Thursday, August 31, 2006

Alaska's Ted Stevens

Alaska's Ted Stevens has always struck me as a small-pond-jerk more interested in extorting pork for Alaska than a healthy US budget. The famous bridge-to-nowhere which delayed 911 anti-terrorist measures comes particularly to mind.

His latest America-last gaming of the system places much-needed anti-corruption legislation on hold.

Who is that masked man?

Since 911 I have been waiting for the republican politicians in power to rise to the occasion and have been continually disappointed. I sez that America's global challenges cannot be met successfully with small-world, bilk-America thinking.

No wonder republicans are losing credibility faster than Paris Hilton at a virgin convention.

Are modern republicans racist enough?

Daily Show expert and "Senior Black Correspondent" Larry Wilmore charges today's republican party with "lazy racism".

Not your father's racism

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Consider this

[*] A recent University of California, San Francisco, study estimates that the United States would save over $161 billion every year in paperwork alone if it switched to a single-payer system like Canada's.

[*] Research on 38 million adult patients in 26,000 U.S. hospitals revealed that death rates in for-profit hospitals are significantly higher than in nonprofit hospitals: for-profit patients have a 2 percent higher chance of dying in the hospital or within 30 days of discharge.

[*] In the United States, infant mortality rates are 7.1 per 1,000, the highest in the industrialized world -- higher than some of the poorer states in India, for example, which have public health systems in place (at least for mothers and infants).

[*] Among the inner-city poor in the United States, more than 8 percent of mothers receive no prenatal care at all before giving birth.

[*] The overall improvement in health in a society with tax-supported health care translates to better health even for the rich, the group assumed to be the main beneficiaries of the American-style private system.

Now go read this article if your eyes popped open:

Canadian care

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's fun to stay at the YMCA

We're approaching an election and you know what that means, time for republicans to swift-boat democrats.

Karl Rove has been the chief architect of some of the worst tactics in US political history (belittling decorated veterans of both parties, including during a time of war).

I got to thinking that it seems unfair that he gets to slime, then sit safely in the background. So, I thought, why not get ahead of the game with a little Rove storyline...

Many people don't know this, but Karl Rove in his early days was a songwriter. He was considered a decent writer of blues songs and had a moderate success with "The Day is Dawning", when Jimmy Witherspoon included the song on his album "Jay's Blues".

But, success, such as it was, went to his head. He became ambitious and star-struck and decided to become somebody. Ahead of his time he refashioned himself as Commander Karl and wore brown suede shorts, a shirtless black leather vest, a captains hat, and flip-flops. Often he'd carry a riding crop and wear a bandana around his neck.

One day the young Karl was in Greenwich Village and he bumped into Jacques Morali who was auditioning new talent for a group he had in mind. Karl devoted himself to making the audition but on that fateful day he was turned down for being, "too gay". The blow might have been mild if the group, later known as "The Village People", hadn't gone on to fame and fortune.

Jaded, frustrated, furious, and dejected Karl swore off his musical career and decided to go where he wouldn't have to face rejection. He became a political consultant.

To this day on the anniversary of his rejection he dresses up as Commander Karl and shouts out his hatred of all things Village People. In a moment of recklessness uncharacteristic of him, he hired a gay prostitute named Jim Guckert/ Jeff Gannon, dressed him up as a construction worker, and hurled a mixture of homerotic and homophobic comments at him. After one such session Jim wandered into the white house press gaggle by mistake and on a whim asked a softball question of the president.

That was fun.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bob Dylan in the garden


Fred McDauber
Fred again
Faith Temple
Naomi too

And now...

Naomi studied Fred for a moment, staring directly into his eyes, then replying with, “Of course Jesus didn’t condone gossipers when one of the Ten Commandments forbid bearing false witness against a neighbor. But tell me”, she continued, “what is it that you believe in Fred? I’m interested. I’d like to know.”

Fred didn’t respond right away, he instead looked up at the ceiling, then rested his eyes on a photo on the wall. Then he began to respond, “Well. I believe that most of the world’s religions have things backwards. I don’t think that the Creator is a genocidal, jealous, vengeful, sinner-burner like he’s made out in the Christian Bible for instance. Or, if He is, then He isn’t worthy of anything but contempt. I think that the Creator would be more of a gardener/artist type, you know creative and nurturing of life. I think that He tries to influence our behavior in a few limited ways. First, I think that harmful lies are not allowed to escape the Truth. Second, I think He creates beautiful things and releases them into the world.”

Naomi interjected, “But, what about Satan?”

