Monday, December 31, 2007

More States Go For Paper Ballots

Makers of voting machines are whining. All the warnings in this news article come from interested parties, people who stand to make fortunes selling crappy and unreliable voting machines to the states.

Let's do it right in 2008 -- no more electronic votes with no trail. It's very hard to recount vapor.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

Former prime minister of Pakistan, anomaly in a Moslem country, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today. BBC News reports she was shot twice before a suicide bomber continued the carnage by killing an additional seventeen people. She was taken to a hospital and died there.

The middle east and Moslem nations in the lower part of Asia are barbaric. Terrorists, oppression of women, packs of feral males that roam the streets -- these aren't the hallmarks of civilized countries. Pakistan is especially likely to become a big problem because it has nuclear weapons. A local culture tolerates and breeds packs of terroristic fanatics -- just what the world needs.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Early Christmas Present!

Colorado has decertified electronic voting machines, making it a state where it is possible to have a fair and trackable vote again.

Is it greedy of me to want more of these?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Still Trying

Trying very hard, indeed, not to listen to the squabbling that passes for campaigning this year. Every so often I see a headline, but I have been trying not to go for the text underneath.

I see that impeachment is crawling onto the table despite the efforts of Congress to do for corruption what I am doing for campaigning. I also see that Chris Dodd is being abandoned in his filibuster attempt by all the slugs who are squabbling, as the Senate, once more, bids to forgive the phone companies for participating in illegal spying. This Senate, on the whole, needs to be charged with high crimes, misdemeanors, cronyism, promoting the disintegration of the rule of law, and possibly with being accomplices to war crimes.

Yes, it is that bad.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Huckabee

How could anyone consider voting for a man who, despite letters from victims, chose to let a rapist out of prison -- a rapist who went on to rape and murder two more women before he was put in prison again?

Huckabee -- the man who thinks rapists are not gonna repeat their crimes. Huckabee -- the enemy of law and order.
Huckabee -- more interested in spite at a Clinton far-relation who was a rape victim than in letting justice -- and a prison sentence -- take its course.

Voting for a man like that is asking for special treatment for male violence, for rapists, and for cronyism and petty vengeance of the worst sort. Someone who is that spiteful should not be anywhere near the White House, especially with the current state of the rule of law. If anyone hearts Huckabee, that person can be counted on to aid corruption.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Crunch Spreads

Skippy has an article about states freezing funds where cities keep their excess cash.

See, this is where I was headed when I pointed out that so many boomers with jobs are invested in 401(k)s. They are rather like the cities -- putting money someplace they think is "safe". Lots of companies only ask employees whether they want high, medium or low risk, and don't give them any say about where the money then goes. Where I used to work, you could pick.

But in either case, the majority of folks cannot remove their money without huge penalties. The tax bill on an income lump like that would also be a shocker. If they do it as loans and fail to make payments, it's penalties and taxes both as well. A lot of folks are going to be very upset. Wonder how those who favored the fish GWB was gonna toss to the market by f***in Social Security feel now. If he opens his mouth on the topic again, someone should have him checked for actual insanity. Right now the market is not the best place for retirement savings.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Investments

Decisions, decisions.

I still have a 401(k). I left money in it so that I could grow part of my savings while I pulled the rest into a safe haven. I pulled an additional 20% off the base in profits this year just before one of the crashes. It was growing nicely until the last few weeks -- but almost everyone with stock accounts knows how that is. The market has been just poison recently.

Now 401(k) accounts are of all different sorts. The one I was in had actual, explicit funds you could pick to join. Then the money the company put into that account as profit sharing was not part of those chosen funds, but run by the company fund manager. That's where my problem is. You see, as it became clear how Bush was handling the economy, I moved everything that I controlled into funds that are in other countries. Businesses that run in other currencies are gaining money against dollars just because the dollar is tanking. The stuff I picked is keeping my fund in the black overall.

The stuff the fund manager is doing ... well, it is losing money hand over fist. I may have to pull all the money out and shut the account just to get shut of someone else's decisions. While the market is OK, so is the fund manager -- but the manager doesn't seem to move with a changing financial climate. So. Do I need to move on?

Interesting

A woman in England went to court for the right to keep a one night stand from being notified that she gave birth to a child from the episode. Now maybe I am not a person to understand the nuances here. I have never had a one night stand. I can't imagine what it would be like to do so and find out that the consequences were going to be another human being.

I can, however, categorically state that I would not want to have to put up with a long relationship with someone who meant so little that once was enough. I would not want to hand a helpless person to someone who could walk away that easily. I would, like the woman in the article, want to make sure that someone so casual had no say in what I did.

Father's rights? No. here we are talking sperm donor rights, which is a different thing altogether. Just because the donation was made in person is no reason to give it more weight than a donation made in a lab.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Strange Convergence

It is not often that Thanksgiving lands on the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. It was 44 years ago today. I was in the narrow hall leading to the high school band room when the director popped out and said "the President's been shot!"

"You're kidding!" He wasn't. School let out a few minutes later as the formal announcement came over the loudspeakers. A lot of the next few days was spent in that same band room playing "Hail to the Chief" in preparation for a memorial assembly.

And a few days later came the first live-on-TV murder, as Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

I've seen the runs of the Zapruder film on the internet. I still think he was hit from the front, and that the real perpetrator went free. I have a law enforcement friend who is still convinced that the CIA was responsible. This day may be more vivid to me than 9/11, when I was quite grown up and quite used to seeing malice and mayhem on television.

We see so much synthetic violence that the impact is diluted. This is a Bad thing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Don't Know How Many Times

I have said this aloud, and not blogged it, but here it is:

To have an economy that grows steadily instead of doing the roller-coaster that we have seen throughout the entire time of the Bush regime -- for the economy to steadily grow all classes must grow together. Unemployment has to be low. Workers must get paid enough so that they can buy the things that companies make and that stores sell so that there are profits to bolster the market.

When you only have an investor class, and it is bolstered by lower taxes and by the enforced savings of 401(k) contributions of a large segment of workers, you have a situation that is going to be unstable. There will be no one out spending all their money to keep the economy healthy. There will be no workers contributing growing amounts to help an economy flourish when workers are stomped down and unemployed.

Jeez -- you people need an English major to tell you this?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Blogging the Future

Every Monday, Jim Kunstler writes another essay and posts it at Clusterfuck Nation. I think he has a handle on the future. Too many people just don't believe that the world is going to undergo seizures when oil gets a bit more expensive.

Just as there are holocaust deniers, there are also peak oil deniers. There is even one imaginative theory that oil just "naturally" floats up through solid rock and pools under everything -- that it is not a deposit from some other era, but a magic mineral that comes into being for the delectation of the deluded.

Kunstler repeats, over and over, that we need to rebuild the rail system in this country before the crisis hits -- that we need to go back to a walkable way of life. That is a whole lot more realistic than the dreams of the magic oil idiots.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Noooooooo

Jim over at Mockingbird's Medley continues to have articles full of interesting things to think about. Today there was a long mail from someone who recommended getting involved as a poll worker at the local level, and making sure that fairness was the hallmark of local voting, draft boards, and other activities that are community based.

A couple of days ago he had a piece on whether, under x circumstance, a criminal should be let out of prison.

I've been commenting a lot because I just cannot make myself sit here and write about politics. The candidates who have stepped up just fill me with something between ennui and disgust. So I am hiding my head in the sand an hoping we will still have a country as the primaries creep closer and the candidates stack up their mud balls and slime cannisters.

The one piece of amusing news is that Richard Mellon Scaife's wife is divorcing him, and he did not make out a pre-nup. Maybe the activity in his life will keep him from his infamous meddling in national politics. But right now, if It's political, I do not wanna go there.

Noooooooo.

Monday, October 29, 2007

It is *Such* a Bad Idea

to promise immunity to murderers.

Neurological Norms

Here's an interesting quiz, designed to see whether you are neurologically typical, or whether you tend toward Asperger's or Autism:

http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

They think I'm normal. So much for that -- or as John Scalzi said on Whatever, "It just means I've got them fooled."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Tune Today

Washington is totally out of tune. Democratic candidates are greatly out of tune, but not as much as Republicans are.

Today my doctor declared "It's time for socialized medicine."

Whoa! I hope that someone will start lobbying the AMA for "Universal Medicare", so that term comes to replace "socialized medicine." The second is a bugaboo. The first is an established mechanism for helping with health care costs via our taxes. And even my very own doctor has decided that costs are out of hand, and that too many people are going without care just because the system is failing them.

He also made me promise that if I ever can't afford the drugs I take, that I will come tell him so he can make sure I get them.

