Monday, August 28, 2006

Happy Together

Let's see where to start?

Spent the weekend in Jackson, Tennessee for a soccer tournament...Cruel and unusual to make a 17 year old boy run for an hour and a half in 94 degree swamp heat. The parents couldn't take it and we lost a couple of referrees but the boys did fine. Memphis and the entire state of Arkansas went down to the wire in the contest for the mouthiest coach, although Knoxville had one in the running until the very end. Little Rock took the title.

We stay at lots of hotels during soccer season and take all sorts of desk clerk behavior in stride. My vote for the worst type behind a counter is the fat-fifty-white-smoker-night manager guy, who hates life and it's your fault. Just waiting for him to turn around from his tv and get to the desk is painful enough, but when he looks at you in that tone of voice and says they can't replace the stained sheets or give you new towels for your room because the cleaning crew quit this morning after Immigration came by, the urge to strangle is difficult to restrain.

Then there's the big famous four star hotel in downtown Little Rock that charged everybody $15 for a parking pass even though we rode on a charter bus that they wouldn't allow to park on the hotel's property. The Ducks marching through the lobby were cute the first time you saw them but when you realized that only two of the four elevators were working and they had one of them locked out for the ducks, Maybe the Little Rock soccer coach was just normal for the town. The Clinton Museum was nice.

This weekend was different, and I don't know if it was the Quality Inn Motel in Jackson or Jackson itself. Town's have personalities sometimes.

They treated us extrememely well, almost like fellow human beings all in this ride together. We checked in...the desk people were friendly. We asked for things...they got it done. We told them the boys had a game at 8 am the next morning and could we work something out with the continental breakfast which wasn't supposed to start until 7:30..."We'll have it out at 6," they said. When I went down to the lobby at 5:30 am the next morning, the night manager said, "I thought somebody would be up early. The coffee's ready." When it came time to check out and we had a crowd at the desk, every staff person got back there and helped get us taken care of. One lady with a tag that said "Housekeeping Manager" fired up the idle desk computer and processed receipts until we everyone was served. I said something about it and she pointed at the desk managers and said, "They'll make beds if we get behind," and laughed.

"You guys have been great," I told the girl helping me, "And you all seem to be so happy."

"It's more fun to be happy," the girl told me.



Saturday, August 26, 2006

Stepford revisited

I get accused of not liking Republicans...Not true. I just can't find any of them in National Leadership positions. Well, sure, there are some posers wearing elephant hats, tooting horns, and dancing around at the big conventions, but those are human sheep, not Republicans.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Republican. Abe Lincoln was a Republican...a good man, even if he was a lawyer. It happens.

President Eisenhower was hated fascists. He fought real ones , like Mussolini in Italy, who dissolved the elected house of government and installed a board of corporations to govern Italy. Fascism is the consummated marriage of Corporations and government, and it happens when slime ball politicians simply act as agents of corporations instead of the people in a country. You can tell it's happening when elected officials suck up to big corporate donors with money, instead of you and me.

The path from "We, the people" to "Welcome to Wal-Mart" is a short one. You'll notice that those nice mom and pop stores where you get good service disappear and are replaced by people selling the same old furniture over and over. "Stores" pop up down the road where the Smith farm used to be and there's just one of them with retired people and minimum wage just out of high schoolers running cash registers that a third grader could handle.

All this takes is an absent media. Without the outrage of a crusading newsman, we wind up with talking heads who read the pr firm talking points scrolling up the prompter. ..

"The President must violate the Constitution in this time of undeclared war, you see. I don't care what some bleeding heart Liberal says about Law and Order and the Constitution, It's time for us to lube up and bend over so the President can get on with World war III, and do what's right for the country." Say the talking heads.

If there were any republicans left in America, they would be the first to be outraged. Barry Goldwater was a conservative's conservative and he knew what fascism looked like. He was outraged at FBI spying on private Americans.

Abe Lincoln was the first Republican President. Compare old Abe's views on racism to modern "republican" George Allen of "Macaca" fame. "Welcome to our country" George said to a young man who had been born right there in the county George was campaigning in. George was born in California, and repeatedly called the young man a slang word for monkey.

Here are some comparisons of today's republicans to a real republican.

