••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Monday, October 31, 2005

bush blows (it)

today on talk of the nation, timothy lewis, a liberal african american who served 7 years with samuel alito on the 3rd circuit court of appeals, said alito is honest, open-minded, and not an ideologue, tho he is conservative.

that sounds closer to o'connor than scalia to me, and normally it would be ok. but these are not normal times.

alito's vote for spousal notification in a pennsylvania abortion law took the case to the supreme court, which rejected his dissent.

abortion rights advocates are worried.

i wonder if alito learned something and changed his mind after the high court's decision.

but more important, he's male. like i said a few days ago, there's no good reason half of all appointees shouldn't be women.

dick does

between pat fitzgerald's statement friday and joe wilson's today, all the right-wing leakgate disinformation has been refuted, but don't count on the phobes' fears to calm down that easily.

what matters to me is that somebody should catch on that a scooter doesn't drive itself.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

courtus interruptus

harriet miers' withdrawal letter seems to be saying she's consistently advised bush not to release white house documents to support nominations.

could it be that miers' legal advice is what's been behind the bush administration's chronic obsession with secrecy all this time?

flu in window

a few weeks ago levophobes were dismissing talk about avian flu as some sort of liberal scare tactic.

now that bush badly needs a new diversion from attention to his performance, it'll be interesting to see what he discovers: the latest "credible" evidence of a terror threat, heightened energy shortages, a real pandemic "crisis" after all, or what?

of course he can always fall back on social security "reform" or medical "savings" accounts or school "choice" or any of the blizzard of "personal responsibility" issues bushrove & co dreamed up to paralyze our minds to get our votes.

but my money's on bird flu.

dc statehood?

face it: it'll never happen.

the city of washington has autonomy under its home rule charter. that's as far as it's going to go.

congress passed a constitutional amendment to give dc a vote in congress in 1978, but the states didn't ratify it. petitions for statehood didn't even get that far, and they never will.

congress won't agree to statehood because they don't want another level of government in their midst. the risk of having to deal with 10th amendment issues is too great. statehood for dc is no more likely than israeli jews giving up jerusalem. (it's a separate issue, obviously, but palestinians might as well face facts too.)

the question of representation is easily solved, tho: just make dc part of maryland for federal elections only.

dc residents would vote for president, senate, and house of representatives as if they were in maryland. the state would have to redraw its congressional districts to include dc in one of them and would most likely gain a seat in the house and an electoral vote. the national total of electoral votes would go back to 535.

it would be so easy it's odd no one has thought of it before.

for failure

last night c-span's book tv ran diane rehm's 7-month-old radio interview of scott sandage, author of born losers: a history of failure in america.

sandage told how, at henry david thoreau's funeral in 1862, thoreau's teacher, ralph waldo emerson, described him as a failure. emerson was disappointed that his star pupil hadn't lived up to his potential by becoming a leader in government, industry, or any other field. he said thoreau would rather pick berries in the woods.

thoreau got incarcerated when he refused to pay taxes after the US went to war against mexico in 1846. emerson visited. when he saw thoreau behind bars he said "henry, what are you doing in there?" thoreau replied "ralph, what are you doing out there?"

you know, it seems to me every ethnic group in america aspires to send its best and brightest children to the centers of power to take up the reins of leadership. when they get there, many get mired in the mucky morass of materialism and militarism.

scooter libby and condi rice are no exceptions.

if a cost of success is loss of conscience, and the only other option is "failure," then 3 cheers for failure!

Friday, October 28, 2005

grand jury blues

we now know that scooter libby, who was indicted today [!], learned from his boss, dick cheney, that mrs wilson worked for the cia.

so, since cheney wasn't indicted for conspiracy, are we to infer that, when he gave that classified info to his chief of staff, dick was just making idle chitchat?

miers a stalking-horse?

i don't get it!

why would bush nominate somebody and just go thru the motions of backing her, then let her pull out so easily without a fight?

he could've released at least some of miers' documents. they'll come out someday anyhow, just like john roberts' papers from the reagan white house.

it's nothing but a dumb show, a shadow play.

there's something fishy about it. i smell a rat.

