Saturday, May 30, 2009

Are you sure the Coen Brothers started like this?

Thurday evening, while I was looking for discount coupons in the Costco mailer for our Friday shopping trip, I wasn't even seriously thinking about getting a camcorder although I've wanted one for a while. Until I spotted the $30-off coupon on the Samsung F33. When I saw it up close at the store, it was mine! The price at the link is the price I paid, $30 off the in-store price. The damn thing does everything but tickle yer ass with a feather. It came with a case, A/V and USB cords, a 131-page owners manual CD, and a program to capture it to my computer and upload it out. I think it works.

What you'll see below is what happened the third time I turned it on. The first two times were an 'oops' and 'did it really work?'. I took it with me on our noonday walk today and just turned it on and pointed it down the trail, and I make no apologies, either for the inaneness of this or the lack of plot and special CG effects. The camera works, it's easy to use (not to use well, of course, but ya gotta start somewhere), and I'm thrilled shitless with it.

Just FYI, the liver-and-white one is Tami, and the black-and-white one is Maggie.

My mind is anything but idle, but it is still the devil's workshop. Next up - the bike mount. The rest will be history.

I'll send ya all the stuff right away! Sure ya don't want my Social Security and credit card numbers? My sister's measurements? Yeesh.

I got this in my e-mail. I guess the 'Nigerian Prince' thing is wearing a little. Do they actually expect people to bite on this so obviously phony bait?

Dear Sir,

I am Major.scott J.wright, an American soldier in peace keeping force in Iraq, I am serving in the military of the 1st Armoured Division in Iraq, as you know insurgents everyday and car bombs are attacking us.

We managed to move funds belonging to Saddam Hussein's family in the tune of USD$ 45 Million Dollars in cash. We want to move this money to you, so that you may keep our share for us till when we will come over to meet you.

You are to take 40% of the total 45 Million Dollars and keep 60% for me and my partners. Please No strings attached, we plan on using diplomatic courier and shipping the money out of Iraq in three large silver boxes using diplomatic immunity.

The boxes can be shipped out in 48hrs,so If you are interested kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone numbers for quick communication, then we can send to you the shipment details and the fright number and labels.


major.scott J.wright.

C'mon, dudes, at least get an editor who can spell and punctuate and shit in American!

Fuckin' amazing.

Blanketass Ripoff Spoof

From 'comments' on the video:

Mr Greene did with comedy here what needed to be said. Its amazing how serious we can take things and never get the message but a little humor goes a long way.

I think that applies across the board. Put yer drink down!

Thanks to phoenixpa.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

From the Beeb, '94.

Emmylou Harris ~ Prayer In Open D

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.


Yesterday's spooge was the last thing I had to do on the house. While I still have a million things to do (touch up, dusting and cleaning, moving furniture, getting new carpet), for all intents and purposes, I'm fucking done. It's been a long 15 months.

I'm one happy camper and, better yet, the Mrs. is happy with the results. I'll post pics once everything is back together but for now, a little celebration:

The Who - Welcome

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday night ...

Women getting you into trouble music blogging:

Grateful Dead - Mexicali Blues

Hot-tempered Latinas ... revisited

Because heaven forbid she's crazy and OTR.

The reason ...

Barry doesn't want to release the remaining Abu Ghraib photos. Larisa:


"The Daily Beast has confirmed that the photographs of abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, which President Obama, in a reversal, decided not to release, depict sexually explicit acts, including a uniformed soldier receiving oral sex from a female prisoner, a government contractor engaged in an act of sodomy with a male prisoner and scenes of forced masturbation, forced exhibition, and penetration involving phosphorous sticks and brooms.


No fucking shit. The King of Jordan will probably declare jihad on us but it's the bed we made. We should get it all out there and make our apologies, and then we should hand Bush, Cheney, and the rest, Colin Powell included, over to the authorities in The Hague.


What have we done and how will we be able to hold anyone to account?


I will never use the word "spooge" again. Heh ...

Quote of the Day

Dday on Bush finally opening his mouth after 5 months:


Well, those are two different things, aren't they? "What's legal" does not necessarily equal "What do the lawyers say is possible." ...

Shopping Day

We gotta spooge on over to Carson City today and do some stockin' up, so I'll just leave ya with some fun stuff.

Also, all you Social Security recipients, check yer bank accounts. Me'n Mrs. G just got a $250 each federal stimulus! In the proper spirit of 'stimulus' we will spend the crap out of it at a local merchant. New washing machine, come ta papa!

Limbaugh Says Republicans Are An 'Oppressed Minority' -- Verse-Case Scenario by Tony Peyser

Is Rush still taking lots of Oxycontin?
Uh, yeah, and I also think one's
Got to assume if he sees any elephants
They probably are pink ones.

In the same vein (varicose?) go see:

Oh! Those Poor Old Oppressed White Guys!

And as if those weren't enough:

Wipe That Smile Off Your Face! Big Brother to Take the Fun Out of Going to the DMV

Gosh, how could anybody do that?

See yas later.

Late ...

Hadda spooge a coat of urethane on the dining room floor. Go surf the blogroll. TGIF!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hot-tempered Latinas ...

