the 15 anniversary of when Amy shot Mary Jo in the face (how lovely). Amy did 7 years of hard time in prison, then she had plastic surgery so that she wouldn't be so readily recognized, then she wrote a weekly column in the Long Island Press and she also got married, but is in the process of a divorce. Joey, the pseudo-macho, dick-headed, Long Island guido-type divorced Mary Jo, remarried and is in the process of divorce, had moved to California and got in all sorts of trouble with the law (surprise, surprise) while he was there. I don't know what he is doing back on Long Island. I wish he hadn't returned.

Supposedly some producer thought it would be fun to have a reality show with Amy and Joey. I wish they would do it in California if they feel the overwhelming need to do it. To this date, I have not watched the Long Island Lolita movies that all came out 15 years ago and I have frankly had it up to here with those 2 being on the telly ad nauseum until Bill Clinton's sex life took over the news.

Amy and Joey epitomized the ickiest type of Long Islanders, even more so than some of the Baldwin brothers, Lindsay Lohan, Howard Stern, Alfonse D'Amato, Rudy Giuliani, Rep. Peter King, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. Oh and that character, what's her name, who got raped by Jim Bakker and then moved to the playboy mansion and had plastic surgery- Jessica Hahn. Remember her? ick.

There actually are some cool people from here like me, co-blogger, Billydoom (via Europe,) commenter IMSpartacus, Brian Setzer, Steve Vai, Lou Reed, Andy Kaufman, Joe Satriani, Eddie Murphy, Meadow from the Sopranos, Harry Chapin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Walt Whitman, Twisted Sister (twistidsistuh), Teddy Roosevelt, Jackson Pollock, Mario Puzo, Nelson DeMille, LL Cool J, Flavor Flav, Mariah Carey, Ralph Macchio, Sarah Hughes, Chuck D, Francis Ford Coppola, Ben from Ben and Jerry's, Tony Danza, Alan King, Susan Lucci, Lorraine Bracco, Pat Benatar, Eddie Money, Rosie O'Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Billy Crystal, the girl from the Snapple commercials and the guy from 1-800-flowers (flowiz) and Billy Joel to name a few off the top of my head. Oh and the Amityville Horror House. Whew. Almost forgot our biggest claim to fame.

Thursday, May 17

Looking Around For The Dumbest, Most Corrupt Sunuvabitch On The Planet

That's MY headline. The headline in the Financial Times is:
"Eyes turn to finding Wolfowitz successor"

"Speculation is mounting as to who the Bush administration will nominate to succeed Paul Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank, even as pressure builds for the US give up its traditional right to select one of its own citizens as bank chief."

Article at Finacial Times.

Whatcha s'pose the odds are either way that they do/do not find somebody worse if it's left up the bushomaniacs? Whatever those odds are, I ain't bookin' it!

Extremely Important Tick Warning

I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, and I have even done it myself a couple times unintentionally ... but this one is real, and it's important. So please tell everyone you know about it.

If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warm weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT!! THIS IS A SCAM!! They only want to see you naked.

I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid.

Another Rat Rears Up on His Diseased Hind Legs and Squeaks

According to The Carpetbagger, Richard Viguerie is pissed off at Rudy Giuliani:

* Richard Viguerie, the conservative guru who pioneered direct-mail fundraising, is going after Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign with considerable gusto. “Rudy Giuliani is wrong on all of the social issues, is wrong on the Second Amendment, and is pretty much a blank slate on all other issues of importance to conservatives,” Viguerie adds. “If the Republican Party nominates him, it is saying to the American people that it has lost all purpose except the raw political desire to hold power. It will be time to put the GOP out of its misery.”

Sounds like a winner. I'll get the stake and the mallet.
(And I'M a Republican!)




This is also posted over at my blog, My Two Cents.

Back To Dallas 1963

21st-century technology casts doubt on the Kennedy Bullet Analysis.

The Hippies Were Right!

Green homes? Organic food? Nature is good? Time to give the ol' tie-dyers some respect....

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

There is but one conclusion you can draw from the astonishing (albeit fitful, bittersweet) pro-environment sea change now happening in the culture and (reluctantly, nervously) in the halls of power in D.C., one thing we must all acknowledge in our wary, jaded, globally warmed universe: The hippies had it right all along. Oh yes they did.

You know it's true. All this hot enthusiasm for healing the planet and eating whole foods and avoiding chemicals and working with nature and developing the self? Came from the hippies. Alternative health? Hippies. Green cotton? Hippies. Reclaimed wood? Recycling? Humane treatment of animals? Medical pot? Alternative energy? Natural childbirth? Non-GMO seeds? It came from the granola types (who, of course, absorbed much of it from ancient cultures), from the alternative worldviews, from the underground and the sidelines and from far off the goddamn grid and it's about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

But if you're really bitter and shortsighted, you could say the entire hippie movement overall was just incredibly overrated, gets far too much cultural credit for far too little actual impact, was pretty much a giant excuse to slack off and enjoy dirty lazy responsibility-free sex romps and do a ton of drugs and avoid Vietnam and not bathe for a month and name your child Sunflower or Shiva Moon or Chakra Lennon Sapphire Bumblebee. This is what's called the reactionary simpleton's view. It blithely ignores history, perspective, the evolution of culture as a whole. You know, just like America.

