Monday, October 29, 2007

A break for me perchance and for you my wish that you may have an entertaining Halloween ...

Going camping for a few days and will not be posting ... unless my new Verizon wireless broadband will work from the campsite, which I do not expect to be the case ...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Articles like this is what makes the web king ...

... until, that is, the communication companies, in concert with a corrupt and deranged Republican Party (along with many complicit Democrats), gain final and absolute control of the web and turn it into a vast teenager messaging service and corporate email net. As for the rest of us? Expect shopping channels, I mean web sites, and commercially produced videos with the aim of dulling down the populace even more than has already been accomplished by TV and Cable programming.

But until then we have stupendous articles like 'Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite' popping up with marvelous frequency. Imagine finding such a fine, informative and timely article in your local newspaper ... by-the-way, have you learned anything new from you local paper recently?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Oh, how the mighty never were ...

I thought Pelosi was going to be good for the House. Well, she's proved me wrong time after time ...
Pelosi rebukes Stark for Iraq comments
She's supposed to be a leader and she's not. Not only that but she often follows the Republican lead on the most stupid and ridiculous issues, no less.

ADDED 10/22 AT 6:37pm - I should had added that I think Reid is worse than Pelosi and that Pelosi has actually done a few things right. But in total she is just too likely to try to stem Republican stupidities by agreeing or apologizing. In this she's following the worst strategy ever.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

"These are analogous, how?" Kurtz’s comparison is, for lack of a better word, ridiculous. In Digby’s example, Republicans were dishing dirt, which turned out to be false, about an innocent family. In Kurtz’s examples of Bush administration wrongdoing, unknown insiders came forward with evidence, which turned out to be true, about a White House that was pushing the legal boundaries of executive power to the breaking point.

... that way, he achieves the "balance" so crucial to The Culture of The Village. A Republican has done this. A Democrat has done that. Therefore it's all equal. (Though it requires you to ignore that "this" is planting stories about John Edwards' hair, while "that" is the soul-wrenching shame of Abu Ghraib. But the important thing is that the story has one R and one D in it.)

Clearly, people on the right are very, very angry right now and they are lashing out at their most hated enemies: Americans who disagree with them. The question is, why are they suddenly ratcheting up the rhetoric?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Freedom, not just of the press, temporarily 'safe' in Phoenix ...

The Arizona Republic, hardly the harbinger of freedom and civil rights, is rightly critical of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik's witch hunt at the Phoenix New Times.

From the Arizona Republic opinion editorial:
Whether Thomas knew about them or not, his office issued grand-jury subpoenas against New Times. We would like to see those subpoenas. Since Thomas wishes us to believe they are news to him, we invite him to spread those subpoenas out on our conference table. We'll read up on them together.
The Phoenix New Times announced the investigation on October 18:
Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution --Joe Arpaio, Andy Thomas and Dennis Wilenchik hit New Times with grand jury subpoenas by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin at the Phoenix New Times

... More alarming still, Arpaio, Thomas, and Wilenchik subpoenaed detailed information on anyone who has looked at the New Times Web site since 2004. ...
The Feathered Bastard (link and link) at the Phx New Times is, I think, having some well deserved payback at the expense of the Maricopa County Attorney who apparently follows orders from Joe Arpaio who was 'frustrated' according to Thomas' own words (Arpaio is the sheriff who treats a quarantined TB patient as he would his most dangerous criminal; link and link).

Asked if Thomas would go after the many Web sites that have published Arpaio's address online, he made a major legal flub.

"There's a big difference between that and putting his name and address on the front cover," as the New Times did late in 2006. This reporter had to point out to Thomas that the law in question did not apply to print publication of such addresses, only Internet publication of same.


The extent of Thomas' retreat became apparent when MCAO flack Barnett Lotstein later admitted that attorney Wilenchik will no longer serve the MCAO in criminal matters, though he will continue to represent the County in civil matters when someone like Arpaio requests him.

