Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy fucking New Year

3000. Guess what 'Happy New Year' will mean to his family from here on.

2006 has been that kind of year...

Barnes & Barnes: Fish Heads

I should issue a not intended for the faint-hearted warning. You've been warned.

Guess who the Fish Heads are? So let's hope, pray, demand, mobilise, write, work and anything else we can think of to make the promise of Nov. 06 become a force for good in 2007. Happy New Year to all and to all a good night.

Dead men tell no tales...

Robert Parry sums it up nicely.

Like a blue-blood version of a Mob family with global reach, the Bushes have eliminated one more key witness to the important historical events that led the U.S. military into a bloody stalemate in Iraq and pushed the Middle East to the brink of calamity.

Some observers think that Bush simply wanted the personal satisfaction of seeing Hussein hanged, which would not have happened if he had been sent to the Hague. As Texas governor, Bush sometimes took what appeared to be perverse pleasure at his power to execute prisoners.

But a more powerful motive was always Hussein's potential threat to the Bush Family legacy if he ever had a forum where he could offer detailed testimony about the historic events of the past several decades.

When there is a potential rupture of valuable information, the Bushes intervene, turning to influential friends to discredit some witness or relying on the U.S. military to make the threat go away. The Bushes have been helped immeasurably, too, by the credulity and cowardice of the modern U.S. news media and the Democratic Party.

With the Democrats taking control of Congress on Jan. 4, 2007, there could finally be an opportunity to force out more of the full story, assuming the Democrats don't opt for their usual course of putting "bipartisanship" ahead of oversight and truth.

The American people also could demand that the surviving members of Hussein's regime be fully debriefed on their historical knowledge before their voices also fall silent either from natural causes or additional executions.

But the singular figure who could have put the era in its fullest perspective - and provided the most damning evidence about the Bush Family's role - has been silenced for good, dropped through a trap door of a gallows and made to twitch at the end of a noose fashioned from hemp.

That's a good point: the Bushes, and many others, deserve the finest. No sisal or synthetic ropes for them.

We better start growing hemp. We're gonna need a lot of it when justice comes to them.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Well, another year shot to Hell ...

Oy, what a year and I'm glad it's over*. Too much personal shit went on this year, too many friends and relatives (and my wife) with health issues, too much craziness at the shop, and too much in general.

We did, however, have a great vacation, Mrs. F got through her health issues without complication, and what can we say about the Election Day win. Hopefully, 2007 will bring a further curtailing of the Chimp's power and see our kids home from Iraq.

I hope 2007 is good for all our readers and commenters. Thanks for all you've done for us (as I've said in the past, without you the Brain would just be grafitti). We fought the good fight this year and scored a major victory. Celebrate safely, remind those who are close to you that you love them, and make a resolution to make a difference.

Happy New Year!

*The reason I'm putting this up now is that New Year's is a special holiday in the Fixer household, very hedonistic in terms of food, drink, and ... other stuff. Don't know if I'll have much coherent to say over the next couple days (though that would be assuming I've said something coherent over the past 2 1/2 years. Heh ...) See yas next year.

Saturday night's all right ...

To blogwhore. Chapter 12 of my novel The Captains is up at The Practical Press.

"...there's nothing else this president can get right."

Josh Marshall has a few thoughts about Saddam and Bush's failure in Iraq:

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur -- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.

Marty Peretz, with some sort of projection, calls any attempt to rain on this parade "prissy and finicky." Myself, I just find it embarrassing. This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.

Bush has always been good at executing people. What a talent.

Hanging's Too Good For Us

The three-year charade is over. Saddam Hussein is dead. The Rude One weighed in just prior to the Big Drop:

And once he hangs, as he will any time now, once he's videoed pissing himself while dangling from the noose, maybe even a close-up on his last hard-on, then it's time to go to work. Cut that fucker's head off his corpse and graft it onto George W. Bush's right shoulder, so that it rots away next to him just like Iraq, so the President can watch the decay every time he looks in the mirror and smell it constantly. Rip out Hussein's bones and shove them up the asses of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, Michelle Malkin, and more and more - Saddam's got two hundred something bones, so line up a bunch of neocons and warmongering whores, bend 'em over, and give 'em a souvenir. Dry Saddam's organs and grind them into a powder and pour it into the water supply of the United States so we can each consume a little bit of the man who so drove our leaders crazy that they destroyed our economy, our military, our morality to topple him, yes, let us all drink that in, toasting the hanging of Saddam Hussein as a demonstration of what great and noble and righteous and merciful humans we are. Send his cock to Tony Blair so he can go fuck himself.

There's more.

I would like to study at that man's knee.

The witch is dead ...

Calling all wingnuts, Saddam is dead so now Iraq will turn into this great, shining, peaceful democracy on the hill. Congratulations, you were successful. Saddam will no longer be a threat to Middle East peace and all is right with the world.

So let's look back on 2006 and see all the good works you've wrought in the last year, since the eeeeeevil madman was captured:

1. The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.
2. Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.
3. The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.
4. The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.
5. An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.
6. Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.
7. For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.
8. Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.
9. People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks.

Indeed. Look at all you've done for these people by ridding them of the tyrant, and now they should be even more ecstatic he is dead. Good job, wingnuts. Once again you've proven the Republicans are truly the ones equipped to run this nation and the world.

The 110th Congress will be seated in less than a week and not a minute too soon.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Quote of the Day

Commander Huber on the hanging of Saddam Hussein:

Stand by for things to go ape.

Things are looking up!

Brother Lurch comments on the lessening of his pessimism about the plans of this administration:

I used to figure Messers Bu$h, Cheney and their horse-holders had the most malign plans, and that there might well be a national emergency during the late Summer, 2008 that would require draconian measures, including a temporary suspension of the elections. I think the foreign policy circumstances are too dire now, and with a slight Democratic majority and what seems to be the majority of the Army with rifles in Iraq by then, I'm no longer that pessimistic. Let's face it - you can't impose martial law with an evangelized tactical Air Force.

Good point! Hallelujah!

Idiotic comment of the day


Five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden is still at large -- but that's not a failure of White House policy, says Frances Fragos Townsend. As she explained to CNN's White House correspondent Ed Henry last night:

HENRY: You know, going back to September 2001, the president said, dead or alive, we're going to get him. Still don't have him. I know you are saying there's successes on the war on terror, and there have been. That's a failure.

TOWNSEND: Well, I'm not sure -- it's a success that hasn't occurred yet. I don't know that I view that as a failure.

I feel a lot better now. I guess that little scene I've envisioned with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Charlize Theron, and me is a 'success that hasn't occurred yet' as well. Not a failure. Wow, that's a load off!

VA/DoD meet Gilgamesh

From BoingBoing:

In the vein of inappropriate/unexpected graphic adaptations of literature... my father, a psychiatrist with the Veterans Administration, alerted me to a new training video on the VA website that describes post-deployment health evaluation procedure... as an adaptation of GILGAMESH. What genius government employee came up with that one, eh?

There are some odd (though not necessarily helpful) synchronicities: Gilgamesh was the King of Uruk (now in Iraq). In the vid, his friend comes home from battle with Gulf War Syndrome (I'm guessing), and he with PTSD.

Go see. Takes about fifteen minutes.

One would think that health-care professionals wouldn't need silly shit like this to be advised as to how to diagnose things like PTSD or Gulf War Syndrome, but if it helps them get the message...

God help our Veterans.

" haff vays of making you..."

John Dean poses answers to the burning question:

What Should Congressional Democrats Do, When the Bush Administration Stonewalls Their Efforts To Undertake Oversight?

The site is "legal news and commentary", so pack a lunch and put on yer fishin' waders.

"We see a war coming on Capitol Hill," a well-connected Republican attorney based in Washington recently told me, as I reported in my last column on the subject. The clash is not surprising, because Vice President Dick Cheney -- who is at the center of many of the subjects the Democratic Congress will be investigating -- is strongly opposed to Congress's inquiring into these areas. He believes the power of the presidency is at stake. Accordingly, as I noted earlier, he has made it quite clear that he is not going to cooperate with these investigations.

