Saturday, December 30, 2006

Shhhh...

Returning to a theme of art, in a sillier sort of way


A theme we need less of in the New Year


Since I post the Speed Bump 'toons with some wee bit o' frequency, I figured I'd provide a link to the Official Website. I don't know.. Props where props are due and all.

L8

Te(t)chy Judges, Aren't They

In a 2 to 1 decision yesterday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said it would not accept the judges' brief on a legal technicality, saying the title "judge" should not be used to describe former judges in legal proceedings. The court is examining whether "enemy combatants" should be allowed to challenge their detention in U.S. courts.
[The (poorly reported) rest of the story...]
I say "poorly reported" because the article fails to clarify to what specific "title" the Appeal's judges are referring. What was the title of the FotC brief they submitted?

How can one possibly come to a conclusion as to the value and legality of their decision without seeing the thing upon which it was based? Must the WaPo generally leave their best, most comprehensive coverage for their reporters to do on their personal time?

Arrrhhg . . . Anyhow, back to the reason for the dismissal.
The appeals panel's more conservative judges, David B. Sentelle and A. Raymond Randolph, issued the opinion, with Judge Judith W. Rogers, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, dissenting.
Oh. Wonderful . . .

I'll be checking SCOTUSblog - not something I do often enough - for the missing clarity on this one.

Only (Almost) Human

The Artist's Model



Thanks to the Omnipotent Poobah for the link whence was found.

Mind Reader?

How else could a woman born, raised and living in Iraq have possibly known what I've been thinking?
My only conclusion is that the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq, but would like to leave behind a full-fledged civil war because it wouldn't look good if they withdraw and things actually begin to improve, would it?

Riverbend of Baghdad Burning
I suppose she's not the only one.


H/T to Sumo.


Ed's Note: This is my Cynic talking. I think Bu$hCo wants things nice and tidy before we leave Iraq*. As long as that country's government is amenable to American hegemony in the field of Oil Production, of course.


* A politically improbable possibility I'm afraid, but convinced 'tis true.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Built FORD Tough

Which to me means something akin to schizophrenically.
Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq

By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 28, 2006; Page A01

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

***

"Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq. They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction," Ford said. "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."
Note the embargoed interview bit, if you will. I think that such a requirement by the former president is also quite indicative of the kind of man he was: more intelligent than a lot of folk give him credit for being, yes, but conscientious to a fault in some regards*.

Pardoning Nixon, another schizo politico, was an inexcusable offense in my opinion. Tricky Dick was not, again IMO, the utterly evil villain so many o' my compatriots in Left Blogistan, quite legitimately in many respects, prefer to recall him as having been, Watergate and Cambodia (amongst others) not-with-standing. Still, the Rule of Law was obfuscated by President Ford, at a time when America needed to take back its honor and proclaim to both ourselves and the world at large, We are human. We make mistakes. We acknowledge this and will do whatever is in our power to rectify our errors so that our privilege and right to be the Light on a Hill and beacon of Liberty and Democracy shall not be dimmed nor diminished by a hubristic refusal to admit our humanity.

On the other hand . . .

Hhmmm... I'll get back to you on that one.

Tip o' my hat to Teh L4m3 for the impetus to post on this President's passing. namaste amigo!

-----

* Marty Kaplan has more on this point at the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You Do The Math

My hat is tipped to Spc. Freeman, whose The Calm Before The Sand I've just added to my sidebar.

Give him a read - and a shout out if you've the urge - as he's doing his military duty and could use the encouragement of knowing there really are at least a few folks living in the U.S.A. who are actively pressing our politicians to end the insanity in Iraq.

Even if you don't check in on Spc. Freeman, don't let up on your Congressfolk just because they're likely to be a Dem in the 110th. Make 'em prove they were worth your vote!
U.S. military deaths in Iraq pass 9/11 toll
Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:39 PM GMT27
By Ibon Villelabeitia

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The deaths of six more American soldiers in Iraq pushed the U.S. death toll to at least 2,978 -- five more than the number killed in the September 11 attacks -- as bombs killed more than 20 people in Baghdad on Tuesday.

At least 89 U.S. soldiers have died so far this month, making it the deadliest this year after October's toll of 106, and adding pressure on President George W. Bush to find a strategy to extricate 135,000 U.S. troops from the messy war.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died since the invasion in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein, which Bush said was an integral part of the "war on terror" following the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

U.S. officials say 2,973 people were killed in those attacks, excluding the 19 hijackers.


What could be a more fitting headline for the Impeach-mas season?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Carnival of the Godless - Xmas Eve Addition

D'oh! I don't exactly run with the same nano-crowds as I used to, so tend to forget these things are so damned good!

If you're curious as to how a lot o' online atheist folk think about this holiday, or just enjoy a bit o' godless bloggery, then by all means head on over to God is for Suckers and enjoy some Chris'mas cheer!

As for me, I'm off to mi hermano's for the - yah, I'm gonna do it - the family get-together.

Happy Monday all!

Imagine a Geometrically Perfect Tool for Peace

I've waited a couple of days to share this, as Comandante Agí has already used it as his musical post for peace.

None-the-less, since it's been #2 on my listening list this holiday weekend, and Maynard does indeed so seriously rock, I present to you a remarkable, and in my opinion, magnificent remake of a pop culture masterpiece.



Imagine the Light of our combined personal efforts towards overcoming the Darkness of hubris, duplicity, greed, and despair.

♫♫ ♫♫

No notes to follow those notes this time. I just like the festive flavor they provide.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Oh! Such Spirit!


