31 December 2007

monday morning mayhem...

another short week - yay!!!!!!

be careful tonight, though...

1. a New Year's Toast...


come on. it's funny...

2. don't eat too much...

cat passed out.jpg

3. don't drink too much...

Dog in toilet.jpg

4. start the New Year right...

no matter what... do it safe...

30 December 2007

blog post must reads: December 30, 2007...

The Great American Pants[Law]suit revisited, over at Crooks and Liars - remember the judge that sued the Oriental dry cleaners for $67 million who lost his Armani slacks? the neocon Republicans have their panties all in a bunch...

Paris Isn’t Burning from the NYT - Illinois goes totally smoke free on Tuesday [yay!], but if Paris is doing it, that is BIG news. Maybe it's their queer mayor!

Tens of millions of birds disappearing across North America over at The Raw Story - large factory farms, over de-forestation, polluted waterways, decreased wetlands, and urban sprawl; impoverished planet...

Legal Fictions
over at Slate.com - kind of like Dave Letterman's Top Ten List, only without surprises...

Judge halts Oregon's gay partnership law
over at PageOneQ - the law was to take effect this Wednesday, January 2, 2008. the christianists are beyond reprehensible...

29 December 2007

what's going on here...

In Surprise Step, Bush Is Vetoing a Military Bill
CRAWFORD, Tex. — For months President Bush harangued Democrats in Congress for not moving quickly enough to support the troops and for bogging down military bills with unrelated issues.

And then on Friday, with no warning, a vacationing Mr. Bush announced that he was vetoing a sweeping military policy bill because of an obscure provision that could expose Iraq’s new government to billions of dollars in legal claims dating to Saddam Hussein’s rule.

New York Times, December 29, 2007

The reasoning behind the decision is the $20-30 Billion that Iraq has in American banks.
It would expand the ability of Americans to seek financial compensation from countries that supported or sponsored terrorist acts, including Libya, Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

When lawsuits are filed they automatically freeze the money until settlement. These lawsuits, many of which are already filed, were brought by veterans of the first Iraqi war for being held, tortured or injured by the government of Saddam Hussein. Section 1083 of the Military Authorization bill would reactivate the suits against Iraq; the money would be frozen; and the current Iraqi government could do nothing about it. Of course, the Maliki government screamed bloody when they heard about it.

First, if we are spending $275 million a week in Iraq, from where in the hell does this $20-30 billion come? Could it be the U.S. money that is missing funding being reported in the news for the last several months? Is it money that the Iraqi politicians have been stashing away?

The Tzar says that it is funds that the Iraqi government needs for rebuilding. If that's so, then for what is the money we're giving them right now doing? Is this like an Iraqi IRA? You know - a retirement fund?

Second, the veto of the bill stops the pay raises of military personnel. It was to increase the raise form 3% to 3.5%. It doesn't really seem like much, but to military personnel putting themselves on the line, it's important to them and especially their families also.

Third, it is part of a much larger military authorization bill - $696 Billion - for defense of the nation. That means Mr. Bush really doesn't care about defense as he so often accuses the Democrats when he perceives them as standing in his way.

Fourth, the Congress and the White House have been in negotiations on this bill for months. The Democrats caved on setting any type of timeline for withdrawal of troops from Iraq in this bill. At no time did Mr. Bush bring up objections to this section of the bill until yesterday - after the bill allegedly had the White House blessing.

Fifth, and what I expect is the primary reason, Bush is using a pocket veto. A pocket veto is used at times when Congress is not in session.

A quick Huckabee civics lesson: there are four actions on bills passed by Congress. The President signs the bill making it law; the President vetoes the bill preventing it from becoming law and sending it back to Congress for reconsideration; the President has 10 day, not counting Sundays, to sign a bill, if s/he does not sign it, the bill automatically becomes law because it has been put in his/her pocket; but, if the Congress is not in session and s/he pockets the bill, it is considered vetoed. The last two are important to remember. In both cases the President is actually not making a stand on the bill because in a veto when Congress is in session, s/he must give reasons for the veto. In the case of letting the bill become law by not signing it, s/he also is not making a stand on the bill.

So, what is really going on in this instance?

If you remember, Senate Majority Leader Reid over Thanksgiving did not let the Senate go into holiday recess in order to prevent the Tzar from appointing judges and government personnel that the Senate must approve and to whom they object. Reid has also kept the Congress technically in pro forma sessions over the Christmas/New Years holidays. This means that the Congress has not adjourned. It legally prevents Bush from making recess appointments and does not give him the ability for a pocket veto.

Mr. Bush, on the other hand, is saying that what the Congress is doing [pro forma sessions] is not legal by taking this pocket veto action, again placing himself above the law and contrary to the Constitution - Article I Section 7. He may also be hinting that he can make recess appointments because he doesn't consider what Congress is doing legitimate. We shall see.

So, here we are again - a full-blown Constitutional crisis precipitated by Tzar George. Another illustration of the contempt that the Bush/Cheney administration has for the checks and balances section of the Constitution.

And what's going to happen - nothing!

Bush/Cheney know that they have the Democrats and the Congress by the proverbial cajones. It's almost as if we don't have a lame duck president but a lame duck Congress.

So here's the question [you all know there is going to be a question when I do this stuff]:

How can Mr. Bush push democracy around the world - Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc - when he takes step after step, action after action, to destroy the U.S. form of democracy?

you know...,

i'm just asking...

28 December 2007

gratuitous blonde joke...

Wayne posted this today for his Funny Friday and as you know if you've been reading along for awhile, i love blonde jokes.

Thanks, Wayne! [i told him i was stealing it.]


one thing i really never admit [no! i'm not a blonde, though they tell me i was born blonde but it darkened by the time i was one. i have no pictures to prove it, and yes they had color pictures when i was born!] but anyway, what i never admit is that i do understand the logic behind blonde thinking... maybe i am blonde at heart?

hmmmmm? i gotta think about this one...


Did you know there's a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms?

Only in America would we combine these three hobbies into one government agency.

So I called them up. Some guy answered, "Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms," and I asked,

"What kind of bourbon goes best with an M-16 and a good cigar?"

i didn't get an answer...

27 December 2007

Cain and Abel and Huckabee and Romney...

Since we now have a presidential campaign that is breaking Article VI* of the Constitution, if not legally but in spirit, and a couple of the Republican candidates have made it very clear that they ascribe to the literal view of the Bible with not believing in evolution and that democracy cannot survive without religion or their G**, I'd like to understand how they reconcile their views with this passage from Genesis 4:
13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Now, if I understand this correctly, Cain's argument to G** is, "if you send me out of this land [Eden I assume], others may kill me." G**'s response is to put a mark on Cain that would prevent anyone from killing or harming him.

