Saturday, December 31, 2005

And may God help us all ...

NYT headline: In A Quiet Vacation, the President Readies for an Ambitious Agenda.

According to Stephen Hadley the regime has "listened to our critics and are already pursuing many of their proposals" which would be more reassuring if Bush's weekly radio address had not included delusions like this:

  • after the Dec. 15 Iraqi election, whose results are still in flux, the country was on its way to "an inclusive, unified and lasting democracy."
The truth is, we've replaced a secular government with a theocracy of religious extremists who hate our guts. Way to go, there. You can almost smell the crude oil they want to give us for all our good deeds, can't you?

  • On the economic front he insisted that, even with tax cuts, his government was "staying on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009," but he made no mention of the fact that his Treasury secretary, John W. Snow, asked Congress on Thursday to raise the debt limit again, the fourth time in Mr. Bush's presidency, so that the government can borrow more money, largely for increases in military and entitlement programs.
Speaking on a strictly personal level here, as I try my damnedest to stay afloat as a member of the lower middle class (but find myself sinking steadily under a rising tide of increased prices without anything extra coming in), I would not trust these people to oversee a piggy bank. & what they're doing to our economy should be considered as criminal, in its own way, as their war crimes against Iraq.

But hey, at least there isn't anything about eviscerating Social Security on his current agenda ...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I, Spy

(well, no, not me, but the regime holding the reins of power in my country, yes, they spy)

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Government records show that the Bush administration was encountering unprecedented second-guessing by the secret federal surveillance court when President Bush decided to bypass the panel and order surveillance of U.S.-based terror suspects without the court's approval.

A review of Justice Department reports to Congress shows that the 26-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court modified more wiretap requests from the Bush administration than the four previous presidential administrations combined.

Gosh, that's kind of a bad sign when you can't get a rubber-stamp court to give you permission. I doubt they ever asked themselves why this was, of course. Stay the course & all that...

Wonder how come it was so tough to get those warrants?

President Bush and other top officials in his administration used the National Security Agency to secretly wiretap the home and office telephones and monitor private email accounts of members of the United Nations Security Council in early 2003 to determine how foreign delegates would vote on a U.N. resolution that paved the way for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, NSA documents show. Two former NSA officials familiar with the agency's campaign to spy on U.N. members say then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice authorized the plan at the request of President Bush, who wanted to know how delegates were going to vote.

(Raw Story link via DU. Saddest part is, the story isn't even new.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Cat Bloggin'

Miss Keesa.

The Lighter Side

Third World Nation Watch

Our government continues to cover itself with glory in its handling of the aftermath of Katrina.

(See also this and this, which can surely be filed under "conservatism, compassionate.")

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Jumpin' Cats!

As the subject line says ...

The cat Jessica, my own feline companion, says that these cats are show-offs, obviously suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome. She also says that she could do that sort of thing if she wanted to, but she doesn't, so that's that.

Worst. President. Ever.

This chap in the Australian has some pithy words.

George's response to 9/II? He invades Afghanistan to terminate with extreme prejudice bin Laden and punish the Taliban. Bin who? He hasn't bin seen lately. The Taliban? They've withdrawn a few kilometres and the war lords, whose brutality and corruption made the Taliban welcome in the first place, are now back in the saddle. They're showing their gratitude to George by once more producing 80 per cent of the world's heroin.

Confusing Iraq with Iran (or possibly Syria) and confusing Saddam Hussein with bin Laden, George demolishes pretty much an entire nation. In further confusion, he mistakes palm trees for nuclear missiles and camels and donkeys for biological and chemical weapons. This leads to the deaths of 100,000 innocent Iraqis who had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center. George's war also involves the deaths of 2000 young Americans and tips the Iraqis into a civil war that will go on and bloodily on for decades. George further destabilises the world's most dangerous region and persuades a new generation to choose suicide bombing as a career.

Via The Smirking Chimp.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Backing In

So it's off to the post-season for another year, but somehow it doesn't seem like quite that big a deal. The fact that the Sox not only make it to the playoffs via the wildcard, but also that it didn't matter what they did today once the Indians lost leaves me with a sort of "yeahhhhhh, so what" feeling.

Frankly, they don't deserve to be in the playoffs this year. With a few exceptions (Ortiz, Wakefield, Manny when he feels like it), they've played indifferently for much of the season, they've thrown away games that the kids playing kickball over at the playground could have won, and there have been too many moments where Terry Francona seems to have been posessed body and soul by the malignant spectre of Grady Little.


So the baseball season winds down, and once the post-season is over, we'll have to figure out something else to do with ourselves in the evening besides watching the games and making snarky comments about the quality of play via AIM. I dont watch football, myself, since I don't really understand what's happening -- but since Ms Zhakora has pointed out that certain members of the Patriots posess outstanding gluteal development, I may be forced to reconsider.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in the Washington Post

Chavez doesn't exactly mince words:

This [the Bush] administration invaded Iraq. According to Pope John Paul II, it is an illegal war, an immoral war, a terrorist war. The U.S. has bombarded entire cities, used chemical weapons and napalm, killed women, children and thousands of soldiers. That's terrorism.

In Venezuela they fostered a coup d'etat [in 2002] manufactured by the CIA . . . Recently,ReverendRobertson called for my assassination. This is a terrorist attack, according to international law. In Miami, on a daily basis, people on TV shows are calling for my assassination. This is terrorism.

This [present U.S.] government is a threat to humanity. I have confidence that the American people will save humanity from this government -- they will not allow it to [continue to] violate human rights and to invade countries.

It's a very damning interview.

SAG news

Alan Rosenberg has been elected president of the Screen Actors Guild. He is married to one of my favorite actors, Marg Helgenberger (under-utilized but still fantastic on the monster hit CSI, but who absolutely shone on the shamefully under-appreciated China Beach). Good for him, I hope he does well.

The Signs, They're A'Changin'

Antiwar protest sign: Make Levees, Not War.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Just a blog post

It's been nearly impossible to post lately, for a lot of reasons (many of them related to a lass named Katrina, but not limited thereto).
I shall be ordering oil today, since the big oil people will be once again using natural disaster in the gulf region to kill off the middle class by price gouging. As Hurricane Rita does her thing down in Louisiana and Texas, the big oil people will be wreaking even more damage across the rest of the land. We have this to look forward to. Bush will be leading the vanguard from his position on the front lines – Northern Command in Colorado Springs.
Rumor has it that he's back on the bottle, due to the grief he feels over every death in Iraq, etc etc. The idea that he feels grief is certainly a novel one, and not one that holds up under any sort of scrutiny. If it is grief he feels, however, I would say it is the grief, coupled with frustration, felt toward his tanking poll numbers & the growing intransigence of even his own party members. My God, how dare they? Don't they know he must cement his place in American history as the best of the best? Eviscerating Social Security is a tough job, he can't do it alone. Don't they realize that? Since he is not someone who takes being thwarted well, toddler tantrums are waiting in the wings, most recently evidenced by his linking the Osama crowd (those nasty BAD terrorists) with the even-more-devastating Hurricane Katrina (nasty BAD weather). Both BAD, you see. BAD BAD. To the mind of a 4 year old, this is all the link necessary. (This also can easily explain away the illegal invasion of Iraq in terms that might more accurately convey why we're doing what we're doing, than whatever the current justification for the invasion is this week.)

Friday Cat Bloggin'

Go ahead. Make my day...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Saturday Kitty Blogging

Miss Keesa
Miss Keesa, the magnificent.

Cat Bloggin'

Prettiest darn catamaran I ever saw ...