The right is trying to turn Sotomayor into one of those "crazy Spanish chicks":


Nonetheless, Hannity and Co. proceed apace, attacking Sotomayor's "judicial temperament" by making it clear that she's just too hot-tempered to be a good Supreme Court Justice:


Why, it's almost someone describing a classic "hot-blooded and crazy Latina" stereotype.

Now, I'll tell ya about hot-tempered Latinas. I was seeing this Mexican girl when I was in the service who chased me around her apartment with a knife* for a half-hour ("I keel you, gringo bastard!") until I could get to the door and get my young ass outta there (she was quick). Not that I didn't deserve it, but in light of that, Judge Sotomayor is a pussycat.

*Not the first time a woman tried to kill me. Shit, once some girl tried to kill me for something my buddy did.

Thursday Afternoon Doped-Out Longhair Santa Cruz Music Blogging

Fuck it. I need a break.

These guys have a definite Dead vibe. Watch the slide show.

To share any remaining brain cells in your memory bank about Timbercreek or the clubs, bands and other stuff related to the scene in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Silicon Valley area with the collection of folks, who think they remember the '60s or is that the '70s, send your email to: Timbercreek

Sounds like those guys would like to hear about a 'lost decade' or two. Heh.

Timbercreek ~ Hell In The Hills

Thanks, garrufat.

Kneejerk Retards

Thanks, YubaNet.

I was reading where Bill O'Rally and Michelle Ramalamadingdong are pitchin' a big hissy at one another over some sniveller's comment about Judge Sotomayor. O, teehee! They can scratch each other raw with their fingernails for all I care, but I think this a good illustration of what we, as in reality-based thinking people, are up against. It's not pretty.

Here's said comment (Don't go. You'll need therapy to get your IQ back above room temperature if you read more than the one. Yeesh.), posted by 'dogsoldier', who probly oughta label itself more like 'whinyassbitchwhoneverserved', I think it's a perfect example of wingtard 'Just Say NO' philosophy (too grand a word for their lack of a thought process) kneejerk retardedness:

Unqualified, militant and socialist. NEXT, please. The GOP has to block any of Husseins extremist picks.

In a nutshell, that's all they got . 'Nutshell' is a pretty good word for that whole bunch. They're awful loud, which is infuriating at times, but they got nothin'.

Let 'em squawk. They're not going to get their way anymore, no matter how hard they try, and hot air can't hurt us. Even as bad as theirs smells.

It's fun to post the slimier examples like that one, though.

Dick Cheney’s Torture Kabuki


I wanted to pull three threads together in this post, which suggest how Cheney instituted torture in this country:

* Alberto Gonzales may have been approving torture even while Condi Rice and others went through the show of getting an OLC opinion to authorize it;
* CIA claimed to be briefing Congress when it wasn't;
* The Bush Administration then claimed Congress had bought off on torture to persuade those objecting to torture within the administration.

There are also certain parallels with the way Cheney implemented his illegal wiretap program.

Go read. Upshot:

This last bit--the claiming Congress approved when it didn't--is a tactic they used with the illegal wiretap program, as well. [...]

So: Alberto Gonzales approves a program he has no authority to approve. They create records after the fact--the content of which is contested--to claim they had Congressional approval for the authorization. And then use that purported Congressional approval (though apparently, more members of Congress approved of this than have of torture)to try to persuade those at DOJ who objected to the program.

Emptywheel, and no doubt many others are doing it as well, has tamped the progression of events into a nice neat brick. Which someday in the not too distant future I hope will be labelled 'Exhibit A'. Or maybe 'Exhibits A through ZZZZZZ'.

Gay marriage battle to return to Calif. ballot


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gay leaders say they are moving into campaign mode with an eye toward trying to repeal Proposition 8 at the ballot box as early as next year after the state Supreme Court upheld the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages.

"So the court has said we have to go back," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of the gay rights group Equality California. "We believe the political drive, the momentum, is there to do that."

The court did refuse to nullify an estimated 18,000 marriages that took place before the ban was approved. For the couples involved, relief was mixed with a sense of being marginalized.

"It's a little strange to feel like we're part of a grandfathered minority," said Leanne Waldal, 38, wiping away tears after the ruling was announced. [...]

I bet ya never thought ya'd be a grandfather, huh, Leanne? (wink)

There's a lot more in the article, but the 'shorter' is, this ain't over by a long shot. Nor should it be.

The American people ...

Want single-payer health insurance (links aplenty) overwhelmingly. It's about time for the politicians to choose what's more important to them, campaign funds from Big Health and Big Pharma or actually getting reelected:


When the time came for questions, McArthur stood up and asked a simple question. Looking across a standing-room-only crowd of about 275, he asked how many were happy with their employer-based health insurance.

Less than 10 people raised their hands.


Case in point: The Mrs. has what is considered 'good' health insurance. Her company pays most (2/3) of the premium, though we still pay $400/month (plus the requisite co-pays for everything). Thing is, the insurance only offers two plans - one for single employees and the other is a family plan. If the Mrs. took the single plan, it would cost her about $30/month. So, instead, because she has me, we're paying the same premiums as an employee, with spouse, and as many kids as they can produce.

So, do you think I have a problem with paying $1000 - $1500 a year in higher taxes to have an insurance plan that doesn't take more from me than I take out of it? Not in the least. Would I mind getting that much taken from my paycheck every year if I didn't have health insurance? I would welcome it.

