Friday, September 30, 2005

Senator Bill, Senator Bill...

That danged Biased Media is at it again, what with actually reporting something claiming Senator Frist is being investigated by the SEC for his miraculously timed sale of HCA stock a mere ten trading days before the stock took a nose dive because of a bad earnings report.

It's all bias, I tell you, just like Ann Coulter says.

Why Senator Bill has told them repeatedly that he didn't even know he had HCA stock in that blind trust. In January 2003, He told the liberally biased Associated Press,

"So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock."

See...the problem is not just the Press being Biased...It's the Facts, too!

Facts are Liberal...Can't be trusted!

It is a biased fact that Senator Bill was notified by his Trustee, just two weeks before he made that "truthful" statement about not owning any HCA stock, that in biased fact...he did.

Got told three times the year before, that he did....See how biased these danged facts are?

See...the way the Facts work, if you are a Republican, is that if a fact proves you're lying...well then it has to be biased.

Take this one for instance:

Senator Bill said, "It is illegal right now for me to know what the composition of those trusts are. So I have no idea."

Fact is, Senator Bill had just submitted his financial report to the senate indicating,

"Frist had a general knowledge of his trust holdings -- including HCA and several other health organizations."

Facts are liberal...Biased...Can't be trusted...When it comes down to who ya gonna believe, Senator Bill or the Facts....

And anyway, How would Senator Bill know about the bad earnings report in the first place, eh? I mean it's not like his Dad founded the company and his brother is a member of the Board of Directors...I mean who believes this stuff?

Facts are so biased...Can't be believed.

Just ask a Creationist! They have a ton of practice at this sort of thing. Facts cannot be trusted...




References for all these danged "Facts" can be found here:


WCJ Joke of the Day

Tom DeLay

No, that's not it. Tom Delay is a much hated person even within his own party. He's the picture of hypocrisy...corrupt and sociopathic, like most of the Republican leadership, now that I think about it. Consider the lunacy in this statement

"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills." –Tom DeLay


But at least we're getting great jokes about Tom and Republicans in general, right now:

"Today a Texas grand jury indicted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay for conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme. This is the most embarrassing thing to happen to the Republicans since... yesterday." --Jay Leno

"Tom DeLay said he had a new priority in life -- outlawing prison rape." --Jay Leno

"Cindy Sheehan, she is the mother who was demonstrating in Texas. She was arrested at the White House for sitting down, doing nothing, and refusing to move. You know, if that's the criteria, they should arrest all those White House energy advisers." --Jay Leno
"John Kerry said he was never clear about where John Roberts stood on the issues and for that reason he's not voting for him. That's the same reason Roberts didn’t vote for Kerry." --Jay Leno

And the WhitesCreek Journal Joke of the day:

"President Bush has asked the FBI to start an anti-obscenity task force to the fight the war against pornography. ... Bush said he's serious about this war on pornography. He said he will seek out and find all weapons of Mass...

-- turbation."

--Jay Leno

Lisa is in fine form:

Adam Felbers has a witty twist on all this...the comments are worthy, too:



Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fun with Geography...(and Laundered money)

Tom Delay has been rebuked three times by the House ethics panel, which is pretty tough considering it is controlled by Republicans, who are ethically challenged, by definition.

Tom also has become the first House Majority Leader in history to be indighted in office. Congratulations, Tom! An honor well deserved.

But it really is the red herring in all this.

Here is why the Tom Delay money laundering indictment is such a big deal.

Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing Congressional Districts so that a political party can take power when, otherwise, it could not win in a geographically sensible district.

Both parties do it, and it needs to stop. What it does is to make sure that a vote by one person means less than a vote by another. Say Republicans are a minority party in an area of Texas, which they are.

In two districts let's say Republicans account for 40% of voters compared to 60% for the Democrats. They would lose every Congressional election as a result of not being able to convince voters that their ideas were sound and deserving.

But here comes Tom Delay with his illegally obtained and laundered money, along with all sorts of other shenanigans, involving the FBI and shredded documents, and Texas Rangers ordered by the Republican Governor to arrest State Democrat Representatives (True, by the way) and then they rearrange the map so that the Districts look like a jigsaw puzzle and all the Democrats wind up in one district and the Republicans wind up in another.

Presto!...Instead of two Democratic districts, you have one Democrat and one Republican.

But the Republicans are the minority! How did they get a seat?

By juggling the geographical areas to make the other party's votes count less. It's just that simple. And it was done with illegally laundered money and who knows what all else.

Tom is now a hero to Karl Rove, who told him how to do this in the first place, and George Bush get's to push through all kinds of idiotic spending schemes that make Dick Cheney richer.

Just so you'll know, Here are the five Texas Congressmen who would were elected through Tom Delay's illegal scheme. If they had any honor, they would step down and ask for new districting and a new election...

But they won't!

Louie Gohmert (R-1st)

Ted Poe (R-2nd)

Michael McCaul (R-10th)

Mike Conaway (R-11th)

Kenny Marchant (R-24th)



Oh yeah, Here's a map of Tennessee's Congressional distrcts which are nearly as goofy as Texas's, except they were done far as we know.

Here's a fun place you can go and see your own state's congressional districts. Aren't maps fun?

national atlas

What? His daughter got away?

Tom Delay's eye tuck looked really good on TV yesterday, don't you think?

Tom is a servant of corruption at the highest levels in this country and this indightment is just the start of his legal troubles. The really nasty stuff is going to hit the fan and be splattered all over America before the flies finish eating, and that would be Tom's playing Steppin' Fetchit for Bob Abramoff. Abramoff is the big time lobbyist whose partners get blown away when they are no longer useful and know too much. They would get whacked if they grew a conscience, too, but that seems highly unlikely.

I mean why feel bad about the destruction of everything great about America, as long as you come out the other end with shitloads of cash and pieces of real estate deals in lots of golf courses? And not only that...Well...don't get me started on all of Tom's fake charities he wants you to send money to...

Anyway, there's some great humor errupting from all of Tom's self inflicted troubles. The world loves it when a real creep finally gets the house brought down on his testicles...tiny though they may be.

First a couple of Texans:

Juanita's sharp tongue, or rather fingernails since she typed it, I guess:

"... the joke in Austin is that men usually don't have as many lawyers as Tom currently does unless they've killed their wives, have some strange guy living in their pool house, and plan on making a break for it in a Bronco."


And from Charles Pugsley Fincher:

(You'll have to go there...I couldn't get the upload to work)

the scribble

(Word has it that Tom has a little history chasing lewinskies but we'll leave it alone...)

And from Wonkette, the news that Tom's replacement is of the same sexual persuation as Ken Melman, Republican National Committee Chairman:
The House Majority Affinity Whose Name We Dare Not Speak
"OK people, you can stop forwarding the hectic emails announcing that "interim" House Majority Leader David Drier is a little light in the loafers. Its Wonkette HQ policy to refrain from the outing of allegedly gay Republicans, on the simple grounds that being gay and Republican is more than sufficient punishment for anyone we might be moved to excoriate on grounds of hypocrisy. What's more, how shocking is it that someone who might have an affinity for the less fair sex could be the adjutant for a man who formerly made his living by encouraging adolescent boys to don skintight leotards and roll around in each other's sweaty grasp until one of them was spent, breathless, and achy? Next you'll be telling us that George W. Bush employs former oil company executives". -- HOLLY MARTINS


It's all gonna be fun...except that it is so tragic that America could be in the hands of such corrupt people.



Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Thank God

Thanks to Pith in the wind for pointing this one out:

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies."

Thank God

Fall Color

What did you expect? A Dogwood tree?

Hey, Zach!

Got a lot of response to the Corridor K road boondoggle that Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp is backing. This is the road which would cut through two of the best mountain bike trail systems in Tennessee, with two monster bridges over the Ocoee River Olympic section, and which would cut through a wilderness area and Chilhowee park in Tennessee. It isn't quite as bad as the Interstate 3 proposal but it's close. Republicans seem hellbent on bankrupting America with spending every last dime they can put on America's credit card.

Zach didn't learn that this is a problem back when he was in the private sector...We had better get to him pretty fast because...Now...He's got OUR credit card!

