Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nightfall in WhitesCreek Gorge


Late Summer evenings push a lot of folks inside for their entertainment.

There's so much to see and hear outside, though, this is a great time to forsake the temptations of the wide screen and sit in the evening air and just listen.

It's buggy here and the price of tiki lamps has dropped to 2 for ten bucks. I don't actually think citronella works as a repellant but the smoke and fumes seem to confuse the various insects that dare to put me below them on the food chain. At any rate, with the lamps burning, there's a bit of light and fewer bugs.

We were hoping to hear the wood thrush but I didn't expect much since it had rained late in the afternoon. I heard a few calls from a distance but nothing close enough to really wrap my ears around. What I did notice were the insects themselves. Not biting but singing.

The annual cicada is the ubiquitous buzzing from the trees but there are lots of other insects that sing to us through out the day. The woods are never quiet and there are any number of songs, yes they are songs, playing accompaniment to our yard work. Even the folks who use pesticides can't kill 'em all. (We aren't purists but pretty close...a bug stands a pretty fair chance around our house) As we listened to the crickets, grasshoppers, and other singers, I watched the sky as the last of the birds flew back and forth over the creek and then saw the bats.

We have bats year round and the most common one is, I believe, the little brown bat, but I'm not to be trusted on my identification. In the winter we find them in the wood pile, but in the summer, they're everywhere. Tonight there were more of them than I can remember, and at times I can see over a dozen at once. Some of them fly within yards of me.

I can tell when they get something large as they bring their feet forward and curl up as they fly for just an instant. The back feet used as hands to stuff the morsel into a bat mouth, and then normal erratic flight resumes.

Eat well, boys and girls (Are there so many because the babies are flying now?...They only have one baby a year and can live longer than ten years, just so you know)

Watching them dart around, there seems to be plenty of food up there yards above the tiki lamps. I like bats.



Monday, July 30, 2007

The flute in the woods

A friend asked if I heard wood thrushes at my house and I said I didn't think so. Then, at a supper here in the gorge right at dusk, she said "There's one!"

Conversation stopped for a bit and we listened to the bird do its thing.

It was a familiar song that had simply never had a name for me and now it does.

A wood thrush.

Each individual male wood thrush has his own song and it can sing two notes at the same time. I've been listening more intently to the songs...The vocalizations are fast, multi octave warbles. What a wonderful thing it is to be capable of self harmony. It is the pan flute of the Midsummer Night's Dream and it is common, but the next few weeks will hear it ending for this year, since the males will stop calling once their second brood of the year are completely fledged, from what I've read. And the boys don't seem to like rainy days all that much.

The wood thrush calls at first light and last light, causing one friend of ours to wear earplugs in order to sleep late with the window open. These are friends with houses close to the woods. Even suburbanites have wood thrushes, but I wonder how many ever hear the song?

Or how many, like me, have heard it all our lives and taken joy in it without giving it a name?



Go here and listen to it sing. it's a Flash file so you have to click and click again.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Iraq Wins!

Champions of half the world...Now if only...

Celebratory firing of weapons was prohibited. NRA objects.

BAGHDAD -- Defying orders from authorities, revelers fired celebratory
gunshots and poured into the streets after Iraq beat Saudi Arabia to clinch its
first Asian Cup soccer championship on Sunday.
Mosques broadcast calls to
stop the shootings, which killed at least four people.

The Most Important Day In Iraq History

The Asia Cup is big!

It makes the Super Bowl look like a cheap publicity stunt. Rather than determine a championship between sports teams located in different cities in the same country, The Asia Cup determines a championship involving more than half the human beings on this entire planet.

The Iraqi Soccer team defeated South Korea and faces Saudi Arabia today, July 29, 2007, to determine who holds the Asia Cup for the next year. There are two possible outcomes...One of them could rock the very foundations of Iraq.

After Iraq defeated South Korea in the semifinal game, scores of people were killed and more wounded by two car bombs set off in the midst of celebrants. A few more were killed by random bullets joyously fired from the AK 47's that every man in Iraq seems to carry.

If you want to see what the NRA Gun Utopia looks like, here's a good example. In Iraq, They shoot people when they're mad...They shoot people when they're glad.

"I'd like to congratulate all my people in Iraq for this great victory," Goalkeeper Noor Sabri told reporters. "We know we are struggling inside Iraq..."

"Tonight was a huge victory for Arab football," said Brazilian coach of the Saudis, Helio Cesar dos Anjos. "I hope it will bring peace and happiness to the people of Iraq and also in Saudi Arabia."

Me too! I hope it will bring peace and happiness. Whatever happens, I guarantee somebody will get shot.

In the Middle East for this day, here is what really matters.

AS for George W. Bush, he can point to one thing and one thing only that is the sole good to come of his stupid stupid war...The Iraqi Soccer team got a new coach.



Saturday, July 28, 2007

Star Child...

Star Child

A few minutes reading with a prophetic and bittersweet moral.

Apparently So

1. Vice President Cheney will have the electrical device that makes his heart work replaced today.

Is there a pacemaker that can be installed in the soul?
(Oddly, people close to the Veep claim his personality changed after he got his pacemaker in 2001...let's hope the new one fixes whatever went wrong)

2. A man stole a city truck in California and took off while being chased by the police. Tragically, two rival TV news helicopters collided while trying to video the chase. Authorities say they now plan to charge the truck thief with causing the deaths of the four men who died in the crash.

