Saturday, December 31, 2005

Kids before Criminals

Here's more goody on the Roane County jail situation:

Anyone who has been inside a Roane County School knows we have higher needs than a Taj Ma Jail...And we certainly don't need to pay $650,000, that's $24,000.00 an acre, for land with a building that has to be torn down before construction can start. That tract of land is right next to Roane State Community College, anyway.

With a 250 acre brownfield site less than four miles away, why are our commissioners being so dumb? My theory is that they are just being mentally lazy and are letting themselves be led around by folks with an agenda that is not in Roane County's best interest.

Let's help them out on this one.

Here is a printable petition for those who want to help force the jail construction issue to a public referendum. It Is our money they are spending, after all!

Jail Petition


Sign the petition.

While most of the world worries about the shadow government running America into the ground, us citizens of Roane County, Tennessee have learned that we have a shadow government of our very own...the Jailbaiters.

These are folks who want the taxpayers of Roane County to build a new jail. That, in and of itself, is no big deal. The problem is that the jailbaiters want to build a Taj ma Jail and plop it down in what might be the worst location in the whole county. We have a lovely community college here with a beautiful campus, and yep, right next to that wonderful facility is where the jailbaiters want their jail.

I don't really understand why.

First of all, there are alternatives to building a new jail in the first place. Sure the one we have is overcrowded but it is less overcrowded than our school system and there doesn't seem to be any screaming rush to fix that glaring problem. Well of course not, silly reader... If there's one thing everybody knows, it is that if you care about community development, you borrow all the money you can and raise property taxes so you can have the finest jail facilities anywhere around. When people look at a community, we all know that the first thing people check out is how nice the jail is.

If everything goes perfectly, the increase in cost to the taxpayers will be roughly two million bucks a year...essentially forever...about half for the building and the other half for the increase in the operational cost of running the much larger jail.... If everything goes perfectly....With an average jail population of 120 denizens, that is an increase of $16,666.66 per each. Not total cost per each...this is the proposed increase in spending.

Just for fun compare $16,666.00 to the per capita income for Rockwood, TN, one of the towns in our county. The average Rockwoodian makes $13,000 a year. I'm guessing a little schooling could help that, but the commissioners aren't proposing any additional school funding.

"We borrow and spend on criminals" the Commissioners say.

Why do we want to increase spending on the worst segment of our population? The local joke is that there are only eight people in favor of the jail...and all eight are County Commissioners. Is there something we don't know? Why do these folks want a Taj Ma Jail? It's not like they're gonna spend any time there....oh wait....Hmmmm?

Well, in an effort to take this matter to the voters of our fair county, a resolution was introduced before the commission that called for a referendum. "Let the people decide" was the call. It failed to pass after one commissioner switched his vote from what he had promised. "I lied" he is fond of saying...he has such a cute way of posing when he's caught in a lie...Anyway, the vote was eight to seven to deny the voters the chance to decide.

How can eight people be so out of touch with what their constituents want? Who knows but there's something we can do. Sign a petition asking the commission to let the voters decide.

You must be a registered Roane County voter. I need someone to post it on the web so I can link to it. For now, I have to email the petition to folks who want it. Let me know.

We have a week. We can make sure this goes before the people for a decision. In one hour, yesterday, we got 250 signatures. The citizens of thios county seem to have different priorities from the Commissioners. I think they mean well,actually. Most of them are friends of mine. Let's just hope they listen.


Drip Drip

I fell asleep with the TV on. At some point I crawled up to bed, woken in all probability, by a dog protecting the house from some heinous member of the rodent family. As of 8:26 this morning I still do not know who won the Peach Bowl. I'll find out soon enough.

It is now New Year's Eve and football is all that will be on the broadcast channels with the occasional break for some program pretending to be a news show. There won't be much actual news...Mostly these things are just for entertainment purposes. President Bush seems to be involved in a domestic spy scandal that would ordinarily result in his impeachment but instead we will hear "How to pick a puppy" and a hangover quiz.

The Justice Department has a full scale investigation going on, but not on the Presidential violation of the Constitution. Nope...The investigation is all about finding that hater of America who LEAKED that the President was violating the Constitution. Do you think the laws of our once great nation are upside down when lesser laws can be used to punish people for passing along the knowledge that "High Crimes" are being committed? And by someone who went in front of the American people and swore, with his hand on a christian bible, to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America?

Well now you know who the true enemies of America are...The tattle tales.