Fred chuckled and his eyes sparkled with mirth, he smiled and said, “Why on earth would he be necessary? Look at the damage that Men are doing to each other and to the planet which sustains their very lives. Look at the way they lie to each other and cheat each other and enslave each other. I don’t see how the cruelty of Man can be improved upon or blamed on a third party. So, I think the Creator is trying to reach us with Beauty and Hope and Truth, but as for the devil I think he is nothing more than a scapegoat.”

Naomi reflected for a time and sat still while she did so. She said, “So, you believe in a creator that is like Bob Dylan in a garden?”

“Well”, said Fred, “if the music Bob Dylan played could create matter and life directly then that’d be about right. He’d be out there in his garden watching over us and when we got too mean and ugly with each other he’d send us “Masters of War” or “Hard Rain” so that we could turn out better. In fact, people like Bob Dylan have always made me wonder. Didn’t he come out of nowhere at a young age and write songs far beyond his years which spoke directly to the current mood? Isn’t he like Martin Luther King in that respect, telling us the Truth in a way which resonates?

“What about after we die?”, questioned Naomi.

“I am in no hurry for a definitive answer to that question, but I expect it is exactly like the time before our birth.”

“The God you believe in doesn’t seem very powerful”, said Naomi.

“That’s right. The God I believe in has no power at all, except the power to create Good things. He only tries to influence us by the power of His example and through His creations. I believe that He isn’t interested in revenge and that He only wants us to take delight in his works. I believe that the garden of Eden which you believe in was such a work. I believe that when you look around you are looking at what Man, in his ignorance, has done to the masterwork of Heaven itself.”

“That seems too cynical for me to ever believe in”, responded Naomi.

“It’s not for everyone”, agreed Fred, “but that’s what I believe in. I guess it appeals to me to consider the comedy of Monty Python a gift from God to be enjoyed, or the music of Mozart, or John Steinbeck’s novels, and so on. Martin Luther King, for sure, had this power of influence over people that doesn’t make sense to me any other way. I think of the Jesus you believe in the same way. He was just another attempt by God to awaken the Love in our hearts for each other. Usually we respond by killing his creations and perverting their message.”

“That’s your view of religion isn’t it, a corruption of something beautiful?”, asked Naomi.

“Pretty much”, responded Fred, “but I try to judge people by their actions and not by their beliefs. I know that there are Paul Farmers in the world that make enormous sacrifices to help other people, and if I look critically at myself I do not measure up to a lot of religious believers.”

At that point Faith came bustling into the room with a plate full of cookies and three cups and saucers. She set the plate of cookies in the center of the coffee table, placed three cups in their saucers, and traveled back to the kitchen, returning with tea-bags and a kettle of hot water, sugar, and milk. She put the tea bags in the mugs, filled them with hot water, returned the kettle to the kitchen, then took up a seat by Naomi.

Looking at Naomi, Faith said, “I always like something sweet and a cup of tea in the afternoon. We have peanut-butter cookies and molasses there and Lipton tea so help yourself.”

With that, Fred and Faith began to eat a cookie, Fred grabbing molasses and Faith peanut butter. Naomi mumbled something beneath her breath, then reached for a peanut butter cookie. She bit into it and enjoyed the semi-soft, crumbly texture and sweetness. She reached for the teacup, extracted the bag, mixed in sugar and milk, and washed down the first bite of cookie. She smiled.

Fred complimented Faith on the cookies and ate his slowly, breaking off pieces with his hands, then chewing them thoughtfully. If for no other reason than these cookies, he thought his plan was working out well. He wondered if a pleasure so simple was the result of Mr. Dylan in his garden, or if People themselves sometimes brought good things into the world with their own hands.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Happy August 22nd

Will Sunni Muslims strike a mega-terrorist blow against Israel (specifically Jerusalem) on Tuesday, August 22nd?

Will the US and Israel respond with a joint strike against Iran?

Apocalyptic Plans

My suspicion is that neocons need better hobbies. Perhaps we should all take one bowling?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Where embarrassments take dream

"I made my position clear, about this war on terror. I a and by the way the enemy made their position clear yet again when they when ... when a when we're able stop em."

- President George W. Bush -

Video link

Friday, August 18, 2006

Our safety

Karl Rove perpetuates the myth that president Bush's decisive action protects us all from the evil doers.

But, when you think about it:

North Korea reconstituted nuclear weapons on Bush's watch.

Osama bin Laden killed 3,000 Americans and wasn't smoked out or brung in dead or alive.

Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons.

Russia just inked a deal to sell 3 billion dollars worth of weapons to Venezuela.