I've always been a sucker for a sweet, sweet Christmas tune. Click on the title for to hear the sweetest version I've yet to hear of this Vince Guaraldi Classic. Then come on back and click on the pic to visit BG's site to let her know how cool she is.

Kudos y Bravo to you Neddie y Blue Girl!

You've certainly added something sublime to this Solstice season.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Both Sides Now

This story is a prime example of why I Am Against the Death Penalty: "... nobody is above the rule of law."
(W)hat makes (Abdul-Rahman al Lahem) such a formidable foe in the courtroom is his own strong background in sharia.

Until the late 1990s, Lahem -- who holds a degree in sharia -- was an Arabic teacher and an activist with the conservative Islamic Sahwa movement. Like most Sahwa adherents, he wore a long traditional white robe and let his beard grow long and scruffy, considered signs of piety.

His mind-set was similar to that of the austere Wahhabi judges he now battles in court, he explained with a wry smile.

Teaching in the isolated city of Hafr al-Batin, about 250 miles northeast of the deeply conservative Qassim region where he was born and far from his closed Sahwa circle, he discovered different Muslim thinkers, such as the Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi. It was the first time that Lahem, then in his mid-20s, had read anything outside the official Wahhabi version of Islam taught in school.

His transformation took an even sharper turn when he enrolled in law school in Riyadh. Unlike his strict religious education, his legal studies required ordered, logical thinking, not learning by rote. Students could also argue and discuss concepts with their professors, something impossible in the rigid hierarchy of sharia school.

"From the first class, I fell in love with the law," Lahem said, extracting a Marlboro from a front pocket and lighting it. "I started learning to depend on my mind, not just on ideas I'd been spoon-fed. It was wonderful. I felt as if I had found something I'd been looking for for years."

[For the whole of the 3 web-page WaPo story...]

People can change when given opportunity, support and objective information. You can't bring back the dead, but redress for even the most heinous of grievances can be had in many forms.

Death both prevents such restitution and is an extreme and nearly indefensible penitance to force upon another human being. Unless, of course, you follow archaic proscriptions for emotional retaliation and enforcement of your own beliefs onto others.

The hurdles Mr al Lahem must leap are also why I am so proud of and adamantly supportive of my own nation's secular Constitution.

No one nor no thing is perfect, but some things really are obviously better than others.

Happy Holidays all!!!

Namaste in a New Year



For the New Year I Resolve to challenge both the very real and the merely apparent disparities between

competition and cooperation

conflict and convergence

mania and depression

arrogance and pride

guilt and shame

silly and stupid

love and desire

hate and pity

faith and fear

the title and the body.

RAmen

Friday, December 22, 2006

Feeding Two Birds with One Link!*

Hey now!

I was wondering what kind of Song for Peace I could contribute that would come anywhere close to equaling what Comandante Agí did provide (Best Remake Evah!, IMO.)

Well, thanks to Jennifer of Saying Yes, I've got it!


Click on the pic for a peacefully sensual piece of guitar music and a timeless topic for celebration.

It bears repeating (as do all Good Things in life) Happy Solstice all!


♫♫ ♫♫

* Cuz I mean, seriously now, why the hey do I wanna be killing birds for anyway? 'Specially on a post for peace!

{-;

Reason for the Season


Happy and Healthy Solstice wishes to all y'all around the world, from a singular silly human on the North Coast (one of 'em anyhow {-;) of America.


Love and Light Folks!


Love and Light for all!


And, yes, that does mean everyone.


Happy New Year* too . . .



♫♫ ♫♫

* Is how I'll be ringing it in. {-;

Thursday, December 21, 2006

War on Xmas: Ready! Aim! FIRE!!!

Even as a fan and facilitator of satirical takes on my country's societal silliness, I can't bring m'self to actually post the video of this piece of Brilliant Ammo in our godless War on Xmas®.

But I just have to link to it with Roxtar's own admonition to his readers as a Very Sincere proviso.
Look, if you're easily offended by atheistic mockery don't even bother clicking. Really. I think of you as my friends, and I don't want to get all in your face. On the other hand, if you're up for a chuckle, give it a whirl!
Burn you blockhead! Buuurrrrrrrrrrrn!!`~~!!11121!!!

I'd tip my hat Roxtar's way but, in the heat of the moment (as it were,) I went an' threw it on the auto de fey.

That is all . ..

{-;

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"..a certifiably sane version of Ross Perot..

I s'pose that's not a bad start for a prospective Presidential aspirant.

I know little of NYCity's mayor, but am willing to take a closer look.

Here's a quick peek to get me started.

[From the Philadelphia Inquirer . . .]

Which brings us to Bloomberg, who has already spent months war-gaming a possible candidacy. He happens to have the requisite chops for the role: a bipartisan track record (former Democrat who wins in NYC as a Republican; knocks heads across party lines; strong managerial steward in a tough city); a healthy ego (he wrote in his autobiography 10 years ago that he wants to "change the world for the better"); and enough personal wealth to bankroll a national bid without badly denting his bottom line (a serious independent candidacy, including a 50-state ballot access effort, would cost half a billion bucks - but he is reportedly worth as much as $20 billion).

And there's one more tantalizing factor. As Howard Dean demonstrated in 2003, the Internet can spread the word 24/7 and create a fan base overnight. Indeed, the Bloomberg people already have a potential Internet vehicle. Reportedly, they have been talking with the founders of Unity08 (http:www.unity08.com), a new grassroots operation that plans to nominate a centrist presidential ticket in an online citizen convention, scheduled for June '08, and to help that ticket navigate the ballot-access hurdles.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Third Force

I found this clip on Darwin's Dagger, and heartily encourage any U.S. citizens reading here to give it serious consideration.