Well in spite of this, let me wish a Happy New Year, to all...Especially whoever it was that leaked all over George Bush.


Friday, December 30, 2005

After a grey Day

Hand held from the deck on Friday, Dec. 30, 2005.

Soon it will be the second half of this decade. Doesn't 1999 seem so recent? Did we party well enough? Let's not make the same mistakes in the last part of what may go down in history as the Last American Decade.

Why do we pursue wealth so vigorously and happiness so ineptly?




Everybody in Tampa said to tell you folks Hi.

Ok, that's not true but you enjoyed it for a second there now didn't you?

Things are almost back to normal in this SNAFU world we live in. By the time we got back in town, most of the presents we had ordered had arrived...a week late. One very important present that I purchased for the wife arrived while we were gone...Our former housecleaner, who has retired, took a substantial bribe to clean up the house while we were out of town. It's amazing!

I hate cleaning, but I appreciate a clean house. Some people have more than just a knack for tidying things up and Rose is the best. When she closes the door on her way out, not only are those little black things that grow in small dark corners gone, but the cushions on the couch are artfully arranged, my underwear folded in the dresser drawer, and the dogs have had a special treat.

I personally have never folded an underwear.

I have tried to think of a way to tell you what the experience of walking into a house that has been Rose'd and all I can come up with is that everything has become art. The magazines haven't been stacked neatly but are now a presentation. Getting out of the shower this morning I hesitated to take a towel from the wooden dowel rack. Each towel was folded and placed just so. I dripped silently for several seconds before violating the scene, cold but appreciative.

We have managed to set a new record for maintaining an immaculate house this year. It was easy, too. The secret was, after Rose cleaned the house... We stayed at a motel in Tampa as long as we could.



Monday, December 26, 2005


Why I live here:

click to see the larger image. This one looks like dog.....I'll try to work on it over the next day or so. I'm traveling so no time now. Sorry.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Card from Robert

I want to share this card from Robert.

Wish Upon a Star

Know what? I say we put away all the crap for a day or two and just be nice to each other, whaduyasay?

"Tis the Season, for lack of reason"

There's so much bs being tossed around, it's hard not to get hit with some of it. Why do folks want to whip up grief this time of year? I mean that war on Xmas thing? It's really the other way around, what with Xmas being a war on the traditional winter solstice celebration of the god, Mithra.

Let's not worry about little things like facts in this season of celebration.

Most of the Xmas story is just a pleasant little myth, with little basis in biblical fact. No two biblical books come anywhere close to agreeing on anything, including which town Jesus was born in or even the virgin birth itself.

...You know those "Wise men" who rode in on camels? No camels, actually, and to consider the five miles they traveled "coming from a far"...well they had to be toady old things for what should be a nice before breakfast walk to seem like any distance at all. They definitely weren't kings...they were astrologers, you know, and real "Wise" men don't pay much attention to astrology, now do they?

There is a great divide amongst christians, conveniently labeled "conservative" and "liberal." The conservative or fundamentalist view is that the christian bible is unerring and true in all aspects. Liberals tend to own up to the glaring inaccuracies and contraditions, though not always.

Belief defies reason and we can just leave it at that. It's ok.

I like some aspect of nearly all winter solstice traditions. There is a commonality that transcends dogma. It is best said in a phrase that conservatives do not seem to believe and liberals seem incapable of bringing about. Nevertheless, I hold it in my heart and wish, for whatever good that will do, to all humankind and every other denizen of this beautiful suffering planet:

Peace on Earth, Good Will toward All!

Merry Christmas!

It is not the tangible, but the transcendant, that heals our hearts.



Further reading is here:
religious tolerance

Taken just now.

Quote of the week

"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." -- George Bush, April 20, 2004


Here's something fun to play with. Replace my answers with yours and post them in the comments at the blog:

Four jobs you've had in your life: Process and design consultant, engineer, rock musician, short order cook

Four movies you could watch over and over: F9-11, The Helstrom Chronicles, Help, Young Frankenstein

Four places you've lived: Dublin, Ga. Winston Salem, NC, Memphis, TN, Long Creek, SC,

Four TV shows you love to watch: The Daily Show, C-span, Gol TV, Freeview Concerts

Four places you've been on vacation: St. Simon's Island, Ga, Costa Rica, Santa Cruz, Ca, Lilly Spring, Santa Fe River, Fla.