Did I ever tell all of you that my doctor is a wonderful human being, as well as an excellent doctor?

Monday, October 22, 2007

I Saw This Headline

and I asked myself, "What's Bush up to now??"

"Turkey sends more troops to Iraq border"

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Tell Ya ...

This really has been telemarket week. The begging has sometimes reached a call an hour. I don't know which charities have been selling their lists to other charities, but I swear that has to be a major source of income for some of them.

It gets so that when my phone rings and there is silence, I hang up on it because it's just some beggar's auto dialer. It takes a lot of nerve to make someone wait so you can try to extract money. And the new gimmick of trying to get people to solicit their friends is just tacky. No, I am not going to annoy people on your behalf, so don't ask.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Question

If every misogynist casts a vote, how badly would Hillary Clinton lose?

How badly does this country need to repudiate the Republicans?

If a person holds both these notions, which way will he or she jump?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Outstretched Hand

Give because it's quarter end, and the newsies will be bruiting about whose contributions are bigger.

Give because we need to do a commercial.

Give because we have someone who will match your contribution, but the offer expires in 27 days.

Does anyone in politics communicate without a begging bowl in hand?

Just curious.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Resistance Is *Not* Futile

Microsoft tried its usual trick -- forcing its new release down the throats of computer users. Vista is such a botch that this time customer pressure has forced hardware makers to back up and put XP on their new machines instead of the flawed and hated Vista.

When I heard about what sorts of pitfalls Vista invited, I had Linux installed on my new machine. I am sorry to report that, for average users, Linux is not yet friendly enough to just accept games and other things that were written for Windows without software in between that provides emulation and special handling. I am not going to install any Windows products on this machine, however, because it is time for me to learn to live without Microsoft.

You all know, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, that one day we are going to have to learn to live without oil -- whether because Mr. Lunatic makes war on Iran or whether because all those imaginary oil deposits on the maps of wishful dreamers are nonexistent or inaccessible.

Learning to live without Vista is going to be a snap by comparison.

Just Say No.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Am I Misremembering History Classes?

Just because the Senate passes a piece of yellow, war-mongering legislation, wouldn't the House have to pass a similar or identical bill for it to become something ready for signing, and for being actual policy?

Just because we have a passel of morally blind, ethically crippled, blood sucking, blood-letting Senators, doesn't it mean that it is the duty of the House to stop them?

Just askin'....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

That was not exactly an unannouced blogging break. It's just that Congress has been so distressing, and the news has been so same-ol' same-ol' that it was depressing to consider making comments. I've been making short ones elsewhere on the web, notably at The Sideshow, Whateveresque, The Mockingbird's Medley and assorted other places. But I really have just had no heart to discuss how miserably the Democrats have been rolling over.

The one news item that really annoyed me was the Ahmadinejad at Columbia stuff. Look, Columbia has a largely Jewish student body. Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier. The combination was a little predictable, except that introducing a speaker by insulting him is the rankest form of bad behavior -- the President could at least have waited until Ahmadinejad was a bad guest before being a bad host. It was a perfectly crappy thing for the representative of a University to do.

Monday, September 17, 2007

De Facto

BAGHDAD - The Iraqi government Monday ordered Blackwater USA, the security firm that protects U.S. diplomats, to stop work and leave the country after the fatal shooting of eight Iraqi civilians following a car bomb attack against a State Department convoy.


Now we will see who actually rules in Iraq. The Maliki government, or the Bushies.

Blackwater has been running loose in Iraq. The US strongarmed the government of Iraq into letting the "contractors" run around armed, and with immunity from prosecution. After the incident of fatal shootings this weekend, the Iraqi government has had enough.

I hope the government of Iraq makes this stick. It is time and past time that mercenaries stopped collecting blood money from US taxpayers for the privilege of killing the citizens of Iraq. We don't need to be paying them. Iraq doesn't need these vermin infesting their country. Let them go off and get jobs that are not taxpayer funded.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Amount I Can Pay Attention

to politics, right now, is awfully tiny. I am glad that at least Edwards has the guts to want us to leave the sands and bring the troops back. My enthusiasm for other candidates hovers between a microgram and a negative amount.

I really wish that when Petraus came back and "clarified" his answer on safety, that the next question had been "Did a civilian give you an order to 'clarify' in this way?" That would have been ... illuminating, one way or the other.

Why is it that congressmen so often duck asking the hard questions?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Here is Another

(as if we needed another) reason never, ever to buy version one of any machine, no matter how revered and prominent the company that sells it.

A family took their iPhones on vacation outside the US. When they returned home it was to bills of $5,000 on those phones.

It turns out that iPhones check e-mail at regular intervals without prompting. Those phones were eating hundreds of dollars in net time every day without owner intervention.

Oh sure, all charges are "legitimate" according to the phone company. Just like all charges on a stolen phone are "legitimate".

Leaving US cellphones home and buying a disposable at one's destination seems to be the only way to go. If you lose it, only a bunch of prepaid minutes are available to the finders -- and your disposable will never make transatlantic calls to check e-mail, of all the stupid tricks.

iPhone. iScorn.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Bailouts

Normally, I don't like bailouts. Why should taxes make up the money from bad loans? From bad business decisions. To keep the rich just as rich as they think they ought to be?

Bush has suggested that high-end house loans should be bailed out.

Of course, the poor people will be left to drown ... uh, go under financially; but the half-millionaires will be rescued.

Why does that stink even worse than the usual bailout suggestion?

Bailouts in particular rescue the incompetent rich. The housing market is going down. Bush will figure out some way to rescue those with deep pockets. I hope that Congress refuses to play. Too many financial institutions have bought into the get-rich-quick of real-estate turnover. It's time to let them all just crash.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

And When it is Too Late

When it is too late* will you wish you had impeached this lawless, arrogant, treasonous monster?

All of you who swore you would uphold the Constitution, are you really religious? Do your really believe that your God will punish you for lying in His sight?

Perhaps the rest of the world will have to take God's place. Perhaps the US Congress will have to stand with the administration in a massive war crimes trial. What reason is there for the US to attack any other country, aside from the insanity of its lying, cheating administration?

You, in Congress, know your duty. If you are afraid to do it, quit and let someone with a spine do it in your place.

[crosspost Mockingbird's Medley]
____________________
*New link inserted

The missing link via Kos was a story about a lower level Navy person who was twitching because every last missile is being brought in, a list of targets exists, and every person who questions the wisdom of bombing Iran disappears, and is replaced by someone who spouts the party line.

One particular line said "everything flows from the top down. There is no discussion, not among commanders, and not among the people who will be expected to carry out the orders." It spoke of someone asking a question that was perfectly normal -- and the fact that it was then discussed in undertones out on the flight deck rather than in normal tones in the wardroom.

And now the story has disappeared. It doesn't exactly undermine the character of what the story reported, to have it disappear, now does it? But folks other than Kos preserved it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How Much

New Orleans housing could $50 billion buy?

Enough to repatriate the trailer people?

Enough so the exiles could return to the city?

Hasn't he destroyed enough already?

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Market

At least two and maybe three times during the Bush years the market has approached or crested 13,000 only to drop like a rock.

I am starting to wonder if real economic growth can only come if the entire economy -- from the poor to the investor class -- rise together. The hallmark of the Bush years is that the rich get rich. And somehow, their ill-gotten profits come crashing down to the level where everyone else is still sitting in stasis.

Maybe everyone has to gain together for the system to work. Of course, these cretins will never try anything novel like spurring growth from the roots upward.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Staying

I recently read a blog entry by a New Orleans resident who plans on staying in the city even if an evacuation is called for again. Now it seems pretty certain to me that one will be called for -- the levees just are not good enough to hold against a direct storm landfall.

OK, this person has a house that survived the last storm. That is probably good. If I were planning to stay, however, I would put a few things in my attic:

1) an axe
2) water -- bottles and gallons and maybe a few huge jugs
3) a Rubbermaid tub of camping food
4) a radio with a windup battery
5) several flashlights with shake-and-light batteries
6) air mattresses
7) an inflatable raft
8* another Rubbermaid tub with soap, utensils, pots, towels -- all that good camping stuff including screwdriver, hammer and pliers.

With all of that, if I planned to rescue my animals I'd have their carriers and another raft. But the sad things is that in a really bad emergency, animals get left behind.

New Orleans was once an enviable place to live. The lack of solid reconstruction where it counts -- the closed hospitals and schools, the failure to build good dams and walls, makes it a tragedy waiting to repeat. Some people will survive, but the city may never come back until there is a serious effort to hold back the water.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wikipedia

It seems that Wikipedia was being edited by people at the CIA and the Pentagon. Sections edited included one on Guantanamo and one on the Iraq war.