Friday, August 19, 2005

The other half

Via Salon's Daou Report, I'd like to recommend two links. I admit that I have a very hard time understanding the rationales & thought processes of the right wing. And, to my shame, I find that the more intolerance I see from their end, the more intolerant I become of them, and I don't like it. It shames me deeply to realize that these people, under the guise of a warped patriotism, are racist, bigoted and generally mis-informed on every issue that comes to mind. These people are my fellow Americans. They are supporting a war criminal who has hijacked the highest office in this country. They are vengeful and bloodthirsty. It shames me that my country could produce people like that. The sooner that China takes its rightful place atop the heap (it's actually already there, aided strongly by the inept and criminally incompetent current regime), and the sooner America is marginalized as a former world power without teeth or claws, the better. Thanks to people like this and this, we deserve nothing else.

the concept that Iraq only became a terrorist haven after our liberation of the country is a rather idiotic leftwing talking point

keep killing 'em W - it's why I voted for u!!!

Deep down inside, when most Americans saw this reported in the news, we were like — so what? We lost hundreds and made fun of a few prisoners. Sure, it was wrong, sure, it dramatically hurts our cause, but until captured we were trying to kill these same prisoners. Now we’re supposed to wring our hands because a few were humiliated?

Our compassion is tempered with the vivid memories of our own people killed, mutilated and burnt amongst a joyous crowd of celebrating Fallujahans.

If you want an apology from this American, you’re going to have a long wait!

This is America? What happened to the United States of the World War II years? The greatest generation has spawned this? God help us all.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Kitty Bloggin'

Kitty Pride.

Meet Winston, et al.

Size Matters (to these people, anyway)

A link about how to accurately measure penis length (caution: explicit).

Goodness gracious. You can find anything on the internet, though not necessarily what you set out to find ...

[Update: Jude Law's slight image problem.]

Monday, August 15, 2005

Another Fractal


Eat Your Heart Out George

The Red Sox lead the Yankees on the web too.

Last week, the sports publisher Street & Smith's released its ranking of professional sports Web sites, and in the baseball category the Red Sox led the major leagues while the Yankees were near the cellar - in 27th place among 30 teams.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

We are all created equal

Via the excellent Digby at Hullabaloo, comes a link to this article:

President Bush ... on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq. [...]

"... whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job," Bush said on the ranch. "And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say."

"But," he added, "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life."

This is just a wild guess on my part, but I'm thinking that it was important to Casey Sheehan to go on with his life, too. At least he can now rest easy knowing that he has sacrificed his life in the noble cause of bringing Iraq & Iran together.

It's just beyond insensitive that Mrs. Sheehan doesn't see how much she's bothering Bush by upsetting his vacation like this. The man has his life to get on with:

The comments came prior to a bike ride on the ranch with journalists and aides. [...]
In addition to the two-hour bike ride, Bush's Saturday schedule included an evening Little League Baseball playoff game, a lunch meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a nap, some fishing and some reading.
It is obvious that fitting in Mrs. Sheehan into his busy schedule was too much to ask.

"I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him.
It'd sure make a nice change to have a president that makes good decisions. For instance, if Bush had made the decision to meet with Mrs. Sheehan when she first showed up in Crawford, then all the subsequent hoohaa simply would not have happened. Mrs. Sheehan would have asked her questions, gotten the usual delusional blather about noble causes and making the US safer. She would have been dis-satisfied with these answers (everyone but the right-wing cultists blinded by their ideology and the neutered American media would be dis-satisfied with these answers) but honor would have been served. And it all would have gone away. That Bush cannot do this speaks very poorly of him as a "leader," a "thinker" and even more poorly of his non-existent personal courage.

"What did you do in the war Daddy?"

"I hid out on the ranch and went fishing. Um. I took naps. I went to ball games. I read My Pet Goat ... it was hard work..."

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Big Raspberry

I doubt this news will get the coverage it deserves in the United States, but at least there is a detailed (if alarming) article in the UK's Guardian. The first three grafs:

A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today.

Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.

Dubya gives the world another raspberry (by his stubborn, misguided disregard for this problem) but it looks like the world's got a bigger raspberry in store for him. Too bad the rest of us have to be impacted too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

One Soldier's Story

Talking Wounded by Peter Carlson.

"I don't want anything to do with him [Bush]," he explains. "My belief is that his ego is getting people killed and mutilated for no reason -- just his ego and his reputation. If we really wanted to, we could pull out of Iraq. Maybe not completely but enough that we wouldn't be losing people -- at least not at this rate. So I think he himself is responsible for quite a few American deaths."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Only in America

heaven help us
They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Coming home from the festival this past weekend, I came across this rolling monument to tastelessness in Waldoboro, Maine. (Note the nifty support the troops magnet thingy -- never forget, folks, we're a country at war, dammit! And that means, we buy them little magnet thingies & stick 'em on our gas guzzlers!)

The World Famous Rockland Maine Lobster Festival

That's right, it's that time of year again.

I was too squeamish to take any photos of the world's largest lobster pot (brimming with crustacean sacrifices at the time) but I did gather my courage & photograph the great, the amazing, the astonishing ... Don Rickles. (See previous post.)

And here are a couple more:

a fool & his money
Big crowds and bright lights ...
Rockland Harbor
... the view shortly before sunset, just beyond the food tent at the festival ...
USS Wasp
... the US Navy on hand, glimpsed through the masts of pleasure craft in the harbor.

Don Rickles Blogging

Don Rickles, still alive

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

For The Kids

Every summer, my town gets a visit from the Navy.

A ship pulls into harbor and hundreds of sailors swarm up into the streets for shoreleave -- spilling out of bars and restaurants, filling the sidewalks, turning up everywhere you look. And it's startling how much they stand out.

We don't see uniforms much anymore around here -- not even with a Coast Guard base right in town and a Naval Air Station just an hour's drive down the highway. Even though we've been at war for two years, to actually *see* a member of the Armed Forces, in person, is something of an oddity.

Out of sight, out of mind, in other words. And I think that's probably true of most of the rest of the country. Most of us don't serve, don't have friends or relatives serving, and the only time we ever really think about the Armed Forces is when we flick thru the news channels or browse the newspaper and see one of those head-shot photos they run over the obituaries of the latest casualties.

I stopped into a local pub tonight to grab a quick supper -- and was surrounded by kids in white. Angular, lanky young men and slender, wiry young women, all in crisp, knife-creased uniforms. And each and every one of them was a *kid.*

Oh, occasionally you might see a grownup -- a craggy, salty old CPO with an arm full of hashmarks -- but all I saw tonight were kids. Not one of them out of their early twenties, and the waitresses were on standing orders that every one of them had to show ID before being served drinks.


The kind of kids who joined the service right out of high school, looking for a chance to improve their lot, a chance to make something of themselves, a chance to pick up some skills, a chance to get away from whatever two-bit towns they came from. Kids who were the right age to be *my* kids.

That's who fights wars, you know. Those fresh-faced, laughing kids. We pack them up, send them off, and some of them don't come home again. And aside from their families, the rest of us never give them a thought.

I watched those kids, and I thought about this war, and I thought about how the people responsible for it have gone out of their way to avoid living up to their responsibilities to those kids and their families. That's Republican family values for you. That's the sort of two-bit phony patriotism that thinks its perfectly fine for other people's children to fight and die for a trumped-up cause.

I ate my supper. But I didn't have much appetite.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Choosing to be gay?

A very moving blog entry from someone who clearly made the right "choice."

Friday, July 29, 2005

Screening for Psychopaths in the Workplace

Canadian criminal psychologist Robert Hare came up with the Psycopathy Checklist evaluation that is the standard tool in determining whether a person falls into the one percent of all people who lack any sort of conscience.