It's time to take the profit out of health insurance. The health of the nation should not be a "market". It should be part of the national infrastructure.

Quote of the Day

Maru on the fact Alberto "Abu" Gonzalez was on CNN (as opposed to in jail) giving his opinion about the nomination of his intellectual superior (by orders of magnitude) to the Supreme Bench:

"This is like bringing in Marv Throneberry to give his opinion of Willie Mays."*

*After having seen both men play baseball in the flesh, the analogy is spot on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kill me ...

Scott Lemieux (in toto):

When I see that Sonia Sotomayor's competence is being questioned by John Yoo -- you know, the guy who constructed a farcical argument that a Constitution that gave Congress numerous specific powers over warmaking was actually intended to replicate monarchical executive power? And did so to justify an arbitrary torture regime? -- I...what else can you say? [my em]

Regarding Sonia Sotomayor:

The Rude Pundit weighs in on the Repug kneejerk reaction to Judge Sotomayor:

Hey, conservative wads of fuck desperate to disparage Sonia Sotomayor, suck the Rude Pundit's empathetic cock:

Nothing wishy-washy about that!

In his next post RP goes on:

A Letter from the American Americans for America Regarding Sonia Sotomayor:

Even though our organization is devoted to opposing anything that even hints at civil rights and freedoms for anyone not straight, white, Christian, and conservative, and despite the fact that the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court would appear, on its face, to contain every element that would prompt us to go into attack mode, we will not be fighting this nomination. In short, on Sotomayor, we surrender. A good army knows that you sometimes need to retreat to fight another day rather than join every battle, and if there was ever a battle that seemed like Little Big Horn* and we're the cavalry, it's this one.

*Called "The Greasy Grass Fight"**! by the winners. The winners generally get to name battles, but if you're going to name historical events it helps to have a written language.

**! #6 at Google!

We believe you like this organization and all the good it's done. Gays still can't marry in California. Did you see that? That was us. And your state is not going to be invaded by terrorists from Guantanamo any time soon. That was us, too. Also, your child doesn't have to believe the world came from anything but the graceful hand of God because of us. See? We're on top of things. But we're gonna take a pass on Sotomayor because we think that if we go with the full force fight, we'll not only be crushed, but we'll lose membership and money. C'mon: a woman and a Hispanic? Are you nuts?

We're sure you're upset by this. We know you're not used to us stepping back and having insight into how we look to the rest of the public. We're sure you were all ready to get regular emails updating you on how we're losing this fight and how we need more of your money in order to win. Well, we still need your money. You know, who doesn't need more money? But we'll just bank it for a fight when Scalia finally keels over after one too many sausages.

I hope Scalia keels over from one too many summer sausages up the wazoo, film at 11, but that's just me.

It's hard being an easy rider

This is an account of a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's misadventures while learning to ride dual-purpose motorcycles in the dirt. I post it here instead of at Fixer & Gordon because I think it is of general interest. Besides, it takes place in my old stompin' grounds.

My ride to RawHyde Adventures' off-road motorcycle school in Castaic is typically heroic: daring and expert lane splitting, fistfuls of throttle and clutch, spectacular knee-dragging cornering. I even pop a wheelie or two. My riding skills astound me.

So imagine my surprise when, having left the asphalt to turn into the ranch's gravel driveway and going all of about 10 feet, I fall off my borrowed BMW F800GS in a spray of loose rock and liberated motorcycle parts . . . Hey, whoa, what the . . . ker-RASSHH! Pain and humiliation mingle inside my helmet. I have not dropped a bike ever, and yet here I am, resting gently on my face. The marquee lights around my motorcycle-riding ego suddenly go dim. The squirrels laugh. Gravel tastes funny.

So begins my five-day education in off-road riding. [...]

Heh. Every time I get ta thinkin' I know what I'm doing in the dirt, I get re-wised up exactly the same way! Welcome ta the club, pal!

RawHyde teaches something called "adventure riding," which involves piloting ridiculously large and powerful motorcycles -- so-called dual-sport bikes such as the BMW R1200GS, KTM 990 Adventure, Ducati Multistrada and Moto Guzzi Stelvio -- in the bush. Dirt roads, sandy desert whoops, rock-strewn switchbacks, water crossings, you name it. After a couple days' instruction, students can put their new skills to the test on an expedition to what Hyde calls Base Camp Alpha, a 400-plus-mile round-trip ride into the Mojave through some of the most dramatic and inaccessible terrain in California. That's why I'm here.

With their tall saddles and more limber suspension, dual-sport bikes are the SUVs of motorcycling; and as with SUVs, relatively few owners take advantage of the bikes' off-road abilities.

They're not casual dirt bikes for runnin' an' jumpin' and playin' at the gravel pit with yer friends on Sunday afternoon. They're big and expensive and suited for travelling around the world. The bikes he named are top of the line.

Note: The 'Mojave' and 'California' links are mine. Mr. Neil's links were pretty much ads for hotels.

[...] Dual-sports are also the quintessential midlife crisis bikes, and male menopause is always a growth industry. [...]

"It's cheaper than a divorce and a girlfriend," says riding instructor Mark Stickelmaier, 52, a theatrical equipment contractor by trade.

Makes ya wonder how he figgered that out! Heh.

