Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Kerry Wins the Debate!

Joe Scarborough said so, so it must be true.

But really folks, seeing the two side be side, Kerry came across very much the statesman that this country really needs in these trying times. In contrast, Bush appeared whiny and repetitive. It seem that he reached for a drink (water?) after every answer.

When questioned about the doctrine of preemption and whether it is likley to be used again, Bush did not substantively answer the question. Kerry's response was the we have the right to preemption if it passes the global test of if a threat really exists.

Birthday Wishes for Girls with Guns

Susan of Suburban Guerrilla is celebrating her birthday today. We'd like to give a pinch to grow an inch but we're on different sides of the country. Oh, well...

The Operation Was a Success But the Patient Died...

Joshua Micah Marshall gives us his diagnosis with a mean medical metaphor:
The fact that we could probably stay in Iraq just like this for twenty years as long as we don't mind burning through our military (which might come in handy if we ever faced a security threat outside Mesopotamia) and our sons and daughters isn't really the point.

Unfortunately, I don't think we're in a position to just pull up stakes and leave the place. We're in a position something like that a surgeon might face if he started an operation only to realize once he'd cut the patient open that the operation should never have been attempted. But now the patient's gone critical and he's got to stabilize him and close him up without having him die on the operating table.

In that situation, why the operation started in the first place or whether it should have been attempted at all is sort of beside the point. The issue is keeping the patient alive.

If the trauma wasn't so dire, this cynical swordsman would be in stitches...

Dumb and Dumberer

The Gadflyer's Paul Waldman muses on how the pundits will score the debates in his post Dumbing it Down . Here's where he gets to the point:
Our country is burdened by huge debt, the situation in Iraq has become an unadulterated clusterfuck, we are still vulnerable to terrorism, our health care system is a mess, tens of millions of Americans struggle to feed their families, and what questions do the men and women who will determine the next president think are important? Here are some examples:

* John Kerry recently appears tan. Is he too tan? If so, he should not be president.

* Will Bush get snippy in the debate? If so, people should not vote for him.

* Will Kerry’s answer to a question about Iraq include any subordinate clauses? If it does, he does not deserve to be president. If it doesn’t, he does deserve to be president.

* Will Bush say something stupid? If he doesn’t, then he should be re-elected.

* The Bush campaign will tell us that anything Kerry says represents a flip-flop. Should we believe them? If so, Kerry does not deserve to be president.

There may have been no election in American history when the policy issues were of such consequence and the nation’s press corps was so focused on trivia.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Mark Fiore on the debate.

Just in time for the 1st. Presidential debate, Mark Fiore has the

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Agonizing over who should be picked up from school...

I can only imagine what was going through his mind ever since I saw the Bush commecial where he says, I can "unnerstan" the agony of a parent...Where he touches his chest like he always does after he says, 'The terrorist attacked us" or, "They want America to back down."

If I had a dollar for every time he touched himself when he says "America," I might benefit from his tax cuts.

With that in mind, watch once again the agonizing minutes of Bush reacting to the news that America is under attack.

I can almost hear his agonizing inner-dialogue:
Oh my god,oh my god! What about the twins - who should be picked up first?

Jenna, or not Jenna, I mean Barbara. Named after my mother. Well not her. Aahh, screw mom, I'll let dad tell her...

Oh, didn't Barbara get that agent in trouble with her fake ID?

But I remenber when Barbara licked envelopes on my guvenatorial campaign...

Yet polls show most voters remember Jenna's name...

What to do? Who to chose? What the fuck are all these kids doing here?

(Via BuzzFlash)

Techie Tuedsay: Polycom SoundStation2W

Wireless conference phone 

Years ago, when I ran the media and conferencing systems for an Investment Bank specializing in high tech IPO's (now-defunct), there was a request for a wireless conference phone for the Chairman’s conference room. He didn’t like the cables draping across the table. The request never passed muster due to IT security concerns and the specter of corporate espionage. At least that’s what we told him.

That’s why I glad to see the latest SoundStation innovation from Polycom.
Now there’s a conference phone without cords that gives you the freedom to conference anywhere team collaboration is important – even in rooms where there are no phone lines. With superior voice quality to the award winning SoundStation, proven 2.4 GHz wireless technology, added security of voice encryption, up to 24 hours of talk time, and the ability to dial through a cell phone, the SoundStation2W is the new standard for everyday conferencing.

I am somewhat dubious about connecting this to a cel phone because nothing ruins a conference call faster than an un-muted cel phone. But, hey, if you want to make a conference call from a teepee during a corporate team-building retreat, then this baby's for you...

At my last job, during lunch-time conference calls, the phones would be hid in cabinets to make way for the food. Soon after the poor AV guys would get frantic calls for missing equipment. Needless to say those conference calls were disasters which resulted in accusatory emails to the facilites department, et al, to CYA the meeting organizers (which means their assistants - since shit always rolls downhill).

With an entry price of $699.99 (OK $700,)it seems pricey at first, however it can be effectively justified to management. If they want the perfect solution, call for a meeting of all the interested parties, especially if you need to engage architects for pulling a phone line to underneath a conference table, and maybe power,(and while you're at it, throw in some fibre for future expansion).

Start with discussing esthetics and sound treatment. Point out the cost of drilling for a grommet in their preciously designed conference table. Move to discussing conduit paths, the need to bring in the carpeting guys (most people forget the carpeting guys), and more importantly, ask if this needs to be done on the weekend at overtime rates. If you're clever hold this lunch meeting in the Chairman's conference room and involve their assistant to, at least, order lunch... because they order only the best eats!

The end result will probably be a delicious catered meal and, "Order 2 of these things with extra batteries, but we are not setting a stardard for the rest of the firm; by the way can't this be added to the infrastructure improvements budget...".

Since these are rechargeble devices, woe to the person found responsible for maintaining this phone if it dies in the middle of an important (aren't they always?) executive conference call...

[Disclosure: I do not work for Polycom but I fully endorse their products. I fell in love the first time I un-packed their video conferencing gear 7 years ago for an install and saw color coded cables and proper labeling. I think Mac users will understand. Polycom paid attention to detail that was sadly missing in that market. It made them revolutionary.)

Monday, September 27, 2004

Bush Out! Fundraiser a Success

The Bush Out! Art Auction and Fundraiser succesfully raised over $1,500 for the DNC. Out of 39 pieces of art up on the(silent) auction block, 35 left the gallery with gratified new owners. An estimated 100 buyers, bidders, and just browsers packed the Inferno Gallery, so much so, that it got a bit steamy inside.

For those outside, it was a chance to cool off, discuss art and politics, and to smoke. Inevitably to return to see if they were out bid and grab a a glass of wine or another scrumptious hors d'oeuvre(my favorite was the fried polenta used like a crostini).

The art showed a diversity of style and technique, yet the majority of art on display illustrated a sharp edge commentary of today's relevant politcal issues. As you can see...

Over a 100 people showed up 

“War Toy” mixed media, by CHEZ 2004©

“Mask” ceramic, by Susannah Israel 2004©

“Commander and Thief” oil on panel and metal, by Erik Odegard 2004©

“Pieta” photo print, by Gary-Paul Prince 2004©

“Cookie Jar” ceramic, by Susannah Israel 2004©

“2003 Yearbook” acrylics on panels, by Richard Fong 2004©

Everyone's a critic...Charlie Dog makes no bones about it.

