Saturday, September 01, 2007

Video Plug

A poster using the name Jay River offered several links in a comment on one of my photographs. In that the material he was commenting on was somewhere back in the archives and given that I thought the links were worth sharing, I offer them again here:

Indian Picture Opera (Trailer)


Edward S. Curtis Site

Thanks, Jay. Much appreciated.

Adding to the above worthwhile links:

Another Lefty Libertard Ferriner Wants to See America Loose!

Gen Sir Mike Jackson attacks US over Iraq

By Con Coughlin and Neil Tweedie (Daily Telegraph - where they still practice actual journalism)
Last Updated: 12:18am BST 02/09/2007

General Sir Mike Jackson, the head of the British Army during the invasion of Iraq, has launched a scathing attack on the United States for the way it handled the post-war administration of the country.

The former chief of the general staff said the approach taken by Donald Rumsfeld, the then US defence secretary, was "intellectually bankrupt"*, describing his claim that US forces "don't do nation-building" as "nonsensical".

Sir Mike's comments - made in his forthcoming autobiography Soldier, serialised exclusively in The Daily Telegraph - represent the most outspoken criticism of American military policy in Iraq to come from a senior British officer.

His attack - the first time he has revealed the depth of his anger towards the US administration - highlights the deep-seated tension between the British command and the Pentagon during the build-up to and the aftermath of the Iraq campaign in 2003.

Sir Mike, who took command of the British Army one month before US-led forces invaded Iraq, said Mr Rumsfeld was "one of those most responsible for the current situation in Iraq".

Crucially, the general writes, he refused to deploy enough troops to maintain law and order after the collapse of Saddam's regime, and discarded detailed plans for the post-conflict administration of Iraq that had been drawn up by the US State Department.

In the book, Sir Mike says he believes the entire US approach to tackling global terrorism is "inadequate" because it relies too heavily on military power at the expense of nation-building and diplomacy.

The rest in the Daily Telegraph (UK) is here ...

Joining the ranks with some of our own home growed, left leaning, pinko loosers:
What he hell could THEY possibly know, anyway? Obviously a bunch of hippy-libertards who have no idea what it means to support our troops!

* "Intellectually bankrupt" is a polite, British way of saying ""F@&%ing stupid".

The ... uh ... "tip" of the iceberg, so to speak?

Video here (for the daily newsletter types who never log into the actual blog).

Boy, life comes at ya awfully fast once you declare yourself a protector of Family Values, an arbiter of morality and accuse everyone else of being morally bankrupt ...

There's a lesson in here somewhere.

Thought for the Day

"Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff."

Frank Zappa

Not to put too fine a point on it but ...

You can’t take a “wide stance” with your pants around your ankles.

Also ...

Breaking News: Princess Diana is still dead.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Defining hypocracy

David Sirota on Huffington Post
  • U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer (R-CO) grandstanding and telling his fellow school board commissioners to disclose their conflicts of interest, and then himself refusing to disclose his own conflicts of interest.
  • Mitt Romney (R) campaigning for governor aggressively billing himself as pro-choice to the point where he gets angry at his opponent for saying otherwise. And then, just a few short years later, campaigning for president declaring he's the greatest anti-choice leader in contemporary American history.
  • Presidential candidate Fred Thompson (R) billing himself as a down-home political outsider even though he's spent most of his adult life as a corporate lobbyist in Washington.
  • President George Bush portraying himself as a plain-spoken cowboy and independent entrepreneurial businessman even though he grew up an aristocrat and had his personal fortunes built by massive public subsidies secured by his father's financial and political network.
  • Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani (R) presenting himself as the strongest candidate in the race on homeland security issues, even though his single defining homeland security experience was negligently contributing to the health plight of New York firefighters.
  • Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D) billing herself as the candidate of "change" and the candidate who will represent the middle class, at the same time Businessweek reports that she is allowing Wall Street titans to "refine" her economic policy platform.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

We're the Republicans. And We're Looking for a Few Good Men.

by Ellis Weiner from Huffington Post

Maybe you've heard the news lately: The Republican Party -- the party of Lincoln, of Ike, of the Gipper, yes, that Republican Party -- has gone homo.

The party of God, guts, and guns has become a soiree of poufs, pansies, and pederasts.

Well, it ends here. It ends now.

It ends with you -- if you've got what it takes.

Think you do? Think you can cut taxes for billionaires by day and by night have regulation, procreative sexual intercourse with an actual woman -- in the missionary position; no unguents; no "oral;" no diapers -- and not fantasize about some Panamanian pool boy from that in-room video last week?

Think you can undergo the demanding, life-changing rite-of-passage we call "marriage" (to a woman), and not secretly yearn for the understanding touch of that sweet, crew-cut Congressional aide from Liberty U. on the Ways and Means staff? And then get up the next day and work to gut environmental rules and regs?

You're only one click away from the rest ...

National Priorities

The following is something I found on the National Priorities Project website:

(Figures for 2005. It's gotten more weighted
toward military since then.)