"We use FISA still -- you're referring to the FISA court in your question -- of course, we use FISAs. But FISA is for long-term monitoring. What is needed in order to protect the American people is the ability to move quickly to detect [with warrantless surveillance]." - George W. Bush, December 2005

"Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others." - Abraham Lincoln, from the January 27, 1838 Lyceum Address

Here's what Abe said about fascism...

"Corporations have been enthroned. An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people...until wealth is aggregated in a few hands...and the Republic is destroyed." - Abraham Lincoln, November 21, 1864, letter to Colonel William F. Elkins

I recommend you check out this post that has several comparison quotations. You mightunderstand why I don't like these people who are actually Not republicans...And why the need a "Stepford" press to get away with stealing our country...

And by the way,,,Abraham Lincoln wrote his own stuff. Can you imagine if George Bush wrote his own speeches?




Friday, August 25, 2006


This whole piece is worth a read but the excerpt makes it plain that the Bush Adminstration is simply using terrorism and the fear it engenders to keep Americans under control. As Roosevelt said, "It's the Fear, Stupid!"..or something like that.

Bruce Schneier (Via Kos):

I'd like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute.

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want. [...]

Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn't engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn't write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn't use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we'd reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.

It's time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror. This does not mean that we simply roll over and accept terrorism. There are things our government can and should do to fight terrorism, most of them involving intelligence and investigation---and not focusing on specific plots. [...]

The surest defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face, and not a particularly common one at that. And our job is to fight those politicians who use fear as an excuse to take away our liberties and promote "security theater" that wastes money and doesn't make us any safer.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bird Blogging?

How close do they have to get before they can tell that the potted plant on the deck is a tomato? The FAA regulation says they have to stay 500 feet from a house but the "black helicopters" that fly the gorge don't adhere to that rule all that much. Gee, guys, I know it's a real trip to put on the goggles, turn out the lights, and rip down the gorge in your big black man-toy, but give me a break. I came out here for the quiet enjoyment of my property, and, like I tell the four wheelers, you are welcome here...but not with your machine.

Peace, Dammit!


Exceptional Incompetence

Sometimes "Group think" works better than one person alone. This is such a case. Feel free to contribute..


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In the Middle

America must eventually face up to its national tragedy... We are a Nation of middleschool children.

We read just below the eight grade level and work at Wal Mart or its equivalent.

We are mad at Congress for trying to raise the minimum wage.

We are angry at Judges who rule that it's OK for anyone to marry anyone they want to.

We think it's OK for Congress to pass a bankrupcy bill written by the credit card industry.

We think it's ok for Congress to take millions upon millions of dollars from corporations, make a big show of stomping up and down at the Mexican border, and pass a bill that actually subsidizes a marketing firm in its efforts to outsource and offshore American jobs.

We think the Oil companies NEED a 6.5 Billion dollar tax break but we can't afford 17 million dollars in research for the medical treatment of the traumatic brain injuries tens of thousands of our troops return from Iraq with.

Half of us think not only that Saddam had WMD's...but that we actually found them.

Most of us don't realize that the cost of a college education has gone up 50% since Bush has been president and that Colleges are in financial difficulties because our tax money has been diverted to the war effort.

Most of us work hard at our jobs and believe in our hearts that we are middle class...but don't realize that the middle class is fading away as the rich get filthy rich and that nice man at the counter at Wal Mart has to work a day and a half to pay for one tank of gas.

There is a National election coming up in November. Six years ago, politicians went to factories to talk to the people...Now they go to Wal Mart. That's where the middleclass works now...



Monday, August 21, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane...

BUSH: The strategy is to help the Iraqi people achieve the objectives and dreams which is a democratic society. That's the strategy. The tactics -- now -- either you say yes it's important we stay there and get it done or we leave. We're not leaving so long as I'm the president. That would be a huge mistake. It would send an unbelievably you know terrible signal to reformers across the region. It would say we've abandoned our desire to change the conditions that create terror...via Think Progress

Here are some people who are leaving in spite of or even because of President Bush:

Allow me to introduce to you to Staff Sgt. Michael "Chad" Lloyd.HIs name is not John Mark Karr...He died recently while on foot patrol in Baghdad. His flight to the United States won't be in business class, and reporters won't scramble to sit next to him. His body's journey across the Atlantic won't be traced with flashy graphics or estimated time of arrivals. Flag-drapped coffins, you see, aren't as sexy as murder suspects.