Before the conflict develops, it might seem helpful to go over the rules of the game -- to appreciate who is on solid ground, who is on shaky ground, and why this is the case. But as it happens, there are no rules!

Of course, there are precedents, and even U.S. Supreme Court rulings, in this area. But they have virtually no applicability when the contest involves Congress and the White House. Also, while forests have doubtless been consumed to publish copious learned treatises, essays, articles, and reports on this subject, at bottom, this is a matter not of law, but purely of politics. There is, however, evidence regarding this matter that can be drawn from history.

I'm glad he's a lawyer and not a dentist. He 'draws evidence from history' like a dentist would extract teeth through your ass, but he gets the job done, I think.

Thus, if the 110th Congress, controlled by the Democrats, fails to get the information it needs -- and the public wants -- about the workings of the Bush/Cheney presidency, it will not be because it does not have the tools with which to obtain that information. Rather, it will be because it lacks the will to use those tools.

When Congress plays hardball, it gets the information it wants from the president. The Congressional Reference Service (CRS) has prepared a complete manual on oversight, which they updated recently. In the manual, CRS has laid out all Congress needs to know to crack any stonewall Bush and Cheney may erect to block their oversight efforts.

Lou Fisher, one of the authors of the CRS manual, catalogued a number of the methods available to Congress in his essay: "Congressional Access To Information: Using Legislative Will And Leverage." Drawing on historical examples, Fisher shows that Congress has a host of tools, of various size and shape and depending on the situation, to "extract information from the President."

When it comes to ways to "extract information from the president", I lean towards the old burning bamboo slivers under the foreskin whilst the unit is clamped tightly in an ice-cold vise method, but then I'm old-fashioned.

This is good 'process' stuff and you should go familiarize yourself with it, but it makes no difference if one-ten ain't got the sack to do it. Pray for Congressional balls.

Park Service stifles godless liberal commie geologists

This one is pretty much just for laughs, although it's indicative of a trend we've noticed the last few years to downplay reality and facts in favor of ideological fantasy.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is 'no comment.' "

In a letter released today, PEER urged the new Director of the National Park Service (NPS), Mary Bomar, to end the stalling tactics, remove the book from sale at the park and allow park interpretive rangers to honestly answer questions from the public about the geologic age of the Grand Canyon. PEER is also asking Director Bomar to approve a pamphlet, suppressed since 2002 by Bush appointees, providing guidance for rangers and other interpretive staff in making distinctions between science and religion when speaking to park visitors about geologic issues.

"As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan," Ruch added, pointing to the fact that previous NPS leadership ignored strong protests from both its own scientists and leading geological societies against the agency approval of the creationist book. "We sincerely hope that the new Director of the Park Service now has the autonomy to do her job."

The funny part, to me, is the administration's continued pandering to an increasingly irrelevant group of prominent Repuglican fundie supporters by giving moral equivalence to what is essentially a Chick tract.

Everywhere you go in Grand Canyon National Park there are posters, plaques, signboards, etc. showing the various layers of the Canyon with their geologic age right next to them. The Park Service has been doing this shit for many years and it can't be undone by bureaucratic bias.

I found this and this in less than a minute, just f'rinstance.

6000 years, 550 million years, 5 billion years, mox nix. Makes no difference to the Creator, only to a buncha wingnut fundie idiots with access to your tax money.

Our government needs to get out of the slide to the Dark Ages in general, but this one's just funny in an unfunny kinda way.

See what I mean ...

When this whole Duke Lacrosse Team rape case came up, I cautioned bloggers not to jump the gun until all the facts were in. Sex crime allegations, even if proven false, can haunt someone forever. A lot of people had a lot to say about these boys back then, two of them from my area, and now I hear nothing. Now these boys will have this stigma follow them throughout their lives. I believe quite a few of us owe them an apology, not silence, especially since the District Attorney who filed the case is now up against an ethics charge.

I hope the D.A. and Duke University get their asses sued off.

You know you suck when ...

You poll lower than the Devil ... by a lot.


Gord's post yesterday quoted that dipshit and paragon of morality and decency Bill Bennett:

You're a former President Mr. Ford, show a little more decency to the incumbent who is in a very, very tough place and trying to do the right may recall those days and positions yourself.

Yeah, you know, like St. Ronnie of Ray Gun.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Silence of Section 60

Please go read this.

Do the 'decent thing' now that you're dead, president Ford

Normally I wouldn't post anything from Bill Bennett, but this one takes the fuckin' cake! From the Nat'l Review:

Since "decency" seems to be the watchword of the day and the consensus modifier for Jerry Ford (a view with which I generally concur), may I nevertheless be permitted to ask this: just how decent, how courageous, is what Jerry Ford did with Bob Woodward? He slams Bush & Cheney to Woodward in 2004, but asks Woodward not to print the interview until he's dead. If he felt so strongly about his words having a derogatory affect, how about telling Woodward not to run the interview until after Bush & Cheney are out of office? The effect of what Ford did is to protect himself, ensuring he can't be asked by others about his critiques, ensuring that there can be no dialogue. The way Ford does it with Woodward, he doesn't have to defend himself...he simply drops it into Bob Woodward's tape recorder and let's the bomb go off when fully out of range, himself. This is not courage, this is not decent. The manly or more decent options are these: 1. Say it to Bush's or Cheney's face and allow them and us to engage the point while you're around, or 2. Far more decently, say nothing critical of Bush will be on the record until his presidency is over. There's a 3. Don't say anything critical of George Bush to Bob Woodward at all.

You're a former President Mr. Ford, show a little more decency to the incumbent who is in a very, very tough place and trying to do the right may recall those days and positions yourself.

Un. Fucking. Believable.

I just couldn't resist...

Ain't it the truth!

Envision World Peace

Pic courtesy of Cute Overload.

Anything is possible if you work hard enough at it.

You see why ...

I'm not on the "Gerry Ford was a good man and a good President" bandwagon. He was just another for whom the 'good of America' placed a distant second next to the 'good of the Party':

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


How well do you think the Chimp would have fared had the former President allowed this interview to be released at the time it was given? I believe we would be referring to 'President Kerry' at this point.

Do yourself a favor and read Froggy's obit too.

Tip o' the Brain to Atrios.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Oh! The Irony Horror!

Ironic Times

New Warning Issued About Obesity
To folding chair manufacturers.


Iraq War Costing U.S. $2 Billion a Week
That's "only about seven bucks per person,' says White House.

Bush to Expand Military
To fight all our new enemies.

Pelosi and Conyers -- Smarter than Impeachment-

Good alternative scenario from Rob Kall. Today's 'must read'.

A lot of people are angry with Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers because they say impeachment is not on the table. I say "thank goodness."

You see, I'm in a hurry. I want to see the big cleanup in Washington happen much faster-- including showing Cheney and Bush the door, and maybe, the prison yard. Pelosi and Conyers are doing things exactly right and they have a better chance of my goal-- removal of Bush and Cheney from office-- than if they were going the impeachment route.

At this point, the Republicans, about fifteen or sixteen of those in the senate, particularly ones up for re-election in 2008, will take a walk-- not a phone call, not e-mail-- a walk, to the oval office. They will inform the president that he must resign to save the Republican party from implosive destruction. They will tell him that to save the Republican party they are willing to join with the Democrats to impeach him out of office. They will instruct him to do the right thing for the country and save it the trauma, mostly at the expense of the Republicans, of a horrible impeachment, which is inevitable, since the most revelations about testimony and evidence on Bush has brought his ratings down to less than 20% approval rating.

Bush will, in his attempt to negotiate, ask for either no criminal sentence or a minimal one. The Dems should not let him off scott free. Bush should do time in jail and he should be fined Billions. That's right. Billions. Not only that, he should be banned from profitting from his presidency and includes making any speeches or consulting as a lobbyist. Send him to his ranch to clear brush.

With any luck, he'll soon be clearing other people's brush. For minimum wage.

