Saturday, May 13, 2006

Gulag, "Relocation Center", whatever...

In light of Fixer's earlier post, this is a little eerie.

Seeing as how one of the purposes of our trip is to kinda scout out potential retirement places, and seeing as how W. and his 29% (and dropping!) would dearly love to "relocate" those of us who are reality-based, and indeed have prepared "illegal immigrant (wink-wink) detention centers", today me 'n Mrs. G combined the two using our finely-tuned sense of history and visited the Manzanar National Historic Site here in the Owens Valley between Independence and Lone Pine. I've driven by this place a hundred times over the last fifty years, so this trip I made it a point to stop, and I'm glad I did.

Manzanar is one of ten Relocation Centers for Japanese-Americans during World War Two, mostly in the Western states, but there were two in Arkansas. These were for people and families who were not suspected of anti-American thought or action. There were other camps for those who were under suspicion, and they were much more heavily guarded. There were ten thousand people interned there, and no one ever tried to escape although one young man was shot while gathering firewood outside the wire. He recovered.

These folks, the Issei, first generation people from Japan who were not allowed to become American citizens, and their kids, the Nisei, most of them born here, who were American citizens, were basically yanked out of their lives and sent to the camps. Many of them went home to nothing - everything had been stolen or otherwise acquired from them by their white "neighbors" - and had to start over. Some of Mrs. G's sister's schoolmates were born in the camps as there were (and still are) lots of Japanese farmers in her Central Coast hometown.

These folks made the best of a bad situation, and turned Manzanar into a veritable garden: they grew crops and planted fruit trees and lawns to gussy the joint up. There were hundreds of lawns, but only one push mower, purchased by the War Relocation Authority at the hardware store in Lone Pine. I bet there wasn't any of that "when ya gonna bring my mower back?" stuff! Owens Valley residents picked fruit from the trees for years after the camp was abandoned.

I could go on ad nauseam about these folks and Manzanar. There isn't anything left of the wood-frame-and-tarpaper barracks, which were totally inadequate for the high desert winds and hot and cold temperature extremes in the area. A few of the stone structures, made of rocks, notably a couple of guard shacks and some staff housing foundations are still there. These are all that was there when I was a kid: no signs, no park, no nothing. My dad told me what it was, but basically no one wanted to know. There is a more recently built white obelisk monument to those who rest in the camp cemetery and a brand-new reproduction guard tower right next to the highway. Fitting, I'd say.

Since the National Park Service took it over in 1986, forty years after the camp was abandoned, it has been improved as a NHS: there is an Interpretive Center, which is government-speak for a museum. There is an Auto Tour, basically a dirt road around the camp with low signs telling what was there, such as "Buddhist Temple", "Catholic Church" (in honor of the nearby mountains, I innocently asked Mrs. G if it was "Our Lady of the Slopes". She hit me.), "Camouflage Net Factory", and locations of various barracks areas, the hospital, etc. You can see all this on the Virtual Tour. Highly recommended.

The Interpretive Center is amazing. Photos, video, artifacts, explanations of life in the camp, re-creations of living quarters. There are stories of the young American men from the camp who fought like tigers in Italy, including one posthumous Medal of Honor recipient. It brought tears to my eyes more than once.

The main emotion I took away from Manzanar, however, is anger. Anger at the vile things our government can do to its own citizens in a time of xenophobic (or any other kind) fear and hatred, or any other manufactured excuse.

Anger at the fact that FDR knew this was illegal when he did it in 1942, but only admitted it two weeks after his re-election in 1944. Sound familiar? Well, it would if we had a president who ever admitted a mistake.

Anger even at Reagan, whom I never cared for much anyway. In 1981 he apologized to the remaining internees and kicked 'em down some money in "reparations". He did this right after a Federal court ruled in favor of the internees in a lawsuit charging federal wrongdoing that had been in the courts since 1945 or so. Covering the government's ass because all those folks didn't have the decency to die by the time the ruling came down.

And anger at Americans who let, nay, encouraged, such an illegal breach of the Constitution against other Americans and remained silent for years despite knowing it was so wrong.

I felt a little shame as well.

Bush is ten times as desperate and dangerous as FDR could have ever thought of being. At least FDR had a real war to deal with. If Bush and his criminal cabal have learned anything from history, it is that they can do unconscionable shit like locking up Americans for any or no reason and get away with it.

Be warned, my friends.

Looking good

Mr. H says Rove's been indicted.


More from TalkLeft.


I remember reading The Gulag Archipelago when it came out. Red Angel has a timely quote, stolen in full:

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling in terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? [...] The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!"
-The Gulag Archipelago, A. Solzhenitsyn

I know I won't go quietly.


WASHINGTON - Seeking a quick enforcement boost at the U.S.-Mexico border, President George Bush is set Monday to propose dispatching more National Guard troops to the region and deploying additional Defense Department equipment to thwart illegal immigration.


I'll bite. Tell me how you're going to swing the Guard into another rotation? Ain't most of 'em in Iraq? I know in New York, we got like 3 guys, just here to answer phones. I think the entire Fighting 69th is over there at this point. I'm sure we're not alone and other states have the same manning and equipment shortfalls. Where are you going to get the manpower? Where are you going to get the money? How much you wanna bet they try to conract border security out to Halliburton?


More on stupid border enforcement policy from the Burned Over District.

A warning

To the guy/girl who somehow got my debit card number and spent 1500 of my and my wife's hard-earned dollars all over Florida (in Wal-Marts no less). Pray the cops get ya before I do.

Every child left behind

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Not a single state will have a highly qualified teacher in every core class this school year as promised by President Bush's education law. Nine states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico face penalties.


Ask Gord, us old mechanics have a saying. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Everything the Chimp tries to fix turns to shit. Time to take the tools away...

