Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Crazy Redneck Music Blogging

Patty covers the old Ray Price standard. She could sing the Yellow Pages for all I care. Or nothing at all as long as I get to look at her.

Thanks to TheGigante.

Conyers plans hearings on Bush torture lawyers

Raw Story

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has announced that he plans to hold House Judiciary Committee hearings on the Bush administration lawyers whose legal memos justified the use of torture on terrorism detainees.

Conyers' announcement Friday follows the release of a report by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility which criticizes lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee for "poor judgment" but concludes that their actions did not rise to the level of professional misconduct.

Conyers, however, is not satisfied with allowing the matter to drop. He has posted a full set of documents at the Judiciary Committee website, including both preliminary drafts and the final Justice Department report, Yoo's and Bybee's responses, and Associate Deputy Attorney General David Margolis's memorandum explaining why he did not feel that Yoo's and Bybee's actions amounted to "professional misconduct."

"For years, those who approved torture and abuse of detainees have hidden behind legal memos issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel," Conyers stated. "The materials released today make plain that those memos were legally flawed and fundamentally unsound, and may have been improperly influenced by a desire to tell the Bush White House and the CIA what it wanted to hear."

"Improperly influenced by a desire to tell the Bush White House and the CIA what it wanted to hear." That's pretty much what The Dick admitted the other day when he said those alleged lawyers had "done what we asked them to do".

"The Office of Legal Counsel has a proud tradition of providing independent, high quality legal advice to the executive branch," Conyers' statement continues. "The materials released today make clear that the lawyers who wrote the torture memos did not live up to that tradition. ... Given the serious nature of the issues raised in this report, the Committee intends to hold hearings on these matters in the very near future."

These torture- and war crimes-enablers are protected from on high so hearings probably won't do much good, but I'm glad Conyers is doing them anyway. More light on the Cheney Darktime can't hurt.

On Bernie Kerik

Tony Peyser

His hardscrabble life
Started off in obscurity
Instead of Homeland, he
Got maximum security.

Not high enough in the Repug food chain to avoid it, I guess, but that's what underlings are for - to take the hit for the Bigs, especially when they have the audacity to commit crimes on their own that aren't part of the agenda.

His real crime was embarrassing Giuliani out of viability as a presidential candidate. Thank you, Bernie.

And Bernie, don't worry about Rudy. He's managing to embarrass himself quite nicely without you.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell ~ Shelter From The Storm

Thanks to ZENZ5219, Austria.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Okay ...

Since a few of you have been kvetching about how the page loads, could ya give me some hint of maybe which script is screwing you up? I use 3 different computers in the house (Gateway), in addition to the Mrs.' company-owned unit (IBM), as well as 3 different computers (no-name, cobbled together shit) at work and the page loads normally on all of them. I'm more than willing to help straighten it out but I gotta know what I'm chasing.

Medical studies show cannabis effective for treating pain, spasms

See? Heads have known that for years. And they thought we just a buncha spaced-out stoners when we were really on the cutting edge of science...

Some of the new made-up or dredged-up from obscurity bullshit diseases to sell you factory-made chemical dope medicines might come in handy to get a scrip for weed, like Restless Leg Syndrome. I could fake that easy! "Geez, Doc, I gots da jimmylegs! I needs me some mota!" whilst sorta uncontrollably kickin' the crap outta the exam room. Heh.

Raw Story

With the results of a medical study summarized by a new report delivered to the California state legislature, the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) claims it has established scientific proof that inhaled cannabis holds medical value at or above the level of conventional prescription medicines used for a variety of ailments.

Much more. Also see one way to get your Medical Marijuana Card, at least in California.

I went to my Offthulmolijest Opfallmollyfest eye doctor the other day. He's really a good guy and part of our conversation went like this after he checked my Intraocular Pressure (IOP):

"Well, no glaucoma."

"I guess that means no weed scrip, huh, Doc? How about for ADD?"

"Nah, but I think I can squeeze you in for OCD."

Pretty quick comeback! I like having a quick-thinking smartass for a Doc!

He then went on to tell me that weed for glaucoma is sort of a scam. He said it lowers your IOP by about one point and lasts for about an hour, but it's just enough to qualify as legit treatment. He also said a patient would have to go 23 hours a day without relief.