Enjoy the rest of the article. At the end of the school, the students go on a lovely ride. Here's the upshot:

The last off-road section of the day is also the most spectacular: a 30-mile traverse of the Piute Mountains, which takes us from the sere scrub of Jawbone Canyon to the lush, cool meadows of Kelso Valley and then up 5,000 feet to the Sequoia-lined ridge road over the mountains. It's steep and difficult terrain, with dangerous cliffs and sections of technical riding that test all the lessons learned at RawHyde. I fall only once; unfortunately, I fall on top of my Good Samaritan, Reilly, who has gone down just ahead of me.

The crest line of the Piutes is fantastic, a postcard view of a California only a few ever see, and best seen from the saddle. If eating a little gravel is the price to get here, well, I'm buying.

I think he gets it.

BTW, good links to that area of California are a little thin on the ground unless you're a birder or a fireman. I bet Badtux has the whole site at the 'Piute Mountains' link memorized. Heh.

A tip o' the Brain to Brand X.

Obama's Center-Left Two-Step

E.J. Dionne

Over the last week, the true nature of Obama's political project has come into much clearer view. He is out to build a new and enduring political establishment, located slightly to the left of center but including everyone except the far right. That's certainly a bracing idea, since Washington has not seen a liberal establishment since the mid-1960s.

"Liberal establishment," of course, sounds terrible to many ears, and Obama would never use the term. But those who led it in its heyday accomplished a great deal, from Medicare to food stamps to Head Start to federal aid for schools. Its proudest achievements were civil rights laws that paved the way for the election of our first African American president.

And it is no accident that the Vietnam War was that philosophy's undoing. Fearful that a communist victory in Vietnam would revive the far right's critique of alleged liberal weakness, Lyndon B. Johnson -- whose aspiration was to be a great domestic social reformer -- went into Southeast Asia with guns blazing. We know the result.

For the left, which is unhappy about Obama's decisions on such issues as preventive detention, Cheney's outlandish explosion was a reminder of how much better Obama is than the guys who came before. While civil libertarians grumbled about parts of Obama's speech, much of the left concentrated its fire on Cheney.

The center and near right, in the meantime, could have the satisfaction of dismissing the over-the-hill Cheney and comment knowingly on how basically "sound" and "realistic" the president's plans really were.

And in the next phase of his security efforts, Obama hopes to bring civil libertarians and moderate conservatives to the same table to work out rules on detainees. These would be more protective of their rights than Bush's were but tougher than the ACLU might have in mind.

The establishment Obama is trying to build would make the country better -- more equal, more just and more conscious of the government's constitutional obligations. The far right is being isolated, and Republicans are simply lost.

That bears repeating: "The far right is being isolated, and Republicans are simply lost."

That's a good start, and for now it's good enough for me. I realize that nobody, but nobody, is going to get everything they want out of this President, but whatever he does will be a vast improvement over the Dark Age from which we are emerging.

Also see P.M. Carpenter's analysis of and comments on Mr. Dionne's op-ed.

The big gay shrug

Mark Morford in the wake of the recent court decision to uphold the result of Prop 8. A 'must read':

Sorry, enemies of gay marriage. Prop 8 or no, you've already lost

Gay marriage is a foregone conclusion. It's a done deal. It's just a matter of time. For the next generation in particular, equal rights for gays is not even a question or a serious issue, much less a sinful hysterical conundrum that can only be answered by terrified Mormons and confused old people and inane referendums funded by same. It's just obvious, inevitable, a given.

Let us hereby be reminded, before sadness and frustration overwhelm once more: Proposition 8 and its ilk are merely the last, fitful gasps of a long-dying ideology, markers of a certain kind of sad, conservative desperation. They are the final clawings and scrapings of a reactionary worldview that attempts to outlaw and punish all it cannot, will not understand. Same as it ever was, really.

As for massive, schizophrenic California (my em), well, what can we say? In our convoluted, lurching, two steps forward eight steps sideways sort of quasi-progressive way, we flail and flip and frequently fail. It's just our way.

We may be a die-hard blue state overall, full of revolutionary ideas and world-class academics, Nobel Laureates and wondrous alternative belief systems, but we are also messy and flat-footed and just too damn big for our own good, and our southern half is packed to the Orange County rafters with piles of aging social conservatives and religious zealots with far too little spiritual/sexual awareness and far too much money. Sorry.

It's an undeniable shame indeed that this powerful, iconic, world-altering state couldn't get its damnable act together on The Last Civil Right. But, you know, oh well. Can't be the vanguard for 'em all. Iowa and Massachusetts, et al, please show us how it's done. And by the way, thank you.

A new campaign in the fight for marriage equality is already taking shape. Evolution is happening, the energy and momentum are unstoppable. Simply put, the ignorance and homophobia that fueled and funded Prop 8 in the first place will not stand.

I agree. Thank you, Mark.

Mother Nature ...

Personally, I think she's at her best when she's pissed off (the resultant human tragedy notwithstanding). I once (back when I was young and invincible) watched a hurricane come ashore from the boardwalk at Robert Moses State Park until the state trooper ran me off ("Get the fuck out of here, you stupid kid!"). Heady stuff. If you love pictures of extreme weather like I do, you've got to see these.

Great thanks to Avedon for the link.

Single motherhood ...