Investigations are so very rude and distasteful

Glenn Greenwald

There seems to be an emerging consensus among the coddled, effete Beltway media stars that it would be highly improper and uncouth for the Democrats -- should they take over one or both houses of Congress in November -- to launch investigations into the various, thus-far-uninvestigated lawbreaking and corruption scandals surrounding the Bush administration. Regardless of political differences -- which the Beltway media will allow -- the media stars are proclaiming that Democrats should pledge in advance not to engage in any of that nasty investigative business.

It can't possibly be the case that there are real scandals and acts of wrongdoing concealed by the impenetrable wall of secrecy the administration has built and which its zombified allies in Congress and the media have protected. Clearly, the administration has done absolutely nothing which needs to be investigated. That's obvious. The only thing that could motivate anyone to want to investigate the Bush administration is a lowly and uncouth desire for vengeance.

The reality is that people like Tim Russert and Chris Wallace are so entrenched in the national political Beltway system that it becomes the first source for how they perceive themselves. They are not journalists first. They are national Beltway stars first. As a result, they don't see high government officials as their adversaries because those high government officials are part of the same Beltway elite institutions and are their friends, partners and allies before they are anything else.

I can just hear Russert/Matthews/whomever: "Yes, they lied cheated, and stole for years, but they're good people and it would just be wrong to hold them accountable now that the foot is on their neck for a change. That wasn't supposed to happen."

You're next on the list unless you shape up, gasbags. Go read the rest of mr. Greenwald's reasoned rant.

So lemmie get this straight...

You keep a database of all my phone records...indefinitely, yet if I bought a gun at a gun show, any record of it will be destroyed after 24 hours? Am I the only one who sees something very fucked up about this?

Brainwash Central Fox News

His Highness points up the fact quite well:

...Was the 2004 election stolen? OpEdNews commissioned a Zogby poll to find out, and chances are that anyone who does not claim Fox TV as his or her primary source of news says yes:


Heh . . .

Remember what I said yesterday regarding the major telecom companies' crimnal conspiracy with the Chimp?

So, since we got all these sharp legal beagles on our side, how come we haven't gotten a class action suit up against the Telecoms?


Well, heh...

TRENTON, N.J. - Two New Jersey public interest lawyers sued Verizon Communications Inc. for $5 billion Friday, claiming the phone carrier violated privacy laws by turning over phone records to the National Security Agency for a secret government surveillance program.


The lawsuit asks the court to stop Verizon from turning over any more records to the NSA without a warrant or consent of the subscriber.

"This is the largest and most vast intrusion of civil liberties we've ever seen in the United States," Afran said of the NSA program.


I might just be an idiot mechanic, but I smell a RICO prosecution if...just say...the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York grows some balls.

A very Happy Birthday

To A Mockingbird's Medley. Mimus Pauly has been a friend of the Brain, and one of our mostest favoritest bloggers, since we opened up shop here and we love him lots in return. He's been fighting along with us for 2 years and deserves a medal for his excellent work and tenacity. Go show him some love.

Day one

We took off this morning under sunny cloudless skies, perfect temperature, not much traffic and only a couple hundred miles to drive. It was great! What could possibly go wrong? We found out after about 30 miles.

Cruising the east shore of Lake Tahoe, we started hearing sort of a 'tinkle-tankle-tunk' coming from under the truck. It sort of related to the turning of the wheels, but not quite. I found a wide spot to stop and discovered the right rear tire was flatter than a tortilla.

Mrs. G suggested I call the AAA, but I am nothing if not a macho masochist. I can change my own tire, dammit! Besides, AAA's for runnin' outta gas or something serious, like if ya ain't got a spare! I turned to, and with the aid of thirty years as a mechanic I managed to assemble the Toyota jack handle/spare tire lowerer, after first reading the owner's manual to find where they stashed all that stuff. Clever, these Japanese. Got the spare on and noticed something clunky-soundin' in the flat tire.

Now, my tires are OEM, i.e. the ones that came on the truck from the factory, so I headed to Carson City Toyota to find out what to do. They said I had to go to the BFGoodrich dealer, that there wasn't much they could do. I asked them for directions. Now, I like these guys. Normally they treat me real good, but this time those rocket scientists gave me perfect directions - to the Goodyear dealer!

I managed to find the Goodrich dealer anyway, and he told me there wasn't much of a road hazard warranty on OEM tires, and the tire was caca-poopoo. It was, too: the clunky noise was a trailer hitch pin, like is used to secure a hitch in a receiver. I watched the tire man break down the tire and remove it. When I was young and foolish, not to mention broke, I mighta booted the tire and run a tube, but not on a new rig. No reputable tire man would have repaired this one, and even I'm not crazy enough to run a couple hundred miles through the mountains with no spare so it was step up to the plate time. They didn't have the same model of tire in stock, and I didn't want to wait for one to come from Reno, so he re-mounted my spare tire from its steel wheel to my aluminum one, and put a Big O on the spare wheel.

Start (flat tire) to finish (good tire) was about two hours, and I have a nice $190 tire (including two dismounts, two mounts, two balances) that I hope will never touch the ground. I also have the world's most expensive hitch pin! What the heck, I needed one anyway.

The rest of the trip went swell, and we pulled into Bishop about dinnertime. I was beat and there's a Denny's next door. When I get hungry, I ain't picky. Besides, I like Denny's, so there!

I'm staying at the Vagabond Inn. Kind of an older joint, but clean and reasonably priced. Good amenities - coffee maker, reefer (no, not that kind, F-Man!), nuker, etc. The only glitch was getting the WiFi user name and password over the phone out of a desk clerk who sounded like he used to be a Tech Support guy in Bangalore: "'B' as in Victor, 'Ah' as in ahplle...". Works good, though.