While you are at it, make sure you let Zach know you aren't exactly happy with Interstate 3 or the Corrider K boondoggle. Ask him to go back and read that "Contract On America" thing he got into office touting.

Here's the very first item in the "Contract":

1. THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out- of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.



Write to Zach Wamp:

Here's his web page contact sheet. Don't know how this works but I suspect you'll get a fundraising letter at some point. If Zach decides to represent ALL his constituents instead of just the Corporate interests and rich people, maybe he deserves support. Not happening so far...but it could.

Hey, Zach!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Come on, Zach!

I have to think about just how badly the situation is sometimes. I try to be happy but, dang, it's hard to just whistle a happy tune through the stupidity.

In America, there are precious few places left that you can go to and not hear a car or truck. This is, after all, why our troops are being blown up in the Middle East.

There's always some group that thinks they can make money destroying what is left of the once great North American forests and natural areas. In Tennessee, there are two left. The remaining forests of the Cumberland Plateau, and the forests contained in and near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Both are under serious attack from the short sighted forces of greed.

If you thought the Alaskan "Bridge to nowhere" at a cost of nearly three hundred million dollars was stupidly wasteful, you should check out the Corridor K debacle being pushed by Congressman Zach Wamp. It was being pushed hard by TN State Representative Chris Newton, but he had to resign from the Legislature after he plead guilty to corruption charges...

Uh Huh!

The K road could cost 2.3 Billion bucks. Tennessee would have to fund 20% of that or roughly $460,000,000.00!

That would be for 23 miles of road, from Ducktown to Benton, Tennessee. Zach wants the rafting companies on the Ocoee river to take up this cause. He says

“We don’t want Earth First! to determine this route. We don’t want a small minority to dictate for the overwhelming majority.”

Zach has been reading Karl Rove's handbook or something. Find some one to make into an "enemy", a boogeyman, and say they are against something and since they are the bad guys that means you should be for this thing, which in fact is absolutely stupid to begin with.

Zach proposes to tax the crap out of everybody in Tennessee in order to pay for a lousy 23 miles of road that would slice across one of our last remaining wilderness areas, cut through the Cherokee National Forest, and rip down Chilhowee mountain.

Both the Chilhowee Mountain bike trails and the Ocoee Olympic Center Mountain bike trails would be seriously impacted, possibly destroyed. Two interstatelike bridges would impact the Ocoee River crossing over stretches that are heavily rafted.

Mountain Bikers, Paddlers, and hikers are not the only ones who ought to be howling about this one. Every taxpayer in Tenneesee should write Zach Wamp a letter asking, no, TELLING him to think about this one. Tell him the Corridor K road isn't quite as stupid as the Interstate 3 proposal, but danged close!

And as for everybody else in America...Are you gonna let Tennessee piss away roughly 2 Billion dollars of your money just to so people can get from Murphy North Carolina to Benton Tennessee?

After all...Benton Tennessee is the Home of the Famous RedNeck Games...Loved by...well I won't say who, but you know!



Here's the



And for you Pastafarians out there, be sure and read the letters from all the PHD's in support of the Church of FSM:

Oh Great and Powerful FSM

Monday, September 26, 2005

Instant Message

Stevescarb: morning
good rain, eh?

IMer YEs, and cooler! Hooray!
Rain is good

Stevescarb: do anything fun this weekend

IMer I couldn't believe how dry it was when I planted the rain lilies
Went hiking in N.C.
Up near Hot Springs

Stevescarb: I ate Thai food twice
must run today
: pants too tight

IMer At least it has veggies
Where the Thai?

Stevescarb: Creenville Sc

IMer got it
That place must really have changed since I interviewed for a job there in, oh, 1988
Was a nasty little mill town
Maybe not nasty

Stevescarb: It's really nice now

IMer I know. People speak of it in glopwing terms

Stevescarb: downtown has come a long way

IMer glowing

Stevescarb: glopwing seems good too

IMer Must get down there

Stevescarb: Annie got to see Joseph
Stevescarb: Happy wife

IMer Very good!

IMer The newspaper at the time was fukk of protectionist-type people

Stevescarb: I understand fukk

IMer Damn

IMer No caffeine yet

Stevescarb: Textiles went away and now they are just rabidly right wing
Stevescarb: much better?

Stevescarb: got a good counter insurgency going from the left

IMer My friend who has turned right wingy on me was in town, but we made excuses not to have Sunday brunch

Stevescarb: hard aintit?

IMer I can't understand how people with a brain can be that way. And she's in social services
Teaches them, head of her department at college
I attribute it to greed and fear
They can make you stupid

Stevescarb: Ok, here is why that is....The same human mechanism that fuels racism is at work. It is complex and simple at the same time.

IMer I'm listening

Stevescarb: Those driving the right know that these people are simply first order thinkers and that it requires second order to realize they are lying

Stevescarb: Intelligence is not just "smart" is meditation and the "On further review" part of thinking

Stevescarb: This is what is being killed by the Jody McClouds of this world

IMer Yeah, any time we do talk about something, instead of addressing my point, she diverts... such a classic right-wing thing

Stevescarb: That's why you can say horrible things about someone and get them to stick even when they aren't true

IMer Limbaughesque even

Stevescarb: of course

Stevescarb: that's wher the Ditto head term comes from...repeat without thinking

Stevescarb: It takes a personal courage to overcome and the majority of people are simply chickenshits

IMer yes. I hear her quoting Fox ... but damn -- I just thought she was smarter than that

Stevescarb: Smart and intelligent aren't the same

Stevescarb: it is like short term and long term planning

Stevescarb: one gets you through the gets you through gets you a good wife/partner/ gets you an STD

Stevescarb: America has the mental equivalent of an STD in its right wing

IMer Yup. It's just that this side of her has just emerged in the last four-five years and has gotten much worse. I guess it was always there

IMer She and I have been friends since college. I just never saw that in her before -- except maybe once

Stevescarb: It all changed when they destroyed the fairness doctrine in the media...When it went from one person, one one dollar, one vote...That screwed us

IMer Those have happened

IMer Money is back to being power

Stevescarb: Freedom of speech was never intended to be on the basis of how much air time you could buy

Stevescarb: If that doesn't get changed...we won't survive as a nation

IMer I agree.

So folks...Do you agree?

What cha gonna do about it?

Got Courage?


Among the Cloud Monsters

The most beautiful time in the Gorge is probably right after the rain stops. The mist can't decide which way to go and plays peekaboo with the trees and the cliffs on the far side.

The photos don't do'll just have to come out and drink coffee with me and look out through the windows.

What's left of the most recent hurricane is passing through with much needed moisture. There are crazy people out there who burn things. In fifteen years here, there have been several forest fires and not one is has been natural.

There are two times of the year that fires get started: Fall, as leaves beging to drop, and Spring, right before they come out again. These are the dry times. This is a good time for rain but I will hope to see it again in a few weeks, when the new fuel lying on the ground will be a temptation for the crazy people. It only takes one, you know...

...Particularly if he gets elected.

Didn't think it could happen in America, did we?



ps: Speaking of photos, even though I said they don't do justice(mine anyway), PW would like to see more... I'll try. I spent the weekend shooting soccer games. I'm good at that...The cloud Monsters are too sneaky to show up well, so far. Perhaps I should hold up a mirror to see if they really exist?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Night Song

Quiet has its own sound.

Here I am, far away from highways or other human disturbances and the night is extremely noisy. The last of the Katydids and some other little invertebrate beasts of the night are rattling their exoskeletons to the base line of the nights music. Not much happening in the midrange but the tweeters are working up a frenzy on the edge of my high pitch hearing range.

Soon the cold will come and change the song of the night. I think I'll try to get in one more swim in the hot part of the day before that happens.



Thursday, September 22, 2005


From Facing South:

Community Labor United -- an excellent group of grassroots activists in Louisiana and Mississippi and their allies -- have released a new dispatch about their work to ensure Gulf reconstruction serves ordinary people, not the developers, contractors and other powerful interests seeking to impose their agenda on the region.

Provide funds for all displaced families to be reunited;
Allocate the $50 billion for reconstruction to the victims of the hurricane in the form of a Victims Compensation Fund;
Accept representation on all boards that are making decisions on spending public dollars for relief and reconstruction;
Place displaced workers and residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in public works jobs, offering union wages;
Publicly account for and show the entire reconstruction process.