Bottom line-- I am quite comfortable that impeachment is off the table. Impeachment did not bring down Nixon. Hearings and investigations did. I am fine with all the people advocating for hearings. Their pressure will motivate the Conyers and Waxmans in congress to do their investigations, knowing they are on the same page as the griping impeachment advocates. I am confident that Pelosi, Conyers, Waxman and enough other members of congress want Bush out as much as we do. They just know that there's a better way and they're executing that strategy.

So, if you've been castigating and berating Pelosi and Conyers, don't get hung up on the "I" word. It's the "O" word that's important and what we really want anyway. No, not orgasm. That will come afterward. THe "O" stands for OUT. We want them out and there is no doubt in my mind that Pelosi and Conyers have every plan to do what it takes to help the Republicans figure out that they have no choice but to force both Bush AND Cheney out. Come January 2008 there's a great chance we will be dealing with the "C" and "A" words-- cleanup and appointments. These will be exciting times.

Damn, it's drafty in here with my pants around my ankles!

Oh, Boy! Another Bush War!

International Herald Tribune

NAIROBI: Undeterred by the horrors and setbacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, the Bush administration has opened another battlefront in the Muslim world. With full U.S. backing and military training, at least 15,000 Ethiopian troops have entered Somalia in an illegal war of aggression against the Union of Islamic Courts, which controls almost the entire south of the country.

As with Iraq in 2003, the United States has cast this as a war to curtail terrorism, but its real goal is to obtain a direct foothold in a highly strategic region by establishing a client regime there. The Horn of Africa is newly oil-rich (my em), and lies just miles from Saudi Arabia, overlooking the daily passage of large numbers of oil tankers and warships through the Red Sea. General John Abizaid, the current U.S. military chief of the Iraq war, was in Ethiopia this month, and President Hu Jintao of China visited Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia earlier this year to pursue oil and trade agreements.

Since 1993, there had been no Security Council interest in sending peacekeepers to Somalia, but as peace and order took hold, a multilateral force was suddenly deemed necessary - because it was the Islamic Courts Union that had brought about this stability. Astonishingly, the Islamists had succeeded in defeating the warlords primarily through rallying people to their side by creating law and order through the application of Shariah law, which Somalis universally practice.

The transitional government, on the other hand, is dominated by the warlords and terrorists who drove out American forces in 1993. Organized in Kenya by U.S. regional allies, it is so completely devoid of internal support that it has turned to Somalia's arch- enemy, Ethiopia, for assistance.

Go read the rest of the article.

It appears as if we can train the military of one country enough to invade another country a lot faster than we can train Iraqis to maintain control of their own country. Which Bush doesn't really want them to anyway, because we might have to leave all that oil in the hands of its (gasp!) owners.

I guess Muslim law and order in a country isn't near as good as U.S.-imposed chaos. Especially with all that oil up for grabs.


Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON - The U.S. signaled its support Tuesday for Ethiopia's offensive in Somalia, calling it a response to "aggression" by Islamists who since the summer have been consolidating power in the country.

Tuesday, a day after an Ethiopian jet strafed the airport in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the State Department issued internal guidance to staff members, instructing officials to play down the invasion in public statements.

"Should the press focus on the role of Ethiopia inside Somalia," read a copy of the guidelines given to The New York Times by a U.S. official here, "emphasize that this is a distraction from the issue of dialogue between the TFIs and Islamic courts."

TFI is an abbreviation for the weak transitional government in Somalia.

"The press must not be allowed to make this about Ethiopia, or Ethiopia violating the territorial integrity of Somalia," the guidance said.

Truth is not Bush administration policy.

Fridge Magnet Review

If you are seeking a mate with values of honesty, sensitivity, compassion -- and a person who is not a hypocrite, the choice is easy.

Don't marry a Republican, at least not a Republican elected official.

There might be some camp followers of the GOP with values of decency, but then they're dumb, because if they can't see that their party leaders and President are the anithesis of moral and ethical decision making, then they have a rock for a brain.

So, this cartoon magnet makes it clear. It's hard for an honest, moral person to love a Republican.

It's important to maintain your moral standards -- and your dignity.

It's okay to have a meaningless fling with a Republican - and the ones who champion monogamy appear to be the biggest bed hoppers -- just don't marry one.

You can get one at BuzzFlash.

If you're already married to a Repug, God help you, and remember, it's still illegal to murder them in their beds. For a while yet, anyway. The Dixie Chicks have some advice that might help.

Helping the Poor, the British Way

Paul Krugman

It's the season for charitable giving. And far too many Americans, particularly children, need that charity.

Scenes of a devastated New Orleans reminded us that many of our fellow citizens remain poor, four decades after L.B.J. declared war on poverty. But I'm not sure whether people understand how little progress we've made. In 1969, fewer than one in every seven American children lived below the poverty line. Last year, although the country was far wealthier, more than one in every six American children were poor.

And there's no excuse for our lack of progress. Just look at what the British government has accomplished over the last decade.

Just look.

What are the lessons to be learned from across the pond?

First, government truly can be a force for good. Decades of propaganda have conditioned many Americans to assume that government is always incompetent - and the current administration has done its best to turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the Blair years have shown that a government that seriously tries to reduce poverty can achieve a lot.

Second, it really helps to have politicians who are serious about governing, rather than devoting themselves entirely to amassing power and rewarding cronies.

While researching this article, I was startled by the sheer rationality of British policy discussion, as compared with the cynical posturing that passes for policy discourse in George Bush's America. Instead of making grandiose promises that are quickly forgotten - like Mr. Bush's promise of "bold action" to confront poverty after Hurricane Katrina - British Labor politicians propose specific policies with well-defined goals. And when actual results fall short of those goals, they face the facts rather than trying to suppress them and sliming the critics.

The moral of my Christmas story is that fighting poverty isn't easy, but it can be done. Giving in to cynicism and accepting the persistence of widespread poverty even as the rich get ever richer is a choice that our politicians have made. And we should be ashamed of that choice.

Damn right we should be ashamed of the decisions our politicians, in the richest country on Earth, have made. I guess they feel it's better to let people starve, and pander to rich contributors, than to do the right things and be labeled "socialists". Or worse, real Christians.

364 Shopping Days 'Til Christmas...

I'm ba-ack. I hope everybody had a nice enough Christmas that they aren't stressed-out worse than before.

The only thing that gets to me is the driving. Due to the timing of Christmas this year, Northern California moved south and Southern California moved north all at the same time. Probably a good thing. If one end of the state had got all bunched up we'da probably had a big tilt and flung everybody into the ocean. Hmmm...on second thought....

Everybody makes mistakes, but 90% of the drivers do OK, and the remainder are about equally split between people who are so damned important that traffic laws and the laws of physics and common courtesy just don't apply to them and fuck you, and of graduates of Mrs. Fujimoto's Live Bait, Sushi, 'Ichi Ban' Driving School And Oban Society. Their motto is, "Just off boat? Got Rexus SUV? Never Drive Befo'? No Probrem! Teach Drive Onry Take Ten Minutes!". I'm absolutely amazed at the number of people who can't see over the steering wheel. Anyway, driving half the length of this state is tiring, but only if you pay attention to what you're doing, and to what a whole lotta folks around you oughta be doing but ain't, I guess. It's a lot easier in a modern pickup than on a motorcycle, though. I don't give it 100% in the truck - I back off and listen to the stereo with 1%.

The last fifty miles home were after dark, rain and snow, immense amount of traffic, nose-to-tail city drivers. I've posted about this before, but there were no incidents, just scarier'n shit for me. We got to watch one guy learn a little about driving on a snow-covered Interstate on the uphill stretch just before Donner Summit (7239'). I have no idea what prompted it, but his headlights went from straight ahead to about 7 o'clock and then back around to about 5 o'clock. Twice. In traffic. His lights stayed in a tight arc and the rear of the car did all the swinging. He didn't quite spin it, and he didn't hit anything, but I bet the inside of that car didn't smell very good. If he even noticed.