It's late, and I need to crash, so this be my comment from DD's post.
..but we'd all do well to remember, that a breath of fresh air is a long way from a strong and persistent wind of change.

How totally true, and that's what keeps me harping on stuff I know that so few folks care to dwell on.

When he said "that a 3rd force in the middle is essential to fix it", I kinda balked, but he went on and stated what I'm always goin' off about. There is value in both the Right and the Left. It's the "indifferent" manipulators who sway the electorate through weight of Advertising Dollars that corrupt the process, and this kind of effort, whatever this first incarnation produces, is precisely the type of ingenuity which made such an ideal as The American Dream a possibility.

Thanks for the reminder, and sorry I didn't view the whole view when I first saw the post. I get overwhelmed at work sometimes, and don't take the time to see what's really important.

Kinda like most of the good and wonderful folks who've allowed our Political system in the U.S., though most everywhere else as well, as far as I can tell, be up for sale to the highest bidder.

I'm gonna post on this.

Thanks for the kickstart, Darwin.
It's definitely something to think about, at any rate. Along with the basic fact, long refuted by even the preeminent of legal institutions as the SCOTUS, that Wealth is NOT Speech.

But that's for another - and another - post.

G'night.

Person of the Year



As I'm sure you've seen by now, Time's "Person of the Year" issue is out and You are it!

Uhh... well... Gee.. Thanks, Time, but I'm still not gonna renew my subscription. (There. Free advertising so ya know my thanks ain't empty.)

Instead, I've decidered to follow the lead of Comandante Agi (kinda*) and suggest a person of the Year whom I think made the most courageous and intelligent decisions in regards to motivating the "You"s in the Time cover story: us nanobots o' the intertubes.

Russ Feingold's call for Censure in the first quarter of 2006 created a firestorm of internet activity from Left Blogistan**, and invigorated a debate amongst bloggers, office-mates and family members which was only dampened by the quietude and disinterest of the colleagues of the Senator from WI. Whilst the debate on Censure raged across the 'tubes, Feingold's Democratic cohorts - both boys and girls and with very few exceptions - whined and shrugged and looked to the past, where a sitting President was impeached and still managed to retain overwhelming support in the polls.

So yes. Kudos to you! To all those who pound the keyboards and post the pics, mundane to profane, silly to sublime. It is my experience that teh Internets has brought us closer together in so many important ways affecting the socio-political environment which we share in this country. That, despite it's inarguable traps and addictioneries, the opportunity to find and relate to more folks than ever before possible is, on the balance, and in the words of America's favorite ex-con, A Good Thing.

And yet, as electronically connected is not precisely nor exactly the same thing as being face to face, with flesh pressed and breaths shared, we are still only human. As such, we do so still need leaders who have both vision and the courage to Frame such so as to motivate and lead us to make each our own individual effort towards goals which we all so truly desire to see attained.

In that regard, and with nearly a total lack of competition for the honor, I humbly submit that Russ Feingold was truly 2006's Person of the Year.

Happy Holidays!



* Is a great way to play with your own ideas on the topic. Thanks a lot for the impetus Comandante!

** I couldn't find a way to succinctly encompass all of those bloggers whose posts I admired and respected, so just linked to one which I think captured the essence of the times quite well.

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Take on an Old Bit

This would be funny - well, or not - regardless of Hu's in the Oval Office.



Personally I was LOL.

L8

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tagged? Again?

{sighhh}

Oops! Sorry 'bout that one, Nava! :-p But I do have the ® to do it, eh. This one's kinda funny, or karmic or somethin', since Nava was apparently tagged by Blueberry, for whose previous tag o' me I did to receive a Papal Reprieve.

I've actually been hoping someone would tag me on this particular topic.
The rules:
- Find the nearest book.
- Name the book and the author.
- Turn to page 123.
- Go to the fifth sentence on the page.
- Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
- Tag three more folks.
Thusly do I present:
Chairman of the Fed: William McChesney Martin Jr. and the Creation of the American Financial System by Robert P. Bremner
Page and Sentences at issue:
. . . Martin's willingness to subordinate the Fed's institutional goals when he felt that larger interests were at stake earned him a great deal of goodwill within the Treasury Department. It also embodied the spirit of Fed-Treasury cooperation described so briefly but so profoundly in the Accord.

The Fed's support did not go unnoticed. . .
And so . . . It seems I must to be tagging 3 other lucky bloggers, eh. Well then!

Have a go ... hhmmm... whom to choose.. whom to choose... I know that a few of the folks whom I read and that read here as well, have already done this particular meme.

Ah!

AG (Chappy Chanakuh, Lady!), Steve and Beep! Beep!

There're many o' you for whom I am curious as to what you're reading (hint, hint, Tonya {-,) but I'll stick to the formula here, and naught but 3 be taggin'.

Happy Sunday!

To every thing, there is a Season . .


. . and in the spirit of Crass Commercialism, the season of Commercial Spaceflight on the Atlantic Coast has commenced.

In this matter, that's a Good Thing.

Kudos!
Va. spaceport launches 1st rocket

By SONJA BARISIC, Associated Press Writer Sat Dec 16, 10:50 AM ET


ATLANTIC, Va. - Spectators cheered as a rocket carrying two experimental satellites blasted off Saturday in the first launch from the mid-Atlantic region's commercial spaceport, creating a blazing streak across the sky just before sunrise.


The 69-foot Minotaur I rocket soared from the launch pad at 7 a.m., after teams spent the week resolving a software problem in one of the satellites that cause officials to scrubbed a liftoff planned for Monday.


