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30 June 2008


by: Foiled Goil

Bush praises McCain for Expansion of the GI Bill that he had no part in: Say, what?

John Amato:
What the heck is Bush smoking? [...]

This is rank dishonesty by Bush and maybe the straight talker will correct the record for Bush. You know, since he’s such a straight talker.

Here's Countdown with Senator Jim Webb and Keith Olbermann discussing the New GI Bill:

[ 6:36 ]

And here is more of the great MSM coverage of the truth:

[ 0:22 ]

· · · ·

A Mean Kind of Justice

by: Minstrel Boy

A song by Carrie Newcomer has been running through my head.

My usual techniques for when a song gets stuck haven't had any success. When I was hard into the jingle whoring I found that if I had a song, and it happened all the time, one of those incessantly intrusive advertising jingles would climb into my head and torture me like I was an Arab from Jordan who was stupid enough to have a two year old passport stamp from Pakistan and then tried to go through US customs. The most effective technique is to play it all the way through. Then, I'd repeat that the same way I would repeat holding my breath to handle a case of hiccups.

Not lately. I read something in the paper, or the web, or catch a snippet of dialogue from the TV or radio and I hear Carrie's harsh and beautiful lyrics. I can't find a downloadable or uploadable (I get so confused sometimes anyway the upshot is that I can't fucking post the song here) version of this song. I urge you to do some looking. Give Ms. Newcomer a listen.

Here's what's been happening.

I read Preparing the Battlefield by Seymore Hersch, about how Bush and Cheney are trying to cement their legacies by starting yet another, this time bigger, and probably more disasterous war. Then I hear Carrie start singing. . .

There's a ring around the moon,
There's a chill in the air.
There's a mean kind of justice,
Coming down coming down.

Then I read about how John McCain is all butt hurt because Wes Clark questions whether or not simply getting your ass shot down and being captured is really a qualification for being President. Frankly, I've questioned the same thing. McCain always brings up his record as a Naval Officer, and with the exception of his time as a POW, it's not anything to shout about. He was an indifferent student who used family connections to get into the academy, his performance while a middie would have gotten anyone else who wasn't the son and grandson of admirals sent for a four year tour of chipping grey paint in the fleet. McCain graduated near the bottom of his class and got jets. His position of highest command was as a prisoner. I don't hold the fact that he made a "confession" or even the video tape he made under extreme duress against him, I would defy anyone to hold out as long as he did. I know, everybody breaks. His performance as a prisoner under horrific conditions shows me where his heart was. I'll give him props, sailor to sailor, he did the best he could in a situation where a great many did worse.

Does that alone qualify him to be President?


Angels wring their hands and put ashes on their heads.
There's a mean kind of justice coming down.
It don't ever stop a thing,
An eye for eye, tic for tat.
And I've never seen nobody truly satisfied like that.
It just rolls around the head eating holes in your heart.
There's a mean kind of justice coming down.

Then I make my weekly stop at James Howard Kunstler's blog on the economy Clusterfuck Nation and read about how there's a good chance that the coming economic meltdown will make 1929 look like a bush league game.

There is a goodness on this earth
That will not die will not die.
It bears all, and seen it all, and still it survives.
I know that we have failed,

After all, Barclay's Bank is losing faith in the Federal Reserve.

But I I've seen that we can fly.
There's goodness on this earth that will not die.
Oh no, forgiveness never sleeps.
But the devil wants its due and says human life is cheap .
When we give up any hope we could ever change the past ,
Then at last. . .

Then, all it takes is to see another made-up furor in the political realm and I'm off into the chorus, repeat and fade. . .

There's a ring around the moon,
There's a chill on the breeze.
There's somebody with their hands clasped,
Down on their knees.
Angels hold their breath for what might set them free.
There's a mean kind of justice coming down

I encourage you to track this song down, drop a few pennies into Carrie's purse and get it for your own.

harp and sword

An Update on My Situation

by: blackdog

After looking into some things and more rational thought, I have come to the conclusion that I have a pretty good hernia. My metabolism seems fine, no indication of a liver problem.

The swelling is large, cantaloupes come to mind, but it is located about dead center of the incision where I was opened up twice last year. It makes sense. Plus, it seems a bit fluid and depending on my position, it will shift around.

So I did the honorable thing today and made an appointment with the surgeon at UAMS who opened me both times last year. It won't be until the 17th, and hopefully certain parts of my internal machinery behave until then.

The chances are pretty damn good that I get to be opened up yet once again, through the same damned incision to be repaired.

Jeebus, to think just a few years ago I used to brag that I had never broken a bone or had an operation.

I should have just kept my lip zipped.

And someone must have slipped my HDD some viagra, after all sorts of headaches this AM it seems to be behaving itself now. If it makes it for 4 hours I'll go find it a ho.

War Mongers, War Buyers

by: Dark Wraith

Rant & GrowlIn an interview on CNN, investigative journalist Seymour Hersch, who has just exposed an on-going $400 million covert military/intelligence operation being prosecuted by the Bush Administration against Iran, had this to say: "And by the way, it's the Democrats in Congress who basically looked the other way and said, 'Take the money and run'..."

All those who think the Democrats are the "party of change," the Sucker Land Express to Obamaville is now boarding.

God Almighty, people. The Democratic leadership in Congress has authorized the Bush Administration's reassignment of military funds to a program of state-sponsored terrorism against a sovereign nation. The rank-and-file Democrats, now fully aware of this, are not taking even the first step to strip the President of the authority to conduct this project. The putative heir to Empire being anointed by the Democrats has not even so much as hinted at condemnation of this abomination and those who 'looked the other way' after approving it.

What is it going to take to shut down this corrupted government all the way from its unaccountable President to its appeasing Congress to its rubber-stamp judiciary?

Another war? Apparently not: the opposition party is paying the way for that.

Another 9/11? Not likely: the opposition party jumped right on the bandwagon to hand Bush our civil liberties as payment for his last catastrophic failure to protect the homeland from a handful of crazed religious criminals.

Your future? Sure: an addled, corrupted corporate shill versus a vacuous babe-in-the-woods with a cult following that features gyrating sex-pots on YouTube.

There's your future.

The Dark Wraith wonders when, exactly, it was that the term "false hope" replaced "unrelenting fury."

· · · · ·

Circling The Drain

by: Debra

People have been so worried about the United Nations imposing a new world order on the United States, that us imposing a new world order on the rest of the planet has been overlooked by all but true freedom advocates. 
The controversial proposed pact, a "framework agreement" on common data protection principles, is likely to enable the Americans to access the credit card histories, banking details and travel habits of Europeans, although senior officials in Brussels deny US reports that the Americans will also be able to snoop on the internet browsing records of Europeans.

"Everybody's keen on this and sees the benefit of it. The French are very keen to continue the work," said a senior official in Brussels. "There's all sorts of information stored on computers nowadays that may be of interest to law enforcement agencies. If we reach agreement, we may well contemplate turning it into a binding international agreement."


Under separate agreements being negotiated, Washington is insisting on having armed guards on flights from Europe to the US, is introducing a new electronic travel authorisation system where travellers to the US would need to apply online for permission to fly before buying a ticket, and last year the EU yielded to American pressure to supply the US authorities with 19 pieces of information on passengers flying from Europe to America.

Land of the brave?  Geez, what a joke.  Land of the broken income is more like it.  For those who toiled all their lives believing that they were working and saving for retirement,  reality is becoming harder to survive and being told to "ride it out" is as foolish a piece of advice as being told that  plastic sheeting and duct tape will make you safe from airborne pathogens.  Oh well, maybe they can go back to the old standby from the seventies, cat food.

Turns out I regularly eat nine of the eleven best foods recommended for good health, at least while I an afford them.   I'm growing both beets and chard, but I can't afford pomegranate juice and haven't really tried pumpkin seeds.  Canned pumpkin, turmeric, and cinnamon  must be in a recipe somewhere and this one includes dried plum, which is also on the list.  This recipe also includes pomegranate and candided pumkin seeds to go on top of polenta.  Not too bad for a squash that most people think of as a dessert or Halloween ornament.

Why yes, we have become a rogue nation.  We could be our own little axis of evil, which leads to my favorite quote of the week.  And it's only Monday.
So, if you think we or Israel can attack Iran and not expect retaliation, I'd have to say with regret that you are a moron. If you think we could easily handle Iran in an all-out war, I'd have to promote you to idiot.

We believe in the culture of life only as it applies to preventing abortion.  After one is born, you deserve to die because you were born in the wrong country or to a family that doesn't make enough money to support the parents much less their kids.

My gas budget is $100 a month, so every month I drive less and less.  I use the car to go to the grocery store where I find food  prices higher than they were the week before.   I'm dropping my gym membership because even though it relieves stress, contributes to my health and gives me a little time away from taking care of my mother, I can't afford the gas.  Thanks to the policies of the crew without a clue, seniors who were born during the Depression of the 1930s are going to suffer and die during the Depression of the early 21st Century.  Great reward for all the hard work rebuilding this country after the Second World War.  Hopefully they won't have to suffer through another World War before they get to rest in peace.


· · · · ·

Rough Play, Dem Style

by: Dark Wraith

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trotting out a Fourth of July holiday radio ad campaign. Targeting 13 House Republicans, the Dems have hired a Bush impersonator to speak on behalf of cherished GOP values.

Harsh? Yes.

Unfair? Perhaps.

Unacceptable? Geez, this is politics we're talking about.

The Dark Wraith looks forward to more of this kind of high-minded debate on the issues of the day.

· · · ·
29 June 2008

New Fed Governor: From Way-Off-Broadway Actress to Starring Role Banker

by: Dark Wraith

Elizabeth DukeThe Senate has just confirmed Bush nominee Elizabeth Duke as the newest Governor of the Federal Reserve Board. Ms. Duke is a commercial banking insider with massive holdings (which she will have to divest) in Wachovia, the bank that bought out one in which she was a principal.

As far as her education goes, she has an—ahem—MBA, but her Bachelor's degree is in (get this) drama, and before she got into the banking business, she was an actress in a dinner theatre in Norfolk.

That's right: a consummate banking insider who used to be a dinner theatre performer.

Give Mr. Bush and his appeasement crowd in the Senate credit: when they're not being out-and-out mendacious, incompetent, or venal, at least they try to be funny. Unfortunately, they don't know the difference between funny and laughable.

· · ·

"The last official act of any government is to loot the nation."

by: Jersey Cynic


Barclays warns of a financial storm as Federal Reserve's credibility crumbles

US central bank accused of unleashing an inflation shock that will rock financial markets, reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Barclays Capital has advised clients to batten down the hatches for a worldwide financial storm, warning that the US Federal Reserve has allowed the inflation genie out of the bottle and let its credibility fall "below zero".

"We're in a nasty environment," said Tim Bond, the bank's chief equity strategist. "There is an inflation shock underway. This is going to be very negative for financial assets. We are going into tortoise mood and are retreating into our shell. Investors will do well if they can preserve their wealth."
(story continues...)


ya got that last sentence of this story I hope???????????!

I figure I'll do well also - cause I got nothing to lose - right??

I just got back from the Cape and don't have the energy to get in a pissy way right now. I decided to check out a few e-mails and found the above story from Peter. He must be FED up too. I couldn't believe he didn't post this.

The comments are worth a read also. It's interesting to read how the folks in the UK are reacting to this. I'll put a few of the comments in our comment thread when I come back. (There's a line forming to use the computer right now)

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

One more quote --

Economics is political story telling. Nothing more. 

Anyone who tells you otherwise is an economicst, or more precisely - a Liar.
(no offense my dear Dark one)

crossposted at Blondesense

McCain Problems

by: Foiled Goil

Making the blog rounds is this story from Newsweek:

When you're poor, it can be hard to pay the bills. When you're rich, it's hard to keep track of all the bills that need paying. It's a lesson Cindy McCain learned the hard way when NEWSWEEK raised questions about an overdue property-tax bill on a La Jolla, Calif., property owned by a trust that she oversees.

And this story about McSame taking credit for something he didn't do:


As if trying to steal credit for Webb’s GI Bill wasn’t bad enough, McCain ... skipped the Senate vote on the legislation, which passed 92-6. The only other senator not present for the vote was Ted Kennedy (D-MA), who is battling a brain tumor.
Senator Jim Webb on the passage of 21st Century GI Bill

· · ·
28 June 2008

Now This is Unusual

by: blackdog

Hope the family enjoys this, I sure did.

No picture here, they are all so dark. But this is one I really liked, while I was involved in whatever I was never shy about placing people who were more capable than I around me, I almost always had a good crew. It was the bosses upstairs that made a shitstorm out of things, but never forget, Redd Foxx said that boss spelled backwards is double SOB.

Every chance you get, look around and be thankful for the ones that make your existence possible. And try not to act like I have.

For Newbie

by: Debra

From 1976 to now, not much has changed in the Republican response to a reasoned argument. Smoke, mirrors and the tendency to blame everyone but themselves, it's always someone else's fault. For them fault is never a two way street, it's always the other guy. Even when it isn't.

jesus plus L-1

by: astraea

Have to get Jeff Sharlet's book, The Family. Dangerous folk, paving the road to hell on earth. Most of all I want to know -- what do they mean by jesus?

And -- marry the Family to a re-import of our perfected mass surveillance -- must read!
China's All Seeing Eye -- and we will find out. Dark Age Redux

see: why we should pay BIG ATTENTION to McSame's selection of VP

And why I go nuts when they mention Brownback.

Listen, read the transcript. Above all, get the book. Everything falls into place.

(Remember the house on C St?)

Show archives will be available approximately one hour after the program ends.
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
11:00 Jeff Sharlet: "The Family" (Harper)
It's one of the most influential and least well known organizations in the country. The Family, also known as The Fellowship, consider themselves followers of Christ, and individuals responsible for changing the the world. An inside look at the power and history of The Family.
Jeff Sharlet, a contributing editor for "Harper's" and "Rolling Stone," and an associate research scholar at New York University's Center for Religion and Media.

27 June 2008

Hard Drive Failing, Need Viagra

by: blackdog

The last time I attempted to post some bullshit here my computer dropped dead and rebooted. Wonderful stuff, technology, makes my hair stand up. So I go for the lighter stuff, maybe my HD will ignore some of this.

So without stressing my HD too much here is this. Night.

Well, one more.

Now to bed, with such excellent pics and such.

Incompetence, Sedition, and a Note on Lousiness

by: Dark Wraith

Reagan in BeirutJohn McCain is calling former President Jimmy Carter a "lousy" commander-in-chief.

That is just plain harsh.

Maybe if Mr. Carter's abortive attempt to rescue the American hostages from the embassy in Iran in October of 1980 had not been disrupted by the back-door dealings of Republican candidate Ronald Reagan and his running mate, former CIA Director George H.W. Bush, history would have worked out a whole lot differently.

At the very least, President Carter never illegally sold the theocratic loons in Tehran weaponry that, to this very day, might be in the Iranian arsenal our current President claims is being handed to insurgents in Iraq to kill U.S. soldiers.

Neither was Mr. Carter in command when 241 U.S. Marines, sequestered in their barracks in Beirut, were slaughtered in 1983 by jihadist suicide bombers.

Talk about a "lousy" commander-in-chief.

Oh, wait a minute. Wasn't George W. Bush the commander-in-chief when a handful of crazed jihadists with nothing more than box cutters managed to circumvent the entirety of our NORAD air defense system with four commercial jetliners and blast two giant skyscrapers and the very nexus of our Department of Defense at the Pentagon?

Mr. McCain, the word "lousy" doesn't even begin to describe Republican commanders-in-chief of recent American history.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · · · ·

Cantelope Ice Cream, Freezing

by: Minstrel Boy

Use the standard, layer in the ice, shake liberally with rock salt, layer in the ice, shake liberally with rock salt method to begin the freezing. After about a half an hour you should hear the freezer beginning to slow as the ice cream inside stiffens.

As you can see, there are traces and creases left in the ice cream by the dasher, that means it's time to get the puree pulp that you reserved (chekov's gun is about to go off). Carefully wipe down the lid and top of the container to avoid any contamination by the salt and ice, remove the top and add in the reserved pulp.

Recap, and resume the freezing process until the ice cream is frozen through at the soft stage. Remove the container from the freezer and give it another quick wipe down. Take off the lid and remove the dasher.

Transfer the ice cream to appropriate freezer safe containers and freeze to set at least two more hours.

Now, serve, and enjoy.

A lot of folks have been dissing the "unity" thing between Clinton and Obama. Some of it is wickedly brilliant, like when Melissa McEwan talks about them "riding into Unity on their matching Unity Ponies. . ."

Thing is, I find myself believing that this is more than a bit sincere on Senator Clinton's part. Especially when I was working hard in the jingle game the competition was brutal, vicious and ruthless. That's how it was, there was a lot of money on the table and not a lot of time to make sure you got yourself a seat and had your long handled fork at the ready. More than once I found myself in competition with people that I liked. Most of the time, we all understood the game well enough to know that all of us would do what ever we needed to do in order to nail down the gigs we wanted. On more than one occaision I explained myself or had somebody else explain themself to me with the words "It's show business, not show friends. In the vast majority of those times as soon as the competition part of the thing was over, it was over, done, finito. Then it was time to move on, go out for tacos from the pushcart across the lot from the studio and quit being musicians and act like real human beings who possess stuff like feelings and consciences.

I imagine that politics is much the same. By the time the campaign rolls to a close I would expect that the politicians feel the same way. Who else in the world is in a position to understand what you have just been through than someone who was in the middle of it all right there with you?

I can understand how if you lose to a dickhead like George W. Bush by way of stolen Ohio votes or a Supreme Court Ruling from a court that was packed by that bastard's daddy there might be some residual hard feelings. In this case though the choice was clear. Obama won close, but he won, now it's time for Senator Clinton to make sure that we all have a friend in the White House. Good for her sez I.

harp and sword

FISA Fourth

by: Foiled Goil

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

FISA Delayed until July 8

by mcjoan

It's a temporary reprieve, not a victory, but Senators Dodd and Feingold have worked with Durbin and Reid to delay the FISA vote until July 8.

Feingold's statement (via e-mail):
"I'm pleased we were able to delay a vote on FISA until after the July 4th holiday instead of having it jammed through. I hope that over the July 4th holiday, Senators will take a closer look at this deeply flawed legislation and understand how it threatens the civil liberties of the American people.

"It is possible to defend this country from terrorists while also protecting the rights and freedoms that define our nation."
Dodd's statement (via e-mail):
"I’m pleased that consideration of the FISA Amendments Act has been delayed until after the 4th of July recess. I urge my colleagues to take this time to listen to their constituents and consider the dangerous precedent that would be set by granting retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that may have engaged in President Bush’s illegal wiretapping program.