if bush names a really extreme right-wing woman next, i'm gonna suspect that was his plan all along: to get the replacement to sail thru like kennedy did soon after bork got voted down.

if he names a man i'll figure that was the plan: pay lip service to support for women but don't go all out when the inevitable heat's on and chips are down, then revert to patriarchism disguised as equal opportunity nondiscrimination in the next round.
that would stink to high heaven!

women are more than half the population of this country. are we gonna have 8 men on the supreme court again?

there's no good reason half of all appointees shouldn't be women.

but if the woman is an owen or a rogers brown, the dems have every constitutional right in the world to use every trick in the book to block a vote.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

poor sandy day!

justice o'connor's retirement is postponed again.

how ironic! in 2000 a rumor went round that she was overheard saying she hoped bush would win because she wanted to retire. presumably she didn't want to be replaced by a dem appointee. and of course she put bush in the white house, 5-4.

maybe that rumor made her wait 4 years so as to disprove it. she herself made her resignation hinge on confirmation of a successor, but having to wait thru 3 nominees must get frustrating.

neocon david frum on talk of the nation today said no prez ever went thru 8 years without a mistake. yeah! right! the miers nomination is bush's only mistake!

so now who's it going to be? priscilla owen? janice brown? if bush still wants to name a woman, they would be the most divisive picks, but cons would support them, and brown has the race-card advantage, because many white libs are too weak-kneed to filibuster or vote against blacks, no matter how off-the-wall.

if bush wants to find a highly-qualified conservative female judge, he should check out the witness list from the roberts confirmation hearings.

forgegate, disinfogate, or leakgate?

richard clarke, on fresh air yesterday to plug his new novel, pointed out that our war in iraq gave iran everything it wanted: we took out their hated enemy saddam hussein, made sure iraq has no wmd to threaten them in the future, and shifted control to the shi'a, who are likely to be friendlier to iran than any other group.

it occurs to me that much of the disinformation the dept of defense's rumsfeld, wolfowitz, and feith used to get us into iraq came from someone codenamed "curveball" whom ahmed chalabi hooked up with DoD. curveball allegedly got it from iran.

i can't help wondering if the 1993 alleged iraqi plot against bush-41 might've really been more iranian disinfo. or maybe kuwaiti, since they also had a revenge motive for a true grievance and a history of attributing hostile motives to innocuous iraqi actions.

then there's the origin of the forged 2002 "niger" documents that have since become relevant in plame/wilson/rove?/libby?/cheney? leakgate. they came thru italy, but surely they didn't start there. and who outside of a government would have access to niger letterheads and signatures of former officials?

newsweek's michael isikoff on all things considered yesterday said the UK got the papers from niger's embassy in rome. that's the first time i heard that. previous reports said an italian journalist was the conduit to the brits and refused to reveal her source. how could an embassy get fake official papers? why would it represent them to the brit govt as authentic?

is isikoff wrong? is he spreading disinfo? intentionally? what's the actual source?

let's hear what you know. and: stay tuned.


john yoo's at it again.

he's not content to have poisoned impressionable soldiers with his tortuous definition of torture.

it's not enough for him to have naive students to corrupt with his weirdly distorted ideas of justice.

now he's smooth-talking the npr audience with his honeyed lips.

as a guest on talk of the nation yesterday, the ex-justice dept torture-memo writer essentially denied that accused terrorists have a right to due process of law, because war is not law enforcement, so captured persons don't need to be proven guilty.

yoo justifies that by pointing out that we took and held many prisoners in past wars without treating them as accused criminals, who otherwise would've had due process rights, &c. it's always been considered acceptable to interrogate enemy prisoners to obtain militarily useful information.

yoo, who now teaches at berkeley, unwittingly shows why we went to war rather than hunting down and prosecuting terrorists as criminals: going to war is easier than the painstaking work of criminal law.

war doesn't require presumption of innocence or proof beyond reasonable doubt or even a preponderance of evidence. soldiers kill with no more than probable cause, if that. prosecuting criminals requires preparing a case for each individual. in war, a handful of memos can cover thousands of killings and cases of torture.