All this does for me is highlight how much Wikipedia incorporates the opinions of people messing with the entries. Wikipedia rejects some true statements. It lets other pass. It rejects at whim, and includes at whim.

Wikipedia is NOT an authoritative source. It's more of a handy online gotcha that perpetuates the opinions of some contributors. It cannot, in all honesty, be used to prove anything. As a source, its methods of inclusion are so suspect that data on it should be double and triple checked with printed and signed material.

Cute. Handy. Full of unfiltered crap.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yap Yap Yap

Ever since the day the disgraced Don Imus was shoved off the air because of his racist, sexist, gratuitous insults, the MSM has been whining about a "comeback", and they haven't stopped yet.

You know, they could stop any time.

Coming back from a lifetime of insulting garbage that pretends to be humor is something we just don't need on the airwaves.

No one with any decency misses this bag of blather, this insulting, ignorant, sophomoric piece of slime. Really.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

O Jeez

Mitt Romney. Idiot.

Straw poll --oh yeah, that is real proof of a lead in the Presidential race for 2008.

:: eye rolling ::

If he is that deluded, you know what I'm thinking.

And besides, he is not in favor of upholding the Constitution.

So he's out.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Progressive Party

I've had it.

No more Republicans. No more Democrats. It's time to move out.

Why should you trust me? Well, aside from the fact that I would consider stealing anathema, I have been preaching for many solid years here against the destruction of a constitutional, checks and balances form of government. I have urged you over and over to write to congressional representatives. I have given you an 800 number to use to badger your senators.

My senators are a disgrace to God and Country. Their names are Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts. I want whichever one is up for re-election to go down in flaming defeat -- whether by a righteous Republican or a New Democrat doesn't matter. A Libertarian. A Green. Or lo, a Progressive, who bypasses the Republican/Democrat mark of shame and stands up for American values.

Our values don't include perpetual terror and war. Our values don't include leaving veterans to commit suicide or be dumped as mentally unfit just because they need care. Our values don't include recruiting foreigners with the promise of citizenship, only to yank that away.

Our government is a disgrace. It has to stop.

Contribute and I'll put this money toward the defeat of incumbents who voted to let this evil administration expand spying.

I swear it.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Enough and More Than Enough

Go here and tell your congresscritters, Senate and House both, that they took an oath of office to defend the Constitution, and you want them to keep their oath or resign in favor of someone who will do so.

It's time to tell each and every one of these trough-feeders that they have a duty to do what they swore before their own diety they would do. It's time and past time to hold them to it.

[crossposted to Mockingbird's Medley]

Friday, August 3, 2007

Weekend Entertainment

Here is a web site that has night views of almost every major city in Japan. Most of them are beautiful. Many are panoramas or partial panoramas. Just click on the city dot or on the Kanji characters of a city name:

http://ww4.tiki.ne.jp/%7Emmurakami/setoy/map.html

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It Finally Happened

The I-35W bridge over the Mississippi collapsed. The 7:12 PM report is on the KSTP Twin Cities web site.

Unless we make serious infrastructure repairs, this is only the first.

Just sayin'.

Friday, July 27, 2007

It's Been a Bad Week

...for flying things including two helicopters, the Dow, and the people at the Mojave branch of Scaled Composites.

The record NASA has for flight safety has been bought at the expense of speed. NASA cancels flights more often than it makes them anymore. Three astronauts died while sitting on the launch pad, including Gus Grissom. Fourteen have died from Shuttle disasters, including the seven of Challenger who started upward and failed; and including the seven of Columbia who died during a reentry accident.

Three accidents in almost 40 years indicates a caution so far beyond normal, I wonder why people don't speak of it more often.

I hope that the people at Scaled Composites don't lose heart of what amounts to a pretty normal industrial accident.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Leading the Way

Let me state right up front that I greatly admire The Sideshow, Avedon Carol's web log.

I especially admire the recent drive to publicize opinions favoring the impeachment of the criminal conspiracy that passes for a government in the United States. The people who are trying to destroy the constitution must be stopped. Avedon is doing her best to make that plain.

I salute her.

Warning

WalMart is selling beach flip-flops that may cause severe skin problems in some people:

http://www.lamanaphotography.com/walmart.htm

The upshot of this story is when a WalMart representative tells the injured party to go take it up with the Chinese manufacturer.

Um. Better to skip all WalMart products that are not made in the USA. WalMart's addiction to the cheap labor of China is detrimental to a healthy US economy, and their shoving of health care onto local government wherever they can is even worse.

WalMart. Stay away if at all possible.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"The Eagle Has Landed"

I watched the 1969 moon landing with wonder. I followed it as much as I could. The future was happening, and I had lived to see it. At 4:17pm EDT, we celebrate the Eagle, which landed 38 years ago today.

One thing that the Heinlein Centennial** did was renew that hope that I may yet see us take real steps to live off planet. Dr. Peter Diamandis, an inspiring speaker, has the firm intention of being on the moon to welcome NASA back -- when they get there.

Michael Griffin spoke of the steps NASA is taking to move us toward a moon base. I hope that we continue in this direction -- especially since its abrupt inception derailed Hubble maintenance; and I really have enjoyed Hubble's pictures of the universe. Michael Griffin's entire talk can be found at:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/911/2

And an excerpt thereof: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/911/1

We need to go -- or we shall surely go extinct too soon.

[crossposted at the Mockingbird's Medley ]
*************
** Please note that the Centennial web site states:

"This event was the effort of a group of Heinlein scholars and admirers that was assembled for the sole purpose of enabling the celebration of Robert Heinlein's 100th birthday in grand style. We are a unique entity and not associated, in any form, with any other group or institution.

We are not connected with the Heinlein Prize Trust,
the Heinlein Estate or the Heinlein Society."

Bush's War on U.S. Constitution

George Bush's War on the Constitution entered a new phase.

More lettres de cachet, more oubliettes, more guilty folks on the word of GWB and his henchcritters.

When will this stop? When will our Congress grow a collective spine?

Indict Cheney. Impeach Bush.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Free Stories to Read

The winners of the Heinlein Centennial story contest are available as a PDF for download at:

www.heinleincentennial.com

The top four stories were awarded cash prizes at the Centennial Gala on 07/07/07.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Coda

I posted a version of "La Marsaillaise" on Bastille Day. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that the chorus of that version was much tamer than what I rememebered. Wikipedia has a much more complete version.

The chorus looks like this:

Aux armes, citoyens ! ......To arms, citizens!
Formez vos bataillons ! .....Form your battalions!
Marchons, marchons ! ......Let us march, let us march!
Qu'un sang impur ............May tainted blood
Abreuve nos sillons ! .......Water our fields!


Much better. Much ... bloodier.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Indict Cheney First

Did he encourage the outing of Valerie Plame, and then let ol' Scooter take the fall for it, knowing that Bush, who would kill women and retarded men, would pardon the In-Crowd White Boy? He accepted his office at the hand of old Fat Tony Scalia, who did not recuse himself when the Black Robed Gang of Nine stuck its nose into the Florida election process prematurely. He shot a hunting buddy and hid out so his blood alcohol would have returned to zero when he reported to law enforcement.

High crimes? Misdemeanors? Oh yes.

Once this evil bstrd is gone, then we can impeach Bush.

Allons-y

The King of France habitually used lettres de cachet (rather like declaring a citizen an "enemy combatant") to imprison those he wished. An associated term you should know is "oubliette" -- rather like solitary confinement without the protection of habeas corpus. Google Jose Padilla for a modern interpretation.

The people of France did the right thing:

Aux armes, citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons!
Marchons! Marchons!
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!



La Marseillaise

Ye sons of France, awake to glory!
Hark! Hark! the people bid you rise!
Your children, wives, and grandsires hoary
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding,
With hireling hosts a ruffian band
Affright and desolate the land
While peace and liberty lie bleeding?
To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th'avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.

Oh liberty can man resign thee,
Once having felt thy gen'rous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts, and bar confine the?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Too long the world has wept bewailing
That falsehood's dagger tyrants wield;
But freedom is our sword and shield
And all their arts are unavailing.
To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th'avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Written by Rouget de Lisle, a young officer in the French army
stationed in Strasbourg in 1792. It was played at a patriotic
banquet at Marseilles, and printed copies were given to the
revolutionary forces then marching on Paris. They entered Paris
singing this song, and to it they marched to the Tuileries on
August 10th. Ironically, Rouget de Lisle was himself a royalist
and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the new
constitution. He was imprisoned and barely escaped the
guillotine.