Four websites you visit daily: Buzzflash, Kos, Allhatnocattle(?), The Illustrated Daily Scribble

Four of your favorite foods: Salmon, Tom Yum, Thai Curry, turkey-toe peas

Four places you'd rather be: Costa Rica, La Seo D'urgel, Spain, Cumberland Island, GA, Gibson Ridge, Cumberland County, TN

Friday, December 23, 2005

Each and every one, a Champion!

"You're not one of those people who believes human beings came from worms, are you?"

(Oh, yes. I am, actually. )

"You aren't one of those people who believes in the Talking Snake Theory, are you?"

Darwinian Theory is so simple that it is a constant source of consternation that anyone bothers to claim that it is false. Here it is in a nutshell:

1. Every child of any organism is born different in some way from its parent(s) and siblings.

2. Sometimes life gets tough, for one reason or another, and not all offspring survive long enough to make their own offspring.

3. The ones that do survive make offspring that look more like the parents than the members of the previous generation who didn't reproduce.

4. After enough generations of being born different, the current crop of offspring in any lineage will not look much like the founding fathers and/or mothers mentioned in item 1.

There you go...That's all there is to it. gets complicated from there. Just as any conceivable number may be correctly written by combining only two symbols, one and zero, There is no life form yet encountered on this planet that is not formed under the direction of its own personal genetic code. Every living thing we know of on planet Earth has DNA.

A most obvious example of what is called "Natural Selection" is the race to fertilize an egg. We are all victims of this process. At some point prior to our birth, a race was held between a few million sperm with an egg as the finish line. The winner was crowned champion by being allowed to supply the missing chromosomes needed to produce a viable ovum, and TA DA, We began our unique existance, at some point, hopefully, ready to hold another race.

There are and have been gazillions of such races. Here is the story of some of them that includes the "worm" mentioned at the start of today's blatherings.


Science Friday

Season's Greetings!

(anything wrong with that?)


Thursday, December 22, 2005

"Breathtaking Inanity"

The creationist lie exposed in penetrating brilliance.

In the case of "Tammy kicks School Board Butt", Judge Jones has written a new chapter in the bible of American free thought. While the FundXtians blather incessantly with open mouths and closed minds, others see this as a watershed event that may help drive another nail in the coffins of those who would study ignorance and force into the same cesspool of darkness, not only their own children, but, and more purposefully evilly, the children of the otherwise enlightened. Creationists want to force science teachers to spout creationist idiocy, and thereby attempt to make your child as superstitious and incapable of critical thought as they wish to make their own.

The Federal Court ruling against a Pennsylvaia School Board action that attempted to force science teachers to teach "Not-science" has given his Rudeness the opportunity to interpret the Federal Court decision in words that the immoral pushers of intelligent design can understand, those craven hypocrites.

Of course, the Judge, himself a Bush appointee, has a way with the word also:

"...this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better..."

"Breathtaking inanity"...How that phrase rolls through the mind when considering the creationist viewpoint.

Cutting to the meat of the ruling, Judge Jones wrote...

"Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. "

It has been a while since I quoted the Rude Pundit, but here is my opportunity. The Rude Pundit has a slightly different turn of phrase that communicates essentially the same thought:

"Hey, Churchy, shove yer pandas up yer lyin' asses, and stop wastin' everyone's time ..."

Laced with profanity well used, you may read the rest for yourself:

rudely put

Judge Jones, however, has written a beautiful piece of legal opinion that really should be bound and published, but of course, I have it for you fine people. It makes excellent reading for anyone who wishes to understand how immoral the creationist movement is, and to what lengths of a black art they are willing to raise the skills of lying.

The Opinion

Peace comes to those with courage. Good will toward all, but especially toward Tammy Kitzmiller, who had the courage to stand up for the teaching of reason, and to United States District Court Judge John E. Jones, who so eloquently turned the proper phrase in the pursuit of Truth, Justice, and the American way.

From now on, when someone says "I am a creationist", It will be tantamount to saying, "I am ignorant, and will do whatever it takes to remain that way."


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's the Fascism, Stupid

Winter means ice in the South. Sure it gets a little colder but nothing like 35 below up north where they go ice fishing. (What kind of bait do you use to catch ice, anyway?) We get decent snow some years but mostly we get ice storms. Ice doesn't bother the deciduous trees but the pines, still having their needles, suffer greatly.

