Saturday, March 10, 2007

Portfolio Refresher

Stephanie strikes again. I was looking for something more interesting than simply "person before camera". The"window frame" provided the "interesting" element.


In the Gallery

Just file it under "I told you so"

F.B.I. Head Admits Mistakes in Use of Security Act
New York Times

WASHINGTON, March 9 — Bipartisan outrage erupted on Friday on Capitol Hill as Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, conceded that the bureau had improperly used the USA Patriot Act to obtain information about people and businesses.

Read the rest here ...

There's a reason for the checks and balances in our government yet we have an administration (coupled with a political party) that has been working overtime to remove those checks and balances. It has been an abuse of power ... and it's been short sighted. Sworn to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America", they have done everything in their power to dismantle it. Were these actions undertaken by the opposing party - the Democrats - there would be cries of treason!

As more and more of these abuses of power come to light, the less and likely it is that the Republican party will be able to regain the public trust again for years if not decades. They'[ve wanted this opportunity to run the show since the days of the Roosevelt administration ... and though there have been Republican presidents ... there has never been a situation where they have had such complete control of all branches of government ... and look what they've done with that opportunity!

As Conservatives they supposedly stood for smaller government yet government has expanded exponentially on their watch.

As Conservatives they supposedly stood for less government involvement in individual lives yet, on their watch, government has become far more intrusive.

As Conservatives they supposedly stood for lower taxes but when it came right down to it, what they meant was lower taxes for the most wealthy.

As Conservatives the supposedly stood for fiscal responsibility yet we've moved from the tax and spend (effectively pay as you go) that they decried to a spend and borrow Ponzi Scheme that will have future generations picking up the tab for the current trumped up wars and phony tax breaks.

As Conservatives the supposedly stood for individual responsibility yet I have heard more blaming the other guy in the last six years than I can recall hearing in the previous five decades.

They have held them selves up as paragons of virtue, morality and "family values" yet the likes of Tom deLay, Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham seem to far more representative of their real values ... values which seem to hold that the ONLY crime is getting caught.

Just when you think it couldn't get worse a new issue surfaces with Republican finger prints all over it. It's bad enough that the war in Iraq is not going particularly well ... its certainly not going as advertised ... then you have:

  • The Katrina Fiasco (thank god the administration wasn't responding to a terrorist attack)
  • The Libby Trial (wherein we see how the slime machine works)
  • Rampant Cronyism
  • Firing of Federal District Attorneys for political reasons
  • Walter Reed Hospital (demonstrating the depth to which the administration actually supports the troops)

and a whole list of of other things.

The Party of Ann Coulter is imploding.

You can fool all the people some of the time
and some of the people all the time
but you can fool all the people all the time.

It's Accountability Time, kiddies!

What ever happened to the Barry Goldwater Conservatives? Where are they now that we need them?!?!?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Texas Canyon

Texas Canyon Cemetery
(click image to enlarge)

The original settlers came to the canyon in the early 1840s, before the war. They traveled here from Texas and settled somewhat peacefully among the Chiricahua Apache in the Dragoon Mountains* some 30 miles or so from the town of Tombstone in Arizona Territory. They called their new home Texas Canyon**. By 1858 the Butterfield Stage Line passed through the canyon connecting El Paso, Texas with Tombstone and Tucson, Arizona Territory.

In 1861, everything changed. The Bascom Affair turned Cochise from a relatively peaceful resident of the area into a worthy foe of the US Army.

Here is the original community cemetery for the residents of the settlers of Texas Canyon as well as he family plot for the William Shirley Fulton*** family who bought 1,600 acres of the canyon in 1931.

The cemetery is full now. It is laid out along a dirt road, under the big sky among the rocks of the canyon. It's standing room only now. It's an Arizona ghost town in it's way. Here, in its stark glory, is southern Arizona in late February, just before the spring.

For what is worth ...
* I authored the Wikipedia Dragoon Mountains article.
I authored the Wikipedia Texas Canyon article and the pictures are mine, too.
*** I authored the Wikipedia William Shirley Fulton article.

Go here for a list of the Wikipedia articles I've initiated/authored.

Where there is a difference, we MUST make a distinction

Gingrich affair coincided with Lewinsky fight

From the Associated Press
March 9, 2007
WASHINGTON — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) was having an extramarital affair while he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

"The honest answer is yes," Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson, according to a transcript provided to the Associated Press. The interview is to air today. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

Gingrich said in the interview that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing Clinton.

"The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge," he said of Clinton's 1998 House impeachment. "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed … I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept … perjury in your highest officials.' "

Gingrich has placed in the top three in a number of Republican presidential polls.
Here ...

The test of true intelligence is the ability to firmly hold two conflicting beliefs in one's mind at the same time without going stark raving mad.

The BIG difference is that the Newt didn't do it in front of a sitting judge. Hummmm ... I wonder if his God sits in judgment?

He Said WHAT???

(from the Associated Press)

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama just can't escape the word articulate.