Happy Bastille Day

[crossposted to Mockingbird's Medley]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Centennial

One of the neatest things happened at Registration. A man came up to the table wearing a pilot's uniform, dragging luggage, and brandishing a magazine. "I read about Heinlein in this National Review article in the airport. Then I got to this hotel and I looked at the board downstairs and it said you were here! The Heinlein Centennial is going on, right here. You are going to make my whole weekend. I'm so glad that I can be here!"

He then paid for registration before he ever went to his room and dropped his luggage. It's a real pity that the National Review and Reason extracted information from Centennial staff without mentioning that there would be a celebration.

Beware of journalists. All of them. Their word is as bad as their reporting.

The Heinlein Centennial

Read it from someone who was there. Urbangora, a lefty political blog, was on the ground at the Centennial for several days. Tom tells you what he saw.

Friday, July 6, 2007

On My Way

... to the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial in Kansas City, MO.


There is not formal blogger panel there, but they do have a track of do-it-yourself programming where someone will likely set up a blogging gathering. One of the premier Illinois bloggers will be documenting the event.

Here -- let someone else tell you about it while I put the last things in my suitcase!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Where's The Logic?

Unexploded car bombs in England and a threat in Glasgow that the US was "warned about two weeks ago" means that all security in US airports has to be increased?

Where is the logic?

I think they just enjoy jacking with us. These activities actually increase feelings of insecurity -- and I think they are intended to.

I wouldn't travel by air this week for anything. Not because of threats, however; but because of unnecessary "security" that does not make anyone more secure.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday Already

I have had a cascade of doctor's appointments that are not quite over. Thursday I go for the full Glucose Tolerance Test because the short blood test (A1C?) is so close to normal -- but just a touch high -- that the Doctor does not consider its results definitive. If I'm not diabetic now, it really is just a matter of time.

The sonogram did not find gall bladder problems. It didn't find anything immediately fatal or malignant -- which is good. But the blood work, ah! the blood work. Suggestive but not definitive, it is going to cost me four hours in a couple of days.

I have plenty to do between here and next weekend's convention. Company coming to stay. Work to do to ensure that we have a smooth-running event. So of course, my insomnia is breaking and I had to take about four naps today.

This is reading like a LiveJournal entry rather than a blog -- but it's what's happening now.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rock/Hard Place

Poor Gonzales!

The Information Security Oversight Office has asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resolve the legal dispute over whether the order applies to Cheney's office. So far, the Justice Department has not ruled on the issue.


Can you imagine? He has been asked to decide if Dick Cheney must follow the law regarding classifying and declassifying national security issues. Cheney, of course, is suggesting that the president can't give him orders. Cheney is pretending that his office is not part of the Executive branch. Did anyone tell him that we don't have a special classification of oligarchs who can do whatever they want?

It seems that the Information Security Department has asked Abu Gonzales to bell the cat. Imagine!

Why, this would mean Gonzales would have to report on whether Cheney outed Valerie Plame by the book, or as a spontaneous act of malice! The staggering implications! Someone who will have to decide if Cheney is accountable, and possibly take flack for such a decision! The mind boggles.

Somehow, I'm not sure Gonzales has the balls.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Denial: Where We Lost

Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth;
Let's choose executors and talk of wills:
-- Richard II


Abu Ghraib.

The death of honor; the death of our ideals; the ascendancy of our own liars, sadists, monsters and torturers.

What of those who tried to be heroes and make it stop? General Taguba has retired from the military. One of the things the current New Yorker article makes clear is that there were several problems; and that some of them have been pointedly ignored. The military confined its investigation to the narrow area of military involvement. No one with authority to investigate all aspects was ever appointed. Of course, we have a president who resists truth, and so the authority was never delegated in an honorable and honest fashion.

Clearly, both the CIA and contractors had much involvement and no accountability. To this day, the faceless nature of the perpetrators remains.

Moreover, the identity of the stonewallers (who blocked knowledge of the crimes from raging upward as they should have) remains shadowy. Five reports, stalled by people with no morals or ethics except CYA -- the crimes by those in our government are pervasive to this day.

An independent panel headed by James R. Schlesinger, a former Secretary of Defense, did conclude that there was “institutional and personal responsibility at higher levels” for Abu Ghraib, but cleared Rumsfeld of any direct responsibility. In an August, 2004, report, the Schlesinger panel endorsed Rumsfeld’s complaints, citing “the reluctance to move bad news up the chain of command” as the most important factor in Washington’s failure to understand the significance of Abu Ghraib.


More important than a "failure to understand" was the institutional reaction to the information about torture. Taguba was sidelined into a Pentagon job where he could be under the immediate "supervision" of people with a vested interest stonewalling. Meanwhile, General Miller at Guantanamo was protected by his superiors even as he interrogated prisoners in ways that clearly violated the Geneva Conventions.

Did they deny that the events happened? Did they merely deny people upstream from them the information? Does it matter which when those actions have resulted in a loss of the moral high ground?

For, indeed, the loss of the moral high ground started there, and it has contaminated our every word and action to this day. The uncontrolled and individualized brutality has seeped out and turned the population we supposedly liberated into a quasi-enemy entity, due nothing but suspicion, raids, arrests. The loss of our integrity is the start of a greater loss.

Congress, shown the evidence, did nothing. Just nothing. They are a disgrace to the principles of good government and oversight. Not one of them has courage where courage would count.

After 9/11 the showing of flags was pervasive. After Abu Ghraib, a lot of us put our flags away until our pride can be restored.

It hasn't happened yet.

[via Political Animal]

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Paul sings Nessun Dorma high quality video/sound



We have American Idol. They have Paul Potts. I envy them.

The Only Spending Allowed

is spending on his frickin' war, or gimmies for oil companies and tax cuts for plutocrats.

The rest of you can eat cake.

And pay.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Congressman ... and The Senator

My Congressional district used to be represented by a Republican named Snowbarger. He was virulently opposed to Bill Clinton. During the impeachment proceedings, I wrote to him telling hm to cut it out -- that lying about sex was a normal thing to do, and neither a high crime nor a misdemeanor.

He sent back a three page missive. The first thing it did was admit that over 66 per cent of his constituents who had written to him agreed with my position. He then proceeded to tell me and the other 66 percent of his activist and vocal constituents that he was going to pursue his vendetta. Mistake.

At the next election, he was replaced by Democrat Dennis Moore, who has made more gains in majority each time he stands for re-election. Congressman Moore goes out of his way to address constituent concerns, even sending Congressional studies on topic of interest!

Well.

I have a Senator named Sam Brownback. I wrote on the Medicare issue awhile back, saying that Congress should legislate to permit negotiation for lower drug prices.

Shades of Congressman Snowbarger, today Senator Brownback sent a missive telling me why he was not going to vote for any such thing. Why, did I know just how terrible for investors this idea was?? Oh woe!! You know my heart just *bleeds* for investors.

All I can say, Sam Brownback, is watch what happens when you get too frickin' arrogant. You could *easily* join Congressman Snowbarger as a has-been.

Just sayin' ....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bastards

Now here is a headline to conjure with:

Court Rules in Favor of Enemy Combatant


Talk about being convicted on the word of George Bush alone!

Al-Marri has been held in solitary confinement in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., since June 2003. The Qatar native has been detained since his December 2001 arrest at his home in Peoria, Ill., where he moved with his wife and five children a day before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to study for a master's degree at Bradley University.


He moves in the *day before* 9/11 -- and *someone* decides he is an "Enemy Combatant". I really don't care what kind of contorted bullshit the government used to create that term. It is obscene, and it is an excuse to drop individuals down the oubliette with as much justice as French prisoners got from Louis.

Now look at the Government's argument:

The Bush administration's attorneys had urged the federal appeals panel to dismiss al-Marri's case, arguing that the act stripped the courts of jurisdiction to hear cases of detainees who are declared enemy combatants. They contended that Congress and the Supreme Court have given the president the authority to fight terrorism and prevent additional attacks on the nation.


"Given him the authority" -- you know, I don't think that anyone except a Bush attorney would think that throwing out the Constitution is encompassed in any "authority" that congress might grant. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that all those elected officials took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not destroy it in pursuit of illusory "safety".

Only George Bush and his trained Dementors would try such a thing. Why is he still in office? Why?

[crosspost @ Mockingbird's Medley]

Gonzales

My goodness, does Senator Schumer have it wrong:

Democrats say it's only right for senators to go on record, since five Republicans have called outright for Gonzales' dismissal and many more of the president's party have said in public comments that they have lost confidence in him.

"If all senators who have actually lost confidence in Attorney General Gonzales voted their conscience, this vote would be unanimous," said Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., who authored the resolution with Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif. "We will soon see where people's loyalties lie."