"When and if FISA does come back to the Senate floor, I will offer my amendment to strip the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. I implore my colleagues to support the rule of law and join me in voting against retroactive immunity."
So here's a fantastic opportunity to talk to your Senators, when they're home for the most patriotic of all holidays, about what this bill means to you as a constitutent.


Our Fourth of July holiday (Independence Day) honors the birthday of the United States of America, celebrates our freedom from the rule of Great Britain and the adoption of our Constitution.

So, yes, you just might want to contact your senators and give them a few fireworks of your own by reminding them of what our country's Constitution and its Bill of Rights mean to We, the People.

From PBS, A Capitol Fourth:

2007 [4:07]

(Although Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture has no connection with United States history, because of its thundering volley of cannons and ringing of bells it is often used in fireworks shows. For many, there is no better musical score for a fireworks finale than this rousing piece.)

· ·

Cantelope Ice Cream

by: Minstrel Boy

So, let's recap the week so far. The 4th Amendment is on its way to being a thing of the past. Ralph Nader tries to get some attention by talking like an ignorant cracker who knows the level of blackitude that Barack Obama can demonstrate without making people feel all icky inside. President Bush insults the President of the Philipines and just about every Philipino within earshot by reminding them all that in his White House they are the fucking help. Oh, and let us not forget that maybe the North Koreans aren't evil crazy motherfuckers. At least we know that Stalinist dictatorships won't go all Muslim on us and shit.

At least Atonin Scalia and his brethern on the Supreme Court made it legal for folks in Washington D.C. to own firearms. It will come in handy should they feel like shooting themselves in shame over the shit they've pulled the last seven years.

Fuck that. Fuck them. I'm making ice cream. Right now in the deserts of Southern California we are having our crops of melon come in. One of the beautiful things about living where they grow this stuff is that when you see a field of cantelope or other melons being picked there is a great chance that there will be somebody by the side of the field selling the culls off cheap. Culls are the melons that are too vine ripened to pack and ship. They are bursting with flavor and juice and all kinds of wonderful goodness. The field workers sell them for a few cents each to raise beer money. I am glad to help. I used to spend every summer in these same fields. It was the way I could afford to buy clothes, shoes and books for the next school year. It's hard, honest work. Which is how republicans describe jobs that don't pay for shit.


2 large, very ripe cantelopes
2 lemons, juiced
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups 1/2 & 1/2
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract

Cut, seed, and slice the cantelope into chunks.

Puree this in a food processor and put into a large mixing bowl.

Halve and juice two lemons making sure that you remove all the seeds from the juice. *hint* If you roll the lemon before halving it you'll make it easier to release all the juice.

Add the lemon juice to the cantelope puree and put them both into a large strainer over a large bowl. Use a spatula to gently agitate the puree to release as much of the juice as you can.

Take the remaining pulp and put into an airtight container and refrigerate.

Set the juice aside.

Scald the cream and half & half in a heavy saucepan. While that's going on beat the eggs until lemon yellow and add in the sugar. Beat until very smooth.

Add in the extracts.

Temper in the scalded cream and half & half, adding slowly at first to avoid scrambling the eggs and ruining the consistency of the ice cream base. Then, add in the cantelope/lemon juice, put it into the freezer container for your freezer, cap and refrigerate overnight.

I'll cover the freezing process tomorrow. Think about the cantelope pulp like Chekov's gun.

harp and sword
26 June 2008

Can Anyone Believe This Shit?

by: blackdog

Courtesy of Democratic Underground we have this from C-Span 3.

And if that isn't enough, get a load of this pile of shit, only slightly shorter than our six-foot-tall-steaming-pile-of-shit chickenhawk-in-chief, but you know that the DICK cheney would surround itself with feces ripe and putrid.

I cannot believe this shit, it amazes me.

You couldn't make this shit up in fiction, unfortunately it's real.

So is this, I was surprised, but not as much as I thought.And this one made me feel better.

The Founding Fathers Go Down In A Hail Of Bullets

by: Debra

All that fighting and dying during the Revolutionary War was for nothing. The new boss is just like the old boss that they risked everything to get rid of.

Amendment One

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. We can complain about being screwed and the Government will stop the bad behavior. Wow, what a cool idea.

Amendment Two

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. A militia is no longer necessary, shoot at will. So what if innocents death by gunfire increases? It isn't as if Virginia Tech, Columbine or Charles Whitman were isolated instances. It's much more important that some gap toothed, banjo playing idiots have the right to own a gun even though murder is illegal and very few people hunt for their dinner. You just know they'll be out celebrating and shooting their guns into the air with no concept of gravity.

Amendment Three

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. How quaint. I'm sure that the Supremes will find some way around that. Maybe political officers to make sure that you don't complain about the government while in your own home.

Amendment Four

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures , shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. That's been toast for a while and the new telecom bill will ensure that you are monitored from birth to grave. I guess they won't need those political officers after all.

Amendment Five

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Starting with making kids pee in a cup in school to the political prisoners in Guantanamo, the only part of this amendment that is still valid only useful if you've done something wrong and have to testify before Congress.

Amendment Six

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. Unless you are in Guantanamo or have the misfortune to be either brown or poor. Then you're guilty because the prosecutor said so, so there's no need for fair trial.

Amendment Seven

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. Since when?

Amendment Eight

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Unless you are a person of color or a child molester. Bobby Jindal could give a flying crap about those who rape women, but he wants to chemically castrate child rapists since the Supremes said you can't kill them.

Amendment Nine

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. But 9/11 changed everything, didn't it? Our rights need to be constrained because we need to be protected from the latest bogeyman and the little people would only get in the way of bringing "justice". Besides, if you haven't done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about, do you? And if the government says it's wrong tomorrow, well you should have known better.

Amendment Ten

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Unless it imperils the drug companies.

Freedom of speech has been restricted, we practice cruel and unusual punishment, the rights of the people to hold assemblies is being limited, the press rolls over bet than Fido, the government doesn't listen to the people who elected them and the average American neither knows the rights they used to have or why they were written down and ratified in the first place. What a fucked up country we have become.



Rovian Irony

by: Foiled Goil

Rove is ticked about outing an agent?

Crazy people, taking the psychopath through the forest:

Chutzpah, 6/24/08 [2:12]

And, again, Olbermann is ticked at the irony.

Sanity, seeing the forest through the BS:

Bushed, 6/25/08 [2:40]

· · ·
25 June 2008

My Buddy

by: blackdog

This is about as close as I'll get to the Woof without a digital camera. Looks like him lots, a fair image of the Chop, too. They looked similar. Rowd was louder, but much smaller, funny.

Sorry about all the bs the other night, maybe next week.

Maple Bread Pudding

by: Minstrel Boy

This is a tried and true recipe that has been in my family for so long that nobody really knows who first started making it.

These are the ingredients, it's a very simple set. It's simple enough and flexible enough that you can play around with the balance of spice and sweet, egg and milk, bread and pudding with pretty good success.


4 cups very stale bread, cut into cubes (for this time I'm using a mixture of old cornbread and dinner rolls. *hint* cut the bread into cubes before it goes stale)
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups milk
1 cup maple syrup (real stuff, from a goddamned tree, pretend syrup will not have a good consistency)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea salt, not iodized)
touch of almond extract

Butter or use cooking spray on a ceramic or glass baking pan.

Scald the milk on top of the stove.

Put the stale bread cubes into the pan.

Beat the eggs until they are lemon yellow. Add in the dry spices while the mixer is at stir.

Before you measure the syrup spray the inside of the measuring cup with cooking spray. This will reduce the amount of leavings in your measure.

Temper the scalded milk into the egg mixture a little at a time to avoid scrambling your custard.

Pour the custard over the bread crumbs and pat down smooth. Be sure to allow the crumbs 10 to 15 minutes to soak up the custard.

I like to spread a bit more ground nutmeg over the top right before

It goes into the 350° oven for 45 minutes.

Until it looks like that.

Serve warm, with ice cream, whipped cream, or hard sauce.

harp and sword

Carlin: Radical

by: Foiled Goil

George Carlin, American Radical

No one, not Obama, not Hillary Clinton and certainly not John McCain, caught the zeitgeist of the vanishing American dream so well as Carlin.

John Nichols, via AlterNet:

"Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians," he explained in a routine [YouTube] that challenged all the premises of today's half-a-loaf reformers. "Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here... like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.'"

Needless to say, George Carlin was not on message for 2008's "change we can believe in" election season.

Carlin explained himself best in one of his last interviews. "There is a certain amount of righteous indignation I hold for this culture, because to get back to the real root of it, to get broader about it, my opinion that is my species -- and my culture in America specifically -- have let me down and betrayed me. I think this species had great, great promise, with this great upper brain that we have, and I think we squandered it on God and Mammon. And I think this culture of ours has such promise, with the promise of real, true freedom, and then everyone has been shackled by ownership and possessions and acquisition and status and power," he said. "And perhaps it's just a human weakness and an inevitable human story that these things happen. But there's disillusionment and some discontent in me about it. I don't consider myself a cynic. I think of myself as a skeptic and a realist. But I understand the word 'cynic' has more than one meaning, and I see how I could be seen as cynical. 'George, you're cynical.' Well, you know, they say if you scratch a cynic you find a disappointed idealist. And perhaps the flame still flickers a little, you know?"

· · ·
24 June 2008

A Very Strange Skill

by: Minstrel Boy

of mine that I developed in the music industry is my ability to get other people in the same business, but at different levels to tell me the truth. The fact that this is a skill you need to develop if you're going to survive in the business tells you a lot about how things inside music work.

Sometimes, I use it to satisfy my curiousity, other times I use it because I know that telling the truth to someone is not a comfortable thing for a lot of these folks. This morning I had an instance of the latter.

The setup for this phone conversation is that the producer involved is not someone I've enjoyed working with in the past. He tends to be very autocratic, not collaborative at all, and, worst case scenario for me, he tends to be very poor at communicating what he wants. He'll ask for another take endlessly and when you ask him how he wants it to be done he'll say things like You know, different."

Faster? Louder? Slower? Softer? What the fuck? Is usually my response. Since I view my main job working with a producer as one of giving them what they want, not being able to discern easily what that is can become very frustrating.

I've also totally scaled back all my work in the business since the writer's strike cooled off the jingle game. I noticed while I was doing other things, how much happier I was. I simply haven't gone back. I figure if I stay out of the arena long enough I'll soon be one of those forgotten folks who have no reliable answer to the eternal Hollywood question of "What have you done lately?

The phone rings first from my agent. Our conversation goes like this.

Agent: Feel like working?

Me: Nope, not much.

Agent: Look, kid, I owe this guy (insert name) a favor, you owe me and he asked for you.

Me: He asked for me?

Agent: By name.

Me: Why?

Agent: He's going to call in five minutes. Be polite.

Me: I'm always polite.

Agent: (sounds of coffee being blown out the nose) then click of hang up.

Five minute later the phone does ring. I do answer.

Me: Why did you call?

Asshole Producer: I really need your slide guitar sound.

Me: Why me?

Lying Motherfucker: Your sound is yours, it's unique.

Me: No, really, why me?

Motherfucker: Ry Cooder's wrapped up promoting that book/album thing, David Lindley's on tour, Pete's out of town, Bush is in Tennessee, I've called everybody I could think of and been told no.

Me: OK, I understand. Fax the charts.

No, I really don't miss the business end of things at all.

harp and sword

Questions And More Questions

by: Debra

Claiming piracy is a little over the top, don't you think? The recording industry is in the process of putting the last nail in its coffin by trying to get Congress to pass legislation that enables them to charge royalties to AM/FM radio. Radio is the place where I hear a song and then download it from iTunes. Generally I'm not fond of today's music and if KFOG wasn't such a good indie station that plays a variety of old and new, I wouldn't choose to listen. There are very few classic rock stations anymore and those that are left somehow manage to play the same 100 songs over and over again. Why is Smooth considered a classic when it isn't even ten years old yet? As if there weren't thousands of other songs to choose from.

Signs of the future. We will see more of this and it will get ugly. On a happier note, it should solve the problem of obesity in this country.

Another nobody could have foreseen situation for the crew without a clue. The administration has no plan to follow up on the surge. Gee, when they were kids did they touch the hot stove over and over or were they too busy banging their heads against the wall?

On the brink of recession? Honey, we went over that cliff last year and are hurtling into a depression. He must mean that the rich are noticing that the dollar isn't buying as much when they go gallivanting around Europe for the weekend. Either that or he had to pick up the tab for his Kopi Luwak.

Surprise! The Justice Department has been using illegal hiring practices to to pack it with conservative attorneys so they can cherry pick which cases they want to prosecute. That's my current government, politics over competence. Ethics aren't a hallmark of this administration, are they?


· · ·

LMCAO (Laughing My Cynical Ass Off)

by: Dark Wraith

The Road Ahead

The House and Senate are considering a non-binding resolution demanding that President Bush take action on severe sanctions against Iran. This piece of work looks almost identical to a memo that was previously circulated on Capitol Hill by none other than the American-Israeli PAC, and the abomination has language that clearly calls for a naval blockade of Iran. Members of the House and Senate are lining up in droves to support the resolution.

Quite apart from the inconvenience that a unilateral American naval blockade would violate international law, it would be an act of war; and once again, the United States would be the aggressor.

All because our nation's leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, simply cannot refuse to do as they are told by their foreign paymasters. Heck, our leaders can't even write their own legislation.

Actually, it's pretty darned funny. Not the coming war with Iran, mind you; that's going to be awful. The hilarious part is all the Americans who thought a Democratic majority in Congress would somehow be different from the craven, war-mongering, lying Republicans.

Now, that's FUNNY!

The Dark Wraith simply cannot wait for more hope and change.

· · · · · ·
23 June 2008


by: blackdog

This is sort of lightweight, but if it doesn't make you laugh you're either dead or comatose, or support McSame. I find it hilarious, and it strikes fairly close to home. I've known some similar to this.

If this is really banned then we are in more trouble than I thought. I hope those of you who check it out enjoy it, I sure do. Never a better time than right now for a good laugh. At someone's creative nature, not at their expense.

That's all folks.

Well, maybe not, this one is dedicated to Tenngran since it seems to take place in Tennessee.

Again, this one has been banned. Our level of tolerance has really gone down them tubes.

Now to cool off your boiling intellect after these two submissions, this is soothing. A blast from the psychedelic past.

Now off to dig up some chow for the Woof and I.

Found that, now off to contemplate that once upon a time I had some potential on a keyboard, and it sure wasn't a computer. At about the age of 8/9 I had to do recitals at Robinson Auditorium that made my pucker factor go out the roof. But one I played well was this.

Now just to set the record straight, here is a little lady that rules the piano, I couldn't even cast shade on her.

This young lady is remarkable to say the least.

And while I understand that the historical factor in this flick may be flawed, I love the concept of a reckoning.

Lookout, I swing a mean 9-iron.

Plain Language

by: Dark Wraith

21st Century Bill of RightsFor many years, American conservatives have criticized judicial activists — judges who read into the United States Constitution that which is not in the plain language of the document. This criticism extends to judicial interpretations of statutory law, as well.

In many ways, condemnation of interpretive rulings is disingenuous and simplistic: the Constitution and laws must be understood in the context of how words, phrases, and sentences were used at the time a law was written; terminology and even word arrangements used in written law are often the product of a highly specialized dialect known only to those with appropriate training; and even the most ardent of strict constructionists cannot ignore the historical legislative, political, and social backdrops against which laws have been written, enacted, and enforced.

Moreover, because the United States legal system is based upon a complex hybrid of statutory law and common law, it is the duty of the judiciary in the United States to ensure the survival of the common law component (established through court precedents) by demanding the privilege of judicial review, as first advanced in the 1803 Supreme Court case, Marbury v. Madison, the practical effect of which was to bind judicial decisions, and subsequent respect by courts for those decisions by stare decisis, to the concept of "constitutional law." It is to the purpose of anchoring court decisions in gravity that, while the Congress may write laws that the President then enforces, the judiciary constructs law as a body through affirmation of its interpretations of the Constitution and the several laws crafted by Congresses from term to term and time to time.

Returning to the matter of simply reading the plain language of the Constitution, this has as much to do with the history of the language as it does with the history of law. The Second Amendment is an excellent case in point:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Late 18th Century writers had the annoying habit of using a comma to separate the subject of a sentence from the predicate, but even setting aside that curious artifact (along with the same penchant as High German for capitalizing nouns), the above sentence is an abomination. It begins with what appears to be the subject:

A well regulated Militia...

Then, a comma shows up, meaning that either the 18th Century scribe is moving on to the predicate, or he is preparing to insert a so-called "non-restrictive" phrase or clause, a string of words modifying the subject but not necessary to the sentence meaning. The second possibility seems to be applicable:

...being necessary to the security of a free State...

Yes, that would modify an immediately preceding subject:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...

Okay, we're in business; here comes the predicate:

...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms...

Oh, my. That looks like a subject; but the sentence already delivered the subject way back there at the beginning! Worse, a comma follows this little phrase, and that could be interpreted in one of at least three ways: it could be a comma splice; it could be one of those abominable commas 18th Century writers used to separate subject from predicate; or (and this one is really maddening), it could mean that the entire phrase from the last comma had been a non-restrictive adjective clause modifying a prior subject!

...shall not be infringed.

Well, thank God for the occasional period to end the suffering of a mangled sentence.

Years ago, when I taught English grammar and paralegal courses, I complained to a historian on the faculty about the Second Amendment. He said that, were I to have confronted Thomas Jefferson, himself, with my fussing, he would have casually and quite absently dismissed me with a slow wave of the hand and something to the effect, "You know what I mean."

Well, yes, I suppose so: revolutionaries can be obtuse.

Moving along, the Constitution has plenty more interesting language in store for the unprepared, but it also has extraordinary context invisible to the unknowing. When I tell my students that the Constitution of the United States is a "treaty between the federal government and the several states that form the union of those states," they are entirely perplexed. They have never before heard the Constitution described as a treaty. A treaty?

From there, the situation deteriorates because they have no idea of what I mean by ius naturalis (or ius naturale to remove the masculine aspect).

I explain by beginning with this declaration: "The Constitution grants you NOTHING!"

That seems to fly in the face of everything they know (what little it is the typical American college student knows) about the Constitution. Surely, the Bill of Rights begins by laying out essential rights we are given.