He said that the recent corporate scandals could have been prevented if CEOs were screened for psychopathic behavior. "Why wouldn't we want to screen them?" he asked. "We screen police officers, teachers. Why not people who are going to handle billions of dollars?"
The very interesting article describes psychopathic behavior this way:

Psychopaths have a profound lack of empathy. They use other people callously and remorselessly for their own ends. They seduce victims with a hypnotic charm that masks their true nature as pathological liars, master con artists, and heartless manipulators. Easily bored, they crave constant stimulation, so they seek thrills from real-life "games" they can win -- and take pleasure from their power over other people.
Though the article is about corporate psychopathy, after the reading the above, I couldn't help but think that any future presidential aspirants here in the US might also be screened. Imagine what we could have spared the world had a screening mechanism been in place prior to the 2000 election.

(toth: the Sideshow)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Yankees Better Not Try Something Like This

A rugby team during a match in New Zealand was helped along by a PA announcement that the Pope had died in a car accident, throwing off a player so badly that he missed a penalty kick.

This is what comes of a country whose population hangs onto the world upside down, by their fingernails ...

(er .. don't they?)

It was every Catholic's worst nightmare – and a hardy Wairarapa footy player's: the Pope's death announced as the kicker prepared his run-up in the last minutes of a semifinal.

The ground announcer's quip in the Wairarapa-Bush club rugby semifinal might have helped cost Marist a place in the final.

Marist's Paddy Rimene was lining up a penalty kick in front of the posts – aiming to give Marist a victory over Gladstone. The score was 10-10.

Moments before his run-up, a voice over the loudspeaker declared the Pope had died in a car accident. As Rimene's kick bounced off the post, the loudspeaker announced the Pope was in fact fine and the accident was only a fender bender.

Gladstone won 13-10, with a penalty conversion in extra time.

Mr Rimene – who usually nails his kicks – admitted being "really annoyed" by the comments.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Cold Mountain redux

Coming on the heels of the tremendous critical success of The English Patient, Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain seemed to have found critics suffering from a surfeit of Miramax "special" movies and the film didn't do as well as (I think) it should have. One objection to the story line that was often raised by critics was that the lovers Ada & Inman simply didn't know each other that well, and thus the journeys both face (in very different ways) to be reunited lacked the resonance that it would otherwise have. Have none of these critics read Romeo & Juliet? Or maybe seen one of the more or less faithful adaptations thereof? It's not the quantity, folks, it's the quality. I had seen this movie back after its initial release, but recently re-watched it and realized that it's a very good movie indeed.

the strong women of Cold Mountain

Yes, it is. Really.

(I'm a sucker for those female-bonding flicks anyway ...)

The box office returns this year have been pretty putrid -- Hollywood is fatuously blaming things like dvd rentals and so forth for the slump, rather than taking a good long look at the disastrous effect the Bush regime's foreign policies are having here in the States (& especially at the gas pumps). When you start to feel that you can't afford to buy gas, things like going to the movies tend to fall by the wayside. A domino effect that I can see gathering much momentum in the coming months, especially as winter starts to take its toll in the north. I'm disgusted with what's been allowed to happen to democracy in this country and only see a grim outlook for the future.

Amos 'n' Andy revisited

My blogmate and best buddy has a book out. Please give it a look.

A Top Ten List

This came via that high-hopping kangaroo, Skippy, who needs two million hits. (Congrats to Skippy the Bush Kangaroo on passing the one million mark.)

top 10 reasons dorothy was greeted as a liberator ...and our army wasn't

10. the wicked witch of the east actually had weapons of mass destruction.

9. rebuilding contracts awarded locally to lullaby league and lollipop guild.

8. dorothy apologized.

7. evil oppressor legally verified as "really most sincerely dead" rather than "maybe dead."

6. dorothy got it that she wasn't in kansas any more.

5. did not install toto as interim governor of munchkinland.

4. went home as soon as possible.

3. no interest in munchkinland's natural resources.

2. dorothy wasn't taking orders from the one with no brain.

1. no collateral damage.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Frank Rich on Bush and the Plame outing

I haven't seen this idea put forth by anyone else, but it makes perfect sense.

From today's NY Times:

But the scandal has metastasized so much at this point that the forgotten man Mr. Bush did not nominate to the Supreme Court is as much a window into the White House's panic and stonewalling as its haste to put forward the man he did. When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.

Thus is Mr. Gonzales's Supreme Court aspiration the first White House casualty of this affair.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hilarious Blog Post

Via Mahablog, comes a link. The funniest thing I've seen in some time: Revenge of the Sith, or Backstroke of the West. George Lucas better watch out.

From Today's Washington Post

Fighting terror, with terror.

The Bush administration in recent days has been lobbying to block legislation supported by Republican senators that would bar the U.S. military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.

Vice President Cheney met Thursday evening with three senior Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to press the administration's case that legislation on these matters would usurp the president's authority and -- in the words of a White House official -- interfere with his ability "to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack."

Compassionate conservatism at its finest.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

From the Washington Post

E.J. Dionne Jr tackles the new supreme court nominee.

(fwiw, Roberts scares me silly. The scales of justice aren't meant to be tipped, folks, whatever the folks on the right might desire.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Chipmunk Blog


"And would it kill you to add some nuts here? Eh?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

From the National Geographic

My best bud (& blog-mate) gets interviewed. (& oh yeah, there's some stuff about the radio War of the Worlds which caused such a "panic" back before we all got so jaded.)

Link of the Day

Sports: you've come a long way, baby. (Warning: adult (sort of) content.)

From Today's Washington Post

A scary piece by EJ Dionne, Jr. addresses the idea that it wasn't so much venal underhandedness but outright delusion that led the current regime to throw away 1700 (& counting) American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives for what a British politician refers to as Bush's "grudge" against Saddam.

Way to go, boys. some ways more devastating are other recently disclosed documents in which British officials warned that "there was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action." The British worried at the time that "U.S. military plans are virtually silent" on the fact that "a postwar occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise."

The most damaging document supporting this claim is not secret, and remains one of the most important artifacts of the prewar debate. It is the transcript of "Meet the Press" from March 16, 2003, in which Vice President Cheney gave voice to the administration's optimistic assumptions that have now been laid low by reality.

Host Tim Russert asked whether "we would have to have several hundred thousand troops there" in Iraq "for several years in order to maintain stability." Cheney replied: "I disagree." He wouldn't say how many troops were needed, but he added that "to suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don't think is accurate. I think that's an overstatement."

Russert asked: "If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?"

Cheney would have none of it. "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. . . . The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want [is to] get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Blog Link

From the aptly named Lethal Thought.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Chipmunk Blog

baby chipmunk

Because rodentia deserve equal rights too...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Kitty Blog

Miss Jessica

Miss Jess catches a few rays.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

More pictures


Canada Goose

"What part of 'no, you can't take my picture' do you not understand?"

Photos taken on a recent trip to Lasdon Park in Somers, New York.

Obeying the Law of the Land

We live in a dangerous time. A time when revisionism or downright wrong-headedness can lead to people like G. Gordon Liddy, Pat Buchanan and Charles Colson impugning the integrity of "Deep Throat" for, basically, putting his loyalty to his country and the laws that govern it over his loyalty to elected officials that were, after all, elected in the belief that they would uphold the law, not break it. (I know that Felt's motives are unlikely to be anything like that pure or cut & dried, but in the end, the choice he made was the right one for his country.) I've read about how we desperately need a new improved Deep Throat to help bring down the current elected officials (& others) engaged in illegal acts.

This boy is not Deep Throat. But he has done something remarkable just the same. He has stood up for the law of the land over the illegal dictates of the current regime.

From an essay by Pablo Paredes:

The moment we first sentenced German service members for not disobeying orders that they “should have known were illegal” we accepted that the responsibility to determine which orders are legal and which illegal rests in the conscience of the service member.

It also, therefore, holds true that to punish service members who acted on their conscience-with plausible backing from documents and prominent figures in international law-is not only unjustifiable and an injustice to those individuals, but sends a dangerous message to our military: that when given an order they believe to be illegal they are in a catch-22- they can be prosecuted if they obey; and they can be prosecuted if they don’t.