No, the vote on the resolution will have nothing at all to do with where loyalties lie, and less to do with "going on record" in any meaningful sense. The vote will have even less to do with the adequacy of government and the performance of duties by the Attorney General. For a change Tony Snow is actually right -- it's all about politics, and that will make the vote a travesty. The vote will be nothing but a dog and pony show, proving absolutely about Gonzales's adequacy or about Bush's intransigence.

You'd think by now that Senators Schumer and Feinstein would know better, but noooo. This particular vote especially shows why I consider the current antics grounds for calling a pox on both their houses.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Wierd Death

A 17 year old track star died from using too much muscle rub -- or so the New York Medical examiner concluded.

Arielle Newman, a cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, died after her body absorbed high levels of methyl salicylate, an anti-inflammatory found in sports creams such as Bengay and Icy Hot, the New York City medical examiner said Friday.


The cherry on top, however, is in the last two paragraphs of the story:

Her mother, Alice Newman, said she still couldn't believe her daughter's death was caused by a sports cream.

"I am scrupulous about my children's health," she told the Advance. "I did not think an over-the-counter product could be unsafe."


What universe is that woman living in? She has never heard of people overdosing on aspirin? Over the counter does not mean "impossible to abuse". Heck, people can die of excessive water intake. It is sorry and sad that her daughter died from using a topical preparation. It is less impossible to believe when the young lady had a mother who thinks that availability equals safety.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Shit

The police in Missouri have found a body believed to be that of Kelsey Smith.

Today when I went to the thrift shop her picture was posted on the entry door. She was local.

Like all the young women who are stalked as prey, she did nothing to invite, attract, or encourage this atrocity ... except exist and be female.

We never expect this kind of thing in Kansas, in Missouri, even though the police estimate that there are about seven serial killers operating in the Metro area at any given time. It absolutely infuriates me that anyone can be so callously terminated at the whim of some psychotic son of a bitch.

I hope they catch him and end his worthless life.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I spent most of the last few days working on art projects. Yes, that is hard to believe. Still, it's what passes for activities in the Scorpion Hut.

This means I have been doing news blackout. Between reading, artwork, and taking enough naps to keep functioning, my days have been full.

I was sorry to see, in my few web visits, that Steve Gilliard passed on. I came very late to his writing, and I will miss him. I can't imagine how much those who really knew him and loved him are doing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Agriculture Department Doesn't Care if You Die

The USDA wants to ban a cattleman from testing all his cows for Mad Cow Disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. A beef producer in Kansas, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone should test its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive tests on their larger herds as well.


In other words, they do not want to ensure the safety of the food supply. Period.

Expensive? How expensive is it going to be to treat a population with rotted brains?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Farenheit 451, Live, 6 Blocks Away

Did he ask the small towns of the Gulf if they would pay to have books shipped?

Did he ask the large towns of Mississippi and Louisiana? How about Florida?

Did he ask the local libraries that use old books to raise money? How about the churches? The VA hospital?

Whether he did, or whether he didn't matters not. He burned them, as many as he could manage before the Fire Department stopped him. Since his antics have made the national news, maybe he's got his money's worth in free advertising.

He is also making manifest some old bogeymen.

[crossposted @ Mockingbird's Medley]

The Good Old Days and a Sense of Shame

Toshikatsu Matsuoka is not the first Japanese office holder in recent years to follow the old tradition and kill himself when he became embroiled in a scandal.

Even people who only vaguely know about Japan have heard of sepuku, which was the ritual disembowelling that Samurai did on command of their leaders. Honorable Suicide. Death to atone for bad behavior. The kamikaze of WWII were famous as well. It is no recent thing to make an airplane a weapon. The Divine Wind -- people who freely gave their lives to achieve an end; and thus kamikaze entered our language as well.

In the United States, there is no shame so great that a political figure will seek death. We have weasels instead. Perhaps there would be less corruption if there were more shame. It's something to think about.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Oops! They Did It Again!

WalMart has made another fashion faux pas.

The kind of error that they are making has two important prongs. The first is that the buyers (or concept creators) are conflating "upscale" and "trendy". There are clothes that are upscale. There are clothes that are trendy. Those two sets only overlap in a small area. The second mistake is that WalMart misidentifies the activities for which its customer base buys clothing.

WalMart needs club clothing in its stores like a hole in the head.
Your average "upscale" individual doesn't spend a lot of time lurking in clubs.
Your average WalMart shopper does not lurk in clubs, either.

And it is beyond imagining that Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, women who actually do inhabit clubs, would suddenly be possessed with the need to go see if WalMart has club wear.

Wal Mart shoppers want things to wear during leisure and work activities. Your WalMart shopper likely goes to ball games, amusement parks, movies, bowling alleys; barbecues and picnics; swim outings and camping. These are "regular American" pastimes. I say this with no mockery at all. These activities are fun, and they are things that cut across class and race. But clubs? Trendy time eaters? There is a very brief window when any normal person might become very heavily into dancing, drinking, and trolling for companionship.

It's best not to base a business model on luring people in that narrow demographic into your store. It will not keep WalMart afloat, that's for sure.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Light and Erratic Posting

Ah yes -- this weekend is a big one for conventions, and I'm attending one. So far it's been fun. The Neilsen Haydens of Making Light will be around, as well as many writers and artists.

Science Fiction conventions are way too entertaining.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

School for the American Taliban

Here you go!

A student from Liberty University was arrested for making bombs. Of course, in line with the quality of his university they were *crappy* bombs, but he did give it the college try.

He intended to use them on any protesters at Jerry Falwell's funeral.

The most infamous of those protesters were supposed to be the congregants of Westboro Baptist Church (shame upon the Baptists for not suing these nutcases for blackening the otherwise-innocuous name of Baptists everywhere).

Ironic. Right now I'm listening to South Pacific and "You Have to be Carefully Taught" just came on. I'm afraid my distaste for Westboro and Liberty U people is a lot more recent than being "carefully taught" at "6 or 7 or 8". And if the groups are at war, it sort of strikes me as a Kilkenney Cats solution.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Scary

Last night I had a rather scary few hours. I have been reading many books in the last few weeks as a prelude to judging them. I read fairly fast, but due to the amount of time I spend online I no longer read 3 to 5 books a day -- I am down to one or fewer. Yes, I now take several days to finish a book. Such a slacker!

In any case, last night I was reviewing the ones I need to judge, when I suddenly realized that I could not remember anything about the one I had most recently completed except for its title and author. No clue to the plot. Not one character name. No themes. No nothing.

I am terrified of getting Alzheimer's. It is altogether possible that I will live more than another 30 years, and I would hate to lose my mind even 25 years into that span. One of my relatives had either Alzheimer's or some other form of senile dementia. I know when it happened, too -- when the television in my parents' house broke down and the elderly relative lost the mental stimulation (!) it provided, the mind went into a permanent sunset.

Now let the snarky one say what he will. I check up on the latest research with some frequency. Just Google "beta amyloid" for everything you ever wanted to avoid. If you Google "turmeric beta amyloid" you will understand why I eat curry regularly, as any person with a possibility of Alzheimer's should be doing. I also have lots of mental challenge games and I try to play some of them daily. Simple? Yeah, right.

The terror of suddenly being "lost" while driving on some of the more cookie cutter roads around here -- the losing of words, quotes, phrases -- losing a *entire book* just two days after completing it! I read it. I liked it. Today I looked it up on Amazon and got the information about it back, but it's been scary times, thinking over the possibilities.

The book I forgot had Alzheimer's as a theme. I am hoping that is why I suppressed it so thoroughly. I'm freaked out enough that tomorrow I'm headed to an herb store to get turmeric in capsules so I can take the amount that was used in some recent studies. I guess eating curry isn't enough. I do take my own advice, whether it's simple or complex.


[crossposted @ Mockingbird's Medley]

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fun with Science

This week in the news, there was a story about new species found on the Antarctic shelf. The photo album with the piece was incredible.

My particular favorite was the photo at the top of this link. I saw it and immediately thought "glass trilobite". It's beautiful.

OK, so my idea of beautiful can be a bit eccentric.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Best Thing This Week

The Freeway Blogger has a brilliant new strategy.

To rip down the opinion is to also rip down the flag.

This will definitely give some folks something to think about -- and of course, others will go wah wah wah, just as they always do when thwarted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Freedom of Speech Again

Shock jocks are biting the dust in record numbers this week. Opie and Anthony were suspended from their meal ticket at XM Radio for their schtick on rape with Condoleezza Rice as the object of merriment. Meanwhile, two New York shock jocks, Jeff Vandergrift and Dan Lay, lost their jobs at CBS for a racist mock of Chinese.