Meet Trinette Johnson. ... I doubt that her story will capture headlines in 10 years. Since returning from Iraq two years ago, she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. "She's not the same mommy," her children say. No one, save her troubled family, really gives a damn what she had to eat today, or how she's dealt with her pain these years. No one is asking "Who is Trinette Johnson?" and no one--especially not the press--seems to give a flying f... that there are thousands of Trinette Johnsons out there, living (if you can call it that) with PTSD.

Meet U.S. Army Col. Dirk Spanton. ... He survived three tours in Iraq, only to come home and find out he has six months to live. Symptoms of his cancer were masked by the stress on his body in Iraq. No one, save those who have the honor of knowing him, are interested in the type of life he had growing up, the experiences that have shaped him into the man he is today.

Meet Sgt. Steven P. Mennemeyer. ... He joined the armed forces after 9/11, and was killed in Iraq in August. He was 26 years old and is survived by his young son. He earned 13 military honors, including a bronze star that was given to his girlfriend at his funeral. There's 19,100 Google hits for this fallen soldier. There's 9,530,000 for John Mark Karr.

Meet Pfc. Javier Chavez Junior. ... At just 19 years old, he married days before shipping off to Iraq, where he was killed. Seven others from his division were also killed, including Staff Sgt. Raymond Plouhar, who "left behind a poem for his family in the event of his death: 'I have given up many things for you to be free/Do not feel pity for me, for this is my choice.'




Won't get Fooled again?

I oppose the Iraq war. Always have. Not because I think Saddam is a peachy guy, but because I never thought a military expedition to the region could win...I think I was right.

Even though I get to type "I told you so!" it doesn't make me feel better. The cost of this war has been unbelievable to my country. I never ever believed that an American administration could be so incompetent at everything it does...Everything!

I remember Viet Nam and the inability of the Administrations in power to admit their mistakes. Politicians may simply incapable of that, particularly those who cater to an electorate with the functional understanding of an upperclassman at Cherokee Middle School, although with a slightly lower degree of hormonal poisoning. Richard Nixon won election by a combination of dirty tricks and claiming that he had a secret plan to end the war. Americans wanted the war to end. They always do, but Nixon kept the war going for six more years killing as many troops after his secret plan went in to effect than had been killed up til then. Eventually we loaded up and came home...Defeated.

The lack of understanding or arrogance or both has bubbled to the top once again, with the rise of a particularly deadly strain of conservatism. All pathogens mutate when attacked and these have certainly done so with the current Republican leadership seeming to completely lack any personal morale restriction against lying or guilt at sending innocent American Troops to Iraq to get their arms, legs, and brains mutilated. The lessons of Viet Nam are forgotten or worse, arrogantly ignored. It was a "Assymetric" war and we lost it. There was actually nothing to win over there but that didn't stop our leadership. The people knew, though, that we were losing and just wanted it to stop. That is the case right now.

John McCain lied yesterday on the interview circuit when he said that the majority of Americans don't want us to set a time table or begin a phased withdrawal from Iraq. Every poll says he's lying...Americans want us gone from there. We have too much too do at home to waste any more time on a lost cause, while Bush's obedient Generals do as they're told and waste billions more tax dollars and spend thousands more arms legs and lives making more enemies. That's how an assymetric war works.

Years from now there will be several books published on the clinical psychological aspects of the Bush Presidency, but we can see the morbid effects of a losing cause right now. We are not cowards, America, but we cannot be stupid either. WE fought a bad war under bad leadership with bad results...The American Electorate cannot be fooled again into electing any candidates, Republican or Lieberman, who support this war.

This is a long but accurate examination of our lost cause in Iraq:

"Americans have a hard time grasping this basic fact: Right up to the day the occupying power admits defeat and pulls out, it continues to wield overwhelming force. It may never lose a pitched battle. It may - right up to the end - be able to go where it wants, killing and destroying at will.

That doesn't mean it's not losing."

The War



Friday, August 18, 2006

it's morning in America

I saw Zach Wamp's ad on the TV yesterday morning.

Zach is the Congressman from Chattanooga who promised to limit his own terms in the House to 12 years. He was swept into office in 1994 with the infamous Contract for America. He's actually been better than I though he would on local issues, but has marched along, eyes right and goose stepping, to the Bush agenda nationally.

He voted for the Iraq war.

Voted to destroy Social Security.

