Saturday, July 12, 2008


In my never ending effort to bring you the finest examples of the kind of music I like, I look at dozens of videos every weekend. It's a damn dirty job I tell you, but for you I'm glad to make the sacrifice (cough).

I'm about the same age as most of my favorites so I gotta admit it's fun, and sometimes a little terrifying, to go see some of the videos from way back when we were all young, and see how they've evolved over the years. Of course, the clothes and hair styles which were way cool back then, make me cringe today.

I got hung up big time watching one of my favorite singer/songwriter/musicians, Chris Hillman. Starting off with The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers and several other groups you've never heard of, he went on to The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and The Desert Rose Band heard in this video. He and long-time pard Herb Pedersen have several albums as well, including one of my favorites, Bakersfield Bound. Mr. Hillman does bluegrass, country, California country, country rock, and the Bakersfield sound. Fuck it, he can do anything! And, oh yeah, back in the '70s I worked on his Triumph motorcycle at a shop I worked at in Encino CA. Enjoy.

And by the way, if ya hit some of the links and keep seeing the same names comin' up, the SoCal country-rock scene wasn't all that big even though it had a hell of an impact.

Tony Snow dead ...


A first rate liar for a bunch of second rate crooks who want to make America a third world country. Your family will miss you.

That about says it. See ya in Hell, mofo.

A 'Hall of Fame' I can get behind...

I watched Desert Dreamers the other night on PBS. I spent a lot of time in the Mojave when I was younger and it was closer. Lotta characters out there.

One of the characters they profiled in amongst the hermits and religious whackjobs was Dixie Evans, who was billed as "The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque" and now runs "Exotic World* - The Strippers Hall of Fame".

Heeeere's Dixie! Showing how a girl gets ahead in Hollywood...

*Since Desert Dreamers was made, Dixie has closed up shop and moved to Lost Wages. I don't know the details, but in my opinion it's a tossup between the 'moral values' crowd or a real estate deal, or one used to swindle her out of the other.

Saturday whorage

Saturday means another chapter of Birthright is up at The Practical Press.

The reason I'm late today is I've been doing the taping on the entry foyer.

Leave us your links in comments.

Country Music is actually alive and well. If you know where to look.

One of the things that bugs me about Corporate Country Music is that they'll put up videos at YouTube but you can't swipe 'em for your own blog to share with your readers. It's like, "Watch it all ya want, but don't take it out of the room. Go buy it."

One of the things I like about the lesser-known (read as: no radio airplay) real country artists is they'll put up their vids and ask you to share 'em in the hope you'll go buy one of their albums.

This video was posted yesterday by TashianMusic. These folks have been around since about forever. Go see how Barry got started. Heh.

Barry and Holly Tashian (site, bio) are introduced by Vince Gill and perform "I Dreamed Of An Old Love Affair". Barry is formerly of Barry and the Remains and Emmylou Harris' Hot Band.

Heckuva job, Chimp-o

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Hear, hear!

Jude at First Draft is outraged and with every right to be:

So. North by East decides to make a list of the fifty most-influential female bloggers. And our own Scout and Athenae don't make the list? That's bullshit!

And Michelle Malkin at number five? ...

Few bloggers (male or female) have done the job Scout has, bringing news of the tragedy and subsequent government failure in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and I've learned more about the newspaper business from Athenae than I ever thought I would.

Bullshit indeed!

Saturday whorage later. Got a buncha running around and carpentry to do.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"...the abuse constituted war crimes..."

Watch this if you missed it.

Was ist los?

I'm hoping my people live up to their reputation and give the Chimp the finger:

There's been an interesting twist in the ongoing behind-the-scenes discussions over whether Barack Obama will deliver a speech on July 24th at Berlin's historically-charged Brandenburg Gate.

A new report in the German press says that Bush administration officials are unhappy with the idea and privately said as much to representatives of Chancellor Angela Merkel.


I can't believe the Frau Merkel will let will let Bush dictate policy to Berlin.

Great thanks to Maru for the link.

I am a standout in our 'nation of whiners'!

This is turning out to be one of those days. I've already dealt with a trip to the vet with a sick pup, Maggie, who was consuming mass quantities of the local flora in an apparent attempt to self-medicate something brought on by her own garbage-gut proclivities, and then puking it up wherever, and who hadn't crapped in two days until, of course, the minute I got her back in the house from the vet. She should be fine for a week after that load...

Then there was the trailer load of plastic pipe that would have turned over right in the vet's driveway if it hadn't been for the rear wheels of the tractor. Between the forklifts and tow trucks and gawkers, I had exactly enough room to get out.

Then there's Mrs. G's dental appointment for an extraction this afternoon, the saving grace of which, for both of us, will be Blue Agave down the street from the Doc's.

I'm officially kickin' off this weekend a little early. Step it out, Sister Tina!


The pup is doing fine. The vet gave her an antibiotic regimen and said to give her Pepto-Bismol. It seems to be working as she's stopped trying to digest the forest. The hardest part is that the vet said to not feed her for 24 hours. It kinda breaks my heart a little to do that, and look into those sweet food-pleading eyes, but orders is orders.