Clearly the lines are firming up -- there is freedom of speech, but no reason to expect freedom to be paid for a public platform for racist and sexist puke. And I will place long odds against Imus getting a job on satellite if Opie and Anthony's perch there is already precarious.

Good deal.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hot Topic

On Sunday Kevin Drum did a post on the Heinlein Centennial, which will be July 6 through 8 in Kansas City.

Of course the post has a lot of comments. They range from the idiotic (Why isn't it another date? Well, since Heinlein was born July 7 of 1907, another date would not be a Centennial, now would it?) to the very explicit.

One of the comments I liked the most pointed out that his three major cult novels appealed to three very different cults. The person commenting did not see a philosophical thread that connected Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, and Stranger in a Strange Land, but they are actually not inconsistent with one another. Indeed, Moon is a Harsh Mistress holds permutations and echoes of the other two.

Every now and then, as someone who has read all his work, I have a Heinlein moment, when something he has written becomes obvious to the rest of the world. One of the most recent was when Stephen Hawking took his zero-g flight. The inevitable thought was that Hawking would live "Waldo" if he were allowed to do so, because living in zero-g would be a great boon to him and his caregivers.

In many ways Heinlein was a visionary. He was, nevertheless, a creature of his age, for all the things he did that were unusual.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Web Evolution

[mode=rant]
Over at Mockingbird's Medley, Mimus asked the question "Blogads or YouTube...?"

It's pretty easy for me to ignore Blogads -- they just sit there. The main harm they do is to curtail the speech of the blogger who accepts a corporate nickel -- and I think that readers can make their own decisions about what that does to someone's point of view.

What drives me really crazy is something that big web sites do all the time now. They put up a headline promising a recipe, and if you click on it, you are presented with a video box with the inevitable arrow. I hate those mthrfckrs! If I had wanted a damned video, I 'd have gone to YouTube.

I read much faster than anyone can perform anything and I resent the daylights out of time-wasting videos. I also resent links that take you to videos without giving a video icon by the headline.

If these morons do it enough, I will move on to another home page and they can begin to kiss revenue good-bye with my foot helping them along.
[/rant]

Friday, May 11, 2007

Little Stuff

I spent some time thinking about politics, and there are only a couple of leetle things that keep me from being wholeheartedly libertarian.

The first, and likely foremost of those is this: if libertarians would abolish the personhood of corporations and require personal, individual responsibility for corporate acts, perhaps I'd be more of a libertarian.

You see, escaping from consequences by hiding behind a corporate shield is anathema to me. Corporations kill people with impunity. There's no death sentence for them, even when they act with malice.

There are enough little flaws in a libertarian system that I could write a book. Augh! Mimus! See what you've done?

[crosspost @ The Medley]

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Predators

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow has a story on union-busting in China. She quotes a JohannHari article that goes into detail about the exploitation of Chinese workers and the support that US business has given the Chinese government in its exploitation.

Yes, since businesses cannot actually keep slaves here, many are willing to collude with governments that do the next best thing.

WalMart sells a lot of things made in China. I avoid them. When people buy cheap Chinese goods, they are colluding with the abuse of Chinese workers *and* making sure that their own job market will not come back from the dead. And yes, manufacturing in the US is pretty dead.

I have another policy that I uphold. If I get a call from any organization that is using a foreign call center, I disconnect immediately. Call centers used to be in the midwest, but India is cheaper. Foreign call centers make their employees take an Anglo work name like "Mark" or "Dave" when they call. That may be considered "convenient" since clients are not likely to pronounce Goparaju, Prasadram or Ptumporn Supakitvilakakarn comfortably. On the other hand, one cannot help but think that it's transparently fraudulent as well.

My take is that I will not support Kansas jobs that have been outsourced to Bangalore -- period.

Monday, May 7, 2007

But...

will she land on the Rose Garden?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Speechless

Air traffic controllers were in a room full of carbon monoxide. They were not allowed to leave. They felt their mental processes were impaired.

I believe that. Someone with a functioning mental set might have started vomiting when not allowed to leave. That is unusually convincing to supervisors. Someone on break might have hit the fire alarm. That, too, is a reasonable thing to do under the circumstances.

But to just let a supervisor do something criminal -- that I don't understand at all -- either the doing or the accepting.

Entitlement

Did I read this correctly?

Is Don Imus really contending in a lawsuit that since he always got away with his crap before, that it is his *right* to be paid to spew racist and sexist malice?

That's a new low, even for a White Boy.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Good

Barack Obama is being given Secret Service protection this week. I am glad that someone is being realistic.

I have heard many people remark that he would be a good president if he survives to hold office. The way people say this makes one understand just how many people fear that racists are plotting evil based on the color of someone's skin. It's an ugly reality.

Me, I'd like to see him survive, so I am glad he will have guards.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Back from the Dead

The medical news in Newsweek this week is breathtaking.

Read the entire story. If the possibilities don't just blow you away, you need to get a sense of wonder.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Medley

I give Mimus the Good Stuff.

Why Not Tell the Whole Truth?

Bush Vetoes Appropriation of Billions for Iraq.

Wah wah wah. He did not like the terms.

He wants billions with no oversight at all.

Gravy train time is over.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Can't --- Resist ---



[crosspost Medley]

Sounds of Silence

Articles of Impeachment against Dick Cheney were presented to Congress last week by Dennis Kucinich.

"Echos in the well
of silence."


[via Fightin' Cock Flyer]

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Monsters

The US government at its highest level is staffed with lying monsters.

This time it is Karen Hughes.

The Messenger

I just read Digby on Truth's Consequences. It contains a speech that Ashleigh Banfield gave at Kansas State University. In the aftermath of that speech, she was no longer a foreign correspondent, or any sort of news reporter.

Breaking network omerta results in becoming a professional nonentity.

So. Is it the producers? The advertisers?

Who is degrading the "news"?

We know who beat the war drums as messengers. Who made the policies? Who outlined the lockstep?

One commenter wondered of Olberman could or would report on this. I suspect not. It's one thing to criticize the administration, even extremely. It is quite another thing to point out that the news media are corrupt. Even for Keith Olberman, that would be biting the hand that feeds him.

[via Eschaton]

His New Thing

Over at the Whatever, John Scalzi is taking his first-ever vacation from the news.

He is on a book tour. A few days ago he noticed that on his first tour day, he had no time at all to listen to news or read any. He polled his blog readers: should he continue to ignore news while on his book tour?

The answers (including mine) were an overwhelming "yes". Most of his readers go to conventions that last ten days to two weeks including travel time, and most of them have had a news-free experience during one or more of those vacations.

It's interesting to go without news, and to experience the process of hooking back in after the vacation is over.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Fraud

Gordon at Alternate Brain is doing some heavy voter fraud posting.

As soon as the polls closed in 2004 I declared that FL and OH would, through fraud, put Bush over the top. Looks like the scum in the Ohio pond is getting visible -- finally.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Auuuugh!

I'm already burned out on everyone who is running for office. Clinton, Guliani, Obama, MCCain, Edwards, Brownback -- I don't really want to hear another word from any of them. Maybe ever.

Every current event gets an entire raft of campaign statements. Then the fighting starts.

I think I am going to join Mimus and declare this a No Campaign Zone until a year from now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Evil Tease

I read two articles yesterday about the fossilized rainforest that has been found in a coal mine in Illinois.

The evil tease is that both articles referred to one picture, and only one.

I want more! Dozens more!!

Old Cliches

"Never chalk up to malice what can easily be explained by stupidity."

Is that why so many characterize Bush as slow? Because they do not want to think he acts on purpose?

I don't misunderesitmate* him. I honestly think that if Congress tries to impose a deadline on the administration, that it would either be ignored (Abu Ghraib picture method of dealing) or that the administration would take Congress to court over what duties the Constitutionally outlined role of Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces gives the President in terms of a free hand.

With the current Supreme Court, do you want to take bets on how such a decision would fall out?

________________
*joke

Friday, April 20, 2007

Others

I certainly hope that all of you have been reading things off my sidebar this week.

I have been thinking a lot, but not expressing myself online. The things I might say about the Supreme Court Justices going on a hunting trip with Cheney might suggest that I am still annoyed with the state of the world. Gosh, I do wish Big Dick would plan an outing. Nino hasn't been reported as going out with Dick for way too long.

And then there is Gonzales. My favorite news item mentioned that there was a man with USMC tattoos with a sign protesting the Iraq war -- but after a few hours of Alberto's testimony he made two signs, one with "I don't remember" and a second with tick marks by five counting Gonzales's repeat of that phrase. I love Marines.

See? Back to thinking.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hear Hear!