I was pretty much off the internets. Our motel doesn't have its own WiFi, and though there's a wireless signal there that my computer picked up, it didn't work very well. Due to a strange combination of available phone cables, the only way I could have sat at the desk and done dial-up was to stretch all the cords so tight I could have plucked them and sent a musical greeting. Sitting on the bed and doing this shit doesn't work for me. So, to all you folks who have told me to "shut up" - Merry Christmas!

The family get-together was a different bunch to some extent. Since my sister-in-law doesn't feel like doing it anymore, she passed the duty to her eldest daughter and there's more than one family in attendance now. It was fun. Also fun is watching Eldest Daughter learn to cook at age 45...

Different folks brought covered dishes. Eldest Daughter's mother-in-law makes the best green bean casserole I've ever had, and Daughter No. 2's husband makes the deadliest mashed potatoes. I think the recipe goes something like "one smashed potato...two pounds of butter...second smashed potato...three kinds of cheese, one pound each. Serve. Dial 911." I eschewed the third helping of those because I felt the first two wrapping themselves around my heart!

Mrs. G volunteered me to bring dessert, so I'm Pie Czar. I get 'em from Coco's in Pismo Beach. Easy. Got one too many and had to bring it home. Darn...

One of the best moves Mrs. G's family has made in recent years is for the adults not to exchange gifts. We all like this program. There's only two little kids and a teenager to get stuff for, and it saves a lot of hassle and expense.

All the holiday bullshit is over for another year, and I'm damn glad of it. I like to visit Mrs. G's family, but twice a year one month apart is crazy. Could somebody please look into if there's some Pagan celebration around the other solstice we could move Christmas to?

Culling the herd ...

Our long national nightmare is over.

No, it was just begun with Watergate. Our long national nightmare will be over when the Republican Party no longer exists.

See you in Hell.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Your tax dollars at work

First, hope all of you lived through Christmas with a minumum of hassle. Personally, the thought of going to work today is abhorrent but we gotta do the deal.

Anyway. Seems the Chimp pissed away $2bln, that's right, billion of your dollars earmarked for Hurricane Katrina aid. Why isn't this man in jail already?

Investigations have revealed the Bush Administration wasted more than $2 billion of the money allocated for Katrina, the Associated Press reports today. Much of this waste is the result of lucrative contracts awarded with little or no competition [my em]...

Monday, December 25, 2006

O Tannenbaum

A bit of my heritage. I always loved it in the original German.

The legendary Vienna Boy's Chior

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich
was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft
zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Das soll dein Kleid
mich lehren.

And an aside, we'll be spending Christmas with my family in Germany next year. Of course I'm gonna blog about it.

The America I love

Cenk Uygur nails it:


I love the America that built, or I should say enhanced and sold, this great tradition of Christmas. I love the America that is open and kind. I love the America that gives presents.

I love the America that built the United Nations. And the America that carried out the most magnanimous act since Saladin gave King Richard his horse back - the Marshall Plan. The America that rebuilt its worst enemies into its best allies. That's a country that is a brilliant and shining example to the world.


For Christmas next year, I want that America back.


5 Catholics
4 Jews
1 Hindu
1 Infidel
All my American nephews and nieces
And Mrs. F's wingnut brother who was on good behavior


All the best!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays

There,I said it. Hopefully it made another teeny little capillary in Bill O'Reilly's fevered little brain go *pop!*. Holidays is short for Holy Days,and bite me if you wanna fight about it. Find a freaking hobby for crying out loud.

My wish this Holy Day Season is that you gather with family and friends and leave having not killed or maimed any of them. May you not be presented with an eyesore of a gift or your mother showing adorable pictures of your potty training,for the 20th year in a row. May you steer clear of drunken uncles and crazy wingnut parents chirping and TVs turned to FOX News. May your idiotic brother in law learn to keep his trap shut this year,and may your sister tell him to STFU if he forgets.

May someone offer to help with the dishes after the holiday feast,take out the trash,and tidy the messes.

May the children go to bed early.

And when it's all said and done,may we all be safe,sound,well,loved,and otherwise content. For that will give us the courage and strength to rage against the machine and break it's gears. May your voice be heard,may your challenges be well met and may you forever remember that it's pretty much always a bad idea to leave shrimp out of the fridge for too long,or to light up a joint in church.

And may 2007 be the year things begin to turn this Big Blue Marble around to the side of the good guys for a change.

Love and Holiday Smootchies,

How it'll work ...

If you're waiting for a D-Day or Iwo Jima type 'surge' of troops in Eye-Rack, forget it. Brother Lurch explains how it'll go:

Firstly, as most people who pay attention now understand, it won't be a surge. Troops scheduled to rotate back to the US for rest, refit, replenishment, and a chance to see their families won't. Troops scheduled to return to Iraq after their planned 12 to 18 months at home will be sent earlier. Sorry troops, too bad families, wives, children, mothers, fathers; sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to maintain the fiction that we're doing something reputable in Iraq. And what's more important? Your family's happiness or Mr Bu$h's reputation?


We are the world

And while you're stuffing your faces and your greedy little urchins are ripping open their presents, maybe you could see fit to pass a couple bucks out to folks who have never known the spirit of this holiday:

Save the Children

World Vision

Save Darfur

Grameen Foundation*

*Thanks AOB!


Creature got me with this one. 5 stories about me, 4 true, one false:

1. For a few years after I got out the military, I was a bodyguard for a transsexual dancer/stripper.

2. While in the military, I supplied Osama bin Laden and his Mujaheddin with weapons.

3. Also in the military, Naples, Italy: I was nearly shot and killed by an outraged woman who was bent on killing my roommate. Fortunately she was unsucessful.

4. I dated Pat Benatar when we were both in high school on Long Island.

5. My engines took 1st, 3rd, and 4th at the original 'Mustang Shootout' at Englishtown Raceway, New Jersey.

The first one who picks the false statement gets a prize. Maybe a signed copy of one of my books?

And just a BTW, all of the factual statements can be verified via the archives of this blog. Yeah, I know there are 2 1/2 years worth of archives. Heh ...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A rotten year ...

For Jesus Christ, American. The Guardian via Nicole at C & L:

Watching the box-office numbers coming in last week on the flop that was The Nativity Story, it occurred to me that the movie's failure might be a symptom of something happier. Alongside the November congressional elections that put George Bush's manhood in a lockbox for the next two years, the most encouraging development of the past year has been the American electorate's ferocious rejection of the primary tenets held by the fundamentalist godfathers of his administration. It's been a rotten year for Jesus Christ, American. Merry Christmas!

The craziest religious politicians were rudely kicked out of office, as a homosexual scandal engulfed a homophobic Republican Party, as gay-bashing religious hypocrites started tumbling from Colorado closets. Christian fundamentalist-backed ballot initiatives on reliable hot-button religious issues tanked, nationwide. South Dakota overturned a draconian abortion ban tailored by its far-right backers to provoke a test case before the US Supreme Court. Indiana voted not to outlaw stem-cell research, and Arizona voted down a gay marriage ban.

States don't come redder and more Bush-friendly than these, and yet they rejected the fundamentalist programme all down the line. So much for those Democrats who claimed, after the 2004 defeat, that the left now needed to kowtow to the vomity likes of Jerry Falwell and James Dobson.


Merry Christmas indeed. But I won't be happy until 'God's Chosen Preznit' is on unemployment.

Saturday night whore ...

My weekly installment (Chapter 11) of my novel The Captains is up at The Practical Press.


Happy Holidays everyone! I don't give a damn what god you worship, may the real spirit of this season be with you and the people you care for. As my esteemed blog pardner Gord said: Pray for Peace.


But say a prayer,
pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it's hard,
but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window,
and it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them
instead of you

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Here's to you raise a glass for everyone
Here's to them underneath that burning sun
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?


~ Great thanks to Bono for doing his damndest to keep our eyes open.

And at this time, do something to help those less fortunate.

Re: Blogger upgrade

Now they're not ready for us again. Oy! Best laid plans ...

Merry Christmas

I was gonna wait 'til in the morning to do this, but then I figured I better do it now because Fixer's liable to have this thing spread out all over the floor by then!