I had hoped to describe the run down through the Eastern Sierra altiplano, but I'm beat. More later.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Please, please, please, please...

Since Gord's gone for a couple days, and the fact he's Truthout's #1 reader (he always finds excellent articles over there), I give you this in his honor:

Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.


I'm thoroughly aroused hoping this is true.

Tip o' the Brain to Ted for the link.

Now you like him...

CNN poll:


Respondents favored Clinton by greater than 2-to-1 margins when asked who did a better job at handling the economy (63 percent Clinton, 26 percent Bush) and solving the problems of ordinary Americans (62 percent Clinton, 25 percent Bush). (Watch whether Americans are getting nostalgic for the Clinton era -- 1:57)

On foreign affairs, the margin was 56 percent to 32 percent in Clinton's favor; on taxes, it was 51 percent to 35 percent for Clinton; and on handling natural disasters, it was 51 percent to 30 percent, also favoring Clinton.

Moreover, 59 percent said Bush has done more to divide the country, while only 27 percent said Clinton had.

When asked which man was more honest as president, poll respondents were more evenly divided, with the numbers -- 46 percent Clinton to 41 percent Bush -- falling within the poll's margin of error. The same was true for a question on handling national security: 46 percent said Clinton performed better; 42 percent picked Bush


Dear Fellow Americans,

You could have had Al Gore for the past 5 years but you let the Rethugs snow ya. You're all a buncha idiots.



Friday night out...

The Mrs. and I are going to the Long Island Beer Festival. I'll let you know what I found in the morning... If you're going and you see us, by all means say hello.


Well...that was the most disorganized event I've been to since I got in General Admission to The Who at Madison Square Garden in '76 or '77. The room in the Huntington Hilton was far too small for the tickets sold and one could barely move from booth to booth. That was aside from all of the 'professional' drunks, just there to drink as much as possible for the price of admission. We did manage to try some good HB from Germany before I got fed up. The bright side was all the proceeds went to the North Shore Animal League so I didn't feel bad leaving early. Next year, I'm just gonna write 'em a check and forego the beer festival. Just a note, as I sit here writing, the wife and I are enjoying a liter of Val-Dieu the comfort of my own home.

Warning: Stupid Shit Happening

Or at least it will be next month.

Countdown to 666

Yep, things are going to get even more bizarro as the uber-xtians bang their drums waiting for the antichrist to step up to the plate on June 6, 2006.


Friday Cattle Dog Blogging

"Zzzzzzz...Wake me up when Fitz indicts, dad."

Adios fer a coupla days...

We're headin' out fer a few days. We're sorta looking elsewhere in the Eastern Sierra for a place to retire without so much snow. We'll headquarter in beautiful downtown Bishop and radiate around the area from there. Unfortunately, we have to miss this fine cultural happening, but only because you can't find lodging then!

I'll be checkin' in via mini-Hal, but with as much talent contributing to the Brain as there is, light to non-existent posting will be guilt-free. I'll letcha know if anyone catches a jackpot trout or somethin' exciting like that.

Check out the Sierra Nevada Webcams to see the kind of stuff we'll be up to.

See ya.

Peace Takes Courage

I still can't get over that the person responsible for this website is 15 yrs old.She was about 13 when she started.Ava has recieved death threats and nasty emails for a flash video she did entitled "WWJD?",the story hit lefty blogs not long ago.Ava soldiers on,relentlessly,and answers her "critics"with this. Man,when I was 15,I don't think I would have had the mucho huevos grandes to even think of such a project as Peace Takes Courage let alone hang in there and fight back.

When I need a good cheering up I watch this. Or this,when I feel terribly alone here in Red State Fundie Hell.

Ava is a Patriot,visit her site,show her some Love.


Ha-ha! Holden gets another pony!

WSJ link via C&L.

Image thanks to Dr. Attaturk.


Cenk Uygur has problems with some (mainly the Republican part) of our gender, just as I do:


You see, I don't think you're tough at all. I think you're a little coward who is ready to give up all your rights at the first sign of trouble. You're so scared of big bad Al Qaeda, you're willing to cede your liberties to George Bush because he promises to protect your sorry ass. Millions of men have died protecting our freedoms, but you're so frightened by a bunch of guys in a cave in Afghanistan, you're willing to give up many of those freedoms they died for. I am repulsed by your weakness.

Smerconish (the only name in America that might be more ridiculous than mine), you half man, half pussy -- come out, come out wherever you are.

Violence is seldom the answer. But it is in this case. An organized, controlled, consensual beat down. You agree to fight me, and I agree to crush you. Of course, I don't want anyone getting the wrong message. I am not advocating vigilante justice against idiotic conservative talk show hosts. I don't want anyone else to kick Smerconish's ass. Just me.


Maybe it is time to challenge these enabling assholes to throw down or shut up. I offer (and would be honored) to stand as Cenk's second, just in case this asshole has to bring friends.


I found this article over at Farnsworth's place and I felt it related. While the armchair warriors of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders sit in mommy's basement, calling all of us who give a shit sissies, the folks who are fighting the war the 101st helped lie us into are having real problems. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the 'warriors' of the 101st don't have to deal with the consequences of killing their fellow man in some of the most horrible ways imaginable:

Less than one-quarter of the U.S. military's Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who show signs of post-traumatic stress are referred for additional mental health treatment or evaluation, a government study finds.


Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a letter to the Army's Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, that the report's figures represent a health care emergency. She asked him to "take immediate steps to rectify this deplorable lack of care for our men and women in uniform and to notify me as soon as possible for your plans in this regard."


Use 'em up and throw 'em away, that's the way it goes in Bushworld. Real warriors take care of their own.

Yeah, thanks...

WASHINGTON - The Senate gave final approval Thursday to a $70 billion election-year package of tax cuts that will extend lower rates for investors and also save billions for families with above-average incomes.