I sit back and wonder sometimes, how tough it must be to raise a brood of kids while still holding down a job and running a home single-handedly. I have little experience with motherhood and less with kids, but I know what they have to do to stretch a buck when it comes to car repairs, especially now that things have gotten worse economically. They are under a lot of pressure and, of course, the conservatives' views on single motherhood range from the obtuse (women are unhappy being 'liberated') to the far-out wacko (she should have abstained until she was married). Jill has an insightful post up about how they just don't get it:


Sometimes single motherhood isn't about "sexual irresponsibility." Sometimes it's about getting out of a bad or abusive marriage. Sometimes it's an affirmative decision born (heh) out of dating a parade of jerks, perpetual adolescents and childophobes and not talking oneself into marrying someone for his sperm ...

I admit it, I'm a "childophobe" ("perpetually adolescent" runs a close second). When I was single, a woman with kids was automatically disqualified from consideration and one who uttered the words "I can't wait to have kids" was also let down, quickly. Sorry (seriously).


Uh...maybe that's why women are unhappy? Because they're working not one but TWO jobs to try to keep things together? Historically it's men who define themselves through their work and their roles as breadwinner, so when that rug is pulled out from under them, men will often go into a tailspin, which leaves their wives having to not only work two jobs, but still come home and cook and do all the housework because hubby is curled up in a fetal position under the covers ...

It's why the Rethugs have only a 20% identification rate. I'm surprised there even is such a thing as a 'Republican woman' but hey, there are gay Republicans too. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

Susie Madrak (in toto - link there):

Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a Senate Majority Leader who is not wetting his pants at the thought of losing his seat? That way, the so-called leader could lead - instead of playing defense.

No offense to Gordon ...

And all my other dear friends and relatives who live in California, but FUCK CALIFORNIA:

Though widely anticipated, the California Supreme Court's decision today to uphold the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage induced anger, tears and vows to intensify the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples to marry.

Those who supported Proposition 8 at the ballot box hailed the ruling as a defense of traditional values, as did conservative politicians gearing up for next year's battle to succeed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


I forgot which blogger said it but fucking Iowa is more progressive than West Austria California. You guys used to be the cutting edge. What happened?

Jesus Would Have Approved Waterboarding

Library Grape

More pearls of wisdom from that bastion of politicized Christianist exceptionalism:

There's a link in that sentence to the blog Red State if you feel the need to lower your IQ by going there, but I won't link to it. Also, 'bastion' is not exactly the word I would have used. Close, though.

It’s likely even Jesus would have OK’d water boarding ...

Enough of that crap. You get the idea.

So, Jesus wouldn't be cool with killing babies in the womb but he'd be fine with torturing people? Yep, nothing says "Christ's love" like strapping a guy to a bench and drowning him to extract information.

It's pretty sad that the Christian Right in this country has been politicized to the point that, in defense of their preferred political ideology, they have been reduced to claiming that Jesus' supposedly loving message of peace and caring for your fellow man has been perverted to justify torture.

I won't go into whether Jesus actually existed, or if he said the things attributed to him in the books of the New Testament that were carefully chosen out of God (heh) knows how many a hundred years after his 'death' to reflect the desired agenda of the early church.

Just as an aside, I will say that we would all be better off today if they had chosen, among others, the Gospels of Mary Magdalene and the Gnostics, but such things as women's and Gnostic views were not in line with what the early church powermongers wanted. Also, there have been as many wars within christianity over this kinda shit as they started elsewhere. Swell.

What I will say is that it's the height (or depth) of egotism and/or insanity to pervert their deity, whose words these christowhackjobs espouse to follow, into political nonsense that He (capitalized for clarity. Oh, sure...) would have followed them for political reasons. They have recreated Him in their own image, and, yea, forsooth, they sucketh mightily.

The wacko christers came damn close to hijacking this country and we are very lucky they didn't. They're all pissed off now that they failed, and are redoubling their efforts.

The truth of the matter is that there are good Christians who live by His Word. There may not be very many of them as they just live and try to do good for their fellow man and they're as quiet as the whackjobs are loud.

The irony is that Libruls are probably better christians than the whackos are, even if they're non-believers or atheists.

This is true of any religion you can name for all the same reasons. The combination of fundamentalists and a political agenda has been the cause of most of the world's problems for thousands of years: I'm right and you're wrong and I will kill you to show you the error of your ways and make it so you have to do like I say, for I wish to rule the world and I made up God's voice in my head and He said I should.

So much for the humility of which JC spoke. I believe the part about the 'little voices' in their heads. Hint: they ain't God.

To which I say: Ya gotta bring some to get some, so bring it, motherfuckers.

Sometimes when I go off on something in a spurt of stream-of-unconsciousness like this, I eventually sorta sober up just before I get done and find myself with no coherent way out. Like now. Fortunately, there was Divine Intervention in the form of a serendipitous accidental mouse click that led me to this (if I can duplicate the accident):

Today's GOP Meets the Definition of a "Cult"

They do, too. You should go read.

One definition of a 'cult' is a religion with no political power. They should all be 'cults'.

Or we can just call the FBI and ATF and have them go surround them with tanks and snipe 'em and burn 'em out. Case closed. Onward to progress.

Sotomayor is Obama's pick for Supremes

Raw Story with an informative article about her, with video:

President Barack Obama is announcing Sonia Sotomayor, a New York judge, as his choice to succeed Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.

This is not a surprise and I'm down wid it.