"We can now confirm that both satellites are alive and kicking" in orbit, said Air Force Col. Samuel McCraw, the mission director. "It's still too early to know how they're doing, but both have woken up and started talking."


The rocket soared over the Atlantic Ocean against a pink-and-orange-streaked morning sky, drawing cheers from about 80 invited guests watching from a viewing site about a mile and a half from the commercial launch pad at
NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.
[
Link to Yahoo News . . . ]

odlél



May folk of all faiths and none be Touched this holiday season!


Click on the pic for some holiday gift givin' ideas.

Tip o' m' cap to Jim on UTI for the linkage to BSAlert's fantastic holiday homage to The FSM. RAmen amigos. RAmen!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Impeachment Now

Note, if you will, the new banner to the left of posts. Overdue but never too late, at least not until '08 has come and gone.

How many dead human beings in Iraq, both residents of that nation and military personnel from my own county, will that notch on Teh Chimperor's holster?

Many thanks to Sumo for the heads up.

Friday, December 15, 2006

American Educators???



Hat tip to Wonkette, and found via John Brown's Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review for December 14-15.

Also of note; The Ripper is postin' some relevant, sometimes humorous, sometimes heinously need-to-see YouTubes as well.

Good work, Rip.

Reading his site today kinda got me motivated to post this from work.

Friday Morning {shudder} Funny

For those of you who don't follow, or have only a limited knowledge of the antics of Pro Sports Agents, don't worry. Reading the comparison will still make plenty of sense.



And I'm not doubting that, even if you don't agree on every take, you're still likely to come to the same conclusion as the authors of ESPN.com's Page 2.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lakoff "Frames" it Perfectly

Let's start with this part here. A brief look at the thought process of Representative-elect Heath Schuler, a Democrat from North Carolina, and why he won his race this fall.

[Link to HuffPo] What makes you a Democrat, Block asked. Schuler replied that it was what his parents and grandparents taught him: "A Democrat helps people that cannot help themselves." What about fiscal responsibility? Earmarks like bridges to nowhere are irresponsible, Schuler replied; instead we should be spending money on education, social security, universal health care, preserving the environment, and renewable energy.

In short, what Schuler really cares about, what he was running on, and what he got elected on were progressive policies -- even though he happened to hold some conservative positions that inoculated him in his district against charges of being "too liberal."

Schuler's "progressive policies" are in beautiful alignment with those that made Bill Clinton a landslide victor in his re-election bid, despite his decidedly non-Conservative personal social, hhmmm, proclivities. I don't foresee Mr Schuler, former NFL jock though he is, ever getting caught with his pants down, as it were. (Who knows. I just don't see it...) I can see him supporting legislation which DNC chairman Howard Dean has endorsed as both rational and politically viable in regards to the health and welfare of our nation's general populace, including those least able, ready or even willing to thrive in our modern global economy.

In short, Values voters may certainly differ tremendously on what they consider to be socially acceptable behavior vis-a-vie their personal lives, but Progressive politics means such differences are of very little practical importance when it comes to the operation and maintenance of our modern civilization.

To repeat the only mantra Slick Willie ever needed, the one which centrist (whatever the hekk that might actuall mean,) James Carville pounded into the ever amenable mind of both candidate and President Clinton: It's the Economy Stupid!

To "frame" an issue means to put it in context, and the best frames are those which accentuate the actual and very real nature of that which they surround. "Spin" is certainly an element of the frame but it is by no means even one of the most important functions. A beautiful frame can not make a Sunday morning comic miraculously become a Picasso. Displaying the portrait, the issue, the purpose of the take is what framing does best.

So, to the Centrists and the Leftists, to the all of those who would hold office in these United States, I say, whatever your choice of Frames, it's the Economy stupid! Believe what you will and behave in private as your own conscience recommends.

Whilst in Office for which the People have elected you, please try to live up to the values which you espoused, those which you used to frame your candidacy when selling yourself to the electorate.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Balancing Act



Imagine having to follow all o' those lines in order to keep your world in balance.

Is kinda what the Federal Reserve Board has to do in order to ensure;
  • Economic Growth in a Global Economy
  • That Inflation doesn't get outta control, thus lowering the purchasing power of American incomes
  • The balance of Trade with our global partners doesn't result in even greater deficits than we've been stuck with over the last 20 years and counting
  • Our progress doesn't diminish other nations' economies, so as to make our goods and services unaffordable
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc...
But it sure is beautiful, ain't it. . .

Oh, and by the way,

[Link to Yahoo story] (I)n recent weeks, there have been plenty of signs indicating that the economy is doing just fine--and that a rate cut may not be needed for some time. For example, last week, the Labor Department reported that the economy produced a respectable 132,000 new jobs in November, despite drops in construction and manufacturing employment.


Just thought I'd share it. There aren't many things more important politically than the Economy, no matter how well any of us actually understand the details there-in. It's what sets the stage of Human Drama upon which all else takes place.

Happy Holidays

Like I Needed a Test to Tell Me This


How evil are you?

Yah yah yah. Just barely should be my middle name.

Since my middle name is actually my last name, I guess the Test is pretty accurate though.

Bein' raised in a Liberal Catholic, anti-choice, pro-Peace, Democratic family, with childhood heroes starting with me Pops then JC (Jesus Christo) then Abe Lincoln then Paul Stanley then Tolkien then another JC (Jimmy Carter) then Asimov then . . . heroes? Who needed heroes when I hads my ganjah?

Wait. I think there was a point there somewhere. . . Oh yah!

Twisted be me.

{sighhh}*

And thusly did I start a blog called Silly Humans. Make sense, now?