He doesn't know much about heads, I guess. I told him that was easy to fix - just smoke 24 joints a day.

I did not mention that if a person started treating his or her glaucoma in that manner when they got up in the morning, by about noon they wouldn't remember their name or even the necessity for one, being one with the cosmos and all, and are we out of Twinkies already?

All politicians are madhouse freaks

And yer point is...? Friday Morford.

Bayh echoed that selfsame poll when he suggested the only way to "fix" Congress might be to vote all the jackals, special interest shills and fringe nutballs out of both parties, and then vote in an entirely new cadre of untainted humans, real reformers, people who know how to work together and make things happen, sans the bickering and acid and hookers and handouts.

You can see the problem right there. Who the hell might that be, exactly? Where do we find people like that? Do they even exist? Have we not already established the fact that American politics, as it is now designed, largely draws freaks and gladhanders, shysters and fools?

One of the ways to make politics appeal to fair-thinking, good-souled, college-educated intellects would be to start with something even mildly radical -- like, say, campaign finance reform, perhaps disallowing vicious corporations to buy and sell a given candidate like a brainless toy. Yes, that might help. Hello, Supreme Court? Here is your giant middle finger. Love, America.

Which brings us, naturally, to President Obama, quite possibly the least freakish, slippery, pre-devoured politician to ever grace the Oval Office -- which, in truth, sort of baffled everyone, in the beginning. "What the hell is a smart, attuned, deeply intelligent, meta-calm community organizer dude doing wanting to run the country, in that ocean of snakes?" millions of us who voted for him asked in wondrous, mystical disbelief. "How long can such a person possibly last in that rare, impossible state of utopian goodness before being sucked into the hate-filled congressional vortex?" we added, fearfully.

Answer: not long, apparently. To be sure, Obama went in with a rather astonishing set of credentials as a masterful uniter, a capable compromiser, someone who could find the intelligent middle ground in a hurricane. This, to many of us, was the real change he would bring to Congress -- not wild organic liberalism and peacenik silliness, but more of a simple, calm, effective reversal of the utterly vile, hyper-polarized, we-hate-everything extremism that Bush so disgustingly embodied.

(Oh btw, the Bush family? Total freaks. So cloistered, inbred and twitchy, they were perhaps freaks of the worst kind: freaks of the mundane and the mediocre, the violent and the low. But you already knew that.)

Yep. Sure did.

All of which can lead you to an utterly depressing, defeatist view of America, wherein you might say the worst affliction we suffer isn't the horrible economy, job losses, botched health care reform, war, housing collapse or Hannah Montana. Rather, it's a snarling, hydra-headed government led by fundamentalist tea-party fringe nutballs from the right and weak-kneed whiners from the left, full of sound and fury, inspiring absolutely nothing. Or is that overstating things just a little?

Probably. Then again, and more disturbingly, maybe not.

American Blitzkrieg

The United States made the transition from an army of citizen soldiers to a standing professional army after Vietnam. The Founding Fathers warned us against this, and we see the harm it can do when our country is in the wrong hands.

An interesting Tomgram (take a lunch) on our military's fascination with the German model.

“Why do people have a fixation with the German military when they haven’t won a war since 1871?” -- Tom Clancy

The story of how Pentagon strategists and the U.S. military went from being the masters of war to a force of would-be long-haul city-builders in the backlands of Afghanistan is a strange one indeed, made stranger yet by the bizarre detour they took through modern German military lore. [...]

In the process, any sense of war as thoroughly unpredictable and enormously wasteful was lost. In this infatuation with German military prowess, which the political scientist John Mearsheimer memorably described as “Wehrmacht penis envy,” (my em) we celebrated our ability to Blitzkrieg our enemies -- which promised rapid, decisive victories that would be largely bloodless (at least for us). In 1991, a decisively quick victory in the Desert Storm campaign of the first Gulf War was the proof, or so it seemed then, that a successful “revolution in military affairs,” or RMA in military parlance, was underway.

Forgotten, however, was this: the German Blitzkrieg of World War II ended with Germany’s “third empire” thoroughly thrashed by opponents who continued to fight even when the odds seemed longest.