The Repugs, of course, are not. They've been trashing Obama's choice since Souter's retirement announcement, no matter whom it would have turned out to be.

Let the games begin.


The games have begun.

Limbaugh calls Sotomayor "a reverse racist,"

It's not that the Anal Cyst head of the Repugs is saying she's 180 out from proper Repug racism and hates whites, although I'm sure that's the image he wants the morons who listen to him to conjure up in their little pea brains. Oh, no, It's much worse than that! Be afraid, be very afraid!

It's not just that she's a Boricua from modest beginnings in New York City, although that's plenty bad. Worse, she's a (gasp!) woman and a Librul! The accusation of 'racism', therefore, means she may make decisions other than in favor of the moneyed elite, and that Repugs cannot abide.

So, now what?

So, now that the insane dwarf in North Korea has moved the goalposts again, what do we do now? We've managed to impose sanctions on them since my dad was there (1950 - '52) and Dictator Kim's father was looking to buy nukes from the South Africans when I was there (1980 - '84).

Sanctions, as we've seen, don't work. The big shots over there still live well, the military still eats (1 million men under arms within 60 miles of the southern border), and the only people who suffer are the average North Koreans, who are just trying to get by without doing something that'll get them executed. Of all the nations in Bush's "Axis of Evil", this is the place that needs "regime change" more than any other. Unfortunately, after two mismanaged, misbegotten wars, after rampant accusations of war crimes at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, our moral authority is worth shit.

To see any change from the 'Kim Dynasty', Jong-il would have to be removed along with his henchmen and the onus is on the Chinese to accomplish it. Since they became the North's patron during the Korean War, the People's Republic of China has positioned itself as North's 'big brother', supplying basic needs in order to maintain a buffer between them and the "decadent West" in the person of South Korea and, to a lesser extent, Japan. It's time for China to rethink this position. Ol' Skool Communism is irrelevant in the 21st Century as the Chinese have found, developing their Capitalist bent since Nixon stopped by for a visit. Their troublesome relative on the southern border is becoming more a burden than a tool with which to badger the West.

Now, I'm not saying the Chinese should send a few hundred thousand PLA troops into North Korea in a ham-handed attempt at overthrow of Bushian proportions but, as a reporter on the BBC said yesterday, cutting off the flow of oil for a day or two would probably convince Kim to back down. Without the Chinese largess, North Korea stops and Kim knows it all too well. It is China that keeps him in power and it is China who holds the key to the North Korean nuclear conundrum.

With that in mind, the diplomatic pressure should be on the People's Republic of China, not North Korea. Weak resolutions and more sanctions handed down from the U.N. (which will probably be vetoed) will not work as we've seen since President Clinton's attempts to mollify the little shit. North Korea is China's responsibility, or this problem would have been solved in 1950. Had Mao not intervened on their behalf, there would be a unified Korean Peninsula today.

Mrs. Clinton, and the other members of the "Six Parties" must direct their efforts at China for anything substantial to appear from the blitz und donder in the aftermath of the latest tests. More sanctions heaped upon the DPRK will do nothing but make life in that horrible place a little more difficult for the man on the street. Kim will not be affected and should he become desperate for money, I would not put it past him to sell nuclear weapon technology to anyone with ready cash (Iran, al-Qaida, or some other idiots).

We've had 15 years of appeasement and in that time, Kim has improved his plutonium refinement and delivery system technology. Another 15 years (and maybe a military coup in the interim - Kim won't live that long - and all the problems that brings) and we might wake up to the news that Tokyo is a glowing hole in the ground. The time to resolve this is now and the road to resolution runs through Beijing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

From Bill Moyers last Friday night, video at link:

Finally, this week, my friend Louis Bickford spends his days, and often his nights, on the healing and prevention of atrocities and crimes against humanity. Cruelty, horror, and misery are part of his portfolio at the International Center for Transitional Justice, along with the power of memory.

On The Huffington Post, Louis has an essay in which he says that Memorial Day is meant to remind us of the hardship of war. But he goes on to ask, "What does it mean to choose how to remember?" What does it say about us, for example, if "...we choose to remember the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, more in terms of heroism than error..." This, he reminds us, is the "...tendency of all nations."

Louis got me to thinking that when we meditate on war this weekend - our recent wars that is - will we overlook the suicides? Sweep under history's rug the recent murder in Iraq of five American soldiers by a comrade who may have been driven mad by the horrors around him? Will we forget the death from friendly fire of a Pat Tillman and the shameful cover-up by the brass, including the role of the very general who now heads our operations in Afghanistan?

What of all those villagers killed by drones remotely fired in our name? Why aren't they part of the narrative we tell ourselves about war? Louis Bickford wonders if we'll ever remember, "...that there was a place called Abu Ghraib on the dusty outskirts of Baghdad, and that torture took place there, for which we were responsible?" After all, he says, it was the complicity of Republicans, Democrats, journalists and lawyers - some of them scholars - that allowed us to ignore international and American law prohibiting torture.

Over some 40 years now it has seemed to me that as time goes by we tend to remember wars, and the suffering they bring, as if they were inevitable, natural acts of history, rather than politically inspired choices. But war, as was famously said, is politics by another means - the lethal legacy of failed leadership, enabled, even ennobled, by propaganda, the partisan opiate of politics. It is good to be reminded, as my friend Louis so eloquently reminds us, that war is too important to forget, and that's one reason to observe Memorial Day. There is another - to hold before our face a mirror, so that we might see the images of war reflected in our own eyes.