The Senate passed the measure by a 54-44 vote, clearing it for President Bush's signature.

The legislation provides a two-year extension of the reduced 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, currently set to expire at the end of 2008.


The average American will see a $20 - $50 tax break. Those making around $2mln will receive $82,000. Enjoy that half a tank of gas. Tell me, how's that $300 you got a couple years ago working out for ya?

Sue their asses off...

So, since we got all these sharp legal beagles on our side, how come we haven't gotten a class action suit up against the Telecoms?


In other words, for every 1 million Americans whose records were turned over to NSA, the telcos could be liable for $1 billion in penalties, plus attorneys fees. You do the math.

They want control of the internets so badly? Make 'em pay for it.

Thanks: Atrios

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'm too pissed off...

For words.

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.


Thanks to Shakes for the link. Go wish her a Happy Birthday too.

"Aluminum Overcast" II

Following up on my previous post, go see what my local paper wrote about the event.

"We used to all take a shot of whiskey after each completed mission before interrogation," he said. "After my (last) mission, my whole crew poured theirs into my glass and literally carried me to the train."

But there are ghosts that have followed the combat pilot for well more than a half century. The rear gunners shot and frozen stiff at 27,000 feet ("that's a wake up call"); the flak that came through the cockpit cutting his oxygen mask from its supply ("It didn't scare me then, but now when I think about it - well..."); twice being shot down but making it back to allied territory ("My B-17 was badly shot up with one engine out and low on petrol. The gauges were pegged out at empty and we were running of fumes. The cloud cover was 100 percent and it was getting dark....")

"It never leaves you," he said.

As beautiful as the plane was to see, let us never forget that its original purpose was to kill people and wreck things. Something like 50,000 B-17 crewmen were lost or captured in the attempt.

At least World War Two was necessary for the freedom of Democracy and the world.

Turley speaks truth

Turley: Well, first of all this President's theory of his power I think is now so extreme that it's unprecedented. He believes that he has the inherent authority to violate federal law. He has said that. Not just the signing statements and the infamous torture memo-that Alberto Gonzales signed. It was stated that he could in some circumstances order federal officials to violate federal law and this is consistent across the board with this President. Frankly, I'm not too sure what he thought he was swearing to when he took the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and our laws. I've never seen a President who is so uncomfortable in his constitutional skin.

I'm late for work. Go watch the video at Crooks & Liars...of course

Men and boys

You may hear me, from time to time, take exception with members of my gender. I call them 'little men'. These are generally the types who think having stuff makes them men, whether it be guns, or cars, or belittling (or beating on) their women (or other little men). I don't have much use for guys like that.

Example: I have a customer who is a gun nut (nothing wrong with that, one of my closest friends is a collector) who always makes it known he's carrying. He's all about the size of the hole. The larger the caliber of the pistol he's carrying, the more bravado he shows. Thing is, you look at him cross-eyed, he gets all flustered and takes off. He wouldn't come into the shop for two weeks because I wrote something derogatory to the President on this blog (Harry showed it to him) and he was afraid the Secret Service would come to pick me up (bring it on) and he would get caught up in it. I doubt, if push came to shove, he could actually shoot somebody, even to save his own life. He's still an Iraq war supporter too, and he's just an insecure little bastid trying to cover his failings with machismo. A note: There's always somebody bigger and badder than you are, regardless of how big and bad you think you are. Being big and bad doesn't make you a man and respect, like democracy, cannot be demanded at the point of a gun.

I call guys like that cowards. Gilliard gets more sociological on us:


Because, no matter their age, they're boys(or girls). They believe daddy Bush will save them, and that if they believe he's strong enough, they will be protected and their side will win. They call names, demand everyone take loyalty oaths and act like boys, unaware of how men act and think.

When faced with broken bodies and a failed war, like abused children, they retreat into a fantasy world. They toss words like race-hustler about, rather than admit America's imperfect attitudes towards race, they demean women instead of dealing with them as equals.


A man, a real man (or woman) would never have to agree to sign something to do the right thing or hide behind words. [T]hey would do it instinctively.


No doubt.


Looks like the 'War on Terra' is at cross-purposes vs. the 'War on Drugs'. Our pal Creature Ted:

According to the British newspaper The Independent, Helmand province in Afghanistan is about to produce "probably the biggest opium harvest in the history of a province that, last year, produced more than 20 per cent of the world's heroin on its own."


It's to early to even begin to point out that everything the Bush Administration touches turns to shit, or begets the opposite result of what's expected. I could see a sitcom called The Worst Wing. It'd be comical if it wasn't so sad and dangerous.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A thousand words

Hell with the post, scroll down to the pic. It talks to me on many levels.


So, Podhoretz says a woman (Hillary in particular) has to be a bitch to be President?


PODHORETZ: OK, I'll put it to you very simply: The first woman president has to be somebody who has qualities that will convey to people that she can stand up before [North Korean leader] Kim Jong Il, [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, Osama bin Laden, all the worst men in the world, that she can pull the trigger when she has to, that she can negotiate, that she can stand tough and stand tall. Therefore, the first woman president has to be somebody who has qualities that we commonly associate with being unfeminine. She's got to be tough, she's got to be steely, she's got to be adversarial, and she's got to be difficult.


Lemmie tell ya something, you fat bastid. I'm married to a successful woman who's made it to the top of her field by being competent. She's been called a castrating bitch on more than one occasion, but only by insecure little men who were generally incompetent and threatened by her competence. Hillary might not be my choice to lead this nation, but that's on philosophical grounds, not on the issue of competence. You're one of those little men I speak of who feel threatened by a political operator who knows her stuff (love her or hate her, Hillary does). She is far more comptetent than your little monkey in the Oval Office and certainly more qualified to lead this nation, you asshole.


And Mrs. F would make a damned good President too.