Obviously, Wilenchik this week crossed the line into political liability territory, and Thomas threw him under the bus. Interestingly, New Times reporter Ray Stern's disorderly conduct citation for looking at public documents has not been dismissed. Stern was viewing MCSO press releases at the PHX law offices of Michelle Iafrate, press releases the MCSO refuses to e-mail to New Times. Stern took some digital snaps of these public docs. They asked him to leave. There were words between he and Iafrate, and he left. Then they hit him with a citation later in the evening as part of this mess.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The people's representatives ...

The people's representatives are at it again. They appear to think they are magnificent chess players rather than destroyers of peoples lives, health, welfare and livelihoods.
What happened to the House FISA bill?
On second thought the Republicans probably don't care about, or may even enjoy, the damage they inflict. Some of the Democrats just seem oblivious to reality or easily influenced by Bush 'reality.'

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Christian nation? ...

The stake-out was almost comical in its absurdity: On April 4, 2007, undercover police counted how many times Eric Montanez, a 22-year-old volunteer with Food Not Bombs, dipped a serving ladle into a pot and handed stew to hungry people.

Once Montanez had dished up 30 bowls, the police moved in, collecting a vial of the stew for evidence as they arrested him for violating an Orlando, Fla., city ordinance: feeding a large group. Two days into his trial yesterday, Montanez was acquitted by a jury of the misdemeanor charge, but was cautioned to obey the law.
The judge said 'obey the law.' It appears from the article that he said nothing about the law being immoral. The police chief that will continue to arrest people for feeding the the needy is Michael J. McCoy, Orlando, Florida Police.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

That's where the Democrats need to make their stand. "Family values" Republicans value war, guns, blastocysts, all-powerful government police agencies (when they are in charge of them) and huge corporations, period. They hate taxes and anyone but themselves. When confronted with an economic problem where the working, taxpaying parents of sick children can't afford the monstrous burden of over-priced health insurance for their kids, their answer to the problem is a simple, "don't have kids." It's obvious by both their rhetoric and their policies that Republicans don't value families so let's take that lie off the table right along with their completely discredited claims that they have "honor and integrity" and they are good at economic stewardship and national security.

The only thing they have left is that they believe in low taxes. That may be enough for the 28 percenters, but I doubt seriously if the rest of the country find that very inspiring.

... when they took down Howard Dean, they really took us down. And the old saying, 'Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer'? That is why Howard Dean is still DNC chair - that once powerful position now a retirement home for old threats to the established order.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I can't believe they put this title on a newpaper article ...

As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch by Jay Price and Qasim Zein

Destruction on the move ...

Using the desire to commit more destruction in the middle east, beyond the already decimated Iraq, as a reason to despoil our own nest here at home ...
Eminent domain’s poster children -- Ranchers fight a military proposal to expand training ground in southeastern Colorado by Eryn Gable

Yuma Proving Ground exploring expansion --Impact on desert uncertain if Army approves proposal by Corinne Purtill
Some familiar with the area said they are wary of the expansion.

Ron Kearns was a wildlife biologist for 25 years at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, which is adjacent to the proving ground. In September 2005, munitions on the proving ground started the King Fire, which burned 26,000 acres of Kofa and 3,000 acres of the proving ground. Kofa staff also found spent rounds in the refuge, Kearns said.

"If they get that expansion, they're going to be burning up the desert," said Kearns, who is now retired. "It just seems like a bad idea all the way around."
The people of the US, after all we've done to destroy Iraq, may not have some special right above all other people on this earth, to keep what's ours intact but we do have a moral obligation to stop the slaughter and make what restitution we can (not that we can bring back the lives we've taken). If the people of this country can see our way to stop destroying other countries, then maybe we will also have the power to stop the steady destruction of our own.

Not much hope in this is there?

Something that always confused me was the concept of Christ dying for our sins. What was the point. Since everyone kept on sinning and often those who claim to represent Christ the most have sinned the most. That it's a very humanly conceived racket is the only conclusion that I've come to. Sin, get forgiven, sin some more. And those who control the forgiveness market live in luxury. So unChrist like one would think.