More here from Facing South:


Those were the days, my friends...

Well, what happens when you have a guy with a history of bad decisions making decisions?

You get, "What kind of decisions, Class?"

Bad decisions come from somewhere dark and ignorant. it takes a thoughtfull mind to see clearly and head us in the right direction. As we have seen with the botched Iraq war and the botched rescue and relief effort after hurricane Katrina, bad decisions cost lives...innocent lives.

Whitehouse Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, designed the Homeland Security Department, Largest Beaurocracy in the history of planet Earth. he let George Bush make a couple of key decisions, specifically: Abolish FEMA as a stand alone Cabinet level agency and make it part of something similar to the National Guard and the Coast Guard.

Both decisions turn out to be monumentally disasterous in the plainest sense of that word.

So how does a person become dark and ignorant? It is a personal choice! It is the choice of saying "I don't want to know!" It is a closing of the mind to uncomfortable knowlege, however liberating. It is a constant source of amazement to me, that so many people desire ignorance. Don't read and don't hear. if something sneaks through that osmotic membrane of the mind that normally filters out uncomfortable knowlege, it gets destroyed by a conscious decision to ignore...because it contradicts something already decided upon.

Conservatives must be reeling with new knowlege in the face of the collapse of their myth...They simply cannot run a government. From what I've seen, Conservatives can't even run a little league baseball team, let alone a corporation.

Predatory morality may get you rich, but it won't get you happy.


Consider the following with a grain or three of salt:

Under the heading:

"Now we know why he took so long to act on Katrina!"

The National Enquirer becomes the largest paper to state that George Bush's drinking problem has resurfaced. Yeah, I know, it is the Enquirer. But the same folks who read it are the ones who voted Bush and the other Neo-cons into office:

Bush is under the worst pressure of his two terms in office and his popularity is near an all-time low. The handling of the Katrina crisis and troop losses in Iraq have fueled public discontent and pushed Bush back to drink...

A Washington source said: "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him — but the word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's been in a pressure cooker for months.

Another source said: "A family member told me they fear George is 'falling apart.' The First Lady has been assigned the job of gatekeeper." Bush's history of drinking dates back to his youth. Speaking of his time as a young man in the National Guard, he has said: "One thing I remember, and I'm most proud of, is my drinking and partying. Those were the days my friends. Those were the good old days!"




Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Went to a debate at the local Community college.

It was supposedly between an ACLU representative and a conservative lawyer and the burning question was whether the word meanings of the Constitution have changed or remained constant, or something like that.

The ACLU guy was young, idealistic, and way out of his league. The Conservative Lawyer had expensive looking hair, and was apparently unbounded by the inconveniences of fact.

Before the thing started I had no clue as to which side each lawyer would be on. I read the Constitution as pretty solid for the most part, but I do think you have to remember the day and time it was written and understand the intent, not the wordage of the founders of our great, but deteriorating, nation.

The Con lawyer was big on saying things like the Liberal court is going to force homosexual marriage on us and has outlawed the Pledge of Allegiance...neither of which is true...quite the opposite, in fact. Courts are merely saying that homosexuals must be allowed the exact same privileges as any other citizen and that no agent of the Federal government is allowed to "force" anyone, particularly a child, from swearing a pledge under some god of the state.

...And...Shotgun weddings being pretty much impossible to set up in these kinds of situations, no one will be forced to marry a homosexual,.

The ACLU guy was big on facts, the Conservative guy was big on fear...Neither one made any kind of a case, whatsoever, for his side of the argument, but the members of the audience who had the pre-existing condition of conservative leanings came away even more afraid of being forced to actually coexist with a gay person and thinking that the Bill of Rights probably never should have been passed in the first place.

Those with leftish tendencies came away realizing that the Bill of Rights is hanging by a thread under a conservative government, that there is no "Right to privacy", and since the Constitution never mentions the word "Democracy", that is the reason Geroge Bush could be elected President by the Supreme Court.

I don't know if I have made it clear that it is the "Conservative" side that thinks words can't change meanings.

I did not ask a question when the opportunity arose, but I wanted to. I wanted to ask about the darling of the conservative movement, the Second amendment. Here it is:

"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."

The day that was ratified, the word "Arms" meant essentially muzzle loading guns, big and small. If the Conservative position is correct, how can that word "Arms", be taken today to refer to 50 caliber repeating firearms capable of shooting down a jet aircraft? Wouldn't that be the Liberal interpretation?

I guess I just don't understand.



In reading about the 2nd amendment I ran across this statement:

"Perhaps in the 1780's, the rise of a tyrant to a leadership position in the U.S. was a cause for concern. Today, the voters are much too sophisticated to elect a leader whose stated aims would be to suppress freedom or declare martial law. For the leader whose unstated aim it was to seize the nation, the task would be more than daunting - it would be next to impossible. The size and scope of the conspiracy needed, the cooperation of patriots who would see right through such a plan -- it is unfathomable, the stuff of fiction."


Here's a good discussion for you:

2nd Amendment

Got this in the mail bag...Could that be PW?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hopping Sermon

"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural & spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity" Albert Einstein

John sent his thoughts about Buddhism:


As much as I like the Dalai Lama and his philosophy, anyone who understands Buddhism will hold off on calling it a “religion,” at least one comparable to the theistic religions. Science explains the workings of the perceived universe, and has always been welcomed by Buddhists, who would perhaps say they are more concerned, spiritually, with the not-perceived universe. The major difference between Buddhists and believers in theistic religions, in my view, is that Buddhism concerns itself with the individual and his/her achieving happiness amid the exigencies of daily existence. “God” is irrelevant to this world view. Theists see man’s purpose as service to God, individual happiness being a secondary benefit, even something that can be dispensed with altogether in favor of paradise in the next life. It seems to me that Buddhism offers a far more practical approach to dealing with the very real issues of human pain and suffering, our own or that of others, than do the theistic religions. Interestingly, Buddhism and the theistic religions express the same basic ethical rule: do not do to others that which you would not want done to yourself.

My two cents,


Interesting, John.

I don't quibble with those who call Buddhism a religion any more than I quibble with those who do. I sort of think that this is beside the point I was trying to make about how "religions" tend to lie, claiming "truth" where no facts exist.

Most Theistic religions have a body of historical myth, usually a mix of oral history and supernatural occurances, used to justify the particular religion's claim to be the one "True" belief system. When science, and its stringent method of determining the validity of any claim, contadicts religion, Religion tends to attack science. Buddhism is an exception to this disgusting practice.

There is no science whatsoever behind the Buddhist belief in reincarnation, for instance, though Buddhist texts speak of reincarnation as a known entity and weasels by saying that science cannot disprove it, so far. The "knowing" of the unknowable makes it a religion to me.

Reincarnation, in my thinking, falls into the same category as heaven and hell in more familiar mythologies...The reward, if you act as the religion suggests, and the boogeyman, that'll get you if you don't.

Interestingly, Buddist philosophy accepts my personal inability to accept the supernatural part of Buddism...Something no other major religion would tolerate.

As a continuing service to my poor suffering readers, here is a quickie on Buddhism from a web site I visit often. There are good resources in abundant supply at the home page, but I've given you the short cut to today's topic.

Be sure to think about the Five Precepts:



And now this:

Consider the story of the two octogenarians on a park bench. One asks the other: "Do you believe in heaven?"

"Well, Joe," replies Harry, "I've never really thought much about it."

"Maybe we ought to start thinking about it," says Joe. "One of us is going to go first. Let's agree that the one who is left behind will come to this park bench every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., and the one who has departed will find a way of getting a message to him at that time about heaven and all those other things that are beyond our understanding."

Harry agrees.

One month later, Joe dies peacefully in his sleep. Every week for several months, Harry takes up his station at the park bench at 11:00 a.m.

Then one Wednesday, at the appointed hour, he hears a voice, as though from afar.

"Harry, Harry, can you hear me?" the voice says. "It's Joe."

"Joe! Oh my gosh! Quick... heaven... what is it like?"

"You wouldn't believe it, Harry, about the only thing you do up here is make love. They wake you up at seven in the morning and you make love until noon. After lunch and a nap, you're at it again right through until dinner time."