How's that abstinance thing workin'?

When I hear about abstinance programs passing for sex education these days, I laugh my ass off. I lost my virginity when I was 13 and I ain't stopped yet. Ain't nothing they could have told me would have made me want to abstain once I got my first taste, so to speak. My most excellent blog partner (and the young un' among us) Nina alerts me to an NYT article that proves the point:


On teenage births, the same differences become clear. In New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, about 5 percent of babies are born to teenage mothers, while in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming, 10 percent or more of all births are to teenage mothers.

The study also found that the percentage of births to unmarried mothers was highest in the South.


So, tell me how all that bible thumping, Jesus loving, moral values shit is supposed to work? All I know is, I went through junior high, high school, the military, and the rest of my life up to now without catching an STD or producing offspring. Know why? Because my mother (the responsibility for 'the talk' landed on her because dad spent every waking minute chasing a buck) knew the little horndog I was and she told me that if I was gonna drag it around, I was gonna do it responsibly. Love ya, ma, God rest your soul.

And just another lesson from mom that has paid off over the past 30 years. Make sure your woman is satisfied before you are. Guys take heed.

The party of security...

The White House is now responding to the 9 News exclusive story first reported on

How much do you think Osama bin Laden would pay to know exactly when and where the President was traveling, and who was with him? Turns out, he wouldn't have had to pay a dime. All he had to do was go through the trash early Tuesday morning.

It appears to be a White House staff schedule for the President's trip to Florida Tuesday. And a sanitation worker was alarmed to find in the trash long hours before Mr. Bush left for his trip. [my em]


Oh the irony. The Chimp's incompetence is gonna get him killed at this rate. Idiots.


"I saw locations and names and places where the President was going to be. I knew it was important. And it shouldn't have been in a trash hole like this," he said.


Everything changed after 9/11. It sure did...for the worse.

Thanks to memeorandum for the link.

Protest Song of the Day

Jackson Browne. Video. When I saw that, I thought he was re-issuing Running On Empty, given the way the country is going under this administration. Don't worry, he's not.

Also, good articles on the resurgence of protest music in Newsweek and The Boston Globe.

It's certainly time, or maybe a little past time for this. It worked to help change things in decades past by bringing them out in the light, and it's certainly needed now. This is a whole new generation, different times, different problems, with a different outlook and different music. 'Twas ever thus and they're welcome to it. Music can rile up the kids* to vote, or stampede, or whatever it is they do. Us ol' farts are already so pissed off we need music to take our minds off it.

Now, if we can just coax Joanie...

*Anybody under about 40. Or me, on occasion.

You want anger? We'll show you anger...

Today's 'must read' is an open letter to Richard Cohen by William Rivers Pitt.

Why the anger? It can be summed up in one run-on sentence: We have lost two towers in New York, a part of the Pentagon, an important American city called New Orleans, our economic solvency, our global reputation, our moral authority, our children's future, we have lost tens of thousands of American soldiers to death and grievous injury, we must endure the Abramoffs and the Cunninghams and the Libbys and the whores and the bribes and the utter corruption, we must contemplate the staggering depth of the hole we have been hurled down into, and we expect little to no help from the mainstream DC press, whose lazy go-along-to-get-along cocktail-circuit mentality allowed so much of this to happen because they failed comprehensively to do their job.

George W. Bush and his pals used September 11th against the American people, used perhaps the most horrific day in our collective history, deliberately and with intent, to foster a war of choice that has killed untold tens of thousands of human beings and basically bankrupted our country. They lied about the threat posed by Iraq. They destroyed the career of a CIA agent who was tasked to keep an eye on Iran's nuclear ambitions, and did so to exact petty political revenge against a critic. They tortured people, and spied on American civilians.

You cannot fathom anger arising from this?

And a Hell of a lot more. You owe it to yourself to read the rest.

Civil Discourse

Many on the Left have bashed on 'journalists' and 'columnists' who carp about the incivility of lefty bloggers. Excellent posts have been written about it and great thought has been put into them:


I'll make it short and sweet:

The time for civility is over. Our nation is on the balls of its ass and there is no time to play nice. The gloves are off.

Civil discourse got us into this mess. It's time to clean it up and if it means we do it at the point of a gun, so be it.

Lessons lost....

Over a hundred years ago...


New to imperialism, the United States in its very first effort was up against a group of people it knew nothing about. Busy with the war in the northern islands, the U.S. initially adopted the Spanish stance toward the Moros, avoiding any actions that might inflame more insurrection. After Roosevelt declared the war over, though, American officers had to figure out some way to integrate the Moros into the colonial government. In 1903 policy makers created the Moro Province, comprising southern Mindanao and the Sulu islands. Given the perceived backwardness of the Moros, this province was set up differently from the others. Not only would the natives have less say in their own government, but in the interests of keeping order, all civil posts would be staffed by U.S. Army officers. Their job would be to train the Moros in civilization and democracy, preparing them to take part someday in the colonial government.


The Americans, none of whom spoke any of the 13 Moro languages, did their best to make the Moros recognize the Commission's authority, usually by force. As Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, the first governor of the Moro Province, said, "Firmness and the prompt application of discipline measures will maintain order, prevent loss of life and property and permit good government and prosperity among these people . . . lack of firmness will result in a carnival of crime and an absolute contempt for all authority in this region." [my em]


Sound familiar? Unfortunately, the murderous General and I share a last name. Seems, regardless of how we think of ourselves, we have not matured very much over the past two centuries.

Big tip o' the Brain to Roger Ailes the Good.

Good advice...

I hope the Dems listen or they'll be relegated to the 'also-ran' category again:


Many in the establishment believe that Democrats are in grave danger if they ever show they give a damn about anything. It's one of the reasons why people don't feel anything for the Democrats. And for some, the strategy is always the same no matter what the circumstances: when the Republicans are popular, don't make waves. When the Republicans are unpopular, don't make waves.