Assuming the God fearing multitude considers fouling our own 'god-given' nest a sin and then once we've sinned to the point that we've completely fouled this nest, the earth, what good will that forgiveness do us? Ah, the 100 virgins (male virgins too?) or heaven, a place where even the lowest rung of heaven will surpass our wildest dreams. Yea really? Well, if that's the case why not just end it now. And here comes the clincher. Suicide would void the warranty! Ha! Hilarious!

But we are committing suicide. Fouled air, fouled water, melting ice caps, rising oceans, increasing extremes in temperature, food production problem increasing, perpetual war and destruction, and on and on. Will your God notice (this kind of suicide) and void that warranty?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Manson eyes ...

Images from a video at DailyKos:

DHinMI tells why what he calls Bush Authoritarianism is not fascism in Bush Authoritarianism: Blackwater+Amway=GOP, Pt. 2
But the main reason why it’s wrong to refer to Bush authoritarianism as fascist is, simply, that it’s not fascist. Fascism exalted the state as the most powerful force, more powerful than any other institutions, including business. It was to be the embodiment of the mobilized masses, and while big business was largely left alone, all other institutions and individuals were to subservient to the state. In contrast, Bush authoritarianism, and the broader movement of what Klein calls "disaster capitalism," doesn’t seek to build up the state or mobilize the masses in a nationalist cause. Instead, it seeks to destroy most aspects of the federal government, and turn over tax dollars to private enterprises sucking at the teat of the taxpayer under the guise of greater efficiencies. This is the antithesis of fascism.
I did think that the business interests in those Fascist countries of yore were more entwined with those governments than this paragraph seems to suggest. I also thought that the neo-Conservatives in this country were originally called neo-Fascists.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Today's QUOTES ...

Within five weeks after George W. Bush moved into the White House (after a stolen election, let's not forget), his administration sought to wiretap without any legal oversight whatsoever, severely punishing those that insisted on obeying the law.* Not work to change the law, mind you, but rather to disobey the laws of this country with total impunity.

Within five weeks. Long before 9/11. Kee-rist.

Better watch out, the marketers are looking for your 'protective frame' ... Horror movie fans seem to already have a protective frame of safety, distance or detachment that lets them absorb fear and still enjoy themselves, he said. "In other words, experiencing mixed feelings within a protective frame may well be more fun," Andrade and Cohen wrote in the journal.

A safe prediction ... If current trends continue, only 83 of the 177 verbs studied will be irregular in 500 years, the researchers predict. They predict that the next irregular verb to regularize will be wed, meaning that just-married couples will no longer be "newly wed" but will have blissfully "wedded." ... Oh? It isn't there already?
You simply cannot find examples in recent years of Republican presidential candidates' physical ticks or trivial personal foibles that the press has pounced on and announced to be wildly important and deeply revealing. That's just not a distraction Republican candidates have to deal with. The media phenomenon only applies to Democrats and the phenomenon only exists because journalists manufacture it.

I have come to the conclusion that she is perfectly "likeable"... she is just presented to us through a prism of a press corps that doesn't like her for the same reasons it doesn't like Al Gore... i.e., she is a Democrat who is not a pathological liar.

Looking for Jesus ... The political comrades who enable those who hate among us are soon to be massively defeated ... Oh, how I hope he's right!
Oh, Annie, Annie, Annie ... Re: If she [Annie the Coulter] had said that Christianity were no better than, or worse than, Judaism she would have been betraying her faith.

She said a bit more than just that. I can say that I think Pepsi is superior to Coke without saying that Coke should be eliminated and everyone should drink Pepsi.

But I have no explanation for this current round of unusually spectacular conservative crap, other than perhaps the melting icecaps have released all the excess Stupid that was trapped in ancient ice as the dinosaurs died off. ... I suppose Republican Stupid must come from somewhere, but why pick on the dinosaurs?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Appearing human means making humans comfortable ...

In France they have developed software for virtual characters "that mimics human gaze patterns. Their characters are capable of saccades, tracking moving objects like humans, and fixing their gaze on the same features as humans for similar periods."
Virtual human has a roving eye

80 million years without sex ...