Voted to eliminate estate taxes for the richest people on earth and against raising the minimum wage for the poorest. (raised his own pay $35,000 a year at the same time)

Voted against Stem Cell research.

Voted to ban Family Planning funding for US aid abroad.

Voted for No Child Left Behind...maybe the most misnamed government program ever!

Voted for a new world record in deficit spending and the greatest debt ever achieved by one Nation.

Voted to borrow more money from foreign governments than any Congress in history.

And it goes on.

Zach's ad was slickly done with strong and smaltzy music playing in the background, in the "It's morning in America" sort of way. it's fairly obvious that Republican leadership thinks it has to keep the public believing they are winning the war on terror for a couple of more months.

There's a problem though...Even republican voters think the war is FUBAR!

Think about this number...63% of Republicans think Bush has made some mistakes or HUGE mistakes in Iraq. That means that even most republicans don't believe it when they see Zach on TV looking all sincere and telling a child that her daddy is fighting in the streets of Iraq so that he won't have to fight in the streets of America. I can't find one reputable international analyst who thinks that terrorism has been reduced by our actions in Iraq. The Insugency is stronger than ever, more organized, and better funded.

The actions of America and Israelhave done one thing more than anything else...George Bush has proved he is a "Uniter" after all. Unfortunately it is the Islamists that have been united. Israel just got their butts whipped by a guerilla force in southern Lebanon as a result. Put that together with the fact that the Insurgency in Iraq (they call themselves "Freedom fighters" BTW) now numbers over 60,000 fighters and an equal number of support personnel and the perceived invincibility of the USA is toast.

So Zach...With a near perfect record of supporting the worst president in American history...Is it time to rethink your term limit pledge? After all, this is the year you make yourself out to be a LIAR.



Thursday, August 17, 2006


We live in a screwed up world. Consider this:

Which of these two acts do you find offensive?

Making a baby...

Killing a baby...

Now ask yourself which of those two acts would create the most moral outrage and retribution if a simulated and fictional event was shown on TV?

Uh huh...See what I mean?

Now let's imagine a a TV show on current evolutionary science. You won't have to imagine the blather and bombast that would follow because it happens nearly every day on OP-Ed pages across America. FundXtians rant and rail against the imaginary evils of plain old information every time there is some perceived insult to their own imaginary world. Far worse, actually, is the calculated attack on science when there is some inconvenient truth (to coin a phrase) that could possibly depress profits of some major corporation.

The Endangered Species Act is often in the cross hairs of corporatists. They want to be able to destroy anything that lies across the path to money. Can't let spotted owls stand in the way of clear cutting one of the last remaining stands of old growth forest with all it's diversity and wonderment...there's money to be made. Does anyone ever stop to think that what we are doing is allowing the conversion of capital from one form to another? From the works of creation to the works of man? And like all processes there is an unrecoverable loss that occurs...Never again will that forest stand on this planet. The destruction is forever.

I remember listening to a speaker talk about his beliefs on how god speaks to humankind. I thought he was being simplistic at the time but now I think differently. He said that god speaks to mankind through many different channels, mentioning the written words of the Torah, Quran, and the New Testament. (I personally think of those as second hand translations of spiritual things but I'll let that be for now) Then the man, Robert F. Kennedy jr. said something I completely and totally accept...That man is spoken to and informed by all that is in the world, whether that be the geological information contained in a plain old rock, or the biological and genetic information contained within an old growth forest, and with that, I found a basic and unquestionable truth. maybe the most basic of all truths and one which is constantly denied by a coalition of forces struggling to maintain power over planet earth and all it's passengers. There is more information contained in a handfull of dirt lying in an old growth forest than has ever been written in all the religious books on this planet.

What arrogance is this of man who denies what is written in the majesty of the millions of micro organisms simply because he doesn't understand? Or more damning, because he is ignorant!

Roughly two thirds of the cells in a human being are not human. They are symbiotic microorganisms much like those living in good healthy dirt. I find it incredibly funny that we as humans are the minority in our own bodies, but I digress, so here's my point...

Humankind cannot, in the long run afford to lose any of the life forms on this planet. There are few living things as vilified as the scorpion and yet scorpion venom is now the precious stuff of a cancer remedy for brain tumors. This medical miracle has been written in scorpion venom for millions of years and we have been to uneducated to read this "word" until now.