So last Thursday we had our first real ice storm of the season and lots of folks are still lacking electricity almost a week later. Here at the cabin in Long Creek things are fine, except for a few limbs to clear away, but intown Greenville got hammered. Our friend Joe's neighborhood was elderly and distinguished with a canopy of beautiful mature trees. I hope the damage is not so bad as to change the character of that fine place. The South loses too many trees each year as it is.


Another old institution has fallen in America, and that is the free press. Having been handed documents obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act indicating that President Bush ordered secret spying on American citizens, the NY Times refused to print the information until they were forced to by one of their own reporters. There are several implications to this that bother me, notwithstanding the President's defense that he is allowed to make up his own laws in time of war...absolutely ridiculous in the light of day and even more frightening.

No, what really bothers me is what is essentially a cover up in which the NY Times participated. The ACLU provided the government documents to the Times prior to the last Presidential Election. Government officials demanded that the Times not run the story under the auspices of National Security (bogus reasoning given even a moment's thought) and Bush won the election. Would the information that George Bush had committed a possibly impeachable offense have changed the election result? It would have taken less than one percent of the voters to reverse the result, remember, notwithstanding the "I've got capital" B S from Bush.

The New York Times has failed America. Who do we turn to?

I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, as you should already know. I have a question for them. Why did they only give the information to the NY Times? The Times after all, is not the bastion of fair goevernance they once were. I realize that printing the facts is considered "Liberal" but here we have another instance of failure to do so, to put up alongside Judith Miller's and Armstrong Williams' prostitution for those in power. The electorate of America has the right to know what was going on at the very moment of the one decision it is allowed to make in its own governance. Why didn't the ACLU provide these documents to George Bush's hometown newspaper in Crawford, Tevas? They've done a fine job of printing the facts.

America will always, from time to time, have evil people in high positions. If we ignore truth...they will get away with their evil deeds and the next villian will feel even more emboldened.

It takes courage, Mr. Editor...Do you have it?

It takes courage, Mr. Lawyer...Do you have it?

It takes courage, Citizens...



Here's the bottom line on why Bush wanted secret spying. There is no other reason except to cover up their actions.

Under the actual law, they can act immediately but have to get approval by the court within 72 hours. But there is a paper trail. That's the only difference. The checks and balances part of our legal system is what George Bush finds inconvenient and wishes to eliminate.

Here's Charlie's take on it:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

From Toccoa

Sue sent this Doonesbury Cartoon to us:

Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas

We're putting the Christmas tree up today. One of the benefits of waiting until after both boy's birthdays is that the trees go on sale...if you can find one, that is.

I like the tree. It is a good pagan symbol co-opted several hundred years ago by christian religious officials who figured Easter was too long to wait for a good party.

"Why miss a good excuse to eat a pig?" they were probably thinking. "It's really dark and cold and we could use some fun, eh?"

(For convenience I have taken the liberty of translating the Northern European "Ja" into the more familiar "eh", which is Canadian, as you well know, eh?)

The currently popular traditions of eating ham, burning a log, hanging evergreen boughs, holly, mistletoe, and of course, "Da Tree" are derivations of the good old "Feast of the Pagan god, Jul. The Jul feast seemed like way to good a deal to leave to the pagans, so Pope Gregory told Mellitus to get out in front of the celebration and get those heathans to convert to christianity and start sending their monetary patronage to Rome...or else the pope's kind and loving god would have them killed. Mellitus told the pagans that they had been wrong about the winter solstice thing and the party was really about the birth of christ.

(The pagans might have asked Mellitus if christ were simultaneously born at a different time in the southern hemisphere, but they only had astrologers to make stuff up at that point in time, having not yet imported astronomy from Greece in its logical form, and so they didn't know that the winter solstice happened at a completely different time of year in Terra del Fuego.)

The pagans, being pretty tipsy with all that meade, ham, and turnip greens coursing through their veins, decided that there was no sense in letting some fanatical weirdo in a red suit and funny hat kill a good buzz, so they told Mellitus, "Sure, whatever, Dude. Take a load of your sandals and have a hit off the old horn of plenty, or something like that." ( you believe me about the turnip greens, don't you?)

The Pope got his money, the pagans got their party, and Mellitus died and got to be a saint.

And after centuries of tortured history, I have a tree in the living room. We decorate it and watch the needles fall off. It's a grand tradition based, not on popes or pagans, but in family togetherness.

I like it for several reasons. It brings back childhood memories of times when I didn't understand how screwed up adult humans really are. There's food and drink and good smells...and... Everybody tries to be nice to each other.