"Good gosh, Joe, heaven sounds incredible!"

"I'm not in Heaven, Harry...I'm a rabbit in Montana!"

Monday, September 19, 2005

Nuts and Bark

The plight of the trees touched a spot in several of you. Here is the page of the American Chestnut Foundation. Check out the picture of the tree from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Library!

Chestnut Foundation

Wow! There's a book out that reflects the thinking of...

... a compassionate and clearheaded account by a religious leader who not only respects science but, for the most part, embraces it.

"If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in (religion) to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims," he writes.

No one who wants to understand the world "can ignore the basic insights of theories as key as evolution, relativity and quantum mechanics."

Imperfect, of course, but this religious leader who embraces the Dalai Llama.

Today starts the NYTIMES great experiment...We'll all be watching.



Sunday, September 18, 2005

Berry Ramble

Dogwood berries seem to be covering the big tree shading the front deck. They are as red as I've ever seen them. Southeasterners know dogwood trees make red berries in the Fall, so why is this a big deal? Most Southeasterners also know about dogwood blight, one on the many many diseases killing signature trees in the South.

Killing off our Southern legacy is a time honored tradition.

Chestnuts were the first to go. Chestnut wood is amazing stuff. Beautiful, hard, resistant to rot and insects...not to fungus though. Chestnut wood was so good, that some lumbermen were disappointed that it didn't grow back fast enough after they cut it all down. They wanted "more"...someone always does. As the American Chestnut was timbered into scarcity, the Chinese Chestnut was brought into America to make up for it. Riding along on the Chinese tree was a fungus that spread to every American Chestnut tree...they mostly all died.

Rumor has it that there are a few blight resistant trees out there, but so far, an American Chestnut recovery is a distant goal.

Reality is that the dominant tree of the Great Smoky Mountains is gone. A testament to the carelessness and shortsightedness of greed. I have seen a picture of an American Chestnut tree that was fifteen feet in diameter. Now, we usually see the sprouts on the old surviving roots and that's all. The bark cracks open and they die after a while.

The spruce trees in the Smokies had a big die off because of an insect brought here by nurserymen. And the wooly adelgid is in the process of killing all the hemlocks. Oak trees have their own killing fungus known as "Sudden Oak Death" disease. And the asian tiger beetle is destroying American hardwoods in some areas and spreading.

Now the dogwood is dying.

It is a slow process. I have been working on the one next to my deck, which has the double whammy of the fungus and the house being too close. Dogwoods require acidity and concrete foundations are not good for that. So far, adding acidity to the soil and fertilizing with tree stakes seems to be helping. This year, three is strong enough to produce lots of berries, even though the leaves are smaller than they should be. I enjoy dogwood trees and their fall colors, starting with the berries... then the leaves turn fall colorful, and then, for a while before the birds eat them, there are just the berries left on a bare tree.

For now, the dogwood tree looks like it will make it another year, holding up the suet feeder and the hummingbird bottle. If it ever dies, I plan to make something out of the wood. It's the least I could do.



Friday, September 16, 2005

President Bush's Speech

The Scribble

Inherit the (Broken) Wind

I saw a slap at the ACLU hand painted (misspelled words and all) on the side of an old pickup truck this week. I forgive the spelling, as I, myself, have difficulties in that department. it is the very idea that the ACLU is something bad. What the sign said was actually not true. The sign had words to the effect that the ACLU "hates God."

I've never met anyone who actually "hates God" although I know several who aren't real fond of religion. Me, for one. I personally think Jesus had a really good thing going, until Paul came along and screwed things up. I didn't come up with that myself...I got it from reading Thomas Jefferson. Remember him? He was one of the guys who wrote the Constitution.

The ACLU does one thing and one thing only...It brings to light variences between government actions and the Constitution of the United States of America. The ACLU sues the government in the government's own courts to force the government to obey the very laws the government is supposed to enforce.

Making our government follow the rules seems like a good thing to me. Any time the ACLU wins, it is because the government decided the ACLU was right as far as the Constitution is concerned.

A famous ACLU case was the Scopes Trial in Dayton, TN, 80 years ago. The fine folks in Dayton have a "Re-enactment" of the trial every year to celebrate this stunt cooked up by two members of the local Chamber of Commerce, a druggist and an engineer. We engineers are always causing trouble, and in ways we can't possibly imagine at the time. The re-enactment is advertised as being historically accurate but it isn't. The giant sign they hang on the courthouse is claimed to be a replica of one that was actually hung there during the original trial.

It isn't.

The original sign was maybe twelve inches wide. Scopes attorney, Clarence Darrow, asked the judge to have it removed. When the Judge balked, Darrow asked if he could put one up there, too! Alarmed at the possibilities, the Judge ordered the bible sign removed from public property. This seemed to be entirely reasonable to all concerned, and should be the precedent used today, where matters of religious tracts on public property are concerned. Post the ten commandments if you want to as long as equal billing is given to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his Great Noodly Appendage!

AS I am wont to do early in the morning before dawn, I looked up the transcript of the Scopes trial, mainly because the "Historical re-enactment" leaves out a few things that were actually said by William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, as Darrow had called Bryan as a witness for the defense and Bryan answered Darrow's questions. Bryan continually called Darrow an Agnostic, Atheist, and unbeliever...Darrow simply called Bryan a Fool.

Bryan seems, in this quote, to be stating that facts shouldn't be considered in determining whether evolution is true. This is essentially the same position today's creationists take:

The Witness(Bryan)--It seems to me it would be too exacting to confine the defense to the facts; if they are not allowed to get away from the facts, what have they to deal with?

Another exchange:

Darrow--What do you think?
Bryan--I do not think about things I don't think about.
Darrow--Do you think about things you do think about?
Bryan--Well, sometimes.

And the part of the re-enactment that is left out is the where Darrow gets Bryan to admit that the bible cannot be taken literally on point after point and yet Bryan contradicts himself, saying he does not think the Creation involved six twenty four hour days but if someone wants to believe that, he thinks it's ok...

Q(Darrow)--You think those were not literal days?
A(Bryan)--I do not think they were twenty-four-hour days. Q--What do you think about it?
A--That is my opinion--I do not know that my opinion is better on that subject than those who think it does.
Q--You do not think that ?
A--No. But I think it would be just as easy for the kind of God we believe in to make the earth in six days as in six years or in 6,000,000 years or in 600,000,000 years. I do not think it important whether we believe one or the other.

Darrow--I object to your statement. I am exempting you on your fool ideas that no intelligent Christian on earth believes.

The most eloquent statement is actually from another Defense attorney, not Clarence Darrow:

Malone--Your honor on this very subject, I would like to say that I would have asked Mr. Bryan--and I consider myself as good a Christian as he is--every question that Mr. Darrow has asked him for the purpose of bring out whether or not there is to be taken in this court a literal interpretation of the Bible, or whether, obviously, as these questions indicate, if a general and literal construction cannot be put upon the parts of the Bible which have been covered by Mr. Darrow's questions. I hope for the last time no further attempt will be made by counsel on the other side of the case, or Mr. Bryan, to say the defense is concerned at all with Mr. Darrow's particular religious views or lack of religious views. We are here as lawyers with the same right to our views. I have the same right to mine as a Christian as Mr. Bryan has to his...

Today, we face the very same question...Are we to be free of forced religious practice and instruction, or are we to be subjected to forced preaching by those in power?...Told, for instance, that we will believe in 24 hour days of creation and no other possibility...

Fascinating reading. Day 7, in particular...Go:




I found this jewel from Gordon in my email. If you can't read it in the humorous and satirical intent firmly in your mind, then skip it. Taken in the spirit it's intended, you might laugh as much as I did:

I just got online. I'm in the Brown Hills of California, Ukhaa Tolgod in Mongolian.

Actually, I'm in Oakland, working with the "Save the Bay" folks. They take kids out in canoes to see the wetlands, and replace invasive plants with native species. They also occasionally take adults out in kayaks. They want some safety and rescue training, so Paul and I are here on a sort of exchange program.

I sat down tonight to check email, and found a few from you. All good stuff.

I particularly enjoyed the story about the Gobi.