What a remarkable, not to say bizarre, turnabout! The army and country the U.S. had soundly beaten in two world wars (with a lot of help from allies, including, of course, those godless communists of the Soviet Union in the second one) had become a beacon for the U.S. military after Vietnam. To use a sports analogy, it was as if a Major League Baseball franchise, in seeking to win the World Series, decided to model itself not on the New York Yankees but rather on the Chicago Cubs.

"Military intelligence" has always been the very definition of "oxymoron". Our civilian 'leadership' hasn't been much better, particularly when the neocon warmongers were in charge. We'll be paying for that the rest of our lives.


Maybe something will get done ...

Like I always say, if you want to motivate people, hit 'em in the wallet:

UN report: cost of pollution could wipe out 1/3 of corporate profits

How much you wanna bet you're gonna see a big push by Big Business to "go green"?

Late* for work ...

*Crazy around Casa de la Fixer this week. The Mrs. is working on a big case and her assistant from Charlotte is up here working with her at the house in the evenings and in the Manhattan office during the day. Totally screws up my rigid, regular (I am German after all) routine in the mornings. Thank god there are enough bathrooms here for me and the two women. Heh ...

How it works ...

Maru captures the modus operandi of the GOP perfectly:


John Boehner: I demand you post the healthcare bill online!

Prez Obama: Good idea -- done!

John Boehner: What?!! Damn socialist commie, I cannot believe you posted the healthcare bill online.


Why is it ...

That if a buncha Middle Eastern guys hijack planes and fly them into the World Trade Center they're called "terrorists" but when a white American flies a plane into the offices of a U.S. Government agency, he's called "troubled"?


Nobody should be surprised that the right wing doesn't see anything wrong with nice white, anti-government lunatics try[ing] to kill people, that's for sure. Their leaders certainly aren't.


But it's socialism!

The Rethugs bitch and moan about it but they'll take more if they can:


ThinkProgress has investigated opponents of the Recovery Act, reporting throughout the year that many of the lawmakers who tried to kill the legislation have been returning to their home states to claim credit for popular stimulus programs. In a new research report, ThinkProgress finds that over half of the GOP caucus, 110 lawmakers — from the House and Senate — are guilty of stimulus hypocrisy. Among some of the key findings:


It's all about saying "no".

Great thanks to Heather for the link.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Free Timers

Garrison Keillor nails the 'noids:

Tired of the feds setting your clock for you? Join the Free Time movement!

So you join the Free Time movement. You go to meetings. You tune in "The Bob Glenn Show" every day on Fox for your marching orders and set your clock as you darn well please and feel liberated from lockstep uniformity.

You don't necessarily agree with all the other Free Timers, e.g., the religious wing that says Only God Can Know The Time and is opposed to the use of the future tense, or the wing that believes Barack Obama is using metal detectors at airport security checkpoints to program the minds of all who pass through, but these minor differences disappear in the joyful enthusiasm of the rallies and marches, which focus on Washington's attempts to rule our daily lives and its indifference to you and to others in the novelty taxidermy business.

Meanwhile, your health insurance runs out and your gut hurts and it takes you 20 minutes to empty your bladder. You go to the E.R., but they want to check your prostate and you happen to know, thanks to Bob, that the digital prostate exam is how the CIA inserts GPS chips into Patriots to monitor their movements, and so you go home and suffer.

And then the New York Times publishes a big story about the Free Time movement. All your fellow Patriots are thrilled. Sarah Palin is quoted as saying that the movement has raised important questions and that we must look to God for answers and put our clocks in His hands. David Broder says Free Time is an authentic voice of grass-roots anger. The chairman of the Republican National Committee meets with Free Time leaders and is "deeply impressed." Democrats, meanwhile, are silent, confused, disheartened by the fact that Free Time has a 23 percent approval rating in some polls.

But in your own heart, you know that the crest has passed. Once the Times has recognized you, you're on the way down. It's the kiss of irrelevance. Meanwhile, your old friends avoid you, your own mother doesn't call. You've burned through your savings and Joan is talking divorce.


Universal health care ...