I love these titles, as if any number of years without sex was a big deal for asexual critters:
The benefits of 80 million years without sex --Scientists have discovered how a microscopic organism has benefited from nearly 80 million years without sex.
Must have something to do with human perspective on the world, you think? Of course from our perspective the only perspective is the human one. Human but not necessarily always humane.

In my America? ...

"Jim Spencer, a former columnist for the Denver Post who has been critical of the Bush administration, told me today that I could use his name: he is on the watch list. An attorney contacts me to say that she told her colleagues at the Justice Department not to torture a detainee; she says she then faced a criminal investigation, a professional referral, saw her emails deleted — and now she is on the watch list. I was told last night that a leader of Code Pink, the anti-war women’s action group, was refused entry to Canada. I hear from a tech guy who works for the airlines — again, probably a Republican — that once you are on the list you never get off. Someone else says that his friend opened his luggage to find a letter from the TSA saying that they did not appreciate his reading material. Before I go into the security lines, I find myself editing my possessions. In New York’s LaGuardia, I reluctantly found myself putting a hardcover copy of Tara McKelvey’s excellent Monstering, an expose of CIA interrogation practices, in a garbage can before I get in the security line; it is based on classified information. This morning at my hotel, before going to the airport, I threw away a very nice black T-shirt that said `We Will Not be Silenced’ — with an Arabic translation — that someone had given me, along with a copy of poems written by detainees at Guantanamo.

"In my America we are not scared to get in line at the airport. In my America, we will not be silenced."

As pessimistic as I am, I really did not think it had gone this deep and insidious yet!

Won’t Back Down

(Link via Alternate Brain)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Your appetite may be in danger ...

Don't read the article 'Recipe For Disaster --What’s (not) in a food label?' by Megan Tady or you may lose your appetite.

Some highlights:
  • The FDA refuses to label food that has been genetically modified ...
  • ... the FDA may not even know which food contains GM ingredients
  • ... the USDA is allowing imported seafood to be labeled organic despite the absence of a standard
  • ... with the Bush administration continually delaying country-of-origin labeling on food, we still can’t avoid products from places with dubious safety records.
  • In April, however, the FDA proposed a plan to yank this label and allow industry to replace the eerie term “irradiation” with the more palatable “pasteurization.” And along with the word play, the FDA is considering removing the requirement for any label on any radiation that doesn’t cause “material change” to the meat.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

"It will shatter all trust in the American justice system,"Gnijdic said ...
well, whatever trust that is left after Seven Years of Bush and the Republican Mafia, that is.
Republicans have a media granted dispensation from making any sense whatsoever ... political advisers learned something about the press from the last few elections — namely, that no matter how false or crazy the claims of a conservative politician, he can expect to receive the “Shape of the Planet: Both Sides have a Point” treatment. At worst, articles will suggest that “some Democrats” say that he’s talking nonsense.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hostile and negative attitude towards Christianity? Now I wonder why that would be ...

Well there's some justice in the world, anyway:
Many senior pastors say "they are finding their work to be an uphill battle -- "because people are increasingly hostile and negative toward Christianity." (Orcinus)

I've always assumed I was 'culturally' a Christian. [What I forget to add here is that now I would rather not be in way associated with the word. What I understand to be Christ's teachings, fine. What I see as Christianity in this country today; get out of my sight.]

My only period of regular church going was in 1st grade when I live with my grandmother because my parents --my father being in the Navy-- wished that I reside in only one location for my first year in school.

In my teens I started 'looking' for something and attended service of various churches: Catholic, Protestant (various), LDS. I talked to others my age, friends and otherwise. I saw both good and bad and came away from that stage in my growing up with a kind of live and let live attitude toward Christianity. I am not interested in being associated with any church and I certainly don't believe in their god. But I can understand the call that leads to institutionalized religions.

Another quote from Orcinus:
Roughly a quarter of both the Christians and non-Christians in the under-30 group also mentioned -- without being prompted -- that "Christianity has changed from what it used to be," and that it "no longer looks like Jesus."
Christianity has failed to look like Jesus many times. The Crusades and the Inquisition are two of the larger than life examples.