The cartoons were great too, but the biblical stuff about building on sand was just weird. Paying for these folks to build in beautiful but fragile and dangerous locations doesn't make any sense to me. And surely Trent Lott can't access any federal money to rebuild.

But what I've been thinking about lately is the gunk that we are pumping out into the Gulf after washing out the pit of New Orleans. It is disgusting, and not for the first time I am ashamed to be a human, and particularly a human from the US. I hate to agree with Dennis Hastert on anything, but he is right. We should not spend a federal dime on rebuilding NO. I'm told that after the dot-com crash lots of brand new fancy office buildings, miles of 'em, are now abandoned just south of here. Move all those evacuees here. The climate is much better, and they can all work in the fields. The influx of culture would be a lot of fun to watch. And they can all wait here for the next big quake.

Mobile can take over as the port. I guess everyone could just move over to Mobile anyway. It floods too, but drains by itself. And it also has a Mardi Gras. So nothing need be lost.

Except New Orleans.

And it just isn't worth the trouble.


I read Al Jazeera for a different view of things, and surprisingly, I often find reasonable ideas well said. This one for instance, even though I do not agree with it, we should consider the possibility:

... the administration must also confront the possibility that a US drawdown of troops - tentatively planned to begin next spring - could further embolden the insurgents and throw Iraq into civil war.

"Drawdown" is a patronising term for withdrawal and surrender.

With enormous sadness I conclude, withdrawal under a false pretext may be more disastrous than going to war under a false pretext.

The Bush option has been a policy of failure. Columnist Sterling Newberry writes: "What is clear is that the American presence is no longer contributing to a secure Iraq, and that the various attempts by the American occupation to train or put in place a security force - there have been five separate failed programs to do so - are completely ineffective. American forces are not even able to control the road system in fighting the rebellion.”

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Damn the Hospitals!

Facing South has it:

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.

That order - to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. - delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt.

The most intriguing bit: the order came from none other than VP Dick Cheney, who -- in what may be one of the quickest actions taken by the White House -- sprung into action to get the energy pipeline going

Omen from above

Written in the bible, People!

I am surprised at some things and then when they happen again...I'm surprised all over again.

No, I'm not talking about Pat Robertson, Charles Colson, Hal Lindsay, and other FundXian goofball preachers claiming that Katrina was sent as punishment for America allowing Homosexuality and abortions. I'm talking about anyone biting off any of that crap chewing it up and swallowing.

Robertson is the "Man of God" who said we should assassinate the President of Venezuela because he's a dictator, and at the very same time Robertson is partners with Charles Taylor, a dictator who is providing slaves for Robertson's African diamond mines.

I suppose it is beside the point that Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, was actually elected democratically and has over 70% support from his countrymen. his real crime is that he won't do business with the Bush family friend's oil cartel in the U.S.

Personally, I try to buy gas at Citgo now. All their oil comes from Venezuela...none from Iraq or Saudi Arabia.

Actually I think there is a message in the Katrina disaster, and it does have to do with the behavior of America. it is an old message, said many ways over the years but it is phrased well this way:

"It's not nice to mess with Mother Nature!"

Pat Robertson is all atwitter over the violations of old testament sex no-no's but doesn't the Bible say not to build houses on sand? Danged if it don't!!

Folks, I'm here to tell you today, We are being punished by god, for screwing up all the nice ocean front property!

Even jesus, who never said squat abut homosexuality, said not to build houses on sand.

So there! George Bush will offend Jesus if he rebuilds Trent Lott's house!

Written in the bible, people, Danged sure is! Leviticus, Numbers, Mathew, all over the place, I'm telling you. Where are our ministers in this time of crisis in America? Why aren't they standing on the front porch of their own houses preaching to the great unwashed masses about the evils of beachfront housing? Pat could actually stand on the deck of his own beach house and warn America. he could tear it down and walk away as a testament, to us all, of what a godly man he claims to be.

Pat actually said that the good thing about katrina is that it will make Democrats leave him alone for a while.

Personally, I will be more offended if Trent gets his house built with the help of any of my tax money. That is a greater sin.



Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Louisiana Gov was right

Hey, remember all those right wingers and republican hacks that made so much noise about Bush not being responsible because the Governor of LA never asked for Federal help?

They were all lying! Bush, Cheney, Rush, O'Reilly, Instapundit...all of them!

The nonpartisan Congressional Report:

In addition to finding that " would appear that the Governor did take the steps necessary to request emergency and major disaster declarations for the State of Louisiana in anticipation of Hurricane Katrina. (p.11)" The report found that:

All necessary conditions for federal relief were met on August 28. Pursuant to Section 502 of the Stafford Act, "[t]he declaration of an emergency by the President makes Federal emergency assistance available," and the President made such a declaration on August 28. The public record indicates that several additional days passed before such assistance was actually made available to the State;

President Bush actually followed through and made his part of the disaster declaration. it was the corrupt and disfunctional organization he has created that screwed everything up.

Other CEO's gets fired for this.

Mike Brown fell on his sword, and rightly so, but Chertoff is the actually the creep that waited two days before acting ...the critical two days in which old people sat in their wheel chairs and drowned in nursing homes in New Orleans as water ran through the broken levees.

Kos and Talking points Memo have the stories:



Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Rain Lilly

I forget about these lillies. Then they pop up sometime in the fall, supposedly a week or so after a rain. We're in a drought right now, five inches behind in rainfall, but the rain lillies have popped up around the yard anyway.

I really like them for some reason. A wonderful harbringer of Fall.

This one is by the back porch.

Bunker up

We live in strange times.

Maybe human times have always been strange, but I don't know of any like this. This is the most prosperous era in American history and yet, there is a pall hanging over us. A cloud of dark light seeping into the National consciousness. The realization that maybe there is something deeply wrong with our country.

The prosperity increases for the top 2 percent. That's nice, but things are going the other way for everybody else. History tells us that this has never been sustainable in any nation. At some point, those at the top of the food chain get destroyed by all of the others...if the rot from within doesn't get them first.

Here are some snips from a historical article I ran across.

In his last days, Adolph Hitler exhibited what has now become know as the "Bunker Mentality." Things were going very wrong under his leadership, but he could nver face up to it until it was too late.


"The first time I told him he was wrong, he started yelling at me,' the aide recalled about a session during the first term. 'Then I showed him where he was wrong, and he said, "All right. I understand. Good job." He patted me on the shoulder. I went and had dry heaves in the bathroom.' . . .

"Late last week, (He) was, by some accounts, down and angry. But another...aide described the atmosphere inside ... as 'strangely surreal and almost detached.' At one meeting described by this insider, officials were oddly self-congratulatory, perhaps in an effort to buck each other up. Life inside a bunker can be strange, especially in defeat."

Now hear this! The quotes were not from an historical novel about the third Reich...They are from artcles in Newsweek, Time Magazine, and are quoted in an article in the Washington Post.

This is about George W. Bush and the failure of his leadership...Notably, it is in the Conservative Washington Post:


Keith Olbermann reminds us that George Bush has picked the "Duct Tape Man" to head FEMA...Really! He picked the guy that came up with the Duct tape idea for Homeland Security! Feeling better now?




Monday, September 12, 2005

Let it Go...

We have a major conflict in America. No, not between Republicans and Democrats...Between those who want to continue living in perpetual grief over 9-11 and those who need to grieve for their personal losses from Katrina and their country's lack of willingness to face up to what has to be done.

Four years would normally be enough time to bury our dead and move on...Now we have to do just that...

Let 9-11 go....

We have new dead to bury...and axes to sharpen!

It is time to go after the Cake Eaters!


Lost in the evening news pictures of those who cannot help themselves, will be those who can. In the midst of the greatest National tragedy since Viet Nam, Conservatives are calling for the tax cuts for the rich to be made permanent and Social Security to be fixed...Fixed is a Roveism for eliminated.

Too late! It should be apparent to everyone in this once great nation that social security HAS been eliminated.

It is for mutual protection and security that we endure the reins of being governed in the first place. We pay tax for the achievement of common goals. Those goals should not include gathering all the money up in one place so it can be "looted" by contributers to Republican campaign finds under the camoflage of the "No Bid Contract".



Graffitti artist(?) caught with the paint can in his hand...