If you listen to the conservatives' drivel about single payer health care, you'd think every other person in Europe and Canada was dropping dead in the streets. If it were true, there'd be more deaths across Europe now than during the time of the plague ("Throw out your dead!") Take a look at how many nations have some form of universal health care and ask why we don't. Ask why, among all the supposedly 'modern' nations, we alone are being held hostage by private insurance companies and their exorbitantly high prices for care and pharmaceuticals. And if you're worried about paying for it, take heart in the fact you're already footing the bill for the Iraqis and Afghans.

Just figured you'd want to know ...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

He texts, he skis

I like firearms. I like cross-country skiing. I like the Biathlon, which I get to watch on TV every four years. I'm not gonna go into the whole guns v peacelovedope or 2d Amendment thing here, suffice it to say I'm not a very good Liberal in this aspect.

The Marine Corps taught me how to hit what I'm aiming at 47 years ago and I can hit a dinner plate at 500 yards with iron sights to this day. I taught myself to X-country ski and what I'm best at is picking myself up after a crash. Lotsa practice. Heh.

Amusing article in Slate about a guy who equates skill with a rifle to redneck behavior (most of 'em couldn't hit a bull in the ass with a bass fiddle without a 10x telescopic sight) and has no idea what he's doing trying Biathlon.

A would-be biathlete tries winter's weirdest sport.

[...] It doesn't just combine two different athletic disciplines. It combines two cultures—nature boys and rednecks—that want nothing to do with each other here in America. Ted Nugent has never written a song about cross-country skiing.

He sorta glosses over the whole reason to need to know how to ski and shoot with half a sentence:

Biathlon was invented in the 18th century as a training exercise for Norwegian ski troops but didn't gain a permanent spot in the Olympics until 1960. [...]

Norway. Snow everywhere. Troops. Ski. Shoot. It should perhaps be mentioned here that the Finns beat both the Soviets and the Nazis in two separate wars in WWII because of their knowledge of their own weather and their ability to deal with it.

The trick is to see how fast you can ski and then to control your breathing and heart rate on a moment's notice so you can shoot accurately. Personally, I'd get there ahead of time and set up an ambush and calm down naturally, but that's just me and war's not very sporting anyway.

The writer had some trouble with this:

When I told Steer about my predicament, she suggested an exercise designed for the unarmed urbanite. "Next time you go skiing," she said, "ski hard for six minutes, then try to type a text message without auto-complete."

I tried a text-and-ski on my next practice run, in a forest preserve near my home in Chicago. Heart racing, I tore off my glove and attempted to type "texting and skiing is hard." For those critical 30 or 45 seconds, my thumb kept skipping past the right letter. It took me a full minute to finally settle down and finish the message. This was how I readied myself to handle a loaded weapon in a state of utter exhaustion. Hopefully I wouldn't shoot someone.

No shit!

I'd brought along my long-bladed classic skis—useful for cutting tracks through fresh snow but much slower on groomed trails. I was also dressed in a turtleneck, a heavy Andean sweater, and a pair of nylon ski pants over waffle-iron long johns. I realized, right then, that I probably wasn't going to win this thing.

Gee, ya think? I'll cut to the chase. It's time to eat and take the dogs for a walk:

I couldn't shoot. I'd worn the wrong skis. That's an unfortunate combination in a biathlon race. The winning time was 16:16, by a skate skier in spandex who "shot clean," hitting all five targets. My time was 37:55. There was a bright side. I didn't finish last. (I finished next-to-last.) I also didn't shoot myself or anyone else. And during the Olympics, when I cheer on Tim Burke in his attempt to win a gold medal, I won't just be thinking, Thank God I never have to do that again. I'll also be thinking, Is there any athlete who can bring America together like a cross-country skier carrying a rifle? City boy and country boy. Gun lover and environmentalist. The biathlon's got a little something for all of us.

I find it a little amusing that this guy categorizes people like that. I'm all four - city boy, country boy, gun lover, and environmentalist. And much more.

It's also a little unnerving. Ideology rears its ugly head here, as if you have to be generalized into one camp or the other. You don't.

Stick to texting, city boy.

McCain v Hayworth

Following up on Fixer's "Where da popcorn at?", all I can say is "double butter, please!".

Thanks to YubaNet.