"He's charismatic, he's articulate, he's a very strong figure on the national stage," White House political adviser Karl Rove told an Arkansas crowd. "But something tells me that people are going to say (they want) experience and depth. As a result it's going to be, 'Can he live up to the standards?"

WTF? Karl Rove said that? What hypocritical balls! Like Bush had experience? Bush laughed about the fact he didn't know anything about foreign affairs ... and said he was sure he'd have someone on staff who would know something about the topic ... (He picked Rumsfeld and Cheney for that!)

If Bush is the standard that Obama must live up to ... I think he could do it in a walk ... with his hands tied behind his back ... blindfolded!

Lets take a quick look at 1999 ... just before the election in 2000 that Gore won:

On the stump, Bush lays out his vision of the world in broad terms.

"The world we live in is still a world of terror and missiles and madmen. And we're challenged by aging weapons and failing intelligence," he said.

But he's also made some gaffes, calling Greeks "Grecians," Kosovars "Kosovians," and the East Timorese "East Timorians."

Then at an event this week in Richmond, Virginia a reporter from Slovakia asked Bush whether he would make the Central European nation a priority.

Bush's reply?: "The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned firsthand from your foreign minister that came to Texas, and I had a great visit with him. It's an exciting country. It's a country that's flourishing, and it's a country that's doing very well."

Answering a follow-up question, Bush backed off a little: "I think it was the foreign minister, if I'm not mistaken. I need to check my records. A high-ranking official from your country came to visit. I was very impressed."

Bush was right to be hesitant. He didn't meet the foreign minister; he met the prime minister. And it wasn't Slovakia, but Slovenia.

While the junior Bush may lack his father's resume -- CIA director, ambassador to China, architect of the Gulf War victory -- George W. has inherited some of his father's top aides, and with little experience of his own, Bush says he will rely on their advice.
from CNN

hummmm ... father's top aids? ... rely on them for advice? That worked out well.

The Limits of Compassion

"How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane."
~ Newt Gingrich
2007 CPAC

Yes, Newt, it was a failure of citizenship — not the lack of transportation and a decent federal response — that doomed all those stupid un-American New Orleaners.

But ... on the up side, it's nice to know that we can always find someone to blame.

If you believe government is broken ...

The last people you want to turn it over to are the people who believe government is the problem and that it can't be fixed.

The attitude results in foxes guarding the hen house.

It's Not Just Walter Reed

Still more ways Bush is screwing returning vets.
By Fred Kaplan / Slate
Wednesday, March 7, 2007, at 6:52 PM ET

The scandals and shortfalls in the military's health-care system stem from the same sensibility that produced the scandals and shortfalls in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It is the Bush administration's sensibility of denial—its willful disinclination to face war's true cost (in all senses of the word) and its readiness to use bookkeeping tricks to perpetuate the deception.

More ...

... and here's how

As Congress prepared to open this week’s hearings on the shoddy treatment of Iraq war veterans, TV networks were allowed to shoot crews spreading new paint on the walls of the outpatient facilities at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The larger story of the outrageous treatment of injured service members won’t so easily be covered up. Part of that larger story goes beyond the military brass who failed to do their duty by those who had fallen in war, beyond the Congress members who failed to provide oversight, and far beyond Walter Reed. It has to do with a policy that has been a hallmark of the Bush administration, especially in its most egregious failures: privatizing government services.

More ...

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Tucson, AZ

I am becoming more and more fascinated by the portraits of previous centuries. Artists like John Singer Sargent resonate as someone I would like to emulate. I think I do portraits reasonably well but that's for others to decide, I suppose.

Comic hero Captain America dies

BBC News

Superhero Captain America has been killed off after appearing in US comic books for 66 years.

Captain America Dies
© Marvel Comics

The character, who appears in the Captain America comic book, was created in 1941 to build up patriotic feeling during World War II.

Co-creator Joe Simon told the New York Daily News: "It's a hell of a time for him to go, We really need him now."

More ...

Talk about getting a peek at one's own mortality!! Captain America was only a couple years older 'n ME!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Guess Libby's Pardon Date, Win a T-Shirt

By Al Kamen / Washington Post
Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The verdict is in! Now it's time for the In the Loop Pardon Scooter Contest! Yes, simply pick the date that President Bush will pardon Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who, according to federal sentencing guidelines, is looking at 18 months to three years in the slammer.

Win a T-Shirt HERE

Because, ya see ... this level of cover up, of lying to the FBI about the outing of a covert CIA operative, jeopardizing a career worth of intelligence contacts in order to discredit an American diplomat for pointing out that the Bush administration "cooked the books" regarding the evidence they used to hoodwink the US into a war that has killed thousands of American troops and maimed tens of thousands of others and has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians in the bargain ... simply does not rise to the level of horrible enormity involved in the cover up of a Clintonian presidential BJ.

I'm glad we've got our priorities straight!