Mrs.G is fine too. The doc phoned in a coupla scrips and in the 30 minutes it took me to go get them everything was done. He told her not to drink any agave slurpees for a coupla days, and to not eat for a few hours. We got our Mexican dinners to go.

I don't know how well Mrs. G's penicillin works, but the vikes ain't too baaaaaa...

The peasants are revolting...

It needs to happen soon, and it won't be just about energy policy.

Click to emragen

Why Cheney Won't Take Down Iran

It is very telling about the current state of affairs vis á vis Iran that this article at TomDispatch passes for good news. Today's 'must read'. The last paragraphs:

Here's the point: Yes, there is a powerful faction in this administration, headed by the Vice President, which has, it seems, saved its last rounds of ammunition for a strike against Iran. The question, of course, is: Are they still capable of creating "their own reality" and imposing it, however briefly, on the planet? Every tick upwards in the price of oil says no. Every day that passes makes an attack on Iran harder to pull off.

On this subject, panic may be everywhere in the world of the political Internet, and even in the mainstream, but it's important not to make the mistake of overestimating these political actors or underestimating the forces arrayed against them. It's a reasonable proposition today -- as it wasn't perhaps a year ago -- that, whatever their desires, they will not, in the end, be able to launch an attack on Iran; that, even where there's a will, there may not be a way.

They would have to act, after all, against the unfettered opposition of the American people; against leading military commanders who, even if obliged to follow a direct order from the President, have other ways to make their wills known; against key figures in the administration; and, above all, against reality which bears down on them with a weight that is already staggering -- and still growing.

And yet, of course, for the maddest gamblers and dystopian dreamers in our history, never say never.

The last line is the truly troubling one - the neocons think they have nothing to lose.

As far as 'weight bearing down on them', fuck 'reality'. I want the 'weight' to be that of the Supermax prison in the basement of which they are being kept.

Sex Crimes in the White House

Naomi Wolf

The sexualization of torture from the top basically turned Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay into an organized sex-crime ring in which the trafficked sex slaves were US-held prisoners. Looking at the classic S and M nature of some of this torture, it is hard not to speculate that someone setting policy was aroused by all of this. And Phillipe Sands' impeccably documented Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values, now proves that sex crime was authorized and, at least one source reports, eroticized: Diane Beaver (Ohmigod!!! - G) , the Staff Judge Advocate at Guantanamo who signed off on many torture techniques, told Sands about brainstorming sessions that included the use of "sexual tension," which was "culturally taboo, disrespectful, humiliating and potentially unexpected."

"These brainstorming meetings at Guantanamo produced animated discussion," writes Sands. "'Who has the glassy eyes?" Beaver asked herself as she surveyed the men around the room, thirty or more of them. She was invariably the only woman in the room, keeping control of the boys. The younger men would get excited, agitated, even: "You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas" [reported Beaver]. A wan smile crossed Beaver's face: "And I said to myself, you know what, I don't have a dick to get hard, I can stay detached."' [Sands, p 63]

Hopefully Ms. Beaver's cellie will have one. One with straps that won't get, er, detached very much either.

I wish the same for the entire 1600 crew.

Man retires rather than honor Helms

The Charlotte Observer

RALEIGH -- L.F. Eason III gave up the only job he'd ever had rather than lower a flag this week to honor former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms.

Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or N.C. flags at half staff Monday as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.

When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms.

Good for you, L.F. Lowering the flag to half mast should be reserved for people who contributed to society, as opposed to those who detracted from it like Helms, and for people whom we are sorry they're gone.

There was no honor in Helms' life as a racist, and no honors need be given to him.

"Fat" Mouth Gramm


The "nation of whiners" quote, where John McCain's economic adviser Phil Gramm accused the country of being in a "mental recession" received a great deal of national attention, but it's not the first time Gramm has displayed insensitivity for struggling Americans.

In his 1984 Senate campaign in Texas, Gramm allegedly said "Has anyone ever noticed that we live in the only country in the world where all the poor people are fat?" a quote also attributed to Dinesh D'Souza and a favorite of right-wingers leaving comments on Web sites disparaging the American welfare system.

In the same campaign, his opponent ran commercials "portraying Mr. Gramm as saying that the elderly deserved no sympathy because few people had the 'luxury' of living to 80 and that Federal budget provisions for the handicapped encouraged people to be crippled. "

The reason 'poor people' are fat is because carbs and fat are the cheapest kind of food. And the least healthy, which dovetails neatly into this country's lack of affordable health care for all.

Poor people in other countries are skinny because they don't get enough to eat. Poor people in this country get plenty of all the wrong things.

Note to Gramm: Shut The Fuck Up, you walking 'mental recession'.

On the other hand, he's doing a wonderful job on for McCain. Keep up the good work.

What an asshole.

Rove avoids subpoena by fleeing the country

Think Progress

This morning, Karl Rove refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about the politicization of the Justice Department, despite a subpoena. During the hearing, Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) revealed that Rove had not only skipped out of the hearing, but had skipped out of the entire country. Watch it:

A coupla 'comments':

ralph the wonder llama Says:

The dude received a subpoena to testify today, he didn’t show up.


Crusty Old Bastard Says:

This only the first of many to flee the Country in advance of criminal charges. Look for the Great Reunion in Paraguay!

Bilbo Hussein Baggins Says:

I’m kind of looking forward to the first time the Republicans subpoena a Democrat in the next administration. The Democrat can give them the finger and say “what are you going to do about it”. Unfortunately, unlike the Democrats, the Republicans are likely to actually do something.

Many, many more.

Sure, I'd like to see the arrogant sonofabitch squirm when faced with having to actually tell the truth or face jail time, but it ain't gonna happen under the spineless Democrats. The Repugs know that as well.

Rove's lieyer says he's on a 'long-planned trip'. Oh, I'm sure it is! He's probably had a 'getaway bag' packed and in the trunk of his Jag since he left the White House. Heh.

I think the best we can hope for is that he doesn't come back.



To resolve this tricky matter,
I couldn't be blunter:
Democrats should hire Dog,
The Bounty Hunter

Heh. Ol' Dog's quite a character. It'd serve Turdblossom right. A serious ass-chewin' by Dog's ol' lady is nothing to sneeze at either.

Investments ...

Lisa hits it on the head:


Most people today don't know this life, but this was the U.S. less than 75 years ago. "A Week of Hunger" in the WaPo today reported most food stamp recipients deplete their allocation by week three. Larry Brown Harvard School of Public Health estimates it would cost $10-12 billion per year to "virtually end hunger in our nation," a plague which costs society at least $90 billion a year in lost revenue and health and societal costs.

How many days of war funding could eradicate hunger in the U.S.? As the economy pulls more people from the isolated comfort of their recliners, we may put more care into such issues.

As a first-generation American, I can repeat all the stories my relatives who emigrated here - the stories of the "hard times", when 6 slept in a 1-room apartment and a couple potatoes had to feed them all for dinner. Mrs. F's Russian forebears can tell similar stories.

With what we spend in Iraq, we could have defeated hunger and provided good health care to every American. Instead, we have an advisor to a presidential candidate telling Americans to shut up and quit whining. I believe a French girl named Marie had that attitude shortly before she lost her head.

It is unfathomable to me how people could give the McCain candidacy any sort of serious consideration. Yet people do. The Republicans harken back to the "Good Old Days", or Leave it to Beaver* or Father Knows Best but in reality, those days meant the average person never had enough to eat and inadequate health care. They were at the mercy of their employers and landlords and treated more like property than human beings.

Thanks to the last 8 years (and special thanks to Reagan and Bush 1) we're on our way back to that place. Voting for McCain will get us there quickly.

As Billy Joel says: "The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems". Enjoy, I'm going to work. TGIF!

Billy Joel - Keeping The Faith

*Can we see yer beaver, Mrs. Cleaver? Heh ... Hey, I have a one-track gutter.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Open season ...

No limit. Our paid 'security contractors' in Iraq better watch their butts:

The Iraqi armed services are likely to target widely-hated American security contractors when they lose their immunity to Iraqi law under a new agreement between the US and the Iraq.

The main American concession, during prolonged and rancorous negotiations over a Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa) that would determine the future military relationship between the US and Iraq, has been to agree to lift the immunity hitherto enjoyed by the 154,000 contractors, of whom 35,000 are private security men.


Another bunch of the Chimp's friends under the bus, but such is the fate of a mercenary. No tears shed here ...

The George W Bush Presidential Library

Subtitled "A monument to his years in office."

The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages. The Library will include:

The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.

The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.

The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.

The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.

Go see the rest at Straight Goods.

Put out to pasture in the fields of irrelevance

Tony Peyser

One could easily argue that the major thing
That completely set this putz off
Is Barack's not playing old school politics
Has already cut Jesse's nuts off.

To which I add my own:

The old-school Rev who talks in rhyme
Caught his own crap with his face this time.

It's understandable why Jesse might be sore, and it's ironic - Jesse Jackson has worked all his life for civil rights, and when a brother finally gets to run for President, it's the fruit of his labor that produced a new breed that doesn't need him in his campaign.

And by the way, Reverend Jackson, you've been around long enough ya shoulda known F**News' mics are always on when they're talkin' to godless commie pinko fucks like you. Now you know why.


Go see "When The Man is One of Us".

We haven't really been in a place this confusing since 1954, when the NAACP's crusade against segregation culminated in the Brown vs. Board decision and the walls came tumbling down. It's fair to say that we were so focused on winning that fight that we weren't prepared for the victory or its aftermath. We've spent nearly 60 years since then trying to figure out what kind of relationship we want to have with America and with each other. For the most part, we, like Jackson Sr., have seen ourselves as outsiders battling for justice and a seat at the table. Our default has been to protest. And while that mindset has served us well, it has, in a flash, been made damn near obsolete by the prospect, even the likelihood, that one of us may soon become the most powerful man in the world. If that happens, how can we seriously argue that we're being held back by anything but the limits we place on ourselves?

We're not really ready for the day when The Man becomes a black man.

It's a dizzying idea that is going to take some getting used to. And until we do, we'll stumble about, like Jesse Jackson Sr., saying all kinds of crazy things as we slip and slide on the new paradigm.

Word, yo.

Presidential Penis Prevails

Jurassicpork on the FISA vote. Today's second 'must read'.

Whether trying to convey a tongue-in-cheek message, AP "journalist" Pamela Hess says it all in her headline: Senate bows to Bush, approves surveillance bill.

"Bows to Bush."

As a commoner would bow to a purple-draped, jewel encrusted head of a despotic monarchy.

As a man who knows that he will be killed and bows, scrapes and begs for a miraculous act of mercy from a smirking, capricious tyrant such as the petulant, temperamental sociopath pictured above.

Obama, making a show of resisting the bill, supported an amendment that would've stripped immunity from the bill then caved and supported the bill itself when the Republicans and some patriotic Democrats shot down the amendment faster than the Bolivian army did Butch and Sundance.

McCain didn't vote for the bill because he'd slipped the orderlies and was busy wandering through the Arizona desert ordering cacti and scorpions to invade Tehran.

Grab ankles. Bite stick. Repeat as necessary and pray they use the KY next time.

They won't. What's the point of fucking over someone if they like it?

Campaigning is not governing

P.M. Carpenter on Obama's FISA vote and the reality of the situation in today's 'must read':

I thought Sen. Russ Feingold made for an excellent representative of this practical point of view on MSNBC's "Countdown" last night. He's a class act who knows both the Constitution and the political gutter -- and he appreciates as well that on occasion one must travel the second to defend the first.

Rather than tsk-tsking his Illinois colleague's vote, Feingold noted that a President Obama would work with a future Congress to revise the Constitutionally flawed portions of the current FISA bill. It went without Feingold's saying that a President McCain would most decidedly not.

In short, the Wisconsin senator demonstrated with immeasurable grace that he understands the game and, unlike some on his side of the court, is keeping his eye on the ball.

But let me put it bluntly, with no graciousness whatsoever, for any who may have missed Feingold's rather subtle point: For those of us who have had it with the felonious George W. Bush and recoil at the prospect of a Bushian extension, Barack Obama, for all we care, could go goosestepping down Constitution Avenue while whistling "White House über Alles" -- if that's what it takes to secure even one more purple-state vote.

This presidential election is that critical, the Bush-encore threat that foreboding.

He's exactly right. I don't give a damn what Obama does from now 'til election day. I may not like some of the things he might do, but I don't have to like them and it isn't important that I like them. Nothing - I say again nothing - will keep me from voting for him, and he absolutely must do whatever it takes, no matter how distasteful it seems to progressives or the 'far left', to attract votes from the middle, of whom I have heard it said, base their voting choice on information that makes Cliff's Notes look like an encyclopedia.

This is a fight to the death, a fight for the soul of our country. Kick, bite, punch, gouge, stab, shoot, to hell with fair play. WE MUST WIN and damn the ideals. They can be restored later.

Sometimes ya gotta wallow in shit to clean out a backed-up sewer. Anything is better than a third Bush term.

Why we're all hot for Rachel Maddow

Fixer asked for a lovely birthday present. Well, clone her and send me a copy as well (b'day in September). In a bustier on a motorcycle would be a presentation that would make my day!

Short of that, check out this post at Popnography;

I know I'm probably breaking some sort of gay male covenant, but I have the world's biggest crush on Rachel Maddow. [...]

While other cable news figures play coy with the public about their sexuality, Maddow's is a fundamental part of her political identity. Too often, women on cable news are portrayed as shrill harpies or fluffy eye candy by their male counterparts, but the genius of Maddow's style is that she goes on the air with nothing to prove, whether she's blowing Tucker Carlson's mind (what there is of it, at least), pointing out that in the Democratic Party controlled Congress is still only passing "Republican and Joe Lieberman-inspired amendments" or handing Joe Scarborough his balls on a silver platter -- which, you know, she really ought to get an award for doing.

The real reason Rachel makes my heart skip a beat, though, is that she isn't trying to ditch her identity as a woman, a lesbian or an activist to play with the big boys; she brings these parts of her to the table like her own personal arsenals. When old white dudes try playing hardball with Rachel Maddow, they're doing it on her turf -- which just happens to also be our turf, though I think she'd make the argument it also happens to be the common sense turf where most Americans live these days. The fact she makes a mean cocktail doesn't hurt either.

Rachel Maddow is about as smart as they come, is a quick thinker with facts at her instant disposal, speaks rapidly and understandably, cuts through the shit and makes cogent points we can understand, punctures the blowhards beautifully and makes them look like the idiots most of them are. There are some shows you never see her on, notably Tweetyball, for no doubt just that reason.

Right now, she's sort of the go-to pinch-hitter host on MSNBC. I think they're grooming her for own show, but there's the chance that she may be too smart, or perhaps a little too far left for it, i.e. 'tells too much truth'. That's kinda working for Olbermann though, and MSNBC ratings have gone up which is the bottom line, after all. I think she's at the head of the line, but someone will have to leave the lineup to make room for her and they're running out of right-wing morons like Tuckerthetwit. I don't want them to give her Scarborough's slot because that's too early in the morning for me to get up. I'm sure she'll have her own show eventually, and it can't be soon enough for me.