Me'n Mrs. G are headin' out to the coast for a family Christmas. If I don't see ya before about Wednesday, I'll see ya then.

We should be OK: Congress is out of session, so we're safe from them. I hope the 110th Congress takes that number as the 110% effort they owe us and better put out.

Bush is holed up somewhere tryin' to figure out a way to lie his ass out of trouble over the criminal war he lied us into, without admitting any mistakes or defeat. Fat chance, chimp boy.

I ain't gonna worry about it for a coupla days.

So to all, a Merry Christmahannukwaanzakkah. Pray for peace.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Day off

Everybody gets the day off tomorrow as I'm starting the move to the new Blogger software. Atrios survived so I figger I take the chance before Blogger forces me to do it anyway. I'll be starting at 0500 tomorrow and we'll be back whenever the bots finish the job.

Keeping this on top today, new posts begin below.

I was wrong ...

I thought it would take 6 months before we actually considered what it might take to reinstate a Draft. It won't even be a Friedman Unit:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Selective Service System is making plans to test its draft machinery in case Congress and President Bush need it, even though the White House says it doesn't want to bring back the draft.


And one F.U. ago, everybody said Charlie Rangel was crazy when he brought it up. They say the test won't be ready to run until 2009. I'd bet they'd be ready to run it one F.U. from now if it keeps going to shit in Iraq. I'd betcha they could get a Draft up and running by this time next year if they really wanted to. Are they still making kids register when they turn 18? Thought so.

While Nero fiddles

While Chimpy McFucknuts is decidin' what to do in Eye-Rack, the meatgrinder rolls on.

My kinda holiday!

Fuck Christmas, this is it.

Minimizing the damage?

Christy at FDL looks at the maneuvering by Dems so they're not painted as the 'surrender monkeys' they were after Vietnam. You remember the lines; "if we were only committed to victory", "if we would have sent more troops", "the peaceniks and Democrats sabotaged the war effort". She takes a quote from Kevin Drum:

The question here isn't so much about withdrawal, which I believe Ackerman, Farley, and Lemieux all support, but about how to handle withdrawal politically in order to minimize damage to the Democratic Party.

It's real simple. The Dems who supported the war have to admit they were wrong and ask forgiveness. Period. [If the Dem Presidential candidate in '08 voted for the war, they'd better apologize before they get my vote] Second, they have to call it what it was, an illegal act of war. Third, they have to impeach the President and Vice-President and put them on trial for war crimes. [If the Dem Presidential candidate in '08 doesn't support impeachment, they don't get my vote] It's not the fact that the Dems want to leave Iraq, but the fact the war was illegal in the first place and should never have happened. While some Dems were culpable in giving the Chimp the authority, they sure as hell didn't dream up this craziness.

No one paid the price for Vietnam except the 58,000 troops whose names are on that black marble wall in Washington. They have to show, decisively, that we demand accountability from our leaders and to prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that invading Iraq was an illegal act. Hopefully, Henry Waxman and John Conyers and the rest can bring the illegalities to light and get them on the record. After the Clinton/Lewinsky fiasco the Rethugs fabricated, impeachment is the only avenue at this point. If we do not impeach, it will say we take more offense at an extramarital blowjob than we do the premeditated murder of 3,000 U.S. troops and countless Iraqis.

It's not time to play CYA on the Dems' part. It's time to take the high road and let the chips fall where they may. Christy says it best at the end:

Even better, if the chorus of ridicule over Bush's cowardly posturing from a strong, morally based Democratic party is effective enough, we may even browbeat the loser into changing course in Iraq. Why should we be content with just playing the role that Republicans want us to play?

And just an addendum to those who can't wait to see Cheney sweat on the witness stand in the Scooter Libby trial: Do not think for a second Dick Cheney will ever see the inside of a courtroom, and do not think there will be any new revelations from it. In fact, I think the Chimp will pardon Libby long before the jury is seated.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I've been saying it ...

For 2 years. Now they're floating that trial balloon:

NEW YORK -- President Bush's secretary for Veterans Affairs said Thursday that "society would benefit" if this country were to bring back the military draft, and said it shouldn't have loopholes for anyone who is called to serve.


Wait, if we're still bogged down in Iraq in a Friedman Unit*, we'll be discussing this seriously.

*1 F.U. = 6 months

For the children

Again, San Francisco leads the way...

Twenty women took off their clothes on Wednesday to make the world a better place.

And one of them did an X-rated dance in stiletto heels with a giant stuffed dog, because it was the right thing to do for the children of San Francisco.

Debbie Licious may not be her real name, she said, but the $10 bills that customers kept poking into her various garment straps were very much genuine. She and her caring colleagues at the Gold Club on Howard Street were turning over the proceeds of their lap dances to benefit the San Francisco Fire Department's annual charity toy drive.

I see the common element between firefighters and strippers: must be the pole - dance around it, slide down it - it's a bond. And then I read further:

"That pole is too thin to be a fire pole," Lopez said, studying the situation very carefully. "But it's a good pole for other purposes."

I wouldn't touch that line with a. . .well, you know...

Firefighters union President John Hanley applauded the strip club and said he "hadn't heard one kid complain" about the source of the toys. And Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said the club is a "legitimate taxpaying business" and the strippers were "doing the right thing."

One club regular, who appeared to have been slaking his thirst from something besides a fire hydrant, kept slipping folding money into various posteriors.

"I'm giving back to the community!" he hollered.

Now that's civic-mindedness!

"Forget all that holly-jolly hoo-ha..."

Where else but the EssEffChron?

At the First Satanic Church party, there's music, burlesque and other sinfully rich ways to forget all that holly jolly hoo-ha

Black X Mass has been a San Francisco tradition since 1997. Over the years the audience has ranged from people who don't celebrate Christmas, to those who want to detox from a day of heavy dysfunction with their celebrating relatives and contemplate the possibility that they were adopted, to people who have recently moved to San Francisco and have no local family with whom to celebrate.

Black X Mass is presented by the First Satanic Church and its founder and high priestess, Karla LaVey.

"It's basically a variety show. There are outlandish acts that are really good musically. There's a lot of burlesque," LaVey says. "It's all crazy, wild and I guess a lot of people might call it sinful. Everyone has a good time and leaves in a better mood. All are invited to join the festivities. "

Included among the guest emcees is Monkeyman, the founder of Pirate Cat Radio, the station where Karla LaVey broadcasts her show, "The Satanic Church," every Wednesday night. Monkeyman started the unlicensed radio station more than 10 years ago, and it continues to broadcast on 87.9 FM in San Francisco and Los Angeles as well as online at

Black X Mass won't be a typical night at the club. "It's a party atmosphere, it's not just everyone sitting down and watching a show," LaVey says. "Everyone mingles, and there will be cake and snacks, too."

Dare to come in full costume and be ready for anything.

Sounds like fun. The only costume I wear to things like that is skivvy shorts, shower shoes, and a light coat of oil.

Why Impeaching Bush Is Good for Our Species


Ask yourself this: If our species is not predisposed by evolution to be both deceptive and gullible in equal proportions, how is it that we are so completely susceptible to propaganda, photo-op rhetoric, televangelists and backseat affirmations of love?

Very "wise guys" make up these lies and we believe them because it's easier than trying to figure out why we shouldn't (i.e., because we lack critical-reasoning skills). So, given our species' proclivity for deception, a more fitting Latin nickname might be homo sapiens fallaxcis ("wise guy who lies").

Considering both the ease with which President Bush bamboozled most Americans into supporting an unjust-and-illegal war against Iraq, and their subsequent lack of outrage at this affront to their sapient selves, one has to wonder if our species has not arrived at one of those telling evolutionary moments?

Ten thousand generations hence, might not they use the Bush Y-chromosome as their genetic marker to signal a crucial turning point in the evolution of homo sapiens fallaxcis, the fateful point where our generation foolishly chose to protect that which makes us fallaxcis at the expense of that which makes us sapiens, and we branched off into the genus homo fallaxcis? Ecce homo fallaxcis! Behold deceitful man!