Golly Gee Willickers! Thanks for the impetus, BG!




* {sigh}s sho do beat the creative cursing with which I used to indicate m' moods.

L8

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The War on Christmas Escalates!

Let the bodies hit the floor!*

{-;





* I just love that song. That's all that was.

The Kucinich Who Brought Christmas

Okay. Other than that new, younger-stronger-lither physique I've always wanted (and never worked at for more than a month at a time,) all you'd have to do is add a pinch of understanding of the modern Global Economy to dude's resume, and I'd be good to go for the next 6 Solstice-Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanza-Yule Tide's combigned.

Dennis Kucinich is going to make another run at the office of President of the United States.
[Link to Yahoo News] Rep. Dennis Kucinich is making another run at the White House, according to Andy Juniewicz, Kucinich's press secretary.

Kucinich, 60, scheduled a noon Tuesday press conference at City Hall to formally announce his 2008 campaign.

He made a name for himself during the 2004 presidential election.

The Cleveland Democrat plans to use his anti-war stance as a stepping stone to becoming the country's 44th president.

The liberal Democrat said he's launching his campaign out of frustration with his own party, which he said seems inclined to keep the war in Iraq going.

His previous presidential proposals have included a national peace department, canceling free trade policies he said hurt American jobs and a single-payer, universal health care system.
w00t! w00t! Woohoo!!! LOL!

Who knows, I might even vote for the Representative of my congressional district in his bid for Chief Executive this time around.

Just might do that, indeed.

(But don't forget that Gore-Clinton ticket, now. Nope. Keep that one in mind going into '07, don't ya know . . . {-; )

Next Gen Walkin'


EVOLUTIONARY CRUX POINT

In this postette, I won't even attempt to do justice to the thoughts I have on the topic. I just want to briefly blog it as being perhaps the most interesting and relevant type of dataset vis-a-vie our species' near-term future.



Hopefully I'll walk myself back onto a degree track where I'll have the financial and professional motivation to do a full and competent analysis on the data. I'd really love to see what can be learned from it and put that knowledge to efficacious sociological use for my country, my peoples and my planet in the decades ahead of us.

Let's not forget, regardless of who holds the reigns steering us into that future, and no matter how many, how young or how old are our numbers on average, the paths that we'll all be navigating are getting warmer, wetter and wilder all the time.

What's the old saw? Think Globally. Act locally.

Think and then act, at any rate.

L8

Gore - Clinton '08

Heheh . . .

Follow ups forthcoming.

Monday, December 11, 2006

An Easier Tag to Tackle

Though it does to be proving the adage that "easier is not necessarily better."

{sighhh}

Current friends I have that I. . .


. . .went to elementary school with: 0. With an occasional occurence that I meet someone who knows one of them.

. . .went to high school with: 0. Though I do occasionally correspond with my cousin Hed or HS best friend, P.D.

. . .went to university with: 0. I had no friends
at University. Just good friends whilst I attended, and I rarely get to see any of them any more at any rate.

My Elementary School, St Mary, Lorain, lasted K thru 8, so the whole Middle School/Junior High sit was covered by the first question.

. . .met through theatre): 0 Alas... 'Twere some
wonderful folks met during my short stint at the CPT. I keep saying I'm gonna sign up again, and keep not doing so. I . . . I don't know. Perhaps I will. Mayhaps I won't.

. . .met from age 0-20: 0

. . .met from age 21-40: All (3) of them!

. . .met this past summer: To be sure, I've "met" some great people since
a couple of Summers ago, but most of them are Online, and I've only actually met 2 of you. The others are friends of my estranged 2nd wife, so naught has developed of those. Too bad there. They're wonderful folks too, and I was liking how our families were getting along.

Rule: “Change up some of the details but leave the essence.”

Thanks A LOT for the tag, Seth! Despite the paucity of flesh'n'bones friends in my life, hhmmm... more likely because of it, this tag really givéd me a nice kick.

Why to Blog and Dance

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Karma

Not that I'm a believer or anything...






But I have noticed that I get out what I put in, for the most part.






Along the same lines, thank you Tonya, for this reminder:

Nothing others think of you will ever make you happy, only what you think of yourself.
RAmen and then some!

{-;

Friday, December 08, 2006

Views: 1,583,312

In my opinion, that's not enough.



Good night, and good weekend all.

Don't Piss Off this Prince of Peace!

Just a bit o' fun from my mornin' in the blogosphere.

Click directly on the pictures for the story to unfold. You prob'ly won't be surprised, but should still get the chuckles the poster intended.


Tip o' m' cap to
Aesmael (and yer friend, Kristine I s'pose I should add. She's a wicked one, now ain't she. . . {-;)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

". . . Without trust, they are doomed to failure."*

So, we've got to treat with Iran and Syria. And the mutually hate-filled sectarian combatants in Iraq must all be involved, as U.S. coordinators in Iraq have attempted to get them. Then how can the United States proceed towards effecting, what has here-to-fore been a historically transient, Peace in the Middle East?

As has been true for, most likely, everyone to date, I have no clear answer. What I do sincerely and rationally believe is that such an answer can only be found if each and every element in this enduring and evolving conflict can find the will and confidence in their own purpose to proceed diplomatically along a path made clear and substantial, using as its fundament, the idea behind the words of a former Federal Reserve Chairman, one William McChesney Martin Jr.