In fact, it does nothing of the kind, and the framers did not intend to "give" us rights via the Constitution or any other document; but to understand why this is the case, we must go all the way back to ancient Greece and then to the Roman political theorists who picked up and ran with an amazing observation Greek philosophers before them had made.

When Greek armies were rocking the known world, communiques sent back to the homeland included documents of peoples encountered. Translating the laws of foreigners was no easy task, but the fruits of such labors revealed something rather interesting about the laws of various peoples: although great variety and variation could be found in laws from place to place, some laws seemed to be just about everywhere. Although it would be the Romans and later scholars who would put a solid conceptual and political framework around the idea, it was quite apparent that a core of principles, embodied in a set of seemingly universal laws showing up from one place to the next, existed.

The Romans would come to call this ius gentium, the law of nations, or, as constructed in statutes, the law that applies to the people regardless of whether they be citizens of Empire or foreigners. St. Thomas Aquinas would later take it one step further and postulate that ius gentium is, essentially, an addendum to ius naturalis, the "natural law" that transcends the vicissitudes of this society or that tribe, positivistically inhering to the collective of humanity and to each within that body.

Truth be told, much of this apparently universal law that had begun to emerge by the Middle Ages in high-minded, grueling complex thinking had begun with those observations of a seemingly universal set of observed laws from nation to nation, and this observation led to what the Romans would later refer to as lex ratio, or rational law. Unknown to the Greeks and their successors, the Romans, that common set of laws that seemed for all the world to point to something transcendent and universal—a ius naturalis—was actually nothing more than the result of many of the peoples being encountered all being bound historically and linguistically to tribes that had long before lived around the Black Sea whose members, in their waves of migration perhaps 3,000 to 5,000 years previously, had gone in every direction, carrying not just their earlier ways, but also a common root language, what modern linguists refer to as Proto-Indo-European (PIE), a hypothetical language upon which a huge number of later languages came to be built in layers as the Black Sea tribes fanned out. Latin and its derivatives, Germanic tongues, Greek, and even Sanskrit have their common roots in PIE. In fact, a regular set of rules about how sounds in one Indo-European language relate to sounds in another language of the super-family was first discovered by none other than Jacob Grimm of the Grimm Brothers of fairy tale fame.

That's interesting in and of itself, but what is more interesting is that the Black Sea tribes were quite aware of the importance of social bindings, and we know this because a large group of words across PIE languages still carry the fossil root of important words that begin with the letter "l": lock, line, ligature, lokk, loc, uslok, Loche, loquet, lineage, and lygos, for example. That last one, lygos, is Greek and suspiciously conflatable with logos, the "logic" used in forensics, which derives from the Latin forensis, meaning (among other things) "legal." The Greeks dearly loved word play, especially to the effect of connecting concepts through devices of letter replacements and rearrangements (what is called "metathesis") in words, as in "Hercules" deriving from "Heracles," he who is anointed of the goddess Hera.)

Law is a binding of people, and the 18th Century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, consolidating thoughts of some of his contemporaries, went so far as to postulate a "social contract," an implicit instrument that, unlike a common contract binding one person to another, binds a people to their common state. Each performs duties for the other and anticipates reciprocal benefit in return. In more modern legal terminology, each party to this contract suffers "legal detriment" and contractually enjoys "consideration" as a result. Rousseau used the concept of this social contract to replace with somewhat greater substance in codifiable law the less tangible political reliance upon natural law, itself, that was on the mind of John Locke, his predecessor in political philosophy.

The Founding Fathers of this country were well-versed in the thinking of both the ancients and their contemporaries in Europe. They knew very well that ius gentium as nothing more than a class of laws had conceptually evolved, and certainly not coincidentally, with lex ratio into a firm belief in ius naturalis, law that is timeless. St. Thomas Aquinas was certainly favorable to this idea, and several influential thinkers of the 15th and 16th Centuries—among them, Huig de Grotius in Holland and Francisco de Vitoria in Spain—were advancing a "law of reason" inherent in ius naturalis. Vitoria built the case and criteria for what would constitute just war, deeply troubled as he was by the violence being committed by the Conquistadors against natives of the New World. Grotius dismissed the confinement of ius naturalis to trivial, animalistic rules of behavior like producing and caring for the young; if it exists (and these are most decidedly not Grotius' words, but rather my own), then natural law is undoubtedly neither probative in construct nor utilitarian in ontological valence, although by the later part of the 18th Century, it would be about the only deep anchor in law and theoretical reasoning for justifying all-out, separatist rebellion.

The rebels in the British Colonies of North America gladly took hold of natural law: it flows neither from sovereignty nor from its stewards. For purposes of historical, if maybe unconscious, continuity, natural law comported for the restive but intellectual colonists with the earlier rebellion of Protestantism and its predecessors like Lollardism in that the Word and, hence, the will of God may be revealed to the common man without intercession by putative, and necessarily mortal, representatives of God in the stations of the church. To this admittedly speculative argument, it did not hurt one bit that the Founding Fathers were almost to the last man affiliated with Freemasonry, a secretive society in open ideological, religious, and political war with the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

In the Virginia Declaration of Rights dated May 15, 1776, George Mason got quite explicit about ius naturalis with this clause: "That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights..." [emphasis added].

The Declaration of Independence subsequently riveted the source of rights accorded men not to the state, but to higher authority:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

There, in the first paragraph, is the invocation of "Nature"; then, in the second paragraph, comes the odd adjective "unalienable" used to describe the rights endowed to men by their Creator: unalienable, not inalienable. The rights accorded men may, indeed, be taken away, but they cannot be extinguished. The extent to which a government separates itself from the recognition of the rights men have by natural law is the equivalence of that government's descent into tyranny, and only the consent of the governed, feeble as that consent might be, serves to promote those unalienable rights owned by the governed.

The Constitution—in its Articles, its Bill of Rights, and its subsequent Amendments—is, then, not a document granting rights because no government, no document, indeed, no person or thing on Earth may grant that which is by natural law unalienable. The state as a rightful and legitimate authority may only circumstantially and parsimoniously circumscribe rights from natural law, and it is to that purpose that the United States Constitution may exist as an express treaty between the several states and the separate and supreme sovereign they form in union. The Constitution, then, expressly defines the circumstances, situations, and extents in which the federal government may arrogate to itself the ability to diminish—not to extinguish, not to repudiate, not to abolish, but only to diminish as necessary for the common good—the rights of the governed as citizens both of their respective states and of their common nation as a federation of those several states.

With all that as backdrop, in some places seemingly disconnected and summary, this article concludes with the full text of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Amendment is clear: the Constitution is recognizing a right, then clearly describing, first, the procedural circumstances ('Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing' what is to be searched and seized and against whom an arrest is to be made) and, second, the substantive reason ('probable cause') by which that right may circumscribed as necessary by the state.

The plain language—capturing as it does phenomenally complex, interwoven threads of history, linguistics, and philosophy—is available for all, even politicians and judges of the 21st Century, to read and understand.

Natural law does not hide from the just; neither does it vanish at the will of tyrants.

The Dark Wraith rests his case against the New American Century.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · ·

George Carlin, RIP

by: Foiled Goil

George Carlin, 71, died of heart failure at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT) Sunday. He had been admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains.


WaPo, June 18, 2008: In the comic spotlight for more than 50 years, Carlin was tapped yesterday by the Kennedy Center to receive this year's Mark Twain Prize, a lifetime achievement award presented to an outstanding comedian.

22 June 2008

Kong - A Line

by: Foiled Goil

Sen. Kong McStrangelove

"There's gonna be other wars."

Kristol: Bush Might Bomb Iran
If He ‘Thinks Senator Obama’s Going To Win’

On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected.

However, “if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out,” Kristol said, reinforcing the fact that McCain is offering a third Bush term on Iran.

Watch it here.

The claim that Obama’s potential election could force Bush’s hand also isn’t new. Earlier this month, far-right pseudo scholar Daniel Pipes told National Review Online that “President Bush will do something” if the Democratic nominee won. “Should it be Mr. McCain that wins, he’ll punt,” said Pipes.

Both Kristol and Pipes apparently agree with President Bush’s claim in March that McCain’s “not going to change” his foreign policy.


Bolton: Israel Will Attack Iran After U.S. Election
But Before Inauguration, Arab States Will Be ‘Delighted’

This morning on Fox News, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton continued his drumbeat for war against Iran. Adopting Bill Kristol’s argument, Bolton suggested that an attack on Iran depends on who Americans elect as the next President:

I think if they [Israel] are to do anything, the most likely period is after our elections and before the inauguration of the next President. I don’t think they will do anything before our election because they don’t want to affect it. And they’d have to make a judgment whether to go during the remainder of President Bush’s term in office or wait for his successor.
Watch it here.

Bolton has said he is backing John McCain because he would handle the Iranian nuclear program in a “stronger” way than the Bush administration.


Bolton Backs McCain
Because He Is ‘Stronger’ Than Bush On Iran

Speaking at CPAC today, notorious Iran war hawk John Bolton emphasized his support for McCain, saying McCain proved he is “stronger” than the Bush administration with the senator’s statement on Iran. Bolton claims Bush is too “moderate” and has a foreign policy in “freefall” because he has yet to bomb Iran:
I think Senator McCain’s statement here yesterday on how he would handle the Iranian program is stronger than the current Bush administration policy. And thank goodness, because the Bush administration policy now lies on the ocean floor. … I didn’t think the policy the administration was pursuing was robust enough.
Watch it here.

Echoing Bolton, this morning, McCain revealed that he was “skeptical” of the recent National Intelligence Estimate, which said that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons production in 2003. “I continue to worry about…Persian domination of the region,” he said.


U.S. Says Israeli Exercise Seemed Directed at Iran


Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.[snip]

But the scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”


Congress set to Approve IraN War Resolution.
The insanity continues.

Over the last three weeks 77 House Democrats and 92 Republicans have agreed to cosponsor a new resolution against Iran that demands that President Bush "initiate an international effort" to impose a land, sea, and air blockade on Iran to prevent it from importing gasoline and to inspect all cargo entering or leaving Iran.

Such a blockade imposed without United Nations authority (which the resolution does not call for) would be widely construed as an act of war. Some congressional sources say the House could vote on the resolution, H.Con.Res. 362, as early as next week.


H. Con. Res. 362:
Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.
Text of H. Con. Res. 362

"This is Alex..."

"You can't have him."

· ·

Papieren Bitte!

by: Konagod

I wasn't kidding earlier about Mexico. Angelos says fuck you. No, actually he said, "Fuck. You."

Subtle difference.
Washington, DC - Hidden deep in Senator Christopher Dodd's 630-page Senate housing legislation is a sweeping provision that affects the privacy and operation of nearly all of America’s small businesses. The provision, which was added by the bill's managers without debate this week, would require the nation's payment systems to track, aggregate, and report information on nearly every electronic transaction to the federal government.

This is getting irritating, and I'm being WAAAY too kind.

Angelos got the email tip from The Dark Wraith. So did Melissa McEwan. Somehow I missed it. Thank God I read blogs.

Crossposted from konagod.

(Hey, DW, you need my email address? I'm a busy man these days. Any advance notice of the shit hitting the fan would be much appreciated.)

What Drugs Is This Guy On?

by: Debra

You have got to be kidding me! George Bush will be remembered like Truman instead of Harding? Give me a flipping break! First of all, Hoover was the President who ushered in the Great Depression, Harding had been dead for years with another president (that would be Coolidge) in between. All of them were Republicans. Second of all, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and we had NO REASON TO ATTACK A SOVEREIGN NATION halfway across the world. He lied to get us into the Iraq war, he lied to keep us there, he abandoned the troops in Afghanistan to run to Iraq, and if it takes twenty-five years until Iraq is safe for us to leave, it shows that we, with the most expensive army in the world, had no business being there. Period.
George W Bush will be remembered for his responses to 9/11 in Afghanistan and Iraq, but since neither of those conflicts has yet ended in victory or defeat, it is far too early categorically to assume - as left-wingers, anti-war campaigners and almost all media commentators already do - that his historical reputation will be permanently down in the doldrums next to poor old Warren Harding's.

I suspect that historians of the future will instead see Bush's decision to insist upon a "surge" of reinforcements being sent into Iraq, combined with a complete change of anti-insurgency tactics as configured by General Petraeus, as the moment when the conflict was turned around there, in the West's favour.


The number of American troops killed and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan is equivalent to the losses they endured - for a nation only a little over half the size in the mid-Forties - capturing a single island from the Japanese in the Pacific War.

British losses of 103 killed over seven years in Afghanistan bears comparison to a quiet weekend on the Western Front in the Great War, or the numbers the Army loses in traffic accidents in peacetime. History can lend a wider overall perspective to what are nonetheless, of course, immeasurably sad events.

History will also shine an unforgiving light on those ludicrous conspiracy theories that claim that the Iraq War was fought for any other reason than to implement the 14 UN resolutions that Saddam that had been flouting for 13 years.
You can suspect all you want, it won't change the facts. Traffic accidents? Is he serious? Most traffic accidents are because someone wasn't paying attention and made the wrong decision, which is comparable to the decision to invade Iraq, not the equivalent of being a member of the Reserves or National Guard and being forced to go to Iraq. Multiple times. And once again it's the old standby excuse, it's all Clinton's fault. Too bad he was busy fighting impeachment over a blowjob and had a Congress that spent most of its time trying to distract him from doing his job with their petty antics.

Bush has shredded the meaning of the Constitution, he has let the citizens of a major city suffer for years, as if the initial suffering of Katrina wasn't enough, he has presided over the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in generations and this "columnist" thinks he's going to be remembered as a great President. Thank goodness this crap is in a U.K paper. Nobody but bloggers read foreign papers, but I'm sure that Faux News will highlight this line of bull dung. I agree with the commenter Doug Smith who states it very eloquently.
Truman - The Marshall Plan
Bush - Katrina

Truman - Pro Civil Rights and integration of the armed forces.
Bush - Anti-Gay Rights

Truman - Proposed Universal Health Insurance.
Bush - Against covering more children under the children's health insurance program (CHIP). No support for stem cell research.

Truman - Helped create NATO
Bush - Couldn't put together a significant coalition to occupy Iraq.

Truman - Recognized Israel
Bush - The first President in modern history to make no viable effort to help resolve the mideast conflict between Israel and her neighbors.

Truman - Nuremberg War Crimes Trials
Bush - Torture, Guantanamo Bay

Any comparison with Truman is ridiculous and insulting to Truman's legacy and American history.
What is so doggone difficult about doing research before they write articles like these? I have a headache.


· ·

The Birds Have Eaten All The Crumbs

by: Minstrel Boy

Our clever, clever plan for beginning to find our way back from the disasters and incursions on our personal liberties made by the President and his minions is now come full circle.

Congress has seen fit to compromise our liberties to an extent that most of our founders would find unacceptable.

Patrick Henry said:

There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extentuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

While Barack Obama says:

I will try to remove the immunity.

John Adams said:

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
(journal entry on advice he planned to give his son)

Senator Kit Bond said:

When the Government tells you to do something, I think you all recognize, uh, that that is something that you need to do.

I really don't know if there is a way back from this. I'm certain that, as a fashion statement, jumpsuits have always sucked. I look horrible in orange.

Pretty soon anyone with a conscience, anyone with a thirst for liberty, will be in a jumpsuit and a prisoner. I hope I have the good sense to die before I have to watch the rest of this disgusting charade.

Hope? Not much anymore.

"When I was young I walked all over this country, east and west, and saw no other people than the Apaches. After many summers I walked again and found another race of people had come to take it. How is it?"


harp and sword

The Sky Is Falling

by: Debra

Alert the media. The illusion that they call pulling oneself up by the bootstrap is under attack. From politics to the weather, people have no control. The middle of the country is underwater, the west is on fire and the east's power grid is unstable. A major bridge fell into the water, New Orleans is still under nominal repair, the economy is tanking, the choice between buying food or buying gas so you can get to work before they lay you off is consuming household budgets and now the press is worried. Funny how they don't mention the destruction of the Constitution or the growing disparity between the have nots and have mores.

This probably isn't clear to those who aren't living in Iraq, but after seven years of war, their husbands and children killed arbitrarily, maybe, just maybe, they don't feel like life is worth living.

The opinion pages are busy this morning. Pointing out the obvious. Of course we need to reduce our dependence on oil instead of a stupid plan that will take years to complete and only benefits the oil companies while doing nothing to prepare us for a future without oil. Where were these guys when we were preparing to trudge off to war?

No. Really? I hadn't noticed. Does America dislike black people more than old people? Some days it's hard to tell, they treat both groups with disdain. Overrepresent the interests of African Americans. Are they serious? The only thing Obama is going to overrepresent is himself. His track record for defending the Constitution is pretty weak, so I'm not expecting him to take care of the little guy. Unless it suits his needs at the time.

This would be funny, if it wasn't so sad. Most men like to have sex with women. This means that there must be a somewhat equal supply of women in order to do that. Then they want to marry a virgin, so now women are opting for surgical intervention in an effort to fulfill a male fantasy and to keep from being a spinster or being killed. Totally missing the obvious in that once you have experience, it's pretty hard to hide it. And what is wrong with women having sex? I thought we settled that question in the sixties.

Good grief! How many drugs do you have to do to get emphysema at 24? Heck, I have asthma and still have more lung function. My mom has smoked since she was eleven and still hasn't been officially diagnosed with emphysema, they're calling it COPD instead. Amy Winehouse is going to die like my friend Jill. Neither one of them was able to give up their bad habits and opted to party until the end. And that's just plain sad.


· ·
21 June 2008

After All That

by: blackdog

After the war on poverty, drugs, crime, and whatever type of shit that may be out there to force some of us under our beds, or rock, as some may like, this seems relevant. Even now. We have a new boogerbear, the terrier, er, terror group that hates us for our freedoms.

Same old shit, but this was a great story about the end result of such dimwitted thinking. Soon as my phone gets charged up some I might answer it again tonight.

So there. This is where I am tonight.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day, one can only hope.

Saturday Link Fest

by: Debra

If the reaction of some of the blogs on the left to Obama's failure of leadership and willingness to compromise the gutting of the Fourth Amendment is any indication, McCain will come closer than $400,000 in funds raised. I feel sorry for some of them, they feel so betrayed. A politician is a politician, it doesn't matter what party they belong to. In one fell swoop, and a little early at that, he revealed that his true intentions are to get elected, not represent the people who enabled him to be in a position to run for president in the first place. And Pelosi can kiss her constituency goodbye.