The roadmap to peace was in reality a roadmap to hostility.

The situation in Iraq is worsening.

The situation in Afghanistan is tenuous.

Does a turd blossom overpower the scent of its foundation?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Raging medievalists

What's a "raging medievalist"?

It's a phrase I like to use to describe these tablet-carrying wannabees that live in an age of genetic engineering, skylabs, polio vaccines, nuclear power, and automobiles, yet think society's ills can be cured with medieval religious practices like angry mobs of stone-wielders.

Herb Titus and Gary North fit the billing and you can read about them here:

Stone chuckers

Hate is not justified because it is Christian hate as opposed to Islamic hate. The Christian idol, Jesus, was categorically opposed to harming others and was fanatical enough about it to stop stonings.

Can he possibly be honored by digital-aged barbarians carrying grudges that defile his very legacy?

I'd wager their activity does more to drive people away from Christ's teachings than Boston-area child predators in vestments.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Iraq Report 109th Congress

If democrats take back the House of Representatives then John Conyers will likely lead the Judiciary Committee.

Could it be that this report is a prelude to what awaits the Bush administration should this scenario become reality?

Coverups in the Iraq War

Here is an excerpt from the summary:

We have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration; and approved domestic surveillance that is both illegal and unconstitutional. As further detailed in the Report, there is evidence that these actions violate a number of federal laws, including:

[*] Making False Statements to Congress, for example, saying you have learned Iraq is attempting to buy uranium from Niger, when you have been warned by the CIA that this is not the case.

[*] The War Powers Resolution and Misuse of Government Funds, for example, redeploying troops and initiating bombing raids before receiving congressional authorization.

[*] Federal laws and international treaties prohibiting torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, for example, ordering detainees to be ghosted and removed, and tolerating and laying the legal ground work for their torture and mistreatment.

[*] Federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals, for example, demoting Bunnatine Greenhouse, the chief contracting officer at the Army Corps of Engineers, because she exposed contracting abuses involving Halliburton.

[*] Federal requirements concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence, for example, failing to enforce the executive order requiring disciplining those who leak classified information, whether intentional or not.

[*] Federal regulations and ethical requirements governing conflicts of interest, for example, then Attorney General John Aschcroft’s being personally briefed on FBI interviews concerning possible misconduct by Karl Rove even though Mr. Rove had previously received nearly $750,000 in fees for political work on Mr. Ashcroft’s campaigns.

[*] Violating FISA and the Fourth Amendment, for example intercepting thousands of communications “to or from any person within the United States,” without obtaining a warrant.

[*] The Stored Communications Act of 1986 and the Communications Act of 1934, for example, obtaining millions of U.S. customer telephone records without obtaining a subpoena or warrant, without customer consent, and outside of any applicable “emergency exceptions.”

[*] The National Security Act, for example, failing to keep all Members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees “fully and currently informed” of intelligence activities, such as the warrantless surveillance programs.

This explains the evident desperation of the Bush administration's recent actions, particularly equating casting a vote for Ned Lamont with terrorist sympathy. They seem unable to admit Lieberman lost because he supported the president's agenda, which ought to translate into heavy Republican losses in November.

This could be a November to remember if Americans have finally had enough of George W. Bush.

Monday, August 14, 2006


An idea that struck me like a thunderclap:

Imagine the terror-fighting potential if Karl Rove was given the task of polarizing Islamic society, rather than American society!

It struck me as I was reading this piece and I learned of the Punjab.

Fantastic article on Islam

If anyone close to the president is reading this please pass this on. It is an idea that may have been divinely inspired.

I am still tingling.

Democratic plan

Republicans routinely and disingenously charge that democrats have no plan for fighting terrorism.

They are wrong but they keep repeating it because the media in the US lets them lie and calls it balance.

Next time a conservative blow-hard says that why doesn't an interviewer slap this document on the table?

Democratic American Security Plan

That would be balance, with the counter-weight being the Truth for once.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Supreme Sarcasm

I often post Daily Show clips but this one is special. If you wish to see sarcasm brought to new heights click below

Smiling daggers

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Democrats Dilemma

I think that what democrats ought to do right away is start getting Mr. Murtha out talking about his plan for turning Iraq over to Iraqis.

Rather than wait for Republicans to define democrats as weak on defense and then react to that, they should get out now and remind voters that:

[*] Our policy in Iraq is a failure and getting worse by the day (i.e. 35 killed in a mosque today). The president has no plan and wants to leave the problems for the next administration.

[*] Exit strategy is victory.