But, you know, whatever. The proofs are easy enough to trace. The core values and environmental groundwork laid by the '60s counterculture are still so intact and potent even the stiffest neocon Republican has to acknowledge their extant power.

....even the drug culture is getting some new respect. Staid old Time mag just ran a rather snide little story about the new studies being conducted by Harvard and the National Institute of Mental Health into the astonishing psychospiritual benefits of goodly entheogens such as LSD, psilocybin and MDMA. Unfortunately, the piece basically backhands Timothy Leary and the entire "excessive," "naive" drug culture of yore in favor of much more "sane" and "careful" scientific analysis happening now, as if the only valid methods for attaining knowledge and an understanding of spirit were through control groups and clinical, mysticism-free examination. Please.

Still, the fact that serious scientific research into entheogens is being conducted even in the face of the most anti-science, pro-pharmaceutical, ultra-conservative presidential regime in recent history is proof enough that all the hoary old hippie mantras about expanding the mind and touching God through drugs were onto something after all (yes, duh). Tim Leary is probably smiling wildly right now -- though that might be due to all the mushrooms he's been sharing with Kerouac and Einstein and Mary Magdalene. Mmm, heaven.

Of course, true hippie values mean you're not really supposed to care about or attach to any of this, you don't give a damn for the hollow ego stroke of being right all along, for slapping the culture upside the head and saying, See? Do you see? It was never about the long hair and the folk music and Woodstock and taking so much acid you see Jesus and Shiva and Buddha tongue kissing in a hammock on the Dog Star, nimrods.

It was, always and forever, about connectedness. It was about how we are all in this together. It was about resisting the status quo and fighting tyrannical corporate/political power and it was about opening your consciousness and seeing new possibilities of how we can all live with something resembling actual respect for the planet, for alternative cultures, for each other. You know, all that typical hippie crap no one believes in anymore. Right?

Impeachable. You bet.

The signature on my Email reads:
NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.
--------------

Comey's recent testimony reveals that he and Ashcroft were so concerned about the illegality of operating outside FISA by eavesdropping on citizens without a court order, that Ashcroft and top officials of the DOJ threatened to resign.

When the seriously ill and often confused Ashcroft was in the hospital at the time, the Bushistas wanted to send Andy Card and Alberto Gonzalez, who were considered "thugs" by DOJ officials and the FBI, to visit Ashcroft in the hospital and coerce him to sign a document allowing them to commit these felonies. Comey rushed to the hospital to be present during this coercion. In fact, FBI director Mueller told his agents that Comey must be present in Ashcroft's room with Card and Gonzalez. Later, Comey would not even meet with Andy Card in Card's office without a witness present. Andy Card insisted on no witnesses being present. Pretty interesting behavior from a "legal" government.

Then the Bush Administration told Comey to do whatever was necessary to make the program "legal." It is still unclear what changes were made. This is more criminal than Watergate and the Clinton BJ put together.

Read Glenn Greenwald's examination of this situation for the details.

Et Tu Democrats?

The House rejected measures to require that George Bush seek congressional approval before attacking Iran. There are some Democrats who are concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions. Why oh why would they want to leave the final decision on how to deal with it to this president?

Senator Clinton flip flopped several times yesterday concerning withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

I try to understand that these are politicians we are dealing with and doublespeak is their middle name no matter where they fall on the spectrum- but we are talking about life and death, war and peace, and quite frankly politics at this time is bullshit.

Wednesday, May 16

Breaking News

The Justice Department handed over "some" Karl Rove emails to the Congress Investigation Committee into the firing of US Attorneys. "Some", perhaps hand picked inoffensive and not incriminating emails. The ones probably talking about the weather.
The good news is the "drip, drip" has started. Remember Watergate?
I think, it's time for procedures for a Special Prosecutor to be initiated by the Congress.

I wonder, how long they can postpone the inevitable?!
When you live in lies, the truth will catch up with you and bite you in the ass!

Eventually.

Back to the Weirdness

This is further proof that The Madness is spreading:

Severed arm of beheaded mother placed in flower pot
05/16/2007
The Asahi Shimbun

AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Fukushima Prefecture--A 17-year-old boy suspected of decapitating his mother is also believed to have cut off her right arm, painted it white and placed it in a flower pot, police sources said Wednesday.

A saw likely used to mutilate the woman was found in the teen's apartment room where the killing took place early Tuesday, the sources said.