I guess that means we should charge Paris Hilton when photographers following her screw up and wreck their cars too?

Who do we charge with the murder of the more than 100 reporters who have been killed in Iraq. By the reasoning above, there are several suspects.

3. "When I look at today's world I have a worrying feeling about the growth of world disorder," former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev says.

He also says it's America's fault.

"I don't think the current president of the United States and his administration will be able to change the situation as it is developing now -- it is very dangerous," he said.

Gorbachev also says that this administration is wrong because it doesn't follow the will of it's own people.

We need a Russian leader banned in his own country to tell us that?


Sometimes the journalists can't say it without getting mauled, but cartoonists can lay it right out there.

Saturday Funnies at Slate

Friday, July 27, 2007

All America

Sitting in a conference room on the 17th floor in Nashville, I was listening to a presentation by a couple of builders who are producing energy efficient housing.

"For a 3-5% increase in up front cost, we have houses that use 40% less energy than what is currently being built in Tennessee." Then he laid the clincher on me..."They never run out of hot water...never!"

Ok, sign me up. ...Although now that both boys are older and have "serious" girlfriends their showers are much shorter and there's hot water for the Dad.

Payback on these energy efficient homes is less than 5 years, even on the ones that go to extremes to save energy. The first 40% is easy though and fairly cheap, with a 3 year payback. So if you build a house to last 30 years, why wouldn't you go with one that saves you money for the last 25-27 years of that?

We saw a graph of historical petroleum demand since the 1920's and noticed the only two downturns in usage...one driven by the OPEC oil embargo when we as a nation decided to conserve energy and one when the original CAFE mileage standards went into effect, when we as a nation decided to conserve energy.

So here's the bottom line...There is no oil shortage. it is artificially created by the marketing department and oil lobbyists. if we as a nation decide to conserve energy again, the price of gas will drop back to a buck fifty fairly fast.

If everybody goes out right now and inflates their tires to the proper pressure, gas drops to Two bucks in the next 60 days, unless Bush bombs Iran.

So I have come up with a new campaign slogan for presidential candidates. We should "Fight 'em over here" so we won't have to "Fight 'em over there."

So you know those air machines at the gas stations? The ones where it costs you 75 cents to air up your tires? I say pass a law making air free and rip those babies out and replace them with the good old American classic "Free Air" pump, and while we're at it...

How about let's bring back water fountains? Buying water in a plastic bottle for $5.16 a gallon seems to be the greatest of all American stupidities.



For those interested in learning more, here is the nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for low energy homes. I'm thinking it's time for us to take this matter into our own hands.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hunting Witches

"If the White House does not allow the Justice department to enforce these citations, we can try them in the Senate, which I think could be very productive."

Harriet Miers is in contempt of Congress, you say? Just because she refused to show up and testify before a Congressional committee when she was subpoenaed?

Doesn't everybody know that Democrats can't subpoena Republicans? It's unAmerican.

It's all just a partisan Democrat charade to embarrass the President, as that quote above clearly demonstrates...Except for one thing...

It is from a Republican Senator.

"House Judiciary Committee ...have drafted for a vote Wednesday a resolution citing Miers and Bolten with contempt of Congress, a federal misdemeanor punishable by up to a $100,000 fine and a one-year prison sentence."



Broadband For the People!

Nationwide Broadband is a big deal. Regardless of what Comcast and AT&T want. every citizen of this country must have access to a certain level of broadband internet and the sooner the better. I liken it to TV 60 years ago...Suppose the broadcast networks had said we're only going to broadcast to homes that pay us. The rest of the homes will be kept in the dark with no news or football.

No one would have gone along with that. We got to have our soaps, right?

Even third world countries are getting ahead of us in the broadband department with several concentrating on the various wireless systems which don't require hard connections to each house, and the latest systems can connect through walls.

So in Tennessee, we have 17% of the population who has access to broadband internet service, and don't bother to mention satelite service...so far it is totally unacceptable. 83% of us are in the dark.

Literally, as far as access to broadband. This is a travesty and something that could be easily corrected. Here is an open discussion, hosted by Open Left and Senator Dick Durbin, who says,

"Those who have already begun the discussion are already debating issues of broadband competition, as well as how we should define broadband. Others have raised the problem of states that have limited the ability of localities to provide their own service when the market doesn't. And there's a great deal of concern about consolidation in the broadband realm."Join the discussion at Open Left.



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Half a Bucket

Tom Friedman may be the highest ranking political writer who hasn't the slightest clue about how the world works. I've given up trying to make sense of anything he puts out because it's mostly misleading blather with the emphasis on things that have no effect on the fate of the world. The sentences sound good but the ideas are vapid at best. He has become a joke in the serious world, with the well known "Friedman Unit" as the mystical time frame in which everything will be resolved. What he predicts never comes to pass but will, just as soon as another Friedman unit goes by...and then another...etc.

What puzzles me about Friedman, is not his deplorable lack of perception but that he doesn't seem to have much of an agenda except to keep his job. He doesn't serve the forces of evil, like say, Tucker Carlson, Novak, or any of the conservative columnist minions. Friedman is just plain wrong. I figure his actual purpose is lip service to the fair and balanced myth of modern journalism.

Problem is that you can't balance a bucket of crap on one side of the seesaw with a half a bucket of crap on the other.