American taxpayers expect the federal government to provide national security. Achieving that security is a constant and complicated challenge that cannot be met by military might alone. A sound national security policy involves three broad strategies:

  • preventive measures such as securing nuclear materials abroad and participating in multi-lateral diplomatic and peacekeeping operations;
  • homeland security such as providing port security and coordinating emergency first responders; and
  • the military

Currently, federal spending on these three strategies is heavily weighted toward military operations. In fiscal year 2005, as shown in the graph, almost nine dollars was spent on the military for every dollar spent on all other non-military security tools combined.

In order to better understand how our tax dollars are spent within and beyond our borders, this section of our website offers a wealth of information about spending on the three strategies outlined above as well as related topics.

What could HOMELAND Security do with $456,278,478,000?

Other possibilities:
  • If a school costs $23,000,000 to build we could build 19,838 schools without imposing additional taxes or floating a single bond issue. Communities could have these schools "free and clear" if we thought it was important.
  • If health insurance premiums for a family of 4 cost $1,200 a month we could afford to provide health insurance (through the existing system of insurance industry middle-men) for 31,686,004 currently uninsured families.
  • If we were really interested in returning tax dollars to the people who pay taxes instead of just the rich, we could extend a tax refund of $1,500 to every man, woman and child in the United States.

More interesting stuff:
  • And here's a peek at World Military Spending in 2005. What's changed since them? It also gives some insight into who we should be afraid of and to what degree we should be fearful.
Getting our priorities straight takes an educated electorate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Analysis of an Image

Reading The Pictures: Katrina At Two
Text: Michael Shaw
Photo: Lee Celano

On the second anniversary of the Katrina disaster, we are fortunate to have a photographer as talented as Louisianian Lee Celano, supplying material for Reuters.

The anniversary presents a mandatory backdrop for a parade of political figures. Obama was prominent on the scene on Monday, and Alberto Gonzales was a big visual magnet yesterday, as was the arrival of Karl Rove. Of course, last night's arrival of the president was the most ignominious.

As counterpoint, I offer you a shot by Celano that is circulating, hoping as many of his pictures as possible get picked up from the newswire.

Read more here ...

It's a great read and the text will bring out layers upon layers of meaning in the image. Go for it.

Clinton to Give Away Fundraiser's Cash

JIM KUHNHENN | August 29, 2007 10:51 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will give to charity the $23,000 in donations she has received from a fundraiser who is wanted in California for failing to appear for sentencing on a 1991 grand theft charge.

The decision came Wednesday as other Democrats began distancing themselves from Norman Hsu, whose legal encounters and links to other Democratic donors have drawn public scrutiny in the past two days.

Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, both of Massachusetts, also planned to turn over Hsu's contributions to charity. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California; Al Franken, a Senate candidate in Minnesota; Reps. Michael Honda and Doris Matsui of California; and Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania also said they would divest Hsu's contributions.

Read the rest here ...

Has anyone heard how the Republicans plan to dispose of Abramoff's donations? Yeah, I know, silly question.

The Gunslinger and the Old Prospector

An old prospector walks his tired old mule into a western town one day. He'd been out in the desert for about six months without a drop of whiskey. He walked up to the first saloon he came to and tied his old mule to the hitch rail.

As he stood there brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a gunslinger walked out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. The gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?"

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance. I just never wanted to." A crowd had gathered by then and the gunslinger said,

"Well you old fool, you're gonna' dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet.

The old prospector was hopping around and everybody was laughing. When the gunslinger fired his last bullet he holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man reached up on the mule, drew his shotgun, and pulled both hammers back making a double clicking sound.

The gunslinger heard the sound and everything got quiet. The crowd watched as the gunslinger slowly turned around looking down both barrels of the shotgun.

The old man asked, "Did you ever kiss a mule square on the ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No. But I've always wanted to."

Don't mess with old farts ...

History, American Style

Forwarded to me by a friend:

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eight grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Issac, stole his brother's birthmark. Jacob was a partiarch who brought up his twelve sons to be partiarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fougth with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

Without the Greeks, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by Homer. Homer also wrote the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athen was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.

Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyrany who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, King Harlod mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings, Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespear. Shakespear never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors. In one of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. In another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was Miquel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote". The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife dies and he wrote "Paradise Regained."

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later the Pilgrims crossed the Ocean, and this was called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by Indians, who came down the hill rolling hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried porposies on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps. During the War, Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original thirteen states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared "a horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength." Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Issac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn, when the apples are falling off the trees. Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorrilas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inheret his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. He reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick Raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturailst who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers. The First World War, cause by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.

It really explains a lot ...

The Sacrifice of Reason

Sam Harris in the Washington Post

Humanity has had a long fascination with blood sacrifice. In fact, it has been by no means uncommon for a child to be born into this world only to be patiently and lovingly reared by religious maniacs who believe that the best way to keep the sun on its course or to ensure a rich harvest is to lead him by tender hand into a field or to a mountaintop and bury, butcher, or burn him alive as offering to an invisible (and almost certainly fictional) God.