Did I mention that she has a beautiful smile and is drop dead gorgeous? She also has a Doctorate in Political Science, and I have a fantasy of 'playing doctor' with her wherein I actually learn something, something along the lines of "O My Goddess, do it some more, I think I'm wiiiising uuupppp...oooohhhhhh...". Yeah, it scares me too.

Quote of the Day

Our pal Nucks with a great rant on FISA and the police statization of America:

... Why The Fuck Are You Not Pissed Off? ...

Indeed. But it should be no surprise our rights are being pissed away and no one seems to give a shit. I've heard it every time I've been to Europe in the past 40 years. "Americans are soft, lazy, and ignorant." As long we don't get our own personal reality rocked, we don't give a damn.

Why ...

Can't we get a man or woman like Russ Feingold elected?


One of the Democrats who voted correctly today was Senator Russ Feingold, who appeared on Wednesday’s Countdown with Rachel Maddow. Feingold has long been a staunch advocate for following the Constitution, speaking out against President Bush’s illegal wiretapping program and fighting and voting against the anti-American Patriot Act. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama voted for the FISA legislation, and while Feingold says there is hope that as president, Obama could change the unconstitutional aspects of the bill, it was still "the wrong vote."


I caught the interview last night (video at the link).

And by the way, if anyone wants to get me something for my birthday (October) you can get me Rachel. Heh ... Why doesn't this woman have her own show yet?

Heh ...

The Chimp steps in his legacy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Good and Not So Good

From Cursor:

...there are indications that "Robert Gates and Pentagon realists appear to have wrenched our Iran policy from the hands of the Cheneyites."

Tikun Olam

Anthony Cordesman, one of the most lucid and pragmatic of national security analysts, lectured this week in Israel and reported the following according to Haaretz:

A senior U.S. strategic analyst says the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, sent Israel an unequivocal message stating that Israel does not have a “green light” from the U.S. to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.


Given the sobriety and realism of Cordesman’s statements, I give great credence to this story. And all I can say is thank God. Robert Gates and Pentagon realists appear to have wrenched our Iran policy from the hands of the Cheneyites. And not a moment too soon. The fact that Mullen made the trip to Israel means that there were Israeli generals and political leaders fully prepared to attack Iran. Just because Israel was ready to enter the maelstrom doesn’t mean that the clear-eyed at the Pentagon were prepared to join them in the descent into Hell which would’ve ensued after an attack on Iran.

It appears there is an internal war in D.C.. I hope the relatively sane ones win.

CASMII on administration backing of terrorists in the hope of destabilizing Iran. Good article about failed policy and crazy fuckin' criminally insane neocons.

Elements of the Bush administration have begun to resemble semi-insane Captain Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny" with regard to Iran. Reckless and obsessive to destroy Iran’s regime, they fondle their ball bearings, and pursue any scheme that they believe will get rid of the mullahs before the inauguration of the new American president in January 2009.

In desperation, they have turned to supporting fringe-level ethnic separatists—all of whom are terrorists and enemies of the United States who are also hostile to Iran. This strategy is truly the last gasp of a failed Middle East policy. It is ill-conceived, and if continued, will foment continued violence in the region for years without affecting the Iranian regime in any significant way.

In related news:

Iran test-fired nine long- and medium-range missiles Wednesday during war games that officials said were intended to show the country can retaliate against any U.S. or Israeli attack, state television reported.

The test-firings were widely condemned in the United States, notably by the White House and the two main candidates for the presidency.

The exercise was being conducted at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway through which about 40 percent of the world's oil passes. Iran has threatened to shut down traffic in the strait if attacked.

I don't blame 'em. It's called the Persian Gulf for a reason, and, hey, a similar ruffing up of feathers worked for North Korea.

The problem lies in the fact that our warmongers are taking heart from the missile shoot. They will redouble their efforts to start another senseless war. Not good.

No comment needed

Click to embrontosaur

Something a little different


Matier & Ross, EssEffChron:

Pride ride: An off-duty San Francisco firefighter was snapped riding topless with Dykes on Bikes during the big Gay Pride Parade.

The bare-chested belle, Sabine Balden, probably wouldn't have registered much more than a few snickers, except the photo also showed the 10-year veteran firefighter wearing what appeared to be her official badge pinned to her black-and-white-striped bustier.

And wearing a badge off-duty is against the rules unless the boss gives the OK.

Said Balden: "I'm perfectly happy to be riding topless in the parade. That's what gay pride is all about."

A big proud gal on a big bike, and a firefighter too! If I was her boss, she'da damn sure had my permission to wear her badge even if I had to give it retroactively! Go get 'em, Sabine!

R.I.P. 4th Amendment

Click to view the remains

Joe Galloway tears 'em a new one in a 'must read':

That a majority on both sides of the aisle — not least of them the presumptive nominees for president of both political parties — intend to vote for such a violation of Americans' right to privacy and of the sanctity of their personal communications is a stunning surrender to those who want us to live in fear forever.

Somewhere across an ocean and a desert, hiding in his cave, a man of hate named Osama bin Laden is laughing up the sleeve of his dirty robe at the thought that he and a small handful of fellow fanatics could tie a great nation in knots — knots of fear stoked by our own leaders.

We have done incalculably more and greater damage to ourselves since September 11, 2001, than a thousand bin Ladens and ten thousand al Qaida recruits could ever have done to us.

Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." Now it would seem that we have no one to fear but ourselves and our leaders.

'Fear' is not the emotion I'm feeling right now. 'Anger' and 'disgust' are.

Update: The Fix Is In.

"Political convenience" = "No guts". Congress - both Houses - You're a buncha scared pussies. Scared you won't be re-elected with the all the attendant perks of office, scared that Bush, the right wing, and the neocons will call you 'traitors' for being 'for the terrorists' if you don't give Bush and his accomplices their 'get out of jail free card' and let them continue their crimes, scared that the telcom money will dry up.

And you're fuckin' falling for it. Wimps. Worse than wimps - cowards and appeasers.

Every last one of you that votes to overturn the 4th Amendment should be voted out of office for not being worthy of being called Americans, let alone part of the so-called representative leadership.

You make me sick.

Who are you gonna believe?

Pic thanks to our pal UL.

Click embiggen.

Your 4th Amendment rights ...

Will be nothing but a memory at this time tomorrow morning. The Senate votes on FISA and telecom immunity today and we will send a message to the world that the law is only for those who can't afford to buy their way around it:


Once passed by the Senate, the FISA bill will then immediately be sent by the Democratic Congress to an eagerly awaiting and immensely pleased President Bush, who will sign it into law, thereby putting a permanent and happy end to the scandal that began when -- in December, 2005 -- he was caught spying on the communications of American citizens in violation of the law. The only real remaining questions are (a) whether Bush will host Steny Hoyer and Jay Rockefeller at a festive, bipartisan White House signing ceremony to celebrate the evisceration of the Fourth Amendment and the rule of law, and (b) whether Bush, when he signs the bill into law, will append a signing statement decreeing that even its minimal restraints on presidential spying are invalid.


So any corporation, any entity, will now be free to break the law as long as the President of the United States said it was okay. That's the way shit works in tin-horn dictatorships.

The American principles: of, by, and for the People no longer apply in the United States of the 21st Century. Maybe some of these lawmakers should walk through Arlington Cemetary and explain to those interred there that all their sacrifices were for naught - that they gave their lives to defend nothing but "a piece of paper". After today, the Constitution becomes irrelevant.

It's disgusting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mark Twain: Our Original Superstar

Good article in Time about one of my favorite curmudgeons. The parallels from his time to ours are remarkable.

What, if anything, about this benighted moment of American life will anyone in the future look back on with nostalgia? Well, those of us who have cable are experiencing a golden age of sarcasm (from the Greek sarkazein, "to chew the lips in rage"). Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann are digging into our direst forebodings so adroitly and intensely that we may want to cry, "Stop tickling!" Forget earnest punditry. In a world of hollow White House pronouncements, evaporating mainstream media and metastasizing bloggery, it's the mocking heads who make something like sense.

Let not those heads swell, however. News in the form of edgy drollery may seem a brave new thing, but it can all be traced back to one source, the man Ernest Hemingway said all of modern American literature could be traced back to: Mark Twain. Oh, that old cracker-barrel guy, you may say. White suit, cigar, reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated--but he died back in 1910, no? White, male, and didn't he write in dialect? What does he have to do with the issues of our day?

As it happens, many of these were also the issues of his day, and he addressed them as eloquently as anyone has since. The idea that America is a Christian nation? Andrew Carnegie brought that up to him once. "Why, Carnegie," Twain answered, "so is Hell."

What about those Abu Ghraib photographs? In "King Leopold's Soliloquy," a fulminating essay he published in 1905, when he was a very cantankerous 70, Twain imagines the ruler of Belgium pitying himself for the inconvenience of photos showing natives of the Congo whose hands have been cut off by Belgian exploiters. In the good old days, Leopold complains, he could deny atrocities and be believed. "Then all of a sudden came the crash! That is to say, the incorruptible Kodak--and all the harmony went to hell! The only witness I have encountered in my long experience that I couldn't bribe."

[...] The renewed snap in the old boy's garters resounded around the world, as he took stands on American politics that, as his biographer Powers puts it, "beggared the Democrats' timidity and the Republicans' bombast."

[...] In the previous year or two, Germany and Britain had seized portions of China, the British had also pursued their increasingly nasty war against the Boers in South Africa, and the U.S. had been suppressing that rebellion in the Philippines. In response, Twain published in the New York Herald a brief, bitter "Salutation-Speech from the Nineteenth Century to the Twentieth."