"It is possible to be very good friends so long as each knows where the other stands. As long as the cards are placed on the table face up, disparities in point of view may actually broaden and enrich life. Once one or the other keeps cards under the table, it leads to distrust and inevitably, dislike." For Martin, relations among nations were identical to relations among individuals: without trust, they are doomed to failure*.
(all emphases are mine)

Martin was speaking to the issue of Russian Lend-Lease during the waning days of WWII, though he could easily have been referring to any conflict of individuals or nations under any external circumstances what so ever. Couple this sentiment with the Bard's own advice in Hamlet, "to thine own self be true," and expect your adversary to do the same, and you can be sure that the discussion which proceeds will be surely - even if oh so sorely - enlightened.

What are we fighting for in the Mideast? If it's Oil, as most economists maintain, then WE, the West, the United States in particular, have got to step back and acknowledge who the Legal Owners of that natural and UNRENEWABLE resource actually are, and what their goals may be in regards to making such resource available to countries whose cultural and economic needs are vastly dissimilar to their own.

We are NOT qualified to say what is Right for the peoples and nations of the Middle East. We, the peoples and nations of the European settled and dominated West, have NOT the right to determine either policy or priorities for any other civilizations; no matter what the costs of their decisions to our own welfare and advancement. To those costs we must respond, not merely react. We are not gods to determine what is right and wrong for other folks, no matter how empirically beneficent to technological and economic progress our vision of Homo Sapiens' future may be.

Oil wonks like to pony out the adage that Oil Markets are fungible. That is, the oil we buy on the open market may or may not come directly from the source from whom we purchase it, so we really shouldn't care who supplies us, as long as we continue to have access to the the supply our economies demand. That's fine. That's all good.

And if that is the case, then the argument that the United States had to invade Iraq in order to assure a cheap source of Oil does indeed fall as short empirically as does Bush 43's persistent and hubristic profession that we invaded to ensure Democracy and prevent Terrorism in that country.

What do I want? What do you want? How can we both be satisfied if our wants are at odds?

These are the questions which need to be asked moving forward; whether on the stage of global affairs, or within the confines of our own homes. If asked in all honesty, and pursued with an underlying understanding that no one's wants, needs or desires are ever worth the blood of another, then someday, soon by far Far FAR less than geological measures, Peace shall indeed come to the Mideast.


December 7, 2006
65 years after Pearl Harbor



* Chairman of the Fed: William McChesney Martin Jr. and the Creation of the American Financial System, by Robert P. Bremner - 2004, Yale University Press

Sunday, December 03, 2006

One Nation Indivisible

Hey kids! Try saying this and tell me how it feels to you.



Did ya get to taste your bile like I still do when hearing the anti-commie code word, God, inserted where it has no historically accurate reason nor Constitutional right to be?

I know a few atheist boys and girls who don't like that taste any better than anyone else does. I also know a couple more for whom it ain't no thang. Why should it bother them, when the concept of God is redundant of the idea that there are
more Gods than one.

One nation under the Gods . . .


Uhm erruhm... Well, alrighty then.

OK. So the atheist friends who feel a slight tickle, or just plain bored over their atheism hold the same attitude towards the whole shebang as I aim for. It really took this past 5 years of God Politics, from the Right and the Left, to get me all fired up enough to blog and write about it though.

So on that note, the Browns won in overtime, w00T WOOF! WOOF!


A
tip o' the hat to Carol of Atheists-World, and a Happy Sunday to all y'all.

***

Update 12/07/06: The Christian Science Monitor has a fairly interesting story on how folks across the nation have been losing interest in the "Pledge".

As I mentioned in a comment, the PoA itself I can certainly do without, especially in its current, unconstitutional incarnation. The problem I do have is that folks in general have also lost, if a majority has ever had, a true and personal understanding of their Civic responsibilities in our Democratic Republic.


When we think a 51% voter turnout is a
good thing, there has got to be a problem which needs resolving.

IMO, at any rate.

Enjoy.
Backstory: Is America pledging less?

(un)Curious George

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the White House before he resigned last month the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq was not working and he proposed changes, including possible troop reductions, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

"In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough," Rumsfeld said in the classified memo, dated November 6. The Times posted a copy of the memo along with an article about it on its Web site.


The Pentagon confirmed the memo's authenticity but declined further comment.


***


Rumsfeld's language was echoed in remarks Bush made on November 8 when he announced the defense secretary's resignation. Bush said it was time for a change in Iraq and Iraq policy was "not working well enough, fast enough." Rumsfeld remains in office pending Senate confirmation of former CIA Director Robert Gates, nominated by Bush to succeed him.


The study group, co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker, is expected to urge a gradual withdrawal of U.S. combat troops when it makes its report on Wednesday.


There are about 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and more than 2,800 have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Alas, the Decider is apparently way beyond the ability to understand anything about the situation which he (and his) have caused in Iraq. He seems to be completely stuck on his own archaically limited and oppressive definition of "Victory."

If Rummy actually came forward like this, and dude's two earlier attempts at a resignation - cosmetic though they likely were - indicate that he probably did make similar suggestions to the Chimperor before, then I may have to swallow a wee bit more bile and admit that the shrub is just as unlikely to pay any heed at all to the Baker Group's recommendations.

Couple that apparent liklihood with this story from Sunday's LA Times, one which echos news of Middle Easterner's opinions of which I've become aware via der Spiegle, and Impeachment really is starting to look, not just laudable and justified, but a down right urgent requirement if we're to avoid an extended blood bath due to our nation's presence in Iraq.
WASHINGTON — President Bush and his top advisors fanned out across the troubled Middle East over the last week to showcase their diplomatic initiatives to restore strained relationships with traditional allies and forge new ones with leaders in Iraq.

But instead of flaunting stronger ties and steadfast American influence, the president's journey found friends both old and new near a state of panic. Mideast leaders expressed soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite through its invasion of Iraq and push for democracy — and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse.