[*] Mr. Lieberman didn't just support the war, he failed to see that it was being won once it started.

[*] Homeland security is not a pork-barrel project.

[*] People willing to trash veterans to win are people that deserve contempt not votes.

[*] Reagan Democrats put country before party and Republican moderates know they must do the same in November.

[*] Social Security will be on the chopping block again if Republicans win.

Victory in November requires a winning attitude as much as anything else. A team that wins doesn't get rattled by falling behind, nor does it get rattled by gaining the advantage. While the clock runs a winning team plays hard, adjusts to counter-attack, and gets up after being knocked down and looks their opponent in the eye and smiles.

I see that attitude in Mr. Murtha and Russ Feingold. I'm surprised to see it in Al Gore now. Howard Dean nearly has it. Harry Reid definitely has got game.

Fight Arjunas!

Lamont licks Lieberman

Ned Lamont defeated incumbent Joe Lieberman in the democratic Connecticut primary. Mr. Lieberman immediately proved he was a democrat in name only by announcing an independent bid.

Jilted Joe

Garnering a miniscule amount of votes in his presidential bid was not enough rejection for Joe.

Being defeated as an incumbent in his home state was not enough rejection for Joe.

Is he now willing to become a spoiler and be relegated to the Ralph Nader lecture circuit?

How low can Joe go?

Here is an analysis of what Joe's vanity candidacy means for the democratic party: Jumpin' Joe

ADDENDUM: Here is a good analysis of what made Joe Lieberman a loser: Head in Clouds

And my two additional cents are, "It's Ned Lamont. He's a good candidate. He ran a good campaign. He's disciplined and quick-witted. He's good on camera. People like him. Sure Joe helped him by being as out of touch as George HW Bush with grocery-store technology, but what sunk Joe was Ned. Ned is the reason Joe lost. It's Ned I tells ya. Ned."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Naomi too


Fred McDauber
Fred again
Faith Temple

And now...

Fred examined Naomi carefully as he looked up. He looked at the area around her eyes and the way she nervously moved her fingers. He thought he would try to make the conversation a little more interesting and see if he could discover the makeup of his guest. He breathed in and said, “It seems to me that a large contributor to societal decay is a slavish devotion to capitalism, which I guess people call market fundamentalism, but I like to call greediness. Take a simple thing like coffee, for instance, which used to have names like Italian Roast, and French Roast, and Mocha Java, and Kenya AA and so on. You could order Italian Roast coffee in Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon, or Portland, England and everybody knew what you meant. You could see it in the store and know what you were buying. These roasts were good enough for a long time but now market forces insist we have Buddy’s Bad Blend or Nuevo Nightshade. Now if I try to get a cup of coffee I don’t know what I’m ordering and if I figure it out after a few trips to the store the name will change or the brand will be replaced and I wind up feeling like I don’t know the world around me. As time goes on the pace gets faster and faster and I feel like I’m spinning sometimes when all I want is the toothpaste I bought last week.”

Naomi blinked at Fred and then countered with, “I suppose what you are saying is that you feel adrift in a changing world, well that’s where the good Lord’s guiding hand can give you something to hold onto. He’s my rock and my salvation.”

Naomi’s religious rhetoric didn’t impress Fred, but her ability to quickly take something new and unexpected and incorporate it politely without being shaken off did. She would be harder to derail than he thought, but that thought invigorated his interest.

At that moment Faith came in with two glasses of water and set one down in front of Fred and Naomi. She scolded Fred for not having the manners to offer Naomi something to drink on such a warm afternoon, then she told Naomi if Fred’s talking wore her out she could chase him off for her. Naomi smiled and thanked Faith for the water and said she always enjoyed discussing her faith. Faith felt somewhat cheated but returned to the kitchen without a word.

Fred took a sip of water, shifted in his chair and then asked Naomi why she took up religion. He thought he already knew but wanted to draw her out of her protective layer of official duty. She began telling her story, “It was about 10 years ago that I became a witness. I had an accident that put me in the hospital for quite a while. I was full of pain all over and didn’t have nobody to come see me and the pain and the loneliness combined were just awful. One day a man came in and asked me if I would like company. He told me he was spreading the word of God and I didn’t care what he was spreading if it meant a moment to take my mind off my aches and pains, so I invited him in. Well he asked me if I had accepted Jesus Christ and I told him that I hadn’t. When he asked me, “Why?” I told him because when I call he doesn’t come and when I look he isn’t there and when I pray he doesn’t help me. I told him I didn’t believe it was possible to love someone and then let them come to harm. Can you believe it? I said those things and may the good Lord forgive me.”