In many ancient cultures whenever a nobleman died, other men and women allowed themselves to be buried alive so as to serve as his retainers in the next world. In ancient Rome, children were sometimes slaughtered so that the future could be read in their entrails. The Dyak women of Borneo would not even look at a suitor unless he came bearing a net full of human heads as a love offering. Some Fijian prodigy devised a powerful sacrament called “Vakatoga” which required that a victim’s limbs be cut off and eaten while he watched. Among the Iroquois, captives from other tribes were often permitted to live for many years, and even to marry, all the while being doomed to be flayed alive as an oblation to the God of War; whatever children they produced while in captivity were disposed of in the same ritual. African tribes too numerous to name have a long history of murdering people to send as couriers in a one-way dialogue with their ancestors or to convert their body parts into magical charms. Ritual murders of this sort continue in many African societies to this day.

It is essential to realize that such impossibly stupid misuses of human life have always been explicitly religious. They are the product of what certain human beings think they know about invisible gods and goddesses, and of what they manifestly do not know about biology, meteorology, medicine, physics, and a dozen other specific sciences that have more than a little to say about the events in the world that concern them.

Finish the thought here ...

A Pox on Both Their Houses

A friend, a dyed in the wool fiscal-conservative/mostly social-liberal, wrote:

"Funny, a friend and I were having a conversation about her liberal friends and how I'd actually fit in with them. I said that's because socially I'm very liberal and that it shouldn't matter much now anyway, as every conservative is turning out to be gay (I also noted that it's a good thing I'm not homophobic, or I'd be suspect myself). I'm not sure what the hell is going on with the party. To be fair, I think both parties have had there runs. But lately the GOP has gone crazy. I think that they're getting comfortable with their power (the power they HAD, anyway). Little by little, liberties are taken, then rules are broken, then laws are broken, then you're trying to have gay sex in a public restroom. They've "eased" into this, so in their minds it doesn't seem quite so bad."

I responded:

"I think the Republican Party has become a disappointment and an embarrassment to all of us of late. Of the two choices I offered in my little bit of opinion on that article, I personally think its the result of a drunken power spree.

The Republican conservatives have historically been "the loyal opposition". They've stood for fiscal responsibility - a good thing. They've promoted business interests - also a good thing when it's not at the expense of the people of the nation or of the nation itself. They have traditionally been the voice of reason in the face of Democratic liberal enthusiasm for change (which is not always a good thing).

I don't think we can afford to expect too much of the people we put in power. In a democracy, "we the people" are the base of power (not businesses, not politicians, not generals or colonels) and we should dole out that power to our representatives only sparingly. In the face of fear, we have given the Bushite NeoCons way too much latitude and it's important to re-balance the load as soon as possible before we overturn our noble experiment in democracy.

I don't think distancing one's self from the Republican Party needs to mean becoming a liberal. I would sincerely miss your counterpoints if that were the case. I'm certainly a liberal, but that doesn't mean I embrace the Democratic Party ... not by a long shot. (Though reading the blog would probably lead one to believe I'm as much a Democrat as there can possibly be.) I'm an independent - and I think you have the makings of being a good independent, too. You have the power of critical thought and the ability to weigh arguments for or against a proposition in order to make up your own mind.

As an indy, I can vote for the Republicans when they're right (and I was willing to vote for McCain until that revolting picture of him hugging GW and his flip flops on torture - HIM of all people - and on the religious fundamentalist right). I can as easily vote for a Democrat ... when I think they got it right, or against them when I think they have their heads firmly up their arses - which, unfortunately happens all too frequently.

Basically, I'm against those in power because, more often than not, who ever is in power needs the rest of us to keep them honest. They sure can't regulate themselves.

In the end, I think you'd make a fine independent. You've never been the kind of person who'd toe a dogmatic party line when all the evidence points in the opposite direction. The absence of blind faith in self appointed leaders and rigid ideologically driven orthodoxy is one of your endearing qualities and makes me proud of our friendship."

Jesus Loves You

Video here ...

Republicans Give "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a New Meaning

by Robert J. Elisberg on HuffPost

The other day on a radio talk show, a caller began criticizing Democrats in Congress, saying all they're doing is complaining, and she's getting tired, tired of hearing Democrats complain. Absolutely understandable. Of course, if Republicans are weary, just imagine how Democrats feel.

Trust me, if someone thwacks you in the head with a hammer, and the next day punches you in the gut, and later kicks your groin and then crushes your foot -- and afterwards steals your wallet, takes your watch and spits in your face -- it's no fun having to keep complaining. But then, it's even less fun having to smile and take it.

The caller should also understand an even more basic truth: if you don't want to hear Democrats complain, then Republicans should stop giving them things to complain about.

This has become the Republican mantra. As Democrats called for a perjury investigation into currently-resigned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, White House spokesman Tony Fratto whined that Democrats are "more interested in headlines than doing the business Americans want them to do."