Well not everybody but we ignore those people. They can kill their own happy buzz, but not ours, right? I mean, anyone who wants to puff up and be offended when someone else wishes for their happiness is simply unworthy and forgets the original meaning of christmas...

War on someone else's winter holiday traditions and beliefs.

So let the meade flow. Peace on Earth and Good will toward all...



Kurt Vonnegut makes a few political observations:

Loaded pistols are good for people unless they're in prisons or lunatic asylums.

That's correct.

Millions spent on public health are inflationary.

That's correct.

Billions spent on weapons will bring inflation down.

That's correct.


From our "All Morality comes for God" Department, this news report:

The End of the Case - Sat, Dec 17, 2005

Accused sex attacker Peter Braunstein was captured yesterday after a two-month nationwide manhunt. He was reading Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith, which, as I noted here, has an interesting take on the problem of evil -- including an enlightening chapter explaining why we should worship a God who kills little children.

I bet if he were reading The End of Faith, we'd never hear the end of it.

I watched a Sam Harris speech this morning on C-span. He is the author of The End of Faith. More here:


Friday, December 16, 2005

Ice, would too suffice

Just got the report that the power is out at the cabin in Long Creek. (SC) from and ice storm. I wish I were there.

The houses I migrate between are at the end of the road...and then some. Power outages are inconvenient but not much more that that. As for ice storms themselves, except for the damage to the pine trees, I love them. Nothing in my experience can top the beauty of a moonlight walk in an ice covered forest. Last night was the longest night of full moon this year. Roughly thirteen hours and a bit of full moon, while today we'll have just over ten hours of sun...which just popped over the eastern ridge three minutes ago...that would be 7:54 am here in TN.

Cold, clear night, full moon overhead, the forest beasties were running about the gorge exciting the dogs, which bark and yip and keep a safe distance. I like waking up at night, wondering what it is that Casper and Kuma are protecting the house from? The wife is not as happy about it..."Would you go yell at those damned dogs?" she says, hoping to get one more power snooze before the little black radio starts talking.

"President Bush gave in to pressure from Senator McCain and accepted a ban on torture" the little black box on the bedside table said.

My country is run by the insane.




Dan Kurtzman has a list of the 25 Mind Numbingly Stupid Quotes" of 2005. Tennessee's Senator Frist is near the head of the class with TWO mind numbingly stupid quotes...the first, unintentional...the second, downright meanspirited...the crassest sort of politics of which he should apologize, which he has not, and be ashamed. I don't think Republican leaders have that particular emotion in their makeup. Human tragedy is simply the stage set for their manifest greed.

Cases in point from "Doctor" Frist:

23) "Get some devastation in the back." --Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to a staff photographer as he posed for a photo op while visiting tsunami-ravaged Sri Lanka, Jan. 6, 2005


15) "I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office. She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli." --Sen. Bill Frist, diagnosing Terri Schiavo's condition during a speech on the Senate floor, March 17, 2005


I think the biggest lie this year was this one:

"Congress saw the same Intelligence I did." George W. Bush justifying his war.

This is just plain not true. The President has all kinds of writers wo make things up for him and I don't think he thought of this himself because I've heard it repeated by several Republican mouths. No matter how many times they say it, though, It is still not true...It's a Lie!

Of course we all knew that, but just to make it official, here's the Report to Congress:


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I had a great insight during the night. Woken up by the flying squirrels wintering over in the eave, here at the cabin in Long Creek.

It was so clear...obvious...I was in that demilitarized zone between sleep and wakening, each set of forces battling for superiority. I was pulling for sleep to win, so I ran the concept through my brain a few times, promised to write it down in the morning, and surrendered.

I'm quite rested now and clueless to whatever it was.

Probably just dreamed I had a great idea. This happens in the daytime sometimes, even when I'm fully conscious. "Seemed like the thing to do at the time." I tend to say later.

This happens to other people too..."Hey! You know what would be a good idea? Let's invade Iraq, get rid of Saddam, move all our military bases out of Saudi Arabia like Osama wants us to and set them up in Iraq. It'll be fun!"

History books get written on such matters.

No book will be written on my incredible insight which would have required immediate action... It has evaporated, In the twilight of the predawn.

Might be for the best. It's a beautiful morning in the winter woods, and even five minutes is well spent wandering.




President Bush gave figures for the Iraq war dead yesterday that were different from mine. He used the number of verifiable and identified civilian deaths, which is just under 31,000, and doesn't include all casualties from all war related causes. The biggest difference appears to be in who is counted as a civilian and who is counted as an insurgent.