Uh....What is DEA doing in New Orleans? The Heroin is flowing out of Afghanistan again, thanks to Bush's grotesque mishandling of that war. You know, the real one? The one that could actually made a difference?

Here is a longish piece that may leave you with a grudging respect for Osama's resourcefulness and a shaken head at the Bush Administration's lack of same:

"By now, the Taliban's stronghold in Kandahar had fallen or, more correctly, had been abandoned by the soldiers of the regime. The Taliban retreat from Kandahar was emblematic of the war. None of Afghanistan's cities had been won by force alone. Taliban fighters, after intense bombing, had simply made strategic withdrawals. A number of American officers were now convinced that this was about to happen at Tora Bora, too.

One of them was Brig. Gen. James N. Mattis, the commander of some 4,000 marines who had arrived in the Afghan theater by now. Mattis, along with another officer with whom I spoke, was convinced that with these numbers he could have surrounded and sealed off bin Laden's lair, as well as deployed troops to the most sensitive portions of the largely unpatrolled border with Pakistan. He argued strongly that he should be permitted to proceed to the Tora Bora caves. The general was turned down. An American intelligence official told me that the Bush administration later concluded that the refusal of Centcom to dispatch the marines - along with their failure to commit U.S. ground forces to Afghanistan generally - was the gravest error of the war."


Sunday, September 11, 2005


Osama Bin Laden...

I just thought everyone would like to be reminded of one of the men behind the 9-11 terror attacks. The Bush administration seems to have forgotten about him.

The man who has supposedly been in charge of capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden is, of course, the former business partner of Osama's older brother. You remembered that, right?

Salim Bin Laden's former business partner has yet to catch Osama. Instead, he has gotten us into a stupid war with no end in sight, that has nothing to do with making America safer. Quite the contrary, in fact.

The resources diverted from the National Guard and FEMA will prove to be directly responsible for the government inability to peform its primary duties...I think this is important, folks, and I am outting it in front of you repeatedly.

...The purpose of Federal government is protect rich people!

This is why we have a governement:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


George W. Bush has failed America!

Juan Cole says it best:

Four years after September 11, al-Qaeda's leadership should have been behind bars or dead.
Four years after September 11, Afghanistan should have been stabilized.
Four years after September 11, the government should have been ready to save lives in an urban disaster

...In four years, Roosevelt and allies defeated Nazi Germany and imperial Japan.

In four years, Bush hasn't managed even to corner Bin Laden and a few hundred scruffy terrorists; or to extract himself from the deserts of Iraq; or to put the government's finances in good order so that it can deal with crises like Katrina.

Juan Cole is very very smart and thorough. This is a long read. It is also very very accurate:


Kevin Drum points out a few discrepancies from Conservative blogger, Instapundit, concerning FEMA.

With all the stuff Instahack gets wrong or cleverly leaves out, I have to wonder how he has time to do his job at the University of Tennessee? Instpundit is a State employee, you know.





The California Legislature has passed a law to allow mandatory sterilization of Pit Bulls, which I think makes sense. Have you ever tried to get a Pit Bull to wear a condom? -- Jay Leno

Saturday, September 10, 2005


In a piece titled, "Bush's response to disaster all too typical" we read this:

" one has been held accountable for anything. The administration set this pattern long ago: It is constantly surprised and never accountable.
The real question is, why did Washington take so long to mobilize (the National Guard)? The administration underestimated the problem, failed to plan for the predictable aftermath, and refused to accept responsibility for its actions.

Just as when the president took America and many of its allies into the Iraq war based on false and distorted intelligence....

Katrina surprised a woefully ill-prepared administration. Bush and his officials failed in their most basic responsibility -- to maintain the peaceful social framework within which Americans normally live and work together."

That is exactly the problem with the President of the United States! Couldn't have said it better myself. The most interesting thing about this article is who it is from:

Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

When a Republican President loses the CATO Institute...things are bad...Real Bad!

Read it all:


Friday, September 09, 2005


Lost in the incredible images of sufferring in New Orleans was this little jewel, telling us exactly how President Bush feels about working people:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

Screw 'em while they're down and can't fight back, apparently! I found it in the Business section at CNN:


Flanked by members of his Cabinet on Thursday, President Bush urged storm victims to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and asked them to be patient if they encountered delays.

Calls placed to the FEMA telephone number gets you a nice young lady's voice that does not ask you to wait for the next available attendant...She tells you to go away and then she hangs up on you.

Republicans rushed a $62.3 Billion bill through Congress allowing no amendments and no one to even read the bill before the vote. Of that money, roughly one percent will go directly to disaster victims. $50 billion will be handed to FEMA for disbursement.

That would be the FEMA that stopped people from saving lives, stopped trucks of water and food from being delivered, and whose Director was fired from his last job for "Supervisory inadequacies" (Love that term). Among those inadequacies was the inability to account for some $50,000.00 he was responsible for.

Good work Senator Frist! The guy can't account for Fifty Grand so you hand him

Fifty Billion to work with?

We have all the hallmarks here of a rush to spend money," said Jeff Sessions , whose home state was damaged by the storm. "We have got to be careful that this does not become a feeding frenzy. ... This is our grandchildren's money."

This Jeff Sessions guy sounds like he knows what is going on down there and doesn't like what Bush is trying to do...That would be SENATOR Jeff Sessions, Republican-Alabama.

A republican Senator complaining about a Federal giveaway to big business?

A sign of the Apocolypse?



Thursday, September 08, 2005


My good friend and sometimes paddling and drinking partner, Gordon, sent me this. I made him share. Enjoy,


I went for a paddle yesterday evening. I haven't had a chance to take my new canoe out for much of a trip yet, but an hour or so was a fine start.
I went to the closest big lake, H. Neely Henry. It is pretty typical of our "Toehill" area manmade lakes, heavily forested hills all around, plenty of houses dotting the shore, and a few anglers in fast bass boats, chasing fast bass.
I carried my boat down to a convenient spot to put in, passing an angler on the shore as I did. He was friendly, just standing there watching a Heron stalk dinner. He ruefully pointed out that the bird was way more successful than he was at their mutual pastime. We both commented on how unusual it was for the Great Heron to allow people to be so close, especially me, with a big black boat on my shoulder, trying not to bang paddle, life jacket, and water bottle, but failing mostly. The bird just kept looking. There is a big rookery nearby, at least I see more of these big birds here than anywhere else that I paddle.

I took off, enjoying the glide, the cool air flowing over me as I tore across the water (not!) and the view. There was a little wind, enough to push up some six inch swells, and enough to make me modify my technique so as to hold a fairly straight course. I passed a couple of fishing boats, giving them a wide berth so as not to annoy. As I approached my intended turn around point, I saw a large flock of white birds about the size of pigeons. Probably twenty or so rather chunky birds, I guess some sort of gull, I couldn't identify 'em. But the flock was graceful, flying "nap of the earth," following the contours, dips and rises, all the while in close formation. As I turned in the boat to watch them fly away, I saw a fox, sleeping on a sunny rock on shore. The fox was only about eighty feet away, and seemed to notice me, but was not too concerned. It rearranged itself, tucked it's head under a paw, and appeared to doze off again. I went on down the lake for a while, to see a rock formation that sticks out into the water and looks like a good place to bring the kids for swimming, diving, and the all-important cooling that Alabama in the summer dictates. I don't know about Global Warming, but Alabama is already well above "warm."

I doubled back, and snuck up on the fox. For once it worked, the canoe allowing me to quietly glide up within twenty feet or so, straight out from the sleeping critter. It stretched, eyes slotted, and generally looked like it was struggling to wake up and get ready for the next "shift," hunting for the family.
The dog was bigger than any fox I've seen, red, with a huge tail. Its legs were so long, and the torso seems long too, so maybe it was a half breed, crossed with a coyote. The snout was fox-like, the tail was enormous, and all in all, it looked more foxy than dumpster doggy. But I'm no expert, just an interested observer. The animal finally noticed me, and took off. It's eyes were still squinched shut, and it looked pretty mangy. It may have been sick, distressed somehow, and that is probably the only way I was able to get so close. But it was a great sight, and reminded me of how cool paddling can be, even on a well populated lake. Even in sultry Alabama in the summer.