First, if Adam and Eve were the first man and woman and Cain and Abel were the first of their children, from where did these other people who might kill Cain come?

Second, if Cain knew his wife, meaning in the biblical sense, and Adam and Eve were the first people to bear children, meaning that Cain's wife had to at least be his niece but probably his sister since he was the first born, and they had a son, Enoch, wouldn't his wife then have to be his sister? And wouldn't his son also have to be his nephew? Isn't this incest and doesn't the Bible forbid it?

And while I'm on it, Huckabee et.al. are literalists and do not believe in evolution. They believe that the earth was created by their G** in six days. Couldn't it be very possible that G**'s day isn't 24 hours like ours but maybe, oh, I don't know, 50 million of our years long? I've never found anything in the Bible that says a day is 24 hours. As a matter of fact, back 6,000 years ago they didn't even know that a day was 24 hours.

I think you can see where my confusion comes in with this religious test business. I mean, with Tsar George, it's easy to understand. He's not exactly the brightest bulb in the box. These other guys pretend to be genius'.

am i wrong? what do you think?

just asking...

*Article VI: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

25 December 2007

happy christmas...


Peaceful Santa.jpg

maybe... just maybe,
someday our world will be as peaceful as this...

24 December 2007

Luke 2:14 - ..."and on earth peace, good will toward men"

Olmert rejects truce talk: "Jerusalem - Gaza militants fired at least four rockets after Israel's prime minister ruled out truce talks and pledged to keep up with his intensified military campaign against Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop the barrages." World News, 24 December 2007

Record numbers of child soldiers drafted into Congo war: "Concern over the plight of child soldiers increased after aid workers for Save the Children reported seeing youngsters in militia close to some of the worst of the fighting near Goma, capital of the war-torn North Kivu district." The Independent, 24 December 2007

Palestinians delayed, humiliated at checkpoints: "Under the supervision of an Israeli soldier clutching an M-16 assault rifle, Qassem Saleh begins his daily disrobing. He lifts his bright orange shirt so the soldier can see there's no bomb strapped to his torso. Then, after passing through a metal floor-to-ceiling turnstile, he undoes his belt and hands it over for examination by a second soldier, along with his wallet, mobile phone and cigarettes." Toronto Globe and Mail, 2007-12-18

Iran’s Ruling Regime Violates It’s Own Laws by Murdering Makwan Moloudzadeh: This week, 20 year old Makwan Moloudzadeh was executed for alleged sexual activity with other boys at the age of 13. Makwan was initially arrested for smoking during Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. In a show of humiliation was placed on a donkey and taken around the town in city of Kermanshah. Several days later 3 boys told the authorities that Makwan had sexual relationship with them when he was 13 years of age. Despite the fact that the boys later withdrew their allegations, Makwan was sentenced to death for these alleged sexual acts. SCE News & Updates, December 8, 2007

Mark Twain:
Let us try to think the unthinkable: let us try to imagine a Man of a sort willing to invent the fly; that is to say, a man destitute of feeling; a man willing to wantonly torture and harass and persecute myriads of creatures who had never done him any harm and could not if they wanted to, and -- the majority of them -- poor dumb things not even aware of his existence. In a word, let us try to imagine a man with so singular and so lumbering a code of morals as this: that it is fair and right to send afflictions upon the just -- upon unoffending as well as upon the offending, without discrimination.

-1: christmas madness countdown...

oh great, a flat.jpg

23 December 2007

another example of Bush's government of the people, by the people, for the people...

Bush Administration cuts $700 million in Medicaid funds for schools
According to the Washington Post, “the Bush administration eliminated about $700 million a year in Medicaid reimbursements to schools, sidestepping an attempt by Congress to block such a move.”

What exactly does this money go to?
A wide variety of medical services, like speech and physical therapy, are provided to students in schools.

So what's the big deal?

Federal law mandates that students in special needs categories must be serviced.

So, now, school districts, that are already stretched to the limit, are going to have to pick up the cost. That means it is going to cost you and I more money in higher local and property taxes or other services are going to have to be cut. Say, music, drama, art....

Oh, wait, schools have already had to eliminate those things because of the NCLB requirements. Guess it'll have to be the sports programs. [What will Texas do without high school football?]

The cost in savings to the Federal government?

$3.7 Billion over a five year period.

Let's see... each day Iraq costs the U.S. $275,000,000. That means that cutting the program moneys for children in need of special services will continue the war for an additional, hmmmmmmmmm.... 13.45 days!

sounds like an equal exchange to me... what do you think?

just asking...

do you know what December 23rd is?

festivus card.png

everybody gather round the pole and don't give any gifts...

Festivus for the rest of us...

Happy Festivus problems.jpg

-2: christmas madness countdown...

Santa crapper.gif

22 December 2007

the 298,128,547 rest of us...

I was reading Bob Herbert's OpEd in today's NYT - Nightmare Before Christmas - and was struck by one line in his comments:
When such an overwhelming portion of the economic benefits are skewed toward a tiny portion of the population — as has happened in the U.S. over the past few decades — it’s impossible for the society as a whole not to suffer.

What instantly popped into my mind was the French Revolution. Visions of Versailles in 1788 flooded in. The opulence, of course, but more important the self-imposed isolation of the court from the overwhelming struggles of the people all around them.

Louis, Marie Antoinette and their sycophants saw none of the troubles and hassles of the French people in providing the gold and silver around their advantaged necks, the fine wine and cognacs in their opulent crystal, or the silks and brocades on their portly bodies. It was not a prerogative that the common, coarse & vulgar men, women and children who toiled and drudged to give the royals their rewards were allowed. Louis' retinue considered it their right and due, a privilege that the establishment believed belonged to them alone by mere station of birth, religious justification, or favor of a patron.

I am reminded of a passage from Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.
One sort have been they, that have nourished, and ordered them, according to their own invention. The other have done it, by God's commandment, and directon: but both sorts have done it, with a purpose to make those men that relied on them, the more apt to obedience, laws, peace, charity and civil society. So that the religion of the former sort, is a part of human politics; and teacheth part of the duty which earthly kings require their subjects. And the religion of the latter sort is divine politics; and containeth precepts to those that have yielded themselves subjects to the kingdom of God. Of the former sort, were all the founders of commonwealths, and the lawgivers of the Gentiles: of the latter sort, were Abraham, Moses and our blessed Saviour; by whom have been derived unto us the laws of the kingdom of God.

We no longer have royalty based on blood or religious divine right, at least not on paper. Thomas Jefferson and others are responsible for that. However, it has been substituted by an aristocracy derived from money and the power that comes with it. Something that neither Jefferson, Adams, Madison nor the others could have foreseen.

As Bob Herbert points out in the OpEd: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the after-tax income of the top 1 percent rose 228 percent from 1979 through 2005. While the rest of the population has tended to tread water economically, or drown.