Do we really mean to have the armed foot soldier obey orders blindly in our name…..and be the fall-guy too?

Pablo Paredes refused to obey orders to deploy with his ship, obeying instead his conscience and the law of the land. And he has faced a court martial for doing so.But something rather remarkable happened during his trial.

Highlights from the article by Lynn Gonzales:

The prosecution's decision to call a Navy "lifer" (29 years in) and student at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law was another such occurrence. This witness, after learning that Pablo and his lawyer would appear at a school event, had taken it upon himself to contact Trial Services on base, ask for Pablo's prosecutors, and offer to take notes at the event. Wholly unimpressive as a witness, when asked if he believed in free speech, he answered, "well....yes, at certain times and under certain circumstances" (one can only hope that such blatant ignorance of the fundamentals of democracy bodes badly on his capacity to pass the bar.)

While his testimony proved unimportant, the fact that he had been called was pivotal for it all but ensured the defense's right to call Marjorie Cohn to rebut. Dr. Cohn was not only present at the event in question, but is a renowned international law expert and a fierce opponent of the war in Iraq.

What did Dr. Cohn do?

Judge Klant kept a tight rein on the Defense's questioning of Marjorie Cohn; allowing only that which spoke to the reasonableness of Pablo's belief that the Iraq war is illegal. But when the attorney for the government began his cross-examination, the judge gave him plenty of rope with which to hang himself - and hang himself he did.

First he carefully elicited from Marjorie the legal basis, grounded in both international and domestic law, of her conclusion that not only is the war in Iraq illegal and Pablo's conclusions to that effect thereby reasonable, but that Pablo was actually duty bound to refuse to board his ship. Next he extrapolated out to "any seaman recruit's" ability to draw the same conclusions. Clearly of the belief that Marjorie's agreement was conjuring up visions of mass mutiny in the judge's mind, and assuming that such visions would convince the judge that harsher, rather than lighter, sentencing was in order; the prosecutor did not stop with the example of Iraq. He triumphantly referenced other published works of Marjorie's concerning the illegality of the wars on Afghanistan and Yugoslavia and again demanded that she specify if she believed that any seaman recruit would be justified in refusing orders due to his/her belief that these wars were illegal as well. In all three cases, Marjorie complied with a detailed explanation of why the war in question was illegal and why the seaman recruit would be obligated to refuse to participate in them once he found them as such.

After a 20-30 minute eternity that left us all in a stupor of disbelief that the war's legality had just been debated in a military court, on the record, and had lost, badly, the attorney for the prosecution sat down.

And then the judge said, "I believe the government has just successfully proved that any seaman recruit has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."

(emphasis mine)

Picture of the day

duck family

Amesbury MA. A proud mama & a large brood of ducklings.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Picture of the day

heron in massachusetts
I (unfortunately) disturbed this very large fellow in Amesbury MA recently.

Pictures of the day


wild flowers

Both pictures were taken today in New Hampshire. It's been a terribly cold and rainy spring in this area and today was the first really decent day in a long time.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Link to Kitty Blog

The adult looks a lot like my feline companion, Miss Jessica, but I think she'd draw the line at being photographed with a little kitten.

(toth: Kevin Drum)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Shake it, baby!

If you like cats ...

(toth: Boingboing, which has a kitty roundup, and also the gosh-darnedest Star Wars-related link I've ever seen.)

I See London, I See France...

Forget about oil, forget the evil-dictator thing, forget about the intricacies of middle-east politics. All you have to do is take one look at the Saddam In His Tighty Whities photos to see exactly why Bush has such a problem with him. "Who do you think you are, Mister Big Stuff?"

Personally, I think he's packing. Which wouldn't be surprising, since Bush is the sort who'd be intimidated even by a rolled up sock.

From Think Progress

An excellent (& for today's senate, unusually eloquent) rebuttal from Max Baucus regarding Santorum's puzzling & historically inaccurate rhetoric on the senate floor yesterday comparing the Democrats to Hitler. (Comments below the post worth reading too.)

Santorum is stupid. I would suggest he try a history primer, but I rather suspect some of the concepts and big words would defeat him.

Friday, May 13, 2005

A Must Read

Molly Bingham, freshly home from Iraq, gives a speech.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

History Repeats Itself

Steve Clemons at the Washington Note has been doing a great job keeping interested observers up to date on the John Bolton nomination. Excerpts from a recent post:

In the Fall of 2004, John Bolton was given the task of communicating U.S. admninistration policy on Iran -- and commenting on the prospect and process of European negotiations with Iran -- at a Washington meeting of certain G8 principals.

...Bolton simply "quickly stated administration policy and that was it. He stopped. No more discussion. He gave 'one read' of the policy and refused to do more."

In other words -- and I have confirmed this bizarre incident -- John Bolton read the administration's policy from a prepared text, but he refused to distribute that text -- and he refused to read the statement again.

He had read the statement once, fast -- and would not read it again.

Excerpts from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer:

... the Germans had drawn up proposals and Ribbentrop [Joachim Ribbentrop, German Foreign minister, later found guilty and hung for war crimes after the first Nuremberg International Military Tribunal] now proceeded to read them.

He read them in German "at top speed, or rather gabbled to me as fast as he could, in a tone of utmost annoyance," Henderson [Sir Nevile Henderson, British ambassador to Germany in 1939] reported.

[Henderson continues:]

"Of the sixteen articles I was able to gather the gist of six or seven, but it would have been quite impossible to guarantee even the exact accuracy of these without a careful study of the text itself. When he had finished I accordingly asked him to let me see it. Ribbentrop refused categorically, threw the document with a contemptuous gesture on the table ..."

It's worth pointing out, I think, that Bolton was "conferring" with allies.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Kitty Blog

Miss Keesa, Living On The Edge...

Support the Troops

Last week, Donald Rumsfield kicked off the "America Supports You" campaign, unveiling the latest strategy for support of stressed-out, overworked US troops sadly depleted in armor and other provisions.

“This is about supporting the troops who are supporting our country all across the world,” Rumsfeld said. “I present to you – Spiderman!”

Talk about non-sequiturs.

Spiderman did have a snappy, if ill-advised, new salute for the troops:

Sieg Donnie!

So how is the US government showing their support of the troops?

Well, there was a vote in the senate a few days ago where an additional 213 million dollars was set aside for the manufacture of (properly) armored humvees. The vote breakdown was 61 yeas, 39 nays. The 39 nays were 1 democrat and 38 republicans. (Including, I'm ashamed to say, both senators from New Hampshire. And, oh yeah, presidential hopeful Bill Frist, kitty-killer kompassionate konservative.)

Picture of the day

mandelbrot lake

Stumbled across this unusual take on the Mandelbrot lake.

On Social Security

From the Washington Post, an excellent piece by E.J. Dionne Jr.

The Hyprocrisy Might Be The Worst Thing Of All...

From AMERICAblog comes the touching story of a "family values" politician and his rage when his little "something on the side" is a bit late.

Um ... ???

Monday, May 02, 2005

Shameless self-promotion

This will have to do until Elizabeth's book is out (real soon now!).

It's a 16.5 meg music video, wmv format.

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting ...

Funnest and most entertaining movie I've seen in ages: Kung Fu Hustle.

The Elizabethan half of this blog was initiated into the club of those who've seen the light (and the flick) yesterday and wrote me this afterward:

I have never seen anything like that, and I don't imagine I ever will

It came across to me very much like the director must've watched nine
straight hours of Tex Avery cartoons, eaten an enormous Szechwan dinner,
and then went to bed to have deeply disturbing dreams. And that was the
genesis of the script.