Cannabis Planet


Anyone who doubts the mainstreaming of the cannabis industry might want to skip "Letterman" and check out "Cannabis Planet." The weekly program, premiering in the Bay Area at midnight Friday on KOFY-TV, intends to promote the benefits of marijuana, but viewers shouldn't tune in expecting "KOFY and Bong Hits."

No bong hits? Duuuuude...

The show is structured around a pair of cannabis news anchors (yes, one of them has dreadlocks) and a mashup of educational segments, such as cooking demonstrations for hemp smoothies and medicated chicken stir-fry, and cannabis cultivation tips with marijuana guru Ed Rosenthal.

Lane pays KOFY to put "Cannabis Planet" on the air, like an infomercial, and generates revenue by running ads during the show for companies that produce grow lights, plant food and other products geared toward the cannabis industry. His operational philosophy is "Fuel, food, fiber, medicine," and he's bent on showing the public that medical marijuana isn't just for those with serious illnesses. He claims cannabis can alleviate everything from menstrual cramps to sleep disorders, and personally uses marijuana to curb attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, from which he's suffered since his days in Montessori school.

KJLA-TV, which reaches most of Southern California, first aired the Los Angeles-based show in July of last year and is now presenting season two to roughly 40,000 viewers each week. [...]

"Cannabis Planet" hits the Bay Area at a time when local medical marijuana advocates are divided over how best to push the agenda of full, statewide legalization. Richard Lee, founder of the pioneering cannabis college Oaksterdam University in Oakland is sponsoring an initiative to tax and regulate marijuana across the state. He recently turned in more than 700,000 signatures backing the measure to county voter registries, making its place on the forthcoming November ballot all but certain. Rallying political support for legalization during an election year, however, could be difficult, and some legalization advocates believe the new ballot measure is too restrictive.

"It's going backwards," says Dennis Peron, who co-authored Prop 215 in 1996, legalizing medical marijuana in California. "If you're 18 to 21, you can't smoke. It's continuing prohibition passing itself off as legalization."

You're not supposed to drink alcohol at that age either, numbnuts. Doesn't seem to stop anybody from doing it. Stuff that gets your head is for people that have one, i.e. 'adults'. To equate legal adult use to 'prohibition' is nonsense.

Legitimacy, though, is exactly what Lane is striving for. Next month, "Cannabis Planet" is sponsoring a vehicle in NASCAR's K&N Series (wiki and, of course, Facebook), where the first medical-cannabis car will race alongside cars sponsored by alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.

Let's not have any "why d'ya think they call it dope" jokes about NASCAR or motor racing in general, please. This is mainstream American entertainment, folks.

I use K&N Filters in everything (except two-strokes). I wonder if they'll make bong or vape filters to trap the sludge and let the goodness through. You could have all your friends over for a filter-cleaning party. Heh.

It's high time, you should pardon the pun, to legalize the adult use of marijuana and turn an entire class of criminals back into law-abiding citizens.

Perhaps your local indie or cable-access station would be interested in this program.

On dogs ...

As most regulars around here know, Gord and I are dog people. Gord and Mrs. G have been adopting rescued Springer Spaniels for years and our Shayna is a rescue as well. I haven't done one of these in a while so I figure the morning after Westminster ends is a good time.

Every year, between 3 and 4 million dogs end up in shelters, unwanted. Some folks have to make the hard decision to give up their companions because of the stressful financial times we live in but many just weren't prepared for the responsibility. Over a million dogs are euthanized every year and I have a few things to say about that.

Firstly, dogs are not toys, to be played with for a while until the 'newness' wears off and then forgotten about. A dog is not an "impulse buy". Having a dog is a long term commitment, a life that depends on you for its existence. If you're not ready to sign on to that commitment, don't get a dog. Get a goldfish.

Do not get a dog because your kids saw a certain breed in a movie or TV show and are pestering the shit out of you. 'Cuteness' is not a reason, it's a feature. Get a dog because you want to enrich your children's lives and teach them responsibility.

Do not get a dog if you have no time to do all the stuff you need to do for yourself and your family. Dogs, especially puppies, take goodly amounts of time to train properly and socialize. A dog who's neglected will find ways to amuse himself, usually in ways you find anything but amusing. Ultimately, 'bad' behavior usually ends up with the dog being left at a shelter.

Dogs are not fashion accessories, period.