There are a number of principles on which the United States were founded. the foremost can be found,
In the phrase "We, the people... " our Constitution expressed the revolutionary idea that "the people" could set up "governments of their own, under their own authority." John Gardner
George Washington, Thomas Paine, and the others fought a revolution to destroy the notion that any one person or group of people had sway over the lives of others.

Abraham Lincoln fought a civil war to keep this dream alive. He defined the construction of our nation in 18 succinct words that identify the underlying source to the essence behind this country's creation:
...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

The United States has long been referred to as the "Great Experiment" in democracy. The powers of the three branches, Judicial, Executive and Legislative, are given to them by the contract we know as the Constitution. There are limits built into it on purpose. The justification behind this charge was to restrict any one power, person or group becoming the sole proprietor of authority. For the last 50 years we have seen this principle eroding. The last seven years have been the worst.

The Bush/Cheney administration has taken action after action to bolster and increase the stature or the new aristocracy providing opportunity after opportunity to facilitate the increases for the top 1% of Americans.

at what expense?

the 298,128,547* rest of us...

[*the 2007 population of the U.S. after the 1% has been subtracted.]

-3: christmas madness countdown...

Santa's Fast Stop.jpg

it's the law...
click it or ticket...


how they gonna get him out?

is this another one of those gay things?

Huckabee's gonna have a fit about this one!
first Jeebus, now Santa.
wheee doggies!

[i know. i know. i'm really bad. but don't forget, i have one of them get out of hell free cards though.]

21 December 2007

Telegraph:UK - "Equity fears grow as record numbers cash in"

That's the headline in, well, tomorrow's, London Daily Telegraph. The opening line of the article:
Record numbers of nervous investors cashed in their stock market investments last month giving evidence that the credit crunch is beginning to cause panic.

From yesterday's Independent - Record deficit adds to fears for UK economy:
The UK's current account deficit leapt by almost 50 per cent in the third quarter, hitting a record £20bn and raising fresh concerns about the stability of the country's economy.

From the Guardian Unlimited - First-timers priced out of market
This year the number of first-time buyers fell to the lowest level since 1980, according to figures out today from Halifax. They reveal that an affordability crisis is now affecting every part of Britain.

From Le Monde.fr - La BCE vient au secours de banques menacées par les crédits à risque trans. "The ECB assists banks threatened by the appropriations at risk" [read "appropriations" as "loans"]
La Banque centrale européenne (BCE) a annoncé, mardi 18 décembre, avoir alloué 348,6 milliards d'euros aux banques, un montant massif de liquidités visant toujours à rétablir la confiance sur le marché monétaire, secoué par la crise du crédit aux Etats-Unis.

trans. The European central Bank (ECB) announced, Tuesday December 18, an allocation of €348,6 billion to banks, a massive amount of liquidity, aiming at restoring confidence in the money markets, shaken by the crisis in the United States.

This is just a little bit of the economic problems that are hitting Europe just like the rest of the world. Unlike the U.S. Media, the the international media puts the blame directly on the U.S. government, in a lot of cases using the name Mr. Bush with it.

Man, there's a lot of work to be done when the Tsar's reign is over on January 20, 2009. The question is, "Are any of the candidates, Democratic or Republican, capable of cleaning up the mess this man has created?"

gives a new twist to the term mission impossible, doesn't it?

just asking...

how talking points are developed...

leave it to Jackie and Dunlap over at Red State Update to finally show us how it's done. watch how Jackie establishes his stands in order to to run against Huckabee for preznit...

i think we've got a winner here.

certainly is much more logical than most of the political holiday messages.

especially, you-know-who's...

-4: christmas madness countdown...

Snowpeople baby.jpg

i wonder if they're in front of the Spears' house?

what? you don't think that's funny?

20 December 2007

finally, the NYT looks at Obama's actions ...

not just his words.

I have not made it any secret that I do not support Barack Obama even though I'm from his home state - Illinois. I have made statements how he never really took stands when he was in the Illinois Legislature, played the middle-of-the-road peacekeeper most all of the time, and told the electorate in Illinois when asked during his run for the Senate that he would not run for any other office only to decide to run for president one year later.

Well, the New York Times has an article today with a real point:

Obama’s Vote in Illinois Was Often Just ‘Present’
n 1999, Barack Obama was faced with a difficult vote in the Illinois legislature — to support a bill that would let some juveniles be tried as adults, a position that risked drawing fire from African-Americans, or to oppose it, possibly undermining his image as a tough-on-crime moderate.

Barack Obama being sworn in as a Democratic state senator in Illinois in 1997. He was first elected in 1996 and left in 2004.
In the end, Mr. Obama chose neither to vote for nor against the bill. He voted “present,” effectively sidestepping the issue, an option he invoked nearly 130 times as a state senator.

Sometimes the “present’ votes were in line with instructions from Democratic leaders or because he objected to provisions in bills that he might otherwise support. At other times, Mr. Obama voted present on questions that had overwhelming bipartisan support. In at least a few cases, the issue was politically sensitive.

Yes, he voted present in the political maneuver that both Democrats and Republicans use in the Illinois Legislature.
In Illinois, political experts say voting present is a relatively common way for lawmakers to express disapproval of a measure. It can at times help avoid running the risks of voting no, they add.

“If you are worried about your next election, the present vote gives you political cover,” said Kent D. Redfield, a professor of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “This is an option that does not exist in every state and reflects Illinois political culture.”

However, Obama also did it more often than these times. Of course, each time he had a legitimate excuse - "there was no proof that increasing penalties for young offenders reduced crime"; "he had concerns about the constitutionality or effectiveness of some provisions"; "he believed that the bill violated the First Amendment"; "to register his dissatisfaction with how the bill was put together"; or "he was trying to avoid mandates on local authorities."

I admit that these are all legitimate reasons. [For the issues for which each of these responses were given, read the NYT article.] More than justifiability though is the political expediency that was behind each present vote. Sometimes there wasn't even an effort to hide it.

Since meeting Hillary Clinton in August, I have been leaning towards supporting her. However, there are things that I like about Biden, Edwards and even Ron Paul. The thing I like the most about them, despite what they may each say, is that they have experience. It's a powerful reason. They have the experience of dealing with Washington, connections with people who run the government from day to day, and the knowledge of the inner and outer workings of it.

I agree with Bill Clinton, even thought the cynics called him on it, when he said on Charlie Rose that he believes that Obama lacks the experience.

in addition to my hearing Obama talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time...

oh, and i can't wait to hear Andrew Sullivan's take on the NYT article, if he makes one...

-5: christmas madness countdown...

Jeff Dunham - Achmed's "Jingle Bombs"

silence! i keell you...

19 December 2007

-6½: christmas madness countdown...

i couldn't wait until tomorrow to post this. it's too, too precious...

anyone have this on their list for Santa?

9th grade Civics Class...

my ass.

Huckabee, on Scarborough two minutes ago, said that people should take a 9th grade Civics Class to understand the Second Amendment. He says it only prevents the government from establishing a religion. It doesn't prevent the people from bringing religion to the government.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

For those of you who didn't pay attention in 9th grade Civics Class, these are the first words of the Constitution of the United States. [Oh, and I didn't put the first three words We the People in bold. Most copies of the document do it. Check out the link. It's to the National Archives. They even put them in red.]

So, here's the argument. If the people give the power to the government, isn't it the people who are saying no religious connection?

Huckabee seems to be stressing that it refers to the establishment of an official religion. Splitting hairs, if you ask me. You can infer that he means that while not being able to establish an official religion, it doesn't mean that the government can't adopt an official religion.

I don't think that We the People would be in favor of that.

Scarborough also asked Huckabee, in an Alex Trebek moment [Scarborogh's words, not mine.] about the phrase separation of church and state and where it came from. Huckabee showed his 9th Grade Civics Class brilliance and correctly responded that it was from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 and cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution.

Agreed. Jefferson did not want government to interfere with any individuals right to hold religious beliefs. Historically, in England, it was government policy that everyone had to swear allegiance to the Church of England and the persecution of Catholics, Puritans and others was the basis for this being written into the Constitution. However, it works both ways.

From the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom of 1779 that Jefferson engineered"
To suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own.

Jefferson wrote extensively on what came to be known as the Establishment Clause. The above statement, I think, makes it pretty clear that he was talking about much more than the establishment of a religion in a narrow sense. He had a much broader sense. He's referring to anyone bringing their own belief to interfere with the exercise of government.

It goes both ways...

-6: christmas madness countdown...

Maxine hangs her stockings.jpg

A lady goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.
She says to the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"
The clerk says, "What denomination?"
The lady says, "God help us. Has it come to this? Give me 6 Catholic,
12 Presbyterian, 10 Lutheran and 22 Baptist."

18 December 2007

more Bush transparency...

Two new examples of the Bush/Cheney administration's dedication to providing an open and transparent government...

White House Visitor Logs Are Public, Judge Rules, NYT, 12/17/07.
A federal judge ruled Monday that White House visitor logs were public records and ordered the Bush administration to stop withholding them from scrutiny by outside groups.

The Tsarist response:
Spokesmen for the White House and the Justice Department withheld comment on Judge Lamberth’s ruling and whether it would be appealed.

“As these issues remain in litigation, we will not comment further at this time,” said a White House spokesman, Tony Fratto.

Administration officials signaled, however, that the White House was almost certain to appeal. It has repeatedly tangled with Judge Lamberth, who has issued decisions in several cases that challenged the administration’s theories of executive power.

Translation - Not on your f****** life!


Mukasey rejects congressional request on CIA probe, Reuters, 12/14/07
U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Friday rejected a congressional request for information about a Justice Department probe into the CIA's destruction of videotapes of harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists.

Tsarist response:
In refusing to release information that federal investigators have dug up so far, Mukasey wrote: "The department has a long-standing policy of declining to provide non-public information about pending matters."

"This policy is based in part on our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence," Mukasey added in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the panel's ranking Republican.

Translation: I've got it and you want it. Only, I'm not going to let you have it, because I'm not supposed to have it.

confused? aren't we all?

-7 : christmas madness countdown...

making eggnog.jpg

17 December 2007

half the FISA battle won...

well, at least it's on hold.

Majority Leader Sen. Reid pulled the FISA bill from the floor late this afternoon handing Sen. Dodd a temporary victory in his filibuster fight to delete telecom retroactive immunity.
Harry Reid just announced on the floor that he intends to table debate on the FISA overhaul legislation until January.

This is an important development and will hopefully allow the opposition to telco amnesty to convince enough Senators that providing blanket immunity to these companies who broke the law really doesn't do much to keep us safe.
FISA Bill Tabled Until After The New Year from Paddy over at Cliff Schecter's Bravenewfilms.org.

Senator Dodd means to continue his action if the immunity is not removed by the time it's reintroduced in January.

This is a case of one man, with a lot of support, making a difference. It's an example of the Constitution's checks and balances at work and a fight for the return of transparency.

This idea of retroactive immunity bothers me. How can you just say that something that was done when it was illegal can't be punished? I guess the most outrageous example would be something like Jeffrey Dahmer being convicted of 17 murders in 1992 or H.H. Holmes being hung in 1896 for killing 27 people, Congress passing a law that murder is not against the law, and making it retroactive all the way back to 1789!

Like I said it's an outrageous example, but what is the difference? What happens to the rule of law? Especially since even with adding it to the wiretapping bill, it's still illegal at the basis of FISA. The bill still calls for FISA approval of wiretapping but infers that it's okay to do it without the approval.

Now, if Obama, Clinton, and others had been where they belonged since they said they supported Mr. Dodd's stand, it would have shown more than lip-service.

Media Matters: "Spoiling for a fight"

Jamison Foser has a great "Media Matters" post entitled Spoiling for a fight with a great take on Hillary's "troubles" as of late as reflecting back to the idea that she is the inevitable Democratic candidate and who wants that? Moneyquote:
So what was all that talk about "inevitability" really about?

Maybe it reflected the impression the Clinton campaign itself was trying to create; political reporters and pundits have long ascribed that strategy to the campaign even as candidate and staff insisted they weren't taking anything for granted.

But maybe it was something else. Take a look at how some of the nation's most influential journalists have described their profession in the past:

Gloria Borger: "We take people to the top of the mountain and then once we get them to the top of the mountain, it's our job to knock them down." [9/10/06]

Brian Williams: "[I]t does seem true over the years that the news media almost reserve the right to build up and tear down and change their minds and like an underdog." [9/21/00]

Howard Fineman: "We want a race, I suppose. If we have a bias of any kind, it's that we like to see a contest, and we like to see it down the end if we can. And I think that's partly the psychology at play here." [9/21/00]

Many in the media certainly seemed to be building Clinton up prior to the Philadelphia debate -- though it should be noted that they were doing so strictly in a horse-race context. Clinton wasn't getting the kind of fawning media coverage that George W. Bush, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee have enjoyed at various points in recent years. The storyline wasn't that Clinton is a "straight-talker" or someone you'd "want to have a beer with" or an apolitical "maverick" with "folksy charm."

Instead, media built her up as "inevitable."