If you don't want to be investigated, then stop doing things that require investigations. Quit lying to Congress about firing U.S. Attorneys. Quit leaking the name of covert agents. Quit wiretapping American citizens without warrants. Quit illegally involving federal employees in party politics. Quit destroying email evidence.

(Emphasis added)

Read the rest here ...

No, you can't make this stuff up ...

“The real question for Republicans in Washington is how low can you go, because we are approaching a level of ridiculousness,” said Mr. Reed [Republican strategist], sounding exasperated in an interview on Tuesday morning. “You can’t make this stuff up. And the impact this is having on the grass-roots around the country is devastating. Republicans think the governing class in Washington are a bunch of buffoons who have total disregard for the principles of the party, the law of the land and the future of the country.”

The New Your Times has more here ...

OK ... so, the real question is have Republicans always been this arrogant, this out of tune with the people they're supposed to represent? Have they always had this little regard for the law? Have they always had this streak of hypocritical cynicism?


Is this just the kind of drunken binge they go on when they're given a little power as they've had since the mid-90s?

Granted, the other side of the aisle has a share of head-shakers like the William Jefferson idiocy, but by comparison, they seem so tame and so far and few between.

SO, my dear friends on the right, and some of you truly are dear friends - PLEASE CHOOSE - or offer an alternative explanation for the string of scandals we've been seeing - from DeLay to Abramoff, from Cunningham to Foley, from gay restroom cruising to outright fraud? What's this all about?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bush in Seattle

What's wrong with the pictures?

Check them out and tell me what you see.

I particularly liked the photo titled "Man of the People".

In the end, it was Graham Greene

by Chris Kelly on HuffPo

Some say the best way to win a debate is to invent a straw man on the other side, and then refute the crazy things they never said. I say those people are wrong.

The problem isn't using the occasional fictitious opponent in an argument; the problem is that's all President Bush ever does. They're his one great rhetorical "go to." Right after lies.

You could waste a lot of time, after a typical Bush speech, trying to find the imaginary people who believe the things he strongly doesn't. The liberals who loved Saddam Hussein, the racists who don't like "No Child Left Behind," the Democrats who said the answer to 9/11 was therapy, the women who wish there were more late term abortions.

Where does the President meet these people?

He says "some say" a lot, for a guy who brags that he never listens to anyone.

Find out more about who these people are ... or aren't ...

Find out more about the Right-wing's other favorite logical ploys ... all of them.

Learn about:
  • Ad Hominem Arguments
  • The Appeal to Fear
  • The Straw Man
  • The Burden of Proof Argument
  • and 38 other mis-uses of reason often prominently featured on FIXed News, in Bush's speeches, Hannity's editorials, and on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

We don need no steeenkin' oversight

Iraq Weapons Are a Focus of Criminal Investigations

BAGHDAD, Aug. 27 —

Several federal agencies are investigating a widening network of criminal cases involving the purchase and delivery of billions of dollars of weapons, supplies and other matériel to Iraqi and American forces, according to American officials. The officials said it amounted to the largest ring of fraud and kickbacks uncovered in the conflict here.

The inquiry has already led to several indictments of Americans, with more expected, the officials said. One of the investigations involves a senior American officer who worked closely with Gen. David H. Petraeus in setting up the logistics operation to supply the Iraqi forces when General Petraeus was in charge of training and equipping those forces in 2004 and 2005, American officials said Monday.

There is no indication that investigators have uncovered any wrongdoing by General Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, who through a spokesman declined comment on any legal proceedings.

What a way to run a war ... get your fair share here ...

... and on who's watch is THIS happening?

US Homeland Security To Mobilize 'Thought Police'

WASHINGTON, DC., 8/25/07 (Anal Addler):

Department of Homeland Security management say they are moving forward aggressively with their program of 'Thought Police". "We've had this program in mind and under development ever since before there was a Department of Homeland Security." said Transportation Security Administration public affairs specialist Amy Kudwa. "This was one of Karl Rove's favorites! Soon we will be able to single out potential terrorist threats by computer reading the thoughts emanating from their brains."

More about it here ...

Doing the work of God

"A large party of Mormons, painted and tricked out as Indians, overtook the train of emigrent wagons some three hundred miles south of Salt Lake City, and made an attack. But the emigrants threw up earthworks, made fortresses of their wagons, and defended themselves gallantly and successfully for five days! Your Missouri or Arkansas gentleman is not much afraid of the sort of scurvy apologies for "Indians" which the southern part of Utah affords. He would stand up and fight five hundred of them. At the end of the five days the Mormons tried military strategy. They retired to the upper end of the 'Meadows,' resumed civilized apparel, washed off their paint, and then, heavily armed, drove down in wagons to the beleagured emigrants, bearing a flag of truce! When the emigrants saw white men coming they threw down their guns and welcomed them with cheer after cheer...."