But think about this. Do the Republicans really want all these scandals being brought up constantly during the campaign? I don't think so. That's why they are trying to manipulate the Democrats into keeping quiet about them. Any six year old could see through this cheap ploy.


Thing is, the Dem 'consultants' are natural cowards. They're the rats that scurry around the perimeter of the room, scared of the light. As long as they get their share, don't make waves. Don't take a stand. I gather, at this point, the American people would rather more Feingold and less Lieberman.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Pissing it away...

It's your money:

A $2.7 trillion budget plan pending before the House would raise the federal debt ceiling to nearly $10 trillion, less than two months after Congress last raised the federal government's borrowing limit.


I suggest everybody get out their history books and read about the Great Depression. We'll see another in our lifetimes, probably sooner than later.

Great thanks to Holden.

The Stabbed In the Back Myth

The Green Knight has an interesting post up about an old political tactic rearing it's ugly head these days. It'll look very familiar if you've been paying attention. GK does a very good job of analyzing and filling in the blanks,go read...

"Aluminum Overcast"

I was just out taking the pups for a walk in the woods. Now, I love the sound of radial aircraft engines, so when I hear 'em, I look up. Usually it's a Stearman, an N3N3, a Waco, or something like that. Not today!

Today, it was this. When's the last time you had one of these fly over your head? I've still got goose bumps!


I live about a mile from the airport. I just heard that thing takin' off. With all those engines on full song clawin' for altitude, it sounded like it was in the next room! More goose bumps.

Hey, all fishermen are liars...

...but we have a truly world-class one in Bush. Americablog

Bush told the following to a German newspaper yesterday:

Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake."

The only problem is that the world's record for the largest freshwater perch caught is 4 pounds 3 ounces.

So Bush either doubled the world record, and didn't report it, or he's a liar.

There's some question that Bush said 'bass' instead of 'perch'. Bass are generally bigger. Maybe it's in the translation. Yeah, right.

I'm glad Bush caught something, even if he's lying about what it was. After all, he can't catch Osama Bin laden or al-Zarqawi, and nobody's catchin' avian flu like he predicted.

Fish stories are like war stories ("Now this is no shit...") or fairy tales ("Once upon a time..."), except they start with arms outstretched sideways ("The damn thing was thiiiis big..."). It's a good idea to wear waders to listen to any of 'em.

I released the biggest fish I ever caught, but the photo of it weighed three pounds.

I have a question...

...about General Hayden, Cheney's Bush's pick for CIA director. Not about the nomination, that's clear as a bell: now that the CIA is a perfectly dysfunctional wholly-owned subsidiary of the Pentagon, a perfectly dysfunctional wholly-owned subsidiary of the perfectly dysfunctional corporate-owned war- and fear-mongering White House, the general who was the architect of the illegal NSA wiretapping makes perfect sense. It's like being a branch manager of any top-down organization, like maybe a really evil Taco Bell. Or Wal-Mart. Yeah, that's it.

Here's my question: Go to TPM Muckraker and look at Gen. Hayden's picture. Above the fruit salad on his left breast, where most USAF officers wear their wings, is a badge that most definitely ain't wings. What is it? Is this guy just a career staff weenie? Also, I don't have a picture to show you, but can anyone analyze his five or six rows of ribbons? I think that might be interesting.

While you're there, read about Hayden's involvement with the same defense contractor who bribed the Duke. Poker? Cigar? Underaged Thai hooker, anyone?

No surprises


Translation: Besides being a money trough for Christianists, the abstinence programs are a crock.


Like everything else, we told the Jesus freaks this wouldn't work. Lambert.


Does 31% of the population still not get it? Salient words from Froggy (DBK):


It's amazing how many postings I have made with "Culture of Corruption News" in the title just this year alone. I don't even have the time to count them. And I don't even use a service to alert me to new corruption scandals.

Maybe it's my German coming out, but Jesus H. Christ, if you can't see it by now, you're either brain-dead or psychotic. It's so obvious, no sane person would say the Republicans aren't a criminal organization. How in Hell do you people function through everyday life?


I jumped on Richard 'The Dick' Cohen the other day. So did a buncha other folks. Well, he's asking for it again and Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!) doesn't disappoint.


The unsinkable...

Molly Ivins:


I don't care what anyone smoked 20 years ago, I approve of those who boogie till they puke, and I don't care who anyone in politics is screwing in private, as long as they're not screwing the public.

On other hand, if you expect me to pass up a scandal involving poker, hookers and the Watergate building with crooked defense contractors and the No. 3 guy at the CIA, named Dusty Foggo (Dusty Foggo?! Be still my heart), you expect too much. Any journalist who claims Hookergate is not a legitimate scandal is dead - has been for some time and needs to be unplugged. In addition to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, Hookergate is rife with public-interest questions, misfeasance, malfeasance and non-feasance, and many splendid moral points for the children. Recommended for Sunday school use, grades seven and above.


After living in Texas for a couple years, there's little I like about the place. I hated the cracker mentality and the intolerance to anyone who wasn't Texan, let alone American. That said, Texas has given us a national treasure in Molly Ivins.

Big tip o' the Brain to litbrit at Shakes'.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Always the men

I've asked the question many times. Why are men's voices always the loudest in the 'pro-life' movement? Blondie answers in an excellent post.


Au contraire. The root of the so called "pro-life" movement isn't anti- abortion as much as it is anti-sex and anti-contraception. So we got the picture. The active abortion foes are against sex for pleasure, even among married couples. Would they please get a grip and stay out of consenting adult's bedrooms, for gawdsake? What are they Catholic? Well it seems that they took their position from the Catholic play book.