However, if we follow congresswoman McKinney's lead, and impeach this World Class Deceiver for his lies and their dire consequences, we might send a signal to future generations that we consciously sought a different, far wiser evolutionary path.

Good points. One more fine reason to impeach the sonofabitch.

In the larger context of saving our species and the planet I think we need the 'bigger hammer' approach: mandatory sterilization of Repuglicans.

'Round Up' Olbermann, Damon, And 'Put Them In A Detention Camp'

Think Progress

Yesterday on Fox News, talk radio host Mike Gallagher said the U.S. government should "round up" actor Matt Damon, "The View" host Joy Behar, and MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann and "put them in a detention camp until this war is over because they're a bunch of traitors."

Gallagher was upset over Behar's comment that Time magazine should have chosen a controversial "Hitler-type" like Donald Rumsfeld as its Person of the Year. Gallagher said Damon should also be incarcerated because he "attacked George Bush and Dick Cheney"; he didn't explain why he wanted to imprison Olbermann. Watch it:

By all means watch it.

Advocating locking up folks for utilizing their Constitutionally protected right of free speech to dissent is about what we've come to expect from wingnut gasbags. Say anything you want as long as you agree with us. Otherwise you're a traitor. I wonder if this Gallagher asshole understands the meaning of the word "irony"?

Automatic Declassification


It will be a Cinderella moment for the band of researchers who study the hidden history of American government.

At midnight on Dec. 31, hundreds of millions of pages of secret documents will be instantly declassified, including many F.B.I. cold war files on investigations of people suspected of being Communist sympathizers. After years of extensions sought by federal agencies behaving like college students facing a term paper, the end of 2006 means the government's first automatic declassification of records.

Secret documents 25 years old or older will lose their classified status without so much as the stroke of a pen, unless agencies have sought exemptions on the ground that the material remains secret.

And every year from now on, millions of additional documents will be automatically declassified as they reach the 25-year limit, reversing the traditional practice of releasing just what scholars request.

I hope there are legions of researchers lined up to get at this stuff. Inquiring minds want to know.

Billionaire Radio

The Billionaires are at it again. The lovely Encino Lady informs me via email that the Billionaires for Bush will be on the radio and streaming live on the interwebs:

Break out the eggnog nog and the gold-plated champagne flutes
and enjoy a visit with the Billionaires

Christmas Day, December 25, 2006

at 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time

on KPFK 90.7FM Los Angeles,
98.7FM Santa Barbara

and streaming worldwide at

Mrs. F's cousin Encino Man also makes an appearance as Homer Phobe. If you're into satire, the Billionaires are not to be missed.

I told ya

God is pissed. Shouldn't a plague of locusts come next?

Who says?

'Real' Americans won't do the jobs we use illegals for? Via Xan, seems a company that was raided by immigration has more legal applicants than it knows what to do with. Imagine that. I've said many times that the only reason corporations and the government push this meme is to keep more money in corporate, and political, pockets. Pay Americans a decent, living wage, and they'll take any job you offer.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Re: Blogger upgrade

I'm gonna do it this weekend, probably at the wee hours so if I fuck something up, most folks won't see it. What the hell, if it sucks it'll give me something else to bitch about.

Thanks for all your comments.

Update 05:40 Thursday:

I don't know if anybody else noticed but Blogger has been moving Atrios since last night (I've been getting this page when I head over there). Seems to me there might be a bit of a problem? I'm sure Atrios will let us know when (if) he gets up and running again but it's making me rethink doing the move.

Science fiction goes political


In books out now, President Chelsea Clinton hosts Osama bin Laden while most of the country lives under Sharia law.

Be afraid, conservatives. If you survived the victory speeches of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and allowed yourself to think, "Things can't get any worse," get over it. They can.

Two years from now, terrorists under the banner of the "Progressive Restoration" will take over Manhattan in a larger attempt to overthrow the government. Thirteen years later, President Chelsea Clinton and Vice President Michael Moore will haul out the good White House china for Osama bin Laden's state visit. By fiddling with your radio, you may be able to catch an underground broadcast by Sean Hannity. If you own a radio, that is; folks living in states that are under Sharia law won't even be that lucky.

Remember, after use, fold the top of the barf bag toward you.

Orcinus and Yglesias weigh in on this as well.

The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science

The Union of Concerned Scientists has produced a pro-fesh-un-al scientific lookin' point 'n click chart. Go see.

Stuck in denial

Craig Crawford

There are those in the White House who are struggling to get the president to do more than listen. Perhaps that is why the planned pre-Christmas speech has been delayed: They saw the president again leaning toward a status quo speech despite their carefully choreographed efforts to show him mulling change.

Indeed, there is nothing short of an intervention under way here. And yet Bush, like so many targets of a family intervention, appears stuck in denial, unable to take that first step toward getting help.

Bush is a drunk for sure, drinking or not. I can only hope that his denial brings him jail, poverty, loneliness, sickness, and death, like it would any other alky who needs help and refuses to get it.

U.S. Not Winning War in Iraq, Bush Says for 1st Time


President Bush acknowledged for the first time yesterday that the United States is not winning the war in Iraq and said he plans to expand the overall size of the "stressed" U.S. armed forces to meet the challenges of a long-term global struggle against terrorists.

As he searches for a new strategy for Iraq, Bush has now adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. "We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, "Absolutely, we're winning."

Among the options under review by the White House is sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops to Iraq for six to eight months. The idea has the support of important figures such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and has been pushed by some inside the White House, but the Joint Chiefs have balked because they think advocates have not adequately defined the mission, according to U.S. officials.

The chiefs have warned that a short-term surge could lead to more attacks against U.S. troops, according to the officials, who described the review on the condition of anonymity because it is not complete. Bush would not discuss such ideas in detail but said "all options are viable."

Anyone who thinks a short-term surge is the silver bullet to turn around an inevitable loss better study up on The Battle of the Bulge. Or maybe Banzai charge is closer: is considered honourable to do a last desperate charge at the enemy and perish together with them instead of dying in cowardice.

That's fine, if you ain't the one doin' the chargin'...and dyin'.

A big round of applause ...

To Brother Lurch, who we think is kickass too.

Not so big question ...

It seems Blogger is ready to move the blog to the new server, or software, or whatever they're doing to give me a better blogging experience [/sarcasm]. My question is this; have any of you folks switched over and is it worth it? Being that you can't switch back if you don't like it, I don't want to be pissed off at Blogger every time I try to post something. Any feedback would be appreciated, thanks.

The big question ...



Do the American people really want to continue to mortgage their own future and their children's futures so that George W. Bush can save face? Because that's what this escalation is all about. Every penny that's spent on this not only prolongs our involvement in this misbegotten war, exacerbating the horror for the Iraqis and robbing Americans of money that is desperately needed for other things.


You didn't think the half-trillion we spent in Iraq so far was free did you? The federal government has been cutting back in other places, selling off national assets, in order to finance this illegal adventure.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2006

Well, we didn't miss all of them, but enough. Not too many of these appeared mainstream that I can remember. From Foreign Policy:

Petro Powers Drop the Dollar

8. If you thought record oil prices this year were a pain in your wallet, there's more bad news on the horizon. The latest Bank for International Settlements quarterly report, which tracks the investment trends of oil-producing countries, indicates that Russia and OPEC countries are moving their holdings out of dollars and into euros and yen. OPEC cut its holdings in the dollar by more than $5 billion during the first and second quarter of 2006. And Russia now keeps most of its new deposits in euros instead of dollars.

That decrease is swift and significant - and helps to explain why the dollar recently fell to a 20-month low against the euro and a 14-year low against the British pound. Holding dollars while other currencies gain strength means less profit for oil producers. But if they rapidly divest themselves of dollars, it may weaken the currency and push up inflation in the United States. "This new trend may be bigger trouble for the United States than high oil prices and surging Chinese exports," says Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. If this year's move away from the dollar is a sign of future thinking by oil producers, the pain felt at the pump may soon be the least of our worries.