Were they doing so simply so they could knock her down? Here's The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut, only moments after Tucker Carlson called Clinton "inevitable" on the October 26 edition of MSNBC's Tucker:
KORNBLUT: I have to say we in the media are spoiling for a fight. Usually we are biased in favor of a good tussle at about this point. ... I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere between now and January 3, now that we know that's when the Iowa caucuses are going to be, to see some kind of reverse, some kind of Obama surge or an Edwards surge. Something that is going to knock Hillary down a few pegs. Whether it's a media creation, or something that actually happens on the ground. I would be shocked if there were nothing like that.

Interestingly, I was having a conversation about this with a friend right before receiving the email with the article from Media Matters in it.

She was asking me what I thought about everything that was going on with what the media is saying about Hillary and her troubles. I more or less echoed what is in the article. [remember - this was before I got the email.] One of the things that I said to her was that Bill and Hillary are consummate politicians and that I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't all planned, especially from Hillary's comment a few weeks ago that she wasn't going to take anything for granted. Meaning, I assume, that inevitable wasn't necessarily a thing that they wanted on the horizon. It makes one more vulnerable.

Check out the entire article over at Media Matters. It's a great insight.

60 Minutes DADT segment...

If you missed the CBS 60 Minutes segment on Don't Ask Don't Tell you can view it here: Military Soft On Don't Ask, Don't Tell?.

It's an interesting segment and comes across as pro-repeal of the innocuous policy. We need to commend the women and men who speak out and stand up for what they believe. We also have to applaud the Will & Grace Generation, as the servicemen interviewed refer to them, for their sane attitude that older blighties don't have. [You have to see the video to understand the blighty part.]

We also need to support the effort of repealing DADT.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is an organization that not only provides legal defense services to its members but is leading the fight against DADT. They have begun a new campaign called 60 in 6 to raise $600,000 in six days to help defend servicemembers who are discriminated by DADT.

Interestingly, Army Sergeant Darren Manzella who was the main interview on the segment and who has been open and accepted by men and women with whom he serves, now believes that as a result of this interview he will be dismissed when previously his commanding officers told him to "go back to work."

Click here to donate - 60 in 6

[i found it interesting that every person that Leslie Stahl interviewed who was against repealing DADT had a southern accent. nah..., maybe i was just imagining it...]

Impeach Cheney petition...

Wow! 50,000 names in less than 24 hours....

Rep. Robert Wexler (FL-19) posted the video below on his website yesterday calling for Vice-President Dick Cheney's impeachment and support from people. It was answered with those 50,000 signatures in less than 24 hours and now stands at over 70,000 names. It's growing quite quickly.

Though Wexler comes across as a bit vituperative, I have always agreed with this move. My stand comes not so much from the actions of the VP, though they are at face-value criminal, but because of the precedent it does not set, if impeachment proceedings are not begun. It's a dangerous precedent that undermines the checks and balances built into the Constitution. It also emboldens not just Bush/Cheney but any future administration.

You can add your name to the petition at Congressman Wexler's website here.

no one is above the law... no one!

Dan Fogelberg...

One of the things that I've noticed while getting older is that you start to view hearing about people's deaths differently. Before, the reaction was a combination of initial shock and then a shrug of the shoulders. Like hearing a statement of fact that momentarily had an emotion attached to it.

Now, it's like, "Oh, another one." and an instant recall of memories associated with the person or a memory that I attached to a person. It weighs a little more than before.

News of Dan Fogelberg's death was on Page 2 of today's Chicago Sun-Times. My mind instantly went to the face of a friend I haven't seen or talked to in many years - April. I don't know exactly why we haven't kept in touch; we were very close. I contacted her a couple of times. I even got a clipping from her about her father's death a few years ago. I guess, no, I know, things just happen.

Why Dan Fogelberg brought her to mind, I'm not really sure. Maybe, it was his voice. Maybe, it was some song we shared by him. Who knows? At least, we'll always have memories.

I know a lot of people are familiar with the song Run For the Roses but I'm not sure that many are aware that Dan Fogelberg wrote it. I liked this video of it. Enjoy Dan's voice...

monday morning mayhem...

start the week with a chuckle or a snort or a belly laugh...

1. flasher...
Three senior ladies named Patsy, Betty, and Nellie were sitting on a park bench having a quiet conversation, when a flasher approached from across the park.

The flasher came up to the ladies, stood right in front of them and opened his trench coat.

Both Betty and Nellie had a stroke.

But Patsy, being older and more feeble, couldn't reach that far.

Bless her heart.


2. enhancements...

sno cones.jpg

3. The Bathtub Test...
During a visit to the mental health facility, a visitor asked the Director: "How do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized?"

"Well," said the Director, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No." said the Director, "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"


4. a riddle...
Here is a riddle for the true intellectual.
Try to come up with the answer on your own.
The answer is at the end for those who are unable to think this one through.

At the exact same time, there are two 35 year old men on opposite sides of the earth:

One is walking a tight rope between two skyscrapers.

The other is getting "oral pleasure" from an 85 year old toothless woman.

They are both thinking the exact same thing.

What are they both thinking?

tightrope walker.jpeg

Don't look down.
Don't look down.
Don't look down.

16 December 2007

new musical compostion found...

Foreplay music.gif

Mozart? Bach? Wagner? Elton John?

Sweeney Todd...

There is quite a buzz about the new Tim Robbins' film of Steven Sondheim's musical/opera Sweeney Todd. The latest is that there is a problem with truth in advertising concerning the TV ads. The experts are saying that the ads are (mis)leading people, namely teenagers and young adult males, to believe that it is a slasher movie rather than a musical/opera and a lot of them are going to be disappointed. It is a slasher movie and actually one of the earliest slashers ever. The first version, entitled "The String of Pearls: A Romance." was published in 1846 and based on a possibly true story from 1802.

The only disappointment will be if they go and don't realize that they are getting some culture for a change.

I've seen quite a number of versions of the play/opera and enjoyed all of them. My favorite of all is the concert version that was done in 2001. Though no one can compare to Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett, Patti Lupone does a marvelous job. Below is a clip of the finale from the concert version. Oh, and yes, that is Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Tobias. Sweeney is sung by Len Cariou, who started the role on Broadway, and Judge Terpin is Timothy Nolan, who is probably the most successful crossover artist between opera and legitimate theatre.

here is the trailer from the new movie with Johnny Depp. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

slow posting...

i realize that i haven't posted in a couple of days and i received an email from a couple of people about it.

the last two days have been a couple of the worst since the problems started with the herniated discs started at Thanksgiving. (Yes, i said discs. there are three. i never do things in an easy way.) i'm on double doses of Darvocet for the pain and Valium for the muscle spasms and still i am in pain! and i'm not having any fun. the doctor's don't let me take Vicodin because i have too much fun on it. b****es!

i ventured out Friday night (probably why the last two days have been so bad) to see the new Lyric Opera production of Dr. Atomic by John Adams and Peter Sellars. I wanted a glass of gin to get numb but my friends put their collective feet down. Dr. Atomic was one of the most incredible opera experiences i've ever had.

the earliest i can get in to start the treatments is December 28th because of the holidays and doctors schedules. soooooo, i'm going to hobble about and continue to lie low. luckily with the snow last night here in Chicago, i have no desire to even venture out. the guys are here plowing the driveways right now.

i told my friends that no matter how much pain i'm in i AM going to bake bread for the holidays as i always do. i can't wait to make the ciabatta. i have a great recipe from my mother.

sadly, i can't do my big New Year's Eve bash that i do every year. it's a multi-course wine-paired affair that takes 4-5 days to put together. everything is from scratch. the main course this year (i start planning the menu in January!) was going to be Coniglio Tuscano - a rustic rabbit stew.

this is just another little bump in the road of aging.

as my grandmother always said, "The man who said life begins at 40 should've been shot!"