iraq isn't the first war to come about under such a doctrine. bush's daddy killed at least 500 innocent panamanians to arrest one man. before that, ww1 began as retaliation for one man's crime.

war is chaos. some say "controlled chaos," but nobody can control war. one side's superior strategists may determine who wins, but modern war always kills far more noncombatants than fighters and has unintended and unexpected consequences.

ever hear of chaos theory? the butterfly effect? sensitive dependence on initial conditions?

widespread militarization and a slew of entangling alliances preceded the shooting of archduke ferdinand and led to millions of deaths in ww1, which caused the rise of hitler and stalin, who killed many more millions and started ww2, which led to nuclear weapons and the cold war, which led to korea, vietnam, and US-sponsored resistance to the soviet invasion of afghanistan.

the korean war contributed to the still-unresolved nuke proliferation crisis we see today. the vietnam war led to dollar destabilization, greater energy dependence, and the cambodian killing fields. afghanistan produced the taliban and al qaeda, which got us to 9/11.

i'll leave japan, china, india, pakistan, israel, palestine, and the various other nations of asia, africa, and latin america out of it. it already has enough complexity to make my point without them.

we had a chance to break one of the cycles. terrorism had for decades been dealt with as crime rather than warfare. calling it war legitimizes terror, because terrorists already consider themselves at war, so whoever admits it's war plays into their game.

bush could have used the phrase "war on terror" metaphorically, as in "war on crime" or "war on poverty," but he chose to declare war literally.

thus opens one more door to chaos.


the election commission said there was "no significant fraud" when 78.5% of 10M iraqis voted for the new constitution, but abc's martha raddatz said last friday on pbs' washington week that she saw a man take 7 ballots, mark them all "yes," and hand them to a smiling election official.

there were also unconfirmed reports of nonresidents bussed into sunni areas to prevent a 2/3 "no" vote in 3 provinces, which would've nullified the document.

more i & i

da prez, addressing the economic club of washington yesterday, still claimed he'll halve the federal deficit by 2009, in effect admitting he can't match clinton, who produced a surplus in a similar timeframe.

of course, bush's apologists can point out that clinton started with a smaller deficit, but they'll also try to minimize bush's deficit by saying it's smaller compared to the gross domestic product.

like most folk, i don't know if that's accurate or not, but i do know clinton inherited what was then the 3rd biggest deficit in history from bush's daddy and began cutting it immediately, whereas the current prez inherited clinton's surplus and gave it away immediately, tho you'd think such a devout xian would heed the bible's warning to save a surplus for lean years that inevitably follow years of plenty. [genesis 41]

i almost said it doesn't make sense, but of course it does: bush's tax cut was a clever scheme to buy votes. what makes it so clever is it cost him nothing: he didn't have to lay out cash up front as in the usual kind of vote-buying, and he wouldn't have to pay off if he lost, but he could use the US treasury to pay his voters if he won, which is just what he did with tax cuts that created huge deficits. (he couldn't renege on the tax cut: he would've lost those votes in 2004.)

of course, bush apologists can claim the tax cuts didn't cause the deficit. they know no direct proof exists. after all, 9/11 and 2 wars cost plenty, making it impossible to say what caused what.

no scheiss, sherlock! you NEVER know ahead of time what crises might arise, but you SHOULD know there WILL BE crises, so giving away the store is ALWAYS stupid!

fluct again

bush followed up his deficit-cutting promises at the economic club of washington by returning to his personal responsibility theme, specifically medical "savings accounts."

his argument is that his proposal will give healthcare "consumers" the "freedom" to make their own choices about how to spend their health dollars.

oh! right! that's just what i need when i've just been told i have a serious condition that needs immediate treatment. not only do i have to figure out if what the doctors say is what i really need, but i also have to think about whether my account still has enough dough to pay for it, or if i'm going to have to go into debt for who knows how long.

all this stuff might seem really trivial to a guy who's always had his rich daddy's rich friends come to his rescue and never known a bigger problem than a ring breaking off a beer can before the top popped open, but to 'most everybody i know, "personal responsibility" is just a heartless excuse for governmental irresponsibility!