Fred scratched under his hat a moment and knew he was getting somewhere now. He took another sip of water and then said, “I’d have to say that your replies were pretty sensible, especially given the state you were in. I know that there is some force of creation because absolutely nothing can make itself. A seed needs a tree and a tree needs a seed. A chicken needs an egg and an egg needs a chicken. It is like this with everything. Everything. But, I’ve never seen any evidence that convinces me that Jesus is real.”

Naomi paused a moment and looked at the floor. She seemed to be studying her hands in her lap and as she did Fred noticed that while her hair was curly she possessed a small bald spot near the back of her head. Naomi slowly looked up and she seemed more relaxed, but at the same time more resolute. She said, “My faith isn’t based on anything I can share as evidence, but I can tell you what happened. Shortly after I left the hospital I started attending (mass? Church? Kingdom hall?) with an open mind. One Sunday I learned that faith was based upon a belief in Him and I thought about what that meant. I decided to simply force myself to believe God was watching me to see what effect it had on me. I started praying. After a while I felt as though I had a new friend at my side. You know how when someone is staring at you, you can actually feel it? It works that way for me. I can actually feel Jesus nearby even now. He doesn’t speak to me in a literal sense, and I’m not sure if he understands or hears my prayers, but since I started really believing in Him he has been with me every step of the way.”

Fred thought about that for a moment and as he did so he scratched up under his hat and drank a little water. His view was that Naomi had managed to create an imaginary friend for herself in the same way many children do. He didn’t see the merit in a debate in which nothing could be examined in the light of Truth, so he said, “What do you suppose Jesus thinks of gossipers?”

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hezbollah was using UN post as shield

Hezbollah was using a UN observation post as a shield, according to the e-mail communication of Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie.

Details here

While this shows Israel did have a tactical reason to bomb a UN post which killed UN observers, it is very poor manners and exhibits a lack of respect for the UN and for innocent life. It also shows a clear lack of political sense, isolating Israel further and garnering sympathy for Hezbollah.

This squandering of international support reminds me of US actions in the aftermath of 9/11, which turned a world ready to help into a confederation of cold shoulders.

A thought

I thought of a name for a band that I like, but since I don't have a band I'll pass it on:

Urban Smile Compromise

I think it would suit a soulful act like the Staple Singers.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I think George W. Bush is best described as a fascist. John Dean prefers to call the president authoritarian. President Bush seems to prefer the phrase unitary executive.

You may find all these descriptions too flattering after reading this story, which highlights the president's latest unAmerican activities:

Bush seeks kangaroo courts

Osama must love this guy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The second kick from a mule

While many neo-clowns clamor for war with Iran, perhaps it is wise to wonder what an irate Iran is capable of inflicting?

Iran's strengths

Joe Biden once lamented that there was, "no potential for education in the second kick from a mule." That succinctly sums up the futility of a neo-con in action.

With a riding crop
and a hoof-print on my head.
I boldly call for
more mules to strike dead.

A mule can strike a blow
But this one won't I know
Just bring it here and I'll
strike it's rear

And we'll do it all again....

With a riding crop
and two hoof-prints on my head.
I boldly call for
more mules to strike dead.

etc. and etc. and etc. and etc.

Lieberman's lament

Here is why Joe Lieberman's seat ain't safe:

Lamont on Colbert

Ned Lamont, you see, is a terrific candidate.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I think that one reason intellectuals are regarded as wishy-washy is because they like to think things through before giving an answer, and when you do that simplicity evaporates.

In order to demonstrate what I am talking about I will hit you with two statements that seem undeniably True, while somewhat contradictory.

The unexamined life is not worth living

Socrates, in Plato, Dialogues, Apology
Greek philosopher in Athens (469 BC - 399 BC)

The unlived life is not worth examining

Sometimes attributed to Tom Morris

It is hard to deny that both statements are True and it takes a moment to bring them together in harmony, for instance...

Periodically examine your life to be sure it is worth living.

Information and debate have been hijacked by the appeal of ignorant action. To act immediately is somehow more respectable than to act wisely. Ignorant action is held in such high regard that president Bush could be reelected on the appeal of his foolish consistency:

Dead or Alive.
Bring 'em on.
Smoke him out.
Mission accomplished.
With us or against us.
War on terror.
Axis of evil.
Evil doers.
Cards on the table.
Turning the corner.
Roadmap to peace.

The fact that all of these rhetorical reductions are linked to failed policies seems insignificant in this era of unenlightenment. Voters prefer to be led by the bull than the matador.

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin