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.


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!


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.


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. (???)

Monday, November 27, 2006

This is a test . . . Whatever {-;

Your World View

You are a fairly broadminded romantic and reasonably content.
You value kindness and try to live by your ideals.
You have strong need for security, which may be either emotional or material.

You respect truth and are flexible.
You like people, and they can readily make friends with you.
You are not very adventurous, but this does not bother you.

I'd say a roadtrip to Chicago via Detroit (don't ask) and two fantastic shows at different downtown clubs (Judge Jules at Crobar and DJ Sasha @ Excalibur's Visions) were at least somewhat adventurous.

And I still hate Toll Roads. Blechhh!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Holidays' Letter from Robert Snowe

Ready for a heart-warming tale o' the Holidays?

From the interweb abode of Teh L4m3, I link for you:

* * *
"A present?" asked Doctor Abel Gomez in his aw-shucksiest, little-boy voice. He's very good at that, even though he's in his 40s, because he will always have the body and face of a nine year-old.

At once, his face crinkled and transformed with malicious glee. "A present? From you? I'll bet it doesn't come in a box!" He screamed and cackled his best junior-mad scientist cackle.

"Abel, please."

I let him have his fun. Minutes later, (the toddling baby) was clean and framed in a formidable, four-pillared neckbrace.

"What's that?" I asked, referring to the suspicious needle he brandished.

"It'll help her heal faster." He didn't bother explaining the scientific details. He knows I'm no brainiac. "Don't worry, babies bounce back!" He held her over the flagstone floor, cruelty splashed across his childish little face. "Wanna see?"

I take her from him. "I'll pass." However, I was hard-pressed to disagree. After seeing what some of my girlfriends have subjected their babies to, I'm almost inclined to think the little buggers fireproof.

Once again, Abel was the sweet little boy. "What are you gonna call her?"


"Oh, crap, never mind. It's the holidays. You faggots are as emotional as women. You'll think of something terribly appropriate and clever. Forget I asked."

"I think I'll call her 'Mary.'"

"Great, and when she gives birth to Christ the Lord, she can use those chompers to sever her own umbilical..."

* * *
[The rest of teh story . . ]

That's probably my favorite guilty pleasure genre of fiction. A copacetic personality for a lead character in a Believeably told near future tek fantasy.

William Gibson's probably my favorite, though I can't remember the names of some of the great authors I've read from the Library. Niven and Pournelle's Oath of Fealty nailed the social angle for me in the early '80s. The one where the author asks themself, "How are things right now? How might they change with this twist..?"

More recently, I just read someone discussing another biotech novel I'd read. In this one (which freakin' name I can't recall,) folks live a long time because Med Care now covers nanomolecular reconstruction techniques for changing a human body's size, sex, bone structure and even our apparent age. The brain feels the pains of change, but it's worth it for lots of people for both cosmetic and superficial reasons, but especially if it helps your line of work.

Here's hopin' yer Holidays got kicked off right with a wonderful Thanksgiving, or which ever the Holidays bein' celebrated in your parts. Beautiful Solstice! Be it North or South.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gobble Gobble

. . errr, Gobble Gobble, eh?

And a happy Thanksgiving to all y'all, Quazipseudo Jack as well. There'll be no pardon for this bird.

Just thanks.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Faux Outrage

I don't often post nearly the entire contents of newsletters I receive via email. For this one though, I've supplied just about all the commentary which I care to share, in the title.


Yesterday, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. scrapped its plans "to publish a book and air a two-part TV interview" on Fox in which O.J. Simpson was to describe how he "would have killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman." The stunt was "widely viewed as a device to bolster Fox's flagging ratings." But Fox was forced to abandon the project -- which was heavily promoted and hyped on Fox News Channel -- after at least a dozen Fox affiliates announced they were refusing to air the program and advertisers bailed. (Murdoch tried to claim the decision was made on principle, calling it "an ill-considered project.") The debacle is just the latest misstep by News Corp. and Fox News, which is beset by sagging ratings, evaporating credibility and more robust competition.

Fox News' primetime leader Bill O'Reilly is desperate to deny ties between Fox News and Fox Broadcasting, which was planning to air to O.J. Simpson interview. O'Reilly, who called the book and interview "a low point in American culture," claimed that “Fox Broadcasting has nothing to do with the Fox News Channel,” and that claims to the contrary were by people “doing the bidding of far left fanatics who will do anything to disparage me and [Fox News].” In fact, the two entities have the same chairman (Roger Ailes), the same owner (Rupert Murdoch), and Fox Broadcasting regularly airs Fox News content. Fox News covered the O.J. interview incessantly, mentioning it as much as CNN, MSNBC, and Headline News combined.

On Election Night, Fox News -- for years a ratings juggernaut -- had fewer views than CNN in the key demographic of adults 25 to 54. CNN also edged out Fox in total viewers on election night between 7PM and 2AM "drawing 2.54 million viewers to Fox's 2.39 million and MSNBC's 1.58 million." (Fox News edged out CNN in total viewers during prime time.) It's a dramatic fall from grace by Fox News. In 2004, for example, "Fox beat CNN by nearly 2 million viewers."

Fox News' election night woes were part of a much broader ratings slump. For the last 12 months, Fox's "prime-time audience has been smaller than the year before." For the first 8 months of this year, viewership "was down 5 percent compared to 2005, with a steeper 13 percent decline in prime time." In October, ratings were "down 17 percent."

Fox News has developed a reputation as a channel for incendiary political commentary, not news. A Fox News editorial memo by network vice president John Moody recently leaked to the Huffington Post reinforces that view. The day after the election, the memo instructed Fox News staff to "be on the lookout for any statements from Iraqi insurgents, who must be thrilled at the prospect of a Dem-controlled congress." Two other memos surfaced in recent days target incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). AP reports, "Some of the bigger stories of the past year, such as Hurricane Katrina and the wars in the Middle East, played better to the newsgathering strengths of CNN."

As Fox News sinks, MSNBC is on the rise. Its ratings for October, for example, were up 14 percent over last year. One of the keys to MSNBC's recent success: progressive political commentary, spearheaded by Keith Olbermann. Compared to October 2005, Olbermann's ratings are up 67 percent. Since election day, Olbermann has been nipping at Bill O'Reilly's heals in the coveted 25-54-year-old demographic -- Olbermann is drawing 321,000 people in that group to O'Reilly's 405,000. Overall, Olbermann's ratings are up another 32 percent since the November 7th election, while O'Reilly is down 5 percent.
Hhmmm. . . I guess it's only Fair to restore Balance to the MSM's cable ratings as well, eh.

Happy "Thanksgiving Week" Hump Day*!

* My condolensces to mi compadres in the U.S. who've gotta work the whole week anyhow. Hope y'all get some turkey or grog or whatever it is that makes you sincerely grateful!

Monday, November 20, 2006

"to enter into a de facto partnership with them"

I figure the 'toon says what we fear, but the article quoted in the title says what has the most chance of resolving U.S. presence - both in the short and long term - in the Gulf of Persia.
[Link] One military official close to the group's discussions said that one option could combine encouraging talks with Iran and Syria with shifting the U.S. military focus away from combat and toward training the Iraqi forces.

But members of the commission have expressed concern that working with Iran and Syria could require America "to enter into a de facto partnership with them," with possible trade-offs, said the official, who requested anonymity because the group's discussions have not been made public.

U.S. leaders, meanwhile, continue to debate how long and how many troops to keep in Iraq.

Regardless of whose agendas are on the line, America and the Middle East have gotta communicate better to get over this shit already. Israel's not gettin' abandoned as a state, and America doesn't pay enough for oil for anyone's good health. After those two apparent intractables, everything else is cultural "tourism".

Until we figure out how to get past them, it's just more war.

Sexy is . . . Decapitated???

Lessons on Nature -v- Nurture

I always appreciate newsbits such as this because they provide insight as to some of the precise mechanisms which show that the decisions of human organisms really are so danged logical, despite so many of their readily apparent logical inconsistencies.

When us "higher forms" use Logic to figure out what our best next moves are, studies such as this one provide ever more strong evidence that we really need to check our premises before before falling in love with our conclusions. . .
[Link] The researchers swapped the male and female versions of the gene in fruit flies and observed the consequences. Males with the feminine gene used female fighting tactics, while the females with the masculine gene fought like the boys.

People have a lot to learn about the biological basis of aggression, said Harvard neurobiologist Edward Kravitz, one of the study's authors.

"It goes without saying aggression, as well as violence, in society is a serious problem. It has to have biological roots. And the biological roots will have genetic components and experiential components," Kravitz said in an interview.

It is important to learn about such complex behaviors in a simple organism, and then apply this knowledge to higher and higher forms while ultimately trying to gain insight into human behavior, Kravitz said.
There are a couple of different, and equally important, instructive points being made there for extrapolation to my primary field of interest; Sociology.

Studies such as this one provide insight into the biological nature of all life forms on our planet, and such are intrinsic to our gaining a fuller, more rational understanding of our species evolution, both leading up to the present and, more relevant to this blog's frequent focus on our ability to survive
our own activities, going forward abetted by a Conscious and Moral human paradigm.

In order to ensure the survival of our species, we must continue to accumulate extraordinarily vast quantities of data about our own activities during our ascension to the top of the Food Chain. In order to empirically ensure our interpretations of those data are accurate and logically precise, we've got to fully understand the underlying biology which we share with
every other living thing in the history of the Earth and beyond!

Okidoke. Lemme end this on a lighter, though far more gruesome, note. This is, of course, still along the lines of discovering a rational and empirical definition of morality:

People do not have an exact equivalent to the "fruitless" gene, Kravitz added, but probably have other human genes serving similar functions.


Kravitz said his team, pondering how to instigate fruit fly fights, settled on food and mating -- or, in this case, necrophilia.

They set up the insect world's equivalent to a steel-cage match -- a chamber with glass walls and a lid with air holes, a dish of fly food and a mate -- and sent in the combatants. But when they used a live female fly as a lure for the males, she often would just fly off.

"My student discovered when he transferred the female to the dish and accidentally crushed her head that the males didn't care whether she had a head or not. That's a true story of what led us to cutting the heads of the females off in subsequent studies," Kravitz said.

"They'll court the dead, headless female fly, and try to copulate with her sometimes."

[Read the rest . . .]
That last part of the study might just shed some light on the motivations of one of Neil Shakespeare's newly crowned Super Heroes in the News.

Once again you are ahead of the pack in your searing satiricals, Neil! It looks like they're already working out some potential causes of that dude's
proclivities. . .

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Where You From?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland

The Northeast


The South

North Central

The West


What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

No way! LOL!

Blue Girl! You've got to take this test.

I just wish the gradient bars didn't flatten out in the the blogger version of their html. But it knew exactly in what part o' the country I was raised.

Thanks Tonya! Who'd a thunk it for either of us, huh? {-;

The Only Blood That Should Flow


On the shores of Lake Erie, the blood did flow
The River twisted much like Winslow
with the in
your face

The Steelers shoved back, as well they could
with four minutes to go, the Browns must hold
Oh! not in our House

aaahhhh screw it.

Steelers 24 - Browns 20

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Blogs

Larry Jones has long been one of my favorite commenters on the Blue Blogs circuit. He's posted his blogger's resolution for the post NeoCon-Rubber-Stamp-Congress era.

From A New Leaf

It was an election the Republicans lost, rather than one the Democrats won.

I’ll take it, but I have no illusions, and the Democrats shouldn’t either, if they know what’s good for them. Now that they have gained a little power and they have a voice, I hope they will take strong and moral positions on the great questions of our time, and show us why they should be given a further mandate in 2008.

I hope they’ll be honest, hard-working, inspirational, effective and worth voting for again. They only have two years, and there is a big mess to clean up, and the Republicans will probably try to block a lot of their efforts, but today, at least, I have hope.

Well, that's what led up to his actual resolution to enjoy the fruits of a sound constitutional democracy at work for the first time a long while.

This impressed and reverb'ed with me as much as 'twere a guilty pleasure of its own: Politics! Don't let anybody know you're into it!


So when BG brought up a good point in a comment, I was goin' again.
The whole *horrible cloud not hanging over our heads anymore* feeling.

...what Bush&Co.’s been doing has not *directly* affected me. But, still it has. Hard to explain.

I think it's been so important to talk politics these last few years because thousands of people have been dying for a U.S. point of view, as negotiated amongst Dictators.

It effects us all if our governments are seen as untrustworthy and brutally archaic.
Rather than rantin' and ravin' on a post where the host is proferring less of the same, well, it just seems a little obtuse for me, so I'll finish what I started as follows.

We don't pay
nearly enough for petroleum - in cost of human life and to the ecosphere in which we've evolved - to claim our post Cold War MiddleEast agenda is superiour in anything but the technology it's fertilized. And it lacks in quality controls in favor of freedom for the financiers, which seriously impugns upon the security of the lives of the billions of players in the Human version of the game of Life.

I say we get our Tech together politically, our Science Globally confirmed and acclaimed, and our Morals empiricized in the sectarian realms of our civilizations. Let's step back from one another and apologize to each other. Then take a little time, 4 years? 10? Maybe a couple o' decades 'til a full-fledge rapproachment in a truly global Economy.

If we all ain't ready, neither side benefits at a cost of Lives. That's the only Golden rule.
Every individual can put their own life on the line for their own reasons, but never that of another.

That'll give the Euro's time to integrate as a single Trade Entity (and reluctantly, Sovereign nation.) China will be able to afford to securely fulfill their promise of evolving into a more democratic Society. The US will find itself unable to shrug off the dying, and mentally, and emotionally exhausted children in our own Societal care. We have the Capital to ensure the health of all our citizens, legal and otherwise, without disrupting the great runs of Industrial creativity which Capitalism insists is the basis of its claim to Responsibility for the size of the profits it claims from the pool of available resources which are the true crux of modern morality.

The Middle East will need its own empirical and objective ramadan in which to decide what its Oil - and the Westerners who want and need it - is really worth in terms of Islamic law*. I hope they can join the group for which deliberate and strategic destruction of Human Life is anathema.

Boy-O do I hope my country can too. If I've learned anything that makes me proud for the simple fact of my nation of birth, it was all the hope and joy and promise from all across it's measurables. People do care about our rights and freedoms and how we feel about our country's effect on the rest of the species.

So, while I know I'll continue to post on an abundant supply political putrefactions, I salut and say thanks to everyone in my chosen haunts of the blogosphere for your personal involvement via the expression of your right to Speech.


* Of course I'd rather see Islamic governments go Secular. It's their peoples' call to make though, in a few very different traditions.

THAT's the message I hope this Congress gets through to the Decider.

Empirical Evidence

The religion of College Football got another bit of evidence supporting its claim to be the One True Faith®.

Without going into the "final destinations of the souls" of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler (condolences for the loss of one of Ohio's favorite sons,) the final score of yesterday's #1 -vs- #2 match-up,
The Ohio State University Buckeyes: 42
University of Michigan Wolverines: 39
was also the winning number in Ohio Lottery's Pick 4 drawing of 11-18-06, evening draw.




Think I'm gonna leave out color formatting my fonts from now on. Except for occasional kicks, of course.

Any opinions one way or another on the new template will be appreciated.

Addendum: Looks like I figured out how to color 'em in the template, so's this'll be a rare change at post level.

Lemme be knowin', eh.

. . . but I Like It.

Kvatch Asks which music is your guiltiest pleasure, and I found my current iteration of that subset of Catholicism (Medi-Euroism?)* pretty quickly doin' the Google.

Work n Younguns Warnin'!

Hey, it's only Rock n Roll, eh.

* Guilt being the main header of the subset...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Will Bush 41ers End Our Iraq War Early(ier) . . .

. . than Chensfeld or maybe even Kerry?

Naaaahhh. . . K most likely would have us wrapping up the withdrawal by this time. I think so. really. I think we'd be out by now if Kerry's votes would have been allowed. Hell! Or Gore's for starters.

But there's one half down and Rove ain't to go yet. Though nothing would be shocking at this point.

Don't bother guessin' where
the commercial goes. It's essentially nowhere, but made a nice lead-in, for a billboard, and you'll have to watch it before reading.
[From page 2 on Salon] Political observers say Rice's role in establishing the group is telling, saying that it has the look of a deft strategic maneuver around core hard-liners in the administration who had kept a grip on Iraq policy. "If she is acting on her own it is a bureaucratic end run around the Pentagon, a mechanism to allow her to leverage a new policy," noted Douglas Foyle, a political science professor at Wesleyan University.

"It might be the State Department had been shut out [by the Pentagon] for some time, and this was their way of getting back in," noted Christopher Gelpi, a professor of political science at Duke University.

Asked to comment on this article, a State Department spokesman would say only that Rice supported the idea of the Iraq Study Group from early on. "The department and the administration have embraced this effort from the beginning as a way to show and maintain public support for advancing our goals in Iraq," said spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos.

Though she is supporting a rethinking of Iraq strategy now, as national security advisor in the first Bush administration Rice was part of the cheering squad during the run-up to the war.
Of course she knew what she was doing. She wanted the war, but not with the CurRent mis-managment in place.

[snark] But Cheney's mean, not dumb. Maybe he'll survive this next heart attack as well.

Even if Condi is dummied out on Dubya and being his SoS, she's as smart as any of those monkeys still in Bush43, if not the smartest of them. If Cowboy G is gonna ride out these next two years on something, she appears to be an able horse.

She's proud of it, even if she can't call it what it is.

Hat tipped back UTI's way, to DarkSyde's post as to some of the sweet consequences of elections. He links to a different story about Bush appointees in Science "Communications" management trying to manage the Scientists, rather than their job of selling WHY the Science sells itself.

Paper or Pshaw?

On Election Day I mentioned how pleasantly surprised and pleased I was that the electronic voting machine, on which I cast my ballot, required me to print out each page before it would finalize my vote.

I don't care
which company gets the contract, or for that matter, if there will be many different manufactures of these machines. As long as they're consistent with some basic rules of integrity, the method of voting can be up to the regional boards of elections.

An archivable paper trail is still the most important element of that integrity. All the Feds should have to do is require as much (amongst certain other relevant factors) from the several states when those count their votes.

Every single one of them needs to count
and be counted.
Congressmen Urge That Voting Machines Provide a 'Paper Trail'
by Lesley Clark

WASHINGTON - Two longtime congressional critics of electronic voting machines seized on the turmoil in Florida Wednesday to renew a call for a paper trail of voter ballots.

As investigators in Sarasota County, Fla., continued to sort out why 18,000 blank votes, or "undervotes," were recorded in the race to replace Rep. Katherine Harris, New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rush Holt charged that the inaccuracy of the machines "poses a direct threat to the integrity of our electoral system and to our nation's democracy."

"Without a voter-verified paper audit trail, no satisfactory resolution is possible," said Holt, adding that machine problems also cropped up in New Jersey. "One side or the other will always doubt the result."

Florida officials continued to investigate Sarasota County's touch-screen voting machines. The "undervote" in the congressional race was far more than the undervote in other counties in the congressional district.

But Holt noted that without a paper record there was no way to tell what happened.

"Whatever the origin, whether it was software error or voter error or malicious hacking, you should have a way to resolve it," he said. "Now Florida once again finds itself electorally up in the air."

[Read the rest . . . ]

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"very low food security"

Here's another big question (boy are there a lot of those!) for the 110th Congress: Can the Democrats do away with this sort of political double-speak which uses a half-baked and disingenuous understanding of "Science" - though not actually the scientific method - to sell dehumanization and bigotry to the electorate?

Maybe the more important question is; Will they?

Some Americans Lack Food, but USDA Won't Call Them Hungry
By Elizabeth Williamson

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 16, 2006; Page A01

The U.S. government has vowed that Americans will never be hungry again. But they may experience "very low food security."

Every year, the Agriculture Department issues a report that measures Americans' access to food, and it has consistently used the word "hunger" to describe those who can least afford to put food on the table. But not this year.

Mark Nord, the lead author of the report, said "hungry" is "not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured in the food security survey." Nord, a USDA sociologist, said, "We don't have a measure of that condition."

The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans -- 35 million people -- could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times. Beginning this year, the USDA has determined "very low food security" to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group.
Will it help if someone, with credentials
much more pertinent and professionally established than mine, explains that the actual scientific term has been acknowledged by scientists, for decades now.

It's called Malnourished.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why Not Me? Why Not Now?

I've mentioned before that I get a newsletter which I use for the "soundbites", as it were. I'll not pay for it cuz I don't have the kind o' disposable income their regular clientèle enjoys.

I do appreciate the subject lines and the occasional motto which I find relevant to my own situation though.

That's all this is: A question I've, all too often, found poor excuses for ignoring its personal relevance in my life.

Happy Hump Day all!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Turned Worm

Here's something else to think about vis-a-vie Rummy's legacy. I liked his ideas for overhauling the military before 9/11 occurred, and think that Afghanistan would have been the perfect proving grounds for them.

C'est la
freakin' vie, eh. . .

Human Perspectives

Just cuz it made me smile . . . :)

I actually went back to Sunday's strips to find this particular 'toon because Firefox had crashed, thus annihilating the post I'd just spent half an hour putting together. It was on the most recent development the Veterans Administration's bureaucratically "justified" refusal to add the Wiccan pentagram to the grave marker of Bronze Star veteran, Sgt. Patrick Stewart.

Shakespeare's Sister had a post which prompted me to post on this possibility back in July, and now it turns out that his family is going to sue for that honor after all.

And I needed that smile.

Grateful tip of the hat, as is so often the case, to Carol of Atheists-World.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What a Weekend!!



I figured I'd wait 'til after the Browns' "lost" to Michael Vick in Atlanta before doing a post like this. You know, so I could let that event temper my enthusiasm, or somethin'. Alas and Hooray! My Dogs kicked some Falcon arse today!

Well, alright. So the score was a mere 17-13 in favor of C-Town's Brown & Orange. None the, sports fans!
Scoreboard! WARUUUFFF!!! With the equally woeful of record (2 and 6 coming into today's action) Pittsburgh Stihlers coming to Cleveland next weekend, the Clow... er, Browns could look to win back-to-back games for the first time all season. C'mon Dawgs!!!

As for Saturday's festivities,
The Ohio State University took care of business on their run to a 2nd National Championship in the last 4 years. The Buckeyes unloaded on hapless Northwestern with a 54-10 smackdown which should serve notice to that school up north that their #2 BCS ranking is as good as it's gonna get this year.

Not that they aren't deserving of #2. The Wolvewienies did manage to lay a
butt kickin' of their own upon a young and promising Indiana squad whose head coach, in an irrelevant but interesting human interest note, has overcome two - count 'em, two! - brain surgeries during this 2006 campaign. What's up with that, eh?

Of course, I shouldn't be too hard on the state of Michigan. I did have an incredibly good time near to the Detroit shore-line on Friday, but I'll get to
that in just a minute.

Following teh college football, I managed to catch up on some much needed Zs before waking to find the Wine and Gold's game against Paul Pierce's Celtics already into the 2nd half of the 3rd quarter. What I saw made me me wish I might have stayed sleeping for at least a few more hours. The Cavs were losing.

Boston was up by 25 points with just 5 minutes left in the third period, to be precise. If I hadn't managed to catch up on my rest, I'd have most likely turned off the game and hit the sack, even if it was only 8:30 something on Saturday night. For the most part, I've
never been much of a night owl. Anyone who reads here regularly, is likely to have noticed that most of my posts' pub times are before 7am. Even on Sat an' Sunday mornings I like to get up early and catch a nappy (or two) sometime during the day.

Perhaps, with my decades long depression apparently
finally being brought under control, this too may become a thing of the past. I kinda, sorta, at least just little, do be hoping not. There's something deliciously decadent about laying back and Z-ing out during the daylight hours. Naps. Yummy!

But I digress...

Lebron James' Cavaliers are... Wow! Coach Mike Brown has got these guys playing seriously tenacious defense and, with an offensive prodigy of LB's nature on the court, I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that they were able to slowly shoot, block, steal and rebound their way back into the lead in this one.

But Wow! is still the best description I can offer of how truly amazing it was to watch them do just that. Final score:
Cavs 94 - Celtics 93


Which brings me back to Friday.

I gotta tell ya (if'n there's
anyone still reading this somewhat drawn out self-indulgence {-;) that it was a fairly grueling week for work leading up to Friday. The previous paranthetical being probably pretty accurate, I'll skip those details and go straight to the point. Bad Boy Bill is a DJ who completely and totally Rocked the House at a club called Bleu Detroit, and damn did I have an Excellent time, dancin' to trance an' progressive house music 'til nearly 3 in the morning.

The crowd this time around, unlike when I hit Toronto with a couple of extra amigos, was much more mature, but still with a great and energetic mixture of young and, umm, folks closer to my age. LOL! Hey! I was never a dancer in my youth (and still need to get a grip when it comes flirting, eh...) but I am totally happy to say that I've been enjoying myself - Finally! - more than at nearly any time in my 41 years of living. I've learned how to integrate celebration with moderation, and that maturation has given me an ability to enjoy myself and my environment, without the nagging, bothersome worries which have never had
anything to do with the reality in which I was being, but which none the less dragged me down to far to be enjoying life.

Life is good folks. I've always had an intellectual understanding that this basic and invigorating truth was real. I'm just very happy to relate that I am finally relaxed and unencumbered enough by the weight of past experiences to actually
enjoy the experience of now.

On that note, here's a taste of what has captured my emotional imagination and given rhythm to my body for the first time since I was a scrawny high school footballer.

Now if the Democrats can just come close to matching the promise and hope which Decision '06 has given to all of us, for the first time in a long time, politically speaking!

Rock the House!

As I've Said Before . . ,

. . I tend to check even my favorite blogs somewhat infrequently. There're just so many of them!

Whilst catchin' up this morning, I found that
Almost Infamous had posted some not-so-fuzzy words regarding this past week's elections.

Well shared
mon frere!!! And inspirational too. Thusly was I inspired to leave a comment in haiku.

Oh! so do I hope
the afterglow does not fade
as fast as it might

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Question: Who Cares?

I know that sounds flippant and perhaps even naive. Plus, the article certainly answers the question of who stands to gain the most from repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax.

This being the case, I'll be more specific and relevant in repeating; who amongst the few (incredibly awesome {-:) but politically astute readers of this silly li'l blog thinks this is a worthy priority for our newly elected, Democratically controlled Congress?

Alternative Minimum Tax Targeted
Democrats Seek Fix For Middle-Class* Families

By Lori Montgomery

Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, November 11, 2006; Page A01

Democratic leaders this week vowed to make the alternative minimum tax a centerpiece of next year's budget debate, saying the levy threatens to unfairly increase tax bills for millions of middle-class families by the end of the decade.

The complex and expensive tax was designed to prevent the super-rich from using deductions, credits and other shelters to avoid paying the Internal Revenue Service. But because of rising incomes, the tax is expected to expand to more than 30 million taxpayers in 2010 from 3.8 million mostly well-off households in 2006.

Fixing the AMT has long been a top priority for Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is in line to head the Senate Finance Committee. Last year, Baucus co-authored a bill to repeal the tax with Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), the presumptive chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, this week put fixing the AMT at the top of his agenda, calling it far more urgent than dealing with President Bush's request to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire in 2010.

Read the rest . . . ]
Rep. Rangel's evaluation** not-with-standing, do you care? If so, and other than for the votes it'll unquestionably garner in the neigh but two years off Presidential election, what great good will repealing this particularly targeted element of our country's still somewhat grotesquely bloated tax code achieve?

Whilst the presentation of my question makes readily apparent what
I think about its rank on the priorities of the 110th Congress, I assure you all that I am serious in my desire to indentify any fiscally responsible reason to support such an exorbitant expenditure of political energies.
By 2010, "the AMT will become the de facto tax system for filers in the $200,000 to $500,000 income range, 94 percent of whom will face the tax," according to a report by the Tax Policy Center. About half of tax filers making $75,000 to $100,000 will have to pay the tax, including 89 percent of married couples in that income bracket who have at least two children.
Wouldn't it make more political and economic sense to go in and fix whatever functionality within the code is going to cause it to include even lower income families? The idea of a basement tax rate for the majority of high income earners is an empirically sound one. Why does this implementation need to expand the definition of "high income" so drastically downwards?

I don't know. Maybe it's just my minor oppositional disorder acting up, but it seems to me the Democrats are truly being jackasses for making this piece of the tax code a high priority.

* Again with the possibility of it just being my minor OD, but I think that, statistically speaking, that should really read Upper Middle Class. "Class Warfare" has always been hyperbole for the real phenomenon of interclass competition, so I'll dismiss with confidence any accusations of my perpetrating the former which may arise over this asteriskical.

Isn't competition a good thing for Capitalism?

** Does anyone really think those economically indefensible tax cuts will be extended by this Congress?

Friday, November 10, 2006


Alright . . . So that's a bit lame and off-base but, after reading this piece in the WaPo this morning, I'm thinking that the Preznit's appointment of Gates' to replace The Don really is just one more example of his "stay the course" hubris.