From Andy Rooney:

Honor Veterans by all means, but let's try to honor them in the future by not sending them to have their young lives taken from them needlessly in unnecessary wars of criminal aggression.

USS Mississinewa (AO-59)

I was just out taking my dogs for their midday romp, and as is my custom on weekends, I walked 'em past my neighbor Chip's house because they like to play with Porsche, his Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever. He's an old hound that thinks of my pups as young stuff. Porsche, not Chip.

Chip and I always visit while the dogs are playing. In real life he's a biophysicist in the Bay Area and has a second home on my block. His hobby, or perhaps passion, is traveling to the far reaches of the Pacific and diving on WWII ships. He's got a trip comin' up in a coupla months, but he told me about one he discovered several years ago.

I think this is appropriate for Memorial Day. Go read. Links at site.

What got you and your wife interested in WWII and diving?

We took a dive group to Palau in 1989. The group went home and Pam and I were going on to Yap. A typhoon interrupted air travel. Sitting on the verandah of the Palau Pacific resort consuming adult beverages, we met Dan Bailey, who, with Dave Buller, had just found the 'Helmet Wreck'. Many hours later, trips were planned and information exchanged (or maybe it was the other way around). Next trip, Pam, Dan and I found the Samidare (Pam's picture at the Samidare site is on the cover of his Palau book). Many trips latter, including visits to the National Archives and a bulging personal library, we have never looked back.

Elaborate about your first dive on the Mississinewa

Pam describes it as an obsession, I felt I was just "focused". After spending hundreds of hours researching the ship and 6 1/2 days looking for it, when I saw the spike on my bottom finder, I screamed "We found it", but nobody believed me. I turned the boat around and we hit it again. Kenneth Wur, one of the Ulithians helping us, put his mask on and looked below. He claimed he saw it. I asked him three times what he saw, because we had a false sighting 2 days earlier. He kept saying, "something, it must be the ship". At that point, after all the time, I still didn't believe we had found it.

We made a promise to the veterans and the families of the deceased, that, if found, we would not penetrate the wreck. It is a grave site for 50 sailors and it would be the same as going into a cemetery and digging in the plots for remains. We kept our word and hope that others have the same respect and sensitivity for the site (my em). However, of the many interesting things we saw on the exterior, one piece of plating was incongruous with the rest. We felt it might be part of the kaiten and others that have seen the photos, agree.

The Kaiten (Japanese: 回天, translated "the turn toward heaven,"[1] "Turning of the Heavens," was a torpedo modified as a suicide weapon, and used by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the final stages of World War II.

Boy, the finish line after that last "turn toward heaven" musta been a doozy!

I think this is fascinating stuff and hope you find it interesting.

Did I mention that this simple ol' hillbilly has interesting neighbors?

A Poem For Memorial Day

On weekends and holidays I like to walk on the lighter side. There is nothing even remotely light about this.

From former Army soldier Brian Turner's book Here, Bullet:


It happens on a Monday, at 11:20 A.M.,
as tower guards eat sandwiches
and seagulls drift by on the Tigris River.
Prisoners tilt their heads to the west
though burlap sacks and duct tape blind them.
The sound reverberates down concertina coils
the way piano wire thrums when given slack.
And it happens like this, on a blue day of sun,
when Private Miller pulls the trigger
to take brass and fire into his mouth:
the sound lifts the birds up off the water,
a mongoose pauses under the orange trees,
and nothing can stop it now, no matter what
blur of motion surrounds him, no matter what voices
crackle over the radio in static confusion,
because if only for this moment the earth is stilled,
and Private Miller has found what low hush there is
down in the eucalyptus shade, there by the river.

PFC B. Miller
(1980-March 22, 2004)

Song For A Monday

Just a nice song.

♪♫ Buddy Miller - fingerpicking steelguitar T Bone Burnett - guitar

Buddy Miller always wears a trademark hat. I think it has something to do with stage lighting since his forehead goes all the way to the back of his head. Usually he wears a ball cap, but for fancy gigs he wears a stingy brim.

T-Bone Burnett is most famous for producing albums and movie sound tracks.

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant ~ Killing The Blues

Thanks to onebarton2.

The Cheney Channel

David Swanson with a 'recommended light read'.

An association representing top advertisers on broadcast and cable television has proposed the creation of a new Cheney Channel dedicated exclusively to the Cheney family, the primary motivation apparently being to get Dick and Liz off all the other channels where their presence seems to be hurting the sales of advertised products.

Shouldn't be a problem getting niche advertisers on a Dick Channel - Viagra, Cialis, Depends, various kinds of SM and S&M products, anything that might appeal to their bitter old failed white loser audience.

Well, Liz just went on TV and said that her father began the We-Love-Torture tour because he was concerned that the Justice Department might prosecute people for torture. The bluff is now exposed. Are you listening, Mr. Holder? President Obama? They're afraid of YOU. You don't have to be afraid of them.

Yo, Eric, Barry, that's a HINT!

Also in the same interview, Liz made clear the importance of releasing photos and videos, because she distinguished all instances of torture by Americans from those we've seen in photographs from Abu Ghraib. It turns out that if something is photographed, it's a crime, whereas if we aren't allowed to see it, and if our education system does not create a populace capable of responding to the written word, then no crime has been committed.