I applaud the organizers of this event. It demonstrates that with bit of intiative and imagination one can make a difference and involve people in politics. This kind of fundraising is simply more satisfying than writing a check to your party or PAC. Usually the GOP is better at this kind thing. While their events seem to border on stag parties or senior balls, this was for real people and the opportunty to meet artists, who are (yes) sometimes real people too!

At the end of the evening it was gratifyingto see great glaring white spaces on the walls, acknowledging what was once on exhibit there found fresh walls to grace...

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Mad Dog on Fox

Last year we had Talk Like Bill O'Reilly Day (Shut Up, you peabrains). So I thought to post this Rolling Stone Mag profile on the the bloviator everyone loves to hate. Here is a choice bit about the Mad Dog

O'Reilly loves any story that smacks of child mistreatment. There's easy emotion in it, and what O'Reilly is always looking for is emotion, something to jolt his viewers, to stir them to an indignation, disbelief or contempt equal to his own. His nose for such stories, and his ability to milk them for every ounce of drama, is what has made him the most successful personality on cable news. He demonstrates his special skills a few days later, when he kicks off The Factor with a tale of two U.S. soldiers who fled to Canada rather than serve in Iraq. Next to stories about abused kids, nothing pushes O'Reilly's buttons like stories about lily-livered, spineless, cowardly, anti-American lowlifes like these two deserters. He brings on a guest to "discuss" the "issue": Toronto Globe and Mail columnist Heather Mallick, who has dared to call the two deserters "fine American men." O'Reilly is not happy. And from the top of the "interview," he strikes that special note of scathing, keening contempt that might be described as the keynote of the entire Fox News Channel, an operation whose professed reason for being is to counterbalance the supposed liberal bias of all other media outlets. Thus the mood of bunkered aggrievement, which animates even the network's ostensibly "objective" news shows and which O'Reilly has raised to the level of an art form.

After verbally abusing Mallick as "anti-American," a "socialist" and someone who writes "stuff that's not true," O'Reilly takes the gloves off. "Now," he says, "if your government harbors these two deserters . . . there will be a boycott of your country, which will hurt your country enormously. France is now feeling that sting." (He's referring to a boycott that O'Reilly called for after France declined to join the Bush administration in Iraq.)

"I don't think for a moment such a boycott would take place," says Mallick. "We are your biggest trading partner -- "

"No," O'Reilly cuts in, "it will take place, madam. In France -- "

"I don't think that your French boycott has done too well -- "

At which point O'Reilly executes his signature move -- the bellowing, bullying, peremptory interruption. "They've lost billions of dollars in France, according to the Paris Business Review!" he thunders.

In short, amazing TV -- the modern media equivalent of witnessing a Christian torn apart by lions, with a touch of opera buffo thrown in. (Boycott Canada?) It mattered not that most of what O'Reilly said bears no relation to the truth. The Paris Business Review doesn't exist, and the "billions" of dollars France supposedly lost reflect figures dating to the 2001 recession, predating by two years O'Reilly's call for a ban on buying French goods (since then, French exports to America have actually gone up).

(Via Kottke)

Bush Out! Art Show & Auction Fundraiser

Today, Sunday, Sept. 26, 4-7pm, the Inferno Gallery is holding a silent auction fundraiser for the Democratic National Campaign.

Over 25 artists have donated their works. These artist are amazing, I should know since many are my neighbors.

So if you are in the area come on by:

4401 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Air America in the Bay Area. Finally!

Air America will hit the airways starting this Tuesday as KQKE on 960 AM.

This good news since I have only heard it streaming (see blog roll for link) or watched Al Franken's show on the Sundance Channel. The strange part is that it will be on a Clear Channel station.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Financial Problems? Single?

Then try The online dating agency with a difference!!!

It reminds of the saying:
If man marries for love and not money,
he will have very long days and wondrous nights.
Whereas, a man who marries for money and not for love
will have wondrous days and very long nights...

(Via Presurfer, stop by and celebrate their 4 year blogiversary)

Purple Heart Boulevard

Why are these people undermining the war in Iraq? Don't they know they are sending mixed messages to our Trooops? Haven't they met Prime Minister Reality, yet?

Why is the European and Pacific Stars & Stripes showing such a liberal bias?

BAGHDAD — Until last week, the world knew little about Haifa Street. Then came the spectacular car bombs in front of the Iraqi police station, and suddenly, Haifa was Iraq’s newest war zone.

But to the soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment, who must patrol the sector that includes Haifa Street, that area has been an all-out war zone for months.

In fact, soldiers with the 1-9 Cav don’t call it Haifa Street. To them, it’s “Grenade Alley,” or “Purple Heart Boulevard.”

In Baghdad, “there are two areas that are highly contested,” said Capt. Chris Ford, commander of the 1-9’s Company C, “Sadr City and here,” in the Haifa area.

“Every time we go out, we expect contact,” said Staff Sgt. Jimmie Thomas, a platoon sergeant for Company C, 1/153rd Infantry of the Arkansas National Guard, which is attached to the 1-9 Cav.

“Almost anything you do out there is movement to contact,” Thomas said. “Presence patrols, whatever. You’re expecting to get hit.”

More than half the company’s soldiers have qualified for Purple Hearts, and Thomas knows personally just how “getting hit” feels.

He was on a mission just two weeks ago, which ended in an hours-long firefight, with six of the platoon’s soldiers, including Thomas, wounded by grenades. Thomas took shrapnel in the neck and a leg.


But it hasn’t always been such a “good” day for the unit, which has responsibility for most of the patrols on Haifa Street. Some 60 out of the 118 men in his company have qualified for Purple Hearts, Ford said.

And the 1-9 Cav has had three soldiers killed in action since arriving in March, said Maj. Chris DeGaray, the 1-9’s executive officer.


“These are the same people Saddam had problems with, but he used much more brutal tactics than we can to control them,” said Capt. Reggie Kornegay, a civil affairs officer with the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion but who is attached to the 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment.

Nevertheless, since the end of the war, it wasn’t that bad for coalition troops patrolling Haifa Street, said soldiers from the 1-9 Cav.

When we first got here, we walked around giving candy to kids and talking to people,” said 2nd Lt. Rick Caldwell, a Company C platoon leader.

Staff Sgt. Jimmie Thomas, a Company C platoon sergeant, agreed.

“At first it wasn’t too bad,” said Staff Sgt. Jimme Thomas a Company C platoon sergeant. Thomas said his platoon has done “hundreds” of missions to Haifa Street since March.

But two months later, the situation started to change.


As the summer wore on, the situation worsened.

By August, 60 percent to 70 percent of his platoon’s missions to Haifa Street “were resulting in enemy contact of some sort,” Thomas said.

But even as patrols continue to turn into firefights, DeGaray said he has faith the situation will turn around, especially as the Iraqi Security Forces improve its abilities.(emphasis added)

(Via the Art of Peace)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Jon Stewart ponders democracy

Jon Stewart has new book out. Here is an excerpt on democracy

Athens: Our Big Fat Greek Forerunners
Ancient Greece is widely credited with creating the world's first democracy. It would be a worthy endeavor to travel back in time to the feta-strewn shores of fifth-century-B.C. Athens and ask Plato to define democracy, and not only to make money gambling on Olympics results that we, being from the future, would already know. Plato would tell us, in that affectionate but nonsexual way of his, that "democracy" is a Greek word combining the roots for "people" ("demos-") and "rule" ("-kratia").