The worst aspects of Christianity appears to be ascendant. Time, education, rationality cannot enlighten the dark and warped. Christ's teachings get lost in the bureaucracy. Christianity is what large centrally controlled dogmatic undemocratic organizations become. Control in perpetuity is the goal. And any other goals become subservient to that one.

Not so far from the goal of Bush and his Republican Mafia.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Dems try to avoid appearing weak by BEING WEAK ...

Warrantless Wiretapping? Carry On
Yet in the face of all this and so much more, Congressional Democrats will give George Bush both a "get out of jail free" card and a green light to continue spitting on the Constitution because they don't want to look weak?
So much for a majority. While we understand that the Democrats do not have a large enough majority to pass whatever they like, they also appear not to have a large enough majority to keep anything from passing that they don't like. While the Republicans, in the minority, can keep everything from passing just by threatening to filibuster but never actually doing it. I suppose that, after the last Republican majority Congress, where Democrats 'saved' the filibuster by NOT using it, Dems are now inclined to think that the filibuster is reserved for Republicans. I can see why Repugs would like it this way but, Dems, it ain't really so. You can use the filibuster. Really.

The Republicans are crooks, liars, hypocrites and may be prone to that wide stance in public bathroom stalls. But Democrats, are you really this stupid?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pablum from McClatchy ...

Kevin G. Hall writes an article in praise of Henry M Paulson Jr: Treasury Secretary Paulson earns praise for calming markets
Paulson was given little chance of accomplishing the ambitious goals he announced, such as overhauling the tax code and putting Social Security on a firm footing. He's got even less of a chance now, with Democrats in charge of Congress and the 2008 elections fast approaching.
Poor guy, foiled in his goals of making things even more skewed towards the very rich and worse for everyone else. Less chance with the Democrats? Come on, the Republican goal of destroying SS met its road block while Republicans were an unchallenged majority in Congress.

'Pears Paulson is some kind of superman playing with the house of cards they call a 'market.'

August was one of the most volatile months ever for stock prices, as the market for subprime mortgages — those issued to the weakest borrowers — essentially closed down. Those problems spread to global credit markets, crimping the ability of corporations to issue short-term debt to fund day-to-day operations. That threatened broader economic activity as well as the jobs and income of all Americans.

As problems deepened, Paulson appeared almost daily on cable news channels, talking up the economy's fundamental strength without downplaying the severity of the problems in the financial markets. The Federal Reserve's half-point rate cut on Sept. 18 restored Wall Street's confidence, but Paulson's performance in a key supporting role won over important decision-makers in Washington such as the cantankerous Frank, hardly a Bush administration admirer.

I'll assume the reporter is correct and that Representative Barney Frank considers that Paulson was in the right place at the right time. However this sentence --
'Paulson's performance in a key supporting role won over important decision-makers in Washington such as the cantankerous Frank, hardly a Bush administration admirer'
-- implies that under more ordinary circumstances, and possibly because he's cantankerous, Barney Frank would usually lie about his opinions because he's 'hardly a Bush administration admirer' but because Paulson is just 'so good' poor ol' Barney had to tell the truth. Tell me that's not the gist!

Wonder if any of this is real:

Paulson also has gotten involved in negotiations with poor countries to forgive debt in exchange for nature preservation. He's working with development banks to fund environmental initiatives. And Bush tapped Paulson in late September to head an effort to promote and finance new low-carbon technologies, such as clean coal and nuclear energy.

We already know that any initiative of Bush's is a front to either avoid real progress on global warming or for financial gain for his friends, or both. Too bad this 'honor' was included in the same paragraph with two items that sound like possible 'good things.'

How I hate that I don't trust any of them anymore! Where's the evidence, McClatchy? How about some reporting instead of just transcribing their words.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

This is the flawed premise which brings down the whole house of cards. It assumes that globalization allows for America to be first but the America we know - with worker rights and environmental protections - can't be first in this race. And there is absolutely no interest I see from the people powering the competition to have that America finish the race at all. This is the most important point that most average people involved in making ends meet do not understand. "America" is not meant to win the globalization derby.