Tom Tomorrow tells the story



Monday, July 23, 2007

Getting back

Sitting on I 40...stopped. Slowly we moved up to the cause of the slowdown. Three State Highway Patrol cars were stopped in the middle of two lanes behind a semi that was in obvious distress. One trooper was talking to a man I presumed to be the driver while the other two stared at the truck. Three lanes of Sunday afternoon traffic were left to fend for themselves.

There were the usual jerks who jumped in front of everyone, making their own space by daring the other drivers to bend metal in the "three lanes down to one" melee. Then I realized what was going on...Instead of the troupers turning around and directing traffic around the wreck, they were watching a dogfight.

Fighting chickens and dogs is ugly business but it darned sure goes on all over this country, though more so in certain places and less in others. ( I just said that to be politically correct and give myself an out in case some irate chamber of commerce type confronts me, I've dealt with way too many Chamber types in the last week to feel good about them but why cause myself more problems, right? For you Chamber types who read this blog...I didn't mean you, silly..)

So the troopers, who never watch chickens attalck each other in seedy little tin roof and board pits down in Rhea County have turned to traffic events for entertainment. Wonder why it takes four of them to write a ticket for a headlight being out? They like to block up a couple of lanes and watch the fights break out.

Little old lady's will flip off a pro wrestler in certain situations, Sunday afternoon on I 40 with three lanes of cross country traffic trying to slither through one lane is perfect... guaranteed to provide hours of fun for a State Trooper on a boring summer day. No reason whatsoever for the two troopers who are chatting each other up and laughing to turn around and help referee a perfectly good game of interstate chicken.

As I sat there I noticed that the dash board thermometer had gone from 78 degrees to 89 and the radio told me that the oil in Iraq reserves has gone from being worth two trillion dollars at 17 bucks a barrel to 9 Trillion at 70 bucks a barrel. So why is Bush so reluctant to load up and leave? I switched to bluegrass as I waved to the troopers and got back up to highway speed.

An hour later, a hundred yards before the driveway, a bird flew up from the road and veered back and forth in front of me. I looked for the wing bars of the chuck will's widow and though about how large these night birds are. Turning up the hill onto the gravel drive I rolled into home as the last light of the day faded, fed the dogs the remnants of my road food supper, and wandered into the house for a few hugs. I'll check on the garden tomorrow morning.

There's a glass of wine and some conversation waiting inside the house.



Friday, July 20, 2007

More Cafe

There's no reason on this Earth for Congress not to do what is right this time on CAFE standards for mileage. Let's push them to pass Markey-Platts, and not some wimp version of a bill that bends over for Big Oil and Big Auto...

here's the NY Times Op-ed

Here is a link to the National Environmental Trust’s webpage on fuel economy. http://www.net.org/fueleconomy/

Thanks so much for your help.

Marsha Blackburn

Jim Cooper

David Davis

Lincoln Davis

John J. Duncan Jr.

Bart Gordon

John Tanner

Zach Wamp

Friday Bird

The swallows seem to like this guy. He's sitting on a sailboat about a hundred yards from where I'm typing.

Baby you can Drive My Car...But not very far

When I was a kid (some say I still am) I always heard that good old American know how...Knew how. Or could figure it out, given the least little bit of time and resources. So why did I have to look at foreign made cars to find one with the combination of amenities that I deserve in my old age, and gas mileage that planet Earth deserves or actually "has to have" real soon in order to survive?

Well the reason is that the unholy alliance of Big Oil and The Big Three wants it that way.

I understand why Big Oil wants to fight anything that might conceivably lessen the obscene profits the oil giants are wallowing in today. Exxon Mobil is now the 500 pound gorilla loose on the streets of the world...Or rather it is the first 500 Billion Dollar corporation, now the largest on this planet. That is a Half a Trillion Bucks of capitalization, folks. In my book, that's real money. The oil companies are in our pockets and will do what they can to stay there...Until we run out of oil, anyway.

The Big Three is another question all together. Why do General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler want us to allow them to keep building gas guzzlers? I don't get it. Thirty years ago, they railed against raising the CAFE standards for mileage because they said it would be "unfair" and hurt workers because the foreign car manufacturers had an unfair advantage in mileage.

Glad to see General Motors looking out and caring so much for the workers, aren't you? (Pensions? What pensions?)

Anyway, a lot of folks in America have finally come around to doing something about CAFE mileage standards by raising them up little by little to 35 mpg by the year 2020. The model of car I drive will have to get one more mile per gallon to comply. So will the wife's new car, which is far more luxurious than mine, but that's one lousy MPG sometime in the next twelve years.

It ain't magic...It's engineering and America should have the best on the planet, but GM and Ford, and whoever owns Chrysler right now, are trying to tell us, "America can't get the job done."

I don't believe it.

Republicans and Democrats jointly passed a reasonable CAFE bill in the Senate and a bipartisan bill called Markey-Platts is in the House ready to go, but the forces of Moving America Backward have two other bills that mess all this up, with industry loopholes, attacks on states' rights to set pollution standards, and, most disgusting of all, making it against the law to set higher mileage standards.

Why should it be against the law to set high gas mileage standards, I ask you? it's time for us to get involved.