Imagine my surprise when I read in the NY Time Magazine this article Contra-Contraception which addresses my concern that men in power want women (including married women) to be punished for their wanton acts of lust by birthing unwanted children. It's not Roe they're against, according to the article, but "Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case that had the effect of legalizing contraception" (in the bedrooms of married couples).



It just snuck up on me but Gord's and my other blog, The Fixer & Gordon, is 2 years old this month. Happy Birthday to us!


31%. Ha-ha!

Who's Crazy now?

Paul Krugman via Tennessee Guerilla Women.

Some people say that bizarre conspiracy theories play a disturbingly large role in current American political discourse. And they're right.

he truth is that many of the people who throw around terms like "loopy conspiracy theories" are lazy bullies who, as Zachary Roth put it on CJR Daily, The Columbia Journalism Review's Web site, want to "confer instant illegitimacy on any argument with which they disagree." Instead of facing up to hard questions, they try to suggest that anyone who asks those questions is crazy.

But now those harsh critics have been vindicated. And it turns out that many of the administration supporters can't handle the truth. They won't admit that they built a personality cult around a man who has proved almost pathetically unequal to the job. Nor will they admit that opponents of the Iraq war, whom they called traitors for warning that invading Iraq was a mistake, have been proved right. So they have taken refuge in the belief that a vast conspiracy of America-haters in the media is hiding the good news from the public.

Unlike the crazy conspiracy theories of the left — which do exist, but are supported only by a tiny fringe — the crazy conspiracy theories of the right are supported by important people: powerful politicians, television personalities with large audiences. And we can safely predict that these people will never concede that they were wrong. When the Iraq venture comes to a bad end, they won't blame those who led us into the quagmire; they'll claim that it was all the fault of the liberal media, which stabbed our troops in the back.

These are the morons we're up against, folks. They're morally superior, so they can't possibly be wrong, and everything is someone else's fault.

Go read the rest.

Iraqi War For Tomatoes Is Going Well. Yeesh!

Thank God for links. If I told you about this without one, you'd think I still had my hat on from my previous post!

Career appointees at the Department of Agriculture were stunned last week to receive e-mailed instructions that include Bush administration "talking points" -- saying things such as "President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq" -- in every speech they give for the department.

Another attachment "contains specific examples of GWOT messages within agriculture speeches. Please use these message points as often as possible and send Harry Phillips, USDA's director of speechwriting, a weekly email summarizing the event, date and location of each speech incorporating the attached language. Your responses will be included in a weekly account sent to the White House."

This scoreboard, of course, will ensure you give it your best shot.

Now, you might still be scratching your heads, trying to figure out how this is going to work when people expect a talk about agriculture issues. Not to worry. The attachments -- which can be viewed at -- show how easy it is to work a little Iraq happy talk into just about anything.

Talk turkey, or chicken, to your audience: "The major poultry producers in Iraq . . . are using [U.S.] loan guarantees to buy U.S. corn and soybeans. . . . This in turn provides a cycle of income that is being used to update 25-year-old chicken houses," the e-mail suggests. Chickens apparently produce better in nice homes.

But what if your speech is on civil rights? Easy. Begin this way: "I'm here to talk about civil rights, which is one of the fundamental tenets of democracy." Then you can say this country "has been evolving for 230 years . . . still working to become a more perfect union . . .

"So before I begin talking about the civil rights climate at USDA," the example says, "I'd like to address the situation in another nation that is just now forging the path to democracy."

Bingo! You're in. Now: "The president has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq structured along three tracks," etc.

"Iraq is part to the 'fertile crescent' of Mesopotamia," the sample script says. "It is there, in around 8,500 to 8,000 B.C., that mankind first domesticated wheat, there that agriculture was born. In recent years, however, the birthplace of farming has been in trouble."

Probably want to pause here and give the audience a chance to catch its breath. It's hard to travel 10,500 years that quickly. "But revitalization is underway. President Bush has a clear strategy . . ."

Don't forget to send that weekly e-mail to Harry.

Un-fuckin'-believable! The bastards are getting so desperate they're goin' nuckin' futs! Good.

Maybe they could work something in about how the insurgents are actually illegal immigrant agricultural workers complaining about stoop labor wages.

All Foiled Up

Where else would you find stuff like this but in the LATimes? Photos and video too.

In the search for the perfect tin hat, a few things are learned about community and mind control.

Foil hats got a pop culture bump in the 2002 thriller, "Signs," when, in perhaps the film's funniest scene, Joaquin Phoenix donned aluminum headgear to keep his thoughts protected from unseen aliens. But in my Web sleuthing I found that the coterie of the aluminated (my em -worth remembering. Heh.) is of two minds. Anecdotally speaking, some feel that tin foil provides a shield to thought invasion by both aliens and, dare I say, the CIA. Others contend that the thin metallic sheets are actually more of an "antenna" for other-worldly communication.

I couldn't make this shit up if I tried!

Conyers rebuts

DeLay and Timmy:


Perhaps Mr. Russert has forgotten, but I have been a Chairman before. For five years, from 1989 to 1994, I was the Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, now called the Government Reform Committee. I have a record of trying to expose government waste, fraud and abuse.

That was back when Congress did something called "oversight." You know, in our tri-partite system of government, when Congress actually acted like a co-equal branch. The Republican Congress decided to be a rubber stamp for President Bush instead.

Perhaps, if we had a little oversight, we wouldn't be mired in a war based on false pretenses in which we have lost thousands of our brave men and women in uniform and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.


Indeed. I am so tired of these crooks and cocktail party 'journalists'.

Link thanks to C&L.

Freedom and democracy

A warning from Dave Johnson:

Caution, do not read this if you are the least bit squeamish. It is truly horrible. Part of me died when I saw this cruel killing.

This from the article:

EVEN by the stupefying standards of Iraq's unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country's top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty.