14 December 2007

wow, Bush/Cheney administration really cares about....


The people of the United States? Our security? Our well-being? Our children? It's not quite a toss-up.

DailyKos has a post up today that lists the things that Bush/Cheney has NOT done for us: Bush veto death march: the saga continues . It includes a list of the 53 bills that the Tsar is threatening to veto in addition to the seven that he has done since January. Before that, he only vetoed one other bill in his six years in office. Check this list out:
1. Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act - H.R. 4, and the Medicare Fair Prescription Drug Price Act - S. 3
2. Employee Free Choice Act - H.R. 800
3. Improving America's Security Act - S. 4
4. Water Quality Financing Act - H.R. 720
5. Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 - H.R. 985
6. Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 - H.R. 1255
7. United States Policy in Iraq Resolution - S.J.Res. 9
8. U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act - H.R. 1591, S. 965, H.R. 2206
9. D.C. Voting Rights Act – H.R. 1433, S. 1257
10. Rail and Public Transportation Security Act - H.R. 1401
11. Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act - S. 5
12. Intelligence Authorization Act - S. 372, H.R. 2082
13. Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act - S. 1082
14. Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act – H.R. 1592
15. Redeployment of United States Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq - H.R. 2237
16. Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act - H.R. 1684
17. Agricultural Disaster Assistance and Western States Emergency Unfinished Business Appropriations Act - H.R. 2207
18. National Defense Authorization Act - H.R. 1585, S. 1547
19. No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act - H.R. 2264
20. Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act – H.R. 1252
21. Human Cloning Prohibition Act - H.R. 2560
22. Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act - H.R. 2638, S. 1644
23. Creating Long-term Energy Alternatives for the Nation (CLEAN) Act/Energy 25. Independence and Security Act - H.R. 6
24. State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act - H.R. 2764
25. Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act - H.R. 2643
26, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act - H.R. 2829
27. College Cost Reduction Act - H.R. 2669
28. Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act - H.R. 2956
29. Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act - H.R. 3074, S. 1789
30. Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act - H.R. 3093, S. 1745
31. Farm, Nutrition and Bioengery Act/Food and Energy Security Act - H.R. 2419
32. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - H.R. 2831
33. Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act(SCHIP)- S. 1893, H.R. 3162, H.R. 976, H.R. 3963
34. Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act - H.R. 3161
35. Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act - H.R. 3159
36. Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act - H.R. 2776
37. New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act - H.R. 3221
38. Terrorism Risk Insurance Revision and Extension Act - H.R. 2761
39. FAA Reauthorization Act - H.R. 2881
40. Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act - H.R. 3121
41. Improving Government Accountability Act - H.R. 928
42. Regional Economic and Infrastructure Development Act - H.R. 3246
43. National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act - H.R. 2895
44. Tax Collection Responsibility Act - H.R. 3056
45. Free Flow of Information Act - H.R. 2102
46. Responsible Electronic Surveillance that is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective (RESTORE) Act - H.R. 3773
47. Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act - H.R. 505
48. Employment Non-Discrimination Act - H.R. 3685
49. Trade and Globalization Assistance Act - H.R. 3920
50. Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act - H.R. 2262
51. Homeowner's Defense Act - H.R. 3355
52. Temporary Tax Relief Act (AMT) - H.R. 3996
53. Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act - H.R. 4156

This list is unbelievable. It contains things that are absolutely necessary. Take #40 - Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act - H.R. 3121. I don't know to what the bill specifically pertains, but given the Bush/Cheney fiasco known as Hurricane Katrina, I sure I can guess what's behind the bill. Of course, the ones on Medicare, children's health insurance, job and housing protection, and affordable housing seem just by name to be concerning the welfare of the vast majority of Americans.

why exactly do we have a government, and why do we have the form of government established by the Constitution in 1789?

There is a part of the post at DailyKos that refers to the irony of all this:
Every Congress has to deal with the realities of the check against the legislature represented by the veto power. But recalling the president's, let's say "unconventional," use of his powers in the August FISA debate, there is a very real and very troubling prospect looming. A president willing to veto nearly everything the Congress produces and even to threaten to hold them in extended session until they produce what he dictates threatens the legislative branch's very reason for being.

The fears of Thomas Jefferson and his compatriots of the imperial presidency are very real, and I'm no longer certain, given both the GOP and Dem candidates running, that there is any real hope passed January 20, 2009.

i'm a natural cynic...

my favorite blogsite...

I read a lot of blogs and websites - news, pundits, lgbt, politics, style, foreign - the list is pretty endless. i admit that i'm a junky. the world at my fingertips, so to speak.

the link list on the right side of this site is really only a small smattering. they are more of the most frequent. i try to update it from time to time, but keeping up with it can be more time consuming.

there is one blogsite, however, that far and away is my favorite, my fantasy, my escape, so to speak. here are a few pictures from it to give you an idea

Roehr cycle

a sled by Porsche

KITT Nightrider.jpg
the new Knightrider KITT

Ferrari 599

Raikkonen & Schumacher - Grand Prix Circuit

one of a kind CCX

Bond Astin-Martin.jpg
the new James Bond Astin-Martin

the ultimate Christmas ornament

i have always been nuts about cars, motorcycles, etc. ever since i can remember, and i remember every car that not only i have owned but my father's and uncles' cars too i've tried to pinpoint exactly what the emotional attachment is and have only come up with the word escape. i'm not sure what it all means, but cars are an important part of my life.

and this is my favorite of all cars, the Bugatti Veyron. $1.5 million, 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds, 1000 horspower, W16 Engine - yep, 16 cylinders!
the first time i saw one in person - i wet my pants!

since i can't afford one of those, this is what i'm driving right now -

Infiniti FX35
it's not the Veyron, but i love it...

and the blog? oh yeah, Autoblog.com

check it out...


looking for something to do this weekend?
Last night we went to a party at our local senior center. The last Saturday of every month they have an evening potluck supper. We usually eat, play bingo, reminisce, and drink a little wine and talk about the good ole days.