"I bring you the stately matron named Christendom," he wrote, "returning bedraggled, besmirched and dishonored from pirate-raids in Kiao-Chow, Manchuria, South Africa and the Philippines, with her soul full of meanness, her pocket full of boodle, and her mouth full of pious hypocrisies. Give her soap and a towel, but hide the looking-glass."

What put Twain off about religion was its bossiness and its alignment with corrupt community values that people--those standing to profit--insisted on calling a higher power. The very expression "moral sense" made him curl his lip. He denounced his own conscience, which frowned upon his anarchic instincts, his love of enjoyment, and made him feel guilty and rebellious.

[...] Then there's the long essay Twain produced in 1901, "The United States of Lyncherdom." This is not a single-minded polemic. It registers the horror of lynchings but also undertakes to empathize with people who attended them. Their motivation, Twain argued, is not inhuman viciousness but "man's commonest weakness, his aversion to being unpleasantly conspicuous, pointed at, shunned, as being on the unpopular side. Its other name is Moral Cowardice, and is the commanding feature of the make-up of 9,999 men in the 10,000 ..."

Some things never change.

Get out ...

NEW YORK - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki is demanding that the United States set a timetable for withdrawal of troops from the war-torn country.

The demand is included among terms of a new security deal that would replace the soon-to-expire United Nations mandate for coalition forces in Iraq.

The Bush administration has long opposed setting any timetable for withdrawal, saying that would only lead to more acts of terrorism. But the call also comes as security in Iraq continues to improve, allowing Maliki to give ground to Iraqi political voices seeking a U.S. troop drawdown.


Even our puppet government wants us out. See yas later; gotta take the Mrs. to the airport.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Let 'em serve ...

I've served with gays and they performed at the same caliber or better than the rest of us. And, truly, they were the most fun to hang around with. Now there's proof:

WASHINGTON - Congress should repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy because the presence of gays in the military is unlikely to undermine the ability to fight and win, according to a new study released by a California-based research center.

The study was conducted by four retired military officers, including the three-star Air Force lieutenant general who in early 1993 was tasked with implementing President Clinton's policy that the military stop questioning recruits on their sexual orientation.

"Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion," the officers states.


Now, let' em fucking serve if they want. There is no reason to marginalize any segment of our population, in any capacity, let alone denying them the chance to serve the country they love.

Great thanks to Mr. Aravosis for the link.

Cross-posted at API.

Scare tactics ...

Ooga-booga; the Limeys are in on it too:

Like on Iraq the British press is used to transport the 'threat' of Iran to the English speaking public. This weekend the Telegraph as well as the Times have again excelled at this.


These 'secret' second generation centrifuges are the ones on display at the Iranian president's website and are producing low-enriched Uranium under the watchful eyes of the IAEA in Natanz.

The Sunday Times joins Coughlin with a renewed scare well known to anyone who watched the propaganda buildup for the war on Iraq: ‘Germ warfare’ fear over African monkeys taken to Iran.


The nuke thing won't play anymore so now the scary Iranians are gonna kill us all with the Ebola virus or some shit.

Airstrike, quick, fast!

Please ...

A magazine cover I'd like to see

Click to embiggen

I wonder if Bush will buy five copies for his mother...

Lies, kidnapping and a mysterious laptop

The Independent (UK)

Sometimes you hear a stray sentence on the news that makes you realise you have been lied to. Deliberately lied to; systematically lied to; lied to for a purpose. If you listened closely over the past few days, you could have heard one such sentence passing in the night-time of news.

As Ingrid Betancourt emerged after six-and-a-half years – sunken and shrivelled but radiant with courage – one of the first people she thanked was Hugo Chavez. What? If you follow the news coverage, you have been told that the Venezuelan President supports the Farc thugs who have been holding her hostage. He paid them $300m to keep killing and to buy uranium for a dirty bomb, in a rare break from dismantling democracy at home and dealing drugs. So how can this moment of dissonance be explained?

Yes: you have been lied to ...

For the rich world's governments – and especially for the oil companies, who pay for their political campaigns – this throws up a serious problem. We are addicted to oil. We need it. We crave it. And we want it on our terms. The last time I saw Chavez, he told me he would like to sell oil differently in the future: while poor countries should get it for $10 a barrel, rich countries should pay much more – perhaps towards $200. And he has said that if the rich countries keep intimidating the rest he will shift to selling to China instead. Start the sweating. But Western governments cannot simply say: "We want the oil, our corporations need the profits, so let's smash the elected leaders standing in our way." They know ordinary Americans and Europeans would gag.

So they had to invent lies. They come in waves, each one swelling as the last crashes into incredulity. [,,,]

Go enjoy the hyperbole as it builds in throbbing, ever-swelling cascades to an orgasmic crescendo...

I don't pretend to understand the dynamics of inter- and intra-national South American politics, but one thing I do understand is that our government, and in particular Repuglican administrations, will lie, cheat, and kill, whatever it takes to get oil and the profit therefrom.

Hitchens Gets Waterboarded, Withdraws from Iraq in 11 Seconds

Go see Christopher Hitchens get waterboarded.

[...] Hitchens' tame little torture session is the biggest S&M video on the web since "9½ Weeks."