Do not get a dog if you can't afford to pay your bills. Food and proper medical care cost money and if things are tight around the house, adding the expense of another mouth to feed isn't going to help the situation. When things get really tight, you're not going to get rid of one of the kids, are you?

If you are in a position to give a dog a home, do your research first. Here's where cute comes in again. All puppies are cute, but the degree of cuteness is not a reason to choose a particular dog. Yes, your dog has to be pleasing to look at for you but a breed's natural temperament might pose a conflict with your family's lifestyle. A high energy dog might not be the best for folks who have a more sedate life and a running companion for a marathoner should be an animal built for speed and endurance. Do your breed research before you decide on one. The same goes for mutts. Generally, the behavior of a mixed breed will parallel the breed it is most closely related to (e.g. - if it looks a lot like a Pointer, it will act a lot like a Pointer).

All I'm saying is think with your head, not your heart, when considering adding a dog to your home. Personally, I believe that the world would be a better place if every kid grew up with a four-legged best friend but it should not be a decision taken lightly. Get a dog for the right reasons and you'll get much more in return than you've invested.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Patience & Wisdom

Got this via email. It's ever so cute and true enough, but sometimes I question the 'wisdom' of 'patience' while constantly watching the Repugs eat the nation's lunch. I think I'd chance gettin' stunk up to get rid of them. The skunk is infinitely preferable.

Two of the greatest qualities in life are:




Too much Olympics?

The Olympics have been fascinating as always, but Mrs. G says I should probably watch less since I flipped the bed over in my sleep last night and slid it down the hall after watching the Romanian slider do the same. Note: both the Romanian lass and Mrs. G were unhurt.

On the plus side, she says I look nice in my luge outfit. Wait 'til she sees my figure skating duds!

Evan Bayh Punks Out

The Rude Pundit with a suggestion on how not to lose his seat to the Repugs:

Finally, where does this leave Bayh's seat? It's Indiana. Yeah, yeah, Obama won the state in 2008 by 1%. But, c'mon, the black turnout in 2008 was the factor in that intensely blue state. It's gonna go Republican. The Democrats who might run right now make Bayh look like Ted Kennedy.

If Democrats want to have a chance to hold onto the seat, then fuck it. Go Hail Mary. Try to get (go read - G) John Mellencamp to run. The man lives in Seymour, Indiana. He knows the people and the state. He fights for progressive causes. Why not a rock star? We don't have problems with sports stars running for office. And you'd get past that whole "name recognition" thing pretty damn quickly.

Speaking as a Californian, we don't seem to have much of a problem with electing B-movie actors to office either, viz Reagan and Ah-nold. Name recognition works. No problem. Until they get in office, that is. Maybe we should try it with a progressive.

Bayh Update:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) -- Just hours after rocking the political world with his surprise retirement announcement, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind) said that he would undergo treatment for an "all-consuming addiction" to the popular Facebook game Farmville.


Trafficking Charges for Adviser to Jailed Americans in Haiti


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — As the 10 Americans imprisoned in Haiti for trying to remove children from the country awaited a decision on their fate Monday, the legal woes of the man who falsely portrayed himself as the group’s lawyer mounted.

The one-time legal adviser, who calls himself Jorge Puello, now acknowledges that he faces sex trafficking charges in El Salvador under the name Jorge Anibal Torres Puello. He remained at large on Monday, as Dominican, Salvadoran and American law enforcement officials worked with Interpol to interview his relatives and search border and immigration records to find him.

Mr. Puello is wanted by the police in at least four countries in connection with charges including sex trafficking of girls and women, and making counterfeit documents and violating parole.

On Monday, Bernard Saint-Vil, the Haitian judge who is handling the case of the detained Americans, said he intended to further question Laura Silsby, the group’s leader, about any connection she might have with Mr. Puello.

Much more, including details about how the authorities tumbled to all this.

I still have no idea what the Silsby woman was really up to but she was either up to no good or not. Either way, she was stupid enough to get all her friends locked up in a Haitian jail which is no picnic.

Quote of the Day

Creature on the capture of the Big Tali:

Not bad for a dithering president who does not believe we are at war. Huh, Dick?

Not that I'm fond of that stinking war but Barry's had more success in a few months than the Chimp had in 8 years. It boggles the mind that this latest is the biggest operation since the war began.