President Bush's summit in Jordan with the Iraqi prime minister proved an awkward encounter that deepened doubts about the relationship. Vice President Dick Cheney's stop in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, yielded a blunt warning from the kingdom's leaders. And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's swing through the West Bank and Israel, intended to build Arab support by showing a new U.S. push for peace, found little to work with.
Well, no Duh! Three of the world's most notorious Liars*, Cheats** and Thieves*** are having trouble finding anything to work with in order to consolidate their dreams of Hegemony over foreign lands?

Who'd a thunk it?!

"Success in Iraq will require leaders in Washington -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- to come together and find greater consensus on the best path forward. So I will work with leaders in both parties to achieve this goal," (the President) said (in his weekly Radio address.)
He'll work with his lawyers, the way things are going.

For America's sake, and that of the entirety of the population of planet Earth, I certainly hope that those attorneys are of equal caliber to the rest of his criminally incompetent Administration.


* "We have never been 'stay the course'." "Saddam is training terrorists to attack America." Etc, etc, etc, etc . . .

** Condi has pulled every dirty trick in the political book to rise through the ranks of power at Georgie boy's side. It's about time she learns that Diplomacy is NOT the same thing as propaganda. Ms. Rice, despite your vaunted and well-acknowledged intellectual capacity, your reputation has doomed your political aspirations going forward. RAmen!

*** Billions of dollars have disappeared into the coffers of the company which is still paying Shooter hefty "Retirement Benefits". The enormity of this injustice alone, makes Watergate look like a blowjob in the Oval Office, by comparison.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Oh! My Beleaguered Genitalia!

Well, maybe not mine. I am over 40, after all . . .
Sex Will Make You Go Blind
Single? Under 30? You are in grave danger. Your government says so.

Please, stop laughing

I think I get it now.

The latest pitiable GOP plan, from what I can tell, goes something like this: To make it all so absurd, to make the remaining Bush administration proposals and doctrines and cultural stratagems so outlandish and silly and degrading and insulting to your mind and your heart and your very own beleaguered genitalia that you cannot help but take note of their existence and laugh and cringe and sit back and go, Oh my God these people have got to be kidding.


At which point (they hope) you will turn to your spouse or your significant other or your dog and say, Hey honey, check this out, did you see the latest moronic and horrible dictum from the Bush administration? We should totally try it, just for kicks!


Then the GOP will gloat and say: See? The world still loves the GOP! Yay us! And then they shall proceed to smack themselves in the face with a brick.


It is the only viable explanation. It is the only way to account for something like, say, the latest twist in the Abstinence Education Program from Bush's increasingly laughable Department of Health and Human Services, a $50 million slice of embarrassing government detritus that is now actually encouraging all states to tell their single, youngish residents that they should -- how to put this so you don't shoot coffee through your nose? -- that everyone should avoid sex entirely, until they turn 30.


See? See your reaction? You are like: No way. You are like: Is the United States government really saying that? You are like: Laughter, a smirk, maybe a shrug and a sigh and a sad shake of the head and another glass of wine because, you know, what the hell is wrong with these people?


Maybe you think I am making this up. Maybe you think that our fair government, as sad and lost and nipple-terrified as it is, can't seriously be suggesting that, to avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancy and unchecked misery in their obviously sad and irresponsible little lives, single people under 30 should not have sex, like, ever. And maybe not even then.


You would, of course, be wrong.

[For the rest of the tale . . . ]

Whilst there sho be plenty o' things 'bout which I have absolutely No Problem being wrong, as a Sapient animal of about average intelligence, I've watched this political Psycho Circus in action for way too long now to have any doubts as to the depths of anti-intellectualism which they will go.

Aaaahhh . . . I wrote then deleted a little more, but this Admin's shtick is just too sick and sickening for me to belabor the points too much. If only "abstinence" from W Watching wouldn't leave us more entrenched in archaic and reactionary policies then we already are, I'd gladly partake of that particular non-perversion. As it is . . . Eyes open, peoples! This whackjob and his Hired Goons, loons and other cartoonish appointees have got TWO MORE YEARS to "minister" to our nations needs.

Unless the 110th finds the will-power and strength of character to do the Right Thing, and Impeach this bafoon and his closest, most relevant familiars.


Thanks to mi amigo, Pickled Punk, for the linkage. I know that abstinence is working, well, not so well, but nearly just as non-voluntarily for him as it is for me lately, but Hey! We
could, maybe, possibly, have sex at some point over the next two years! With women even!

Really!


{-;

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Conservative Value. Liberal Idea.

It used to be a given, that the News' network, departments, were not a part of the profit center. Now it is a given that they are. And Dan Rather, who is a great journalist, and comes from a great tradition, was at the center of an enormous change, an invisible change, which made the News divisions (become) expected to be profit centers.

Richard Dreyfuss on Real Time with Bill Maher
That's why I've always hated Dan Rather. He was good. He did reporting right. He sold out his reporter's integrity for the salary he thoroughly believed he'd earned.

For what? For risking your life? Wasn't it worth it without the cash?

For anchoring to a stagnant ratings pond of
Network news? Turning the news into infotainment that sells advertising woven around a segment of the viewers attention span where the ads are supposed to be irrelevant. If people really want to find out about events in the world, they'll tune in regardless of how interesting the News is to anyone else. They'll just know to trust that what they're seeing is what is actually happening, not just be drawn in by the bits which grab your attention for their shock value.