~ Mark Twain in "Roughing It"

Uncovering the past with Archaeology ...

Opus: Eavesdropping again

Wherein Lola Granola's x-treme spiritual journeys continue to vex good ole' Steve.

Get an insight here ... maybe even a religious revelation.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Good-bye Gonzo

Even until the bitter end, Gonzo was lying about every goddamn thing he could:

Mr. Roehrkasse said Sunday afternoon that he had telephoned Mr. Gonzales about the reports circulating in Washington that a resignation was imminent, “and he said it wasn’t true, so I don’t know what more I can say.”

That’s his own spokesman he lied to. For no discernible reason at all. The man lies about what he wants for breakfast in the morning. He tells his dog she’s good but doesn’t mean it.

Get a laugh!

Now, where IS that picture a buddy of mine to sent me ... the one of him and the Gonzter standing in front to pyramids in Egypt, shaking hands and grinning from ear to ear? The one that prompted me to say, "at least there's one honest man in the picture".

My friend asked if I was referring the the Egyptian tour guide in the background.

All liars seem like "nice guys", my friend. The better they are at lying, the nicer they seem. That's how they get away with it!

Here we go again! More Conservative Republican Family Values

"Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

Read more about the he said. he said misunderstanding here ...

I guess the big difference would be that Billy C. tried to hide his indiscretions in the privacy of the Oval Office while the Republicans flaunt theirs in public restrooms? All I can say in Bubah's defense is that at lest he wasn't a c@cksucker.

According to Wonkette, Idaho Values Alliance will have 'Hard Time Swallowing' the Larry Craig news.

Family Values Party Gathering

Facing a draft, Nugent bravely wet his pants

Rocker is all talk as he calls Obama, Hillary vile names

August 27, 2007
BY RICHARD ROEPER Sun-Times Columnist

So Ted Nugent roams a concert stage while toting automatic weapons, calls Barack Obama "a piece of -----" and says he told Obama to suck on one of his machine-guns. He also calls Hillary Clinton a "worthless bitch" and Dianne Feinstein a "worthless whore."

That Nugent, he's a man's man. He talks the talk and walks the walk, right?

Except when it was time to register for the draft during the Vietnam era. By his own admission, Nugent stopped all forms of personal hygiene for a month and showed up for his draft board physical in pants caked with his own urine and feces, winning a deferment. Creative!

Ah, but that was a long time ago. Nugent isn't just a washed-up rocker -- he's a right-wing madman who's not afraid to call out some of the leading Democrats in language so vile it makes the Dixie Chick Natalie Maines' comments about President Bush sound like a love poem.

Read the rest ...

Another right wing example of taking personal responsibility ... the standard that applies only to other people. To top it off, they're so quick to point the finger at those whom they accuse of being "haters" .... unless it's their own.

We'll just add ole' Ted to the list of draft dodgers:
  • George W. Bush
  • Donald Rumsfeld
  • Dick Cheney (had better things to do)
  • and virtually every other chicken-hawk Neocon who can't get enough of war ... as long as someone else is fighting it for them.

Another Xian Con Game?

Things get weirder and weirder ...

"Da lord heps dem who heps they seves."

The really weird part is people will line up to fork over real money. It's all a fear of death and the need to feel that this isn't all there is.

Personally, I like to think this is more than just a test.

You've GOT to be KIDDING!!!

Fallen Pastor Seeks Aid to Pursue Studies


The Rev. Ted Haggard, who left the 10,000-member megachurch he founded after admitting to “sexual immorality,” has asked supporters for financial help while he and his wife pursue studies in counseling and psychology.

Mr. Haggard, the former pastor of New Life Church, plans to seek a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Phoenix while his wife studies psychology, he said in an e-mail message sent this week to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs.

The couple and two of their sons are planning to move Oct. 1 to the Phoenix Dream Center, a faith-based halfway house in Phoenix, where Mr. Haggard and his wife plan to provide counseling, the e-mail message said.

OK ... there's more to this AP story. This is what happens when Irony grows Balls.

Snicker: Anger at Malaysia 'Jesus cartoon'

from the BBC News

A Malaysian newspaper is facing calls to shut down after it published an image of Jesus holding a cigarette and what appeared to be a can of beer.

Malaysia's Muslim-led government closed two publications last year for carrying controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Now some members of Malaysia's minority religions say they want the same treatment over this latest incident.

Religion is a famously sensitive subject in Malaysia.

More about my imaginary friend being more real than your imaginary friend. Snicker on ...

Another Smear/Lie On Bill Clinton Is Circulating

by Dave Johnson / HuffPost

In 1998 President Clinton launched a major attack on al Queda and tried to kill Osama bin Laden:

The United States launched cruise missile strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan yesterday against centres allegedly linked with the terrorist bombings of two American embassies.

At the time the right mocked him for it, claiming he was"wagging the dog" and "bombing an asprin factory" - a chemical plant that belonged to Osama bin Laden.

And just how many cruise missiles were launched at bin Laden in Afghanistan?