While Gates, or any choice at all for that matter, is perfectly and politically within his purview as Commander in Chief, Chief Executive and The Decider, just a wee bit o' digging illuminates this cat's background and shows him to be, rather than "Rumsfeld Lite" as so many unknowing pundits have quipped, more of an ideological clone of the man, cut from the same neocon cloth and, in fact, part of the same trail of Machiavellian mischief which highlighted the Reagan years.
Understanding Gates
It's Not as Simple as Father's Team vs. Son's

By James Mann

Friday, November 10, 2006; Page A31

In the early months of 1989, the overriding foreign policy issue for the new George H.W. Bush administration was how to deal with Mikhail Gorbachev. Did the Soviet leader represent fundamental change, or was he merely a new face for the same old policies?

The administration was divided. James Baker, the secretary of state, wanted to test out Gorbachev. The anti-Gorbachev hawks were led by Robert M. Gates, the deputy national security adviser. Gates's principal ally was then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

For the rest of Mann's column]
To my view, that right there, says all you need to know about whether the current Vice President's health will become an issue requiring his imminent retirement. It also shows clearly where Gates' loyalties lie. To find out just what he's been up to, beyond his well-known stint as the head of America's Intelligence apparatus, please to be reading the rest of the column.

Quite a few folks, both online and in person, have asked what I know about Bob Gates and his prospects as our nations new Secretary of Defense. I hope this article rings a few bells and sheds a little light on the man who is, quite unfortunately as it turns out, much
more than merely Rummy Lite.

And since such is apparently the case, and our Decider has decided not to veer from his course Captaining a ship crewed by much worse than fools, I'd also like to leave you with linkage to an important and now oh so relevant essay by the inimitable Helen Thomas.

[Seattlepi Link] The people have spoken and their message was one of disgust with the militant Bush-Cheney policy that set "victory" as the only exit strategy.

On the campaign trail Bush took a hard line, saying "If the Democrats win, the terrorists win and America loses."

It's now up to the rejoicing Democrats -- out of power for many years -- to find a way out of the quagmire. The ball is in their court.

So far they have not stepped up to this challenge, offering only vague bromides and nebulous goals.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a retired Marine officer and staunch defender of the Pentagon, deserves credit for his call earlier this year for U.S. troops to leave Iraq, starting "at the earliest practicable date."

But now that they are empowered, it's time for the Democrats to come up with specific plans and take a strong stand against continuing the mayhem the Bush administration ignited by invading oil-rich Iraq. Although the president has conceded Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., he insists that defeat by the Iraqi resistance "is not an option" and he continues to mush terrorism with the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Morning's Meanderings

So, what kind of eye do you think it is? Dolphin? Whale? Squid perhaps?

Try that of a hurricane around the
south pole of Saturn.

This one looks like a tree to me, albeit an impressionistic one. Or possibly an electron micro graph of a slice of brain or lung or kidney or something.

How about a river delta way out yonder in Siberia.

And, maybe the most amazing marvel of all:

Hey, what can I say? I'm a silly sports' fan too!

Rutgers is in the BCS running for College Football's National Championship!
[From] Painted on the red brick wall in the north end zone of Rutgers Stadium are the words: "The Birthplace of College Football." The Scarlet Knights were a part of the first college football game played more than 137 years ago, a 6-4 win over Princeton in 1869, and they really hadn't played a game as important as that one since.

Between then and now, history had essentially ceased when it came to Rutgers football. The Scarlet Knights have played in two bowl games and were largely considered one of the worst teams in the country. For longer than anyone in the New York metropolitan area can remember, Rutgers set the standard for football futility, going 0-11 in 1997, 1-10 in 1999 and 1-11 as recently as 2002.

Big Time congrats to the currently 13th ranked Scarlet Knights and all the New Jerseyans who thought you'd never, ever, not in another hundred some odd years, see this kind of opportunity wrested away from the usual occupants of college football's elite by your Rutgers ballers.

Due to the intrinsically unfair nature of the BCS ranking system, and the unmitigated greed of university presidents across the NCAA, (Playoffs! Playoffs! Playoffs already!) this win over #3 Louisville doesn't really guaranty y'all anything but a bowl birth, but it does surely show that the football program at this ancient (for an American university) and venerable
institution is finally and unmistakably up to playing with the Big Boys of the Grid Iron Game.