Liz has been running her mouth quite a bit in recent weeks, and I hadn't been paying attention. It turns out that she and her father and perhaps her mother too say a lot of useful things if you give them zillions of hours of airtime. The trouble is that it's mostly such toxic filth that nobody can stand to sit through it. If the Cheneys were given their own channel, however, we could watch the other channels in peace and tranquility, and some masochist preparing to withstand even more enhanced techniques could weed through and tell us the useful things that were said.

Or, toward the same end, Liz Cheney could be substituted for Michael Steele, and someone who still pays attention to the Republican Party could fill the rest of us in on everything.

I definitely think the Cheneys should have their own channel. How 'bout the one between Florida and Cuba? Yes, I know it's technically a 'strait'. Mox nix. It's nice and wide and deep and has sharks and stuff in it. The Humane Society might bitch about dropping The Dicks in with them as cruelty to animals, but I think the sharks can hold their own.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Pentagon: 1 in 7 Freed From Gitmo Return to Terrorism
Other six are cab drivers or work in convenience stores.

90 Senators Vote Against Closing Guantanamo, Relocating Detainees
Since we have no prisons here.

Geithner: No Plans to Cap Executive Pay
Or he’d never play squash in New York again.

Study: Perfectionists Die Sooner
Conclusion: don't sweat the detales.

Whew! I was swettin' that...


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hot Flash!

Me'n Mrs. G are meeting Jim and Lisa of Ranger Against War for coffee in a coupla hours. They're friends of our dear departed friend Lurch. They're vacationing in our neck of the woods and called me outta the blue yesterday. This is big! More later.

The Update You've All Been Waiting For:

Click to way embiggen

L-R: Lisa, Gordon, Jim

Photo by Mrs. G

We just came from an all-too-short 3 hour visit with these nice folks. The venue was Wild Cherries, a coffee/light lunch joint in my town. We got there at the right time to get a nice outdoor table. Jim and Lisa got there about a minute after we did and Jim and I spotted each almost instantly. Lisa was kinda dazzled by that, "How'd you guys do that?". Takes one to know one...

A little backstory is in order. Lisa was already in Frisco when she put two and two together and, on the strength of a photo I posted a few weeks back, got the idea that I lived somewhere near Lake Tahoe and since Tahoe was on their itinerary, e-mailed me on Friday suggesting we get together. I assumed (makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me') that meant South Lake Tahoe which is where most people think of when they think of Tahoe. Which is fifty miles from where I live. That might have not been feasible, but as luck would have it they stayed last night in Carnelian Bay, a lovely little community (pop. 876, great pizza joint) on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Which is less than 20 miles from me. I called her cell on Saturday which of course was turned off, but she called me this morning. I, of course, was asleep and Mrs. G took the message, and, in a most daring manner, I called her back with only half a cuppa coffee in me. That's dangerous for me, but I most definitely did not want to miss an opportunity to meet them. Turns out they were coming directly through Truckee on their way to their next stop and plans were made! Win-win!

Lisa enjoyed a local event that most people never get to see and would pay extra for: from the patio of their motel room, she got to see a bear dumpster dining! Also, when I called them, they were in the Jacuzzi. Ain't life a bitch? Sigh.

We had a swell visit. We chatted about everything and then some. We talked about blogging, politics, philosophy, the economy, all the usual. We talked about Lurch. There was one little slip-up: we sat girl-girl-boy-boy at a round table, so there were two separate conversations going on at times. Jim's a motorcyclist (rides a Triumph!), a student of military history, and a firearms enthusiast just like I am, so that's what we talked about. I got no idea what Lisa and Mrs. G talked about two feet away. Not the best, but it worked out OK. There's never enough time at first meetings, but a buncha friends were made today.

Shorter: Lisa is lovely, intelligent, and charming. Jim's a retired Army Ranger officer. 'Nuff said...(wink)

I think outdoor joints are the best place to meet like this. First, it was a gorgeous day, perfect conditions. Second there were extraneous interactions with other patrons. A couple pulled up on a nice Triumph like Jim's and we chatted with them, and Mrs. G got to dog-sit a poodle while its folks were inside ordering. They had told it to 'stay' whereupon it made a beeline for her. Heh. Smart dog!

A most wonderful afternoon. Wouldn't have missed it for the world and glad I didn't. It was kind of a spur of the moment deal, and it worked out every bit as well as could be expected.

Since this would not have happened had it not been for our mutual friend, thanks for hookin' us all up, Lurch.

Sunday Rockin' Accordjun Music Blogging

Sheryl Crow ~ Squeeze Box

Thanks to CrowVideoArchive, Pitcairn

Dear Messrs. Bush & Cheney,

Take the fucking hint:

It has been confirmed that former [South Korean] President Roh Moo-hyun committed suicide on May 23.

According to a briefing from the South Gyungsang Police Agency, former President Roh Moo-hyun fell from a hill in the mountain near his home between 6:30 a.m and 6:40 a.m. while hiking with his secretary. He was rushed to a hospital and was declared dead at 9:30 a.m. A fracture of his skull was cited as the medical cause of his death.


He was being investigated in a bribery scandal.



P.S. More from PC.