Saturday, April 2, 2005

Rumsfeld quote of the day

Rumsfeld made this ridiculous remark a few days ago concerning Chavez’s arms purchases from Russia, “I can’t imagine why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s, and I just personally hope that it doesn’t happen,” Rumsfeld told reporters in an appearance with Brazilian Vice President Jose Alencar. “And I can’t imagine that if it did happen that it would be good for the hemisphere.”

Mmmmm... could it be Venezuela might have the gall of wanting to defend themselves in case of an invasion by..... er.... damn... can't think of anyone who'd do such a thing!

I wonder how many Ak-47s are on the streets of America? I remember reading about a shipment of 7,500 AK47’s that was intercepted coming into the east coast just a few months ago.

An American Hero

A true American hero passed away recently. He stood up to the government when they did wrong. From the San Francisco Chronicle.
In 1998, Fred Korematsu was a fragile reed of a man. But in the East Room of the White House, the septuagenarian stood up straight and tall as he heard President Clinton say, "Plessy, Brown, Parks ... to that distinguished list, today we add the name of Fred Korematsu."

Mr. Korematsu, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for courageously defying military orders calling for the World War II removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, died of respiratory failure Wednesday in San Rafael. He was 86.

Mr. Korematsu's death marks a milestone in the history of American civil liberties. By his simple act of defiance in 1942, for which he was arrested and convicted, the lifelong Bay Area resident became an icon of social justice, not just in his own Japanese American community, but beyond.

Please read the rest Below The Fold.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Your Car: Politics on Wheels

I've always known you could tell quite a bit about someone from the kind of car they drive:

If you had a big black American luxury job with a blacked-out windows and a chauffer, you were a gangster, politician, CEO or movie star. Hmmm, that's redundant, huh?

Drive a Range Rover, you're yuppie scum; a Prius, you're a techno/green geek; A VW Microbus, you're in need of a haircut, a bath, shoes, and you're stoned to the gills and can't see out the back window for all the Grateful Dead stickers; a Volvo, you drive really poorly, because, after all, it's the safest car in a crash, right?

The following article knocks my simplistic theory into a cocked hat. Then again, maybe not. Go read.

From the NYTimes:
"Does she think she knows what I stand for/Or the things that I believe/Just by looking at a sticker for the U.S. Marines/On the bumper of my S.U.V.?"

The lady in the minivan might not know, but some of the finest minds in market research think they do. By analyzing new-car sales, surveying car owners and keeping count of political bumper stickers, they are identifying the differences between Democratic cars and Republican ones.

Some of these differences have more to do with geography than personal politics. Democrats are concentrated in port cities with more links to Europe and Asia, making them more open to foreign car companies. Republicans are more likely to be living in the heartland, where there's room for bigger cars and a tradition of loyalty to the American cars built in nearby factories.

But car buyers are also responding to the political images that come with some cars. Some foreign car companies have marketed cars as environmentally friendly, and some have at times focused on parts of the Democratic base. Saab and Subaru were the first and most visible to aim advertising at gay drivers.

Midsize and large American cars skew Republican, and so, of course, do big American pickup trucks. That may have something to do with American car companies marketing themselves through one of the great symbols of Republicanism, Nascar, which is enormously popular in the red states.

The Political Bumpers spotters, who recorded bumper stickers in favor of or against any of the candidates in the 2004 election, found that the drivers of pickup trucks and large S.U.V.'s were overwhelmingly right-leaning. But the leader of the project, Ryan MacMichael, of Leesburg, Va., said his biggest surprise was the pronounced Democratic skew of bumper stickers on economy cars (71 percent were left-leaning) and station wagons (67 percent).

The most left-leaning models with at least a dozen sightings in Mr. MacMichael's project were the Honda Civic (80-20 left-leaning), Toyota Corolla (78-19) and Toyota Camry (74-26). The list of most right-leaning was led by another Toyota, but a midsize S.U.V., the Toyota 4Runner (86-14), followed by the Ford Expedition (76-24) and Ford F-150 (75-25).

To Mr. Spinella, those bumper stickers merely provided further proof of the most fundamental difference between the two parties.

"Democrats buy cars," he said. "Republicans buy trucks."

Well, Lemme see. The wife's got a four-wheel-drive Dodge Dakota pickup for her daily driver and long trips (we need the full-size bed to haul Mrs. G's "necessaries" on any trip longer than forty miles).

I've got a 4WD Dodge Ramcharger, which dates from before they were called SUV's, thank God. The newer ones ride a lot better. It's more a short wheelbase enclosed farm truck and rides like a buckboard. Hell for stout tho', and goes anywhere.

We've also got a '76 Chevy Van that we bought new. We don't use it much anymore, but it comes in handy on occasion.

Not a "good Democratic car" in the bunch.

The Dodges are red. The van is blue. They all have "Veteran for Kerry" and "U.S. Marine Corps" bumperstickers. We're NASCAR fans, as well as every other form of motor racing, particularly motorcycle flat-track. We're for damn sure not Republicans (shudder at the thought!). And I'm not even a little bit confused about our choice of vehicles or our politics. We're damn good Americans. Say otherwise and watch what happens.

Maybe the study didn't quite go deep enough. Those "finest minds" can kiss my lily-white ass.

Smithsonian MP3

Great! I wanna download The Spirit Of St. Louis! But seriously, folks, the Smithsonian's Folkways Records division is getting set to offer its vast collection of Americana and World music on MP3. This is good news. I like music and very little of what I like to listen to could be described as "mainstream" unless you're from someplace really weird. Yeah, yeah. Button it.

Folkways has been around for a long time. I still have Leadbelly records on that label from the fifties.

From the WaPo:
The Smithsonian Institution is entering the highly competitive world of music downloads by offering the Smithsonian Folkways collection of ethnic and traditional music in an online music store.

"I'm all for it," says Mike Seeger, a member of the New Lost City Ramblers. The son of musicologist Charles Seeger and half-brother of Pete Seeger, Seeger has spent much of his life promoting southern and folk music. "I have a feeling of mission that I would like to have people get to know this realm of music better. This is a way to afford it," Seeger says.

The Web site,, will allow searches by artist, geographic location, language, cultural group or instrument. All of the Folkways archives, including photographs, can be downloaded onto a screen. Also in development are scrolling translations of some of the music for use on a personal computer. Right now the Haya Heroic Ballads, a form of storytelling found in northwest Tanzania, is being translated into English on the Web site.

As the Smithsonian fine-tunes this new service, the promoters hope new audiences for underappreciated artists of traditional music will develop.

"There's a guy in Punjab who is doing wonderful, meaningful work and it is never going to be heard," says Kurin. "Here is a way."

I guess you could hear it in a New York City taxicab, but downloading sounds safer.

Go read the article and visit the website. Your ears will thank you.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Just checkin'

I'm 12 days into my hiatus and I'm happy to report things are going well. I should be able to get everything done that I planned. The next book is ready to go to the publisher next week and I'm making good headway on Empires. I'm still gonna post it at creativity when I'm done because I promised. I just wanted to say thank you to my partners, Gord and KR, and to Philippe and Dianne, our esteemed guest bloggers, for taking up my slack. I really appreciate it. I'll be back in a couple weeks, give or take, ready to raise some Hell.

Is Falwell dead yet?

It's Gettin' Drafty 'Round Here, Ain't It?

From Truthout:
Washington - If American forces aren't pulling out of Iraq in a year, a draft will be needed to meet manpower requirements, military analysts warned Wednesday.

With recruitment lagging and no end in sight for U.S. forces in Iraq, the "breaking point" for the nation's all-volunteer military will be mid-2006, agreed Lawrence Korb, a draft opponent and assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, and Phillip Carter, a conscription advocate and former Army captain.

Korb, assistant secretary defense for manpower from 1981 through 1985, said the current rotation is unfair to the "patriotic" men and women who volunteered for military service and are stuck on a cycle in and out of Iraq. Since only a tiny segment of the populace is sacrificing, there is no political pressure to change the system, he said.

"If you had a draft right now, I think you'd be out of Iraq," Korb said. (my emphasis)

The American society "hasn't gotten the message that we're at war," agreed Carter.

"Those at peril are completely divorced from those in power," said Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist and TV commentator who moderated the symposium. "It's 'Patriotism Lite' -- you put a sticker on your SUV."

"America has a choice," wrote Carter. "It can be the world's superpower or it can maintain the current all-voluntary military. But it probably can't do both."

If that's all it would take to get out of Iraq and quit killing American troops and Iraqi civilians for evil ideology and oil, then fire up the draft. Hell's Bells, I'll go if I can get my stripes back. The Marine Corps needs more Corporals with forty years in grade! Especially if they don't have to do the stuff they did when they were nineteen! Been there already.