In Greek democracy, political power was concentrated not in the hands of one person, or even a small group of people, but rather evenly and fairly distributed among all the people1, meaning every John Q. Publikopolous could play a role in Athenian government. The main legislative body, the Assembly, was comprised of no less than the first 6,000 citizens to arrive at its meetings — and bear in mind, no saving seats. Jury duty was considered an honor to be vied for. Membership in most other civic institutions, including the Supreme Court, was chosen ... by lot! Imagine a system in which anyone could wind up serving on the Supreme Court. Anyone. Think about your own family. Friends. The guys you knew in college who would eat dog feces for ten dollars. Now picture one of them as your randomly chosen Chief Justice, and you'll appreciate just how ... this system was.

Compared with American democracy, the Athenian version seems simplistic, naive, and gay. Transcripts of early Athenian policy debates reveal a populace moved more by eloquence and rationality than demagogues and fear-mongering. Thankfully, this type of humane governance wasn't allowed to take root. Athens's great experiment ended after less than two centuries, when, in 338 B.C., Philip of Macedon's forces invaded the city, inflicting on its inhabitants the eternal fate of the noble and enlightened: to be brutally crushed by the armed and dumb.

Rome: The First Republicans
The fall of Athens was followed by the emergence, overnight, of Rome. At first glance its people2 appear to have enjoyed a system of representative government similar to ours. True, behind its facade of allegedly "representative" officials lurked a de facto oligarchy ruled by entrenched plutocrats. But the similarities don't end there. In fact, the Founding Fathers borrowed many of their ideas from the Roman model, including its bicameral legislature, its emphasis on republicanism and civic virtue, and its Freudian fascination with big white columns.

However, there was very little real democracy in Rome. While the Senate theoretically represented the people, in reality its wealthy members covertly pursued pro-business legislation on behalf of such military-industrial giants as JavelinCorp, United Crucifix, and a cartel of resource-exploiting companies known as Big Aqueduct. They even monopolized the most notorious aspect of Roman life, instituting an orgy policy that can literally be described as "trickle-down."

Vomitoriums aside, Rome's biggest contribution to American government was probably its legal system, which codified key concepts like equal protection, "innocent until proven guilty," and the right to confront one's accusers. These very same issues would later form the basis of both the Bill of Rights and a mind-numbing quantity of Law and Order scripts. But by the time of Rome's huge millennium celebration marking the beginning of O A.D., the faint light of Roman democracy was all but extinguished. The Republic had given way to Empire. The only voting to speak of took place in the Colosseum and was generally limited to a handful of disembowelment-related issues. In time, the Empire itself fell, as history teaches us all empires inevitably must.3 Its most enduring legacy: a numerical system that allowed future generations to more easily keep track of Super Bowls.

1 For purposes of Greece, "people" means "free adult males."
2 For purposes of Rome, "people" means "free adult males with property."
3 Except America

(Via Other Crap)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Blog Rolled by an Artful Peace Meister

Dave over over at The Art of Peace has added me to his blog roll. Welcome everyone from there.

On a side note, does anyone remember the "Fractured Fairy Tales" episode where the witch grants the wish of the boy "someday your gonna hang, son" Arthur who just wanted to be known as "Art" and and turned him into a picture which hung on the wall?

Anyway that was a flashback and has nothing to do with that thoughtful site.


Sometimes I think that people who lack empathy lack imagination.

For the empathy-impaired and those that are unable to conceive of what life is like under the American Liberation of Iraq, Juan Cole asks an important question: If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?

President Bush said Tuesday that the Iraqis are refuting the pessimists and implied that things are improving in that country.

What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.

Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, including in the capital of Washington, DC, but mainly above the Mason Dixon line, in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco?

What if the grounds of the White House and the government buildings near the Mall were constantly taking mortar fire? What if almost nobody in the State Department at Foggy Bottom, the White House, or the Pentagon dared venture out of their buildings, and considered it dangerous to go over to Crystal City or Alexandria?

What if all the reporters for all the major television and print media were trapped in five-star hotels in Washington, DC and New York, unable to move more than a few blocks safely, and dependent on stringers to know what was happening in Oklahoma City and St. Louis? What if the only time they ventured into the Midwest was if they could be embedded in Army or National Guard units?

There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted acts of violence. What if there were private armies totalling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and Federal troops could not go into those cities?

What if, during the past year, the Secretary of State (Aqilah Hashemi), the President (Izzedine Salim), and the Attorney General (Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim) had all been assassinated?

What if all the cities in the US were wracked by a crime wave, with thousands of murders, kidnappings, burglaries, and carjackings in every major city every year?

What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed Billings, Montana, Flint, Michigan, Watts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, DC, and other urban areas, attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal gangs", but inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?

Go read the rest and maybe put on "Imagine" by John Lennon to really get in the mood...


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Is God Sending a Message to Florida ?

This image suggests it is more than merely Mother Nature.(Once there, click to enlarge image)


Techie Tuedsay: Patio Park

Still, dont' forget the walk... Posted by Hello

I bet that every dog owner has wished for a portable Patio Park:
Features a charming picket fence, mock fire hydrant and REAL GRASS, turning your terrace into Central Park for your pooch. The unit measures 56"l x 26"w x 24"h, holds a 2'x4' section of grass sod with a water reservoir at each end. The self irrigating system promotes even watering; just add water to the reservoirs and the irrigation strips absorb and distribute it for you.

Each unit comes with 2 plastic liners, 3 irrigation strips, base tray, wall with removable picket fence, mock fire hydrant and watering wicks.

*We recommend replacing your grass once a month. Grass can be purchase at your local lawn & garden store.*

Important Military Benefit About to Expire

As of October 1, a stipend that pays $51 per day, plus lodging expenses, for a family member to stay with a severely injured soldier while he or she is recovering in a military medical center will expire according to this article in the New York Daily News
As politicians make grand speeches supporting our troops, families of our wounded soldiers are being told they soon will no longer receive the modest government stipend that helps them leave job and home to stay at their loved one's hospital bedside.

The majority of the 3,974 seriously wounded soldiers are young, and few earn more than $1,600 a month, tops. Their families are often of limited means and have a hard enough time keeping up with their bills. Family members forfeit wages and risk losing their jobs altogether as they help their soldier recover.

"None of these kids left a Park Ave. townhouse to go fight," observed one Army combat officer.

With exactly that in mind, the stipend was established in April 2003, just as the war in Iraq commenced. It lapses Sept. 30.

"I think nobody expected the war to last that long," an Army medical official said.

Surprise, surprise. A provision making the stipend permanent, Section 632 of HR4200, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005, is languishing in Congress as if it were not a crime to compound the anxieties of wounded heroes.

A House Armed Services Committee spokesman said HR4200 was "in conference" and suggested any current benefits to wounded soldiers would only "technically" expire and "go on as has been." Those who disagree include the Department of Defense, which allowed, "it appears there will be a gap in payment of per diem." (emphasis added)

Go read the rest because it's quite a tragic story.

This makes me so angry. The Adminstration pays lipservice to the welfare of the troops while they haven't got clue on how to provide for them.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Bush the Sky Pilot

How high did he fly?