Also, I don't understand the difference in the Administration figures in the American wounded. How can they list tens of thousands of medical evacuations and say there are only 9,000 wounded? What's up?

Monday, December 12, 2005


Orion doesn't actually look like this to the nude eye. It will be tilted 90 degrees to the left tonight and only the brightest stars will show up.

Go outside and look up.



More like that. And that's Rigel at top left and Betelgeuse at lower right.


That's Venus beaming at us in the evening sky. Mars is still up there but it's losing brightness at a fast clip, as the Earth outruns it on the planetary merry go round. I did manage to see a few Geminids in the wee hours after moonset. It's been mostly cloudy so this morning was a bust. If you can roust yourself before dawn and look east you'll see Jupiter rising a couple of hours before the sun.

Friday night, we were returning from the Hal Holbrook/ Mark Twain performance, headed East on I 40. A large meteor crossed the sky and broke into two pieces before flaming out. It had to be large in order to be seen through the light pollution of downtown Knoxville.

Friends ask me why they don't see these things and I do, often pointing them out for others to catch the last instant of meteor flight. I don't know, really, but I think it is because I look for them. I have actually pointed out more than one person's "first" falling star. Is the sky really that easy to ignore?

The winter is a wonderful time to look up. Here is the easiest unwordly ting to see...the Orion Nebula. There are three bright stars all lined up in the southeastern sky about ten tonight or most nights if this one is cloudy. To the right of the three stars that make up Orion's belt, you can see three more stars angled down to the right. Take your binoculars and look at the middle star. Not a star is it?



Sunday, December 11, 2005


(I didn't research this but I think it's pretty accurate. I have noticed my memory getting a tad convenient as I grey up.)

President Bush was in Minnesota yesterday making speeches to boost support for his senseless and unpopular war. As Bush made his tour to support a Republican candidate for Senator, a man who had formerly held that senate seat, and who had opposed the previously most unpopular war in American history, Eugene McCarthy, died.

I remember the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson assumed the Presidency. The Vietnam war raged on and as Americans started to die in large numbers, it became clear that there was no real plan to win that war and that the Johnson administration had not told America the truth.

As the Presidential election neared, Eugene McCarthy publicly opposed his own party's president because of the war. Johnson announced he would not run for reelection, a monumental event in American history. Johnson was a conflicted man of high pricipal in some respects, and low principals in others. He was a Texan. Eugene McCarthy wore his principled idealism as a badge and ran for President against a field including Hubert H. Humphrey, the Vice President, and Bobby Kennedy, brother of the slain, John.

Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in the third most tragic day of my life up to that point. I had lost a father and a president...As boyhood friends began to die in a war that had no point, one of the two men I was counting on to save us was killed. Eugene McCarthy was the other one. He went to the American people and simply told the truth, quietly and eloquently. Backed by money from defense contractors and others in the business world and lacking the moral imperative against telling a political lie, Hubert Humphrey won the nomination but was unable to shake his association with the failed war effort and lost the election to Richard Nixon, who had told the American people he had a "Secret Plan" to end the war.

More Americans were killed in Vietnam after Nixon was elected than before. Defense contractors made billions. In the next election George McGovern ran against Nixon on an anti war platform and was beaten by Nixon, who's campaign strategy was to state, "We have to fight Communism over there, so we won't have to fight it over here," or words to that effect. Nixon then proceeded to do exactly what McGovern said and pulled out of Viet Nam in the most shameful day in American Military history, as far as defeat is concerned, essentially beaten by Ho Chi MIn.

Nixon was forced to resign as his continued operation as if the laws of America did not apply to him caught up with him. It was the honorable actions of a few Republicans that tipped the balance in favor of justice. At some point, the American people just had enough of being lied to.

Odd, though, that up until a certain point, Americans seem to choose the Liar...And they have always known better. Instead of Eugene McCarthy, they chose Humphrey. Instead of Humphrey they chose Nixon. Instead of Carter, they chose Reagan.

And recently, instead of Gore and Kerry, they chose Bush. (Well they didn't, actually, but they let the election be close enough to steal, so in effect they did choose the liar)

Eugene McCarthy died an honorable man, to the end. Unchosen by America.



Saturday, December 10, 2005

What light through yon forest shines?