Urge your House member to support the Markey-Platts bill and to oppose any legislation, such as a current proposal by Representatives Baron Hill (D-IN) and Lee Terry (R-NE)
Maybe GM can't get the job done...But America can!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay

Well not the Bay actually, but a tidewater creek. I'm working my way up to Fredericksburg for a board meeting and have landed in Cobb's Creek, VA for some time with the Mom in law. Could be worse.

I'm sitting near the steps down to a dock watching fish jump, gulls pester things, and ospreys fly around. There are a few crab lines set out but I didn't see them get checked this morning so the waterman must only come by every few days this time of year.

In this creek estuary, you don't need a weather report to know when a storm is coming because it will fill up with sailing yachts well before anything threatens to hit. Some of the boats are beautiful but they just seem to sit there, getting cleaned and varnished. One has folks living on it, which is against the rules, and the boat squatters also have an electric cord run to a vacant dock slip so they can steal power, which is against the law.

The home owner's association is all in an uproar, which they usually are anyway but this time they have a reason. The folks causing the problem don't seem to care. I guess they'll poach their electricity and space until someone runs them off and the they'll go poach somewhere else.

There are old houses spread out along the water here, and trees, and flag poles. Last time I was here all the flagpoles had American flags at the top. This morning only two of them are flying the colors and one of those has a Confederate flag just below the stars and stripes...

Nothing quite says, "Hey, Yall, Lookit' the bigot!" like the Stars and Bars.

As a child of the deep South, nothing surprises me in this regard, but I wish I could take away the fear that runs that flag up the pole. That fear comes from the same place that the fear of "terrists" comes from, and it serves certain powerful people very well. Oddly, though, that fear ultimately cripples those people who fly the flags of fear, whether that flag is just below the Stars and Stripes on a pole in the yard, or worn on a bumper as a "Fight 'em over there" sticker next to a yellow ribbon.



Monday, July 16, 2007


"I think they are carp," said the lady on the left as she looked into the water.

"That's not a carp," said the other one, "It's a tadpole"

"No it's not," said the first, "too big!"

I stood at the edge of the small lake in Montreat, NC admiring a fine crop of bull frog tadpoles happily munching the algae on the concrete walls of the dam.

Frankly, I've seen smaller carp.

I tried to get a short hike in on the Grey Beard trail but there was no place to park and I didn't have time to walk from the lower parking area a mile lower on the road. The activity at the parks around Montreat was entertainment enough.

"I still think they're baby carp," said the lady on the left, as I smiled at them and walked away. They had their mystery and who was I to take it away.



Friday, July 13, 2007

Along the Lines of what I've been saying...

Crap on America

Ah yes. I see that once again, Florida is leading the way in reserving its legal system for the important things society needs to be saved from.

So if you crap on the American flag, you face a year in jail and a $1000 fine. But if you crap on America, the president commutes your sentence?

What this guy did was ugly. But to jail someone for dissing the flag of a country with a president who advocates breaking the law in order to continue to get away with, well, breaking the law...seems sort of out of whack with reality, doesn't it?

Our media serves up a never ending stream of crap like that. I say keep it on that little rack next to the checkout line where it belongs where the headlines read "Madonna adopts Alien Baby", instead of on what should be legitimate news programs.

Our evening news should not be about perverted sex.

I joke about republican sex lives but there's more to it than sex.

Actually, what I joke about is the hypocrisy of republican sex lives.

Hypocrisies like Senator Vitter speaking on the Sanctity of Marriage while paying hookers to bang him.

You bet We got video just for you "alien baby" people.

But I think republican puppetmasters choose screwed up people like Vitter to run for office for a sinister reason...Normal healthy people with normal healthy sex lives are much more difficult to manipulate into doing corrupt things from a position of power. If you're screwed up and Karl Rove has the goods and he calls you for a favor...What do you do?

Karl Rove will ruin your life.,,or he'll make you rich and get you millions in corporate campaign donations...An honest person would have trouble with that moral delimma...Someone like Senator Vitter (Cunningham, DeLay, Santorum, George Bush...yeah, him) is pretty easy to control.

Do the our dirty work and we'll make nice to you. Like this:

"Sen. Vitter serves on the Committee on Environment and Public Works and its Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. Energy PACs gave him money. Duke Energy gave him $10,000 for his Senate campaign. Centerpoint Energy gave him $3,500. El Paso Corp., which owns North America’s largest natural gas pipeline system, gave him $6,500. Entergy Corp., which seeks a revival of the nuclear power industry, gave him $7,000. Overall, the oil and gas industries have given him $459,085 and the electric utility industry $110,666."

That comes from a well written expose of what Corporations mean to the American Political process and how Senator Vitter keeps getting enough money to pay for all those hookers. It's from Scholars and Rogues in a piece called "Forget his Penis, follow the money."

I think this is like the republican red herring strategy of "Look! a shiny object" while voting their friends massive federal contracts. Only this time the press is going "Look! A Penis!"

The truth of this matter is that immoral people do immoral things. Is perverting the American system of government by diverting tax payer money to your friends better than frequenting hookers? How about continuing to support an immoral and disasterous war? How about the lying under oath, standing in contempt of Congress, and perjury?

I say it's worse!

So who are the real criminals? The guy who craps on the flag?

Or the Republicans like Vitter who crap on America?



Thursday, July 12, 2007

Desperation Time

When religious nut jobs in the Bush Justice Department covered up the bare breasts of the Blind Justice statue, most people had to think it was weird. We were wrong...They're nuts!