Good To Go

Ever prepared, the Voice Of America has prepared obituaries for many world figures.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Voice of America - the US government's news outlet to the rest of the world since 1942 - released its audio obituaries for two world leaders who aren't dead: Fidel Castro and Boris Yeltsin.

After receiving the cassettes, DC-area researcher Michael Ravnitzky asked for other advance obituaries, but VOA has refused to comply, saying that releasing their Castro and Yeltsin obits was a mistake. In fact, they will no longer send these two obituaries to requesters, a clear violation of FOIA law. However, they did provide a list of prominent figures for whom they've already written (and in some cases recorded) obituaries (see below).

I must be doing OK. I'm not on the list. Go see if you are, at The Memory Hole.


I was gonna put this post in The Fixer & Gordon due to its automotive subject matter when I suddenly realized it's not just us gearheads who need to know about it. It's not just automotive news, either. It's geo-political and environmental as well.

From Newsweek:
April 4 issue - The higher gas goes, the better those hybrids look, right? If you're still having trouble justifying the price, or those long dealer waiting lists, here's some help. The Web site features a calculator that will demonstrate your savings in dollars, gallons of gas and pounds of pollution.

If you typically drive 10,000 miles a year, pay $2.10 (the national average) for gas and get 23 miles per gallon, you'd save roughly 235 gallons of gas, 4,696 pounds of carbon-dioxide pollution, and $493 a year. Which is about how long you might have to wait to get those new wheels.

Go check out the site. It's only been up for a coupla weeks and is extensive. According to them, the average fuel efficiency of 2005 model year hybrids is 49.9 MPG. That's impressive.

The big advantage of hybrids is that they generate their own electricity. All-electric cars need fuel to be burned at a power plant so you can plug 'em in to recharge. Besides that, they just move the air pollution to the area of the power plant.

Mrs. G and I are contemplating the purchase of a new vehicle to update our aging fleet. We live in snow country, so we need four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. We've been looking at all sorts of rigs, but with the price of gas going up and our idiot president getting lotsa folks killed and planning to rape pristine land just so we can get motor fuel, we've put our plans on hold while we check out the hybrid offerings.

We like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid but we've got plenty of time to think about it. If enough folks take to hybrids, there'll be lots of new models available in the near future.

Styling is important too. I'm kinda taken with this sexy Italian job, but Mrs. G says it's not practical. Ah, what do women know about manly stuff anyway?


Bush's hypocrisy makes me want to scream:

... Especially those who live at the mercy of others. The essence
of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak
. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life. (from an article on CNN about Terri Schiavo's death; emphasis added)

The man must be deaf, because if he could hear his own words, surely even he would cringe. Every action he has taken since assuming office has been to crush the weak. And when he was governor of Texas and there were questions as to the guilt or innocense of death row inmates, did he presume in "favor of life"? I don't think so. And Iraq...well, I could write all day about that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Right Wing Bullshit!

The thing that pisses me off the most in the case of Mrs. Schiavo is this:

The misleading and flat-out wrong assertion by the pseudo-christians and the media that Mr. Schiavo and the legal system are murdering Mrs. Schiavo by "denying" her food and water. This makes it sound like the docs are keeping a plate of Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings just out of her reach and cackling like fiends.

Listen up, you heartless motherfuckers.

That tube didn't have no fucking Happy Meals being shoved through it, of that you can be sure. She's been kept alive by the medical intervention of nutrition and hydration very much like, and I use these carefully chosen following words, growing a hydroponic carrot. If she could eat or swallow on her own, she would, and no one would think of denying her anything. If anybody had gotten through to her with a cup of water like they were trying to do, it would have probably drowned her, and that's murder.

Will all you retarded assholes please let the lady's soul fly out of its meat prison and quit using her for your Satanic retardiligious right-wing ends? All you're doing is showing the rest of us how fucking stupid and cruel you are, and we already knew that. May my God have mercy on your worthless empty souls.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Gotta Love that Culture of Life

From CNN:

Michael Schiavo's sister-in-law said a man threatened to shoot her and her family if Terri Schiavo dies, Philadelphia police said Tuesday.

(Joan) Schiavo told police, the car stopped and the man inside yelled "murderer," then added, "If Terri dies, I'm coming back to shoot you and your family."