We heard Selma Martin's grandson is staying with her for a few weeks. It's rumored he got in a scrap over some marijuana with the law out in Phoenix and he came to Denton to avoid the heat. Anyway, Selma is known for her delicious Brownies and she always bakes up a quadruple batch for each get-together. She makes enough for everyone and some for folks to take one home for later. For some reason they were extra good this week and every last one of them was eaten. Not a one left over. We later found out that Selma's grandson, Butch, laced the brownies with some of his marijuana.

Knowing this, I guess it offers a logical reason for everyone feeling good that night. By the time Zeke put on the bunny hop record, everyone was in a real good mood and it was the first time the whole place got up and danced.

That is until the cops came to check all the noise complaints.

Well -- that's another story!

pointing down.gif

Lets' dance like there's nobody watching.jpeg

Life's too Short --
Let's dance like there's nobody watching!

wait a minute... isn't that you? the third one from the left?

are you sure?

13 December 2007

torture: it's not that we "done" it; it's that we got caught"...

Fox analyst: Americans not above torture, and shouldn't be
Americans aren't above resorting to torture to gain intelligence from suspected terrorists -- and it would be a mistake if they were, according to Fox News military analyst Col. David Hunt....

"There are instances where it works. I've had it done to me in training," said Hunt. "It's torture. It is an extremely dangerous thing. Your system shuts down."

So, it's okay, if it works. Even the CIA whistleblower John C. Kiriakou says so:
...former CIA officer who participated in the capture and questioning of the first al-Qaeda terrorist suspect to be waterboarded said yesterday that the harsh technique provided an intelligence breakthrough that “probably saved lives,” but that he now regards the tactic as torture.

BUT, Col. Hunt had something really important to say to FOX -
Earlier in the segment, the colonel described the CIA's elimination of the interrogation tapes as a a mistake.

"Stupid. Idiotic," he said of the decision. "How about number one, we don't tape stuff? I thought we learned that lesson a long time ago. I think its a reaction to Abu Ghraib, but it's wrong, they shouldn't have done it."

what's wrong? the torture or the taping or the destruction of it?

the American "divine right" of kings...

"The Divine Right of Kings is a political and religious doctrine of political absolutism."

This is the opening sentence on Wikipedia in its entry on the concept of the Divine Right of Kings. It was used by European monarchs to justify their rule because they believed that it was given to them by God. It was absolute. They could do no wrong. Their every word was ordained and instilled by the breath of the Almighty.

It was also one of the longest struggles for freedom that the Continent fought. In the most extreme, regicide was used in the battle. Most noted are the executions of Charles I of England in 1649 and Louis XVI of France in 1793. To some of the time, it was worse than patricide - killing your father. God deigned who was to be the ruler. Who wanted to go against God?

Divine Right was also one of the leading treidations of Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers of the United States. They feared the possibility of a monarch based on Divine Right and a theocracy so much that they wrote a guarantee into the Constitution as the First Amendment - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

And here we are, back to the same fight. Almost every one of the GOP presidential candidates are using the religious argument as the right basis for our government.

Huckabee and Romney are making it part of the core for their campaigns. Giuliani is foaming at the mouth citing Catholic doctrine left and right. Even the House of Representatives weighed in yesterday with H. Res. 847: Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;

(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;

(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;

(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and

(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

No big deal. The House has previously passed resolutions along these lines concerning other religions and their importance.

Well, maybe, there is a big deal. Given the predilection of the GOP candidates to spout their belief as tantamount to their positions, the infusion of Christianity into politics for the last several years, the intimation that Christians are being persecuted in the U.S., and the insinuation that secularism is the root of all the evil happening in this country recently, maybe, just maybe, we are many steps closer to the theocracy that Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Romney do not only elude to but espouse - the new American Divine Right of presidency and government.

Flying Spaghetti Monster help us...

Richard Cohen has an interesting OpEd in today's NYT on Europe's fears of this phenomenon. Check it out here - Secular Europe’s Merits.

10 December 2007

I just wanna dance - Alison Jiear...

from Jerry Springer The Opera -

found this on one of the British blogs I read. brilliant re-edit...

can you name all the movies shown in the video?

i can...

[maybe i shouldn't admit that]

is Giuliani a Catholic?

I'm asking because of his latest pronouncement in backing the church's belief that homosexual acts are a sin but being gay isn't. At least that's what he says.

The other basis for which I'm asking this is that he's been married three times. The first marriage was to his cousin and it was annulled by the church. The second marriage was in church but not annulled by the church. It's extra difficult to get a second annulment, especially when there are two children born in it. His third marriage, consequently, is a civil one, not sanctioned by the church. It leads me to believe that he is breaking church canon.

Church law makes it very difficult to end a marriage and most people don't even bother with the time-consuming procedures the church demand. Consequently, the person(s) who marry outside the church while still being married in the view of the church can no longer receive the sacraments, cannot fully participate in the liturgy, and are in jeopardy of being excommunicated.

So, if he is no longer a Catholic in good-standing, to my way of thinking, Giuliani has absolutely no right to take stands on church teaching because he is actually not a member of the church. He can't go to mass; he can't receive communion; and he can't participate in any liturgy except as an observer at best. AND... he cannot be absolved by confession. If he is still in the illicit marriage, he cannot be forgiven by the church.

talk about shameless hypocrisy...

oh, and his second wife made it very clear what the reasons for the divorce were inspite of Giuliani's reasons:
Shortly after Giuliani left office, he filed for divorce, accusing Hanover of "cruel and inhuman treatment." In her response, Hanover blamed the ex-mayor's "open and notorious adultery."

Let's see... that's #6 in the Catholic list of the 10 Commandments - Thou shalt not commit adultery. He is still committing adultery by living in the civil marriage to his present wife.

So, let's get this straight [pun intended]. Giuliani is living in sin and his immortal soul is in danger of eternal damnation by breaking the Sixth Commandment. There is no leeway in its interpretation. Yet, he says that participating in homosexual acts is wrong according to the church. I'm confused.

last time I looked there was no commandment about men s****** d***. Correct me if I'm wrong... please.

monday morning mayhem...

1. if all else fails...
An atheist was walking through the woods. "What majestic trees, what powerful rivers, what beautiful animals!" he said to himself.

As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look, and saw a 7-foot bear charging towards him.

Bear in the woods.jpg

He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped & fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw & raising his right paw to strike him.

bear snarling.jpg

At that instant the atheist cried out, "Oh my God!"

Time Stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.

smiling bear.jpg

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. "You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light, 'It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice.

The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:


be careful what you ask for...

2. always play safe...

oh, my...

3. do you see what i see?


optical illusion.jpg


You see a couple in an intimate pose, right?

naughty you...

Interestingly, research has shown that young children cannot identify the intimate couple because they do not have prior memory associated with such a scenario.