United States Funds the Taliban

5. The Taliban's resurgence brought the ongoing war in Afghanistan back onto the front pages in 2006. From record opium production to suicide bombings, the outlook has only grown dimmer in the past 12 months. What you probably didn't hear is that some of the money the United States is spending to combat the resurgence of the Taliban is winding up in the hands of . . . the Taliban.

As recently as November, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting revealed that villagers in Afghanistan's war-torn south were handing over U.S. cash meant for reconstruction projects to Taliban fighters, who then use the money to purchase weapons, cell phones, and explosives. As part of an effort to stimulate economic development in the country, the United States had committed $43.5 million for reconstruction as of September. One Canadian officer charged with helping to distribute cash said that "millions" has already gone missing in the five years since coalition troops arrived. Why? According to the report, local mullahs have urged residents to fight the foreign occupation and hand over the money in the hopes of gaining back the security they've lost. Others say it's simple extortion from Taliban thugs. Either way, the United States may inadvertently be aiding the enemy in a fight that will almost certainly become more costly in the year ahead.

Bush's Post-Katrina Power Grab

3. When U.S. President George W. Bush signed the $532 billion federal defense spending bill in October, there were the usual budgetary turf battles on Capitol Hill. But largely overlooked was a revision of a nearly 200-year-old law to restrict the president's power during major crises. In December, Congressional Quarterly examined the changes, saying that the new law "takes the cuffs off" federal restraint during emergencies. Rather than limiting the circumstances under which a president may deploy troops to "any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy," the 2006 revision expands them to include "natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident." In other words, it's now easier for the federal government to send in troops without a governor's invitation.

Ostensibly, the move aims to streamline bureaucratic inefficiencies that left thousands of New Orleanians stranded last summer. Yet the Insurrection Act that existed when Katrina struck didn't actually hinder the president's ability to send federal troops. He simply chose not to.

Critics have called the changes an opening for martial law. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, one of the few to raise the issue in congress, says that "Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy." Is martial law more likely than before? Perhaps not. But the fact that the revisions were slipped into a defense bill without a national debate gives ammunition to those who argue the administration is still trampling on civil liberties five years after 9/11.

India Helps Iran Build the Bomb, While the White House Looks the Other Way

1. The U.S. government usually takes a hard line against countries that assist Iran with its nuclear program. In 2006 alone, Washington sanctioned firms in Cuba, North Korea, and Russia for making it a little easier for Iran to develop weapons of mass destruction. But, when the proliferator is a close American ally, the United States seems to take a different approach.

Just after the U.S. House of Representatives voted in July to support a plan to provide India with nuclear technology, the Bush administration quietly imposed sanctions on two Indian firms for supplying Tehran with missile parts. Nor was the White House forthcoming with congress about other blots on India's proliferation record: In the past two years, two other Indian companies have been penalized for allegedly passing chemical weapons information to Iran, and two Indian scientists who ran the state-run nuclear utility were barred from doing business with the U.S. government after they allegedly passed heavy-water nuclear technology to Tehran. Far from scuttling India's nuclear deal, the United States seems to have rewarded the country by overturning 30 years of nonproliferation policy in its favor.

The Bush administration says one thing out of its mouth, but speaks far differently out its neck and out its ass, all to our detriment.

The "media" ain't much help.

After Baker-Hamilton: What to Do in Iraq

Here is the report, out today, of the International Crisis Group, whoever the hell they are. Whoever the hell they are, they make more sense than Bush.

Too much stuff to excerpt out of context. Go read. You can read it in English, Frog, Rooski, Arabic and 'Other'.

The times, they are a-changin'...

Today's 'must read'. E.J. Dionne:

It wasn't all that long ago that Democrats and liberals were said to be out of touch with "the real America," which was defined as encompassing the states that voted for President Bush in 2004, including the entire South. Democrats seemed to accept this definition of reality and they struggled - often looking ridiculous in the process - to become fluent in NASCAR talk and to discuss religion with the inflections of a white southern evangelicalism foreign to so many of them.

Now, the conventional wisdom sees Republicans becoming merely a Southern regional party (And you're welcome to it, bitchez! - G). Isn't it amazing how quickly the supposedly "real America" was transformed into a besieged conservative enclave out of touch with the rest of the country? Now, religious moderates and liberals are speaking in their own tongues, and the free-thinking, down-to-earth citizens of the Rocky Mountain states are, in large numbers, fed up with right-wing ideology.

Only a few months ago, it was widely thought (and not just by Republican consultants) that accusing opponents of wanting to "cut and run" in Iraq would be enough to cast political enemies into an unpatriotic netherworld of wimps and "defeatocrats."

Now, the burden of proof is on those who claim that fighting in Iraq was a good idea and that the situation can be turned around. The call for a "surge" of additional troops is greeted with skepticism because Americans have been told too often that this or that new approach would transform the situation in "three to six months."

The Iraq Study Group's grim description of what's going on is the accepted definition of reality. Polls show majorities embracing the report not, I suspect, because most Americans are conversant with its every detail. Rather, they see its take as closer to the truth than the president's accounts over the last three years, and because it appears to point toward disengagement.

How durable are these changes? In both politics and culture, the side that thinks it's losing usually accommodates itself to the ascendant order. My hunch is that we will be seeing many new claims to moderation and social concern on the right, and many fewer fake NASCAR fans on the left.

Speaking as a real NASCAR fan of 20 years, NASCAR has lost a lot of its appeal to me, because it "accommodated to the ascendant order" its own damn self by pandering to a wider stick-and-ball TV audience. NASCAR is bigger than it's ever been, but it's just about lost me. It started as a Southern regional sport but it actually has nothing to do with politics other than by inference and stereotyping, like fried chicken and watermelon.

I hope Mr. Dionne's right.

The War on Hanukkah

Joel Stein

These should be good times for Hanukkah and the Jews. After all, the Christmas story offers nothing besides a guy who erases all our sins, but the tale of Hanukkah centers on a magical, super-efficient oil that causes an eightfold decrease in carbon emissions. But instead of this being our year, we had the worst run-up to Hanukkah in 62 years: Iran hosted David Duke at its Holocaust denial conference; Mel Gibson got a Golden Globe nomination; Jimmy Carter equated Israeli policy with apartheid; Ehud Olmert - the least-smooth Jew since Jerry Lewis - accidentally admitted that Israel has the bomb; and the subtext of "Charlotte's Web" is that pork is irresistible.

You have deployed your most annoying Gentiles against us: John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly. So forget Al Franken. Once we find the alley that Pauly Shore is sleeping in, he'll be singing the dreidel song outside your house. We'll force storeowners to greet you with a "Happy Hanukkah" - and not the secular version but the one with the "Ch" in front and all the accompanying spittle. We're also going to shoot you. Us Jews hear war, we take it seriously.

Because if you're going tribal, we're going tribal. And though our tribe is small and often out of shape, we're scrappy. So think twice before you spill out too much vitriol about this war on Christmas that you're winning. When the empowered convince themselves that they're under attack, they often convince themselves that cruelty to the powerless is justified. These are the scary sugar plums that dance in Lou Dobbs' head.

Oy. You should only go read...

Week One

Well,it's been a week since I stopped smoking and let me tell ya,it was WAY easier to quit drinking than this is(for me at least).

Day One:
Not as bad as you'd think,but it was a busy day and that probably helped considerably. I also ate more than one human should in a day,but it kept me at least partially sane.

Day Two: Rough. Bright light and loud noises drove me crazy and worked my last nerve,why,I have no idea. I also plotted fiendish demises for various morons on the roads,my overly nosey neighbors,and the dumbasses who plan on widening the road in front of my house. Get out of my yard damnit!

Day Three:
The Husband made some crack about"letting me"do something,which resulted in me chasing him around the dining room table. I think he was genuinely afraid for his safety,which is funny considering he's twice my size. I also allowed myself a small amount of coffee today,which has helped with the food and cig cravings.