That kind of etiquette is what you get from those expensive dominatrixes English dudes like to get whipped by, or those nerf BDSM sites that talk about "consensual power exchanges." What reminded me most of those BDSM sites is the "code word" they tell Hitchens he can use to stop the waterboarding: "That word is red, R-E-D." They ask him if he understands and he says, "Yes, sir." That "sir" only added to the ridiculous porn feel here, like Hitchens was paying a hundred pounds an hour to have Baron Whipsong or Lady Cruella, whichever way he likes it, wear out their riding crop on his eager little bum.

[...] It's like drowning. Duh. Anybody who wanted to know that already knew it.

So why does Hitchens make such a big show of just realizing it now, after five years of supporting it? To me, the answer's easy: He's withdrawing from Iraq, making a big Jesus-on-the-cross demonstration, like a public punishment, for supporting the war all this time. By getting himself tortured in this half-assed way, he gives himself a reason to see the light, desert from the Neocon forces before it's too late. Karl Rove won't be happy, though, because the last thing the GOP wants is for people to start realizing what we're actually doing in Iraq. Reminds me of the debate about abolishing flogging with the cat-o'-nine-tails in the British Navy. The first time the bill was introduced, everybody laughed at how ridiculous a notion that was. Then somebody thought of having a real cat-o'-nine-tails introduced to the House of Commons, a bloody old Exhibit A. Nobody said a thing; they just voted unanimously to forbid it.

...Hitchens is declaring martyrdom and getting out. He just unilaterally withdrew from Iraq, and in only 11 seconds.

Hitchens, along with many other neocons and kool-aid drinkers, owes. His waterboarding may have been phony, like celebrity rehab, but it was heartwarming to see.

In Lieu Of Flowers For Senator Helms

Tony Peyser

Please debase a Negro
A Jew and-or a Gay;
Why? Because Jesse would
Have wanted it that way.

I'll never think of Skippy ...

The same way again.

Heh ... Off to the shop. Why am I always late on Mondays?

Quote of the Day


... Bush promises to be constructive on climate at G8 Summit
Instead of making farting noises and playing with his Pokemons as usual ...

You know, because how would it look if he offends the Chinese?

President Bush said Sunday he does not feel the need to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics to state his opposition to China's human rights record. Skipping the event would be an "affront" to the Chinese people, he said.


Quoting Attaturk:

Bush wants to be nice to his creditors ...

Jesse Helms may be dead ...

But his bigotry lives on:


The problem here is that I think Americans of all political stripes can agree that Helms was an avowed racist. Sure, my NPR report on his passing yesterday carefully explained that he "used race effectively" in his election campaigns, but I'm not sure there's any difference. While racism is still a fact of American life, it has been pushed underground, not to be talked about in polite society, so that everyone can delude themselves that these issues are no longer germane and that we're all one big happy melting pot.

Helms didn't do that, and neither did his advisors. And one of them now holds a high position in the John McCain campaign. [my em]


Because, heaven forbid, they alienate 'the base'.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging

After the song(?) I posted on Friday, I owe ya one. The call I got from the Swedish embassy has nothing to do with this...

Here's everything ya need ta know:

ייל יונסון (שייצגה את שוודיה באירוויזיון 1998 עם השיר"Karleken Ar") שרה במופע הביניים בגמר המלודיפסטיבלן 2005 אבל המיקרופון שלה סגור ולא שומעים אותה. אחרי דקה הטכנאים מסדרים את הבעיה והיא שרה אותו מההתחלה :-).

To see & hear Ms. Johnson without the faux country schtick, click here.

Some travel tips for the Fixers

Since Fixer has revealed his travel plans, I did a little research so he doesn't have to spend all his shore leave in Amsterdam's, er, seedy (or maybe sinse-seedy) bars. Museums are nice. Here's one (Note: I absolutely love the music, and even though it's in Portuguese, I think I understood it!):

The F-Man's probably way ahead of me on this, he and Mrs. F being seasoned world travelers and all, they do their homework, but just in case - The Amsterdam Travel Companion

Also see:

Some shopping tips.

The Dutch equivalent of a gun show and a fast-draw competition.

Some other things to do.

And, if you must, Borat visits Amsterdam.

Fixer, I hope this helps and you have a nice, er, trip.

One thing, though - make sure I got all the tech info I need to keep all yer blogs runnin'. I got a sneakin' hunch that after Amsterdam we'll never see yer happy ass again! The answer to 'How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm...?' depends on what the crop is. Heh.

Wall-E for President

Daddy Frank went to the movies. Today's 'do not miss'. Here's the last paragraph.

Mr. McCain should be required to see “Wall-E” to learn just how far adrift he is from an America whose economic fears cannot be remedied by his flip-flop embrace of the Bush tax cuts (for the wealthy) and his sham gas-tax holiday (for everyone else). Mr. Obama should see it to be reminded of just how bold his vision of change had been before he settled into a front-runner’s complacency. Americans should see it to appreciate just how much things are out of joint on an Independence Day when a cartoon robot evokes America’s patriotic ideals with more conviction than either of the men who would be president.