Teresa Neilsen Hayden has links to two graphics today. One is a Moderator Certificate:




The other link is to a Moderator Seal. I tend to agree with her. The world will not return to civility until the uncivil are firmly trounced.

[crosspost to the Medley]

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Web Scam

The IRS says there are scammers who have intercepted the tax returns of people who think they filed online, and redirected the refunds into their own accounts as they file the stolen returns with the IRS.

How? Imitation web sites that offer free filing are sent to people with a link -- and the link takes the victim to a web site that looks like a real IRS site, but actually leads to a place that the scammers can take the information.

The way you avoid getting scammed? Never, never, never click on a e-mail link that will be recording any personal information. If you want to file free, use Google, find the IRS web site, and start there. Do not use the tempting link in e-mail. Just don't.

Monday, April 16, 2007

So

Disclaimer: I own a gun and I know how to use it.
President Bush was horrified by the rampage and offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia. "The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

There are laws against shooting people. If all people followed laws, why would one need to bear arms? The president wouldn't understand a logical fallacy if it smacked him in the chops.

Someone bearing arms might have shot the gunman -- or might have hit more bystanders. Someone shooting the gunman would also have been disobeying the law 1) for being armed on campus 2) for shooting someone. Oh, such a person might have been commended for stopping something bad --yet even a cop would have been put on leave and investigated for it, and likely said helpful-shooter might end up as a defendant in court. There is a high chance that such a Samaritan might end up doing life in prison. Witness the case of Cory Maye, who is spending the rest of his life in jail for shooting the armed people who broke into his home.

Today the "arm everyone" morons are in full cry. Go read Radley Balko's The Agitator before you join them.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lightening Up

It is the weekend, and I have been amusing myself by looking at e-Bay auctions. I don't know which terminology cracks me up the most "Goth Celtic" or "Hippie Goth Boho" -- talk about taking your adjectives out of a hat for clothing items!

e-Bay may be the only remaining venue that uses "hippie" as a constant adjective. I thought that a guy I knew who used the word in the 1980's was evading the real world -- the people who write these headlines are living in an alternate universe. There are no hippies left. None. Most of them grew 0lder, moved from the communes, and got jobs in Corporate America.

The only thing that might bring communes back with a vengeance is the graying of the Boomers. A lot of folks are going to find themselves on very reduced incomes very soon, and sharing utilities and vehicles is one of the few ways to really reduce outlay.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Freedom of Speech

"Freedom of speech" has to do with governmental suppression, not with some philosophical "freedom" that allows all comers the right to spew anything they want.

Just try to do a liberal show on Fox, if you think there really is "freedom of speech".

Imus found out that advertising dollars rule. Just how naive was he, anyway?

It seems that if someone gets away with something once, twice, dozens of times, that there is an expectation that said person has the *right* to get away with whatever-it-is. Serial killers just go on. Thieves just go on. Drug dealers just go on. Racist hatemongers just go on.

Until caught -- or caught out. There is no inalienable right to call women whores. None. There is no inalienable right to pick on the color of skin someone has, to pick on where he or his parents were born, to pick on his size, or his limp, or his reluctance to punch another guy out.

Bullies do that kind of thing. Some people are really well-paid bullies, too. This one has just been cut off at the funds, where it hurts, and where it counted. Aw.

**************

And to the anonymous ***k who commented -- oh yes I can.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And on the Left

We could live without "Bitchez!", too.

It started with Atrios commenting on Bush and the goal of a manned mission to Mars. For about five minutes it was mildly amusing. Then it got old. Now it's all over, and not at all either funny or cute. I've seen it on TBogg, on Shakesville. It's a Lefty thing and it still uses a term for denigrating females.

Can't you pricks cut it out?

Inaccurate

An Associated Press story on MSNBC online stated:
Losing Imus will be a financial hit to CBS Radio, which also suffered when Howard Stern departed for satellite radio. The program is worth about $15 million in annual revenue to CBS, which owns Imus' home radio station WFAN-AM and manages Westwood One, the company that syndicates the show across the country.

But that isn't accurate any more. Earlier the story even stated:
...outrage continued to grow and advertisers bolted from his CBS radio show and its MSNBC simulcast.

When advertisers bolt, the "worth" drops drastically -- as well it should have. So it is particularly disingenuous on the part of AP to hold that "worth" at the level it was before the storm of protest.

I think the sexist part of the remarks offended me even more than the racial parts. This "ho" shit has got to go. It isn't cool, and it's indecent. What if women started referring to guys as "pricks" in all public venues? Would that be cool?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Another Great Gone

Kurt Vonnegut died today. I read so many of his works over the years.

Among his writing were some fine short stories. While most memories will contain the titles of his novels, I am always going to remember "Harrison Bergeron", "Welcome to the Monkey House", and "Report on the Barnhouse Effect." I wish he'd done more short fiction.

So it goes.

Iran Could Be

Iran could be training commandos to takeover the ISS!!

Iran could be enriching uranium for dirty roadside bombs!

Iran could be planning to blow up oil tankers!

Iran could be raising the anti-Christ in a madrassa!

Iran could be Bush's bogeyman, the new war-drum villian.

***************
Note: AP/MSNBC's headline has changed. It previously read "Iran may be Helping Iraqis Build Bombs". I took a screen print of the original :)

Thankless Job

Bush is trying to find a general willing to oversee both wars. Generals so far have not been ready to hop right into Bush's mess. Three have declined to take the job.

Actually, any intelligent general will shun this unless Bush has (or wants) a plan to withdraw from Iraq. Iraq is eating the military alive. It has run the Army, the Reserves and the National Guard into rags; and it has had a notably deleterious effect upon the USMC as well.

Who would be deluded enough to take this job?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Tips

I was reading the money-saving tips on Kos by Kath25 that Mark at The Biomes Blog mentioned. I read along, and realized that the trick of putting a brick in the toilet tank was sort of a waste of bricks.

I save jars. One empty Prego sauce jar, washed well, sits in my toilet tank, open side up. It works just as well as a brick, and I did not have to go to any effort to find it.

With an ice chipper or a blender, I whip frozen coffee cubes into slush, and add Splenda and milk for a drink that Starbucks charges lots of money to serve. I make trail mix from Best Choice granola cereal with raisins, adding dried cranberries, carob chips, and almonds. I make my own fried rice.

I'm on a budget because I've been unemployed most of a year. It is a tight budget, but I'm still managing to get along.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Hilarious

The person who made the comment about Midwest Airlines paid me a visit from ... guess which ISP? The link may not work for long -- it depends on Sitemeter.



I'll try to get a picture of it, but take it from me, the ISP belongs to Midwest Airlines [IP Address 12.145.174.# (MIDWEST EXPRESS AIRLINES)]. I guess someone stands to make a lot of money out of the hostile takeover, and they resent my opinion heartily.

Gods, that makes me laugh.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Comments

Comments may now take a bit of time to appear, because I've started getting comment spam, and this way I can filter it instead of having to go back and delete stuff.

Wheat Gluten

Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd. has been cited as the company that provided wheat gluten to the pet food producers whose products have killed cats and dogs. If you run the company name through Google, the page for the United Kingdom is still listing Wheat Gluten. The US page has been removed or changed.

Sadly, No! has the take on the likelihood of the FDA taking any steps to check the human food supply.

The Problem With Funding

The problem with allocating funds supposedly for Iraq is that the Executive Branch can't be trusted to spend the money to take care of the troops, to use the money solely for Iraq, or to oversee contractors so that the money is not spent for sailboat fuel or for mercenaries posing as guards.

Other than that, is there a problem?

Since when have veteran's benefits been "strings"?

Wouldn't it be great if the next round included and equal allotment to use for interest free loans for individuals to use in rebuilding New Orleans?

Ugly News

AirTran Airways is trying to eat Midwest. This is bad, maybe worse than bad.

AirTran is such a crappy airline it does not even have luggage forwarding agreements with major airlines, so if you have to connect to an AirTran flight, you have to claim your baggage and then get it searched again when you check in to your AirTran Flight.

Midwest, on the other hand, is the last airline operating domestically that still feeds passengers real food with real forks and spoons (the knives went after 9/11, alas). Midwest is almost the best airline operating in the US, and AirTran is possibly the worst.

Why is it that the crapful airlines eat and deface the best?

Rule of Law

Today, Avedon Carol at The Sideshow has items relating to the necessary task ahead -- restoring the rule of law in the United States.

Restoring the rule of law is only part of the job. Other parts should include a Constitutional amendment explicitly forbidding the acts that led to its erosion in the first place.

Inventing language to circumvent the Geneva Conventions certainly falls under "high crimes and misdemeanors" in my book. Equally horrible is the fact that the guidelines for the military have been stripped of rules that enforce the Geneva Conventions.