...Tis the dawn, and the hot tub calls me, siren like, to its enveloping wetness, where, having returned a womb of my own devise, I watch woodpeckers, possessive, repel the chickadees from the suet log...Juliet. I have my coffee. You are forgotten.

Saw Hal Holbrooke last night at the Tennessee Theater. Sam Clemmens died 100 years ago but his words are current. He seems to have disliked poiticians, lawyers, and criminals. Of the three, I believe he considered criminals to be the least disingenuous group.

Here is a Presidential quote from the previous week. It was relayed to the public via at least three Republican sources. three republicans telling the same lie is certainly not unusual, but they seem to have been stunned at the words of George W. Bush:

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

If confirmed as can any American NOT call for his resignation?

He Said what?



Friday, December 09, 2005

Yay! We make the top ten...

And then click to see who it is:

Pollution Scorecard

You say you want a Resolution?

So I have a question...

Since Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham has resigned in disgrace and is going to jail for bribery, it is apparent that his votes in Congress were the result of criminal activity. The Congressman's vote was paid for by Corporations, through lobbyists. His was not the only one.

Tom Delay represents K street lobbyists, not the people in his district. None of his constituents have contributed to his defense fund (ok, one...but he is a crook). Almost all of Tom's defense money comes from corporations...out of state corporations.

Several other Republican Congressmen are under investigation and will probably be arrested or forced to resign. (Now don't think I'm letting the Dems off the hook. It's just that Dems are small time at stealing money. The Republicans are soooo much better at it.)

So the votes were bought. Republican Nick Smith was reported to have even been bribed on the floor of Congress, though he refused. (This is under investigation with charges expected)

So many bills have passed by one or two votes...bribed it turns out.

And the Republican House Leadership has continually violated rules in order to pass legislation and deliver the goods to their corporate puppetmasters.

Now that all this is coming to light. Here's my question:

Shouldn't we go back and recount the votes?

Wouldn't that be the honorable and fair thing to do?

Here's the bottom line: The Conservative agenda cannot be supported without corruption and lies. If we allow the fruits of corruption to stand, the corporate criminals win. A huge case in point is the "Prescription Drug Bill", and Nancy Pelosi introduced a resolution listing and condemning the rules violations and corruption involved in passing that bill.

A resolution condemning corruption!

Failed to pass by a party line vote. Now ask yourself another question...If all the congressmen who are indicted or under investigation were prevented from voting. would the Resolution condemning corruption have passed?

I am not personally in favor of Capital punishment, but I might be persuaded if it applied to public officials who accept bribes.

Imagine, if things were fair,



Thursday, December 08, 2005

Stats and Comments

Statistics first:

U.S. military dead in Iraq, including suicides, 2,125;

US military amputeed, wounded, injured, mentally ill, all now out of Iraq, 49,500;

Iraqi civilians dead, 118,900.

Now the comment:

The Nobel prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, in his acceptance speech to the Nobel committee.

"The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law," he said.
"The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public ... a formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.

"We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people, and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.",2763,1661531,00.html

And now, from our shop 'til you drop Department...The perfect gift for Christmas:

The Scribble

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Why I Live In Tennessee

And why you should come visit!


And...You folks who live here and who haven't been to every single one of these places...You should be flogged daily until you remedy this egregious error in your personal experience.



Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Brass Frog Greets the Dawn

It's so unusual to have a normal winter in the gorge, so far this year. We have forgotten what to do in preparation for cold weather. I left the well house open and the water was frozen when Thomas turned on the shower.

The good part about this...I went outside in the cold before dawn. Orion is just starting to hide behind the south face of Walden Ridge and there's a deer below the house whistling at my intrusion on what ever was going on before I headed out to the well house with a kettle of boiling water.

Later, I took this shot. It looks over the garage and music room. The brass garden frog never stopped playing his banjo.



Monday, December 05, 2005


I've had my fix.

This is the time of year I need it and by golly I deserve it. The woods are bare, except for a few oddball shrubs that haven't gotten the message. The dark of winter season has taken over...maybe not officially with the winter solstice, but go out side and you'll see for yourself...The dark is here. So how do I fix it? I find a Witch Hazel tree and get my spirits lifted.

Some of you may remember the Witch Hazel tree next to the creek that was cut down by some brain dead fisherman. I mourn at the stump every time I walk by the water. I was concerned that this might be the only witch hazel near the house, and that i might not be cheered by the blooms springing forth in the darkest of seasons...fortelling of the solstice and lighter days ahead. Then I took some good friends on a hike to the overlook above the house.