The sexual perversity of conservatives is exceeded only by their hippocrisy, railing at gay marriage while soliciting prostitutes of every persuasion. When the layers of hippocrisy are pealed back, we see nothing but a concerted and malignant operation designed to do nothing more than keep defective and incompetent people in positions of power.

Blind Justice is a metaphor hated by Republicans. If all people were treated equally under the law it would mean the end of the Republican party as we see it today...dominated by corrupt corporatists, incompetent at serving their country as a whole, but fiercely dedicated to maintaining power at all costs in order to protect their inner circle from exposure and prosecution.

This is why the Bush Justice department has been subverted from a noble American institution, into a diseased vehicle for bringing false charges against "Their people" and sweeping heinous crimes against America under the table, and when that fails, there is always the commutation or pardon for those whose crimes are too blatent to ignore.

This has come to a historical moment.

I believe that yesterday's erratic testimony and refusal to testify, by fomer Justice Department official, Sarah Taylor has brought things to a head. Harriet Miers is supposed to testify before Congress today, but there's this from an AP story via Huff Po:

"President Bush ordered his former White House counsel, Harriet Miers, to defy a congressional subpoena and refuse to appear Thursday before a House panel investigating U.S. attorney firings."

The response is a very clear threat aimed back at the White House:

"...the courts have made clear that no present or former government official – even the President – is above the law and may completely disregard a legal directive such as the Committee’s subpoena. ...
"...A refusal to appear before the Subcommittee tomorrow could subject Ms. Miers to contempt proceedings, including but not limited to proceedings under 2 U.S.C. § 194 and under the inherent contempt authority of the House of Representatives...."

Over half of Americans already believe it is time to impeach Dick Cheney, and almost half believe the same thing about President Bush. If Harriet Miers is forced to testify, or barring that, a public airing of the real reasons she was ordered...ORDERED...by George W. Bush NOT to testify, it will bring down this President.

It will come not a moment too soon.



Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Rain

Summer rain sets off the creatures of the night, particularly if it rains before dusk.

City folk may think of "creatures" as lions, and tigers, and bears, and skunk apes, and Jersey devils, and such, but "creatures" are actually fireflies, summer cicadas, and katydids...And the things that eat them.

Sometime each July, the first katydid makes a crackling ribit around full dark. Moments later there are two, and then the night goes off in a katydid throb, with what must be a few trillion of the things chatting each other up in nature's singles bar.

A few years ago, I hired a couple of young lengineers from Washington state and brought them in to Tennessee as foreigners. They adjusted well except for the humidity and the bugs. "Those things are giants," Dan would complain. "Scary."

"It's a cricket."

"It's a beast!" would be the reply. "And all green and loud and everything...And there's millions of them."

"Not millions, Dan, Trillions." I would say to comfort him.

Me? I love katydid nights. I like to awaken and listen to them for a few minutes, as the night goes by, before I fall back into snoozeville. I'm one of those people who doesn't sleep through the night, ever. Night is just a series of naps for me, and I sort of like it that way. There's katydids.

As summer progresses, silence ends. If you stop and listen, there will always be something talking. This is the way it is in a healthy world. Some things croak, some chirp, some buzz, and some flash lights at each other. It's all about love and territory for the creatures.



Thanks to Hilton Pond for the photo. More info on Katydids and what they really are can be found there.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My Other Blog Community



How come every time a big name republican gets caught for a sex crime, he starts talking in tongues?

The DC Madam claims the first Senatorial scalp from releasing her phone records, which the Bush Administration tried to keep secret, by the way.

Shorter Senator Vitter: "God forgives me. My wife forgives me. Out of respect for my family, that's all I'm going to say."

Would you file this under "Whoremonger speaks for god?" Wonder how Vitter heard from god? A light from above, some angelic voices, and a basso Charleton Heston saying, "It's cool, Dave. Now that christians can't have concubines,we understand you turning to the pros for a little relief. I slap your wrist, you bad boy. Now go get checked for STD's and explain how I forgave you to your wife. Of course she'll believe you. Just tell her god said it was OK...But Dude, You're on your own breaking it to your kids that Daddy is gonna be on TV. Even I can't help with that one."

Senator Vitter, R-LA , says he's sorry...and I agree. I would , however, be interested in exactly when he decided to ask his wife and god for forgiveness...Before or after he knew he was busted?

Russ makes the bigger connection even if he does keep it between the lines.

More SiCKO:

If you guys missed Michael Moore's smackdown of Wolf Blitzer on CNN, part two rolls around today with Sanjay Gupta and Moore going at each other. Bitzer will presumably stand for the entire interview, due to the major ass kicking he got yesterday.

Here's another review:

“..."Sicko” is one sided. Moore doesn't spend any time defending our broken down health care system, which leaves 45 million Americans without health insurance, which is ranked is ranked 37th among nations in quality of care and which overcharges us – often to the point of bankruptcy – and makes deliberate decisions to deny health care to individuals and, as Moore clearly demonstrates, allows people to die needlessly for the sake of protecting overblown profits."



Monday, July 09, 2007

Pieces of Silver

I posted part of this on Knoxviews.com but something has caught my eye that I need to add:

So now I have a question that must have occurred to lots of people over the years, as their own country went through the run-up to fascism. Fascism is the form of government in which corporations rule instead of people...We're only halfway there but we're moving at warp speed and we'ld better get busy or there'll be no stopping it.

