Monday, January 31, 2005

Watermelon wars

Lots of you responded with stories about homemade "cough syrup":

My grandfather always had moonshine a with rock candy, on a string, available for all ailments. Pretty good stuff from what I remember. He always had a dozen or more mason jars full, a few under the sink, and lots more up in the attic. Lot's of illness in Georgia back in those days!


I had forgotten about "rock candy". What I remember was left in the bottom of a can of cane syrup. which is pronounced "Surp", by the way. When Dad would make pancakes on Saturday morning, my brother and I would peer into the half gallon can that cane syrup came in to see if any rock candy was forming on the bottom.

Joe and I grew up about an hour from each unbeknownst to the other.

(got that?)

Well actually, neither one of us has grown all the way up, so far, but we pretend. Moonshine whiskey and kerosene cured many an ill for our predecessors. Way too cheap, though...not enough money went to big Pharma so they had to invent antibiotics and start the bacteriological arms race against the human race. Are we winning, or not? Hard to tell.

Speaking of morons...(OK, I wasn't but I am, starting now.) Our local state senator says he's a Democrat. He campaigned as pro gun, anti government, pro life, anti gay, and pro war. He ran a little to the right of the Republican. This last week he came out publicly urging the Democratic National Party not to choose Howard Dean as chairman because it would alienate Southern Democrats.

"It would prompt many Southern Democrats to abandon the party," is what he said. Where the heck else can I go, you idiot? You are already agianst danged near everything I hold dear, Senator, and you think Howard Dean is the one alienating Democrats?

I realize my state senator is probably unemployable in the private sector and needs this job, but why in the heck does he want to come out against the only Democarat with national stature who says, "We need the South!"

The Democratic Party has moved rightward for the last four election cycles and they got their asses kicked, so...Hey, I've got a great idea on how to save the party...Let's move more to the right! We can be pro torture, racist, anti gay, lie about everything going to hell in a handbasket, fiscally, environmentally, and socially, and we can help construct the meanest damned culture the world has ever known based on the writings of Benito Mussolini and Machievelli, and every body can go to the Southern Baptist Church of their choice and it will all be good...





And now for your moment of Zen, thanks to Pat. This is a carved watermelon. Why didn't we think of carving them like this when I was a kid? All we did was steal them out of fields and throw the leftovers at each other in watermelon wars...

Go here, take the time to let it load, and listen to the music.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Moonshine and Peppermint

Quiet morning, here in the gorge at WhitesCreek Global Headquarters.

After a week of lying sorry, I crawled down to the weight rack in the basement and grunted through my shoulders routine. It is something old kayers must do in order to be old kayakers and not ex-kayakers. Suffering in soft complaint from my over rested arms, I got to breathing hard, too fast, but kept going. Once everything woke up it was a little easier and I finished with a clearer head than I've had in days.

Somehow, I feel like a weakling when I have to take a pill to get better from some bug, wishing instead that I was simply strong enough, constitutionwise, to beat it without chemical assist. The world breeds better bugs these days, so I guess I have to accept it. Looking at the bill from my drug connection at Rite-Aid, I wonder how much better the tiny little $25 bottle of cough syrup is than the stuff that used to live in my Gramma Ada's refrigerator in the mason jar.

Both of my Grandmothers would swear they were teetotalers, using alcohol for medicinal purposes only. The incredible number of physical ailments they developed that required such pharma was amazing at times. I don't know if moonshine whiskey and peppermint candies is actually medically indicated for a cough, but I sure didn't mind having one as bad after Ada shoveled one of those giant spoons full of her "special sauce" down my adolescent gullet. Looking back, I wonder if I ever faked a cough at Gramma's house?

It is unusual for the air to be so still here in the gorge. Normally we have a breeze or a wind due to the physics of living in a giant ditch. The prevailing winter winds cut exactly downstream, and I located our house just behind a projecting prominence after camping out for months at varying sites around the hillside, but today the wind comes from a different direction and is completely shielded by the entire Cumberland Plateau. We have a storm coming.

Typical for a winter storm in the south, we have no idea what the precipitation will be. The Weather Channel shows East Tennessee as a collage of pink and green and white, signifying that the professionals don't have a clue and are covering all bases. The eagles are wandering around more than usual, having already been out to the lake to feed and come back. They probably know more than the weather professionals but they aren't telling. I don't know if snow helps or hurts their dining, but the background of the snow covered mountain sure does set them off visually when they fly by.

All I need is to convince my wife that she really really needs me to have that 400mm lense, so I can take a decent eagle photo. So far, no luck.



From the Whitescreek Department of Itolduso:

"We now have no choice but to make the best we can of the disaster we have created in Iraq," Kennedy in a speech to the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. "The current course is only making the crisis worse."

And Under the sub headline: Democrat Grows Testicles!

The United States should start to withdraw militarily and politically from Iraq and aim to pull out all troops as early as possible next year, Sen. Edward Kennedy said on Thursday.

What?...and leave all that oil? We could have done that a long time ago...Well, Duh!

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Lot's of you have written to wish me well, and now that my eyes have uncrossed enough to read, I thank you. I heard from other folks who were at the Allison Kraus concert, and there was not a bad review in the group.

I also got this comment from TennesseeJed after I mentioned that Jesus never said squat about homosexuality:

"... do not misrepresent Christianity by telling someone that a sinful lifestyle is okay."

Well, Duh, Jed, Jesus never ever said homosexuality was a sinful lifestyle! How hard is that?

I really do know better than to try to have a thoughtful conversation with a FunXtian but here is my reply:

You kinda miss the point, don't you? While Jesus specifically contradicted Judaic law on many occaisions, your argument won't walk in the first place if you read what I said.

(If you are a follower of Christ then you should do what he said about things and what he said about homosexuality was not one dammed thing! Jed, of course, quotes several passages from Paul, there by proving my point...Even back then, folks were putting words in Jesus' mouth for their own puposes.)

Today, many have put on the mantle of Christianity to claim certain things that are very unChrist like. Cristianity has fractured into so many different sects it is hard to tell the players without a scorecard, but I tend to identify a great number of them by the tendency to quote from the Old Testament while waving a cross.

Jesus' life was a reform movement, but he would be very sad to see how little of it worked.