I continued back, seeing several more flocks of the heavy white birds, all heading for a cove near my intended take-out. I decided not to get too close, it would have been neat to see a really large number suddenly take to the air when I entered the flock's "personal space," but it was off course, and I was ready to get out. And I don't need to scare the birds, the bass boats probably do enough of that.
I returned to the put-in cove, and the angler was still there. I tried to be quiet as I clambered out, not an easy feat for a chubby old white guy. I thought about my impression of the heavy white birds I had seen, and had to laugh at myself. The angler put his finger to his lips, and pointed to a Barred Owl on a branch, only about fifty feet away. It was watching us calmly, and like the Heron, seemingly put up with my stumbling, clattering, louder-than-I-wished progress. I stopped by the fellow and watched the owl. I told him about the fox. We agreed there were lots of worse places to be at 7:00 in the evening. The owl flew closer to us, higher in a tree, but only about thirty feet away now. No sound.

I gotta get out more!


Liberal/Progressive Blogs Take Over

My friend Tommy wanted some help with a newspaper article on why Conservative Bloggers were beating Democratic bloggers. I couldn't help all that much right then but now I find out that the premise of that article was just plain wrong!

Conservatives are getting their ass handed to them in the blogosphere!

Instapundit is the top ranked conservative blogger. While I have shown how Glen Reynolds promotes misinformation (read: Lies) on his blog in previous posts, I have grudgingly noted that he has been the top political blogger. He has a new chant,

"I'm Number Seven, I'm Number Seven!"

The top six political bloggers are all Liberal/Progressive blogs. Not only that, but there are twice as many page views of L/P blogs as there are of conservative blogs. Actually there are MORE than 2 times as many views of L/P blogs.

Liberals and Progressives aren't just winning...they kicking ass!

(No, I'm not in the top six...Too many of you get the e message and don't hit the blog..but WhitesCreek Journal is growing very quickly)

Here ya go:

MyDD just finished a study on blog traffic during the Hurricane and, interestingly, when looking at the 100 most trafficked blogs and netroots sites, the liberal sites had traffic increases of 34% while the conservatives had traffic increases of only 8%.

All six of these blogs (Dailykos, Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, Eschaton, Crooks and Liars and Americablog) now have more traffic than Instapundit, which remains the highest trafficked conservative blog




Night Sounds

Perfect Fall sleeping weather has arrived and the doors and windows stay open at night. This doesn't make for perfect sleep in the woods, but it does make for interesting night times.

The Katydids are about done. When they are really going off, the hillside in the night is like a ferry boat I rode from Sapporo to Sendai overnight with the monster diesel below decks throbbing my random thoughts into nothingness. A bunch of big green crickets can rock a forest when love comes to town.

There's a train track in the valley that sets off the coyotes sometimes. I don't know why certain trains get them yipping and the others don't. They don't "howl", by the way. Coyote's sound like the old women in a Monte Python routine ranting about the penguin on the telly, only more of them and in higher falsetto. Makes about the same amount of sense to me, too, but I guess the coyotes know what's going on. Or maybe not...They could be like FEMA, yipping around making lots of unintelligible raving about what a good job they're doing while not doing anything at all, really. Just sitting on the high ground yelling at everyone else to stay out of their territory.

Some trains get the coyotes going...some egregious Bush administration fubars get me going...but not this morning.

At first light, before that actually, a barred owl started talking...Like the preacher in the coffee shop yesterday at lunch, sitting with a woman, who should have been having a private conversation like everyone else in the place, but talking way too loud in his preacher voice saying he hates Liberalism...This to the woman but loud so the whole room would hear.

(How does a Christian hate what Jesus stood for? I wondered.)

Just like FundXtian preachers, Barred owls always say the same thing. From a distance it sounds like a barking dog. From up close it sounds danged loud. They got quite the tooter on 'em! I think they sound off to allocate hunting territory, but I'm not positive. In the Fall it seems like they hoot and separate, giving a few calls to let each other know where they are and then they shut up. I am usually not quite awake when they start and by the time I get fully conscious so I can appreciate the bird barking, they quit. I almost always want one more refrain, and they almost never oblige.

No encores! Buy a ticket for tomorrow's show.

Elvis has left the building.



Go here to listen:


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Save a life

Or maybe a hundred and ten lives...and get a reprimand?

You have to read this one to understand. Thanks guys! I don't care what your commander said.

"I would be looking at a family of two on one roof and maybe a family of six on another roof, and I would have to make a decision who to rescue," he said. "It wasn't easy."

While refueling at a Coast Guard landing pad in early evening, Lieutenant Udkow said, he called Pensacola and received permission to continue rescues that evening. According to the pilots and other military officials, they rescued 110 people.


This brought a smile....

I'm looking for a new car for my wife, right now. She has told me that it has to get at least 30 MPG or else.



Juanita is up to something...

Juanita is about to trot out her new fall outfit. Wish we had an outpost of her "World's Most Dangerous Beauty shop" here in Roane County.

Link on the side.


Not six...Twenty

It doesn't apply perfectly, but I can hear Randy singing as I read this:

What has happened down here is the wind have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
Rained real hard and rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

The river rose all day
The river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood
Some people got away alright

The river have busted through cleard down to Plaquemines
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline

Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tyrin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away
Louisiana, Louisiana
They're tryin' to wash us away
They're tryin' to wash us away

President Coolidge came down in a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note-pad in his hand
The President say, "Little fat man isn't it a shame what the river has
To this poor crackers land."

And then there's this bit of prose that seems to have been forgotten. This, after all, is why we have a government...or maybe it just used to be the reason...not sure now...:

We the People of the United States,

in Order to form a more perfect Union,

establish Justice,

insure domestic Tranquility,

provide for the common defence,

promote the general Welfare,

and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity,

do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America.




I see George Bush blaming the "Bureaucracy" for all the problems.

I heard the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff repeat the lie that they didn't deal with the disaster because the papers all said New Orleans dodged the bullet Tuesday morning.

Has anybody told George that he, personally, built the bureacracy that directly caused the deaths of thousands?

George Bush, personally, has now killed more Americans than Bin Laden. More citizens of New Orleans would be alive right now if FEMA had simply not existed on Tuesday morning.

Aaron Brousard, President of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans said this on Meet the Press:

"… Whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chainsawed off and we’ve got to start with some new leadership. It’s not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here...

Three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA, we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. When we got there with our trucks, FEMA says don’t give you the fuel. Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards and said no one is getting near these lines…"

"...I want to give you one last story and I’ll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I’m in, Emergency Management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” and he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.” Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday… and she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night! [Sobbing] ..."

"Good job, Brownie!" George W. Bush told the man he appointed to head FEMA. A man fired from his previous job running horse shows.

This morning I heard the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs say, "We got there on Friday and by then, everything was well taken care of."

“Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” and he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you.” Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday… and she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night! [Sobbing] ..."



You can watch the video of Mr. Brousard breaking down on national tv if you wish...I couldn't.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Interstate 3


Many of you know that I am involved with several do-gooder groups. The Chattooga Conservancy is one of my favorites. In addition to stopping the Forest Service and others from committing a few of the more heinous crimes against Mother Nature in the North Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina mountains, they are good people and friends of mine. With America's last few great wilderness places under constant assault, these people need all the help we can give them. They are doing our work for us. Currently they are getting the facts out on a possible boondogle and disaster in the making called Interstate 3.

Here's a snippet from Eric. I promise to do write more later:

Hey Steve.

I saw you in the Grapes and Beans the other day... Anyway, I just found your White's Creek blog from the referring url logs on my Conservancy site. I was wondering if you would post something about Interstate 3 on your blog. We have a general info page on it here:

Interstate 3

And I just set up a petition for veterans to sign. We're trying to argue the billions of dollars should be spent providing body armor for our dying troops who are stuck in an unnecessary war... not on an environmentally and economically destructive and unnecessary interstate. Here's the link:

Veteran's Petition

A reply:

I got this from Scott. I thought it said some things well and wanted to share:

Who would have thought that something as innoculous as going to war would bite us in the ass?