Where da popcorn at?

What Fez said:


This may be the most enjoyable primary of the election cycle -- plus I don't live there, and that's a real bonus.

It's gonna be fun to see how low the Arizona senate race will go.

More snow, more shoveling ...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Henry Fukuhara 1913 - 2010

Click to embiggen

Painting by Henry Fukuhara, "View of Manzanar near Mt. Whitney." When he painted scenes from the camp, Fukuhara focused on symbols such as the guard tower, the entrance gate and the Sierras in the background to create vibrant, not downbeat, images.

I've visited Manzanar and did a few posts about it here, here, and here.


Henry Fukuhara, a California watercolorist and teacher who attracted many of the field's most accomplished artists to annual painting workshops at the Manzanar relocation camp in Owens Valley, where he and thousands of other Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II, died of natural causes Jan. 31 at a nursing home in Yorba Linda, according to his grandson, Paul Niwa. He was 96.

Fukuhara started the Manzanar workshops in 1998, taking participants -- many of whom had been interned at Manzanar -- on painting excursions to various outdoor sites around the camp, including the Alabama Hills and the nearby town of Lone Pine.

In 1941, his family, which owned a retail nursery in Los Angeles, was just beginning to regain its financial footing when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched the United States into World War II. They managed to sell the nursery and store some personal belongings before arriving at Manzanar in April 1942.

By then a husband and father, Fukuhara worked in the camp's drafting department, surveying plots for graves. "Seemed like a joke," he told The Times in 1992, "but that's what we did." He lived in one room with his wife, daughter, parents, brother and sister-in-law.

In 1943, when internees who agreed to move away from the West Coast were permitted to leave the camp, Fukuhara and his family departed for Long Island, N.Y. With his father and brother he started a flower business that prospered over the next four decades.

Fukuhara was not bitter about his Manzanar experience, shrugging it off, he said, "because it's part of war" and "so many young men didn't return." When he painted scenes from the camp, he focused on symbols such as the guard tower, the entrance gate and the Sierras in the background, creating vibrant images.

His Manzanar paintings and workshops were an attempt at reconciliation, his grandson said, "a way to bring others to experience Manzanar . . . and help us find our own significance in the event."

You're a kinder and wiser man than I am, Mr. Fukuhara. Sayonara to another fine representative of the Greatest Generation.


Thanks to Slate

Wall Streetwalkers

Thanks to YubaNet.

Neo-Nazis rally on Dresden bombing anniversary

AP via Yahoo!News

DRESDEN, Germany – Thousands of protesters formed a human chain in Dresden on Saturday, determined to stop neo-Nazis from exploiting the German city's painful history on the 65th anniversary of its deadly Allied bombing in World War II.

Across the Elbe River, some 10,000 people joined hands to create a human chain symbolically protecting the restored city center from neo-Nazis, after the city mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge to block the far-right march.

"Dresden doesn't want them, and this gang doesn't belong here," Mayor Helma Orosz said.

The human chain helps to "make Dresden a fortress against intolerance and stupidity," and the anniversary provided a reminder of who started the war, she said.

Three successive waves of British and U.S. bombers on Feb. 13-14, 1945, set off firestorms and destroyed Dresden's centuries-old baroque city center.

Dresden has been rebuilt painstakingly over the years. Its landmark domed Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady — for decades no more than a mound of rubble — reopened in 2005.

Karolin Hanebuth, 20, came from Hannover in western Germany to counter the far-right protest.

"Fascism is not an opinion, it is a crime," she said.

The far right is marginal in Germany and has no seats in the national parliament. However, Saxony, where Dresden is located, is one of two eastern German states where the far-right National Democratic Party has seats in the regional legislature.

Go read about the Bombing Of Dresden. Arguments persist to this day, both for and against about whether the attack was militarily necessary and justified or a terror attack on civilians, immoral or a war crime, coming as it did toward the end of the war when Germany was just about whipped.

My personal thought is that, necessary or not, it was payback time and payback's a motherfucker.

Bottom line: WWII was Total War and the Nazis started it in the name of all Germans and Germans suffered for the crimes of their leaders. For the neo-Nazis to bring up this attack in an attempt to justify their own existence and deny the crimes of their forebears is a perfect example of the perfidy of right wings everywhere.