I have taken to watching Link TV way too much. I don't know how many of you can receive it but one of the programs the show is a New York City radio show called Democracy Now. I have to say that intellectual people with rigorous thought processes often seem dull to the dim witted. If you do not want to think, Rush is far better fro entertainment, just remember, he's lying, OK?

Amy Goodman is the host and looks like she's having a bad day gastrointestinally, but she gives you the news straight and truthful, and I'm scared. This week she had on Seymour Hersch, a New Yorker columnist of great repute:

Words mean nothing -- nothing to George Bush. They are just utterances. They have no meaning. Bush can say again and again, “well, we don't do torture.” We know what happened. We know about Abu Ghraib.

Please put Democracy Now on your reading list, but for now, go there and read what Sy Hersch says about the Cult running our country:

Democracy Now


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Beware the anger of a quiet Sponge

Well, I'm still kinda out of it but here's some outraging and funny stuff to occupy you till I get feisty again:

On Friday, in the shadow of the splashy presidential inauguration jamboree, the Bush EPA offered factory farms a tempting tradeoff: more than two years of immunity from the Clean Air Act and certain toxic-discharge standards in exchange for participating in a data-collection program that would monitor air emissions from their facilities.


Hold that thought and:

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common infectious disease in women...

The symptoms of this infection are hard to miss—and for more and more women, the infections are becoming hard to manage. An increasing number of UTIs are resistant to the drugs used most commonly to treat them.

According to new research, this wave of multidrug-resistant UTIs may have a surprising source: eating meat. In a recent study, Lee Riley at the University of California, Berkeley and his colleagues link a multidrug-resistant strain of Escherichia coli isolated from beef cattle to clusters of UTIs in women across the country.

And it is the CAFO or factory farm that is the main source of the problem:

Many bacteria found floating within a farm building are invulnerable to multiple antibiotics, confirming that airborne dispersal could spread drug-resistant microbes from animals to people.

SpongeBob SquarePants lashed out at Christian conservative groups today after they accused him of promoting homosexuality and questioned the undersea cartoon icon's sexuality. SquarePants also requested that the tabloid media respect his privacy during what he called "a difficult time."

At least one prominent religious leader sprung to SpongeBob SquarePants' defense yesterday, noting that a sponge figured prominently in the final moments of Jesus Christ. "A sponge was basically responsible for making His last minutes on earth comfortable ones," says Roy DeLong, Pastor of the Spring Hill Baptist Church in Spring Hill, KS. "It's right there in John: 19: 'A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips.'"




Monday, January 24, 2005

Fiddlin araound

Just everyone can be totally jealous of me, the Allison Kraus concert was magnificent. The Tennessee Theater is also magnificent in its new clothes.

27 million dollars worth? I'll have to wait until I can hear the pipe organ to say whether it was worth all that. If any of you were there Friday night, I confess. I was the guy in row p trying to hold his hacking cough until the end of each song so the applause could drown it out. It appears that I was coming down with something serious and I apologize. I'm off to the doc this morning if I ever get through.

We have a good routine for downtown concerts, which is important since we live an hour away. We hit a pub on Gay street and pound enough dark and fizzlie beverages to happy us up and then walk to the theater. I don't think the bathrooms are 27 million dollar bathrooms but they are all clean and shiny. Pity those that didn't check them out just before the concert because Allison didn't give us a break. I didn't want one. What a wonderful concert. Live, they sound exactly like the recordings only like they are having more fun.

Allison K is a very good fiddle player. This doesn't come across on the cd's like it does live, where she can take off now and again as the band trades licks. Jerry Douglas is indescribable on the dobro. I've heard his group before but his solo improvisation was better Friday night. I can't help but wonder if the sound system was the magic factor. It looks permanent, and I'm all excited because I have season tickets. If all goes well I'll get to see Earl Scruggs and Del McCoury work out on the same system.

Want to have some fun? Think of a topic and a spokesman from the Bush administration and you can always be sure of one thing...They lied about it. Go here and play the game:

Black and White

That's the Fundamentalist's rainbow! All those confusing colors are gone now, just the black and white!
More here:

Vignette from a protest at the inaugural:

"As we marched along side fellow democrats towards the parade a very well dressed republican family (obviously from Texas) walked by. The youngest child- a girl no more than 8 shouted at the crowd 'Democrats kill babies' -- her family chuckled as they walked away. Without missing a beat a woman smiled and shouted back 'too bad you weren't one of them.'
It was a lovely moment"

And I leave you with this observation, made through the fog in my head last night...Only Blue States have a team in the Super Bowl.

The Right Moronic Reverend James Dobson claims SpongeBob Squarepants is an advocate for the homosexual lifestyle. Actually he is an advocate for tolerance.

I say Mr. Dobson, who calls himself a Cristian, should take exactly the same stand that Jesus did on Homosexuality!

Here's is what Jesus said:

Absolutely nothing!

Perhaps we should follow this example. It would be the Christian thing to do after all.



Friday, January 21, 2005

Allison and Richie

Respite from the world's evil is at hand, if only for a little while.

Tonight, those of us who got tickets are headed to the newly gilt Tennessee Theater to see Alison Kraus and Union Station. Powered by a bit of nectar from Kevin's Silver Shaker, we intend to enjoy ourselves and take it all in. It occurs to me that I know of nothing useful that can be done with Triple Sec, except to dilute it to unrecognizable with lime juice and fermented agave juice, properly distilled and aged.

There is hope for those poor souls in East Tennessee who are among the unlucky. Woodstock hero, Richie Havens, is "communicating" as he calls it, right down the road in Athens, TN. One of our clan, here at WhitesCreek, is responsible for this and several other great evenings. Here's a shoutout to Ellen! Good work, girl!

Come to Athens and see Richie Havens, Friday, January 21, 2005, 7:30 PM at the Athens Junior High School Auditorium. For ticket information or directions, call (423) 745-8781 or go to

I wonder what the most often told lie is? Down here in the South it depends on where you are at the moment. "Doesn't he/she look good!" is the big lie told at the funeral parlor.

"Well for a dead person, sure," one is tempted to say, but instead we nod our heads and become accessories after the fact in falsehood.