Picture of the day

Mourning Dove

This young lady has been nesting in the window sill of my office. I've been playing Ella Fitzgerald, Mozart & the Beatles for her family's cultural edification while they stare at me, bemused & aghast. Sadly, her hatchling has not survived, poor little thing. (It didn't have anything to do with the music, though.)

A Couple of Blogs

This one has the coolest name ever: My Karma Just Ran Over Your Dogma.

And this one is the blog of a fellow Apophysis / graphics enthusiast: She Dreams in Digital.

From the New York Times

I've lost a lot of respect for the New York Times, especially over the last few years (though it goes back much further than that, since I was involved in a story in 1981 that they mis-reported badly, so I already knew they were far from perfect). Their op-ed page is still pretty good, and today there are two pieces that are worth reading: Paul Krugman debunks the latest plan for "saving" Social Security, and Bob Herbert writes about the ugliest Americans, currently representing the US in Iraq.

From the Herbert piece:

Mr. Delgado said he had witnessed incidents in which an Army sergeant lashed a group of children with a steel Humvee antenna, and a Marine corporal planted a vicious kick in the chest of a kid about 6 years old. There were many occasions, he said, when soldiers or marines would yell and curse and point their guns at Iraqis who had done nothing wrong.

He said he believes that the absence of any real understanding of Arab or Muslim culture by most G.I.'s, combined with a lack of proper training and the unrelieved tension of life in a war zone, contributes to levels of fear and rage that lead to frequent instances of unnecessary violence.

In November 2003, after several months in Nasiriya in southern Iraq, the 320th was redeployed to Abu Ghraib. The violence there was sickening, Mr. Delgado said. Some inmates were beaten nearly to death. The G.I.'s at Abu Ghraib lived in cells while most of the detainees were housed in large overcrowded tents set up in outdoor compounds that were vulnerable to mortars fired by insurgents. The Army acknowledges that at least 32 Abu Ghraib detainees were killed by mortar fire.

Mr. Delgado, who eventually got conscientious objector status and was honorably discharged last January, recalled a disturbance that occurred while he was working in the Abu Ghraib motor pool. Detainees who had been demonstrating over a variety of grievances began throwing rocks at the guards. As the disturbance grew, the Army authorized lethal force. Four detainees were shot to death.

Mr. Delgado confronted a sergeant who, he said, had fired on the detainees. "I asked him," said Mr. Delgado, "if he was proud that he had shot unarmed men behind barbed wire for throwing stones. He didn't get mad at all. He was, like, 'Well, I saw them bloody my buddy's nose, so I knelt down. I said a prayer. I stood up, and I shot them down.' "

The Few, The Proud, The Illegal

No, not the marines, actually, but the army's got them recruitin' blues. They also have ways around them recruitin' blues.

Texas and them nasty queers

(Why are these white southern men of a certain age so obsessed with gays? Anybody wanna take a wild guess?)

Yes, I know not all southerners are crazy moonbat loons, but, people, you did vote these guys into a position of power.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Quotes of the Day

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

-- Einstein

We should be a big tent, and we're pretty much tied together to be the party of hope, opportunity and fairness.

-- Senator Barbara Boxer, speaking of the Democratic Party (Time, 25 April 2005)

Kitty Blog


A Tisket, A Tasket, A Brown Leather Basket...

I really wanted to post something snarky about this guy, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Because in a world where the Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy are out to ruthlessly stomp all of us into complete and utter submission, we need all the guys like this we can get.

Rock on, dude. Long may it wave.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Finding the Right Match Ain't Easy

But it's so special when it happens.

Bush holds a press conference

"My administration is doing everything we can to make gasoline more affordable," Mr. Bush said, alluding to a recent trend that polls show is annoying the American people and perhaps endangering him politically. "There will be no price-gouging at gas pumps in America." (Quote from the New York Times)

Exxon Mobil posted a 44 percent rise in quarterly profit on high oil prices ... Net income in the first quarter rose to $7.86 billion ... (Quote from the International Herald Tribune)

The Children of Iraq

Via RawStory, this report from the UN shows that deformities in Iraqi newborns are way up.

Another reason to be thankful for the neocons and their laser sharp leadership abilities.

Alabama and them nasty queers

From AMERICAblog comes this CBS news item about how a politician in Alabama wants to ban works by gay authors.

Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."

Do the people of the good state of Alabama know what they voted for? Being told what you can read was a staple of the Goebbels media machine in Nazi Germany. (And yes, Jerry dude, it is censorship. Look it up in a dictionary. Are dictionaries acceptable? I bet they have words about queers in them. Uh-oh! They must go!)

Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has lesbian characters.

Oh my God! Lesbian characters?!

Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can't define what a classic is.

I bet he can't. (I know, that's a cheap shot, but these NewAgeNazis make my skin crawl.)

Librarian Donna Schremser fears the "thought police," would be patrolling her shelves.

"And so the idea that we would have a pristine collection that represents one political view, one religioius view, that's not a library,'' says Schremser.

Jerry can't define a "classic," I rather doubt he can define "library" either. In Jerry's world, a library is endless shelves of enriching tales like My Pet Goat, no doubt.

But in book after book, Allen reads what he calls the "homosexual agenda,"
and he's alarmed.

You know, generally speaking & all, people tend to see what they want to see. Jerry, honey, you married?

"It's not healthy for America, it doesn't fit what we stand for," says Allen. "And they will do whatever it takes to reach their goal."

They sure will. It's just that we're thinking of different groups of people here. You define "they" one way, and I define "they" as "go look in the mirror, buddy, you know you want to ..."

Is it too much to ask for protection against those who desire nothing more than to impose their rigid will and "value system" on the rest of us? At what point will this be a problem recognized for what it is, a particularly nasty form of theocratic fascism?

Normally I Ignore Ann Coulter, but ...

The Suburban Guerrilla has a link for Ann Coulter slashfic that is as fascinating as it is terrifying. (TOTH: The ever excellent Sideshow.)


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Since we need all the help we can get ...

Christ Church Angel

I took this photo of a stained glass window in the Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal last September and added a slightly unearthly veneer with the help of Photoshop.

Maureen Dowd on John Bolton

She has a nice op-ed piece in Wednesday's New York Times, in which she manages to compare John Bolton to Naomi Campbell. Anyone that can do that deserves the big bucks.

... his [Bolton's] raging-bull temperament is ideally suited to an organization steeped in global pettifoggers and oil-for-food pilferers.

The uncombed, untethered Mr. Bolton is fabulously operatic - the Naomi Campbell of the Bush administration, ready at a moment's notice to beat up on underlings.

Who doesn't want to see Old Yeller chasing the Syrian ambassador down the hall, throwing a stapler at his head and biting at his ankles?

Who doesn't want to see him foaming at the mouth - yes, it will be hard to tell - at the Cuban delegate over Castro's imaginary W.M.D.?



Bush and Terrorism

In a poll earlier this week in the Washington Post, Bush's numbers were deservedly abysmal in every category except for how he is handling the "fight on terrorism." Personally, I think this is human nature (American-style) -- a sort of "rallying around the flag, boys!" left over from the actual 9/11 attacks. In truth, there has been absolutely nothing Bush has done to improve the safety of America against further attacks, and much that he has done to make things worse (like, you know, invade Iraq on false, trumped-up "intelligence").

Further, he has done his best to dissipate the overwhelmingly sympathetic reaction of the rest of the world toward the US, post 9/11. Way to go, guy.

Now we have concrete proof that terrorism, far from being "well-handled" by the Bush regime, is actually spiralling ever-further out of control. The problem is, the numbers are so bad the State Department won't be including them in their report on terrorism.

Um. Does this make sense to anyone who is not a Bushie?

Unhealthy & Extreme Persecution Mania

Paul Waldman has an excellent article on the peculiar mentality of the right-wing religious zealots.