alaskan terror

tuesday night's daily show reminded me of an incident i meant to say something about.

ted stevens (r-ak), nearly 82 years old enough to know better, staged a tirade of irate shouting on the senate floor. he was incensed over an amendment that would take some of his hard-won pork away from his state and threatened to resign from the body if it passed.

i'm sure stevens left his colleagues quaking in their boots, but i bet the senate would survive without him.

say, do you think more senators might resign if we took away the pork barrel?

but before we get our hopes up, take a look at this excerpt from the 1998 edition of congressional quarterly's politics in america:

Longtime Stevens watchers say they have often watched Stevens throw a fit and then exit the room with a wink. “I believe in using my emotions, not losing my emotions,” Stevens said in a 1996 interview. “Once you’ve done that, you walk out the door and go over and have a drink with the opposing [party].”

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

stock surge

the dow went up 169 points yesterday after h.wilma knocked down a tree to kill a man in coral springs. the death toll reported so far is 6 in the US, 7 in mexico, and 13 in haiti and jamaica.
750k cubans evacuated ahead of deep floods.

many floridians, hardened by 7 previous hurricanes in the last 14 months, failed to take precautions. wilma was at category 3 when it hit the keys and southwest florida, causing major damage. wind speed dropped to cat 2 as the storm swept rapidly across the peninsula, stirring up tornados in its wake. power outages affected an estimated 3.2M homes and businesses and 6M people.

wilma soon gained strength over the atlantic, causing blackouts and flooding in new jersey and contributing to a major new england snowfall.

the stock rise was attributed to president bush's nomination of ben bernanke to replace alan greenspan when he retires as chair of the federal reserve board of governors.

bernanke said he'll aim for continuity with greenspan's actions. he's a welcome departure from the appointee cronyism of michael brown and harriet miers. bernanke may be the john roberts of economists. he's definitely no supply-sider.

still, i would've thought stockholders would show more concern for so much storm damage.

maybe i should look on the bright side: investors may consider the long-term effects of a good fed chair more important than the relatively short-term effects of a hurricane.

trouble is wilma's the 21st named atlantic storm this year, and there's already a 22nd. i think that's the most ever, and it may signal a trend that outlasts even ben bernanke.

rosa parks, 92

her innocence and strength of conscience shone through her smiling mug shot like bright sunshine in a hurricane's eye.

she became inspiration and role model to a generation.

she proved the best way to take a stand can be to refuse to stand up.


millstone milestone

US dead in iraq hit 2000.

bush says the outcome is "not in doubt."

remember when we had "no doubt" saddam still had wmd?

remember when iraqi oil would pay for the whole war?

remember when we didn't stop looters or guard borders and munitions stockpiles because "stuff happens"?

remember when it would be quick, easy, and cheap?

don't be cruel

hateful gop attacks no longer astonish me. what does surprise me is that their cruelty should now show up not in overtly political abuse of dems and libs but against one of their own: harriet miers.

proper criticism should be aimed not so much at miers as at the man who chose her, whose main arguments in her favor seem to be 1) trust me, i know her, 2) she's a good christian, and 3) she's a she.

if those had been his only reasons for the nomination, his wife would've been an even better choice.

my own experience with folk who say "trust me" is that they often don't know what they're talking about. if you've stood on more than one long supermarket customer service line to ask for a raincheck for a sold-out item and been told "it's in aisle x. trust me," only to look again with no success, you know what i mean.

saying how well he knows her is remarkably poor timing, with all the talk against cronyism lately.

the faith reason treads too close to the article vi prohibition of a religious test as a qualification for office. of course the senate won't use such a test to confirm or deny appointment, but the president has sworn to follow the constitution too.

as for miers' femaleness, it just looks like more of the estrogen shield. he could easily have found a highly qualified conservative gop female judge with an accessible record, so why pick a virtually unknown non-judge, most of whose recent record will be kept hidden?

up till now, the best thing i could say about this president was "he's no nixon." dick nixon was not only obsessed with secrecy like bush, he was also so paranoid he believed he needed to have something on everybody in case they crossed him. that's likely why he taped every word spoken in the oval office and put together a list of enemies that included a lot of individuals and groups that were never a threat to him. he never figured out he was his own greatest enemy.