Days Four and Five:
Cravings for a cig lessening a bit. Bad Mood lessening? Umm,not so much. Let's just say I've been a tad less than thrilled. Husband is still smoking ,which annoys the snot out of me,but the smell is disgusting,which,in an odd way, is actually helpful in my quest to give up cigs for good. My car doesn't stink anymore either,one more bonus. On Day Five,Hubby and I went out to dinner and finished holiday shopping,at The Mall. I was reminded Why I Hate The Mall so much. I haven't set foot in The Mall for over 5 yrs,and god willing,this was the last time. Blech,yuck,((((cringe)))). I simply must come up with a bullshit overpriced idea to sucker rich people with more money than sense. This would solve any and all financial issues I may ever have for the foreseeable future. Anyone willing to spend 140 dollars on a pair of jeans and 85.50 on a t-shirt has to be in need of a pet psychic who charges 200 dollars per house call,no?

Day Six:
Atilla the Fun was in bed, due to an oncoming nasty cold,so I spent my day taking his temp,making him tea and otherwise doing that Mom voodoo I do so well. That and 6 loads of freaking laundry. And cleaning,cooking,and cat wrangling.Busy hands help with cig cravings,but I think I'm gonna have to go hard core and do some yard work,window cleaning and other such projects to get this out of my system for good.

Day Seven:
Not a bad day,Atilla stayed home from school,the cold is hanging in tough. Ended up taking him for a haircut later in the day,and really didn't crave a cig until evening when I finally got to sit down and relax. Early mornings and evenings seem to be the toughest time for me,not coincidentally those were the times when I smoked the most.

Day Eight:
Today. I'm finding the nicotine patches do help,though the amount of nicotine in them is WAY less than my actual intake while smoking. I try to go as long as I can before putting on a new patch in the mornings(I take the patch off at bedtime,since I never got up in the middle of the night to smoke),so far I can last about two hours before I have to put one on. After week 2 has passed,I'm stepping down from a 21 mg patch to a 14 mg one. Two weeks at 14 mg and then I go to the 7mg patch and wean off that to a nicotine free existence. I'm having surgery to remove impacted teeth in January,I want to be off the patch before that happens.

So,it's been rough,but not as horrid as "cold turkey" might have been for me. The real test(s)will be times of major stresses and tribulations we all go through,but I think I might make it this time. The doctors and health pros say most people try quitting at least two or three times before they make it,I think this one might be my final attempt.

Just putting this out there for those of you who smoke and have considered giving it up. The trick is having something to do to replace the act of smoking itself. Trust me,that helps ALOT. I also had a long talk with my son before I quit,to explain to him that Mom might not be so cheerful and a delight to be around while I go through this process. The kid has been great,reminding me that the crapola mood isn't me,it's the withdrawl process. "Take a breath Mom",is his reminder to me to lighten up.

Don't know about you ...

But here on Long Island, the price of regular gas has gone up 25 cents a gallon since Election Day. Hmmmm ...

But what about the schools?


BAGHDAD - Iraq's schools, long touted by American officials as a success story in a land short on successes, increasingly are being caught in the crossfire of the country's escalating civil war.


Yeah, too bad all that new paint ain't bulletproof. Why are they even bothering to try and put a gloss of bullshit on this mess anymore? Even the die-hard Kool-Aid drinkers are under no illusions that anything good is going on in Iraq.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2006 - The Pentagon's latest assessment of the security situation in Iraq paints a grim picture of the level of violence, which it said is higher than at any time since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.

One top general categorized the spike in violence as rising at "an unbelievably rapid pace." [my em]


Let me tell you something; sending 20,000 or 30,000 more troops to Baghdad ain't gonna do shit except doom more of our kids to come home in a 'transport tube'. As out pal Atrios likes to say, nothing will unshit that bed.


The Joint Chiefs have had it too:

The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate. [my em]


It must be going to Hell more quickly than we realize over there.

Monday, December 18, 2006

No they weren't

Pic courtesy of Maru. Click to embiggen.

This one made me choke...

E-mail from Mrs. G. Liquid alert.

[Two hillbillies walk into a restaurant. After ordering their cornbread and beans, they talk about the latest addition to their junkyard business.

Suddenly, a woman at a nearby table, who is eating a sandwich, begins to cough. After a minute or so, it becomes apparent that she is in real distress.

One of the hillbillies looks at her and says "Kin ya swallar?" The woman shakes her head no.

"Kin ya breathe?" The woman begins to turn blue and shakes her head no.

The hillbilly walks over to the woman, lifts up the back of her dress, yanks down her drawers and quickly gives her right butt cheek a lick with his tongue.

The woman is so shocked that she has a violent spasm and the obstruction flies out of her mouth. As she begins to breathe again, the hillbilly walks slowly back to the bar.

His partner says, "Ya know, I'd heerd of dat dere 'Hind Lick Maneuver', but I ain't never seed nobody do it."]

Methodists don't like Bush's methods...

Think Progress

Bush is attempting to raise $500 million to build a library and think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the alma mater of First Lady Laura Bush. "The more [money] you have, the more influence [on history] you can exert," one adviser said. Much of the money will be used to build a "legacy-polishing" institute:

The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.

Now, SMU faculty, administrators, and staff are speaking out. In a December 16 letter to R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees, members of SMU's Perkins School of Theology have urged the board to "reconsider and to rescind SMU's pursuit of the presidential library."

We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends.

The letter concludes, "[T]hese violations are antithetical to the teaching, scholarship, and ethical thinking that best represents Southern Methodist University."

Mrs. G is a Methodist, and she agrees.

It'll take a hell of a lot more than cubic money to polish the turd that is Bush's legacy.

On the bright side, a Bush library won't take up much space and the books won't cost much.

Pot is No. 1


For years, activists in the marijuana legalization movement have claimed that cannabis is America's biggest cash crop. Now they're citing government statistics to prove it.

A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion - far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.

Shameless local plug:

California is responsible for more than a third of the cannabis harvest, with an estimated production of $13.8 billion that exceeds the value of the state's grapes, vegetables and hay combined - and marijuana is the top cash crop in a dozen states, the report states.

Nationwide, the estimated cannabis production of $35.8 billion exceeds corn ($23 billion), soybeans ($17.6 billion) and hay ($12.2 billion), according to Gettman's findings.

When Archer Daniels Midland finds out about this, pot may be on the road to legalization. We assume they have more lobbyists and political clout than the DEA.

Good on Sears

Technobabe via Brother D:


I assume you have all seen the reports about how Sears is treating its reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up...Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. [my em]


Show Sears some love because they know what it means to 'support the troops' as opposed to sticking a stupid magnet on your car and saying you do.

Quote of the Day

Steve Soto on Iraq's legal system and what it's become:


We have obliterated their infrastructure, and failed to rebuild it; we have blown up their historical legacy and cast it to thieves and looters; we have destroyed their public health system and failed to rebuild it; and we have destroyed their security and left them to ethnic cleansing. And the best we can do is to leave them a court system like this, which treats women deplorably, as a sign of what they can reap from being "liberated"?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ack ...

I seldom use the desktop computer in the house, mostly working with the laptop since I set up the WiFi. I notice that now my laser mouse is doing something very annoying. Double-clicking when I want single-click ... intermittently but getting more regular. Not good when attempting to steal quotes or make links. Back to the laptop. A new mouse can wait until after the holidays.

More whoring ...

Not for me this time. I realize that since I started posting over at The Practical Press, my long-winded chapters really glom up the page. Most of the folks who submit stuff are short story writers [and poets, can't forget them, and songwriters too] and that gets sandwiched in between my crap. So, to that end, below are links to the short stories and musical creations in between the chapters of my saga of war and intrigue in the 22nd Century. Good stuff and I urge you to click on the links.

  • Farquiar, the Dragon.
  • The Preacher's Son
  • Small Town Boys - Chapter 39
  • I got a hold on you tonight.
  • Ode to Lost Flakes
  • Airplane Story
  • University. Of Massachusetts, please.
  • Just Like Looking Through Heaven. Or something.
  • A Fable
  • Parking Lot
  • Fine detective work!
  • Mouse Story
  • Visibility