Every day that goes by, every action of the Demowienies for the last two years, reinforces my opinion that this election isn't going to change a darn thing. I'm still seriously doubting that we will have an election, but even if we do, the destruction of the Constitution and our economy will continue. It seems to be in Congress' best interests to ignore the wishes of the people and go their own merry way.

Now I'm really awake. Weren't they cute? I know the early bird is supposed to get the worm, but do all the birds have to wake up and sing at the same time? Every morning around 5:10 it goes from quiet to noisy all at once. It's pretty. And when I'm sleepy, it's pretty annoying. And then a half hour later they suddenly stop. All at once. Very weird.

Hmm, this will be as popular as a fart in church. Somebody besides me thinks that we should face reality and do the right thing. If it isn't too late already. Sooner or later, someone is going to have to pay for us breaking the law and I would prefer if it was the people who authorized it and sent down the orders.

A peaceful camping trip with the family turns into dodging bullets and hiding behind trees and cars. What a nightmare. I believe in the right to bear arms, but do they really need all those bullets?

Why the Santa Clara police would believe that a 75 year old veteran was trying to mix it up with a guy many years younger than him totally baffles me. Knowing the manners of the two generations and not the color of their skin tells me who I am more likely to believe. Even if you thought the 75 year old guy was being offensive, it's no reason to cold-cock him.

Our favorite Klingon representative is going to Asia. I wonder if she's going to buy shoes while she's there. For someone who was constantly in the news, Condi has been really quiet for the last year.

Umm, the only way it would be impossible is if you don't have any nuclear facilities. Audacity is something Israel has in spades. Heck, they spy on us and we're their allies.

It's supposed to be 102 degrees today in San Jose. I like the heat but that's a little extreme so early in the summer. Mom doesn't do well in the heat and yesterday while I was at the store she decided (after I told her not to) to go for a ten minute walk at 3 o'clock. No hat and wearing her bedroom slippers, I thought I was going to have a stroke when my neighbor told me. She was overheated for the rest of the day and now I'm scared to leave her alone. If I take her with me she won't leave the car and that isn't a good idea. I guess I'll go to the store when it opens at 9 and that way I'll be able to keep watch.

I think I'll brine some pork chops and then barbecue them later. Since I have all the ingredients (courtesy of Grocery Outlet), I'm looking forward to making these Blue Cheese Crusted Tomatoes. I'll be really glad when my tomatoes are ready, then I bet the recipe will really rock. If there is any corn at the store I'll grill that too. Add a salad and we're good to go. I can't decide between the Spicy Orange Salad with Green Onions or the Watermelon, Green Onion, and Mint Salad. The watermelon would be a better choice for mom since it's so cooling and mint helps to release heat.


· · · · ·

Pulse of the Electorate: Dem VP

by: Dark Wraith

According to sources close to the Obama campaign, the list of potential running mates has about 20 names on it, divided among current politicians, former politicians, and military leaders. Below is a list that includes some considered sure bets to be on the list, along with others that might be. Here, you can have your say about whom the junior Senator from Illinois ought to pick for his Veep nominee.

Who should be Barack Obama's running mate?

  — Poll results —

· · ·
20 June 2008

We Should Be Ashamed Of Ourselves

by: Debra

What a major load of crap. Someone needs to grow a pair. Only despots and dictators imprison people and deny them the right to a fair trial and the opportunity to prove their innocence. We are supposedly a nation of laws, not frightened little children afraid of the bogeyman.

As Benjamin Franklin so artfully stated,
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
While I may be accused of having a pre-9/11 mindset for my views on equality and justice, at least I'm not quaking in my boots at the thought of my country being destroyed by outside forces. I reserve that for watching my country being destroyed by crybabies and bedwetters on the inside. But then I'm a veteran and having volunteered to give my life in service to my country probably gives me a different perspective. One that is based on pride, not fear.

The United States is the third largest country in the world and is located on the North American continent. It is bracketed by two large bodies of water on the east and west and by Canada and Mexico to the north and south. While we might lose a city or two, mainly due to incompetence, this country is in no danger of being destroyed by external enemies. It isn't like we are the size of Vatican City, Monaco or Lichtenstein, all of which could be destroyed in an instant with very little effort on the part of the aggressor. Lichtenstein doesn't even have an army and they have managed to survive while world wars were raging around them.

We need to find our "stones" and reattach them lest we be known as the country that became emasculated by the threat of men wearing beards and turbans thousands of miles away.

Live free or die; death is not the worst of all evils. Tyranny is.


· · ·

Gutting The Fourth Amendment

by: Debra

Wow! Just watched the first two episodes of John Adams from the HBO miniseries. My, how far we have fallen. And how disappointed he would be at how willingly we have given up everything he and his compatriots fought, and were willing to die, for.

The acting was good, but the speeches were phenomenal. Culled from the history records. Now all we have is a shrub with a poor command of the English language and an inability to use it without sounding like an idiot. Every. Single. Time. He. Speaks.

If it was up to the current generations, we wouldn't be a Republic. Oops, my bad, we no longer are. I guess the truths are no longer self evident. Interesting how people are so adamant about protecting the Second Amendment and the other Amendments are just additions to an old piece of paper.

I'm reordering my Netflix queue so that I get the rest of the episodes as soon as possible.


· ·
19 June 2008

I Have a Lot to Say

by: Konagod

YO! Big Brass Bloggers. Long time no chat.

I'm not kidding; I do have a lot to say. But it'll have to wait. I'm tired.

But I do find it interesting that in a moment when we could make great strides by taking advantage of hardships, we take the low road. It sorta takes all the fun out of the suffering.

Let's use 9/11/01 as an example. Name a positive we have achieved since that date. We have to go out and buy special 3 oz. plastic containers for shampoo and conditioner just to get on a fucking airplane, and we have suspended or put the Constitution through a cheap paper shredder.
We have made the lives of millions miserable.

Now fast forward to 2008. While all the aforementioned shit is still going on, now we have $130-$140 a barrel oil. We could be focusing on mass transit, alternative fuel technologies, etc. But what direction are we headed?

The low road.
Senator John McCain said Wednesday that he wanted 45 new nuclear reactors built in the United States by 2030, a course he called “as difficult as it is necessary.”


He said his ultimate goal was 100 new nuclear plants.


And he isn't the only idiot, I'm sorry to say. McCain's fuck buddy isn't the brightest lantern on the streets of the idiotless village.
George W. Bush has his own ideas for solving our problems.
President Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to end a federal ban on offshore oil drilling and open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration, asserting that those steps and others would lower gasoline prices and “strengthen our national security.”


Mr. Bush sought to take full political advantage of soaring fuel prices by portraying Republican lawmakers as imaginative and forward-looking and the Democratic majority in Congress as obstructionists on energy policy.

"Imaginative and forward-looking?"

I'm totally losing confidence in our collective intelligence.

It's quite comical watching a society collapse before my very eyes. "We" could stop this madness, but you know, there's bigger threats to our survival.

The Westboro Baptist Church and others of their ilk can keep us abreast of those threats. And we certainly trust them to do so.

Yeah, like believing "on" Jesus is going to solve our problems. It must be nice living in fantasy land. Perhaps I should give it a try.

Run along now you little brainwashed brat. We've got a country to save so you don't live a life of absolute hell before you turn 18. You might be eating poop yourself when you can't afford corn or rice. Fucking idiots.


Crossposted from where else?

Need Distractions

by: blackdog

So I go to places like this, where they abound. I have a thing for ladies of any color, hair or what not, but I want to be polite. Mr. Hitchcock did it so well. Julie's funeral is tomorrow morning and I am not in a hurry to get there. But I will be there.

First distraction.

I remember times with my rabbit when I was almost so distracted.


I remember another time when I was similarly distracted.

Third, and after this I may have been distracted enough.

Hitchcock got it right, just the correct bit of innuendo, nuance and sensuality that had audiences begging for more, without insulting them.

These and more are the distractions I need tonight. I'm approaching the angry stage of mourning which is supposed to be a normal part of the process.

But then I'm only a blackdog.

My Woof most likely knows better.

BS: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

by: Foiled Goil

Bush is jumping on the bandwagon for removing the drilling bans in the Arctic and offshore, and blaming the Democrats for high gas prices. WTF??

Oil was below $50 a barrel and under $2.00 a gallon, before this illegal invasion and occupation, and now it's the Democrats fault? Hell, he can just go ahead and blame it all on WJC's BJ, too, for all the logical sense that makes. And to some clowns, it probably will: the 18% who still think things are going okay in this country.

McSame is flip flopping (again) on offshore drilling. While he's calling for drilling off shore, he can't seem to take a solid stance on windfall profits, either. Nor can he keep track of his cap and trade position. Seems like he gets a lot of things twisted up these days!

The propaganda parrot parade is passing the pathetic parable that says that China is drilling off shore near Cuba, and kind of saying, "If they can, why can't we?"

Well, because they aren't, for one thing! And neither should we, especially since those regulations were passed long ago, because that process would be detrimental to the environment. And doing so now is not going to give any quick relief to our costs of gas.

Word from Ridyadh is that reduced production capacity in refineries, along with market speculators are the reasons for high prices. And on top of it, demand is down. Who is zooming whom? All this finger pointing, and it's the consumers that get poked.

Then, McSame thinks we should build 45 more nuclear reactors instead of developing clean and safer alternate energy.

And, get this, China is giving economic marketing lectures to the Bush administration!

McSame's energy program, whatever that is from day to day, is NOT going to be any help to American people.

I don't want any more of the McSame BS we've been feed from the neo-cons during the last two presidental terms. A third term Bush is not in the best interests of our country, or the world.

· · ·
18 June 2008

Health, Wealth And Stealth

by: Debra

The title of the article (Doctors offer to treat dying Winnipeg man after colleagues refuse) implies that some doctors aren't doing their job, then you read the story and one has to wonder which doctors were being the most compassionate. And whether or not the family can deal with reality and let their father go with dignity.

When I was in high school our gym teacher said that the most effective way to lose weight was to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like prince and dinner like a pauper. Looks like she was right.

Of course there's a floor in the never ending effort of corporations to make as much money for themselves as possible. It's called slavery.

The willful incompetency displayed in our dealings with Pakistan just never stops. I wonder where those helicopter engines went to?

Sympathetic my ass. Can we say patronizing? A period of adjustment? Maybe she's tired, maybe she's getting surgery to remove the knives from her back, maybe she doesn't want to be any more of a hypocrite and be involved in providing telecom immunity. Maybe she's so disgusted that people fell for the promise of change that she knew wasn't coming, that she decided to let everyone see exactly what they are going to get. It's been less than two weeks since she dropped out and already he's pandering to the center by cutting corporate taxes, something that was never mentioned before. I am so not surprised. Maybe she just needed a vacation.

Will this man ever shut up? Very few Americans care what he thinks. Nobody wants to look at oil derricks at the beach. Except for the oil companies, which is probably why he wants it.


· ·

Dishing With the Girlz

by: Minstrel Boy

Showtime has a new series called Secret Diary of a Call Girl. The beautiful April came up with an idea for giving an insider's viewpoint of the series to check out how the accuracy thing goes.

After all, when you ask cops about cop shows, ball players about sports movies, musicians about musician movies, or warriors about war movies, the usual thing is to say "Nope, not even close." It's just the way fiction, and art work. If stuff was like real life it wouldn't be art.

The set up was for the jaw dropping gorgeous April and three of her friends from "work" to come over, I'd cook dinner and we'd all watch the show. The girls were free to call bullshit, or say what, if anything rang true.

On account of it's me, this was the menu.

Spinach Salad
Carne Asada
Arroz (a la España)
Quesedillas Especialles
lots of fresh tortillas, Salsa Bandera, Salsa Brava

For the two ladies who drink there was Bohemia and a cheeky Jaliscan Vino Tinto. The rest of us were having ice tea.

Dessert was Peach Pie a la mode (home made vanilla ice cream).

By the time dinner was finished at least two of the girls had mentioned that they now understand what it is April sees in me.

This was the first time we had been to meet on a social basis. I have seen one of the girls on campus at the J.C. where I taught strings, and I've the the other two around town. I don't know if I've ever seen them when they were working and, just like it is with April and I, those questions went unasked.

The set up for the show is that the young woman "Belle" (whose straight name is Hannah) is explaining her life.

Right off the bat the girls gave a big shout of approval for when she runs through the different names and levels of the sex trade and says, "It's just semantics and doesn't matter." Although she got some raised eyebrows when she says that one of the reasons she enjoys being a call girl is the sex. The girls here said that it's better to simply not mind the sex, that, for the most part, it is not all that memorable.

The first bullshit call was the way the business end of things is conducted. Belle says "Find out what the client wants and give it to them quickly." The way these girls work money between client and girl is never exchanged. Neither are the particulars of what's going to happen. The "agency" handles all of that. Collections are never done in cash (ask Governor Spitzer, cash is messy). By the time the client and the girl are together in person, the business is already completely handled.

As far as the time thing goes, the girls didn't call bullshit, but they said that their operation works on a very different basis. The client either has an open credit card, or a line of credit paid up in some other way. This protects both the clients and the girls. By never actually having to negotiate out loud, that little legal nicety is observed, making any kind of legal hassling harder, and the girls are never tempted to try and skim cash or otherwise cheat the agency. It's just easier all around.

The girls totally dished the small section about Belle's personal life. Especially the part where she says "I keep my business and my life separate, and never the twain shall meet." The girls say that it is impossible to separate this. Either the people in your life, boyfriends, close family, roommates, etc, all know and are in on the hustle, or things tend to get too far out of control. They all agreed that the first boyfriend shown is a douche who most likely won't last long. If he's that clueless about the woman he's hanging around with he's too clueless to hang.

The "safety" call is accurate. All the girls say that this is an important part of the job. They also said that they have a "panic" button for speed dial on their phones should anything start to make them nervous or seem like it's about to all go south.

Another subplot is that Belle meets with a first time client who is young, good looking and isn't able to get things done. Belle shows a lot of consternation. Professional Pride is big with these girls. If someobody doesn't respond in the expected way, they want to know why. At the very end, there is a message from the agency where the client wants "Hannah," the real name, instead of Belle. All the girls say that this would never happen. If a real name is given or slipped, it's the end of that client, and most likely would come from the client's end of the transaction.

The main thing these girls are selling is privacy and discretion. They would not allow this to be violated.

The girls enjoyed the show, and the dinner enough to agree to join me for the next episode. I'm at work on the menu as we speak. I'm thinking a nice Phad Thai and ginger ice cream. . .

harp and sword

Fueling The Stray Talk Express

by: Foiled Goil

Big Oil Fuels Straight Talk Express.

Think Progress:
McCain appears to be ditching his principles in favor of policies more palatable to oil interests.


A whopping 74 percent of McCain’s lifetime campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry has come since he announced for president.
Well, isn't that special?

· · · ·
17 June 2008

Rest in Peace, dear Julie

by: blackdog

Just got the news, she died last night at 10:30, she was such a wonderful human being. Here's an e-mail she sent me some time back, it gives you a look at her spirit, and did she ever have a great one. The reality hasn't set in just yet. For me it always takes awhile.

Brad Darling,

no don't bother calling just email since you are always on line away and I love getting real emails and not junk email so this is cool. Things are going good right now we have decided to continue with remodeling the den and bathroom. We are now home owners paid off the house the other day so I feel so safe right now and comfortable about leaving Rick. I have told A and the family but I am now running on empty. There is no more chemo out there for me. Now they have put me on some old stuff that I have already tried but it made me sick and I don't want that but there is something that was used for breast cancer that seems to be good for colon cancer so we are giving that a try but out side of that so far so good. I have just told myself and the doctors that just don't have time to be sick, I don't want to be sick and I can't be bothered with being sick so I'm just not going to be sick. I am not spending my last months sick in bed what a waste of time. But I have been on the pills for going on 4 weeks now and have taken my second hit of IV chemo yesterday and feel fine so not bad. But I just want to be able for my friends and family to know that my time may or may not be up its a day to day thing. I have already sat down with Clay, our son, and explained everything and he will be working on a change of duty station when I need him, I would like him here more with Dad than me. I have my funeral arranged, cremated, and buried at Holy Souls and figured out that where I will be place is in the back yard of the church just like Elvis and Fido lol. I want to find out if I am cremated with my clothes on?? If someone has to undress me I want one more shock factor, I'm getting a tattoo that says "Rick's Cafe American" if there is enough room down there if not I'll just have "Rick's Place" just one more thing to freak people out. There will be a reception after the Catholic Mass and stuff, at the reception drinking, eating and dancing but none of it can start until A is in the room because the first song to play is Emerson Lake and Palmer "Welcome back my friends to a show that never ends" so appropriate for us. Wanted to have bobble head dolls of me instead of pictures but that looks like it will way to expensive a little disappointed on that. The strangest thing for me and you will understand better than anyone that this will be the very first thing I have ever done by myself, I wasn't even born by myself, isn't that a kicker. Now enough of me. How are you? What kind of surgery did you have? How are you doing" How does baseball season look for you? Went to Wal-Mart and pickup up all the junk food for Super Bowl that I only get once a year because it is junk and we just don't eat like that but once a year isn't bad. Hard to do it without Clay, I miss him so much. He was home for the New Year and I got to spend a whole week with him all to myself. He is so big, so handsome, so mature; can you tell I'm a little proud of him. He is now a Petty Officer Third Class and the first step in the chain of command. I'm not sure if I like his title, one, my son is not third class nor is he "petty" that has got to change. We went to Mass and of course he wore his uniform, all with his new rank, ribbons and what not and he does it for me and he looked so fantastic and everyone at church looked and ooooh and awwwwed and happy to see him again.. Marsha came down from Boston for our birthday weekend and we called it "JAM Fest" for Julia and Marsha's birthday. There is a new French restaurant in Little Rock the well members of the family gathered for dinner it was fun. Rick and I now get senior citizens discount at IHOP aren't we cool, and shopping a Kroger's on Tuesdays. Well, look at me, have turned the conversation back to all about ME. Write me more and get a word in about you. Planning a trip to New York in April to visit my friends up there. I think I have written enough for now. I'll talk to you soon. Where is this blog page that you go to that A has told me about I'll go meet you there. You take care and I 'll pray for a job for you soon.Take care.


She was great, just fun to spend time with. Here's one more, from when she realized that it was about over. she was a very brave person, she had the heart of a warrior.