The question is this:

The research department of a mega corporation issues an internal report that says it's current business practices will be very profitable for the next generation or two, after that time, however, these very business practices will result in widespread devastation and will ultimately contribute to the end of civilization as we know it. If Mega-Corp immediately ceases these business practices it will result in the bankruptcy and the loss of billions of dollars by stockholders all over the world.

At the next meeting behind closed doors and with no recordings of the proceedings, the top management of the company will make a decision. What do you think it will be?

A. A unanimous vote to cease operations, liquidate the company, and save civilization?

B. A majority vote to reassign the head of the research department and continue operations as is, with greater emphasis on marketing the company's charitable gifts?

C. There is no C.

I have listed option B as a majority vote because I have a deep down belief in humanity and think that there would be one human being on the Board of Directors who would vote to save humanity...Could be wrong, though.

The vote to end civilization on account of Mega Corp will make a profit might be unanimous.

There are plenty of real life examples of Mega-Corp.

Coal companies, all coal companies, for one. Coal IS sequestered carbon. We should immediately cease its extraction from the earth. This is obvious. Is National Coal liquidating?

Concentrated animal Feed operations (CAFO's) destroy...I mean DESTROY...water quality downstream of their operations.

Tobacco Companies sell bad health. It is their product.

Energy companies...etc. etc...

And remember...There is no "C"

Now for something truly frightening...

"... the private spy industry has succeeded where no foreign government has: It has penetrated the CIA and is running the show."

Yes, in America's descent into fascism, The CIA has now been outsourced to Corporations. But just so Americans won't be outraged...The report has been classified, so what you don't know can't hurt the fascists.

Corporations have rights and you don't. With their ability to funnel large sums of money to pieces of slime like Tom Delay and his K street Project, Entities with neither soul nor conscience now control our public process and our clandestine operations.

Over the horizon goes a great experiment in human freedom...sold for 40 pieces of silver.



Saturday, July 07, 2007

Mantra for 7-7-07

We're twitching between Wimbledon and Live Earth.

Watching the Black Eyed Peas do Misserlou is too weird. Misserlou was done by Dick Dale in 1962 and now passed forward. What takes this home for me is that in 1966 I was playing in a rock band with Misserlou as our signature opening song. How was I to know it was a Greek-Turkish-maybe-Cretan song about an Arab girl?

The song is wall to wall classic surfer guitar and that's all we cared about. Now it's being used to try and save the planet?... Works for me.

For those who wondered for even a second, Dick Dale did it better than we did.... the Peas do it different, but I'm sticking with Dick Dale. (The link takes you to a belly dancing site with a video)

Now I wish I had a complete collection of the Ventures to complete my musical journey.

We'll be at a Live Earth Party later today with several people who've met Al Gore. We'll be chanting the Live Earth mantra...

Run, Al, Run!



Friday, July 06, 2007


via TPM Election Central

As you read the results of this American Research Group poll bear in mind that at the time Bill Clinton was impeached, only 25% of Americans favored that action. Why won't Congress act to impeach George W. Bush when almost twice that number are in favor?

( As for Cheney's numbers....well let's just put it like this: America hates you, Dick.)

The ARG Poll:

Do you favor or oppose the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush?

Favor Oppose Undecided
All Adults 45% 46% 9%
Voters 46% 44% 10%

Do you favor or oppose the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney?

Favor Oppose Undecided

All Adults 54% 40% 6%
Voters 50% 44% 6%

Ladies Love Evil Bastards

Summer reading:

Sometimes I sit and wonder about the nature of good and evil in human beings and I wonder how it is that a human can feel ok about taking the life of another human being.

We have several notorious cases going on in East Tennessee at the moment, but in reality, on the absolute true scale of human nastiness, without war we would be small time. Here are a couple of accounts of the Harpe boys, a couple of red headed brothers who emigrated to Tennessee from North Carolina back in the days when we had Indians, slaves, and Tories loose on the Roane County countryside.

Of special interest is the second account, which doesn't actually claim to be the whole truth, but mostly jives with the accounts that do.

As we have seen in real life murder cases, as evil as the men appear to be, they have no trouble getting women to keep them company. It seems that the old saying about ladies loving outlaws is actually a soft sell of the real truth, and before you go all soft on me remember...Laura sticks with George even though he personally ordered a residential bombing that resulted in the deaths of 54 people, over half of which were women and children. He just didn't have the balls to do it himself.

So here are some tales about two cousins or brothers, not sure which, who are known as America's first serial killers. too bad they weren't the last.


An excerpt from:
The Shannon Family of East Tennessee: A Story of the Scots-Irish© August 2002 by Melinda Shannon Freels

Big Harpe and Little Harpe

This one has a little more focus on the ladies. It makes less claim to historical accuracy but...

The Harpe Brothers

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tyranny on the Edge of Town

We had a fine Fourth of July.

We discussed the true meaning of Independence and had a short ceremony honoring each of the founding fathers, though we dwelled mostly on Thomas Paine. Then we joined hands and voices and recited together the traditional Independence Day prayer:

"THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; "

After a hearty Independence Day feast of corn on the cob, fresh green beans, squash and zuchini, we continued observing the sanctity of this day by exchanging gifts beside the Independence tree. (I shall forever treasure my "Free Scooter" bumper sticker...thank you, dear)

Hearts filled with reverence, and bellies filled with casserole, we then journeyed to Roane County, Tennessee's historical center, where a famous treaty was consecrated hoodwinking the local Native Americans out of yet more land...The gravel pit in Kingston...Where this sacred day's festivities would come to an end with that most curious of traditions, so so music drowned out by the sound of ever greater explosions.