No biggie!

For a while, the most repeated and scorned lie was, "I did not have sex with that women!" Nearly all of us, sane, insane, and points in between, have lied about sex, either the act or the attraction. That's why it is labeled a "Drive".

Drive you crazy on a regular basis, one way or another until you die.

"No, honey, I don't think ____ looks all that good, do you?" See! ...Makes us all liars.

Usually nobody dies and future consequences are localized in these cases, though since I hit puberty a couple of centuries ago, getting a shot in the butt at the student clinic won't take care of all of certain consequences anymore, and the importance of polymer barrier technology has risen to extreme heights. ( We have to say things like "polymer barrier technology" because we can't say "rubber" in a family blog like this in case the Neoconservative plants at the FCC have developed the ability to read...)


I think the biggest lies I hear from our leaders all fall into one category...The

"We, and all the acts we commit, are GOOD!

They, and all the acts they commit, are BAD!" Category.

To me, the most excruciating moment in F 9-11 was when an Iraqi man held the American artillery shell mutilated body of a baby in one hand and, shaking with anger, screamed at a reporter,

"Please tell me! What did this baby do to deserve this?"

With the outburst complete, the man tossed the baby in the back of a pickup truck filled with the tattered remains of several other children and women. This is what humans who stand in our way have become...Garbage, to be picked up off the streets and hauled away.

And then we get this:

Condoleeza Rice, in sworn testimony before the Senate:
RICE: Senator, the United States of America — American personnel are not engaged in terrorism against innocents.

So now we have confirmed someone who has sworn to a lie. It's OK to lie?

"Good job! You go girl!" our Senate leaders said this week. The absurdity of the situation is right out of the worst cold war era underground trage-comedy.

"They are BAD,

... Because they are still putting up a fight against the armed soldiers of the Nation that invaded them and killed tens of thousands of their innocents and wrecked their country under false pretenses."

"We are GOOD,

...Because..Because..Well, Dammit, I can't come up with anything that makes us, as a nation GOOD, right now."

Unless it is this:

This Nation has come under the control of evil several times in the past and eventually worked its way out of it, at least part way. I believe we will do it again. It is not going to be easy and it is going to hurt.

Some where Some how, we have to find the courage to confront this big lie, accept what it means and deal with it. Let's do our best, shall we?

James Norton eviscerates Ms. Rice's testimony, in an E-Mag I have just had brought to my attention.

Flak Magazine brought this one to my attention:

Rock and Roll will live forever! Well at least the idiotic staged photos of the Bands will. This gallery is way too close to home for me. I still have a few pix of my old band from so far back I can't believe we even had tubes.

Click on the small pix and off you go. No matter how strange you are, it is comforting to know there is someone stranger than you could ever have imagined.

Thanks to Charles Pugsly Fincher for carrying on the Daily Scribble, and James Norton at Flak for making him do it.

Daily Scribble

"Did you hear about this? The U.S. is sending a top secret reconnaissance team into Iran. How secret can it be if a dumb ass like me knows about it?" -- David Letterman



Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Off I go, today, to indulge in my one professional sports passion...College Basketball...ACC, of course! I am scamming a free ticket, obviously. Anyway this will be short and mostly plagiarized.

I know all of you have been watching Condi get grilled. At times it was high farce. Particularly when she said all that stuff about how she "Honors the truth!" This was right after she had been nailed repeatedly for lying.

Joe Biden nailed her for giving a numerical answer that was off by a factor of thirty. That's a pretty good stretch even by Condi standards.

BIDEN: Now, how many [Iraqi forces] do you really think are trained that Allawi can look to and say, I can rely on those forces? What do you think that number is?

....RICE: We think the number right now is somewhere over 120,000.

....BIDEN: Well, I thank you for your answer. I think you'll find, if you speak to the folks on the ground, they don't think there's more than 4,000 actually trained Iraqi forces. I strongly urge you to pick up the phone or go see these folks.

Of course the number Condi used is the official lie Bush has himself told repeatedly. Sure, they have run that many through the training course but all but roughly 4000 have left. Most of these sold their weapon to insurgents on the way home.

This is much like the social security "Crisis" that simply doesn't exist. For me, this should be the smoking gun for all of America to see and come to grips with the fact that...

Bush = Lie!

Nothing Bush has said about social security will stand the light of day. Why do Republicans hate this program so much? They don't pay much of it and it has done more good for more people and is the most successful Fedeal program in history. I think it comes down to this:

Right wing Republicans are just not nice people!

I'll spare you the diatribe from the Rude Pundit, but as always, His Rudeness sees the truth through his venemous eyes:

Washington, D.C. is a city in lockdown. Over a hundred planes are gonna patrol the skies. Thousands of armed officers and military will be on the ground, snipers, undercover agents. No one will be totally trusted. Fear has formed a canopy over the capitol. There is a threat to all of us, but is it from outside the tent or inside?

Tomorrow, we will swear in George W. Bush, a demonstrable Liar, for another four years.


Whites Creek

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bacon Fat

We used to spend foggy winter weekends at a friend's house on Screamer Mountain near the Chattooga river in north Ga. Up until I met Robert, I thought good sound systems were loud. Now I have high standards and loud is a only a small part of the equation, mainly because my aging tympanum can't take it anymore.

Yesterday, it was my turn to herd cats (soccer team) on their MLK Freedom run (conditioning) around Watts Barr Lake in Kingston, and, as the air piecred all the stuff I was wearing and stuck a branding iron onto my left ear (the one next to the water from whence the wind was attacking), I thought back to sitting on the floor at Robert's house, between the floor to ceiling speaker cabinets listening to music.

"Take your mind off the pain," I was thinking. I am not a runner and I don't like much about it but I do it anyway, though not all that much. High School soccer conditioning is a good motivational excuse, and besides, it was just too danged cold to stand still on the hill at Southwest Point above the Tennessee river. Might as well try to work up a sweat or something.

So anyway, as I was plodding along, the mind wandered about in its hypothermic delusional state (where the hell is this "zone" thing I hear about all the time, when you really need it?). For some reason I started thinking about spending winters all warm and fuzzy by the fire, and a recollection of listening to "John Brown's Body" on Robert's monster sound system came back and my favorite lines from the opening narration boomed inside my head. The fake Southern accents of the voices took nothing away from the power of the recording. Imagine a deep voice, slowly and powerfully speaking:

"Ah, Georgia!......"