Stopping Congress from changing judicial nominating criteria every time the political balance in Congress changes would be a Good Thing.

It would also help if the Attorney General was someone who knew how to read -- and someone who was not spending all his time reinforcing a corrupt and cynical Executive. I surely hope that something takes these criminals down -- and if necessary, let rendition to a country with more guts than the USA be the vehicle that puts them away for their crimes. Germany would do very nicely -- they could use Nuremberg rules and lock up the war criminals.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Heating Up

There are certainly a *lot* of earthquakes happening, especially on the Pacific rim. The usual week shows 135 - 145 earthquakes. This week there are 220, and the numbers have been high for several days.

All the really big ones have been on the far side of the Pacific from us, but that is unlikely to continue. Tectonic balance is going to be affected by increasing water weight. We're going to be in for a rough ride.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Freed

Shaquanda Cotton, the Texas teen who was sentenced to excessive time in jail for a misdemeanor, has been freed.

She became the first juvenile inmate ordered freed by Jay Kimbrough, whom Gov. Rick Perry tapped Thursday to lead the troubled Texas Youth Commission out of an abuse and mismanagement scandal. Kimbrough told lawmakers Friday that the order had been given.

"He made a determination that she served her time and it was time to let that child out," said Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Stunning

Google? Corrupt?

Google Maps has replaced satellite photos of New Orleans with pre-Katrina maps. Yes, if you wish to look at New Orleans through Google Maps, you get to see a time warp instead of the real New Orleans.

Who gave the orders. And why?

[crosspost to the Medley]

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Barbarians

A young girl in Texas is serving a seven year sentence for shoving a hall monitor? That is barely a misdemeanor!

Visit Shaquanda's web site and let the governor of Texas know that people are paying attention to injustice.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

MadTV - iRack

Someone sent me the link to this, and y'all should get to share.

****************

Note -- the copy I had installed was pulled. Click link for another.



Saturday, March 24, 2007

Grasping at Straws

Oh, Bush is such a fatuous lout. Today's headline has him claiming that the vote to fund the war, define a pullout, and give aid to New Orleans was "wasting taxpayer money".

Sorry, but the only waste of taxpayer money going on right now is the part that pays for an administration that is raping the Constitution and playing at politics with the lives of both active duty and wounded members of the armed forces.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's Their Own Fault

Good ol' McDonald's -- always bent out of shape because the truth pinches. Our arch corporation is going to try to get the definition of "McJob" changed so it does not have negative connotations.

The word first cropped up two decades ago in the Washington Post, according to the dictionary. But executives at Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's say the definition is demeaning to its workers and say they'll ask dictionary editors to amend the definition.

Last time they tried to get it changed, Merriam-Webster gave them a thumbs-down:

In 2003, editors at the Merriam-Webster dictionary declined to remove or change their definition of "McJob" after McDonald's balked at its inclusion in the book's 11th edition. Instead, the Springfield, Mass. publisher said the word was accurate and appropriate.

I am pretty sure the Oxford English Dictionary will be able to resist whatever campaign McDonald's mounts.

A representative from the New York office of Oxford University Press, which publishes the Oxford dictionary, said nobody was immediately available to comment.

They were probably all in the back room rolling on the floor and laughing.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Gonzales

On the day that Gonzales declared that there was no guarantee of habeas corpus in the Constitution, he may as well have resigned.

He is ignorant. He is unfit to be Attorney General. He doesn't know the Constitution well enough to graduate from high school. He should be removed from office for that, if for nothing else.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Have You Noticed

that CNN is trying to ignore anti-war protests out of existence?

CNN is touting stranded airline passengers and recalled dog and cat food. Their coverage has become so blatantly twisted that I deleted them from my toolbar and replaced them with competitors. It is pretty obvious that they are no longer a news organization.

Guinea Pigs

ABC News has a story today whose teaser reads "Should we experiment on kids?"

Of course the story reports a storm of criticism. It is not just the suggestion of such experimentation that is "showboating", but the sensationalism of "experimenting" on children.

Let's face it -- either children try things under experimental conditions, or they are the victims of uncontrolled experiments once a drug or technique reaches the marketplace. Any drug that has a limited test population is a time bomb for other groups once it reaches the general population. Remember thalidomide? Pregnant women are usually kept far away from being part of an experimental population, and so there was no hint that Thalidomide would cause widespread, consistent fetal damage. Some painkillers work better on men than on women. Drugs behave in ways that a limited test population fails to reveal.

So either there will be experiments that include children, or there will be later disasters that include children. The ethics of this choice are a bit more complicated than the debaters suggest.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Yeah, Right

The Rude One has posted a typical Bush picture -- Bush is hugging a Guatemalan woman in that paternalistic kabuki he performs all over the world.

What cracked me up was that the women in the background look thoroughly disgusted.

Yessss!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chain of Collapse

As house prices collapse, one of the things that will go down with the prices and the value is the amount of tax that can be assessed. Cities get a lot more taxes from a house valued at 250K than they do from one valued at 100K, and cities are going to be awfully reluctant to lower their assessments as the fair market price on properties shrinks.

I once sold a house for 41.5 K. The city had just assessed it for 45K, but very frankly it would not have sold with that high a price (listen to me laugh uproariously in retrospect -- it is likely over 100K by now!). I recommended that the people who bought it should go to the city and point out that they had paid a fair price, and that the assessment should go down.

I wonder if they did that. Moreover, I wonder if house buyers will have the guts to do that as prices start falling drastically.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Fox Among the Fowl

... or is that Foul?

The woman who was running an escort and sex service has shared her client list with a news outlet.

"I have decided to hand over all phone records, logs and invoices (including those presently unknown to the government) to what I believe to be one of the most reputable and respected investigative news organizations in the country, to assist me with my needs," Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 50, wrote in an e-mail to WTOP Radio.

She did not identify the news organization or give details of the arrangement. Palfrey's civil attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, would not say whether his client was getting paid, or if she was simply getting investigative assistance with uncovering the names associated with the phone numbers.

Palfrey ran an upscale escort service in the Washington area from her Vallejo, California home for 13 years, until August 2006. Her assets were frozen in October after an Internal Revenue Service investigation, and she pleaded not guilty Friday to federal racketeering charges in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

That is a wonderful response to seeing her assets frozen. Just goes to show that not all her assets were in a nice bank somewhere. Personally, I don't care what parties her clients belong to as long as they are not hypocritically trying to make laws for the rest of us to follow while they do whatever they are forbidding to others. If her client list has notes on preferences, the fallout could be amazing.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Can We Stop Now?

Can we stop providing Halliburton with a perpetually filling trough of no-bid fodder when it moves to Dubai?

Can we cease to give those swine tax breaks? Tax dollars? Military contracts?

Friday, March 9, 2007

Pseudo Problem

Oh dear me! One might have to perform a *manual* operation! This story about your computer having a problem with time is the dumbest thing I have read in a long time.

Click on the time display and correct it. Ohmygod! How outrageous!

Even larger computers can have their times reset manually. It is not as if any machine keeps perfect time -- power outages, voltage surges, and drift make electronic clocks inaccurate over the long haul anyway. Talk about your fake problems.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

War With Iran a Bad Idea

Cast your mind back to the day when the Berlin Wall came down. For quite awhile after that it seemed we had jumped tracks to an alternate universe, one where the threat of war, both nuclear and conventional, had backed off drastically. It was an interesting feeling after the Cold War years. And then -- and then came the Bushes. The current Bush has us back to the brink of catastrophe with his lust to meddle in the Middle East. He creates enemies out of people who do not have the ability to actually invade the US. He really *has* done his best to take Iraq's oil. He is making the citizens of this country into Good Germans because it is difficult to shout loudly enough. Still, we need to try.

Via Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, I went to Arthur Silber's Building an Effective Resistance.

Arthur outlines a plan for trying to prevent the Bush buildup to an attack on Iran. It will be interesting to see if any members of Congress start to state out loud and up front that an attack would be unwarranted and criminal. I am not sure any of them are that courageous.

My own Senators sold their souls so long ago that calling them would be as useful as petitioning Satan for an act of mercy. If your Senators are better than mine, you can implement Arthur's plan of reminding them daily at no cost. The Senate switchboard number is 1-866-808-0065 -- just ask for your senator when they answer. Oh, and give an extra call each day to Clinton, Obama, Reid and Steney Hoyer. Extra responsibility falls on those who want national office or leadership positions -- these people should be right up front in trying to repeal both Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolutions, the one passed immediately after 9/11 and the one on Iraq.

They should be reminded every day that resisting war with Iran is the right way to start opposing the Bush administration's criminal acts.