About 75 cruise missiles landed in Afghanistan at Bin Laden's camps around Khost and Jalalabad. The Khost camp, Zawhar Kili, was the scene of a meeting of "senior leaders of Islamic militant and terrorist groups linked to bin Laden," and was regarded by Pakistani intelligence as a "summit" convened by bin Laden.

75 cruise missiles launched directly at al Queda camps in Afghanistan. 75 cruise missiles!

Today Newsweek has a craftily-worded story that the right is using to smear former President Bill Clinton, saying he lied about trying to get bin Laden.

Want to feel some righteous indignation? Read the rest ...

You have to hand it to them. They're consistent and they're relentless. They've dug themselves a hole and, rather than accept the blame for putting the country in an untenable situation, they look for ways to "blame Bill"! Their sense of "taking personal responsibility" that they tout so proudly, only applies to the other fella in the end.

I remember those cruise missiles, the "aspirin factory" and all the hearty choruses of "wag the dog" sung so loudly on the right side of the aisle. I remember the accusations that Clinton was trying to distract the nation from the "real" and "important" issue ... a friggin' blow job! Now they've taken us hip deep into the big muddy. They've taken us into Iraq, a country that had NOTHING WHAT-SO-EVER to do with 9/11. They took their eye off the ball when they pulled troops from Afghanistan to bolster an adventure in a more target rich neighborhood - calculating that bombing people barely out of the stone age back into the stone age didn't make good television. They let bed Linen escape at Tora Bora because, they said, he just wasn't that important.

And now that they've screwed up everything ... literally everything, from international affairs to domestic issues ... the people who vilified Clinton for trying to do something about the terrorist threat, who controlled Congress at the time and worked overtime to block any actions against bed Linen ... now step forward with a straight face and vilify Clinton for NOT DOING ENOUGH? And then they REWRITE HISTORY, leaving out some very important details, as they try to blame someone else for the mess they've brought down upon us?

If I'd ever voted for these people I would hide my face in shame! If I were honest and sincere I would ... if I really cared about "fair and balanced", that is ... if facts mattered to me more than ideology ... if I were honest and honorable, that is, rather than being just like them ... caring more about my party and its ideology than I care about my country.

Thinking Like a Terrorist

by John Sherry on Huffington Post

Circa 2000: You've joined one of the groups that align with the network calling itself Al Qaeda. You're incensed over many past wrongs, what you perceive as injustices and atrocities going back a long time, but the most immediate, galling, and unacceptable indignity has been the lingering presence of Western military powers in Muslim lands, particularly the Middle East (to use that colonial British term). You'd like to rid these lands of Western influences, but that really means challenging U.S. domination in the region, along with their allies and surrogates. In your wildest geo-strategic fantasy, you'd love to humiliate, if not destroy the United States.

But there's a big problem with that ambitious goal: Al Qaeda has no standing army. You have no tanks. No jet fighters. No submarines. No ICBMs. You have neither the manpower nor the material with which to fight the United States on military terms, and you certainly have no way to subdue the American population were you somehow, miraculously, to prevail in a conventional battlefield showdown.

There's no way you can accomplish your goals in the short term -- thus you have to calibrate your strategy for the long haul. You need to prepare for warfare spanning not just several years, but rather a protracted, potentially intergenerational struggle that could last decades or even centuries. Bleed the enemy to death through a thousand cuts over time rather than one big blow. It worked with the Soviet Union. Get them bogged down in Afghanistan, until they were brought to their knees. That former superpower, by the way, is no more. Remember that your advantage is a potentially limitless supply of jihadist recruits willing to commit the ultimate personal sacrifice via suicide. But to take full advantage of that comparative advantage, you can't fight them "over there"; you need to fight them "over here."

There's a little more ...

The jingoistic, macho, chest-thumping, right wing-nut Neocons who trumpet "victory at any cost" don't bother to read history.

Historically, most battles and wars have been lost by underestimating the enemy. Hitler underestimated the Soviet Union and lost. Japan underestimated the United States during the Second World War and lost. The Soviet union underestimated the mujahadin in Afghanistan and had their a$$es handed to them. Egypt, Syria and Jordan underestimated Israel when they attacked from three directions during the Yom Kippur War and got clobbered. The United States underestimated the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong and was forced to retreat.

It's not superior technology that wins wars. If that were the case, we'd probably be speaking German. Hitler had better tanks, better airplanes, better trained soldiers, developed the jet fighter sooner, and excelled in the development of the rocket as a weapon of war but the technology didn't save him or the Thousand Year Reich.

The single most decisive factor in winning wars is knowing the enemy. By knowing the enemy, one can develop strategies that play to the enemies weaknesses and smaller forces can thereby use those weaknesses as leverage against larger forces.

The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army lost every major battle during the Vietnam War, yet, in the end, they prevailed.