Look at some of the titles offered by Regnery, the right’s premier publishing house: Invasion Within: Overcoming the Elitists' Attack on Moral Values and the American Way; Epidemic: How Teen Sex is Killing Our Kids; Mugged by the State: Outrageous Government Assaults on Ordinary People and Their Property; Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage; Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity; Power Grab: How the National Education Association is Betraying Our Children; Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security .
(Note to you folks: you guys control all three branches of government and most of the fourth estate, and have basically cowed the rest of the fourth estate into terrified submission. The victim card you play is counterfeit.)

As anyone who has listened to right-wing radio or tuned in to Fox News knows, the angry cry of the victim is the lexicon of the conservative media. As the novelist David Foster Wallace recently wrote in the Atlantic Monthly , “It is, of course, much less difficult to arouse genuine anger, indignation and outrage in people than it is real joy, satisfaction, fellow feeling, etc. The latter are fragile and complex, and what excites them varies a great deal from person to person, whereas anger et al. are more primal, universal, and easy to stimulate.”
This is an excellent point. But I suspect that many of the rank and file that fall into the trap of agreeing with everything the "christian leaders" tell them are not smart enough to realize they're being used and had.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Deconstructing Wingnuttery

From Sadly, No!

(Is this for real?)

Best Reason to Live with a Cat

(as the title says)

LA Book Fest

The wonderfully snarky James Wolcott posts his take of the festival on his blog.

Remember the Alamo!

Bush has decided to carry on with his campaign to travel from state to state and lie to pre-selected audiences about Social Security.

Isn't there anything we can do to stop this? Taxpayers are footing the bill for this insanity (yet many of them -- the ones that don't agree with Bush and most likely feel that he has no utter clue what he's talking about). It's a waste of money. It's money flushed down the toilet. Isn't there any way to get the guy to stop recklessly wasting money that isn't his to spend in the first place?

(Silly me, what am I saying? Why should he change now?)

Monday, April 25, 2005


Via the Sideshow comes a link for "Unintentionally Sexual Comic Book Covers (part1)."

A must read, filled with fascinating insights like:

It's every man's dream to have a penis so large that he must hire a small boy to carry it.
(Boy, does that explain why some of my dates went so horribly wrong!)


I can only imagine the condition of a society in which a comic featuring wet, well-trimmed, virile young man gazing romantically in a monkey's eyes could be published without raising some serious red flags.

Support the Troops

You know those ubiquitous yellow magnets that folks buy & stick on their cars & SUVs & monster trucks? Support The Troops. Those bother me. I tend to think of the people who stick them on their cars as indulging in "patriotism-lite" whereby they assuage their conscience for driving gas-guzzlers and show their neighbors how civic-minded and patriotic they are, how sensitive and aware of the supreme sacrifice they know our fighting forces are making: by putting a magnet on their freaking car.

Boy, I know I'm moved. Go USA! We're number one!

Such displays are especially moving when accompanied by those W04 or Bush/Cheney campaign stickers. I mean, the message is clear enough, isn't it? The zombies who embellish their wheels thusly, brains long since sucked away from too much Fox News viewing without protective tin-foil beanies, are stating their belief that to support the troops and to support the Bush regime is the same thing.

Those nutty peacenik liberals on the other hand want to "suppoort the troops" by bringing them home! What a nerve!

There is a long and damning article in today's New York Times about how our troops are being "supported" by the Bush regime. The article opens with:

On May 29, 2004, a station wagon that Iraqi insurgents had packed with C-4 explosives blew up on a highway in Ramadi, killing four American marines who died for lack of a few inches of steel.

The four were returning to camp in an unarmored Humvee that their unit had rigged with scrap metal, but the makeshift shields rose only as high as their shoulders, photographs of the Humvee show, and the shrapnel from the bomb shot over the top.

"The steel was not high enough," said Staff Sgt. Jose S. Valerio, their motor transport chief, who along with the unit's commanding officers said the men would have lived had their vehicle been properly armored. "Most of the shrapnel wounds were to their heads."
Of course, the folks that complacently put silly yellow magnets on their cars proclaiming their proud "support" won't be the ones reading the article and getting steamed at the way the Bush regime is pissing away the country's lifeblood. Of course, it's just the lifeblood of the poor, and they only count when they're unborn fetuses. But it bothers me. A lot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The US lag in TECHNOLOGY?! Never!

The current political climate makes furthering any sort of science or technology here in the US difficult. In this essay, it is suggested that this technological lag will help hasten the demise of the US as a global leader regarding online communications, ultimately creating huge problems for the future.

Luddites, religious zealots and morons shaping our "science" sector seems to be taking a toll that, like much else in the Bush regime, will only become truly apparent at some future time.

(Going out on a limb, I expect the democrats to be blamed for this.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Papa Ratzi

A former Hitler Youth who has repeatedly shown himself to be stridently anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-modernist, anti-reform, and in every possible way a Mel Gibson Wet Dream.

Good god almighty, is there any way the Vatican could be more out of touch with reality? If you aren't already shaking your head in amazement, take a deep breath and check this out.

Gee, I wonder what one wears to an Inquisition?

Bush shows his respect for the UN

Via Daily Kos, comes this story of one person's run-in with the diplomat/madman-psychopath John Bolton:

Within hours of sending a letter to US AID officials outlining my concerns, I met John Bolton, whom the prime contractor hired as legal counsel to represent them to US AID. And, so, within hours of dispatching that letter, my hell began.

Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman. For nearly two weeks, while I awaited fresh direction from my company and from US AID, John Bolton hounded me in such an appalling way that I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton, of course, then routinely visited me there to pound on the door and shout threats.

When US AID asked me to return to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in advance of assuming leadership of a project in Kazakstan, I returned to my project to find that John Bolton had proceeded me by two days. Why? To meet with every other AID team leader as well as US foreign-service officials in Bishkek, claiming that I was under investigation for misuse of funds and likely was facing jail time. As US AID can confirm, nothing was further from the truth.

He indicated to key employees of or contractors to State that, based on his discussions with investigatory officials, I was headed for federal prison and, if they refused to cooperate with either him or the prime contractor's replacement team leader, they, too, would find themselves the subjects of federal investigation. As a further aside, he made unconscionable comments about my weight, my wardrobe and, with a couple of team leaders, my sexuality, hinting that I was a lesbian (for the record, I'm not).

Of course, this was some years ago and one can only hope that the meds have kicked in since then, but one has to question the competentcy of an administration that makes such a nomination, and further (and ultimately more troubling), the republicans who will rubber stamp it. (Analogous to our current system of checks and balances is what occurred after Hitler stacked the deck back in the 1930s in Germany and from then on was allowed what amounts to a totally free hand.)

For me, someone more interested in the state of my country than in whether someone is a democrat or a republican, this whole charade of theocratic fascism intent on domination that is being played out under the guise of "democracy," this whole sorry situation has long since stopped being about politics. It's about what is right and wrong, about what it best for the country. Can anyone truly believe that the sort of thing we've seen -- just in the last week with the bankruptcy bill and the repeal of estate tax -- that the voting going on right now is in the best interests of the country? Does anyone elected as a senator or representative remember that his or her vote should be predicated by the best interests of the people they represent? Can I be the only person who feels her interests (health care, civil rights, the economy, disability rights) are increasingly unrepresented by those voted into office?

We're living under the most shameful display of non-democracy this country has ever endured and those elected to office should feel that shame, but their comfort and complacency get in the way. They're not hurting so that makes it okay? Shameful.

Monday, April 18, 2005

That Judicial Jihad Ad ...

... you know the one? The clean-cut boy holding a gavel and a bible with a perplexed expression on his face? To advertise the asinine "Justice Sunday" coming up this weekend?

Read a wonderful deconstruction of what you really see in that ad here in a BAGnews post with the lovely title Spoil the Rod and Save the Child.

(And you can see a more honest version of the ad here. (There may be no place like home, but sequins do help dull the pain a little.))