Funny you should ask. I just got the news. I'm done. I have about six months or so no one can tell. There are no more drugs out there that work on me. I'm just trying to figure out how to get Clay home without messing up his assignments. I'm calling the Red Cross to day. I have been rather weak and I'm looking into hospice when the time comes or just stick it out here or go to the hospital when its time. Been reading the prayer about dying that your friend sent ask him to send it again I accidentally deleted it but it has really helped me. The only thing I cry about is missing everyone and seeing my son grow even more. Right now I have some strength but that could all go away in a little while. Don't worry about me, stay close to A she is sad, watch over her.

I hope your missouri friend is alright after all the rain


That was from 3/25. The prayer she referred to was from the Minstrel, it was particularly interesting, and I got a copy of it back to her that day.

i'm giving this to you in english. i'll be saying the apache words under the moon tonight.

i will have four candles (instead of a fire) and when the moon is right above me (about 11:30 pacific)

i will say:

yo'sen (god of the mountains)
i know that you are holy

with this holiness
take my friend and make her body like yours

she wants to go up into your mountains
that is why i am praying
welcome her
sing with her
dance the victory dance

before she lived human
she was a spirit like you
now she wants to be free again
this is why i sing to you

For all of you here that reached out to her in whatever way, thank you.

This is how I received the news earlier, from A.


Julie passed peacefully at 10:30 pm last night with a smile on her face.

I'm sure she is in heaven.

That's all I know for now.




This is my beautiful friend Julia Gentry Harrison.

Here is her obituary.

Julia Ann Gentry Harrison, born January 18, 1954 in Little Rock, died at home on Monday, June 16, 2008. She was preceded in death by her father, Thomas Jefferson Gentry, Jr., a younger brother, Richard Matthew Gentry, and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hoban and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jefferson Gentry, Sr.
She is survived by her husband, Ricky J. Harrison and son, Clay Gentry Harrison; her mother, Mary Hoban Gentry; her twin sister, Marsha Gentry Weinstein (Keith); brothers, Bill Gentry, Andy Gentry (Tricia) and Tom Gentry III; her much younger sister, Virginia Gentry Hanson (Randy); three nephews, Louis Weinstein, John Hanson and Matthew “Augie” Gentry, and countless friends in New York and Little Rock.

Julia was a beautiful horsewoman and enjoyed the outdoors. She loved to entertain and always had a crowd in her kitchen while she cooked.

Julia and her family wish to thank all the wonderful caregivers from Arkansas Hospice, Arkansas Oncology Associates, P.A. and the many parishioners from Our Lady of Fatima Church who were so kind and thoughtful.

Funeral Services will be held Friday, June 20th at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church, 1003 N. Tyler Street in Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to Arkansas Hospice.

Just in case anyone wants to say anything at her funeral home, here is the link.

Just look for Julia's place. I go now to hold the blackdog and contemplate our humanity, and how fragile that is.

Rambling Thoughts

by: Debra

Man's inhumanity towards man is one thing, directed at a child is another. Unlike most recent police shootings, this one was totally, absolutely justified. I may not have seen the preceding events, but my imagination is good enough that the image will probably never leave my mind. Thank goodness I wasn't there, I would have probably tried to run him over with my car. Rabid animals are dangerous.

Cheez'n'rice! What has to happen before America gets a clue and realizes that we aren't wearing white hats anymore?

Bush and his imagination are no where near reality. I guess insanity is a better defense than incompetence. Or stupidity.

They're coming to take me away, ha haa, hee hee. Except it isn't to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time.

No? Really? I wish I could be surprised and outraged, but I'm not. It's the cost of doing business nowadays. Just not for the little guy.

Monkey see, monkey do

16 June 2008

Energy Horizon

by: Dark Wraith

McCain, Obama, and Oil Politics

This past weekend, officials of Saudi Arabia, citing concerns about global economic and political instabilities resulting from high fuel prices, unofficially indicated that the country will increase oil production by as much as 500 thousand barrels per day, which would lift its daily output to about 10 million barrels. Vague assurance was given that the production increase would be confirmed by the Saudi oil minister on Sunday, June 15, but as of the time of publication of this article, a clear, official announcement has not been made, although it might come after a June 22 meeting of representatives from oil producing and consuming countries, who will discuss the recent, rapid run-up in oil prices. By early afternoon on Monday, June 16, 2008, world oil markets were still anticipating tight supplies, with the price of oil probing record-breaking territory in the $140 per barrel range. Moreover, regardless of any increase in output level by Saudi Arabia, the trend in oil prices will remain upward.

Notwithstanding claims by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Jr., that soaring energy costs are in part due to "minimal investment" by oil producing nations in new oil wells and refineries, the near-certain prospect of continuing increases in oil prices is not entirely the result of surging demand for hydrocarbon products by fast-growing countries like India and China, although the underlying supply and demand dynamics do link the surging growth of those two economies to what is happening to fuel prices right here in the United States. However, considerably more of the reason oil prices are skyrocketing is the collapse of the value of the dollar against major foreign currencies: this is driving the cost of all imports upward.

A weakening U.S. dollar makes imports from foreign nations more expensive and makes domestic exports to the rest of the world cheaper. Entirely aside from what are undoubtedly somewhat tight supply conditions and escalating global demand, the literal collapse of the greenback against currencies like the euro and the yen is greatly magnifying any increases in the price of all foreign-produced products save for those from China, a country still manipulating the exchange rate of its currency to the dollar, notwithstanding assurances to the contrary by both the Bush Administration and the rulers in Beijing.

Even the representatives of the G-8, meeting this past week in Osaka, conceded that the precipitous decline of the greenback was a primary cause of the rising price of oil (after the august body of ministers ritualistically laid some of the blame at the doorstep of unnamed, shadowy, altogether evil "oil speculators").

The graphic below, created from data available at the Energy Information Administration, shows the monthly spot price for Brent Crude from January 2000 to June 13, 2008, along with the exchange rate of the euro against the dollar.

Crude Oil Spot and Euro-Dollar Exchange

The inverse relationship is striking, as is the recent increase in the steepness of the rise in the spot price of oil. The mirror image part of the visual relationship in the graphic above is the result of the collapse of the dollar; the acceleration of the trend is largely the result of the rising demand in emerging economies like China and India. Neither of those two causes are likely to vanish in the foreseeable future, so the cost of oil and products derived therefrom has virtually no prospect of going anywhere but further upward for a long time to come.

Furthermore, domestic equivalents of those imports will also become more expensive, too, by virtue of the substitution effect. That means those calling for bio-fuels, wind energy, solar power, nuclear power, coal, natural gas, continental or shelf oil, geothermal power, and any other source of energy as alternatives to imported hydrocarbon products will ultimately be wildly disappointed by the emerging economic reality that the cost of energy, regardless of its source, will be absorbing a greater and greater share of household and business income from now on.

The President of the United States cannot fix that; neither can the Saudis, who have little long-run incentive to do so, considering that their country and other OPEC nations will exit the 21st Century without their stores of wealth in oil reserves. It is in their best interest to convert those reservoirs into usable wealth at the highest possible price and at the swiftest possible pace consistent with maintaining firm prices that are not so high that they overwhelm the consuming world's ability to continue industrial growth.

Complicating the matter is that a positive correlation will become stronger between the price of oil and industrialized nations' rate of technological conversion away from energy extracted from fossil fuels: as oil becomes more expensive, the price-relative of alternatives will fall, which means that a price of oil that is too high will induce the research and development for, implementation of, and widespread industrial adaptations to alternative sources of energy. Hence, the oil producing and exporting nations must control the price rise to the extent possible to accelerate the conversion of their wealth from raw oil to other, more liquid assets, but at the same time keep the price from rising so quickly that substitutes become so widely and quickly adopted that remaining oil reserves become less valuable through globally lower demand.

The good news for the Oil Producing and Exporting Countries is that many nations that are net consumers of fossil fuels will, for the time being, anyway, find that domestic exploration for oil and gas and wars to secure oil and gas fields and distribution routes will remain cost effective. The domestic exploration will necessarily entail conversion and occasional destruction of environmentally sensitive ecosystems, and the wars will necessarily construct, shift, and reconfigure at least some historical alliances, as explained in the article "Hydrocarbon Battlefields," published nearly two years ago at The Dark Wraith Forums, and result in combatant and civilian casualties. On the plus side, both exploration and fighting will lead to technological innovations in both beneficiary civilian and war-making industries, as explained in the series "The 21st Century," published at The Dark Wraith Forums more than three years ago. On the negative side, the need for access to more domestic areas of exploration and the requirements of managing states of conflict will entail an acceleration of global trends toward more authoritarian societies, as explained in "The 21st Century, Epilogue," published last year at The Dark Wraith Forums, whether the degradations of human and civil rights are open or hidden from common view.

Is the emerging world and its economic, military, and political dynamics complicated? Yes.

Must the world of tomorrow happen with persistently rising energy prices, wars, environmental degradation, and authoritarian management schema? Again, yes. The American people as a body politic seems to learn best through direct application of pain consequential to prior bad choices in leaders and their policies.

Sometimes, learning requires multiple applications of pain-inducing consequences. Presently, the follow-up pain therapy will be delivered by the continued corrosive incompetence in the presidency of the corporatist John McCain, or it will be delivered in the refreshing alternative economic incompetence of the liberal Barack Obama. Mr. McCain is surrounded by the same failure-prone neo-conservatives and corporate lobbyists that crafted foreign policy and its attendant economic policy necessities under the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush; Mr. Obama is surrounded by fawning yes-men and neo-Keynesian globalists so enamored of "free trade" that they blissfully allowed the Chinese to maintain a peg of the yuan against the dollar so out of line with purchasing power parity that the result was a literal gutting of American industry over the past decade-and-a-half.

Thus, in the event of either McCain or Obama ascending to the throne of Empire, the American people will be the beneficiaries of yet another round of economic, social, and spiritual pain that will progressively and inevitably feel a lot like genuine agony.

The good news is this: although the dosage is pretty much out of their control, the voters are, at the very least, free to choose their preferred delivery system. Whether it be the iron fist of neo-conservative authoritarianism or the velvet choke-hold of its neo-liberalist brother, this time, those who do not like the outcome will have no one at all to blame but themselves.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums

· · · · · ·

"Don't Talk to the Police," by Professor James Duane

by: Dark Wraith

Duration: 27:25

The professor talks at breath-taking speed, and it will be difficult in the first few minutes to see where he's headed. Hang on; not only does this lecture get good, but you will learn more than you might want to know about how the law and the legal system work.

The Dark Wraith recommends this lecture for anyone who needs a refresher in how to be cynical.

· · ·
15 June 2008

For my Friend

by: blackdog

Just received word that Julia has taken a turn for the worse, and she may die soon. A called to tell me and she was crying for her most wonderful friend, soon I was too.Strange thing, she had a tornado come by her place about a month before mine.

Julie. I tend to call her that, has been so wonderful, she expanded the envelope for women everywhere, when she was young she could out hustle any guy on a baseball field, as a young woman she obtained her CDL and drove a big rig for a while, she has always been fearless and capable. For someone as petite as she, that should give some credence to her sheer drive.

She married successfully and had a son who is doing pretty well in the Navy.

I am not looking forward to the trip for her funeral, but she already has it all planned.Her husband and son will be financially secure but then their path starts anew.

Damnit. I would trade me for her in a heartbeat.

I hate it that we tend to lose the best and be stuck with something worse, but I feel fortunate to have known this fine lady, I will celebrate her life.


Julie died last night around 10:30. Monday night.
14 June 2008

McSame Blames Economy On... Economists?

by: Foiled Goil

McCain lashes out at economists


Steve Benen:

First, I don’t know what McCain has against economists. He’s hired a whole team of them to try to rationalize his ridiculous economic policy.

Second, it’s not just economists who realize McCain’s gas-tax idea is absurd, it’s common sense. We have a fixed supply of gas, so even a little critical thinking shows that “the tax cut really goes to the oil companies.”

And third, blaming economists for failing to predict the housing crisis is especially inane, since the opposite is true.

The problem isn’t the economists, it’s McCain’s reluctance to listen to anyone outside his bubble. Well, that and his own ignorance, despite three decades as a Washington insider.


Too Cool

by: blackdog

This simply must be passed on to the rest of you. I was just fooling around as usual and chanced upon it. But it struck me hard way back in the 60's and still does today.

Maybe sometime soon I will have something with an intellectual bent about it, but there is no promise.

Peter, Paul and Mary.

Speak of relaxing, this does a number on me, hope it works on the rest of you as well.

Now if you are in the mood for getting fired up some I can offer this.

Your choice, as soon as the sun goes down me and the Woof will get in bed. I sort of prefer the first now.
13 June 2008

Tim Russert: "Journalism Standard Bearer"

by: Foiled Goil

Tim Russert RIP

The Gold Standard

"...without the Russerts of the world — seeking facts, demanding real answers and not rhetoric, but demanding in a respectful way — the American experiment in argument will not continue to work.

"Russert's death is a blessing only in this one sense: we all need to stop and think of what he was aiming for and what he believed in, which was a country capable of governing itself through the practice of intelligent discussion and debate."

Salsa Bandera

by: Minstrel Boy

This goes by many names, Salsa Cruda, on account of the ingredients are not cooked, or Pico De Gallo, but that's more of a Sinaloa/Chihuahua thing. Us Norteños call it Salsa Bandera because it contains the colors of the Mexican Flag.

Viva Los Norteños sez I.

You'll need

2 tomatoes
1 brown onion
2 jalepeños
1 lime
cilantro (that's dried cilantro in the plastic thing, the heat has killed all our leafies)

Take the top of the core out of the tomato, then cut a thin slice off of one side.

Dice that reasonably fine (I like about 1/4" cubes, but I likes it chunky if your own taste runs to less by all means, chop the fuck out of it)

Keep chopping until you have both tomatoes done and in your bowl. It's important to have a crockery, enamel, or otherwise non-reactive bowl lest the acids in the fruits and veggies turn stuff on you. (essentially that means no aluminum)

Peel the onion.

Chop the shit outta it.

Put it in the bowl with the chopped tomatoes.

Put on some rubber gloves now. Really. When you're handling chiles it's the best way to go. The alternative is to totally scrub your hands (which should be clean anyway) but I mean scrub with scouring powder and a rough cloth, to get the volatile oils from the chiles off your skin. It's easier and safer to use gloves.

Top and halve the chiles. Now, comes the question, to seed or not to seed? Taking the seeds and the pith from out of the chile will lessen the heat. I usually seed. Follow your own taste though. Since these add nothing but pure heat, and I like the flavor of the chiles I usually seed and use more chile.

A grapefruit spoon, with a serrated tip, works perfectly for that.

Mince the chiles, grate the lime zest into the bowl and squeeze the limes.

Mix, and dig in mis amigos.

This salsa rocks out loud for dipping, for tacos, for chilaquiles or huevos rancheros.

It's easy, and much, much better than anything you can buy.

harp and sword

War, Inc., Movie Trailer

by: Dark Wraith

Coming to a theater near you... maybe.

· · ·

Almost Halfway Through The Year

by: Debra

The older you get, the shorter the year seems. Christmas decorations should be out soon. June has always been an interesting month for me. We arrived in California on the 31st of May, 1968 and spent a few nights in a hotel in Santa Maria before we moved into temporary housing on Vandenberg AFB. That would have been June 5th. On the morning of the 6th, I picked up the newspaper to discover Robert Kennedy had been shot. I was twelve and thought that the guy who shot him was wacko, Rosey Grier was a hero (now he knits and does needlepoint) and couldn't believe that Rose Kennedy had lost her first three sons due to violence before she died. My heart went out to her, Jackie, Ethel and all those kids they had. Sirhan Sirhan was dismissed as a raving lunatic and no real investigation into his political motives was ever rationally considered. Stephen Kinzer tries to link Sirhan to the Palestinian situation and he may have some valid points, though I doubt we'll ever know.

Below the fold and several days late (AF Times), was the obituary of Helen Keller. That devastated me. She had been an inspiration to a little girl who was ostracized by most of the people around her because she wasn't like them and at that time there were very few positive female influences in the media. Not only did she help found the ACLU, she was a suffragist (like Frank Baum) and believed in women's equality. Women weren't in the news much at that time unless they did something in the entertainment or fashion world or were murdered like Kitty Genovese and Sharon Tate. Things started looking up in the seventies with Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

I graduated in June of 1974 and ran off and joined the Army on June 10th. I started basic training in Fort Jackson, SC on the 20th. That was an interesting summer. On August 9th (mom's birthday) while Nixon was resigning, I was graduating basic and on my way to Redstone Arsenal, AL to start my advanced individual training where I learned to repair the guidance control systems on four different missiles. I can hardly believe it's been 34 years. since I willingly raised my right hand and swore an oath to obey orders and defend this country. I wasn't too good at the first but my heart was in the right place. The Vietnam war was almost over but the all volunteer Army was just getting started.

June 14th has always been Flag Day for me, maybe because I lived on military bases for most of my life and it was celebrated like a mini Fourth of July. Please treat your flags with respect and if they are dirty or tattered find a Boy Scout troop to dispose of them properly. And please, please, don't leave it out in the rain or overnight. It's disrespectful.

The last time I saw my father was on the 16th of June 1991. I had come home for Father's Day and we had our usual great time of drinking really strong margaritas to go with the fiery hot wings I made before dinner. Even when I said goodbye to him I thought something was wrong and went back and gave him one more kiss. He died of a heart attack on the Fourth of July at 5:25 in the morning. He was only 60.

The rest of June has always been pretty quiet for me and for that I am grateful. OMG! I just noticed it was Friday the 13th and that means KFOG is playing Hits from Hell and they've started with William Shatner (he came in first of the worst and is doing It Was a Very Good Year. He said it was because he admired Frank Sinatra. If he really admired him, he wouldn't have done it. At least this time they didn't play MacArthur Park. Oh noes, now it's Terry Jack's Seasons In The Sun and I recognized it from the first note. Achy Break Heart? I'm sort of enjoying my fellow Fogheads choices, I've tried to forget most of these songs. Disco Duck? Why am I recognizing these songs on the first note? We Built This City and now it's You Light Up My Life. Four more to go, how bad will it get?

Update: David Soul? It was such a good day when I started writing.


· ·

Keith O: The Unimportance Of John McCain

by: Foiled Goil

Countdown Special Comment: The Unimportance of Being John McCain


H/T to Nicole Belle, who also has the transcript...

John McCain has said many a stupid thing during this general election campaign. But when he told Matt Lauer on The Today Show that bringing our troops home was just not that important, he crossed a line from stupidity to being unforgivable:
You have attested to: a fairly easy success; an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time; in which we would be welcomed as liberators; which you assured us would not require our troops stay for decades but merely for years; from which we could bring them all home, since you noted many Iraqis resent American military presence; in which all those troops coming home will also stay there, not being injured, for a hundred years; but most will be back by 2013; and the timing of their return, is… not… that… important.