In our little county, we may have children without school books and decrepit educational facilities whose bathrooms must be kept locked lest the children actually try to use them, but nothing will stop us from sending tens of thousands of dollars literally up in smoke in mere minutes...the grandest of all "expenditure on a depreciating asset,"...the fireworks display.

(Actually, a neighboring town's fireworks event WAS stopped, when it was discovered that they were using an "unlicensed shooter"...The nerve!)

Anyway... This is our annual ceremony honoring the short fuses used by the British prevented their cannon shells from reaching their intended target 240 years ago and which provoked Francis Scott Key's famous line, "Bombs bursting in air." Had the Brits actually figured it out and corrected this during the night, our flag would have been incinerated, thereby destroying the motif for today's political banners, without which we could not possibly be patriotic.

From the high balcony of good friends, we watched the police boats herd the floating patriot navy out of the drop zone. Here in Tennessee, that quaint idea of "what goes up must come down" does not always occur to citizens with our science education, who cling to the notion that gravity, like evolution, is only a theory. The authorities did their job and as I watched the deck of the fireworks barge through my binoculars, I could see that none of the misfires managed to reach the revelers carft, but mostly just bounced around the other cylinders of explosives, spewing fire and teasing us with the possibility a historical moment of our own in a "grandest explosion of all" moment. Twas not to be as most of the ordinance wound up "bursting in Air" as was meant to be.

It was a fine evening and an even finer traffic jam, which lasted much longer than the fireworks. Our journey home took us through another fine little Tennessee town, where a nervous officer made three trips from our car to his cruiser asking for more and more documentation from me, refusing my entreaties to tell me why we had been stopped.

"I'll tell you later," said Officer 17.

I think he was lonely and wanted to talk to someone. The graveyard shift in a town of only 5000 people has to be very isolated at times. Finally he handed my license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration back to me and said, "You ran a red light." To which I said, " I don't think so."

"Yes you did"

"Which one?"

"I'm not going to debate you, you can debate the Judge."

"I'm not debating you, I'm trying to find out what you think I did that deserves a ticket."

"You ran a red light."

"Which one?"

"That one back there."

"There's seven of them in this town, which one?"

"You rear wheels were still in the intersection when the light turned red, so you ran a red light," he said, handing me my citation.

"Which one?"

"That one back there, two lights back."

"Do you really think I deserve a ticket? Do you really?"

And he walked away into the night without answering, toward his police cruiser and his duty to keep the town's citizens safe. I looked at my watch...12:05 AM...No longer the most patriotic day on the American calendar.




And now let me leave you with what will no doubt soon become Thomas Paine's most famous and often quoted excerpt from "The Crisis Papers" ,

" Paean to Scooter."

"...I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America."


And now something beautiful:

More info on the Diana butterfly, also here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rude Homage to Thomas Paine

Damn, Tommy Paine could write:

"If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of willful and offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits, that is, the power of one man cannot give them a very general extension, and many kinds of sins have only a mental existence from which no infection arises; but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death."

"Were government a mere manufacture or article of commerce, immaterial by whom it should be made or sold, we might as well employ her as another, but when we consider it as the fountain from whence the general manners and morality of a country take their rise, that the persons entrusted with the execution thereof are by their serious example an authority to support these principles, how abominably absurd is the idea of being hereafter governed by a set of men who have been guilty of forgery, perjury, treachery, theft and every species of villany which the lowest wretches on earth could practise or invent. What greater public curse can befall any country than to be under such authority, and what greater blessing than to be delivered therefrom. The soul of any man of sentiment would rise in brave rebellion against them, and spurn them from the earth."

More with commentary from the Rude Pundit.

Parental discretion advised.

Local ET News

Some local and other stuff caught my inner irony eye:

We have our usual summer events around East Tennessee, like the "death by personal watercraft" at 4 am, and more tragic carnage of drunks running off the road and killing everyone but themselves, which happened last night at the other end of my county. Why does it happen that way?

And there's the shootings and cuttings and so on, but those aren't special, like the Church Deacon charged with taking nude videos of an under aged girl at church camp:

Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said a deacon at the First Baptist Church, Ralph Coffelt, was arrested for "especially aggravated exploitation of a minor," which begs a question about church officials and pedophiles, but I'm not sure which question it is. Maybe if we knew what "especially aggravated" meant in this case.

A rare species of orchid was found growing in a roadside ditch in Farragut, TN, which is sort of outer Knoxville. Sweet-scent Ladies Tresses is notable because it smells good. One recommendation was to fence the orchids off to keep people away. They may have guided field trips, hopefully for the public to be allowed to sniff the rare plant. They have decided to quit mowing and spraying herbicide in the area.

There's trouble brewing between some big name environmental groups and the US Forest Service over all terrain vehicles. I'm sure that doesn't surprise you but this "enviro" group is Trout Unlimited, more of a sportsman's group than an enviro-nazi group...They're the ones who normally ride atv's and now they want them restricted. Seems T U and the State of Tennessee have been working on restoring the brook trout to their native streams in the Smoky Mountains and now the ATVs are stirring up the mud and killing them off.