Failure of Representation (ad infinitum)

As it turns out, one of the senators from my state is on the Foreign Relations Committee and will therefore be voting for John Bolton to become our guy at the UN (memo to the security forces at the UN: frisk Bolton thoroughly every time he enters the building).

This isn't going to make a bit of difference, but I'm crankly & depressed & fed up with the way things are going in what used to be my country and I wrote my senator and told him so. Here's what I wrote:

I'm writing to express my dismay over the way the legistlative branch (particularly the Republicans) have been voting recently.

I strongly and increasingly feel as if I have no representation in the system of the federal government. I don't feel my best interests are being taken into consideration, nor the best best interests of the vast majority of the "common man" (& woman) of NH. The bankruptcy bill and the repeal of the estate tax are two especially egregious examples (both last week!).

And I also cannot see how anyone can support John Bolton as our ambassador to the UN. It exists for a reason -- a failsafe against the failure of diplomacy. John Bolton is a failure of diplomacy.

I have been extremely disappointed with your "representation" of the people of NH. You certainly are not representing me.

Bob Herbert of the NYT on FDR

Today's NYT has an op-ed piece by the excellent Bob Herbert about one of our greatest presidents, Franklin Roosevelt. (My personal opinion is that FDR was our best president, and Bush is (by far) our worst president. The irony of ironies is that the evidence is fairly clear (and overlooked by most media) that Bush could only be president by stealing it. TWICE. He wanted it that bad and manages to royally &$*^#-up everything he and his regime has touched. Way to go. Your mother must be very proud.)

As Herbert points out, last week was the 60th anniversary of FDR's death -- an event which went un-noticed by the Bush regime in their headlong dash to dismantle FDR's policies.

His [Roosevelt's] goal was "to make a country in which no one is left out." That kind of thinking has long since been consigned to the political dumpster. We're now in the age of Bush, Cheney and DeLay, small men committed to the concentration of big bucks in the hands of the fortunate few.
Herbert goes on to quote from Roosevelt's last State of the Union speech:

...the president offered what should have been recognized immediately for what it was, nothing less than a blueprint for the future of the United States. It was the clearest statement I've ever seen of the kind of nation the U.S. could have become in the years between the end of World War II and now. Roosevelt referred to his proposals in that speech as "a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race or creed."

Among these rights, he said, are:

"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.

"The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

"The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.

"The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.

"The right of every family to a decent home.

"The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

"The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

"The right to a good education."

As a nation, we lurched awkwardly and imperfectly forward toward ultimate attainment of those goals. Now, led as we are by small men whose goals are wholly self-serving, we are taking great strides backward and paving the way for China to gain the crown of Superpower of the World.

Way to go!

Roosevelt was far from a perfect president, but he gave hope and a sense of the possible to a nation in dire need. And he famously warned against giving in to fear.

The nation is now in the hands of leaders who are experts at exploiting fear, and indifferent to the needs and hopes, even the suffering, of ordinary people.

"The test of our progress," said Roosevelt, "is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Sixty years after his death we should be raising a toast to F.D.R. and his progressive ideas. And we should take that opportunity to ask: How in the world did we allow ourselves to get from there to here?

We allowed this surreal horror to unfold because we got too fat and lazy as a nation. For an average American like myself, I never had any interest in the minutiae of politics. I'd base my voting on what I read in newspapers or saw on the news. I didn't bother to do any more than that. I figured that all politicians were greedy & smarmy & generally not the kind of folks I wanted to waste my time knowing about. It took Bush and his illegal reign of terror (yes, reign of terror -- this man goes out of his way to play the "terror hand" at every opportunity, so that Judy & Joe Regular will have the bejesus scared out of them and allow Bush a free hand to do whatever he wants) to wake me up. And what I saw when I opened my eyes scared the bejesus out of me: bullies and bigots holding sway over the minds of a big chunk of our populace by playing to their "rights" (most of which include guns, for some reason) and natural "superiority." (Spend some time with RedState Harry and see firsthand how superior he is. I dare ya. Hitting his coffee-can spittoon 5 out of 10 tries is the highlight of his day as he polishes up his arsenel of guns and dreams of the day he can, by God, defend himself (probably against some pansy who wants to make a pass at him!) and be a hero and get a mention on Mr Limbaugh's broadcast.)

It's shameful.

But you know what's worst of all?

We have small men "leading" us because we don't deserve the FDRs of the world any longer.

Webcam Link

My own feline companion would never stand for this.

Software Recommendation : Freemind

Mind mapping software (open source & completely free).

(btw, if you've not explored Sourceforge, it's home to some of the nicest and most innovation software available. Many of the abstract images I put up on the blog are created with Apophysis, which is also supported under the aegis of Sourceforge.)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bill Frist -- Coughlin Born Again?

From Reuters:

Top Democrats urged U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday to withdraw from an upcoming telecast organized by Christian conservatives that portrays Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's judicial nominees.
A couple of comments here:

  • why aren't republicans urging Frist toward a saner course of action? (if they're not, they sure should be ...)
  • isn't it worth pointing out that the democrats have bent over backwards and jumped through hoops to approve the vast majority of Bush's judicial nominees (a higher percentage by far than Clinton, Bush I or Reagan)?
  • this sort of thing isn't new -- back in the 1930s the right-wing priest Charles Coughlin accused President Franklin Roosevelt of being "anti-God" and attempted to inflame his flock of followers with lots of rhetoric to back up his claims; what is different, of course, is that Coughlin, though a powerful man of his time, held no political office.
Perhaps it's also worth noting that Coughlin was accepting money from the Nazi government for his fomenting of isolationism and anti-Semiticism under the guise of preaching about America's godly superiority.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

James Dobson...

... his holy war isn't just about Sponge-Bob Squarepants and nasty tolerance anymore.

The always excellent Billmon at the Whiskey Bar dons his toxic-waste-proof coveralls and wades into the latest machinations.

Bringin' Home the BLING!


David Ortiz.

Photo by Ezra Shaw / Getty Images.

Monday, April 11, 2005

If You List It, They Will Bid

I've got a cat.

I've got a bottle of glitter

I've got a way to fund my retirement.

Bush's Old Prof Has Something To Say

Yoshi Tsurumi taught Bush at the Havard Business School. (I wonder what he gave Bush for a grade?)

He has written an awesome and damning piece about Bush and his "principles" for the Harvard Crimson which was picked up by the Smirking Chimp. (And I found it via the excellent Sideshow.)

Thirty years ago, President Bush was my student at Harvard Business School. In my class, he called former president Franklin D. Roosevelt, Class of 1904, a "socialist" and spoke against Social Security, unemployment insurance, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other New Deal innovations. He refused to understand that capitalism becomes corrupt without democratic civic values and ethical restraints.
Dr. Tsurumi could easily have used the present tense -- refuses to understand.

Bush is the first president of the United States with a Master's of Business Administration (MBA). Yet, he epitomizes the worst aspects of America's business education.

To privatize Social Security, he is peddling a colossal lie about its solvency. Furthermore, Bush, along with today's business aristocrats, shows no compassion for working Americans, robbing them to benefit big business and the very rich. Last year, due to Bush's tax cuts, over 80 of America's most profitable 200 corporations did not pay even a penny of their federal and state income taxes. Meanwhile, to pay for his additional tax cuts for the very rich, Bush is drastically cutting back several social services, such as federal lunch programs for poor children.
The whole thing is worth reading.

And I suppose it's too much to ask that someone in the MSM would actually query Bush about how he really feels about Social Security (& FDR for that matter)? He's been against Social Security and the New Deal programs for decades. Why does no one bring this up? The media should realize that when the truth of this rising tide of fascism becomes known to Judy & Joe Regular in the heartland that they too will be held accountable for their gutless lockstep march alongside the current regime.