That, Senator McCain, is context.

And that, Senator McCain, is madness.

12 June 2008

Need Help

by: blackdog

Just talked to Julia and she's doing really bad. She was glad to see her son in San Diego, and her faternal twin sister is with her now, as this might be the last step for her. Damnit I hate this. This is one of the most wonderful people you could ever meet, she is a true jewel, a fine friend with a good husband and a fine son.

I'm going to miss her so much I really don't know how to say. She is so powerful and capable, but this cancer is kiliing her.

For those of you willing to contact her, please do, she may not be able to reply, but she asked me to do this for her tonight. Her e-mail is

Rick or Julia Harrison
E-mail Address(es):

For those that might want want her phone # please let me know.

Ask me if I am crying. You bet. This is a most wonderful girl. My heart is broken.

Just had a long speak with my X, in many ways I still am in love with that woman.That's all I have to say. Now.


Just heard the bad news that Farmer Bob's mom has passed, she was a wonderful Mom who actually liked her kid's friends. I will miss her, and I need to speak with my old friend, Farmer Bob, I know that he took this hard.

Here's a link.

Update II

Just spoke with Farmer Bob, he was very close to his Mom and he has lots of things to deal with now. I have known this most wonderful man for about 45 years and I care about him deeply. I am also very proud of him, and I feel he will weather this and continue. I will make a trip soon to visit and just wander around his place in Scott, a place I have referred to in the past as "Bob's isle of sanity".

About 5 acres of garden with a house that should be on the national historic register. After all I dug by hand the footings for the rear addition. We found a receipt in the walls of the front room dated 1906, from a lumber yard in NLR. I am most fortunate to have friends like Jim and Bob.

Tortilla Chips and French Fries

by: Minstrel Boy

My nephew (12) is spending the day with me. He's a normal kid. He loves stuff that crunches and crisps. He is also a walking appetite. I found him rummaging through my pantry and asked if he was looking for anything in particular. He said he wanted to find some chips to clean up the last of the Salsa Bandera I made for breakfast. I told him I didn't have any chips in the house but that it was an easy thing to do. I asked if he liked french fries, and of course, being a twelve year old boy, he said yes. I then asked if he was ready to go to work.

We got our stuff out.

The first thing is to get the oil ready. Use plenty of oil. I am in the process of rotating some of the things in my pantry and one of the items was a tub of Crisco Buttery Flavor Shortening. That stuff is great for pie crusts, but, there was an unopened tub behind this one, and I wasn't sure how long it had been there, so I figured "Perfect use."

If using a solid type of fat, I recommend doubling the melted volume of the shortening, or prepared french fryer goop with something lighter and able to withstand higher temperatures like peanut oil. You want to bring it to 375°.

While the oil is coming up to temp cut your tortillas into wedges of eight to a disc.

Scrub your potatoes, and cut them lengthwise into strips. I'm not fanatical about even sizings here, as a matter of fact, I enjoy the contrasts provided in texture and crunch by mixing up thickness and length.

When the oil is hot enough, we went for the chips first.

Get them into the oil, without splashing yourself. Notice that I'm using a pot that is nearly twice as big as the volume of oil. This makes things a bit safer, and when mixing things like boiling oil and twelve year olds, safer is always the way to go. They will float up and start to brown, when they are a uniform, light golden brown transfer to a paper towel lined bowl, salt lightly with kosher salt and go to town. These are much less greasy, far more crisp than commercially made chips. These are food, they taste like food. (note: I just did a quick search of my archives for a salsa bandera recipe and couldn't find one, I promise to post that very soon.)

Now it's time for the potatoes. This is a two step process. The first dunking in oil is done until the outside faces of the fries begin to skin up, and the edges are turning lightly brown. Remove from the oil and drain throroughly.

Then, after they have drained and cooled put them back into the fry to crisp and brown. This is the secret to making your own french fries. The first frying will cook them through completely, the second frying will bring them to that crispy outside texture which contains the wonderful potato stuff inside.

Again, dust lightly with kosher salt and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce. (Being a traditional kid, the nephew went for ketchup, while I went with a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of ketchup and tapatio). If you want the classic Pommes Frite Parisien you can toss them with sea salt, parsley flakes and crumbled bleu cheese.

Summer's here folks! It's a wonderful time to be in the kitchen with kids.

harp and sword

Meanwhile, We Watch And Do Nothing

by: Debra

It is past time for Mugabe to go. Preferably to hell. He and his supporters make Saddam Hussein look like a school boy and considering how he was demonized... Cutting off an opponents wife's feet and a hand and then burning her alive is so far past cruel that I can't believe it really happened. But it did and it wasn't the first time. The week before they burnt a 21 year old pregnant woman to death because her husband dared to stand up to the regime. Harassment by the police is making it difficult for anyone to oppose Mugabe's government, especially if you keep getting arrested for running.

Our lovely Pakistani allies executed a woman they accused of being both a US spy and a prostitute. They say it was the Taliban but after seven years why are there any still around, much less in another country that is supposed to be on our side?

The envy, oh the envy. Other countries get to execute minors and you know the death penalty proponents are jealous. Albeit too soon to use it for the election and won't be considered the least bit hypocritical. If McCain, Kristol, Bush and Cheney have their way, all of Iran will pay for their crimes. As if the crew without a clue needed an excuse to step in and bomb Iran back to the Stone Age. I thought that was what was supposed to happen in Afghanistan, but it got forgotten along with Osama bin Laden. Not enough oil.

Laura Bush is pledging $10.2B for Afghanistan. Was this at the behest of the House of Representatives or has something else been changed in our Constitution without the hassle of being amended? I guess the people of New Orleans should move to Afghanistan if they expect to get any help instead of living under a bridge while supplies get stored in a warehouse at the cost of $1 million a year. And are then given away to states other than Louisiana. Because FEMA didn't think that New Orleans needed any more help. I guess selling one's home at a loss because you can't get back is standard operating procedure. So much for an ownership society. Or a Christian nation.


· ·

I Win a Quick Hundred Bucks at Breakfast

by: Minstrel Boy

My filthy rich republican uncle and my aunt stopped by for coffee and cinnamon buns on their way up to Idaho for the summer. My sister, who is a high school teacher, was here too. She has been studying the No Child Left Behind legislation. She is very concerned with the ramifications for local schools. Essentially she believes that the standards set are impossible to meet. Judging special education kids, recent arrivals who haven't been able to meet language standards, and the fact that there are simply some kids who hate school and won't be able to pass the test, which, by the way, requires 100% pass rates.

If a school fails to meet these impossible standards they are subject to "management companies" coming in to take over the entire school system. Things like academic tenure, length of service, in short, all the protections of a union workplace would cease to exist.

She says the language of the bill is confusing, hard to parse, often done with pretty slovenly grammar.

As she was explaining the way things are set up I started thinking. Then it struck me.

I asked "So, the standards set are impossible to meet?"

She said "Yes."

I asked, "Who would be the ones to benefit by these impossible standards?"

She said "The school management companies."

I said, "Then find out who owns the school management companies and you'll have a very clear picture of who the bill was written for."

On a whim, I said "I bet Neil Bush heads one of those companies."

My uncle, who is a very successful, gifted attorney, who loves the law, and is a decent, honorable man, said "I can't buy that."

I said "Bet me."

One quick Google got me to Ignite! which is owned by, you guessed it, Neil Bush.

My uncle, who has been taking emotional hits for the last several years as republican, after republican is driven from office, indicted on tawdry scandals, sorrowfully sagged his shoulders and peeled me off a $100.00 bill.

I told him that it gave me no real pleasure to be that easily right in assuming that our government is hopelessly corrupt.

Then I offered him another cinnamon roll. That helped.

harp and sword
11 June 2008

Wednesday Wanderings

by: Debra

I quit reading MoDo almost two years ago. I used to really like her, but her schtick never changes. For years she has hated the Clintons, now she has decided to go after Michelle Obama. A woman I do not like, but in no way does she deserve violence. Real or implied. When I clicked on the link, Mincing up Michelle, I was hoping it was going to be about Malkin. Instead it turned out to be a hatchet job on Michelle Obama. Turns out I wasn't the only one disgusted with the title, or the author. Unlike some other brave souls, I wasn't tempted to read it. She used to be funny, now she's just the wicked witch of the east. Where's Dorothy when you need her? Since MoDo can't resist painful strategies.

When I was married we lived in a tiny town called Reutti, which was a little southeast of Neu-Ulm in Germany. It was really cool. Out our living room window we could see a castle in the distance and in the fourteen months we lived there, there was only one light we could ever see, the rest of the castle was always dark. Across a field was a farm with real animals. So cool. The fact that the grocery store was on the other side never bothered me. It had killer cold cuts, wonderful breads and cheeses and lettuce that never got crisp. Even when frozen. And the Gasthaus made some of the best spaetzle and Jagerschnitzel I've ever had. More people should visit the country.

Of course it is. And at the rate the oil companies are making obscene profits and not having to account for their actions, it will cost over $5 a gallon by the end of the summer, if not more. It already costs me $4.52. But I'm getting a bus pass and will use it as often as possible. Or until the VTA runs out of money.

I feel sorry for gay and lesbian people and not because they have a different sexual preference than mine. It's because they are always being used as pawns instead of as people who deserve the same respect as anyone else on the planet. The only time they get decent notice is just before an election and then once the candidates they support have been elected, they're ignored until the next time they're needed.

Do you know your Walkscore? It lets you know about restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. that are within walking distance of your address. Too bad there are only 7-Elevens and Starbuck's (3!) within walking distance. Fresh vegetables and meat are out of the question, they're nine miles away.


Maybe It Was Too Damn Hot

by: Missouri Mule

I really wasn't expecting Big Brown to win the Belmont, and thus become a Triple Crown champion. But I wasn't expecting him to finish dead last, either.

Call me a skeptic, but it just seemed like Big Brown's gallop into horse racing history was setting up too easily. The rival horses in the Belmont weren't a magnificent bunch. And then his trainer was gratingly over-confident. He had been quoted (way too many times) for saying that a Belmont victory, which would give the huge bay colt the Triple Crown, was "a foregone conclusion." Yet ultimately Big Brown was so out of gas at the head of the homestretch that his jockey pulled him up and cantered to the finish line.

At least he didn't start whacking the horse with his whip in a futile effort to make up an impossible amount of ground.

Speaking as someone who's always looking for the fairy tale, somehow the magic just wasn't there. Big Brown wasn't surrounded by a funky posse of quirky characters. There weren't any poignant backstories about elderly owners looking for one last chance at horse racing fame. He wasn't the favorite colt of some blue-blooded Kentucky horsewoman. I didn't feel for him the way I did about Smarty Jones, Real Quiet or Funny Cide. I never had the thought, "Oh, wouldn't it be grand if Big Brown won the Triple Crown!"

When it came to wearing the horse shoes of a made in Hollywood hero, Big Brown wasn't even in the same class as Secretariat, Affirmed or Seattle Slew.

Horses being horses, I'm not certain that we'll ever know why Big Brown went kaput in the Belmont. I've often believed that sometimes race horses just wake up and think, "Ya' know, today I'm just not in the racing mood." Maybe they have a headache. Maybe the grooms one aisle over kept the radio on too loud the night before. Maybe on the way to the post the lead pony gave off bad vibes. Whatever the reason, race horses are a fragile bunch, and that's not just in reference to their spindly legs. Some little thing can throw off their mojo, giving another horse-- a longshot who just happened to wake up feeling particularly zesty-- the opportunity to be King for a Day.

Obama's Vice President Search

by: Minstrel Boy

Here are some great leads on the search.

Hannibal Lecter - should be able to steal a segment of the homicidal maniac voting block from the republicans.

Lester Maddox - you could dig his dead ass up and court the southern cracker vote.

Richard Nixon - now that's fucking bi-partisan bitchez.

Newt Gingrich - isn't dead or a fictional character but he might as well be.

Evangeline Lily - for no other reason than I would fucking watch CSpan every time she had the Senate gavel.

Emmylou Harris - because I adore her.

There you go. That list makes about as much sense as all the bullshit speculation and wishful thinking I've heard on what passes for news these days. Obama has said he won't expose this process to the the press and media. If you don't hear it from him, it's not fucking true.

Still, Emmylou would be a great choice. She could flat run stuff, and run it nicely too.

harp and sword
10 June 2008

Oh noes!!

by: Foiled Goil

Say it isn't so!

This flub's for brew:



McCain, Starring Roles He Would Rather Forget

by: Debra

Courtesy of YouTube, more Repubican macaca moments. While I won't vote for Obama, I will never vote for this bigoted, sexist idiot who after all these years in politics, can't tell the difference between Iraq and Iran. Sort of like push and pull, they start with the same letters, maybe that's why he's so confused.

And how does he feel about women's reproductive rights?

And his meal ticket, I mean wife.


Programs, Programs Programs

by: Debra

Another program to "help" disadvantaged youth avoid crime. Partisan politics at work again. Proving once more that it's who you know (the current occupant of the White House's father), not how important or how well a program is likely to work. Oh yeah, they have so many golf courses in the ghettos and poor neighborhoods and the the kids all have transportation to the better parts of town where of course they'll be allowed to play golf. As if the country clubs of America want another Tiger Woods. It was forty two years between Althea Gibson and Serena Williams winning the U.S. Open in tennis and no other black woman has won the LPGA since then. No wonder Republican are so certain that government doesn't work. They keep authorizing money for their cronies under the guise of helping out the little man. The usual ABC commenters show their true colors. Defend, defend, defend. An administration so corrupt that we'll never find out how much of the taxpayer's money they've pissed away on programs that only benefit the people at the top.

No job, no house payment. That's usually how it works, unless you inherit money from parents and grandparents that worked so you can play at being a celebutante. The F.H.A should have known that. As well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was more like a well orchestrated plan to relieve the low end of the middle class of their money under the guise of home ownership. And just like I told all the people who weren't making a $110K a year, miss a house payment and you'll find out just who owns it.

Cupertino, we have a problem and I am really confused. The new Apple 8-gigabyte 3G iPhone will retail for $199, and that's a good thing. It would be better if it was on Verizon, but it's still a nice price. Meanwhile, an 8 gigabyte iTouch is $299 and it doesn't make phone calls or have GPS. Are they going to eliminate the smaller iTouch and force us to go with a larger model so they can justify the difference in price? Or are we being forced to into helping AT&T become a bigger monopoly than they were in the early seventies?

What about walking? Isn't that a weight bearing exercise? How about the elliptical machine for those of us with bad knees? Mom is 77, has walked most of her life, has smoked for 66 of the 77 years but she does like to sit outside. Is it the Vitamin D from the sun that has given her protection from her frequent falls, because she still hasn't broken a bone (thank goodness) and she falls more often than I'd like.

Why do I think that this program is going to increase crime against older people? Considering that one doesn't have to show ID to use a debit card and they rarely check ID when you use a credit card, I foresee the usual problems. Ooh, ooh, do you suppose it will be used as an ID card for seniors?

Oh, I thought they had learned to use poles and bait.

Yeah, well my tomatoes (since stores are pulling them off the shelves) aren't going to be ripe by Saturday and I needed some of them to make my tomato tart for the PartyLite soiree that I'm having. And since today is Tuesday, weren't they really talking about yesterday's high?


· · ·
09 June 2008

"Green Grow the Rushes-O"

by: Dark Wraith

This post is related to my article below featuring the movie Zeitgeist. As I explained in my narrative accompanying that video, some years ago, in the Medieval History Forum of, I had engaged in a discussion of an old poem that is a coding of deep connections among Christianity, Judaism, and so-called "pagan," ancient religions and myths. Allow me to share with you a couple of variations of that poem in relatively modern English (whereby, in translation, some word- and passage-related tricks will, unfortunately, either be lost or become pretty hard to decipher). Readers should note that the second of the two variants I offer reveals vague similarities to the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Many other variations on the poem exist, and some are in other languages and use references, symbols, and signs from other religious traditions; these two should, however, be enough for my purposes.

If there is much interest expressed in the subject of this poem, I shall publish a follow-up post in which I shall offer interpretation of some of the passages. I most definitely encourage any readers who want to take a stab at some of the allusions, references, and metaphors to do so in comments. Be forewarned that difficulties in translations (even within a single language!) and errors that accumulate over time as a poem is handed down can obscure original meanings; so, too, can a lack of keen knowledge about the geography, customs, and traditions of ancient peoples referenced in old literature. That means, be cautious, be wide in your thinking, and be on the lookout for vague hints that pop into your mind and then try to vanish before you can fully formulate them.

Anyway, have fun reading some nice poetry.

Green Grow the Rushes O, variant one

Green Grow the Rushes O
I'll sing you one, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What is your one, O?
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you two, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your two, O?
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.
I'll sing you three, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your three, O?
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you four, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your four, O?
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you five, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your five, O?
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you six, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your six, O?
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you seven, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your seven, O?
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you eight, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your eight, O?
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you nine, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your nine, O?
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you ten, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your ten, O?
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you eleven, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your eleven, O?
Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

I'll sing you twelve, O
Green grow the rushes, O
What are your twelve, O?
Twelve for the twelve Apostles ,
Eleven for the eleven who went to heaven,
Ten for the ten commandments,
Nine for the nine bright shiners,
Eight for the eight bold rangers,
Seven for the seven stars in the sky
Six for the six proud walkers,
Five for the symbols at your door,
Four for the Gospel makers,
Three, three, the rivals,
Two, two, lily-white boys,
Clothed all in green, O
One is one and all alone
And evermore shall be so.

Green Grow the Rushes-O, variant two

Green Grow the Rushes-O
I’ll sing you One-O
Green Grow The Rushes-O
What is your One-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
I’ll sing you Two-O
Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Two-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Three-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Four-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Five-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Six-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Six for the Lady’s Bower
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Seven-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Seven for the Stars of Heaven
Six for the Lady’s Bower
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Eight-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Eight for the April Rainers
Seven for the Stars of Heaven
Six for the Lady’s Bower
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Nine-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Nine for the Nine Bright Shiners
Eight for the April Rainers
Seven for the Stars of Heaven
Six for the Lady’s Bower
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Ten-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Ten for The Lady’s Girdle
Nine for the Nine Bright Shiners
Eight for the April Rainers
Seven for the Stars of Heaven
Six for the Lady’s Bower
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Eleven-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Eleven Maidens in a Dance
Ten for The Lady’s Girdle
Nine for the Nine Bright Shiners
Eight for the April Rainers
Seven for the Stars of Heaven
Six for the Lady’s Bower
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so!