“And the white wolf-winter, hungry and frore,

Can prowl the North by a frozen door

But here we have fed him on bacon-fat

And he sleeps by the stove like a lazy cat.”

John Brown’s Body

by Stephen Vincent Benet

"So the white wolf-winter lives up North?" I am thinking. I am jogging along and all I can feel where my ear used to be is something like the inside of a marshmallow on its way to being a smore...and this is supposed to be one of those nice winter day's we feed on bacon fat? Jeez, folks, it was 18 stupid American Farenheit degrees in East Tennessee. The Lazy cat 65 degree winter days we were having last week have evaporated...

...and I love it.

Now where is my snow?!

Thanks to Susan for reminding me about Calvin and Hobbs:

Robert Singleton, who now lives in Virginia, is an artist of serious reputation. Here is his web gallery. Take your time, when you have time. The images are large and slow to load but worth it. I am very proud of the Singleton's I own, though few and small. Of special note to me is the retrospective of the Screamer Mountain years. The East Tennessee connection is the artist's show Robert had at the Huunter, in Chattanooga. The place has probably never recovered from Robert's road crew taking over the place to hang ten foot paintings all over the hallways. A particularly vivid memory was several of the crew, we were actually escaped Chattooga River raft guides, carrying a case of beer across the Baylor school campus into the headmaster's apartment where we were staying. Young and stupid has its moments!

These images are best imagined wall sized, as they were, and viewed through the beneficial lens of a decent cognac...or cheep beer, either one. Enjoy:


You can have your own Singleton, if you wish, without having to pay gallery markup. I agree these images are small, but you can out one on the wall and still have enough left over to buy a nice car, compared to the full sized oil paintings.

My own Singleton


W. C.

Here is a list of conscientious Republicans who oppose P.Bush's Social Security atack. It is a short one but it contains worthy names. Let them know you appreciate their honesty:


Here is a list of fainthearted Democrats who don't have the fortitude (yet) to call P.Bush a "Liar!": (It's getting shorter every day...Harold Ford...You are a wimp!)


Monday, January 17, 2005


Well, good morning, my country!

Today is the birthday of Martin Luther King, a man who stood for truth, justice, and the American way. One of our fellow citizens shot him for it. MLK is a hero to a large segment of America and, unfortunately, so is the guy who shot him, although to a smaller and much different segment.

Martin King had the brilliant idea that racism was about fear, not hatred. He thought that the only way to break down the walls of racism would be to drive out the fear that built the walls in the first place. He said that if you want someone to stop hating you, you couldn't go around killing them and their families and burning their houses and things like that. Nope, you have to be nice, even if it is hard to do.

Takes Courage!

"Return love for hate," he said.

Dang, what a concept! Someone should found a religion on it, or something...Maybe people could claim that our Nation was founded as a Nation that followed this religion's concepts...Wow, wouldn't that be something?

Takes courage!

(Sitting in a war room halfway around the world and dropping a missile on a bunch of women and children inside their own houses doesn't take courage, by the way.)

Happy Birthday, Martin! Back here on earth, we're stupid as ever.

I think that the flames of that fear are stoked by the fuel of greed. Wasn't it greed that drove the slave trade in the first place? Wanting to get rich, as a prime motivation in and of itself, is a great destroyer. Greedy societies always fail and we have to ask if now is the time for ours to fail also...unless we fix it first.

Here is a quote from my favorite financial advisor, Robert Loest

"Americans since the 1960s have perhaps behaved as irresponsibly and immorally as any people in history, including the Renaissance Popes and 17th Century French Royalty. Our savings are virtually gone. We spent it all on ourselves. We have not only eaten all our seed corn, we have borrowed enormous sums from future generations that we will never be able to repay, beggaring our own children and grandchildren in a lifelong rampage of pure selfishness and greed, and have now borrowed, in addition to that, 83% of all the private savings available in the rest of the world."

The rest of this thought may be found here:

Odd, but Mr. Loest quotes Martin Luther King's most admired mortal man in a financial rant. Odder still, that it all comes together so neatly for me:

The things that will destroy us are:
politics without principle;
pleasure without conscience;
wealth without work;
knowledge without character;
business without morality;
science without humanity;
and worship without sacrifice


I couldn't have said it better myself, O' great moral compass that I am!

From a financial standpoint, I have long thought that the Bush Twins will ultimately destroy our country. This would be the Bush Twins of :

record fiscal deficit and the record international trade deficit...

which twins did you think I meant?

Unless we revitalize the manufacturing segment of our economy, we can't succeed as a nation. We have to build things and make things to actually create value. Right now, all we are doing is selling the same rock back and forth to each other, raising the price each time and calling it "Production".

Our record trade deficit is actually the transfer of borrowed money. We buy oil fron the Saudis and they loan it back to us at a profit, using some of it to buy the companies that employ the American worker so they can lay him off and have the same products built in a foreign country with what is essentially slave labor. I mean even a good slave ought to cost more than 65 cents a day in maintenance, don't you think?

MLK, where are you, now that we really need you? If the Chinese slave wage worker that is building all our stuff were paid half our minimum wage, the Chinese economy would collapse.

In the meantime, what can America do? Our currency has lost one third of its worth against the Euro in the last two years.

Hello! Reality calling! Anybody there?

Grab the jelly, 'cause we're toast!



PS: Have you guys seen the big fuss folks are making over the Bush Cowboy boots with the Presidential seal? Pretty fancy cowboy outfit for a man born in New Haven, Connecticut! You knew that , right? Big place for Cowboys, New Haven!

Friday, January 14, 2005


I think we are living through one of those times that will be a huge chapter in the history books a hundred years from now...if there are any history books or anybody left that can read, a hundred years from now. WE have a monumental contradiction on our hands.

I was thinking and it occurred to me that this statement involving two leaders of sovereign nations involves one stating something that is true...and one stating something that is false:

"Saddam Hussein is a man who told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them." -- George W. Bush, Nov. 3, 2002

Saddam was telling the truth by the way. There is no way around the fact that we as a nation, were led into a war under pretenses that were not true.