What they will see, however, are the nine dolphins in the picture!(very clever)

So, I guess we've already proven you're not a young innocent child.

Now, if it's hard for you to find the dolphins within 6 seconds, your mind is SO corrupted that Y O U probably need help!

OK, here's help: Look at the space between her right arm and her head, the tail is on her neck, follow it up. Look at her left hip, follow the shaded part down, it's another one, and on his shoulder...

OH, S U R E, you see them NOW!

you are naughty...

4. cats have more fun...


new meaning to "fruit" flies...

Headline in today's Chicago Sun-Times - Gene makes fruit flies bisexual: study.

Well, now. This leads to some very interesting possibilities.

Researchers have discovered a gene involved in homosexual behavior in the tiny flies. They also found a way to turn homosexuality on and off with drugs.

sorta like a light switch?
UIC researchers were using fruit flies to study muscular dystrophy when they discovered a gene they call "gender blind," or GB.

Flies with a mutated form of the GB gene are bisexual. It appears they're unable to distinguish chemical smells, called pheromones, that tell whether other flies are male or female.

"The GB mutant males treated other males exactly the same way normal male flies would treat a female," Featherstone said. "They even attempted copulation."

copulation? how clinical...

It seems that it all boils down to the size of the males' synapses and the way they smell. [doesn't it always boil down to size?]
Researchers tested this idea by adding a drug to the flies' apple juice. The drug weakened the synapses. So within a few hours, flies with the GB mutation stopped engaging in homosexual behavior.

Conversely, researchers gave heterosexual male flies a drug that strengthened their synapses. Sure enough, these male flies soon were courting males as well as females.

I thought that we already had this drug? Isn't it called vodka or gin?

I was soooooo drunk last night...

Seriously, though. It raises a number of questions. The researchers were really surprised.
"It was amazing," Featherstone said. "I never thought we'd be able to do that sort of thing, because sexual orientation is supposed to be hard-wired. This fundamentally changes how we think about this behavior."

What was that old advertising line from Dupont? oh, yeah...

Better living through chemistry...

Actually, though tongue in cheek on my part, this is important research. It can potentially put holes into all the wingnut arguments attacking gays. Namely, that it's a lifestyle choice rather than something that is based on nature.

You can hear an interesting interview with Dr. David Featherstone
about his research

Dr David Featherstone.jpeg

by clicking here.

09 December 2007

Obama and Oprah - part 2...

So the pictures from today's rally in South Carolina showed about a 50-50 split between African-Americans and Whites in attendance unlike in Iowa. ABC World News even briefly interviewed African-American women who said that they have switched to supporting Obama. Oprah can bring them in.

There was a difference in another way that I noticed between yesterday and today, and I may be one of only a few who would notice this - the language. More specifically, the dialect.

Oprah and Obama slipped out of their perfect mid-western diction and fell distinctly into not just a southern-like accent but into the language usage also.

To most, it may seem subtle, if noticeable at all, but I worked with African-American children and one of the things that is made clear to them from their elders is that there is English and then there is street, and you have to use them in the appropriate times and places. Obama's street was very noticeable when he spoke. Oprah slips in and out of it all the time with her show depending on the topic. I'm not sure I've heard Obama use it before.

in political terms it is a subtle form of pandering, but it's still pandering...

08 December 2007

Naomi Wolf's "Fascist America, In 10 Easy Steps"...

I've been making reference Naomi Wolf's article in the Guardian Unlimited entitled Fascist America, In 10 Easy Steps for the last several days. It was published on April 24, 2007. I thought maybe it would be a good idea if I listed all 10 for people. You can read the her entire article by clicking on the post title and article title above.

Here are the 10 steps:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

7. Target key individuals

8. Control the press

9. Dissent equals treason

10. Suspend the rule of law

I don't believe anyone who is even moderately aware of current events in this country needs an imagination to cite examples of every one of the 10 steps that have been used over the past couple of decades and specifically the last seven years. I've already given examples in previous posts here, here, and here.

how much do we not know?

just asking...

Obama and Oprah...

Take a look at the picture from the Obama/Oprah rally in Iowa. It's very interesting. The vast majority of people attending are white. White women are Oprah's base for both her show and other things.

Oprah and Obama.jpg

Where are the African-Americans?

ABC World News Saturday made the observation that many people left the rally after Oprah spoke and before Obama began his stump.

as i said, interesting...

S. 1959: another view from the Baltimore Sun...

The ball keeps rolling on S. 1959 - "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" - with an OpEd entitled Here come the thought police. They set a great scenario, well, not great, scary:
Any social or economic reform is fair game. Have a march of 100 or 100,000 people to demand a reform - amnesty for illegal immigrants or overturning Roe v. Wade - and someone can perceive that to be a use of force to intimidate the people, courts or government.

The bill defines "violent radicalization" as promoting an "extremist belief system." But American governments, state and national, have a long history of interpreting radical "belief systems" as inevitably leading to violence to facilitate change.

The commission the bill creates determines what is radical. The last time we saw something in place like this was Joe McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). That was a blot on American history that is still felt at times.

The United States was founded on violent radicalization - known as the American Revolutionary War. The Founding Fathers decreed that it was necessary to use violence to overthrow a legitimate British government. Though to us it does not seem radical, for the time - late 18th century - it was extremist and progressive. King George III was a legal head of state. The outcome of the Revolutionary War even had repercussions in Great Britain when Parliament then began limiting the king's powers.

Another construction of S.B. 1959 creates is little Joe McCarthy's:
The proposed commission is a menace through its power to hold hearings, take testimony and administer oaths, an authority granted to even individual members of the commission - little Joe McCarthys - who will tour the country to hold their own private hearings. An aura of authority will automatically accompany this congressionally authorized mandate to expose native terrorism.

If you think about it, this is taking the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to the next level. S. 1959 creates public tribunals just like the military ones.

There are a lot of questions. Who is going to police the commissions? Does this replace the judicial branch of government? What guarantees of the Bill of Rights become restricted? Are there constitutional issues? How far would the Bush/Cheney Supreme Court go in upholding the bill, if it passes?

In the question of passage,
With overwhelming bipartisan support, Rep. Jane Harman's "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" passed the House 404-6 late last month and now rests in Sen. Joe Lieberman's Homeland Security Committee. Swift Senate passage appears certain.

Where is the mainstream media on this? Why haven't Olbermann, Matthews, and others been screaming loudly about this? Why is this a Democrat-sponsored piece of legislation? Why are the Republicans being so quiet about it? Is there some sort of behind-the-scenes deal-making going on?

This smacks of Naomi Wolf's Step 4. Set up an internal surveillance system & Step 9. Dissent equals treason in her article Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

there are too many questions and too many suspect parallels about this entire thing that need to be answered and explained...