The ridge has had a rough time in recent years. Arsonists set fire to five or six thousand acres back there and the ridge got burned over several times. The pine beetles killed the larger fire resistant trees, and with their falling, the ridge has been nearly impossible to hike through. This year, finally, the fallen trees have decomposed to the point we can crash through and remake the trail. Several plants have sprouted from the roots that survived the fires. As we crawled over the rock at the top of the ridge, there were several head high branches that had sprouted from the earth...and they were blooming.

I am surprised at what simple things make me happy. Now I know where the Witch Hazels are living and blooming in their fall rites. They are small, but they have survived.

We probably will too.




David Letterman: Top Ten New Strategies for Victory in Iraq:

10. Make an even larger ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign.

9. Encourage Iraqis to settle their feud like Dave and Oprah.

8. Put that go-getter Michael Brown in charge.

7. Launch new slogan, it’s not ‘Iraq’ it’s ‘Weraq’.

6. Just do whatever he did when he captured Osama.

5. A little more vacation time at the ranch to clear his head.

4. Pack on a quick thirty pounds and trade places with Jeb.

3. Wait, you mean it ain’t going well?

2. Boost morale by doing his hilarious locked door gag.

1. Place Saddam back in power and tell him, ‘It’s your problem, dude.


The Oak Ridge School paper scandal has hit the airwaves. #9 has the transcript at the Blab Forum: ( just scroll down til you see it)

The Blab Forum

Friday, December 02, 2005

Breaks the Ice at Parties

Someone asked me how I figure out what to write about. Actually, it is more like figuring out what NOT to write about. As a self styled warrior for "Truth Justice, and the American Way," there's plenty to attack, but sometimes you just gotta have fun.

Having fun sometimes means getting involved in civil conversations with actual conservatives. It is a vile philosophy, what with its hatred and lying, but the folks serving in the trenches of conservatism are usually just followers and not necessarily evil unto themselves. Having a couple of glasses of wine and laughing at them can be fun. Here's a party game you can play with conservatives. AS soon as someone asks a question about politics, start your stopwatch. Conservatives usually cannot go more than sixty seconds without lying. This equires a bit of actual factual knowlege on your part, but then that is why you read this blog, eh?

One thing you will notice, by the way, is that a Conservative never admits being wrong. Caught in a bald faced lie, they tend to start shouting about Bill Clinton.

Start the clock.

Usually, the first lie you will catch a conservative saying involves the old "Liberal Media" myth. No peer revued study has ever found this to be true, and in fact, things are quite the opposite.

Fox News is the most obvious right wing outlet outside of Rush's daily foamings. Anyone who gets their "news" from Fox is simply misinformed. Testing of people who watch various news programs demonstrated that the most informed people in America actually watch "The Daily Show" instead of news. This is even funnier because this is a Fake news show and which apparently presents more facts than the real ones. Weird huh? Fox news watchers were significantly more the point of believing things that were not just false, but that could be true only in an alternative universe.

Now we are seeing the solidly right leaning MSNBC channel attack the Whacko Right, Fox News talking heads for, of all things, lying. Fox isn't just right wing...If you are on Fox, your totter never comes close to a "teet"...It's "Tot's" only for you, or else they kill your children.

Keith Olbermann, of MSNBC, has a war going with Bill O'Reilly, of FOX News. Olbermann is playing the game in a big way. He calls O'Reilly , "The worst person in the world!" Quite a tag to sport around. World championship "worst-ness" is dificult to acheive. Here's one big "O" going after the other:

Bill O'Reilly. On the Today show, no less. Now how the hell did that happen? Says, quote, "These pinheads running around going, 'Get out of Iraq now,' don't know what they're talking about. These are the same people before Hitler invaded in World War II that were saying, 'Ah, he's not such a bad guy.' "


That's a lie, of course.

Wanna know who went to war to defeat Hitler? America's Super Liberal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Democrat...Founder of Social Security.

Wanna know who was saying, "That Hitler, He's not such a bad guy."? Geroge W. Bush's dear old grandfather, Prescott Bush who made a fortune dealing with Hitler and sent George to Yale.

Somewhere today, if you run into a conservative, you will hear a conservative tell a lie. Get your buzzers ready, folks...and hey! Have some fun out there!



ps: And try to remember that most conservatives aren't bad people just ignorant...though usually by their own choice.

Here's the Olbermann riff:

O'Reilly's the Worst!