Nobody but her killers knew just how much she had suffered until a film showing her death on February 22 at the hands of two musclebound men in military uniforms emerged last week. Her family's worst fears of what might have happened have been far exceeded by the reality.


Now, there are no pictures at the link, but the article is a vivid description of the way this woman was killed. I don't give a shit if you're squeamish, go read the fucking thing. Then sit back and realize that our invasion three years ago begat this. Her blood, and that of many others who have died in this, and more horrible ways, is on our hands, like it or not.

Silly me [slaps forehead]

It's all us liberals in the Army and the CIA. That's why the Chimp's policies aren't working. That's why the grand plan for Iraq went awry. Because we're like rats, like cockroaches infesting everything. Digby's on it:


There is a very interesting discussion taking place all over the left blogosphere about how the conservatives have discovered that the entire Republican establishment, particularly the George W. Bush administration, are liberals. Glenn Greenwald has been directly taking on Jonah Goldberg on this subject (which is something like my cat "taking on" his toy mouse), Hunter at DKos has written a lengthy and fascinating explication of the process, and Kevin Drum, in a different vein, discusses political Lysenkoism as the consequence of conservative loyalty over policy.


Yeah, that's it. You see, the Chimp is really a liberal, and so is everybody else in government. An excellent post, replete with gobs of links.

Now, I have a question. Since, for the past 5 years up until the Chimp's popularity ratings went into the toilet, the Chimp and his minions were the 'Great White Saviors' of the 'consevative base'. What happened? Are they really conceding they've been snowed for the past half-decade? Are the conservatives admitting they are really that stupid and gullible?

Just askin'.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

A to Z

Thanks to John Howard and his brother, I'm wasting time as the Mets get their asses handed to them.

Accent: Long Island...very

Booze: Newcastle Brown Ale (or other good beer) and Jack Daniels'.

Chore I Hate: Folding laundry (usually left for the Mrs.)

Dog or Cat: Dog, as you all know.

Essential Electronics: Computer, TV.

Favorite Cologne: Armani di Gio, Jaipur, and Tiffany.

Gold or Silver: I wear a gold wedding ring and a small gold hoop in my left ear.

Hometown: Long Island, New York.

Insomnia: Never. Nightmares when my PTSD acts up, but not so much anymore.

Job Title: Mechanic, author, layabout.

Kids: None, I don't care what you parents say I'm missing. I think you all tell me to have kids so I can suffer along with you.

Living Arrangements: 2 1/2 of us in the house I grew up in.

Most Admirable Traits: I can fix anything, I'm good in bed, and I can make sparks shoot out my ass.

Number of Sexual Partners: I don't have a clue. I figure between 30 and 50.

Overnight Hospital Stays: Tonsillectomy, Achilles Tendon, various puncture wounds, various broken bones, various blunt trauma to the head.

Phobias: Making Mrs. F mad.

Quote: "Pay up, get out."

Religion: Heathen and proud of it.

Siblings: Only child and made the most of it.

Time I Wake Up: 0400 weekdays, 0430 weekends.

Unusual Talent or Skill: Aside from looking at something and being able to tell you how it works?

Vegetable I Love: No love, but the Mrs. makes me eat green shit a couple times a week.

Worst Habit: Smoking cigarettes.

X-Rays: I've had everything X-rayed at one point or another (see 'Overnight Hospital Stays').

Yummy Foods I Make: I don't cook unless there's a gun to my head.

Zodiac Sign: Libra.

Navel gazing

The lovely Avedon Carol has probably the best post I've read about blogging.

I'm gonna do this

Via our pal Glen at A Brooklyn Bridge.

Wood! It grows on trees! It's the most common building material in the world, it can be harvested sustainably, it's beautiful, it's nice to touch and look at, and it's completely ignored in consumer electronics.

But in the past few weeks, we've seen quite a few new electronic devices housed in wood, and so we went on a search. A long search, it turned out, for all the best, coolest and most useful products in wooden computing.


I can make these. Now, to find the time...

Are you kidding me?

Over at Running Scared, Ron finds this:


Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Jared is polite but won't talk to people unless they address him first. It's hard for him to make friends. He lives in his own private world.

Jared didn't know there was a war raging in Iraq until his parents told him last fall -- shortly after a military recruiter stopped him outside a Southeast Portland strip mall and complimented him on his black Converse All Stars.

"When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, 'Well, that isn't going to happen,' " said Paul Guinther, Jared's father. "I told my wife not to worry about it. They're not going to take anybody in the service who's autistic."

But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he not only had enlisted, but also had signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.


If our recruiters are this desperate (not taking anything away from Jared, who seems to be a good young man), there is something seriously wrong with the military. We have to get these idiots out before it becomes FUBAR.

Are ya gonna be pussies...

Again this year?

The reason I'm asking is because a lot of people who called me an idiot, an asshole, a queer, a pansy, a traitor, etc. when I railed against the Chimp in the run-up to the Iraq war are now telling me I was right all along. These are the same folks who, three years ago, called for 'killing all the ragheads' and solving the problem once and for all. The 'Wanted: Dead or Alive' crowd.

As we've been seeing over the past few months, the criminal organization known as the Republican Party is coming apart, you can only baffle people with bullshit for so long, and they're gonna be desperate by September if this trend keeps up. So I ask all of you who've come to see the light, are you gonna be pussies this Fall when the 'terrorist attack' occurs? You know it'll happen because the Repukes know how gullible and scared you are. They know it's the only way to keep people who've been shit on regularly in the fold.

Are you just gonna run back to the Chimp and the Repukes like you did in '04, cowards? "Don't change riders in mid-horse" or some other bullshit they scream when they're worried. Are you gonna fall for it or are you finally gonna do the right thing? I don't put much faith in cowards. I dare you to prove me wrong.