The ring of integrity ... "During the many interrogations, I never laid hands on anyone," said George Frenkel, 87, of Kensington. "We extracted information in a battle of the wits. I'm proud to say I never compromised my humanity."
... seems like only yesterday that the US of A had the wits to accomplish the impossible. Today, witless and stupid, it tears down not only other countries, but its own.
The drug war is intended to disenfranchise those selectively prosecuted.
From such a tyrannical perspective the drug war is a great success. Rich druggies go on to become President or radio hacks while poor druggies become felons.
It’s easily possible to set up an enforcement system for beef safety in this country, but the Republicans decided the money for their buddies was more important for the welfare of our people. The American people would figure out Republicans do not give a shit about anyone but their .5% richest of the country cronies if this story was reported correctly, Newsweek, thank you so much. It’s not surprising money precludes the truth with this typically lousy corporate journalism, but maybe one day dead American children might actually move them to do their jobs.

So when I tell you that Americans need to change both the cars they drive and the way they drive them, don't think I do it from spite. It's from love. It's because I sincerely believe that if we don't change paths – now, today – soon enough no one will have that chance to do what cars do better than anything else: give you the freedom to go anywhere you damn well please, just because it pleases you to go.
Judgement on the pavement ... After miles in the desert we stopped at a small restaurant in al Rutba where the name Bush was painted in white in three different spots in the parking lot, so customers could step on it. ...

Choose violence and all is lost to the worst that can happen to a people, both to those who initiate it and those who suffer from it. Retribution almost always follows that quickly spins out of control, sometimes for hundreds of years. Jesus, the violence of war is not what you think it is, it can never work positively! We hung Nazis at Nuremburg for precisely the logic of “pre-emptive war,” yet these amazing Americans quoted whine about Bush being called a moron, oblivious to how apparently stupid they themselves are to not know these utterly known and basic facts about chosen war, it’s just incredible.

[...] As if it couldn’t get more sickening, one of the killers says “ long as the possibility of being successful's there, you can justify continuing the effort."

... Jesus nothing could be more horrifying or shameful than lying, killing “public officials” of the United States of America blathering on in clueless denial to send more humans souls to miserable senseless killing war deaths.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The subtle 'shines' through the blatant?

This ...
[Lap] Dancers made about $70 an hour during their peak period of fertility, versus about $35 while menstruating and $50 in between.
... from Psychology Today: The Stripper's Secret --Flaunting your fertility makes for big tips. The showgirl's guide to maximizing income by Matthew Hutson.

Now tell me there isn't a bucket load of sexism shining through the article, the title and the sub-title.

Really, the dancers are 'flaunting' their sex or zeroing in on the proclivities of the males of their species regardless of their fertility status. It just appears that that 'flaunting' is more successful when the body's reproductive objective lines up with the dancers' pecuniary objectives.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

We do NOT
... torture!

... "we start with the least harsh measures first" and stop the progression "if someone becomes cooperative."
... that is, Frances Fragos Townsend of Homeland Security is telling us that the US doesn't torture once those doing the torturing are satisfied with what the victim has said, what the victim has turned into, or that the victim is completely incopacitated or dead!

I hope the Burmese can free themselves. I hope we can. Because there isn't much help on the way from above, folks. Even if we got the perfect progressive president in 2008, they'd have to rely on the public to get their backs. In the end, there's only ever going to be boring, ordinary people deciding that they just can't take the bullshit and the inhumanity anymore and that maybe it's time to act to stop it.

It's not women they're seeking to honor with that proverbial 'pedestal' ... These people who say they have nothing but respect for the military are the very ones who denigrate those who serve. They say they’re "honoring" us, while they’re telling us we’re unable to think for ourselves.
... No, it's soldiers who dare to think for themselves and step out of the mold set by those with the Neo-Con (really the neo-fascist) mindset who mostly reside among the 'conservatives' of this nation.
... Would that there were genuinely leftist voices in mainstream American politics, not because I agree with many of their positions, necessarily, but simply because the breadth of "acceptable" public discourse in this country is dangerously claustrophobic. ...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I think Dana Perino must be an advanced model robot ...