Amazingly, the first step in restoring brookies is to kill off the rainbow trout. Trout Unlimited stepped up and educated their sometimes narrow minded membership to their wider environmental responsibilities, and I totally applaud them pursuing restrictions on ATVs for the greater good. I wonder how this one is going to turn out.

...And from the WhitesCreek International news desk comes this item: An heir of Romania's royal family has put "Dracula's Castle" up for sale. Legend has it that Vlad, the Impaler, spent one night in the Bran Castle in the 1400's and it is a top tourist attraction.

Silly people!

The randy old count had a reputation for spending the night in lots of castles nipping at the necks of aristocratic ladies who had apparently put away their garlic necklaces. But in supposedly being a vampire, wouldn't the real Dracula's Castle would be the one in which he spent the daytime.

Enjoy your Fourth of July. It really should be America's biggest holiday.



Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Boy Named Diana

Some of you folks know about Whites Creek gorge and what a special place I think it is. The coolest thing about the gorge is the abundance of life sheltered within its rims.

The bald eagle family has moved up the creek this year, which indicates a good food supply. Normally they would be out on the lake by now.

The American anoles that run around the deck may be a "species of concern" but there's lots of them here. I've watched two male showdowns so far this year. One male will set up and start displaying his red throat pouch and bobbing his head to announce his dominance. Then another one with a differing opinion of the lizard hierarchy will show up running at full speed and try to throw the first one off the deck. I actually filmed one getting tossed from 20 feet up in a dogwood tree...hit the ground and wandered off with no apparent damage, other than to his "chances."

We have rare butterflies that fascinate me. The one I've been watching lately is the Diana, which is only supposed to occur in the Smokies. I took a picture of a beaten up old girl last fall, but I had yet to get one of the male, who looks completely different. They seem to be hyperactive and will absolutely not sit still for a glamour shot.

Then, one day when I had the garage door open, one flew inside and cornered itself on a window long enough for me to document it.

Not exactly your true nature shot but there he is.

I took him as gently as I could, let him go outside, and closed the garage doors. He's got a girlfriend to impress.




At a recent media conference, the President made this statement:

"The media has to change if our society is to advance. The most powerful force that raises the standards of the media is no other than the participation of alert citizens. The standards of the media and quality of its products can improve when more citizens participate in the production and distribution stages and use their responsible criticism to act as a check against the possibility of the media morphing into a political power."

Wow! Does that sound like kudos to bloggers and a slap down of the main stream media by the President?

Dang Straight!

Only it was the President of South Korea. What an impressive idea..."decoupling the collusion between the government and the media."

Here's an overview of the International conference that shows what the media must become if we are to have free societies on this planet.


Do you think the timing of the Scooter commutation outrage was helped by the release of SiCKO?

I do, intentional or not.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Moonshine, Cocaine, Marijuana...Pardon me?

( Sounds like some of my best friends.)

George W. Bush has issued the fewest number of pardons of any president in history. Years after their convictions and having long finished serving their sentences, here are some of the people he has pardoned:

Stephen James Jackson, of Picayune, Mississippi, convicted in 1993 of odometer tampering, fined $500 and served three years on probation

Olgen Williams, of Indianapolis, Indiana, convicted in 1971 for stealing $10.90 from a postal employee's mail, served a one-year sentence.

Kenneth Franklin Copley, of Lyles, Tennessee, convicted in 1962 for the manufacture of untaxed whiskey, served two years probation

Douglas Harley Rogers, of Brookfield, Wisconsin, convicted in 1957 for failure to submit to induction into the Army, served a two-year sentence

Janet Theone Upton of Salinas, Calif., mail fraud. Sentenced May 23, 1975

Larry Gene Ross of Indio, Calif., making false statements in a bank loan application. Sentenced Aug. 15, 1989

George Thomas Harley of Albuquerque, N.M., aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine. Sentenced Nov. 30, 1984

Marie Georgette Ginette Briere of Gatineau, Quebec, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Sentenced July 9, 1982

William Sidney Baldwin Sr. of Green Pond, S.C., conspiracy to possess marijuana.

Clearly all people with whom Bush has much in common, although the personal connection with the draft dodger he pardoned eludes me, somehow. It isn't as readily apparent as ("I like speed") Bush's pardon for the Meth distributor.

How does Bush decide who gets a pardon? Here's what we are officially told...

" (a presidential spokesman) said that most weight is given to the seriousness of the crime, how long ago it was committed, acceptance of responsibility and remorse, an applicant’s conduct and contribution to society, and recommendations from the sentencing judge, probation officer and prosecutor."

So far, not one person has received a pardon from President Bush BEFORE serving his sentence, although I found some who were still on probation. Could Scooter be the first?

With all the yammering by the right wing press you would think that there is a cry across America for a pardon for Scooter Libby. Just for your information, the most recent poll found that 69% of Americans were opposed to a Libby pardon. So the cry for a pardon comes from 18% of Americans.

The other 13% were definitely mixed on whether Scooter or Paris should get out of jail first.




Fred Thompson is the guy in charge of the Free Scooter movement. One thing is becoming apparent about Fred...He can read his lines with a straight face. I think Karl Rove believes Fred is almost a perfect candidate...Sincerely dishonest, intellectually demotivated. It remains to be seen whether Fred can be molded into believing his own lies. That would be...perfect.
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