Most pilots have flying in the blood; some dream of becoming test pilots or trying out for astronaut training. I would think that would have been every pilot's dream at the height of the Apollo program, especially in Texas. I can only think something terrible must have happened to Bush to give up his wings.

Well, according to my anonymous source:

Young Lt. Bush was flying agricultural specimens cross-country, some of which he sampled.

He lost his way and before he finally ran out of fuel he decided to put it down on a road.

With hardly any cars on the road he managed to coast his aircraft into a gas station and said sloppily to the attendant, "Fill 'er up!"

The attendant just looked at him.

"I bet you don't get too many airplanes asking for a refuel," said Bush.

The attendant replied: "True, most pilots use that airport over there."

Bush let us down...

As controversy swirls around Bush's military service, a new group puts out an ad: Deserters For Truth.

(Via Totally Flabbergasted)

Move Over Cheney..

The real Prince of Darkness has an endoresment: satanforbush2004


What do you call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Iraq?

To find out watch Pulp Politicians!

(via The Presurfer)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

From the Logs...

Ever since blogger got rid of their ad at the top and the page and added "next blog," I have noticed a bunch of unusual referrals to my blog on sitemeter. Blogs from Portugal to Indonesia have shown up(yeah I check them out, so what?)most are not my cup of tea even if I could read their posts.

However, this has got to be the funniest one yet:

Now with legality!
I can now die happy.
I have discovered the best thing ever. I have discovered that if I sit my dildo end-up and turn on the vibration, it dances. It kind of waltzes across my desk. Today I also found out that counting the vibration dial thing, it is 9.5 inches tall. Without the dial, it is 8.5 inches tall. The website said "About 7 inches". It is hot pink, and it dances.

George Soros for President?

The incredibly obtuse Dana Rohrabacher (R-Ca) has proposed a Constitutional Amendmendment to match that of Orrin Hatch.

Let foreign-born citizens run for president

A California Republican congressman introduced a constitutional amendment Wednesday that would allow Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for president. But he insisted the candidate he really wants to see is a 76-year-old House Democrat from Hungary.

"There are those here today who will interpret this constitutional proposal permitting naturalized citizens to serve as president as a political ploy," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, an early supporter of Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial bid, said in remarks prepared for the House floor.

"This is no ploy. I honestly believe that Tom Lantos should be able to seek the highest office in the land, just like any other elected official."

Lantos, D-Calif., who's served in the House for more than two decades, said he was flattered but saw no need to amend the Constitution.

"However, if the Austro-Hungarian Empire is re-established in the United States, I will invite Arnold Schwarzenegger to be my lieutenant," he said.

I can only imagine that Republicans are having a hard time finding qualified people to run for president so they need to enlarge the pool of possible candidates. Otherwise it must be vanity legislation from people who don't believe the Constitution is a living document...

Baghdad Burning is Back

I just saw some jester of a journalist doing a wind blown stand-up and say that in the wake of the storms life will be incredibly difficult for those who will be forced to live without air conditioning and hot meals in the wake of Ivan.

Yes, hurricanes are horrible but they are nothing compared to the storm of war...

Which is why you should read this report from Baghdad Burning
Fahrenheit 9/11...

August was a hellish month. The heat was incredible. No one remembers Baghdad ever being quite this hot- I think we broke a new record somewhere in mid-August.

The last few days, Baghdad has been echoing with explosions. We woke up to several loud blasts a few days ago. The sound has become all too common. It’s like the heat, the flies, the carcasses of buildings, the broken streets and the haphazard walls coming up out of nowhere all over the city… it has become a part of life. We were sleeping on the roof around three days ago, but I had stumbled back indoors at around 5 am when the electricity returned and was asleep under the cool air of an air-conditioner when the first explosions rang out.

I tried futilely to cling to the last fragments of a fading dream and go back to sleep when several more explosions followed. Upon getting downstairs, I found E. flipping through the news channels, trying to find out what was going on. “They aren’t nearly fast enough,” he shook his head with disgust. “We’re not going to know what’s happening until noon.”

But the news began coming in much sooner. There were clashes between armed Iraqis and the Americans on Haifa Street- a burned out hummer, some celebrating crowds, missiles from helicopters, a journalist dead, dozens of Iraqis wounded, and several others dead. The road leading to the airport has seen some action these last few days- more attacks on troops and also some attacks on Iraqi guard. The people in the areas surrounding the airport claim that no one got any sleep the whole night.

The areas outside of Baghdad aren’t much better off. The south is still seeing clashes between the Sadir militia and troops. Areas to the north of Baghdad are being bombed and attacked daily. Ramadi was very recently under attack and they say that they aren’t allowing the wounded out of the city. Tel Affar in the north of the country is under siege and Falloojeh is still being bombed.

Everyone is simply tired in Baghdad. We’ve become one of those places you read about in the news and shake your head thinking, “What’s this world coming to?” Kidnappings. Bombings. Armed militias. Extremists. Drugs. Gangs. Robberies. You name it, and we can probably tell you several interesting stories.

So how did I spend my 9/11? I watched Michael Moore’s movie, Fahrenheit 9/11. I’ve had bootleg CD version since early August. (Grave apologies to Michael Moore- but there’s no other way we can see it here…) The copy has been sitting in a drawer with a bunch of other CDs. One of my cousins brought it over one day and said that while it was brilliant, it was also quite depressing and distressing all at once. I had been avoiding it because, quite frankly, I cannot stand to see Bush for five minutes straight- I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with almost two hours.

Three days ago, I took it out while the house was relatively quiet- no cousins, no cousins’ children, parents busy watching something or another, and E. asleep in front of the air conditioner for the next three hours.

The CD was surprisingly clear. I had expected some fuzziness and bad sound quality- it was fine. Someone had made the copy inside a movie theater. I could tell because in the background, there was a ringing mobile phone a couple of times and some annoying person in the front kept getting up to adjust his seat.

I was caught up in the film from the first moment, until the very last. There were moments, while watching, when I could barely breathe. I wasn’t surprised with anything- there was nothing that shocked me- all of the stuff about the Bush family and their Saudi friends was old news. It was the other stuff that had an impact- seeing the reactions of Americans to the war, seeing the troops in Iraq being interviewed, seeing that American mother before and after she lost her son in Iraq.

Ah, that mother. How she made me angry in the beginning. I couldn’t stand to see her on screen- convincing the world that joining the army was the ideal thing to do- perfectly happy that her daughter and son were ‘serving’ America- nay, serving, in fact, the world by joining up. I hated her even more as they showed the Iraqi victims- the burning buildings, the explosions, the corpses- the dead and the dying. I wanted to hate her throughout the whole film because she embodied the arrogance and ignorance of the people who supported the war.

I can’t explain the feelings I had towards her. I pitied her because, apparently, she knew very little about what she was sending her kids into. I was angry with her because she really didn’t want to know what she was sending her children to do. In the end, all of those feelings crumbled away as she read the last letter from her deceased son. I began feeling a sympathy I really didn’t want to feel, and as she was walking in the streets of Washington, looking at the protestors and crying, it struck me that the Americans around her would never understand her anguish. The irony of the situation is that the one place in the world she would ever find empathy was Iraq. We understand. We know what it’s like to lose family and friends to war- to know that their final moments weren’t peaceful ones… that they probably died thirsty and in pain… that they weren’t surrounded by loved ones while taking their final breath.

When she asked why her son had been taken and that he had been a good person… why did this have to happen to him? I kept wondering if she ever gave a second thought to the Iraqi victims and whether it ever occurred to her that Iraqi parents perhaps have the same thoughts as the try to dig their children out from under the rubble of fallen homes in Falloojeh, or as they attempt to stop the blood flowing out of a gaping hole in the chest of a child in Karbala.

The flashes of the bombing of Iraq and the victims were more painful than I thought they would be. We lived through it, but seeing it on a screen is still a torment. I thought that this last year and a half had somehow made me a little bit tougher when it came to seeing Iraq being torn apart by bombs and watching foreign troops destroy the country- but the wound is still as raw as ever. Watching those scenes was like poking at a gash with sharp stick- it hurt.

All in all, the film was… what is the right word for it? Great? Amazing? Fantastic? No. It made me furious, it made me sad and I cried more than I’d like to admit… but it was brilliant. The words he used to narrate were simple and to the point. I wish everyone could see the film. I know I'll be getting dozens of emails from enraged Americans telling me that so-and-so statement was exaggerated, etc. But it really doesn't matter to me. What matters is the underlying message of the film- things aren't better for Americans now than they were in 2001, and they certainly aren't better for Iraqis.

Three years ago, Iraq wasn't a threat to America. Today it is. Since March 2003, over 1000 Americans have died inside of Iraq... and the number is rising. In twenty years time, upon looking back, how do Americans think Iraqis are going to remember this occupation?

I constantly wonder, three years after 9/11, do Americans feel safer? When it first happened, there was a sort of collective shock in Iraq. In 2002, there was a sort of pity and understanding- we’ve been through the same. Americans could hardly believe what had happened, but the American government brings this sort of grief upon nations annually… suddenly the war wasn’t thousands of kilometers away, it was home.

How do we feel about it this year? A little bit tired.

We have 9/11’s on a monthly basis. Each and every Iraqi person who dies with a bullet, a missile, a grenade, under torture, accidentally- they all have families and friends and people who care. The number of Iraqis dead since March 2003 is by now at least eight times the number of people who died in the World Trade Center. They had their last words, and their last thoughts as their worlds came down around them, too. I’ve attended more wakes and funerals this last year, than I’ve attended my whole life. The process of mourning and the hollow words of comfort have become much too familiar and automatic.

September 11… he sat there, reading the paper. As he reached out for the cup in front of him for a sip of tea, he could vaguely hear the sound of an airplane overhead. It was a bright, fresh day and there was much he had to do… but the world suddenly went black- a colossal explosion and then crushed bones under the weight of concrete and iron… screams rose up around him… men, women and children… shards of glass sought out tender, unprotected skin … he thought of his family and tried to rise, but something inside of him was broken… there was a rising heat and the pungent smell of burning flesh mingled sickeningly with the smoke and the dust… and suddenly it was blackness.

9/11/01? New York? World Trade Center?


9/11/04. Falloojeh. An Iraqi home.

It's Worse Than You Think...

Chris Allbrighton writes about how bad things are right now in Iraq on his site Back to Iraq
TIME weighs in on the FUBAR situation in Iraq, and it ain’t pretty.

Important parts of the country, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers said, are controlled by rebels. Principal cities and major roads west and north of the capital are ruled by Sunni insurgents. Al-Sadr’s men launch uprisings at will across the wide Shi’ite belt, and even parts of Baghdad are no-go zones for U.S. troops and the frail forces of the interim Iraqi government. All this has helped make the peace much bloodier than the war: last month anti-U.S. attacks climbed to 87 a day, more than double the rate in 2003 and the first half of 2004. The U.S. death toll since sovereignty was returned to Iraq on June 28 has eclipsed the number killed in the invasion, and the total tally just passed 1,000. The wounded number more than 7,000. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld estimates that coalition forces killed up to 2,500 suspected insurgents in August, but the will of the rebels shows few signs of cracking. Attacks on U.S. troops increasingly come in the form of direct fire from small arms and suicide bombs, the tactics of a more sophisticated and in-your-face foe.

I don’t know if I can really put into words just how bad it is here some days. Yesterday was horrible — just horrible. While most reports show Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra as “no-go” areas, practically the entire Western part of the country is controlled by insurgents, with pockets of U.S. power formed by the garrisons outside the towns. Insurgents move freely throughout the country and the violence continues to grow.

I wish I could point to a solution, but I don’t see one. People continue to email me, telling me to report the “truth” of all the good things that are going on in Iraq. I’m not seeing a one. A buddy of mine is stationed here and they’re fixing up a park on a major street. Gen. Chiarelli was very proud of this accomplishment, and he stressed this to me when I interviewed him for the TIME story. But Baghdadis couldn’t care less. They don’t want city beautification projects; they want electricity, clean water and, most of all, an end to the violence.

And in the midst of all this violence, most of the Iraqi Interim Government is out of town. Security Advisors, heads of important ministries and the chief of the new Mukhabarat are all mysteriously absent. The Iraqi security forces are a joke, with the much talked about Fallujah Brigade disbanded for being feckless and — worse — riddled with insurgents who were being paid and trained by the U.S. Marines.

Thousands of Iraqis are desperate to get a new passport and flee the country. These are often the most educated Iraqis — the have the money to get new passports and travel — so the brain-drain will accelerate.

I can only imagine being caught up in circumstances and not being able to get out. It is one of my worst fears, trying with all one's might but constantly falling behind. Chris goes on to tell about a email he got from a soldier.

From my perspective as a grunt who was on the ground, we wanted to do all sorts of things to help, but we couldn’t. No matter what we wanted to do, my squad was not going to restore electricity to Iraq. Every day for several months we had to drive past a blown up power tower with lines dangling about 20 feet off the ground. (You may be able to spot this one: it’s new now, on the western side of Tampa around bridge 18 or so). It was disgusting to see it sit there on its side for so long.

So, all we got to do were hand out crayons and soccer balls to school kids. What else could we do? We wanted to help, but we were in the middle of a war and stuck in a behemoth of a bureaucracy. Our little efforts were indeed puny on a national scale, but it’s what we could do.

My heart goes out to all those who are living through this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Changing Terms of Debate...

Blow, Snow Dominate New Stump Speech

Attempting to change the terms of the debate in the 2004 presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) came out swinging today, asking a Michigan audience, “Do you really want four more years of that lying cokehead?”

Saying that a second Bush administration would subject the nation to “four more years of blow and snow,” Mr. Kerry unleashed his most savage attack on the president to date, accusing Mr. Bush of spending the federal surplus on a $40,000-a-day cocaine habit.

“Where did the surplus go? I’ll tell you!” thundered Mr. Kerry, who then mimed inhaling a line of cocaine to the delight of the partisan crowd.

Mr. Kerry’s decision to accuse Mr. Bush of “snorting foo-foo dust” and “tooting racehorse charlie” seemed to be inspired by the new unauthorized book about the Bush family penned by celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, who coincidentally was named to the Axis of Evil today.

But just minutes after Mr. Kerry accused Mr. Bush of “hitching up the reindeers,” Vice President Dick Cheney returned fire, telling an audience in West Virginia that if Mr. Kerry is elected, the Earth will spin off its axis and collide with the sun.

After being told of Mr. Cheney’s latest dire prediction, Mr. Kerry chuckled, “I guess George Bush isn’t the only one in the White House who’s horning the Peruvian lady!”

In other campaign news, President Bush told reporters today that he “doubted” that the Texas National Guard memos discovered by CBS last week could be authentic because “I know exactly where the real ones are hidden.”

(Via Other Crap)

Techie Tuedsay: Firefox Preview Release

Faster, much faster... Posted by Hello

This has to be one of the quickest and easiest browser upgrades I have ever done - I didn't even have to reboot. The latest Mozilla release is looking fantastic. I'm surprised that I can notice an increase in speed over the earlier Phoenix release I was using and that's on a laptop that's at least 4 years old (I'd say the increase was dramatic but that would way too theatrical...)

Check out the included features, such as, popup blocking, tabbed browsing, and smarter search functions like Google search is built right into the toolbar.

If you have not already changed over from IE, I gotta question your sanity...

Monday, September 13, 2004

No Exit Strategy Needed 'cuz We Never Planned on Leaving

Harley Sorensen applies some common sense and tells us The Real Reason We're In Iraq
We should get out of Iraq immediately. Let me explain ...

But, first, bear in mind why we're in Iraq. It has nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, and it has nothing to do with the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

It has a lot to do with ambition.

Before we invaded Iraq, our politicians told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction in great quantities. Secretary of State Colin Powell even went to the United Nations and described Iraq's cache in detail, down to the pound of certain weapons.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told us that not only did Iraq have these weapons but he knew exactly where they were.

This is why I seriously doubted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. What our government told us defied logic and common sense.

The United Nations had inspectors in Iraq looking for weapons. They couldn't find any. Logic and common sense, then, would have dictated that our government tell those inspectors where to look. After all, if we knew, why wouldn't we share our knowledge with the inspectors?

We wouldn't, of course, because we didn't know. Our government explained its unwillingness to help by explaining that it didn't want to compromise confidential sources.

How much sense does that make? Saddam has enough weaponry to attack the western world, and we can't lead the UN inspectors to it because we don't want Saddam to know how we got the information? Give me a break!

(As a footnote, it should be noted that a favorite trick of pathological liars is to "protect" their nonexistent sources of information.)

We now know for certain that Saddam did not have the weapons we used to go to war against Iraq.

And common sense tells that we didn't attack Iraq because Saddam is a brutal dictator. He was a brutal dictator back in the days when we played footsie with him as he fought Iran. (Do a Google image search for Rumsfeld and Saddam, and you'll find pictures of Rummy and Saddam shaking hands.)

Historically, the United States has always been friendly with brutal dictators if it's to our financial advantage. Currently, there are other dictators afoot; Saddam wasn't the only one.

And anyone who can read knows that Saddam had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

So why did we go to war with Iraq?

The short answer is "oil." But that's not the whole story.

Briefly, we went to war with Iraq because an influential group of conservatives (now known as "neo-cons") convinced President George W. Bush that it was in America's best interests to conquer Iraq as a first step toward dominating the oil-producing nations in the Middle East and eventually the world.

Not insignificantly, these same neo-cons wanted to eliminate Iraq as a threat to their darling ally, Israel.

Their plan is laid out in detail on the Web at

So we invaded Iraq not to save ourselves from weapons of mass destruction, not to rid the world of a brutal dictator and not to avenge the murders of Sept. 11. We invaded Iraq because Bush and his pals think America should rule the world.

That's why we can't win. The rest of the world isn't going to let us win. The rest of the world might admire us, but they do not want to be dominated by us.

And that's why we should get out of Iraq today. Not tomorrow, not next week, not a year from now, but today.

Try as we may, we are not going to turn Iraq into a model democracy. The Sunnis don't want democracy. The Shiites don't want a democracy. The Kurds don't want a democracy.

The Saudis do not want a new democracy as a neighbor. Nor do the Kuwaitis. Nor do the Syrians. None of the countries in that region with despotic rulers want us to succeed. And don't think for a moment they're above slipping terrorists into Iraq to kill Americans.

The plan to conquer Iraq was half-baked from the start. Our troops were not properly trained or equipped to do the job given them. (Sent to the desert in jungle fatigues? Not given body armor? Completely untrained in handling prisoners?)

There was no "exit plan" because we never intended to exit. The plan was, and is, to build military bases in Iraq and stay there forever as cock of the walk in the Middle East.(More)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

May I Quote You on That...

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."
-Robert Frost

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
-George Washington

"We need a president who's fluent in at least one language."
-Buck Henry

"To answer brutality with brutality is to admit one's moral and intellectual" bankruptcy.
-Mahatma Gandhi

"In democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes."
-Mogens Jallberg

"Democracy, as has been said of Christianity, has never really been tried."
-Stuart Chase

"Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money."
-Thomas Hobbes

"If you doubt that crap personality is the driving force behind conservative politics, look back to your childhood. I’ll bet a dollar to a doughnut that every one of your friends and acquaintances who was an asshole then, is a conservative today."
-Rack Jite

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."

"Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity."
-Albert Camus

"There must be more to life than having everything."
-Maurice Sendak

"Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen."
-Mort Sahl

"When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

"I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves."
-Bruce Grocott

"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere."
- G. K. Chesterton

"No work of art is ever completed, it is only abandoned."
-Paul Valery

"To keep silent and act wise
Still not as good as drinking sake
Getting drunk and weeping."
-Otomo no Tabito

"The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing."
-Gamel Abdel Nasser

"It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea."
-Robert Anton Wilson

"It is not the criminal things which are hardest to confess, but the ridiculous and shameful."
-Jean Jacques Rousseau

"Justice is incidental to law and order."
-J. Edgar Hoover

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
-Bertrand de Jouvenel

Homo homini lupus (Man is a wolf towards man)."

"Not only is life a bitch, but it is always having puppies."
-Adrienne Gusoff

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
-Groucho Marx

"Brevis esse laboro obscurus fio (I try to be brief, but only become obscure)."

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?"
-Mahatma Gandhi

"Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."
-Sir Winston Churchill

"Wars teach us not to love our enemies, but to hate our allies."
-W. L. George

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies- in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."

"For 45 years of the Cold War we were in an arms race with the Soviet Union. Now it appears we're in an arms race with ourselves."
-Admiral Eugene Carroll, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
-Albert Einstein

"The test of a good idea is its ability to last through a hangover"
-Jimmy Breslin

"The earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book Blog, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching."
-Assyrian Tablet, c.2800BC

OK, I felt I had to update the last one...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Born on the 11th of September

Today is my birthday. Bummer of a day to celebrate.

Many of my early memories are that my birthday fell on the first day of school, or just before it. Usually I’d get back-to-school presents, like pencil holders with the built-in sharpener, multi-colored pens, or clothes for school.

In a way I was happy when they moved up the date for starting school, even if it meant losing part of my summer vacation. But it didn’t change the type of presents I'd get from my hard working Mom.

Now it’s a bummer for other reasons.

Three years ago my dearest friend Magna called me to turn on the TV.

I sat there glued, watching through bouts of tears for the rest of the day and the day after.

I have been a news junkie ever since…

They say it is the day the world changed. Yet cruelty and acts of inhumanity have always been with us and I doubt that will ever change.

They say it changed everything. Rather I believe they want to use this day to change everything- to limit our liberties, to settle old grudges, and to advance their economic agenda.

My mother didn’t live to see the attack of September 11th. She lived in Hawaii in 1941 when the Japanese attacked. So I grew up hearing about how the country responded to that with personal anecdotes and narrations of family history. I know if she were alive she’d be yelling at the TV and railing at the current administration’s policies. She never hated the Japanese.

For the last birthday we celebrated together, before my mother passed away, she asked me what I needed for my birthday. She never changed in that back-to-school present giving. I told her, “Get me something I don’t need, just surprise me.”

So she did - I got a bottle of wine, a nice dinner, and a movie.

Which is how I think I’ll celebrate this one…

Friday, September 10, 2004

Al Gore lives on my street...

This is a catchy tune that was written by a neigbor of Al Gore.

Careful, it's been stuck in my head for the last half hour...

(Via Metafilter)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Bush's Fairy God Mother...

I don'’t really care how Bush got into the Texas Air National Guard to avoid going to ‘Nam. What piques my interest is why he felt he could disobey a direct order to report for a Flight Physical and stop flying. Why he felt he could negotiate with his commanders over how and where he could perform his service.

Apart from being from a well connected political family, what set him apart from other pilots in training is when President Richard M. Nixon sent a jet for the young Bush so he could go on a date with his daughter Tricia. Not a ticket for a plane, nor a bus ticket, but a rather expensive official jet to fly him 750 miles to Washington*. Ah, the perks of an imperial President, the Commander in Chief during war time, bestowed upon a suitor - all before he even got his wings. I don'’t think Nixon ever did this for any other military man...Let alone for Tricia!

Now that kind of protection does not make the official military record. It just tags along in an unofficial manner...

In a way Nixon, much like a Mafia Don, extended his protection to this favored son as in he should be treated as family. This was well before Watergate, but even then Nixon had already developed his reputation as a mean S.O.B.

After Bush’'s posting to Houston, I can imagine him being approached at the officer’'s club and asked, “"Scuttlebutt says you’'re dicking Dick"'s daughter,"” and the intrepid officer/gentleman, with a wink and a smirk saying, “"If I told you I'd have to kill you.”"

It kind of gives new meaning to Killian'’s statement, “"He'’s talking to someone upstairs."

*From the Moody flight training facility to DC is 750 miles. I assume they flew him back. What I’'d like to know is did the jet originate from and return to DC? That'’d be 3,000 miles for a Bush/Nixon attempted pairing of reptilian genes...

Poll Dancing

The League of Undecided Voters wants to know:Poll: How Undecided Are You?

(Via Mad Kane)

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

We don't know why but it obviously happened

Bush really is a bubble boy...


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Caption This...

I promise I'll Vote Republican... Make it stop...Mother of God... Posted by Hello

I think Norbizness should offer another crappy CD for this one...

The Dual Citizen Governor

Schwarzenegger defends controversial statements on Austria
Vienna – Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has defended himself against recent criticism from Austrians in an interview with “die Presse.” The actor-tuned-politician had earlier come under fire after he called Austria a “socialist sate” in a speech to the Republican Convention in New York. Schwarzenegger said, “I was talking about the socialist system in Austria, where the state is the largest owner. The tobacco industry, gambling monopoly, TV and radio, steel and the Post are all good examples of state-run enterprises.” He went on to say, “In America, I’ve always said if you want to be the world’s best conductor, you cannot beat Austria. The same applies to skiing. And Austria also is a leader in terms of culture, science, political science and economics.” Schwarzenegger, who was also criticised for claiming to remember the Soviet occupation after the War, said he saw Soviet tanks during a trip to Semmering.

(Via the Gropinator)

Blog Rolled by an Arnold Watcher

Welcome to the The Gropinator who has been keeping tabs on the Action Hero Governor since the recall. So come on in and I'll pop in a video of a republican icon.

This is a great resource for California new and has a stupendous blogroll...

Techie Tuesday: Jet-Man Project

Fly like an eagle ... Posted by Hello

Pilot Yves Rossy is the first-ever jet powered flying-man. With a dream of flying like the Rocketeer and not Wily Coyote, he built a carbon composite wing with 2 kerosene engines. After extensive testing the moment of truth arrives.
Finally, at 7:30pm on June 24 th , 2004 and after the 3 rd trial of the day (6 th motorized trial), Yves finally drops out of the Pilatus at an altitude of 4000m over the Yverdon airfield. Before pulling on the little lever that controls the opening of his wings, Yves lets himself glide for a couple seconds and at the altitude of 2500m, he starts the ignition of the engines and waits 30 seconds for them to be able to stabilize. Once they are steady, he can finally speed up the engines and suddenly the dream comes true… He manages a horizontal flight at 1600m from the ground for more than 4 minutes at 100 kts ( 115 mph ), and for a bit of fun, manages to also ignite the smoke producers which leave a nice trail behind him..

Unfortunately Yves runs into some strong turbulence, and had to cut off the two engines, despite he still had half full tanks at this time, but the most important was achieved, the Jetman flew ! Yves triggers the parachute opening while closing the wings to finally land on the ground, greeted by the ecstatic team.

They are photos and videos of the flight.

(Via Metafilter)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Blog Rolled by an Early Adapter

I recently read somewhere that there are over 4.50 million blogs on the net.That is why I am happy to be noticed by the 2Millionth Web Log

Sometimes, I feel that I must be around the 4.20th millionth blog, starting as late as I have.

Anyhow go there and check it out for yourselves...You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

James Carroll on Bush's war

If there was ever a link to click through to, this is it. James Carroll has a new book out Crusade : Chronicles of an Unjust War and this excerpt is from the introduction:
The Bush Crusade
At the turn of the millennium, the world was braced for terrible things. Most "rational" worries were tied to an anticipated computer glitch, the Y2K problem, and even the most scientifically oriented of people seemed temporarily at the mercy of powerful mythic forces. Imagined hobgoblins leapt from hard drives directly into nightmares. Airlines canceled flights scheduled for the first day of the new year, citing fears that the computers for the traffic-control system would not work. The calendar as such had not previously been a source of dread, but all at once, time itself held a new danger. As the year 2000 approached, I bought bottled water and extra cans of tuna fish. I even withdrew a large amount of cash from the bank. Friends mocked me, then admitted to having done similar things. There were no dances-of-death or outbreaks of flagellant cults, but a millennial fever worthy of medieval superstition infected the most secular of cultures. Of course, the mystical date came and went, the computers did fine, airplanes flew and the world went back to normal.

Then came September 11, 2001, the millennial catastrophe--just a little late. Airplanes fell from the sky, thousands died and an entirely new kind of horror gripped the human imagination. Time, too, played its role, but time as warped by television, which created a global simultaneity, turning the whole human race into a witness, as the awful events were endlessly replayed, as if those bodies leaping from the Twin Towers would never hit the ground. Nightmare in broad daylight. New York's World Trade Center collapsed not just onto the surrounding streets but into the hearts of every person with access to CNN. Hundreds of millions of people instinctively reached out to those they loved, grateful to be alive. Death had shown itself in a new way. But if a vast throng experienced the terrible events of 9/11 as one, only one man, the President of the United States, bore a unique responsibility for finding a way to respond to them.

George W. Bush plumbed the deepest place in himself, looking for a simple expression of what the assaults of September 11 required. It was his role to lead the nation, and the very world. The President, at a moment of crisis, defines the communal response. A few days after the assault, George W. Bush did this. Speaking spontaneously, without the aid of advisers or speechwriters, he put a word on the new American purpose that both shaped it and gave it meaning. "This crusade," he said, "this war on terrorism."

Crusade. I remember a momentary feeling of vertigo at the President's use of that word, the outrageous ineptitude of it. The vertigo lifted, and what I felt then was fear, sensing not ineptitude but exactitude. My thoughts went to the elusive Osama bin Laden, how pleased he must have been, Bush already reading from his script. I am a Roman Catholic with a feeling for history, and strong regrets, therefore, over what went wrong in my own tradition once the Crusades were launched. Contrary to schoolboy romances, Hollywood fantasies and the nostalgia of royalty, the Crusades were a set of world-historic crimes. I hear the word with a third ear, alert to its dangers, and I see through its legends to its warnings. For example, in Iraq "insurgents" have lately shocked the world by decapitating hostages, turning the most taboo of acts into a military tactic. But a thousand years ago, Latin crusaders used the severed heads of Muslim fighters as missiles, catapulting them over the fortified walls of cities under siege. Taboos fall in total war, whether crusade or jihad.

For George W. Bush, crusade was an offhand reference. But all the more powerfully for that, it was an accidental probing of unintended but nevertheless real meaning. That the President used the word inadvertently suggests how it expressed his exact truth, an unmasking of his most deeply felt purpose. Crusade, he said. Later, his embarrassed aides suggested that he had meant to use the word only as a synonym for struggle, but Bush's own syntax belied that. He defined crusade as war. Even offhandedly, he had said exactly what he meant. (Go read the rest)

With all the atrocities that come with war, religious war creates its own like the torture of Abu Grahib. I can't get the religious angle out of my mind. Bybee, Boykin, Walker, Ashcroft, and Bush profess to be devout Christians yet I'm convinced they are implicated up to their elbows in the promotion of torture. It i’s as if they were nodding off during the sermon that said, “"Love your enemies and it will be as heaping coals of fire upon their heads,”" and got only the message to heap coals on their heads. I’ am sure they were sound asleep for the song, "“They will know we a Christians by our love, by our love..."”

There i’s a mediaeval fanaticism within this Administration that belies the belief we can do nothing wrong because God is on our side. That we can use evil if ends are good.

Well the road to hell is paved we good intentions...

God Hates Economic Girlie Men

Will Durst responds to the Gropenator:

Got to be perfectly honest here: no idea why everyone is going gaga over California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s little talk at the Republican Convention the other day. First off, it wasn’t really an address; more like a string of cute one liners. I will grant you, he does look impressive with his chin thrust forward. (Pointing towards the future, I’m guessing.) Just not sure a guy whose father was a Nazi should be striking that particular pose, much less giving inspiring speeches about escaping as a youth from under the thumb of a totalitarian regime, but there you go.

I must admit also being a bit taken aback by the “economic girlie men” line. Isn’t this supposed to be the kinder, gentler Republican Party Convention? And now this blatant discrimination against economic girlie men coming straight from the podium? What next, a Constitutional Amendment outlawing marriage between economic girlie men? Taunting the unemployed with “God Hates Economic Girlie Men” placards? New this season on Bravo: “Economic Girlie Men Eye for the Straight Guy”? (more)

(Via Smirking Chimp)

Friday, September 03, 2004

Give us your tired, your girlie men...

Neal Pollack responds to the Gropenfuhrer:

Oh, Republicans! Oh, Republic! Whither has flown your integrity? I can no longer support that party that denies the right of marriage to some of its country’s best-looking men and sturdiest women. I can no longer support the party that intends to funnel billions of dollars into the coffers of crappy, hypocritical churches, the offshore bank accounts of arrogant plutocrats, and private armies that fight for no one’s interests but their own. And I can no longer support the party that refers to poor people as “girlie men.” Those of us who genuinely consider ourselves girlie men take umbrage at your implication, sir!

(Via Atrios)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Blog Rolled by a Chess Piece

Guy over at Rook's Rant has added me to his blogroll. Welcome to everyone from there! Come on in and we'll pull out the board and set up the pieces.

Dear readers, I suggest you put on your sunglasses and go visit his site...

Democrats Are More Musical

Kerry rocking out

(ViaThe Presurfer

Dueling Banjos Anyone?

Wonkette chimes in on Miller and Matthews: Dueling Wackos
Senator Zell Miller sort of reminds us of the retarded guy who thinks he's the quarterback of team when actually he's the towel boy. He's the GOP's mascot, not a player and there's something creepy and condescending in the way Republicans treat him, like they have plans to de-pants him or give him a swirly in the locker room as soon as no one's watching. That was the plot of a Cuba Gooding, Jr. movie or something, right?

Who knew the towel boy was so nuts? Challenging Chris Matthews to a duel? Someone's been eating too much glue again. But what weapons, though? Do they even let Zell use the pointy scissors? We're thinking he wouldn't turn up his nose at spitballs now.

Zell the Would Be Spadassinicide

Last night when I watched Zell Miller threaten his opponent with a duel it brought to mind this passage of Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini:

Le Chapelier waved him into silence, and proceeded.

"Anyhow, the matter has been more than enough, added to all the rest, to set us by the ears again in the Assembly. It is open war between the Third Estate and the Privileged."

"Was it ever anything else?"

"Perhaps not; but it has assumed a new character. You'll have heard of the duel between Lameth and the Duc de Castries?"

"A trifling affair."

"In its results. But it might have been far other. Mirabeau is challenged and insulted now at every sitting. But he goes his way, cold-bloodedly wise. Others are not so circumspect; they meet insult with insult, blow with blow, and blood is being shed in private duels. The thing is reduced by these swordsmen of the nobility to a system."

Andre-Louis nodded. He was thinking of Philippe de Vilmorin. "Yes," he said, "it is an old trick of theirs. It is so simple and direct - like themselves. I wonder only that they didn't hit upon this system sooner. In the early days of the States General, at Versailles, it might have had a better effect. Now, it comes a little late."

"But they mean to make up for lost time - sacred name!" cried Danton. "Challenges are flying right and left between these bully-swordsmen, these spadassinicides, and poor devils of the robe who have never learnt to fence with anything but a quill. It's just -- murder. Yet if I were to go amongst messieurs les nobles and crunch an addled head or two with this stick of mine, snap a few aristocratic necks between these fingers which the good God has given me for the purpose, the law would send me to atone upon the gallows. This in a land that is striving after liberty. Why, Dieu me damne! I am not even allowed to keep my hat on in the theatre. But they - these --s!"

"He is right," said Le Chapelier. "The thing has become unendurable, insufferable. Two days ago M. d'Ambly threatened Mirabeau with his cane before the whole Assembly. Yesterday M. de Faussigny leapt up and harangued his order by inviting murder. 'Why don't we fall on these scoundrels, sword in hand?' he asked. Those were his very words: 'Why don't we fall on these scoundrels, sword in hand.'"

"It is so much simpler than lawmaking," said Andre-Louis.

Ah yes, dueling is so much simpler...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cheerleaders for Truth

Cheerleaders for Truth ask the hard questions.

What I want to know is Bush the only cheerleader in the history of the world who had football players do his homework or write his papers?

(via Bifurcated Rivets)