Bush Traded New Orleans for Iraq There was a federal project to urgently shore up failing levees in New Orleans and build pumping stations. President Bush diverted money for that project to Iraq. Do you think Iraq was worth seeing Americans become refugees in their own country? The New Orleans Times-Picayune repeatedly brought up funding cuts for a federal project to shore up levees and build pumping stations in New Orleans, writes Will Bunch, a Pulitzer-winning journalist at the Philadelphia Daily News. The risk of flooding and hurricane damages have been worrying local officials since the 1960's. Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project [SELA] in 1995 and put the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge. About $430 million in federal money has been spent since then, but $250 million worth of critical projects remained. In 2003, federal funding for the project started drying up, as the Bush administration started scraping money for Iraq and homeland security. In early 2004, President Bush cut the project's funding by more than 80 percent, Mr. Bunch wrote, citing an article in New Orleans CityBusiness. In June 2004, Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi went to the East Jefferson Levee Authority, a local agency, and "begged for $2 million" the Bush administration did not want to pay for. The levee -- the one that broke when Hurricane Katrina hit -- was sinking. In October 2004, the Bush administration refused to pay the Army Corps of Engineers $15 million it needed to shore up the Lake Pontchartrain banks. And this year, the administration cut the funding by three-quarters, effectively freezing any new projects from starting. And as the researchers called for a new study on protecting New Orleans from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, the Bush administration said no. Mr. Naomi told The Times-Picayune in September 2004: "But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money."

Do you think Iraq was worth seeing Americans become refugees in their own country?

Well put! Scott

Bathtub Blues

(Those two pictures were taken the day after Katrina. It should be noted that Nero did not actually fiddle while Rome burned...He played a stringed instrument. Afterward, he blamed the fires on the Terrorists of the day...Christians)

In the aftermath of the hurricane, it is estimated that around 1600 New Orleans police officers turned in their badges and went off to salvage what they could of their life's possessions and try to save their own families. At least two took their own lives.

They were underprepared and overwhelmed.

They weren't the only ones!

At the end of the Clinton administration, FEMA was staffed by proffessionals. They had a plan. James Lee Witt, Director of FEMA under Clinton, developed a plan for exactly this disaster in New Orleans. As soon as a hurricane path was known to include New Orleans, Hospital ships and ships carrying pumps would be "pre-deployed" to deal with victims and pump water from the city. They knew that the critical time in any disaster is the first 72 hours. They were ready.

The first ship that was prepared to go to New Orleans under the Bush FEMA was not ready to leave its port in Baltimore until four days after the hurricane struck.

FEMA was a great agency until George W. Bush got to town. He appointed his former chief of staff in Texas, Joe Allbaugh to head FEMA and the process of destroying it began. It was partly intentional but mostly the result of a disgusting and deeply corrupt incompetence. Allbaugh decided he could steal more money somewhere else and left FEMA to form a company that would help funnel money from the Iraq war into private corporations. FEMA did the same thing with its funds with all too familiar results... Thousands of dead Americans.

In 2003, FEMA became part of the Homeland Security Department, famous for its own color coded incompetency. FEMA was systematically downgraded and nearly dismantled. The Bush Administration announced that FEMA would officially lose its disaster preparedness function. Agency employees were directed NOT to be involved with disaster readiness! A new agency was to have that mission. What happened was that Bush appointed a man whose previous experience with disaster preparedness was running horse shows...He was incompetent enough at this to get himself fired. Bush therefore thought he wouldbe perfect for what should have been the most crucial domestic job in America. He outsourced his own duties and failed to manage or follow up on the result.

In June 2004, FEMA gave the contract of planning for the New Orleans disaster to a firm called IEM, Innovative Emergency Management. One of their managers a New Orleans magazine that IEM would create a plan that,

"meets the challenges associated with integrating multi-jurisdictional needs and capabilities into an effective plan for addressing catastrophic hurricane strikes, as well as man-made catastrophic events.”

In the aftermath, China Mieville, of the blog Lenin's Tomb, notes:

“So, the IEM team’s approach isn’t to siphon off tax money, spout management shit, provide a demonstrably catastrophically inadequate plan, then f--- off like craven f---ing caveworms and hide the evidence when the f---ing corpses start piling up?”

Bush's mentor in government is one Grover Norquist. Grover is the man who made the famous satement that he wanted to make the Federal Government so small that he could drown it in the bathtub. Washington pundits have taken to calling New Orleans "Lake George" in honor of the President being the only person in the country who didn't know the levees could break, even as he diverted the budget money from repairing them.

The entire Bush administration should drown, not in a bathtub...

In Lake George.

Perhaps there will be justice after all. Perhaps this is the final crush of evidence that will finally demonstrate to folks that the Bush administration in very very bad for America.



I pieced this together from several sources. Here are a few:


Monday, September 05, 2005


There are so many heartbreaking pictures of hurricane victims. This one drove it home to me in a way I was unprepared for. Don't look at it too closely if you don't want to.

How do you tell...

If a Bush Administration official is Lying?

George Bush: "The levee broke...No one expected the Levee would break."

"We were briefing them way before landfall," Mayfield said. "It’s not like this was a surprise. We had in the advisories that the levee could be topped."

...Dr. Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center

And more lies:

(From Newsweek)
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco seemed uncertain and sluggish, hesitant to declare martial law or a state of emergency, which would have opened the door to more Pentagon help.

(Washington Post) today in which they reported, on the say-so of an unidentified "senior Bush official", that as late as yesterday Louisiana Gov. Blanco still hadn't gotten around to declaring a state of emergency. This, allegedly, had prevented a more rapid federal response...

The Senior Bush administration official is Karl Rove.

Duh!...He's lying!

Governor Blanco issued the State of Emergency declaration almost immediately(Sept. 26)

Why do Newsweek and WAPO still print what he says and give him the cover of anonymity?

Look...For now, let us all just assume that nearly everyone in the entire Bush Administration is incompetent. We already know they are corrupt, but Americans have always tolerated corrupt officials as long as they got the job done. When they can't do simple things like get water and food to the area hit by the greatest preventable disaster in American history, we have to forget about them and do it ourselves.

I mean we have relief supplies delivered by a piano player, a couple of pro football players, and freakin' WalMart gets a bluelight special of 13 trucks worth of food and water into downtown New Orleans before FEMA gets there?

Just so you'll know, the man Bush appointed to head FEMA was fired from his previous job. Gee...Wonder why?



Thanks to KOS and Josh Marshall
(links on the sidebar)

Pre Deja Vu

A couple of details are wrong, but...

"It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV "storm teams" warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.

But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however—the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States."

A news story from last week? Nope. This was a portrayal of the scenario a year before it happened. Anyone who thought about it would have known this was coming. There will be more. That was from one of our more rdical publications in America, by the way:


This is the blog that reminded me of the story:



Sunday, September 04, 2005


I heard the reports, as I am sure you have also, of doctors and nurses in New Orleans giving each other nutrient IV's because they has been without food for so many days but still needed to function. In the small world department, my dear sister is involved with the company that provides the food service to several New Orleans hospitals. Was the problem lack of supplies? Was the problem lack of transportation?

The problem was FEMA. Worse than not helping...FEMA wouldn't let other folks help. My sister's company had trucks loaded with food and supplies ready to go and on the road almost immediately but they couldn't reach their hospitals...not because the road was impassable...They were halted by FEMA officials who refused to allow them to go the last few miles with food for patients, doctors, nurses, and others.

The FEMA officials had guns. They held them up and told the relief drivers that they couldn't go any further. Why? Because there were people with guns in town.

So let me get this straight...If you try to go into town where someone might shoot at you...FEMA will shoot at you?

Then I heard this speech:

"We got a lot of rebuilding to do.... the good news is and it's hard for some to see it now but out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic gulf coast... out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- the guy lost his entire house -- there's going to be fantastic house. I look forward to sitting on the porch. Out of New Orleans is going to come that great city again."

...President Bush

Priorities still in place I see.

And then there's this:

From the Hopuston Chronicle:

Sept. 1, 2005, 8:30PM

Halliburton hired for storm cleanup

The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.

KBR was assigned the work under a "construction capabilities" contract awarded in 2004 after a competitive bidding process. The company is not involved in the Army Corps of Engineers' effort to repair New Orleans' levees.

Houston Chronicles

I could just puke on these people!