Right wing-nut Neocons try to frame the debate by saying those who oppose "staying the course" hate America and want America to loose. That's not the case by a long shot. It's a mis-direction. Most of those who oppose the "surge strategy" recognize that it is based on brute force and not on a knowledge of the enemy, his strengths and weaknesses, the "lay of the land", and the historical context. If the "surge strategy" is a strategy at all, it's a "Tar Baby" Strategy; a strategy that results in worsening the situation the more one struggles against it.

To say that those who oppose the current approach to fighting terrorism either don't understand the threat or want to loose to terrorism is absurd in the extreme. Those who oppose the manner in which the war on terrorism is being conducted recognize that to continue doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is a good definition of insanity.

Knowing the enemy is key and the United States bungled into this war in Iraq based on faulty assumptions.

It assumed there was a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam. There wasn't. Al Qaeda is a religious movement bent on establishing a Pan Arabic state based on Islamic law and is opposed to ANY secular government in the Middle East. Saddam was a meglamaniacal, secular despot with no interest sharing power with anyone and saw the accumulation of power in the hands by anyone in Iraq other than himself as a threat. Assuming there was a connection between two natural enemies was a mistake and a stunning case of not knowing the enemy.

It was assumed that Islam was a monolith; that all Muslims were the same. We are rapidly learning that's not the case. There are Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims and they hate each other to death, literally. Then there are the Kurds who, though they are predominantly Sunni, are a different ethnic group who have their own culture and no love for the desert Sunni. Our so called planners were unaware of the depth of the divides between these groups and that's another case of not knowing the enemy.

Al Qaeda, on the other hand, is very much aware of the divisions between these groups and is using the divisions to lubricate what we are calling "sectarian" infighting to destabilize the region.

Denying that we are caught in the middle of a multi-party civil war is silly. Pretending that we can somehow resolve thousand year old animosities and unite thousand year old enemies with a couple purple thumbs is absurd. Failure to recognize and learn from our mistakes (those above and a myriad of others) is counter productive and ensures defeat ... not unlike the soviets experienced at the hands of the mujahadin over the course of ten years in Afghanistan.

But, if you don't read history, how would you know?

As a side note, strategy is a wonderful thing and you can't win much of anything without one. Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is a classic written some 2,400 years ago. It's easy to read and pretty straight forward. It's not overly long or unintelligibly complicated. However, it does take some focused thought and study to understand it.

After 2,400 years it is still recognized as the single most comprehensive and authoritative treaties on strategy ... unrivaled in scope and insight. Incidentally, it talks a lot about how a small army can trash a large army.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Garden Fire

Mexican Bird of Paradise near sunset.

P.S. Click on the title "Garden Fire" and go directly to the blog to see the new header. Comments on the image and the header are more than welcome.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

When ideology trumps fact and reason ...

Whistleblowers on Fraud Facing Penalties

from Forbes

One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.

He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers - all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.

The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.

Moe about your tax dollars hard at work ...

Why would Bush cite 'The Quiet American'?

uh ... because neither he nor his speech writers are literate enough to read for content?

by Frank James

In his speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City today, President Bush summoned up the Alden Pyle CIA agent character of Graham Greene's classic Vietnam novel "The Quiet American" which is essentially a contemplation on the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

I'm not sure he really wanted to go there or why his speech writers would take him there.

There's always more. This time it's in the Chicago Tribune.

NeoCon Gold

Get yours NOW!!!

Rush = Severely Inellectually Challenged

LIMBAUGH: Here's [caller] in Lake Orion, Michigan. Thank you for calling. Great to have you on the EIB Network.

CALLER: Hey, Rush. It's great to talk to you. I talked to you once before. I've been listening to you for a couple of years now, and I think I'm getting brighter, but there's a lot to be learned. I know I'm no expert in foreign affairs, but what really confuses me about the liberals is the hypocrisy when they talk about how we have no reason to be in Iraq and helping those people, but yet everybody wants us to go to Darfur. I mean, aren't we going to end up in a quagmire there? I mean, isn't it -- I don't understand. Can you enlighten me on this?

LIMBAUGH: Yeah. This is -- you're not going to believe this, but it's very simple. And the sooner you believe it, and the sooner you let this truth permeate the boundaries you have that tell you this is just simply not possible, the better you will understand Democrats in everything. You are right. They want to get us out of Iraq, but they can't wait to get us into Darfur.

CALLER: Right.

LIMBAUGH: There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur?

CALLER: Uh, yeah.

LIMBAUGH: It's black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they're in trouble.

CALLER: Yes. Yes. The black population.

LIMBAUGH: Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela -- who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.

CALLER: It's just -- I can't believe it's really that simple.


LIMBAUGH: Right. That's exactly right. You've got it. You've got it. Now you just have to believe your own instincts from here on out.

OK ... sounds reasonable to you? How about taking a look at the critique?

An open letter to the moving company

After moving with Ralph’s Transfer (second time in three years) we owe you a hearty “thank you” for all the help and support your staff has provided and for making our most recent move as painless as humanly possible.