I believe that it is this "word" that has the potential to be humankind's salvation if we are to survive on this planet, and it is through Science that we will become able to read the words of creation. We cannot save ourselves until we accept that the destruction of our environmental heritage is the same thing as destroying creation's word...Until we as a race understand that and act such as burning a bible may be an insult, but that burning a science book is blasphemy in its most malignant form.



Scorpion Venom

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Great Spangled Fritillary..I think..

Pot pouri

Congratulations!...The Iraq war has now lasted longer than WW II, as of 9:30 last night.

In the recent soccer World Cup, the authorities announced a crack down on racial slurs on the field. Any player who used such a slur was to be ejected and his team penalized by losing three points...essentially a forfiet. In the United States we know about the N word but the most offensive word in europe is French...So what was the racial epithet that was so eggregious? It was the exact same word that Senator George Allen used to describe a dark skinned man at his campaign stop in rural is worth noting that Senator Allen's mother was a French Citizen who lived in North Africa where the insult was born, so he knew full well what he was saying and knew that it was a racial insult.

"Macaca" is derived from macaque which means "Monkey." Imagine if Senator Allen had used the English translation instead of the French while speaking to a black American cameraman? His campaign would be over already. It will be interesting to watch the weaseling.

Both Tennessee Senatorial candidates are opposed to gay marriage. I am glad that they both see this as such an important issue since it affects so many of us in such a personal way. What I'm trying to say is "How stupid can you people be?" Even if jesus had royally condemned gay marriage, which he never did in any way shape or form, how in the heck could that be a bigger deal than the Bush Administration's royal Fubar of Iraq?...the death of our planet from Global warming?...The impending destruction of the Social Security system by Republicans?... The Tennessee Alabama football game?

Come on, people...Where are your priorities?



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

"He likes the way you look when you're scared"

"We don't deal with terrorists..."

George Bush caved in to Osama Bin Laden's number one demand after 9-11.

Bin Laden is a right wing religious zealot who uses his religious control over his followers to achieve his own personal goals. Osama is very much like the right wing religious zealots we have in America, only smarter and far more personally disciplined. As we have seen supposedly christian leaders work their way around the teachings of Jesus and call for the killing of their enemies, we have to remember that Osama didn't have any such restraints to work around in the first place. The prophet Jesus said to "Love thy enemy"...The prophet Muhammed said "Kill 'em"...

After the Kuwait war in 1990, the US stationed powerful military forces in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden was outraged at this offense to Islam and became such a vocal opponent of the Saudi leadership that he was banished from Saudi Arabia. His Jihad against foreign occupation of his home country ensued and was the basis for his terror based war agaisnt America and against the Saudi leadership as well. We are never reminded by Fox news of the bombings within Saudi Arabia but the are extensive. "Osama hates our freedoms" is the cry, but that is not the truth. Osama hates America and Americans for perceived religious and military insults to his own homeland.

"Declaration of Jihad.... In the early 1990s, Bin Laden emphasized his desire tosecure the withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops from Saudi Arabia at all costs. BinLaden criticized the Saudi royal familypubliclyand alleged thattheir invitation of foreigntroops to the Arabian peninsula constituted an affront to the sanctity of the birthplace ofIslam and a betrayal of the global Islamic community."

Report for Congress

Lacking and army and a nation from which to attack the United States, Osama achieved masterful results in his own view, losing a mere 19 "soldiers" in the attacks on 9-11-01. I cannot point to another military operation in the history of the world that has been so successful in bringing about the primary goal of the attacker...the removal of American forces from Saudi Arabia. They are gone from there.

The greatest nation on earth caved in to a small time right wing looney tune living in a cave.

Having seen how easy it was to scare the most powerful nation that has ever existed on this planet, how can anyone ever have believed that Al Qaeda would quit committing acts of terror? They cost him so little in human lives.

The cowardly Bush Administration plays golf, clears brush, rides a bicycle, and shoots their friends on quail hunts, while the sons and daughters of the lower class die for the business interests of Big Oil and weapons makers. Keep us afraid, though, and we'll let them get away with it.

The recent airline cluster f*** ?... All for show! Those men had been closely watched for some time and had neither passports nor airline tickets. Bush was trying to orchestrate another "Fear" event in order to help Joe Lieberman remain as his closest ally in the Democratic party, but it came just a day too late because of reluctance on the prat of the Brits to be used so completely.