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." -- Vice President Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002.

No Doubt? They knew better than that, even then.

As a Nation, America seems unwilling to face what it has done. At the very least let's learn from the awful truth of Iraq:

Our leaders made serial misjudgements and lied to us about it.

Now they are hellbent to screw Social Security. Yesterday, in a guest appearance, Frankie Roosevelt warned us:

"In our efforts to provide security for all of the American people, let us not allow ourselves to be misled by those who advocate short cuts to Utopia or fantastic financial schemes."

Social Security is in immenent danger of a 13 trillion dollar train wreck, they say. Why? because the Social Security trust fund, that would be all the money you and I have paid in social security payments...all of it...has been spent. It's gone! In its place are obligations of the US Treasury. Up until George W. Bush took power, U.S. Treasury Notes were considered the safest investments on earth. Now our President is telling us that is no longer true?

So what does he propose to save us from his mythical $13 Trillion disaster? A $15 trillion disaster:

"Privatization would cost an additional $3 trillion in its second decade, $5 trillion in the decade after that and another $5 trillion in the decade after that. By the time privatization started to save money, if it ever did, the federal government would have run up around $15 trillion in extra debt."

Saint Paul

Of course the real reson Bush can say that SS is in trouble is that he stole the money...and lied about it. Here are two Bush quotes:

BUSH PLEDGES NOT TO TOUCH SOCIAL SECURITY SURPLUS... "We're going to keep the promise of Social Security and keep the government from raiding the Social Security surplus." [President Bush, 3/3/01]

...BUSH SPENDS SOCIAL SECURITY SURPLUS The New York Times reported that "the president's new budget uses Social Security surpluses to pay for other programs every year through 2013, ultimately diverting more than $1.4 trillion in Social Security funds to other purposes." [The New York Times, 2/6/02]

So with a history of lying and monumental bad hudgement, we are going to let them work their majic on Social Security? Jeez, are we insane for letting them get away with this?

Maybe...Read on...
This is very very good (Thanks to Berube for pointing it out):

"Appreciate this. Understand that the people killing us in Iraq aren’t motivated by Gore Vidal or inspired by Susan Sontag or organized by Michael Moore or in cahoots in any way with any of the right’s celebrity piƱatas - not literally, not metaphorically, not if you look at it in a certain way, not to any infinitesimal degree, not in any sense, not in any way at all. They do not lead a clandestine international conspiracy of Evil which has corrupted everything in every foreign country plus everything in America not owned by loyal Bush Republican apparatchiks; nor are they members of such a conspiracy; nor does a conspiracy remotely matching that description exist. To think otherwise is, literally and to a very great degree, insanity. It is insane."

See! FundXtians at work, again. Read the Poor Man:

The Poor Man



Thursday, January 13, 2005

Shortcut to Utopia

I have a special Guest Blogger today. Ladies and Gentlemen, May I present,

(Former) President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"Security was attained in the earlier days through the interdependence of members of families upon each other and of the families within a small community upon each other. The complexities of great communities and of organized industry make less real these simple means of security. Therefore, we are compelled to employ the active interest of the Nation as a whole through government in order to encourage a greater security for each individual who composes it . . . This seeking for a greater measure of welfare and happiness does not indicate a change in values. It is rather a return to values lost in the course of our economic development and expansion . . ." Message of the President to Congress, June 8, 1934.

"We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age."--upon signing Social Security Act

"Long before the economic blight of the depression descended on the Nation, millions of our people were living in wastelands of want and fear. Men and women too old and infirm to work either depended on those who had but little to share, or spent their remaining years within the walls of a poorhouse . . .The Social Security Act offers to all our citizens a workable and working method of meeting urgent present needs and of forestalling future need . . .

One word of warning, however.

In our efforts to provide security for all of the American people, let us not allow ourselves to be misled by those who advocate short cuts to Utopia or fantastic financial schemes.

We have come a long way. But we still have a long way to go. There is still today a frontier that remains unconquered--an America unclaimed. This is the great, the nationwide frontier of insecurity, of human want and fear. This is the frontier--the America--we have set ourselves to reclaim."

-- President Franklin Roosevelt August 14, 1938, Radio address on the third anniversary of the Social Security Act

We would like to thank President Roosevelt for coming back from the dead to remind us why Social Security is one of the kindest and most Christian acts in American history. His call for a "Return to Values Lost" is inspiring, to say the least, as is his warning to beware those who would mislead us with "fantastic financial schemes!"

All of this and much more is worthy reading.This is a brief history of Social Security and what America looked like before we, as a country decided to help the most vulnerable of our citizens.

The History of Social Security

Odd, isn't it?... No WMD's...

"How could we all have been so wrong?" the president's sycophants are saying now on National TV.

"Everybody thought Saddam had WMD's" they say...

Well, No, actually. Lots of people pointed out that the evidence the Bushies were throwing at us was goofy:

The aluminum tubes for nukular processing...bogus...And the Union of Concerned Scientists and several others said so at the time.

The Niger Yellowcake for nukular material...bogus and, Are you listening, Dan Rather?

Based on Fabricated Memos!...and the French and the Czechs said so at the time.

Mobile Biological warfare trailers? Bogus...and the Brits said so at the time.

A freeway Blogger says it best:

"Name one thing he's done right?......One?

There's so much more:


Ok, The General is way over the top here. His Manliness is too much for mere mortals, sometimes.

And...Never read the General without reading the comments. They may be the best part.

Jesus' General



Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Invisible Drug Dog

Is that a Band's name yet?

Anyone else had the invisible drug dog experience?

You know, the "dog hit on your car so we have to search it and you might as well give us permission so you won't have to sit here for hours while we get a search warrant" experience?

Are Lenoir City and Loudon County, Tennessee the worst?

Recently we learned of a friend's son that got pulled over for the old "Illegal Left Turn, I smell Pot, you need to let us search your car" trick in Lenoir City. And of course, we are reading the adventures of the Loudon officers in the KNS, so are they all dirty?