Green Grow the Rushes-O
What is your Twelve-O?
Green Grow The Rushes-O!
Twelve for the Wren in Ivy
Eleven Maidens in a Dance
Ten for The Lady’s Girdle
Nine for the Nine Bright Shiners
Eight for the April Rainers
Seven for the Stars of Heaven
Six for the Lady’s Bower
Five for the Symbol at my Door
Four for the Four Wind-Makers
Three, three the Rivals
Two, two, the Lily and the Rose
That shine both red and green-O.
One is One and All Alone,
And ever more shall be so.

The Dark Wraith awaits any insights that might be offered.

· · · ·

Food, Hopes, Money, More Food And Fun

by: Debra

As is usual with most people who can't read a complete article but still feel the need to express their uninformed and partisan opinion, what most of the commenters seemed to get from the article about the Senate dining room losing money for the last forty years, is that it's all the Democrats fault or that government can't do its jog. More likely it was all the lobbyist paid for junkets. As if Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Trent Lott and Bill Frist weren't in charge for most of the last fifteen of those years and had no problem privatizing the rest of America while they were in power. And like most people, if the food isn't good in one place, they go to another. The House cafeteria, which was privatized by a Democratically controlled Congress twenty years ago.
In the past 10 years, only 20 new items have been added to the Senate menus. So rare are new entrees that last year's arrival of daily fresh-made sushi was treated in some senatorial quarters as if a new Nobu had opened in the Capitol dining room.

Even revenue in the once-profitable catering division has been decimated, as senators have increasingly sought waivers to bring in outside food for special events with constituents and private groups.

Operation of the House cafeterias was privatized in the 1980s by a Democratic-controlled Congress. Restaurant Associates of New York, the current House contractor, would take over the Senate facilities this fall. The company wins high praise from most staffers and lawmakers, who say they are pleased with the wide variety of new items offered every few months.
Perhaps the chefs need to learn how to prepare the basics, like fish sticks, before adding things like sushi and Osso Bucco to the menu. Senators make enough money to pay for a decent meal or they can brown bag it like the rest of us. It's the Democrats, led by Dianne Feinstein (Chief DINO), who are actively doing something to lower the cost and improve the service. By doing what used to be the Republican thing. Force the people on the lower end of the scale to take a cut in pay and benefits while they serve their betters.

Can't wait until he does it here. Except that I don't care if we ever see or hear from him again. Better times. Indeed.

So the core U.S. economy is in better shape than it was in the 70s. Baloney! I owned a house in the 70s, vacationed at Disneyland and Magic Mountain and was able to visit the Sycamores Springs Hot Tubs in Avila Beach on a regular basis. Now I live in a mobilehome, haven't had a vacation in at least six years and haven't come into contact with a spa or outdoor hot tub in more years than I can remember. In the seventies I had the G.I. Bill to get me started, now I have a Masters and can barely pay attention much less pay my bills. Yup, things are better. From a demographic standpoint, not a day to day reality position.

Thank goodness I'm growing my own tomatoes so I shouldn't have to worry about salmonella. Even though Shadow has been trying to dig them up while I'm not here. I'm extremely grateful she can't lift her leg.

The Apple store is down, which is a good sign. I can hardly wait for ten o'clock and what El Jobso has in store for us this time. Supposedly Microsoft is going to try and one up him at nine o'clock by announcing that some player they have is going to play Blu-Ray. Remember when Microsoft was the king? Not anymore, now people prefer things that work and look good at the same time. If only I was Stephen Colbert and people sent me everything I asked for.


· ·
08 June 2008


by: blackdog

Made it back from the Great State of Texas and the Woof was OK, my nephew married to a wonderful lady (do they all sound California now?) and they are off to Aruba for their honeymoon, I warned them about that slavery loving bastard Hugo Chavez who is noted for wanting blond haired white girls for his harem.

I actually had a pretty good time, would have been even better if my parents were not there. They are sticks in the mud and are difficult to talk to on issues beyond the weather.

Soon as possible I'll post some of the !! 1600 photos that the photographer took, only a few, I swear, and some of you may be privileged to see a real blackdog, although I am reticent to reveal myself, but in this case I was wearing a suit and tie, so it might be OK, but then again, I'm just an uncle, and may not appear in any of the photos.

Time will tell.

Great to be back home with the Woof. Got to go give him some chow in a bit, just before dark. Mow grass AGAIN tomorrow, damnit.

Politics and issues will weigh on my mind tomorrow as well. I've been a bit out of touch for the last few days.

Normal for a poor blackdog.

Soon as it gets a bit dark I'm in bed with the Woof, got to recover from a 5-6 hour drive, I hate that shit.

Just to let you know, here they are before the ceremony.

Somehow he's 6'4" and she is at least 5"11", their kids might be Valkyries. My twin sister must have wrapped the umbilical cord around my neck when we shared the womb.


Amazing as it may seem, I also got to see a lady that i dated way back in high school who lives there now, she still is a bit of a fox, but she has been married more times than I can count easily. So I spoke with her politely, and we had a pretty good time together, her current husband wasn't there, no real surprise. I also got to see some cousins from south Arkieville there as well, my 1st and 2nd from my dear Phyllis, and her two girls, one an MD, the other an RN.

Not bad. Her son is an attorney, but he's in Florida.

Damn, I wish them photos would show up soon, might have to update tomorrow, and thank you 3Bs for this opportunity and all the feedback from earlier posts.

Now where's my tissues. I got to go snort some.

I should add that at the wedding reception I danced with my mom for the second time in my life, the first was when my niece, who's brother just got married was married.

So there, I'm only a partial asshole.


I had the unique opportunity to speak with some friends and family, my Uncle David, my Aunt Edith, Father Tyme and the Minstrel.

As soon as the pictures come in I will post some, but I am more than a bit humbled by speaking with these most potent people. Sometimes its OK to be fortunate.

Zeitgeist for the Masses

by: Dark Wraith

Zeitgeist, The Movie - Remastered / Final Edition

Duration: 122 minutes


Oh, yes, this is for entertainment, for discussion, and for the challenge to prevailing assumptions and paradigms. It is a mishmash, and its creators mistake opacity for depth and oversimplifications for insight. Oddly, such things stimulate far more thought in viewers than in producers of art.

Zeitgeist has the vague aura of a '60s acid trip, a '70s ego trip, an '80s baloney trip, a '90s self-indulgence trip, and an early-21st Century WTF trip.

As an afterthought, I must add to this post several points I initially wanted to avoid mentioning. First, just about everything the narrator points out about the vast, striking similarities Christianity and Judaism share with other religions and their myths is available to be learned in Freemasonry. After the initiate proclaims faith in and fealty to the Holy Bible, upon which we swear our oaths (in Christian lodges), we are invited on a slow, perilously symbolic, carefully scripted journey into an understanding about how our own, so-called "speculative" craft of masonry in relation to the operative version of the craft is nothing other than a mirror of the speculation of our own faith in relation to the operative religious expressions that came before it. The evidence is presented in Masonic literature in a quite matter-of-fact way; and it is a solemn duty of the Master Mason, particularly as he passes through the offices, to become infused of this great and deep understanding of that which binds us in our modernity to the ancient minds, ways, and beliefs unknown to the common people.

Keep in mind that many of our Founding Fathers were Freemasons, and they knew fully of this amazing, veritably blasphemous story of the binding, compelling arcs between "pagan" religions and Christianity.

The second matter I did not address when I first published this post has to do with explaining these relationships of apparently non-Judeo/Christian myths to the stories of Judaism and Christianity. More than a few years ago, when I wrote in the Medieval History Forum at, the subject of a very old poem came up. Many variations on this poem exist, some from the Middle Ages; most have a decidedly Christian theme, although the unusual wording causes some confusion and considerable speculation about just what is meant in some of the passages. I wrote a long, detailed, point-by-point comment in which I explained exactly how that ancient poem connected "pagan" religious myth and symbolism to Judaic and Christian stories.

My long-winded exposition received a polite, if muted, reception, in part because it was long-winded, but also in part because my larger message about the poem was rather disconcerting: the poem is a Rosetta Stone; its survival for so many centuries, and the fact that its endurance had been, in part, because of religious preservationists, was a testament to the great desire of some to ensure that those willing to understand that which underpins faith would have ways to become enlightened.

To the genuinely faithful, it is not a matter of any desire to destroy faith that its mortal expressions may be revealed. The evidence for the deconstruction of belief is available to any and all who want no belief, and I am more than happy to offer Zeitgeist and other resources to that end. I do so to the purpose of ensuring that all who come to the table, be they simple in faith or adamant in rejecting it, have their fill.

Again, enjoy.

A Catastrophe at the Texas Governor's Mansion

by: Konagod

Governor Rick (Good Hair) Perry is a catastrophe all right but he's not the subject of this post.
Arson is suspected in the fire that struck the historic Texas Governor's Mansion early Sunday, causing damage that state officials described as ''bordering on catastrophic,'' the state fire marshal said.

Harry Cabluck/Associated Press

The mansion is a national historic landmark. Built in 1856, it is the oldest continually used executive residence west of the Mississippi, according to the group Friends of the Governor's Mansion, which works to preserve and show the public the historic building.

It makes me sad to see historic structures destoryed. Even if they are inhabited by one or more pricks.

I guess us taxpayers here in the Lone Star State are now stuck for awhile longer paying for Perry's $9,900 a month rental home. A free triple-wide is probably out of the question. We do things "a little differently" here in Texas.

Crossposted from konagod, of all places.

Cooking Deal Breakers

by: Debra

I have a few and they usually include phrases like one I found in In the Kitchen with Rosie. It was in one of those side boxes and it said "do not be intimidated by the price of the duck." I lived in Lompoc at the time and not only would the Vons have had to special order duck in general, the butcher had never heard of Muscovy duck. I've had it since, courtesy of Trader Joe's, but the biggest deal breaker for me is when I have to buy special ingredients that cost a lot of money and are only used in that recipe, by the tablespoon. At one time, I had fourteen different vinegars, which is more than a little excessive. Believe it or not, I had to go out and buy plain white vinegar because it was the only one I didn't have and I needed it for something.

Other deal breakers fall into the special equipment category. By the time I've assembled my mandoline I could have chopped most of the vegetables by using my trusty 10 inch chef's knife. Ever since I saw Wolfgang Puck peel a tiny vegetable with his 12 inch, I moved up from my 8 inch and have been quite very happy with the results. I also have a 6 1/2 inch Santoku that I use for slicing veggies and a paring knife that gets used about once a month. All by Wusthof, the classic version because it fits my hand better. The lovely Cuisinart sits in the corner gathering dust until the holidays when I tend to get fancier than usual. I rarely use the blender unless I'm making something cold, otherwise I use the stick. Much more convenient.

Since I rarely know what I'm hungry for until the day of, I'm not too good at marinating food 24 to 36 hours ahead. I like Sauerbraten and mom is German by birth so you would think I would make it more than once every ten years.
The question of how far is too far is often pondered in the test kitchens of Gourmet, which built its reputation on recipes that took all weekend and a small bank loan to produce.
That's the truth.

I only bake if I have to. It's not that it's too hard for me and it isn't that I don't suffer from wanting the trains to run on time, but it's too precise to do on a regular basis. I was really good in chemistry lab, but I prefer a freer hand when it comes to my taste buds and baking doesn't always allow for that. It probably helps that I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

Up until recently, I haven't had any food issues. Since shellfish seems to interfere with my breathing, I'm a little more careful about items with mixed ingredients. Most particularly, Asian food. They like to use dried shrimp in a lot of their bases. Before I developed this problem, one New Year's Eve I made a very fancy recipe involving lobster and a few other pricey ingredients ($200 worth, obviously back in the days when I was earning more than a living wage) and took one bite and discovered that I couldn't eat it. I hate chervil. With a freaking purple passion. Didn't know it at the time, but I figured it out when all I could think of was how to politely dispose of it in my napkin. I tried another and then had to give up. What a waste of time, energy and money. I thought I disliked mackerel, but I was able to try that four different ways before I gave up.

I don't like recipes that require you to make another recipe that's to be used in it. I do it occasionally, but I don't enjoy it. I hate cooking breakfast, it is the one meal that I prefer to either eat out or have someone make it for me. What a pain, everything has to be done at the same time or the quality deteriorates. I like both my eggs and my toast to be hot.

Excuse me while I go turn the lamb chops (my guest kicked in for dinner) that are marinating for a few hours before they hit the grill. Plus I need to go pick up some basmati, cashews, oyster sauce and a mango.


Pollution reading in Beijing climbs to hazardous

by: Jersey Cynic

The International Olympic Committee has threatened to postpone events if athletes are at risk from pollution during the Aug. 8-24 Games.
Beijing has spent 120 billion yuan ($17 billion) on measures to improve air quality. From July 20, the city will cut almost half the cars from the roads, limit production at factories and halt construction.

Vice Mayor Ji Lin said in March: ``You can be assured of clean air in August.''

From 'This Recording' via National Review Online:

A million cars have been banned from Beijing, and 200 million trees planted. This is an effort to combat the city’s pollution, which is severe. They have prohibited tobacco for the Olympic period: You can’t smoke on public transport or in indoor workplaces — a real sacrifice for a heavily smoking nation. There will be anti-spitting patrols. Citizens have been admonished to be polite to foreigners. And government workers have been warned to watch their morals: These men are not to have their energies “dissipated by wine and women.”

The name of the Propaganda Department has been changed to “Publicity Department” — for the benefit of English speakers (only). Chinese scientists have been tinkering with the weather, as they are wont to do. They practice “rain mitigation,” and they are doing their best to ensure that no rain, or less rain, falls on the Olympics. And, in order to make way for improvements, and to make Beijing sightlier, the government has razed whole neighborhoods, once filled with traditional huts. There is not much thought to the people displaced.

Westerners marvel at what the Chinese authorities can accomplish, and the speed with which they can accomplish it. They are even envious. An American acting as a senior adviser to the Beijing Olympic Committee said, “The ability to get things done here is really staggering. In Los Angeles, it would take endless discussions to build any structure. Here they decide to do it, and kaboom! It happens.” Yes, dictatorships are known to be good at that sort of thing.

crossposted at Blondesense
07 June 2008

Saturday Morning Musings

by: Debra

No more thrill of victory or the agony of defeat for Jim McKay. He passed away today at the grand old age of 86. I will never forget the work that he and Howard Cosell did at the Munich Olympics after everything went so wrong. Rest in peace and thank you for a job well done. I'm a little confused, ABC had to find out from ESPN? What's up with that?

And this is a surprise because? Reagan must be spinning in his grave. Bush and the rest of the crew without a clue must be so proud of what they've accomplished. The destruction of the economy and the rise of Russia as a world power. Again.

I used to take the Amtrak from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on a pretty frequent basis and if there was one thing it wasn't, it was empty. Sometimes it would be standing room only on the way back from Vegas and when they canceled it, it ruined my mini-vacations. So Bush, the man who doesn't want veterans to have a decent G.I. Bill to reward them for the sacrifices he's never made, has signed a 45 million dollar bill for a Maglev between Disneyland and Las Vegas. I guess going from one playground to another is okay, going to college isn't.

Video of the B-2 Stealth Bomber crash from last February.

Well, on the bright side, global warming will do us in before the magnetic field weakens. Recent experiments have revealed that the field has been steadily weakening since 1845 and is predicted to be gone in 500 years.

06 June 2008

Quoting Bobby

by: Foiled Goil

"Nations, like men, often march to the beat of different drummers, and the precise solutions of the United States can neither be dictated nor transplanted to others. What is important is that all nations must march toward an increasing freedom; toward justice for all; toward a society strong and flexible enough to meet the demands of all of its own people, and a world of immense and dizzying change."

"People are selfish, but they can also be compassionate and generous, and they care about the country. But not when they feel threatened. That's why this is such a crucial time. We can go in either direction. But if we don't make a choice soon, it will be too late to turn things around. I think people are willing to make the right choice. But they need leadership. They're hungry for leadership."

"Men without hope, resigned to despair and oppression, do not make revolutions. It is when expectation replaces submission, when despair is touched with the awareness of possibility, that the forces of human desire and the passion for justice are unloosed."

"It is not enough to understand, or to see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity, by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to the task."

"On this generation of Americans falls the burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created free and are equal before the law. All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity."

"The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great enterprises and ideals of American society."

"Moral courage is a more rare commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence."

"The future is not a gift: it is an achievement. Every generation helps make its own future. This is the essential challenge of the present."

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and injustice."

"If we fail to dare, if we do not try, the next generation will harvest the fruit of our indifference; a world we did not want - a world we did not choose - but a world we could have made better, by caring more for the results of our labors. And we shall be left only with the hollow apology of T.S. Eliot: 'That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all'."

"I think that all of us have an obligation, we have a responsibility. If we don't do it, nobody's going to do it. If educated people don't do it, nobody's going to do it."

"President Kennedy's favorite quote was really from Dante: 'The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.'"

"Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world."

Robert F. Kennedy
1925 - 1968

05 June 2008


by: Foiled Goil

Robert F. Kennedy
1925 - 1968

He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty, and sharing in time of happiness. He will always be by our side.

Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust, or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and he lived it intensely.

A few years back, Robert Kennedy wrote some words about his own father which expresses [sic] the way we in his family felt about him. He said of what his father meant to him, and I quote: "What it really all adds up to is love -- not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order and encouragement, and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it." And he continued, "Beneath it all, he has tried to engender a social conscience. There were wrongs which needed attention. There were people who were poor and needed help. And we have a responsibility to them and to this country. Through no virtues and accomplishments of our own, we have been fortunate enough to be born in the United States under the most comfortable conditions. We, therefore, have a responsibility to others who are less well off."

That is what Robert Kennedy was given. What he leaves to us is what he said, what he did, and what he stood for.

~ Edward M. Kennedy
St. Patrick's Cathedral
New York - June 8, 1968


The Grand Illusion

by: Debra

I don't care anymore. I am neither elated nor incredulous. What I am is disheartened and depressed to know that once again we are going to have a Republican president. Just the way Rove and the crew without a clue wanted. While everyone basks in the false afterglow of love, the true agenda of the almost never right party will reveal itself. Slowly, surely and to the detriment of this country. Me? I'm going to start buying lotto tickets so that I can join the stars in France, Italy or maybe to the place I was born, England. On an Air Force Base so I am just as much a citizen of the US as McCain.