Scare us, intimidate us, and as a Nation of mindless cowards, we will run to the greatest coward of them all, George Bush for protection. Think about it...Give me an example of one brave act performed by George W. Bush or Dick Cheney in their entire lives!

I know of none. Wake up, America! We are at the nexus of salvation or armageddon...There are those who destructively prefer the latter. We can stop them if we choose, but it will demand a vigorous personal courage of all Americans.

So where are the courageous leaders of America? Who will take over and show us the way?

They are in front of us every day, but are vilified by the public relations minions and sycophants of the right wing. Murtha, Clark, Dean, The Dixie Chicks, They are everywhere and they are suffering for America... All we have to do is choose them and stand with them.

What will we do?



Monday, August 14, 2006

A Tisket a Musket

I think I've figured out Al Qeada'a problem.

They need to take a clue from the National Rifle Association, start up a PAC, and give a bunch of money to American politicians. Call it "campaign donations" and it'll be fine with the regulators. If they need a bit more cabbage to sweeten things up, there's always the old "wife on the payroll" gambit, as in,

"Congressman Bombast, having served almost two months as a nurses aid in the summer of '87, we know your wife has the experience we need to serve as our Assistant band aid procurement officer. How does $150,000 as a base salary with perks and a private plane sound?"

Al Queda has managed to kill or assist in killing less than 3000 Americans in five years and boy are we pissed. That's chump change for killing. The donut industry does better than that. With nearly a million people dying each year from cardiovascular disease, the Beef, Pork, and Corn Syrup Lobby takes it hands down for killing. Problem is they don't get credit for it like the NRA. A diseased heart just isn't much of a satisfying way to kill... no loud bang, no blood, and only one siren.

Guns, on the other hand, are the macho way. Big noise, screaming, blood, and tons of sirens...Especially if it's the Cops who get the high score this time around. You can think about the NRA vision for America with assault weapons in every home, Iraq and get a pretty good idea of how it would work. More guns...safer families...Buy that?

One fifth of all American kids who die in the 15 to 24 year old bracket die from guns. About 6500 of them a year. Mostly they are killing each other. The probability of a law abiding citizen protecting themselves with a gun is nearly zero. A man is more likely to drop a gun and shoot his own balls off than he is to protect his family with it.

So why is it that Republican politicians trample each other to be the one in the picture waving that muzzle loading musket around at the NRA convention? Pretty simple...A few Million in campaign money and largesse, and presto, Bin Laden and Associates have nice offices on K Street.

I figure Al Queda will figure it out pretty soon, rent a huge banquet hall and give out awards and campaign gifts to every right winger in Congress. I only forsee one problem for Osama's plan to win over Congress and that has to do with one of the tenets of Islam...No pork.



The Numbers

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Publicly Realating

So I stood in the security line at the airport for an hour, got sent through the machine that hits you with those air jets like the carnival fun house, and couldn't even get on the airline web site to change my tickets so I could go watch Ronaldo, Beckham, and Van Nistlerooy becaus of the plane cancelations and delays...And it was timed for a Bush PR stunt effect?

I'm pissed!

(From NBC of all places):

...U.S. and British authorities had a significant disagreement over when to move in on the suspects in the alleged plot to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States.

A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. ..

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

"In contrast to previous reports"...that's PR short for "They Lied!"

I want to know what really happened that we were misdirected from? Our kids were still getting killed in Iraq and Greenland is melting three times as fast as we thought. Nothing big, eh? Just the normal incompetency and the end of our world as we know it.



Thursday, August 10, 2006

Great Salt Lake

I'm in Utah at the Outdoor Retailer show and I'm totally bummed out.

Just found out that Real Madrid is playing an exhibition match here four hours after I am supposed to fly out on Saturday. Just think...I could get a close look at David Beckham.

Or even better...David Beckham's wife, Victoria, aka Posh Spice.

The outdoor show has gotten weirder over the years. So far, the strangest thing is the "Tread Lightly" display. The official car in the "Tread Lightly" display is that abomination of abominations, you guessed it, the Hummer!

How in the heck do you "Tread Lightly in a freakin' Hummer?

My hotel charges more per day for internet service than I normally pay per month so I won't be posting much unless i figure something out.



Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Is our Children Learning?

Well I'm still bummed about so many people being disenfranchised in the Roane county elections. I should have known this was going to happen and I wonder if some folks knew it and planned for it. Seems like a taste of Ohio all over again.