Perino: We Don't Torture Because We Say We Don't Torture by Paul Kiel
... And I'm not confirming or denying anything that you just listed ... all the ones that you just listed.
No matter what they say, what they write, what they do this robot gets up in front of cameras and a few 'journalists' and parrots whatever she's programmed to parrot. If she's not really a robot what is she ... Tony Snow looked like a fool. Perino appears to be a robot.

Obama says ...

Obama's plan to challenge Washington's conventional thinking and create a new beginning in U.S. foreign policy includes:
  • Ending the war in Iraq
  • Ensuring there is no safe haven for Al Qaeda
  • Securing loose nuclear material and renewing our efforts towards eliminating nuclear weapons and stopping the threat of nuclear terrorism
  • Talking directly to friend and foe
  • Strengthening the State Department to make diplomacy a priority
  • Reversing Washington's reliance on secrecy by establishing a National Declassification Center
  • Getting politics out of intelligence by giving the Director of National Intelligence a fixed term
  • Uniting America behind a non-partisan foreign policy
Sounds like some good goals, reasonable goals. But as we've seen for years now, words mean nothing. What has Obama actually done that gives us a clue to how he will behave as President? I don't get a sense.

The word non-partisan hits a wrong note. There is no such thing, and doubly so (as if something that doesn't exist can fail to exist twice as much, but you get the idea) in today's atmosphere. Democrats should get over the idea they can pretend to be non-partisan. Instead of aiming for impossible sound bites, how about looking for the right things (for a change). An intelligence based, rational and well reasoned foreign policy with wide public support will satisfy me reasonably well, thank you very much.

Should Hermosillo be called Pitic ...

Well, I don't have an opinion. I did learn, though, that Hermosillo was named after General JoséMaría González de Hermosillo (who never made it to his namesake). So the name Hermosillo did not devolve from hermoso. Pitic has a nice sound, but then I prefer Datsun to Nissan any day.

For more on this subject read the interesting and varied, or interestedly varied, Border Reporter: IT’S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, BUT WOW, IS IT ENTERTAINING by Dhiana Quiroz

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

The problem is the underlying system of representative democracy. It is no longer capable, at least as structured around the world, of providing for the common good.

It simply enables two groups of politicians with radically different rhetoric to get elected and then use the power of the state to reward the people who made it possible for them to hold office.

It’s the system. Not the people in it which is the problem.

— [Comment to Krugmans's Blog] Posted by Edward Murray

[AND an answer]

Exactly. The Republicans are no longer the party of small government (were they ever?) but rather the party of public jobs for cronies. The Democrats also share this honor.

The real division in politics is no longer between left and right, its between the political insiders, and their friends and cronies who get the government contracts, and the rest of us, who pay for it all.

— Posted by Paul

... comparing the seasonally adjusted August 2007 numbers with the average rate of sales in 2005 tells us that home sales are off 38%.

There’s an infinitesimally small possibility, one supposes, that the Pentagon will wake up to what tools and suckers they’ve been to swear allegiance to Republicans (delivering a broken Army and Marine Corps, for starters) and fire Rush from the AFR as a sign of independence, a way to show that no, the Pentagon is not the disgusting boot-licking Republican prostitute everyone thinks it is. ...

Republicanism blueprint ...
1. Take advantage of a shocking tragedy to rush through emergency legislation.

2. Award a fat private contract with almost no oversight.

3. Kick the cost of everything you've done down the road so you can pretend to be for "small government" by never paying for anything.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

... from what I know of the Princes, I suspect he'd just love to proudly compare Blackwater to the late 1800, union skull-cracking iteration of the Pinkerton Agency

... While all of the arguments above must have played some part in the decision to go to war in Iraq, the real reason for war in iraq, I believe, has precious little to do with these. Rather, it has to do with something else.

What it has to do with is a curious Bush trait of viewing war not as a tool of foreign policy so much as a tool to manipulate domestic public sentiment. ...

[ ... ]

It is disturbing to imagine manipulation of public opinion to be the primary reason for Dubya’s support of the war; yet it is easy to see this as being so. No other theory of the crime quite explains all of the observed facts quite so well.