For the young women of today that disregarded and dismissed everything that the previous generation of women worked so hard for, I say you deserve what you are going to get. Back of the bus status with babymaking duties. Have a good time, you deserve it.

After suffering through attacks on several different blogs because I won't support a candidate I don't believe in (last time I checked it was my vote, not the country's or a certain party), after talking with women who are older than me and hearing why they won't support him either, I've decided that election coverage on my blog will drop to almost nil. I can't say I won't comment on things that happen, mainly because I believe this campaign is going to get down and dirty (not that it wasn't already) and some of it will be too good to pass up, but the election is over for me.

When I was younger I got into a discussion about whether I was discriminated against more because I was black or because I was a woman. My answer hasn't changed in over thirty years. Sexism rules this country and it is going to get worse, not better, as the economy deteriorates. The level of rancor and the headlines about Hillary quitting now, what's she going to do (why didn't people ask Kerry and Lieberman the same things?) blah, blah, blah has finally after over 45 years of being interested in politics made me completely uninterested in what happens from here on out. We would have to be invaded from outer space before I would be willing to defend this country and its so called morals again.

To say that I despise Obama would be putting it mildly. I have the exact same reaction to seeing him or hearing his voice as I do to the current occupant of the White House. Puke city. And the Democratic party is so stupid they haven't even tried to portray McCain as the flip flopper he is. He's changed his opinions so many times that he makes Kerry look like the Rock of Gibraltar.

Whatever. Once the candidate that the press has anointed starts to reveal his true colors and agendas, the gloves will probably come off and they will do their best to knock him to his knees so his head falls forward onto the guillotine that has been hiding in the background.

I'm culling my Google Reader of some of the 190 (now down to 170 and still looking to get rid of more, I'll keep the science and geeky ones, but politics and certain blogs are going to be slashed to the bare bones) feeds that I used to read (or at least glance through) every day because they aren't going to change the end result, even though they think they are. Our country is on a track that is going nowhere, the engine is out of fuel and everybody thinks the conductor will save them.

From vitriol to gloating is more than I am willing to put up with. If something interesting happens, Stewart and Colbert will let me know. Meanwhile, I have a life to live, a mother to take care of, a garden to enjoy and dogs to play with. You won't miss me, there's more kool-aid in the refrigerator when you start to have doubts about which way we're headed. It's worked for the last eight years, I'm not expecting it to stop now.


04 June 2008

We Got Stanley!

by: Foiled Goil

Hey! Hey! Hey! [1:05]

Hey, Hey, Hockeytown! [1:38]

· · ·

Reaping What We've Sown

by: Debra

Justice in America. What a joke, and a sad one at that. This case didn't need a judge or a jury since the defendant's lawyer had already decided that he deserved the death penalty. At no time could Curtis Osborne ever be considered to have had competent legal representation and for the Georgia Supreme Court to uphold his conviction makes a mockery of a justice system that is already in tatters. But then what else would you expect for a black defendant in Georgia. He's lucky they didn't find a tree and a couple of Klansmen. Or did they?
And then there is the matter of Mostiler's alleged racism and how it might have affected his defense of Osborne. The most explosive evidence of racial bias is contained in an affidavit by one Gerald Steven Huey, a client of Mostiler's. In addition to the quote Judge Fletcher cites, Huey says Mostiler made it clear that he would not be spending much money on Osborne's defense because "that little nigger deserves the chair." Huey also charges that Mostiler was offered a plea bargain under which Osborne would have received a life sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, but that the lawyer said he "would never tell Mr. Osborne about it because he deserved to die."
Meanwhile, on a national scale we have the shame of not just Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, now we floating prison ships with prisoners that nobody knows about. What I'm wondering is exactly what is the definition of a war crime? I don't think it means what it used to mean. It's certainly not the way Captain Whaley described the rules when I was a lowly private back in 1974. I always thought humanity would become more humane as time went on, obviously I was wrong. Very wrong.

My answer is: The Prime Directive. Until we progress from killing each other, forcing the less fortunate to live in poverty with no hope of ever escaping or get our space program going well enough that we accidentally bump into them, they are avoiding us like the plague.

All of my tomato plants have at least one growing among the leaves and the Early Girl has over 20. Now if will just get warm enough at night for them to start ripening. I can hardly wait and the thought of buying tomatoes at the store leaves me cold. As in I would rather wait until mine ripen.

Social Services should be here soon about getting me some help with Mom, I can definitely use it. I should have asked sooner but I was trying not to be a burden on society, but this is a hard job for just one person and I need to pay the bills.

For some odd reason I could give a flying crap about the elections. I can wait until the next frigging idiot screws the nation even more. In the name of democracy, but not the spirit. Of all the things I've heard this campaign season, none of it involved bringing manufacturing jobs back into the United States. And until we start making something besides headlines and thirty second sound bites, the economy isn't going to change for the better. I don't care what any of the candidates do at this point since none of them are getting my vote, but I do wish the pundits would stop speculating, they've done enough damage to the process as it is. And Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi can blow it out their rear orifices. At no time in the last two years (they couldn't take care of the kids or the troops with a President who only has a 28% approval level) have they done anything that the people elected them to do so why should I care what they want? I've officially registered as an Independent. Neither a dime nor my time will be spent on the national elections from now on.


· · ·
03 June 2008

Tension Relief

by: blackdog

From the X, who gets some pretty good stuff from time to time, so sit back and enjoy.


There were many more in the e-mail, and I also have the pleasure of getting to meet my niece-in-law from my X's younger sister again, she has two kiddos, 11 and 7. I'm looking forward to that, she always was a sweetheart. She used to spend weekends with us and the horses, goats, dogs, cats, lions. tigers and bears. When she was just a squirt.

Hope this works, a break from the serious shit is in order.

And that's an order!

Is It Over, Yet?

by: Foiled Goil

· ·

This 'N That

by: Debra

At noon on January 20, 2009, Obama might declare victory, until then he's just having Bush moments such as Mission Accomplished and Bring It On and we all know how well those turned out.

The digital age has seriously arrived. At the Kremlin. Our media, while deficient in way too many respects, has at least had token coverage of opposing points of view, in Russia, not so much. While some people in America put little gaffe they can find on YouTube, the media in Russia does the exact opposite. You so know that Bush and Cheney would love to be able to do the same thing. Erase their opponents from the media. Completely. Not just what they said, but their images too. Along with his parental issues, now he's probably got a serious case of Putin envy. One can only hope that Bush and Cheney don't discover some political Viagra before January 20, 2009.

I addressed this yesterday but Time does it better. I've been getting my news from various sources for all of my life and by no stretch of earthly imagination can I be considered young. It's called research and it used to be required in order to graduate from high school. But I guess when you can buy your term papers off the web it removes the necessity of finding different sources that say the same thing, but in a different way. It also lessens the ability to think through and sort information into retainable categories and realize when you've read the same thing before so that you don't get confused.

I love BART. In San Jose we have the Light Rail but it isn't very convenient to get to or to get somewhere useful. Like Fremont. If we had decent public transportation, I would use it as much as possible. When I hang out with the BARBarians, I take the bullet CalTrain to Millbrae and then switch to the BART. If we meet on the Oakland side, I have to drive to Fremont and then take the BART. Not as much fun. And while ridership is increasing by leaps and bounds due to the encouragement of the high price of gas, Schwarzenegger's response is to take money away from public transportation in an effort to balance a budget that needs money coming in, not just cutbacks. I guess he isn't as much of an environmentalist as he says. But the Hummer and the cigars told us that a long time ago.

Chavez has Bush envy, now Venezuelans have as little protection from illegal spying done by the government as US citizens do. Boy, that Patriot Act sure comes in useful when you want to control the population. Welcome to the Americas, the new Russian wannabes.

Where there is CONTROL, there must be KAOS. Please let Get Smart be as funny as the original, since the trailer was pretty good. I wonder what Maxwell is going to drive since they don't make the Opel GT anymore. My brother had one and he gave it to me. Crunchy was a great car. Oops, my bad. There's a new one! And it looks really cool. Interesting commercial, the woman's fantasy shows you more of the car, the man's is all about speed. I want one.


· · ·

McCain Campaign Ties To Iran?

by: Foiled Goil

McCain's Top Strategist Lobbied For Iran-Linked Firm

Huffington Post:
In the summer of 2005, John McCain's chief strategist Charlie Black, working for his firm Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, was paid $60,000 to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of the Chinese oil conglomerate CNOOC. At the time, CNOOC was mounting an aggressive bid to buy Unocal, a California-based oil giant, and Black was tasked with churning up congressional support. But the bid ultimately fell through, in part because of objections over the China oil industry's ties to Iran, a country in which it had already invested tens of millions of dollars. [snip]

Indeed, in addition to Black, McCain employs several other campaign aides and fundraisers who have served in lobbying capacities in which they advocated on behalf of foreign clients with investments and interests in Iran.

As Talking Points Memo reported, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and his firm, Davis Manafort, "helped Akhmetov's conglomerate, System Capital Management Holdings, to develop a 'corporate communications strategy' ... The company's subsidiary, Metinvest, a steel company, has one of its 11 offices in Tehran. And another subsidiary, Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant, sells large pipes to Iran." of McCain's fundraisers, Peter Madigan, and Black's wife Judy, both lobby on behalf of the United Arab Emirates a country that AIPAC itself says is a major hub for shipment of illegal goods into Iran. Another McCain adviser, Carly Fiorina, formerly headed Hewlett Packard ... kept offices in Dubai in efforts of facilitating trade with Tehran.

But it's not just economic ties that bind, however tangentially, McCain's campaign and the Iranian government. There are political connections as well. One of the controversial figures represented by Black and his firm was Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi dissident who pushed for the invasion of Iraq ...

As the New York Times reported in 2004, "Chalabi... disclosed to an Iranian official that the United States had broken the secret communications code of Iran's intelligence service, betraying one of Washington's most valuable sources of information about Iran, according to United States intelligence officials."

Black and Davis, it should be noted, have cut their lobbying ties in accordance with the McCain campaign's new conflict of interest policy. And McCain's call for divestment from Iran not only reflects a long held belief by the Senator but also comes despite these associations.
5 McCain Allies and Advisors Made Millions on Iran Business

McCain Source:
June 02, 2008

While John McCain took a strong stance on sanctions against Iran in today's speech at AIPIAC, many of McCain's advisers, surrogates and fundraisers have made a living representing or leading companies determined to sidestep sanctions and continue doing business with Iran.

· ·
02 June 2008

Albaugh Pleads Guilty In Lobby Scandal

by: Foiled Goil

Former House aide pleads guilty in lobby scandal


A one-time top aide to former Oklahoma Rep. Ernest Istook pleaded guilty Monday to a conspiracy to defraud the House as part of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

John Albaugh admitted in federal court in Washington that he accepted meals and sports and concert tickets, along with other perks, from lobbyists in exchange for official favors.

Albaugh, 41, is the latest in a string of more than a dozen former government officials and lobbyists to plead guilty in the scandal involving members of Congress, their aides and Bush administration officials. He faces 18 to 24 months in prison, but that sentence could be reduced based on his continued cooperation with the government's investigation.

* * * * *

During the eight years Albaugh worked as chief of staff to Istook, the congressman accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Abramoff and his associates. Istook has not been charged with any wrongdoing and is now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.

* * * * *

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to bribing lawmakers to support policies that helped his clients, including American Indian tribes.

Istook was among 33 lawmakers who accepted Abramoff-related money and wrote letters urging the Bush administration to reject a casino proposal that Abramoff's clients opposed. He has said the letter was consistent with his position against gambling and unrelated to the campaign contributions.

Court documents depict Albaugh acting in close contact with "Lobbyist C," asking him for sports tickets, fundraisers for his boss and other favors. In return Lobbyist C, identified as a co-conspirator, gets help with money for transportation projects for his clients.

Albaugh was in a position to help while Istook served as chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, treasury and independent agencies.

Lobbyist C is not identified by name, but details in the documents make clear that it is Kevin Ring, a one-time aide to Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., who later went to work for Abramoff.

Messages were left seeking comment at Albaugh's office Friday. There was no immediate response from Ring's attorney.

Ring and Doolittle both are under investigation in the Abramoff probe. Doolittle is retiring from Congress at the end of this year, partly because of the investigation.

* * * * *

Abramoff is serving prison time for a fraudulent Florida casino deal and is still awaiting sentencing in his scheme to bribe public officials in Washington. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to become a witness against the Washington power-brokers he once treated to lavish meals, golf vacations and money.

Though Istook's congressional campaign had to repay one of Abramoff's companies for the use of skyboxes for an "American Idol" concert and a Washington Redskins football game, he has repeatedly denied any ties to the disgraced lobbyist.

· · ·

Monday Morning Quickie

by: Debra

The chimpleton in chief has been so worried about his "legacy" that he hasn't noticed what historians will see immediately. First six years in office, one veto. Democratic majority, nine vetoes and threats of vetoes in less than two years. From children to poor people to vetoing supporting the troops, it's obvious that a uniter he isn't. Unless it's for his cronies. He did love those Executive Orders though, didn't he?

Great. The thirty second sound bite is too much for the younger generation, especially if they have to read it. And the updates! Too much for them to process while they read email, text their friends, or Twitter their bathroom break. Must be made simpler for comprehension. They call it multitasking, I call it ignoring everything unless it affects them personally.

Bye Bo, thanks for setting my generation up to produce some great rock. Rest in peace.

I saw Sex in the City before Yves St. Laurent died. Do people actually wear that stuff? I'm standing in line to buy my ticket and this couple comes up behind me. The wife says, "we can see Sex in the City!" and he says "No, you can see that with your sister, I don't do chick flicks. Why don't we see Indiana Jones or Iron Man (I've seen both) instead?" I couldn't help it, I turned around and said "You won't see a chick flick but you want her to see a dick flick?" If men knew how much sex was in it with naked bodies that show something other than the standard position, they might reconsider what a chick flick was. I guess they miss the violence of watching women get hurt instead of women enjoying themselves having sex.


Bo Diddly Dies of Heart Failure

by: Minstrel Boy

Heart failure, not rock failure.

I'll miss you Bo. I'll think of you everytime we cook backstage. You did that a lot, because it reminded you of the years you spent on the road when it was illegal for you and your band to go to restaurants. Once it became legal, you still traveled with a portable kitchen, 'cause you were a better cook than most of the restaurants.

I was proud to wash your dishes Bo.

Bompchabomp chabompbomp!

harp and sword
01 June 2008

No More Clocktower

by: Debra

Now that's a bummer. One of the jobs I had at Universal Studios was as the secretary in the electrical department on the back lot and one of the projects that was being worked on at the time was King Kong. One of the biggest problems was getting the banana breath just right. In the morning it would knock you over and in the afternoon it was nonexistent.

Back To The Future's Main Street is gone too. At least I have some really good memories from that time, now you'll have to go to Florida to see it. So sad.

Gee, I wonder who's going to profit?


A Brief Resurrection of the Conspiracy Theorist within Me

by: Dark Wraith

I owe Scott McClellan a debt of gratitude. You see, the right question had finally slipped my mind.

This is the wrong question: What are people within and around the Bush Administration capable of doing?

This is the right question: What are people within and around the Bush Administration not capable of doing?

So many of those who could be described as "9/11 conspiracy theorists" build their allegations of conspiracy upon real and imagined associations, speculative relationships, and shards of circumstantial evidence linking this person to that person and this group to some other group. The usual suspects are often involved: the Bilderberg Group, the Illuminati, the Freemasons, the Skull and Bones Society, the Zionists, the descendants of the Merovingians, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and even, as I saw in one video, aliens (for God's sake). Include enough groups, and surely one will find suspicious connections when looking at any large-scale event.

Perhaps some of these groups or people within them really were involved in the attacks upon the United States of September 11, 2001; but I cannot get excited about such stuff. It is nothing more than useless, speculative associations built after the fact, and it is generally fatiguing. Occasionally, it annoys me, considering I am a Freemason. Nevertheless, although some within the various 9/11 conspiracy theory movements are genuinely off their rockers and have no point whatsoever, there remains a body of nearly compelling evidence, a great deal admittedly circumstantial and speculative, that the 9/11 Commission did not even so much as touch; and I can state without reservation that no future, official commission that might revisit the matter will ever go within light-years of a complete, thorough, and comprehensive investigation.

Quite aside from the usual conspiracy theory fans, however, are some who have offered technical analyses, which can be reviewed, critiqued, and confirmed or rejected without reliance upon belief in the quality of hearsay and guilt from associations. Below is one of the better analyses of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. The gentleman is Gordon Ross, a mechanical engineer. His presentation, which was done in London last year, is not slick and polished, yet he establishes a credibility about himself by the very way in which he walks a tightrope between technical explanations and appeal to those less knowledgeable in matters of skyscraper construction and demolition.

Although some readers might already know the details, there are a couple of places where the mild distraction of his nervousness simply vanishes as a point in structural engineering comes to life in a couple of photographs he presents. One of those is when he shows pictures of the discoloration of the ends of the beams recovered from the wreckage. Another, although still somewhat technically advanced in his theoretical presentation of the phenomenon, is when he shows photos of the concavity of specific beams recovered. But what really might catch the astute viewer's attention is when he starts showing the pictures of what he describes as the "flash" sites preceding the collapse of the first tower to go down. You can clearly see, although he does not use the term, quite a few of the "squibs," which are what demolition jockeys call the puffs of smoke that come out from the sides of a building where charges are detonating in the seconds before a building is brought down. Yes, there are other explanations for what is in those photos, but he makes a rather compelling point about the likelihood of a whole series of phenomena all happening simultaneously and just prior to the collapse. A whole lot of weird things happen during a catastrophe, and there is a natural tendency of weird things that should happen randomly instead to cluster. However, there is a point where the appeal to such an argument simply becomes untenable.

Just watch the video, and when you are finished with it, please feel free to comment in favor of or against Mr. Gordon's premise and his claims. Beyond that, perhaps you can answer the essential question to which I, myself, have finally returned: Could 19 crazed jihadists armed with nothing more the box cutters possibly have brought not one, but two full-sized skyscrapers clear to the ground?

Although I have no intention of spending much more time than this post crying in the wilderness for some awakening, neither do I plan to simply forget about my doubts. Life is too short to be a conspiracy theorist, but life is just a little too long to permanently pretend that incongruous lies are not worth calling for the obvious prevarications they are.

Then again, perhaps the truth and what we are supposed to believe really are one and the same. This Administration has certainly given us no reason to think otherwise.

The Dark Wraith hopes the next President, whoever it is, does not waste any time or energy trying to restore "trust" to an institution in which lying is easy and getting away with it is even easier.

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