We would particularly like to extend our most sincere thanks to Mike, Steve and Jason who saw us through packing, loading and unloading with professionalism of the highest order, good humor and a lot of “hustle”. They were efficient and tireless in everything they did for us. Though the plan called for loading the truck on one day and delivering on the next, they felt they could accomplish both phases of the move in a single day – a plus for us – and they worked very hard to make it happen.

If your company has provision of “Employee of the Month” awards, we would like to nominate all three of them for the honor. They worked hard and represented their company very well. They all deserve recognition.

Joe and Candy Kozlowski

Hilary gets it totally bass ackwards

“I’m respectfully asking al Qaeda for a brief hiatus,” said Sen. Clinton, “until we can accomplish our shared goal of removing Republicans from power.”

Read the rest ...

WTF? The Republican Party is the best thing that ever happened to al Qaeda! Their fear induced war mongering and crusader mentality has been the best recruiting tool Ossama bed Linen could have ever imagined.

Without Republican jingoism and abysmal ignorance about the middle east (there's more than one kind of Muslim? duh!), without their rush to war in Iraq behind the leadership of a C-, socially promoted, draft dodging, inarticulate, consistent business failure, bed Linen would be cornered and at bay (if not dead by now) in Afghanistan. But neither they nor the current occupant of the White House could tell the difference between a secular strong man on a power trip and a religious fanatic on a mission - neither of whom would ever share power with the other. Too late, the Republicans are waking up the the realization that they've been had by their own faith-based initiative to bring overnight, 21st century multi-party democracy to an artificial nation-state run by 10h century tribal affiliations and blood feuds for the last 3,000 years - while attempting to reduce our own government to a one party, totalitarian system.

Hilary gets it totally wrong. The LAST thing al Qaeda wants to see is the Republicans loose power. A powerless Republican Party, the party of irrational fear and saber rattling "bring-'em-on" bravado would eliminate most of al Qaeda's reason for existing.

If bed Linen could "vote early and vote often" he'd vote in his own best interest and his best interest is to keep ignorance and xenophobia on the Crusade. Without doubt bed Linen would like it just fine if the Bush-bozo could be re-elected for a third term.

Giuliani Redux

or more about "The Best They Have to Offer":

Here ...

Are the Republicans joking?

Finding Home

In The Garden at Sunset

Candy and I have been together for abut 11 years at this point. We started in a rented house in Denville, NJ that we shared with an insane woman and her spawn from hell. Within six months we were looking for a place without the sharing and bought a townhouse in Succasunna, NJ. We were there for two years. Friends moved to the Poconos and we went to visit. It was a "light years" improvement over the townhouse. Not that the town house was a bad thing. It was good and it served its purpose well.

We inherited a house in Tucson, AZ about five years ago ... well, 1/4 of a house in Tucson, anyway. That, and a condo in upstate New York. We turned the condo in Upstate New York into cash and bought the other 3/4 of the house in Tucson with the intention of keeping it as a winter hideout.

Within a year, the company I worked for decided it was going to merge operations with another company it had purchased several years before. Knowing that it would be a hassle and sensing that I was getting too old for that kind of BS and, more importantly, being aware from years of experience that the first man to the captain with a plan .... has THE plan ... I took a plan to management that would give them everything of any significance they had been getting from me for the last decade for less money; I would pay my own benefits; I would move from a head count (liability) on the books to being a business expense (read dollar for dollar tax deduction). In exchange, I would never have to go into the office again and they would pay me against a monthly invoice under the terms and conditions of a consulting contract we would agree on.

Off to Arizona as an independent consultant! We moved from a 2,100 square foot, 4 bedroom house in the Poconos to a 1,400 square foot, two bedroom house in the suburbs of Tucson with the intention of blowing it out to about 2,500 square feet with second story office space and mountain views of the Catalinas that one would have to pay on the order of a million to get elsewhere in the Tucson area.

We hired an architect and one year into the project we were nine months behind the schedule he'd outlined, and just getting working drawings. We'd retained a contractor who, in his quest for a building permit to start work, uncovered a zoning issue that the architect should have been aware of before he started drawings. I fired him at a cost in five figures.

In a rage we sold the little hose at a nice profit and bought a two story home that backed up against a major traffic artery. The space was far from perfect. It was not "our" house, but it would do.

The point of all this? I had a conversation with Candy recently. I told her that since I was 18 and left my parents home, I have moved on an average of every 2 years, 11 months and 10 days,. Honest! I figured it out. In any case, what I told Candy is that I've never had a feeling of being home. Everything has always been temporary, transitory and somewhat alien in nature. I've never felt a connection with a place nor have I ever experienced the sense that where I lived was "home" ... MY home ... OUR home ...

I'm pleased to say that our new place runs contrary to all of that ... we both have a sense of "home" here. It's a new feeling for me. A previously unexperienced sensation, at least for me. Unlike any time in the past, we both plan to be here, in this place, for a long time. As Candy says, the next move will be with coffins.