More disturbing than the idea that Dubya manipulated the press purely to gain popularity is the possibility that the war is used primarily to eat up news coverage attention and to distract from more nefarious activities. In other words, a nation has its literati who care about real theater. And it has its news-hounds who care about important public events. War seems like an important public event and it is theater. Therefore, if all news is focussed on the war, there is no news attention focussed on any other aspect of governance. The war, then, becomes a distraction. Highly controversial changes in law or policy take effect invisibly not because they are actually secret, but because everybody’s attention is diverted. It is government by distraction. It works the same way pickpockets, magicians, and old Mission Impossible shows work, by misdirection.
To BushCo and corporate America, all is 'Bait and Switch.'
The sad truth about the Democratic Party, what's left of it that is ... I'm tired of defending Democrats against this stuff. They seem to like looking like total assholes and having the public --- and especially the military --- see them as pathetic Charlie Browns who can't even defend themselves against a drug-addled gasbag.

They should have removed Rush Limbaugh from the taxpayer supported Armed Forces Radio before, but most especially this week when they had the chance to teach the Republicans a lesson about the perils of fucking with free speech. Taking out their flagship scumbag (something that should have been done long ago) would have been a hard shot, right in the nose, and would have put them in their place. Instead, the Dems chose to beg for their Republican friends to sign a letter asking Rush's boss to make him apologize for being mean. And what they get in return is this slander beamed directly to the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan on our dime. Wow.

I'll repeat what I wrote last week: this election apparently boils down to whether the nation can overcome its inherent revulsion for ineffectual chickenshits to vote once again for a corrupt, failed political movement that's past its prime. I'm assuming they're tired enough of Republican failure to vote the other way by simple default. But they are getting no inspiration and there will be no mandate, so don't get your hopes up. The Republicans will continue to rule the country from the minority.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Raising children by remote control ...

I appreciate technology, and I appreciate getting away from it once in awhile, except for computers, which I would prefer to take with me most everywhere if I could, so why do I find this disturbing ...
New robots aim to connect users -- or help them spy on one another from afar

A new device by iRobot Corp. resembles the company's disc-shaped Roomba vacuum cleaner but has a webcam bulging from the top.

It is designed to enable parents on a business trip to feel they are almost at home. For example, a parent could remotely send the wheeled robot into a bedroom, where the children could open a book in front of the robot's camera. The parent could then read the story aloud and watch and hear the kids' reactions. The family could also converse.

The robot can be controlled from within the home or remotely, using a Web connection to a home wireless network. The user can operate the robot with either a joystick or a computer installed with iRobot-supplied software.

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

Maybe they are just like so many rich, short-term thinkers who apparently don't love their children or their country or they would care more about the future. (History? We'll all be dead.) Maybe they're just insane. Whatever the case, hitting Iran seems to be more likely than it has been up to now and the political establishment seems to be either on board or paralyzed.

Had the for profit health insurance industry exerted a sliver of restraint, they wouldn’t be facing an uncertain future now. But the insurance porkers bellied up the feeding trough one too many times, squealing and grunting in delight, dining on bucket after bucket of middle-class misery, disease, and death. As the old saying goes, pigs get fed, but hogs get slaughtered, and finally some of these obese swine may be taking a one way ride to market.

... ah, what imagery! I would wish such justice on the corporate pigs over the animals after which they are named any day.

Remember the Democrats we put in charge to stop the war ...

If the Democratically 'controlled' Congress approves another $200 billion, for which timing alone seems to be an issue, then this $200 billion of $680 billion (that's BILLION) that's going down the war rat hole so that Republicans can make Republicans richer while claiming that the United States can't afford health care for all Americans, not even all American children; so that the Republicans can raid the SS fund and then claim it's just an entitlement, and not a payroll tax specifically targeted for the retirement of Americans (as apposed to corporations or Congress people, for which all government income is their own personal plaything and and certainly not to be shared back in any way with the populace) ... of that $680 BILLION, $290 billion will have come from the Democratic Congress.

Feel good about your representatives. They don't feel a thing about you. They think you will vote for them because you have no choice. After all as they demonstrate to us daily, they are so much better than the Republicans! Ya think?