At any rate, here's a big cheer for all of those folks who stood for hours to excercise their constitutional right to vote...shame on those who didn't...and tripple shame on the deep and destructive failure of our election officials that set this up to happen.

From the Roane County News:

(Election Administrator Tony Brown is a hard working man but he is greatly confused. Here's what he's quoted as saying in the roane County Newspaper)

Brown said some voters said additional voting machines would have helped moved the lines along.

Brown didn't agree.

He reasoned that even if a precinct had three additional machines, it would only take three voters out of line.

With 80 people in line and three additional machines, there would still be 77 voters in line, Brown said.

He blamed the long ballot and the number of people running for office for the backups.

It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that with math skills like that, no wonder we are in trouble. As an aside, this was actually pointed out to me by a scientist... thanks Charlie.

I want to know how many voting machines were in place at each precinct. In the precinct I worked there were only two. last election there had been four. When the polls opened there were about twenty people in line. The next person to show up waited one and a half hours to vote...if they waited...and waited...

Thousands didn't and I want to know why?

At any rate this should prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Education is the key to a good community on all sorts of levels. Build a good school system and you'll have the job growth you want...and maybe the right number of voting machines.



Friday, August 04, 2006

The Great Voting Disaster of 2006

Around two o'clock thursday afternoon, Roane County election Commissioner, Tony Brown predicted a record turnout of between 18,000 and 20,000 voters. This morning the talley is just over 12,000. Between 4000 and 8000 voters turned away from impossibly long lines. The wait was between an 1 hour and 2 1/2 hours depending upon precinct.

At the precinct I was at, we saw cars slowing to turn in and then going on their way after seeing the long line backing out of the building. We saw people leaving after hearing they would have to wait almost two hours. Some got their check in ticket and left after waiting for as much as an up.

At one precinct voters who had been standing as long as two hours were stunned when an election official escorted the son and daughter in law of a local Republican official past them and up to the front of the line. People left the line in anger and went home.

Some people working evening shifts had to leave and go to work after standing in line for almost two hours.

Angry, disgusted, disappointed...

At 6:00 we estimated that our precinct would not finish voting until midnite. When the results were turned in before ten o'clock we knew what had happened.

note: I do not believe at this point that this had any bearing on winners and losers but I haven't had much chance to analyze the talley. I will point out that the greatest number of people who were unable to cast ballots were those who hold jobs and arrived after work thinking they could vote on their way home.

congratulations to the winners...



On a positive note...I was wrong about George Bush signing himself a nice 12.7 million dollar bonus. The Estate Tax repeal failed to pass the Senate. I predict that if the republicans hold the majority in the Fall, the estate tax will suffer the same fate as Social Security.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A nice Raise

I pay income tax.

Most of us do when we have income. This is what supports the functions of our government and pays George Bush's salary and the no bid contracts for Vice President Cheney's company Halliburton. I think of income as money I get. I do something...I get paid...That's income.

Someone hands me a twenty for no good reason? They may be stupid but I have income of $20 as a result. My government gets a cut for keeping the money supply in balance so it's worth something and also for guarding the borders and keeping terrorists and Fidel Castro from coming here and taking it away from me. Tax is the part of my income that I throw in the collective pot supposedly for the mutual benefit of all of Americans. This is the deal we make by staying here and living in America. Other countries have different deals, but I like this one best.

One of the things I don't like about our system is the ability of people in high places to give themselves lots of money...not paying their fair share. Here is a little example of someone in a high place in government giving themselves 12.7 million dollars...

At some point in the coming years, this guy is going to be given about 76 million dollars. This is the same deal as the twenty I would get only bigger...much bigger. Until last week, the part of that he would have had to throw into the collective pot to help America function would have been 12.7 million dollars more than it is now. This is not a poor man we are talking about. His net worth is in the 20 to 30 million range now.

So this multi multi millionaire goes to Congress and askes them to not make him pay his fair share of tax. Congress does the right thing and says, "Sure, incredibly rich person! You didn't earn this money it was just given to you so you should keep it all." Congress passed a bill stating just that and this person signed it for a nice 12.7 million dollar profit.

Well done, Mr. President.

Perhaps nobody will notice that you paid for this in part by stealing it from Social Security, specifically the $255 per month payment to WIDOWS!

There's a lot more here...You won't like it, though...

Greg Palast