Networks can and should sell entertainment for profit driven motives. Seriously, what the hell. It's only Rock-n-Roll, right? Well, usually anyhow. Most people can tell the difference between News and Entertainment, at least until the Glitz budget went way up for Danny, CNN and even fledgling Fox, after Desert Storm.

{shakin'head}

Good segment. I found it
trying to find another part of the same Real Time clip that Darwin's Dagger had posted, but that now says "... is no longer available."



I dig Bill Maher when he's wearin' his serious pants
, but he's just 'bout the lamest Comedian this side of Kosmo Richards' latest stand up routine and as mean as Drew Cary (ie, someone who's been picked on and is snot-assed about it.)

And Dreyfuss talks about his Civics coursework and why Impeachment, regardless of political (Vote Profits?) likelihoods, is our Civic duty, and almost requires us hold this President, this Administration, responsible for what they've "accomplished" in the last 5 years. And I loved hearing him speak the quote I opened with, about Rather's Choice and the disintegration of the 4th Estate.

Seriously again, I know this webplace is too personal and silly. No matter how decent some o' my amateur analyses may be, this'd never be considered a "news site". KOS is still a quasi-mega-blog, rather than investigative reporting. And RenaRF on KOS has more transcripts from the show with Dreyfus talkin' 'bout Civics. But it shows that the Fourth Est is still beating.

If we can keep the profit motive out of it, I'd say it's an easy bet the News would be in for a renaissance.

Conservative. Liberal. Who cares? As long as the idea works for everyone equally and justly, thoroughly and accurately. We've got a bill of rights in place, and a Civic duty to at least be aware of what that means.

Rather than just snarkin' on teh IDiots we've got in power, November 7th showed that we can oust them as well. Here's to ousting their King on his own merits!

L8

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

(Don't Just) Let It Be

NEW YORK, Nov 27 (IPS) - The scene is a U.S. federal grand jury room. There, impaneled ordinary citizens listen intently as a veteran federal prosecutor asks them to return an indictment unique in U.S. history.

The charge is conspiracy to defraud the United States. And the defendants are President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

On the first day of grand jury proceedings, the prosecutor addresses the jurors. "Please remember that you must decide the case based solely on the evidence that's presented and applicable law, without regard to prejudice or sympathy. In other words, your politics, and any personal feelings you may have toward the defendants -- positive or negative -- should have no bearing on your deliberations."


The prosecutor then passes out the indictment, reminding jurors, "don't forget your reading glasses..."


The indictment charges that the defendants "did knowingly and intentionally conspire to defraud the United States by using deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, false and fraudulent representations, including ones made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, and omitting material facts necessary to make their representations truthful, fair and accurate, while knowing and intending that their false and fraudulent representations would influence the public and the deliberations of Congress with authorisation of a preventive war against Iraq, thereby defeating, obstructing, impairing, and interfering with Congress' lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations."


[
(Alas,) none of this (is) likely to happen.]
Seems to me that Colin Powell could bring down the whole bunch IF he really IS as patriotic and wise as his earlier defections have made him appear.

For Truth, Liberty and Justice, I do so hope that this scenario comes to pass and provides the evidence that the United States of America will get beyond these Dark Days, both within our Democratic Republic, and around the world.

Earth's Gaian to Get Even Hotter Yet . . .

Just something to think about. Don't let it get ya down, eh.

Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout

***
Lovelock adopted the name Gaia, the Greek mother earth goddess, in the 1960s to apply to his then revolutionary theory that the earth functions as a single, self-sustaining organism. His theory is now widely accepted.

In London to give a lecture on the environment to the Institution of Chemical Engineers, he said the planet had survived dramatic climate change at least seven times.

"In the change from the last Ice Age to now we lost land equivalent to the continent of Africa beneath the sea," he said. "We are facing things just as bad or worse than that during this century."

"There are refuges, plenty of them. 55 million years ago ... life moved up to the Arctic, stayed there during the course of it and then moved back again as things improved. I fear that this is what we may have to do," he added.

Lovelock said the United States, which has rejected the Kyoto Protocol on cutting carbon emissions, wrongly believed there was a technological solution, while booming economies China and India were out of control.

China is building a coal-fired power station a week to feed rampant demand, and India's economy is likewise surging.

If either suddenly decided to stop their carbon-fuelled development to lift their billions of people out of poverty they would face a revolution, yet if they continued, rising CO2 and temperatures would kill off plants and produce famine, he said.


"If climate change goes on course ... I can't see China being able to produce enough food by the middle of the century to support its people. They will have to move somewhere and Siberia is empty and it will be warmer then," he said.

[To read the rest . . . ]


But, if it does, take a little trip to Trance Land. Starting here should calm yer nerves.

Happy Humpday

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Suicidally Insane Fundamentalism



Be it Religion or any other ideology which ignores and refutes reality, Fundamentalism is the most accurate and appropriate moniker with which to peg it.

More Thanks Given for "No Kings"

This time to, believe it or don't*, Bill Frist.

For whatever political reasoning he's using, this is the right way to set the stage for bi-partisan and rational legislating.

Ramen!

Bye-Bye to Secret Spy Program?

By Liz Halloran Wed Nov 22, 7:19 PM ET


Republicans who limped back to Washington for a lame duck congressional session last week found a host of marching orders from
President Bush, but perhaps none more urgent than this: Before Democrats take control of Congress in January, they must pass legislation authorizing the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program.

His plea for a legislative stamp of approval on the controversial spy effort is an important priority in the war on terror," Bush said. The response: deafening silence. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist quickly dispatched aides to put out the word on Bush's request: Not gonna happen.
[To be reading the rest . . . ]

* Via Blue Girl ala either TC or Dean. (???)