Vermont Votes to Impeach Bush/Cheney

John Nichols
Wed Mar 7, 7:36 AM ET

The Nation -- When Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, a Republican with reasonably close ties to President Bush, asked if there was any additional business to be considered at the town meeting he was running in Middlebury, Ellen McKay popped up and proposed the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Full Article Here

Cindy Sheehan STILL thinks it's a good idea.

Edit and Update!!

BOSTON (Reuters) - More than 30 Vermont towns passed resolutions on Tuesday seeking to impeach President Bush, while at least 16 towns in the tiny New England state called on Washington to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

Full Article Here

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Party Of Ann

by Steve Young
from The Huffington Post

Even with Michael Moore disappearing from publicity or Democratic Convention view, the Talk Show Right still loves to label the Democrat (sic) Party "The Party of Michael Moore." Why not? It's a classic. Associating someone or something with your rival, who you know your base will hate, works.

And while we're talking about something that people hate: Ann Coulter.

No need to go through the plethora of Ann's detester d'object cred...but just to bring you up to snuff, last night on Hannity & Colmes, Ann explained that the word "faggot" was not a demeaning slang for gays, but a "schoolyard" term used by kids to humiliate other kids. See? Now it's funny.

Why liberals and 99.9% of West Hollywood didn't get the "joke" the way Ann meant it can probably be traced to their lack of getting beat up enough in the schoolyard.

Is there now any doubt that the Republican Party is wholly familiar with Ann's other hysterical schoolyard jokes, like 9/11 widows being "self-obsessed women...enjoying their husbands' deaths" or her "raghead" reference at previous CPAC conference? Yet they still invite her to pump up the CPAC crowd. And she is still guest-staple throughout the Fox News (sic) Network.

They love the girl and her "schoolyard" jokes." It's time to remind the voter that they do. Everyday. Every way.

From now on, when talking about the Republican Party or their candidates, let's call them like they are...


They deserve each other.

Quick Question

Why did the super patriots at Faux News play down the disaster at Walter Reed?
    • Anna Nicole - 121
    • Walter Reed - 10

  • MSNBC:
    • Anna Nicole - 96
    • Walter Reed - 84

  • CNN:
    • Anna Nicole - 40
    • Walter Reed - 53

Must be their sense of priorities? Was it just an oversight or a political expedient? If it was an oversight, then they're not very good at covering the news. If it was politically expedient, then they're not in the news business ... they're in the propaganda business - the mis-information business ... and if that's the business they're in, then they have more in common with Joseph Goebbels than they do with Edward R. Murrow.

Where you get your news explains a lot about what you know about what's going on.

The rest is here ...

Arizona Daylight Saving Time ... NOT

No More Sunlight in Arizona and Hawaii

Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii and the territories of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa are the only places in the U.S. that do not observe DST but instead stay on "standard time" all year long.

If you've spent time in Arizona in the summer, you have an idea why it might be.

We don't have to change our clocks .... but YOU do.

Jack Cafferty Poses an Interesting Question

Cafferty (On CNN's Situation Room - 3/5/07):

Another Hurricane Katrina — that's how the "New York Times'" Paul Krugman describes the scandal surrounding the Walter Reed Medical Center and he is absolutely right.

Another glaring example of the Bush administration's lack of ability to deal with the consequences of its actions. Four years after invading Iraq, we're finding out that many of our returning wounded soldiers are being treated like garbage. And the government is quick to sing the chorus of, well, we didn't know.

The former commander of Walter Reed Medical Center, this Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley — he's now the surgeon general of the United States — he lived across the street from Building 18 at Walter Reed — across the street.

Why hasn't he resigned or why hasn't he been fired?

The politicians, well, they want commissions. That's the answer to everything. New York Senator Charles Schumer, he wants an independent commission. President Bush wants a bipartisan commission. In four years, no one bothered to see if our veterans were getting the treatment they're entitled to.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center is in Washington, D.C. We're not talking some medical tent at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. It is a national disgrace, just exactly like Katrina was.

Congress appropriates more than $200 million like — for things like Ted Stevens' Bridge To Nowhere in Alaska, but our wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are ignored. It might be worth remembering when the next election rolls around.

What do you think?

Here's the question — who is ultimately responsible for the conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center?

Not making this up ...

My question is, if you didn't have an adequate plan going into a war, no plan for sufficient troops, no plan for sufficient armor, no plan for securing the country, no plan for a post war administration ... how could you possibly have a plan for the aftermath? On any level?

And if you didn't have a plan in the first place ... there's a good chance there isn't a plan "B".

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Up the Down Staircase

Homage to M. C. Escher

The stairwell in the gallery at the Amerind Foundation.

Just Another Way of Looking At It

Compassionate Conservativeism

Hurricane damage? Katrina II?

In a display of real heartfelt concern ...

A picture is worth 1,000 words.

In all honesty, it could very easily be her cell phone and George, the Compassionate, is talking to her relatives and telling them she's alright ... but, frankly, who ever the PR person is who let this photograph out ... let me just say they should be selling shoes or something.

Talkin' 'bout the distance between me and yo"

Two pictures might be worth 10,000 words.

Here are some of the words ...