Monday, a man accused of soliciting offers for the murder of Michael Schiavo appeared in federal court in Asheville, North Carolina. Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, North Carolina, allegedly circulated an e-mail to friends and members of the news media offering $250,000 for the killing of Michael Schiavo and another $50,000 for the death of Florida state Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Schiavo's feeding tube removed on March 18.
Last week, police arrested an Illinois man they said robbed a gun store in Seminole, Florida, as part of an attempt to "rescue Terri Schiavo."

Boy, howdy, these moonbats are about as "pro-life" as the Grim Reaper. Keep it up, folks, the 2006 elections aren't that far off, and you all are registering at 8.7 on the crazy meter. I thought that us Democrats were in for an uphill battle. With the neocons' help, we practically can pour ourselves a beer, get comfortable, and watch the game from the sidelines. Looks like you have plenty of rope to do the job right.


MSNBC Breaking News

Evangelist Jerry Falwell hospitalized; condition is unclear -

Die, you sanctimonious, hypocritical bitch.

Back under my rock, but I had to add my 2 cents.

Colorado Court Bars Execution Because Jurors Consulted Bible

If the Neo-cons can just get the judges replaced with officials with a 'higher authority' things like this won't happen. Imagine striking down a sentence of death because jurors consulted a Bible! Maybe all is not lost in America, not yet anyway.
In a sharply divided ruling, Colorado's highest court on Monday upheld a lower court's decision throwing out the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty after jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict. The Bible, the court said, constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the court called a "higher authority."

Read the rest here

Monday, March 28, 2005

Shut the FOX up!

Under the heading of neat-but-unnecessary-gadgets is an electronic filter/political statement called the "FOX Blocker" being marketed by a guy in Oklahoma. Now, I know we can "block FOX" with the remote, but for $8.95 the guy will send an e-mail of your comments to Faux News' 10 largest advertisers.

Here's what Daily Kos has to say. Lotsa links and comments.

Gee, I wonder if we could cut through the shit and go directly to the source of it by screwing one of these into Scott McClellan's mouth?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Rabbi convicted of blocking West Bank bulldozers

Rabbi Arik Ascherman has spent years planting himself atop doomed Palestinian homes, reading extracts of international law to Israeli forces as they demolish the buildings beneath his feet.

Along the way he has been a persistent embarrassment to the Israeli government as a fervent Zionist who claims to reflect the true soul of the Jewish state by resisting its oppression of Palestinians. He has been arrested many times but this week, for the first time, the 45-year-old director of Rabbis for Human Rights was convicted for his form of resistance.

The rabbi was arrested when he objected to the Israeli security forces tying a Palestinian to the front of a jeep as a human shield against stone throwers. On other occasions he has been attacked by club-wielding Jewish settlers.

The prosecution has asked the court to sentence Rabbi Ascherman to do community service after he was convicted of obstructing the demolition of illegally built Arab homes in East Jerusalem by standing in front of the bulldozers. It is a dangerous business; an American peace activist, Rachel Corrie, was killed doing the same in the Gaza Strip.

There are people in the world that bring hope. I am thankful for the hearts of those like Rabbi Ascherman.

Insurance Companies: “Forget Antibiotics, use Shrimp instead”

Since it's the weekend, here is some light hearted fun (satire I found on The Spoof). Enjoy :-)

Take Three Shrimp in Cocktail Sauce
and Don't Call Me in the Morning

Minnetonka, Minneapolis -- Led by managed care giant United Healthcare (NASDAQ code: X$%^&*$#%^$^ subscribers), all major HMOS in the United States have removed all antibiotics from their formularies due to rising pharmaceutical prices and the necessity of keeping executives' salaries high.

This decision follows last year's decision to eliminate all mental health coverage and replace it with a cassette of pop music and pithy saying that subscribers can play at stressful times, provided they purchase the "dedicated" cassette player (only $49!) needed to play the relaxation tape.

"We have found that much of the shrimp imported from Asia is an excellent source of choramphenicol, which is a very very powerful antibiotic," said a spokesperson for United. "Accordingly, we don't feel that we need to pay for antibiotics when our subscribers have a bacterial infection. They can just eat shrimp according to our peer-reviewed and credentialed guidelines."

Here's how it works: a patient who suspects an infection in himself/herself or a family member calls a 900 number (only 49 cents a minute!) and provides a few relevant facts to the TeleNurso such as fever, weight, age, and symptoms such as pain, coughing, sneezing, ear pressure, or runny nose. The TeleNurso will then calculate the amount of shrimp required to cure the infection and, free of charge, provide a recipe.

... here is the full article