"I was totally honest with them, but they treated me like a dog," said this disabled veteran who's crime was "weaving":

I was Flat Extorted

After thinking about it, I am leaning that way. In keeping with my belief in the Fairness Priciple, I feel like I should try and reason with the police first:

Dear Officer ____,

When you decide to pull a kid over for a mystery traffic offense, harrass him for an hour and a half, make him sit on the side of the road with your blue lights flashing for all the world to see and wonder what evil thing he has done...when you put the other kids through your roadside interogation, threaten them with jail, scare them, and then...not only did you not smell pot, you turn his car upside down and find out that the kid is exactly what he told you he was... absolutely clean...

Does it ever occur to you at that point to have just a little bit of class, just apologize and let him go?

The punishment you've just administered is all out of proportion to a "left turn" foul, after all, even if he had actually done it!

You see, Officer ____, now you have this young man who has never been tardy or missed a single day of school in his entire life, is a straight A student, not only in high school but in college, too...When I say a "good kid" I mean "America's best"...Everything we hope kids try to be!

And now, this young man and his friends think all cops are dirt bags because the only experience he has ever had with a cop is on the side of the road with you!

...And you still press the ticket for an illegal left turn?

Well, Officer ____, would you give this a little thought and see if you might act a little differently next time so that these kids will realize that all Cops are not scum? You may even be a nice guy who just had a "dirt bag" moment.

Oh Yeah, by the way, you misspelled you own freaking name on the ticket.



p.s.: To a person, every single lawyer I talked with said, "Never, never, ever, give the police permission to search your car."

I have the door open this morning, here in the gorge. The frogs are going off and birds are singing their "Hey girl, wassup wid ju?" songs.

This is obviously because god needed to keep it warm to save three three bible college students from hypothermia. They put in at 5:45 pm yesterday to kayak Clear Creek at high water. They are described as "experienced outdoorsmen" by the news accounts. I would describe their most recent outdoor experience as a lack of "Judgement Day".

FundXtian viruses at work, no doubt!



My vote for Joke of the week:

"The FDA has approved a new medicine that fights premature ejaculation. The FDA was going to hold a press conference, but news leaked out before they had chance." – Conan O’Brien

Monday, January 10, 2005

Commander of the Resistance

(Steve has turned over today's rant to Commander Rapid, Leader of the Resistance)

The Homeland Security Department has refused comment on questions from several sources reguarding the possible invasion and infiltration of America's noblest institutions by beings from the planet Fund-X-tia. Called "FundXtians", they appear to have the intent of destroying all common sense left on the planet Earth.

Alert defenders of the planet have long known that certain self proclaimed cult leaders are in fact, FundXtians. Once this is realized, the sight of a Mr. Falwell proclaiming, on National television,

"We should blow them all to kingdom come, in the name of the Lord!"

can be directly attributed to FundXtian methods of war. The fact that American Citizens believe, for one second, that one of the greatest pacifists that ever lived wants innocent children dead, can only be attributed to FundXtian viruses infecting the brains of seemingly normal humans. It has been a FundXtian strategy that there is no need to conquer the entire body when only the brain is required.

FundXtian methods were used to drive peace loving Americans to accept the "goodness" of blowing up a house full of women and children on the off chance that Saddam Hussein could be inside. This was done on the order of a man claiming to be Pro-Life, wanting to force the will of the state inside the bodies of its citizens to save innocent potential children.

" Abortions are murder but killing Iraqi children and their mothers is an act of love," say the FundXtians!

"The Social Security system might lose $3.7 trillion in the next 75 years, " they say, while refusing to mention the FundXtian tax cut that costs $11.6 trillion over the same time frame. FundXtian Tax reform, now on the agenda, can only be as devastating as the FundXtian Medicare reform that saved Medicare last year by $8.1 trillion over the next 75 years.

How the FundXtians came here and took over the sacred institutions of America is only one part of the mystery...It now appears that over the entire world, this threat is real and growing, as evidenced by movements as diverse as the Fundamuslians, FundaMoonians, FundaMormians, FundaJudibats, and Republicans, also known as Funda-Moron-ians! So far, existing organizations have proved unable to counteract the growing devastation caused by the FundXtians. Of particular note are the Ineptocrats, though sensitive diagnostic equipment shows some brain activity. Only time will tell if this is true, and is of sufficient magnitude to mount a sufficient opposition force. There is fear that the Ineptocrats have already been infiltrated by FundXtian agents. This is the only possible explanation for the shrill, shaking, rantings of the Zellmillerbot at the FundaMoronian convention, prior to the disgraceful reelection of...I can't bring myself to type it but, yes, he's a FundXtian, too...

Citizens! You must prepare yourself for a long protracted struggle against evil FundXtia! Commander Rapid suggests you start by reading messages from the enlightened such as this one:


In the meantime, here is are photos of FundXtians with cloaking shields momentarily inoperative:


Persevere, Patriots! The Resistance Lives!

Commander Rapid

(In real life, Commander Rapid is a 1954 Studebaker. He currently resides on a small island in Whites Creek. The Commander asks you to check yourself often for the early warning signs of infection with the FundXtian virus! If you have ever watched President Bush on television and thought to yourself, "Hell, how much damage can he actually do?" you may already be infected!)

Steve recommends Lisa today:


Friday, January 07, 2005

I don't know, but I've been told...

Grey morning, here in the gorge. More rain and maybe ice on the way, but right now it's just misty with little clouds crawling around the far cliff face. The eagles flew out to the lake but they are back already, sitting in the tops of the white pines across from me. This is pretty typical of them. it seems like they are using the weather as an excuse to stay home from work. They make their little screechy conversations saying things like, " Aww, I just don't feel like going out and killing any food on days like this. Maybe I'll go look for something dead already in a little while, but right now I'm gonna sit here and mope around on top of this tree." One that I am looking at is missing some of his tail feathers and I'm wondering just what could be the cause of that? I can't come up with a scenario that makes sense. Eagles are pretty protective about their tail feathers, I think.

They'll sit there most of the day until something disturbs them or they just "feel the need" to do something else.

At some moments I have needs, too. We all do, and it is the best of times for each of us when we identify exactly what that need consists of and fill it perfectly.

It starts with a vague feeling coming from somewhere inside. Some part of our being is lacking and essential element for happiness, but we rarely think about it in such deep terms, or exactly pin it down. It's usually just a "Hmmm..." kinda thing, but sometimes we stumble on the exact one thing in the cosmos that does the trick.