Bush doesn't want to strengthen Social Security, he wants to eradicate it.

Big difference, you know?

It's also unconscionable that he is being allowed free rein to take his show on the road on taxpayer dollars to tout what amounts to propaganda.

This should never, ever be acceptable. Read up on your Goebbels, folks ... you can bet Rove did.

From Falsies to Polyurethane

From Slate.

Tom Coburn, eat your heart out.

(Oklahoma has a lot to answer for, voting that idiot into the US senate (where, admittedly, he fits right in).)

New Statesman Book Review

Kirsten Pullen's Actresses and Whores reviewed by Fiona Shaw:

As a member of the younger of the two professions that are the focus of this book, I am not naive enough to be ignorant of the connection between them. The casting lots of Hollywood studios, full of actresses flaunting themselves in their Sunday best, are a sharp reminder of our fleshpit expendability. And one of my colleagues recently told me of a "meeting" with a producer that began with him stepping out of the shower with a towel hanging loosely around his groin. (Oddly enough, she never did tell me what happened next.)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Picture of the day


Picture of the day

duck bums

Mr & Mrs Duck Cheney search for Bush's approval ratings and in the process display their own mute but trenchant views on what they think of him and what he has done.

From the Washington Post

Via Talking Points Memo.

This is a great article and it deserves wider notice. It compares testimony before the House Armed Services Committee by Richard Perle from September 2002 and last week:

At the September 2002 hearing, GOP lawmakers joined in Perle's dismissal of Clark's argument that "time is on our side" in Iraq and that force should be used only as a "last resort."

Perle said Clark was "wildly optimistic" and called it "one of the dumber cliches, frankly, to say that force must always be a last resort." While Clark fiddled, "Saddam Hussein is busy perfecting those weapons of mass destruction that he already has."


He disavowed any responsibility for his confident prewar assertions about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, heaping the blame instead on "appalling incompetence" at the CIA. "There is reason to believe that we were sucked into an ill-conceived initial attack aimed at Saddam himself by double agents planted by the regime. And as we now know the estimate of Saddam's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was substantially wrong."

Why is no one in the current regime never willing to take responsibility for anything they've done? Who raised these people?

Friday, April 01, 2005

A couple more things...

This blog from the Progressive Women's Blog Ring is wonderful, especially today.

And I think I should also mention the Google Gulp, an idea whose time has come and who better to implement it than the good folks at Google?

Think fruity. Think refreshing.
Think a DNA scanner embedded in the lip of your bottle reading all 3 gigabytes of your base pair genetic data in a fraction of a second, fine-tuning your individual hormonal cocktail in real time using our patented Auto-Drink™ technology, and slamming a truckload of electrolytic neurotransmitter smart-drug stimulants past the blood-brain barrier to achieve maximum optimization of your soon-to-be-grateful cerebral cortex. Plus, it's low in carbs!
I bet it's wicked fizzy too.

Dateline April 1st 2005

Via Sideshow, the NASA Astronomy picture of the day shows water on Mars.

Via Raw Story: the Bush twins find gainful employment at last.

The whole darn page at American Street is worth a look. An excerpt from an article in favor of Social Security privatization:

Let’s discuss the imminent DANGER you are in. Social Security is falling apart. If we do not listen to President Bush and privatize Social Security, everything will fall apart next year. That’s right folks. Read this next bit carefully: I’ve done the math myself. If we do not privatize Social Security TODAY, the planet will LITERALLY implode on July 19th, 2006. Also, your grandmother will be cannibalized by heathens. In front of you. Tomorrow.
Finally. A convincing argument!

Science News for the masses at Daily Kos. I bet you didn't know there was a (cylindrical) molecule called Arsole or a mineral called Cummingtonite (thus named because it was discovered in Cummington, MA, pull your minds outta the gutters here). There is also some great stuff about the IgNobel Prizes, too, including something I hadn't read about before but which makes perfect sense: see this article regarding the link between suicide and listening to country music. I would have read the pdf file about the coordination modes in the multisegmental dynamics of hula-hooping, but it's been some years since I've managed to be multisegmental, much less dynamic ...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just A Suggestion

OK, so we've got a country where millions and millions of people apparently believe that any day now they're going to be bodily whisked up into the sky to be with Jeeezuz. Among them the President and a goodly number of his gaping, slack-jawed followers, right?

So. This whole Social Security business.

If the members of the Rapture Cult so desperately believe they'll be lifted up and taken away Real Soon Now, well, why don't we just accomodate them -- and cut them out of the Social Security system in toto? Granny Biblethump and Brother Tonguespeak aren't gonna need benefits where they're headed, and taking that money and channeling it over to us heathens and infidels who'll be Left Behind should keep the system solvent for generations to come.

They themselves ought to be leading the campaign to implement this plan. After all, didn't Jesus himself admonish them "Store up not for yourselves treasures on earth..."?

Monday, March 14, 2005

The MTV Generation

US soldiers in Iraq have taken to making their own music videos.

In another video, made by members of the Florida National Guard, soldiers are shown kicking a wounded prisoner in the face and making the arm of a corpse appear to wave. The DVD, which is called "Ramadi Madness," includes sections with titles such as "Those Crafty Little Bastards" and "Another Day, Another Mission, Another Scumbag," came to light in early March after the American Civil Liberties Union obtained Army documents using the Freedom of Information Act.
Support the troops. They'll need all the help they can get.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Links of the Day

TOTH to the Sideshow: a blogger post from Lance Mannion that sums up the Republican party pretty well.

And in the New York Times today there is a long piece about the proliferation of blatant propagandizing by the regime in power here in the US. For any student of what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, it's pretty scary stuff, even in the relatively mild reporting given it by the Times.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Excellent article here

As the subject line states.

Jonathan Schell writes:

The shaky foundations of America's power were on display in the President's recent travels. Shortly before Bush landed in Brussels, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany quietly but firmly repudiated the President's militarized, US-centered approach to world affairs. NATO, he heretically announced, should no longer be "the primary venue" of the Atlantic relationship. Did that mean that Europe would continue to take direction from Washington through some other venue? Hardly: He was, he said, formulating German policy "in Europe, for Europe and from Europe." The superpower's penchant for military action was also rejected. The chancellor said, "Challenges lie today beyond the North Atlantic Alliance's former zone of mutual assistance. And they do not primarily require military responses."

Schröder was standing on solid ground at home. A poll in the German newspaper Die Welt revealed that "Vladimir Putin is seen as more trustworthy than George W. Bush, France as a more important partner for German foreign and security policy than the United States. Closer harmonization of German foreign policy with America is not wanted, either."

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Cookie Time!

Here we've been grumbling over the lack of springtime here in northern New England, and yet when I went downtown this afternoon I ran smack-dab into the midst of the surest sign yet that the season's about to change.

Girl Scout Cookies have arrived!

Did I mention that's my *favorite* rite of spring? Last year I bought seven boxes of Shortbread Trefoils, and ran thru all of them before the first of April, but, alas, the Scouts I encountered today were all out. But one of them, who shall go far in this world, pointed me toward the last remaining box of Animal Treasures *FUDGE DIPPED* Shortbread.

Oh my. They didn't have that one back in my day (Brownie Troop 39/Junior Troop 318/Cadette Troop 219, Abnaki Council, 1970-76). Progress is a wonderful thing.

In all seriousness, though, I'm always very enthusasitic about supporting the Girl Scout cookie program, because I sincerely believe in what the organization stands for -- especially its formal policy on non-discrimination. While the Boy Scouts have allowed themselves to be turned into a politicized tool of the Religious Right over the last couple of decades, the Girl Scouts are very clear about not turning anyone away, regardless of beliefs or orientation. And even if I *didn't* have a thing for the cookies, any organization willing to stand up to the Faith Fascisti like that deserves all the support we can give.