Cheney Exposes Torture Conspiracy

Robert Parry

If the United States had a functioning criminal justice system for the powerful – not just for run-of-the-mill offenders – former Vice President Dick Cheney would have convicted himself and some of his Bush administration colleagues with his comments on ABC’s “This Week.”

Cheney’s frank comments on “This Week” – corroborating that Yoo and Bybee “had done what we asked them to do” – suggest that former Bush administration officials are confident that they will face no accountability from the Obama administration for war crimes.

Though the ABC News interviewer Jonathan Karl deserves some credit for posing the waterboarding question to Cheney, it was notable that Karl didn’t react with any shock or even a follow-up when Cheney pronounced himself a fan of the torture practice. Cheney’s waterboarding endorsement was only a footnote in ABC’s online account of the interview.

So Jon, what does the inside of The Dick's lower colon taste like? Chicken, I bet.

That Cheney feels he can operate with such impunity is a damning commentary on the rule of law in the United States, at least when it comes to the nation’s elites.

It's the Golden Rule - them what has the Gold make the Rules.

I simply will not drop this subject until every last one of the Bush administration war criminals are dead or in jail, even as unlikely as the latter seems as of now. I vow to outlive every one of them and make pilgrimages to piss on their graves like they pissed on us.

Headline of the Day

From BuzzFlash. Got a '404 Not Found' when I hit the link, but this is plenty:

The Dick Wad Watch: Lieberman Now Against Saying White House Critics Help Al-Qaeda (After He Was For It, During Bush Years)

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

D.C. Snow Shutdown Hurts Local Businesses
Graft, bribery off 40%.

Report: Blackwater Billed Pentagon for Prostitute
Charge hidden under “Hammer: $500.”

New Theory: Universe a Giant Hologram
Cosmos nothing more than special effect at some humongous trade show.

71% Say Palin Unqualified to Be President
But qualified to be GOP nominee.

To which I add, from Ann Davidow:

Would the American people really be willing to settle for the cardboard box instead of the pizza?

Us v. Them

Civil rights are "quaint" and the Constitution is just "a piece of paper" until it's white Christian guys who are being denied.

... The very same people who have been demanding for years that Muslims be imprisoned for life, tortured and killed with no trials or charges of any kind suddenly become extremely sensitive to the nuances of due process and humane detention conditions -- they start sounding like Amnesty International civil liberties extremists -- the minute it's a Christian, rather than a Muslim, who is subjected to such treatment ...

It's amazing how quickly the conservatives grasp the concept of "nuance" when they have to.

Thank god ...

Joe Biden has a set.


VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Let me choose my words carefully here. Dick Cheney's a fine fellow. He's entitled to his own opinion. He's not entitled to rewrite history. He's not entitled to his own facts. The Christmas Day Bomber was treated the exact way that he suggested that the Shoe Bomber was treated. Absolutely the same way. Under the Bush Administration there were three trials in military courts. Two of those people are now walking the streets. They are free.

There were 300 trials of so-called terrorists and those who engage in terror against the United States of America who are in federal prison and have not seen the light of day. Prosecuted under the last Administration. Dick Cheney's a fine fellow, but he is not entitled to rewrite history without it being challenged. I don't know where he has been. Where was he the last four years of the last Administration?


I was hoping he'd be a little less tactful but he got the point across. It would have been nice if he told Cheney to STFU and go back to his undisclosed location.

Thanks to Watertiger for the link.

Dogs Rule!

Big doings in the Fixer house. Westminster begins tonight!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A little Sunday afternoon Kraut dobro pickin'

A subject some of us are all too familiar with:

And something most of us are no longer, mostly because there aren't very many maidens our age that do much prayin' except nuns, and the ones who do are prayin' for someone a lot younger:

Thanks to MartinGross, Germany. He's got lots of these.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Being as hopelessly romantic as the Mrs. and I are, Valentine's is one of our favorite holidays. All the best to you and those you love. We wish you what we have.

Celebrating Valentine's Day at Le Bistrot du 7eme in Paris 2000. My cousin Birgit and her husband Peter made the trip from Germany to join us. God, we looked so young.