Often the need itself is much simpler than what we try to plug into the emptiness. I can give you an example of this very easily, by pointing out the beverage cooler of any old convenience store, where you will see fifty or so different kinds of artifically colored and flavored sugar water begging to "fill your need" when what will do it best of all is a nice glass of water right out of the kitchen faucet...or even the bathroom faucet. it's exactly the same stuff, you know.

I still have the habit of drinking water from the bathroom faucet out of my cupped hands after I brush my teeth. Good Stuff! We live way out past the water lines so our water comes from a hole in the ground. The pump sits about 200 feet below the well house that I need to fix up before next winter and reliably delivers good cold water to all the faucets. The water has a taste and I have come to like it. It is rather free of bad things acording to the tests, but it has a number of minerals in varying quantity that flavor it oh so lightly. When I am thirsty there is nothing on earth that fills the need as well as a drink of water right out of my sink, usually taken from one of the 18 year old industrial strength cups that use to have "sippy" lids on them. It appears they last at least one human lifetime and are just the right size, except that sometimes they are so perfect I have to drink two of them.

Ramble, ramble, ramble...Oh yeah, needs!

This morning my vague indescribable need was filled perfectly by half of a grapefruit. I sat here happily digging into it with one of those funky spoons, getting squirted and dripping some of the good juice on my shirt. Talk about a "Happy meal"!


Ever think you "Know" something you can't prove? Lots of people claim they do, and that was the big question put to some of the great thinkers of our time by the World Question Center, whoever that is. Lots of the answers are predictable:

"I know, but can't prove, there is or isn't a God" is the most obvious.

" I know but can't prove, that Saddam had WMD's" is the most tragicly stupid.

Here is one example of the responses. It is from Roger Shank, a psychologist and computer scientist (of all combinations of things to be):

I believe, but cannot prove, that people are not...

"...capable of rational thought when it comes to making decisions in their own lives. People believe that are behaving rationally and have thought things out, of course, but when major decisions are made—who to marry, where to live, what career to pursue, what college to attend, people's minds simply cannot cope with the complexity. When they try to rationally analyze potential options, their unconscious, emotional thoughts take over and make the choice for them."

Like I said, some of these are obvious. This makes for fascinating reading:

The Edge

Saint Paul writes about hypocrisy and its acronym:

...the acronym Iokiyar:

"It's O.K. if you're a Republican."

....when the Senate confirms Mr. Gonzales, it will mean that Iokiyar remains in effect, that the basic rules of ethics don't apply to people aligned with the ruling party. And reality will continue to be worse than any fiction I could write.




Thursday, January 06, 2005

Pigs and Hogs

I've been walking around the estate looking at tracks in the frost and freeze softened ground. It's been interesting. Deer of all sizes, of course, but I have at least two wild hogs in the yard. When I say "in the yard" I mean 100 feet from the house. We had been yelling at the dogs to shut up most evenings just after full dark, when they would start yapping at something in the woods. The direction of agitation seems to start up the hill behind the house and slowly work its way around to the lower woods. One of the problems with trying to live in harmony with the world is that I haven't denuded the landscape and, as a result, I can't see what the heck has the dogs all stirred up because of all these trees.

When we first saw the print clearly in the mud of our driveway extension we thought it was a huge buck. My son took a picture with his cell phone camera. A hunter Bud set us straight. "Hog!" he said. No wonder the dogs bark at it but won't go more than five feet from the house while they do. These beasts have been know to rip up a 150 pound Rotweiller in these parts, and then just go on about their business. The few times I've wandered up on them they have demonstrated that, for all their deliberate slow moseying about, they are screaming fast when they think its time to leave. After I researched pig tracks I decided that we have at least two of them...a big one and a real big one. I've seen the European black boar both times I've seen pigs but I also saw a huge Duroc Sow running with them. I suspect the tracks we have now are from feral hogs just based on the immense size. One day I'll see the beast and I'll let you know.

I don't know exactly why, but all this talk about hogs has made me think about the Bush push to mess with social security. I've written here about how important this program has been to my family during certain tragic times growing up, and I am concerned with the attempt to change it. Conservatives seem to hate the concept of social security and are hell bent to screw it up if they can. The only thing I know for sure is that they will lie to us about what they intend to do. The big lie is that SS is in trouble in the first place.

Kevin Drum does as good a job explaining the stupidity of President Bush's social security proposal as anyone. Here's the short of it: Bush is lying! Doing absolutely nothing does a better job of saving SS than Bush's plan, even if the most optimistic case is used.

So here's the deal: if we (a) do absolutely nothing and (b) assume that the CBO's economic estimates are accurate and the Social Security trust fund will become insolvent in 2053, thus forcing big benefit reductions, we're still better off than under CSSS Plan 2. More reasonable scenarios — which include stronger economic growth, modest tax increases paired with modest benefit reductions, and more realistic stock returns — make CSSS Plan 2 look even worse.

And did I mention that CSSS Plan 2 also produces bigger budget deficits for the next couple of decades?

Here's the CBO's bottom line: For a middle-income earner born today, first-year benefits even under the crisis scenario of Social Security "bankruptcy" would amount to $19,900. Under the private account scenario, initial benefits would amount to $14,600.

Kevin Drum

Today's gift to the literate among you is from Susan Sontag, but be careful! You may have to think:

Indeed, sometimes I have to pinch myself to be sure I am not dreaming: that what many people in my own country now hold against Germany, which wreaked such horrors on the world for nearly a century --- the new "German problem," as it were --- is that Germans are repelled by war; that much of German public opinion is now virtually ... pacifist!

Would that America was a little more like Germany! Read the whole speech:

Susan Sontag



Monday, January 03, 2005

Sunday sermon

Sorry for being so lazy. I've been driving and eating and now I have to do penance. I have several pounds of sweet potatoes and ham to burn off from around my belly button. Actually I hope to see my belly button again one day. It's in there somewhere, I'm sure.

I've been thinking about stuff, even though I have been too lazy to write it down. For instance, I have been noticing that the Christian right seems to have neglected to read the second half of the bible...You know, the part that is actually about Christianity! It's got some good ideas, like being nice to each other that might work if we can just find some Christians somewhere.