The third-year senior high school student also spent about two hours at an Internet cafe before reporting to a police station around 7 a.m. Tuesday carrying his mother's severed head in a school bag, they said.

The boy was arrested on suspicion of murder and was sent to prosecutors Wednesday afternoon.

According to Fukushima prefectural police, the teen allegedly killed his 47-year-old mother around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday while she was sleeping in the apartment the boy shared with his younger brother.

The brothers lived away from their parents so that they could attend public schools in Aizu-Wakamatsu. The parents lived in a town outside the city and the mother, a child-care worker, often visited the sons' apartment.

An autopsy showed she died of blood loss after her jugular vein was cut. Her body was found lying on her stomach on a futon.

Knife slashes on the palms of her hands indicate she tried to defend herself during the attack.
The boy was also slightly injured on both hands.

Sources close to the investigation said the severed arm appeared to have been spray painted white.

The boy showed up at the Internet cafe in the city around 4:55 a.m. Tuesday, with his arm wrapped in a bandage. He was carrying a black shoulder bag made of cloth, which apparently contained his mother's head, the sources said.

He watched a music video on a DVD in a private room before calling a taxi and heading to the police station, where he admitted killing his mother.

According to the senior high school the boy was attending, he had repeatedly missed classes since the second half of his second-grade year.

Since April 16, he had been absent from school, citing headaches and other reasons, according to the school.

He started seeing a psychiatrist early this month, and his mother asked school officials to check on her son.

Investigative authorities said they are planning a psychiatric examination on the boy.(IHT/Asahi: May 16,2007)

***

I asked a mental health counselor about this, and his snap diagnosis was: "He's fucking nuts."



This post also appears on my blog, My Two Cents. Drop in sometime!

Quote of the Week:

(Amy Goodman interviewing Studs Terkel on his birthday):

"I asked Studs how he felt turning 95. "I feel like I always feel: rotten, physically, to tell you the truth," he said. "However, here I am, breathing, inhaling, exhaling. When Robert Browning wrote in his poem, 'Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,' he was telling as much truth as George W. Bush and Karl Rove. He was lying like a rug."

Read Amy's entire article at Give 'Em Hell, Mr. Terkel.

A Time Out

We all need a little break, what with the wars and rumors of wars, malfeasance and misfeasance and so on, so I decided to share a few more of the 1,523 pictures I took of my vacation to Munich, Germany in 2006.
I have no idea the title or artist of this picture, but I thought it was cute. It's hanging in the Hunting and Fishing Museum (which is more elaborate than it looks, and parts of it are very interesting).
Lenin in Red, by Andy Warhol. The Lenbach House (Munich City Art Gallery) also has a companion work, Lenin in Black.
An indication that no place is safe from silly puns.
2006 was apparently the 500th anniversary of the Lowenbrau brewery, which started in Munich. A bunch of these large plastic lions are on display, some painted in the royal colors of Bavaria (blue and white), some done up whimsically.

A transvestite lion, out in front of a store that sells perfume. I had to get a picture just from the sheer weirdness of it.
Other pictures can be seen at my blog, My Two Cents - drop in sometime!

"Compassionate Conservatism" is Not Dead Yet

It appears that we have some "compassionate conservative" candidates, just like our current president. The anti-American right wing of government continues to serve the dark side.

Audience applauds as Guiliani and Tancredo endorse waterboarding torture: "Both former mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) suggested they would support using the technique. Specifically asked about waterboarding, Giuliani said he would allow “every method [interrogators] could think of and I would support them in doing it.” Tancredo later added, “I’m looking for Jack Bauer,” referencing the television character on "24" who has used torture techniques such as suffocation and electrocution on prisoners."

ThinkProgress also reports that earlier this year, conservative pundits such as Laura Ingraham applauded 24's endorsement of torture saying such lovely things as:
"The average American out there loves the show 24. OK? They love Jack Bauer. They love 24. In my mind that’s close to a national referendum that it’s OK to use tough tactics against high-level Al Qaeda operatives as we’re going to get."
The US Military is not amused by the right wing using the show 24 as a foreign policy play book so
"The United States Military Academy at West Point yesterday confirmed that Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently travelled to California to meet producers of the show, broadcast on the Fox channel. He told them that promoting illegal behaviour in the series - apparently hugely popular among the US military - was having a damaging effect on young troops." The Independent
Obviously oblivious to the United States Constitution, Mitt Romney doubly endorses Gitmo: "I am glad [detainees] are at Guantanamo. I don’t want them on our soil. I want them on Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons, I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo."

Meanwhile, those who do actually know how the government is supposed to act (two federal appeals court judges) have questioned the corrupt Bush administration which "proposes to limit detainees' lawyers to the evidence presented to the U.S. military tribunal that made the determination. That position drew intense questioning from Judges Douglas Ginsburg and Judith W. Rogers." Both judges "appeared to support giving detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, access to all the evidence against them when challenging their designation as enemy combatants." WP