Here is an example of something that begs the question, "Why do the "godly" seem to want to hurt people?" We could rise above all this, you know:

Q:How long do you think a child should be allowed to cry after being spanked? Is there a limit?

A:Yes, I believe there should be a limit. As long as the tears represent a genuine release of emotion, they should be permitted to fall. But crying quickly changes from inner sobbing to an expression of protest aimed at punishing the enemy. Real crying usually lasts two minutes or less but may continue for five. After that point, the child is merely complaining, and the change can be recognized in the tone and intensity of his voice. I would require him to stop the protest crying, usually by offering him a little more of whatever caused the original tears.

In other words, "If you don't stop crying, I'll hit you again!"


The man that wrote that is Dr. James Dobson, a fundamentalist Xtian leader. Nice guy! beat your kid and if he doesn't stop crying, beat him again.

I loved my father, but I was also afraid of him. I viewed him as a source of pain when I was a child. My last spanking came when I was twelve, two years after my father's death. I had a stepfather that threatened to beat me but he never did. I threatened him back and we never got around to seeing who was going to actually do what to whom.

Somewhere along the way I decided that I would try to keep my kids from thinking the same way about me, as I had my father. As a reasonably new parent, I swatted my 18 month old on the diaper when he scared me by running into the road, and then one more time a few months later on when he hit his mother. That was it. Both times were traumatic, I expect, at least for me anyway, but he never ran in the road or hit his mom again. I talked about it with him and felt really bad for doing it, his tears seemed more from shock than pain. I felt rotten and hugged him and talked to him way too much. When my second child came along I knew that running in the road would come up at some point and warned and taught him about it just like I did the hot wood stove in the living room. I was ready for him when he had the opportunity, and it never happened. Things have sort of continued along the same way ever since.

Before teaching my kids to stay out of the road and to not hurt other folks, I practiced on pets.

I taught a cat to stay out of my house one time. I lived in a very old farm house that was probably the biggest nicest house around when it was built. It was very old and had walls paneled with hand planed boards. The floor joists were pine logs split in half and laid on a stacked rock foundation. There were no screen doors and no screens on the windows, but it was a beautiful place to live. Did I mention that there was no indoor plumbing? No running water. When the kitchen needed cleaning, we had to go to the well and crank up a few buckets of water, heat it on the stove, and then start cleaning. I had no interest in having a cat crawling on the kitchen counter where I was preparing supper. I love animals but I have the place where I eat and they have the place where they get to eat, and these places are in different places. In summer the house was well ventilated only if the doors were left open, and being too poor to go by a screen door, the cat had to be trained.

Several folks had previously failed in this endeavor, so some preparation was in order. I saved up and purchased a six-pack of cheap beer and borrowed a book. There was a large hallway that went through the middle of the old house, front to back, dividing it in two, with doors to the outside world at each end. I moved a comfortable chair into the hallway, set a large glass of water down on the floor beside me, opened a beer, and started reading. The front door was open slightly and soon enough the cat jumped up onto the porch and started lazily through the open door. As it got halfway through the door jamb, I baptized it. Cats are not fond of a Methodist sprinkling and absolutely hate the idea of a full on Southern Baptist dunking. This cat was well on its heathen way back out of the house, believing it had just survived a "near death by drowning" experience.

Now anybody who has ever had a cat will tell you they are persistent. Two beers later the cat got baptized again, immediately upon sticking its nose around the edge of the door. No further attempts to breach the perimeter guard occurred that day, even though I fell asleep in the chair, awakening an hour later by the pressing need to walk out into the yard and survey the shrubbery.... No sign of the cat.

The next day, as the late morning sun started its daily baking, we opened the door and I took my post in the chair, ever vigilant for the intruder. Until that morning, the cat would wander into the house as soon as the door was opened. This day was different. It sat on the porch and looked away from the house as if disinterested. A half hour later it stood up and walked purposefully toward the door but it stopped...and stared at the ten inch wide opening provided by the door ajar. For several minutes it just looked into the house, not moving, stalking something inside. Then it exploded at full gallop through the door! I was ready...having held my weapon, safety off, and my fire all this time, and, as the beast tore through the door into the hallway, I blasted it with a stream of expertly aimed water and caught it full on in the face with the entire contents of a large iced tea glass. I might as well have caught the cat head on with a well strung tennis racket, for the instantaneous reversal of direction seemed to violate the very laws of physics as the cat vanished, leaving only the skid marks through a puddle on the wood floor in testament to recent events.

From then on the cat never came back into the house. It would sit and stare through the door but never did it enter. It took two days of my life to earn the eternal hatred of a cat but I did it...and not once did I hit it. Who says you can't train a cat?

On the other hand, I taught the dog to stay out in about three minutes. Not only that, but the dog still seemed to like me anyway. All I did was tell the dog, "no" and then push its nose back every single time it tried to enter. After a few seconds of this It had the idea. Reinforcing the concept of not walking through the door took a couple of more minutes and then it was done. After every firm "No" I pushed the dog away from the door and then gave it a "good dog" or two. Simple, right? It gets a "No" for unwanted behavior, and a "good dog" for good behavior.

No hitting! Though that will work, too, as far as the doorway is concerned, but what about all the rest of life? Some folks like to beat dogs, some folks think you have to, some folks are willing to work a little harder and cause as little pain as possible. I figure life is going to dump quite enough pain on us as we work our way through it, so why should I add to the load? That's the goal, anyway, though I fall short too often. I think I have raised decent kids and I still don't think it is OK to hit them.

The quote that started me on this rant is from Dr. James Dobson, a self appointed spokesman for God. Today, He is warning Democrats that they should not block George W. Bush's judicial appointments or he will call down the wrath of God upon them. I think Mr. Dobson is batshit crazy, and as dangerous as he is nuts. He has a TV show and a radio show and speaks in fatherly tones as he advocates hurting people for Jesus, and he wants all of us to send him money so he can continue god's good work. I want to hit him full in the face with my glass of water for several reasons...I wonder if he will melt?



For the Literate (and hopefully open minded) among you:

Sam Harris