but now bush is going out of his way to name a judge with a hidden record rather than a better-qualified one with a public record. why? all i can imagine is he really means it when he says he knows her.

outsiders are unknown quantities. bush wants to be sure he has somebody who will stay loyal to his (phobic) vision.

the world is a frightening place to g w bush. the big difference between him and nixon is that nixon's communism phobia turned into a paranoid delusion that almost everybody was out to get him.

bush hasn't gone over that line yet, but he's getting close.

but why does miers remind me of clarence thomas?

scum again

is it possible that when anita hill thought clarence thomas said "pubic hair on coke can," she misunderstood that he was actually referring to a rumor about the then vice president's son's drug abuse?

wow! look at the stuff u can find in online forums!

Galloway works for Halliburton?
by: psyopslabs
10/25/05 07:25 pm
Msg: 44 of 44
1 recommendation

Facts the American corporate press don't like to talk about:

Under Cheney, Halliburton helped Saddam Hussein siphon billions from UN Oil-for-Food Program

Halliburton Ignores Sanctions
by Jason Leopold

Vice President Dick Cheney can toss around the F-word all he wants in response to the criticism directed at him as a result of his close ties to Halliburton, the company he headed from 1995-2000, but he can't hide from the truth.

It was Cheney who urged Congress in 1996 to ease sanctions against Iran, a country that's part of President Bush's axis of evil, so Halliburton could legitimately do business there.

During a trip to the Middle East in March 1996, Cheney told some U.S. businessmen that Congress should ease sanctions in Iran and Libya to foster better relationships with those countries.

During former defense secretary Richard Cheney's five-year tenure as chief executive of Halliburton, Inc., his oil services firm raked in big bucks from dubious commercial dealings with Iraq. Cheney left Halliburton with a $34 million retirement package last July when he became the GOP's vice-presidential candidate.

Of course, U.S. firms aren't generally supposed to do business with Saddam Hussein. But thanks to legal loopholes large enough to steer an oil tanker through, Halliburton profited big-time from deals with the Iraqi dictatorship. Conducted discreetly through several Halliburton subsidiaries in Europe, these greasy transactions helped Saddam Hussein retain his grip on power while lining the pockets of Cheney and company.

Halliburton's Iraq Deals Greater Than Cheney Has Said
Affiliates Had $73 Million in Contracts
By Colum Lynch
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, June 23, 2001; Page A01

UNITED NATIONS -- During last year's presidential campaign, Richard B. Cheney acknowledged that the oil-field supply corporation he headed, Halliburton Co., did business with Libya and Iran through foreign subsidiaries. But he insisted that he had imposed a "firm policy" against trading with Iraq.

"Iraq's different," he said.

According to oil industry executives and confidential United Nations records, however, Halliburton held stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer of the Dallas-based company.

And much more:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

not out of the woods yet, little red riding hood

it looks like this year's antarctic ozone hole is bigger than last year and bigger than average, tho not as big as 2003's record setter.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

NOAA stormtracker link

slow posting: bill moyers in texas

rich sent this transcript of moyers talk re environment, politics, and journalism on 10/1.

there's also a link to an mp3 file there if you prefer to listen to the audio.

you'll find other good stuff there too.

driving mantra

it still amazes me how effective the gops are at fogging the air with meaningless phrases their phobic supporters pick up and repeat as if they were gospel.

one making the rounds now is "she drove to work every day" used as "evidence" valerie plame wasn't a covert agent.

can anybody tell me which part proves something? "drove"? "to work"? "every day"?

i'm pretty sure i can x out "drove." james bond drove bentleys and aston-martins and maybe some other vehicles with 6-figure price tags, and he was covert, right?

but i'm not sure if he drove to work or only for pleasure. and i have no idea if it was every day. besides, it was fiction.

how was plame supposed to get to work? would walking or running have preserved her clandestine status? taking the subway? getting driven by somebody else? only driving every other day? sleeping in her office? not going to work at all?

maybe she was supposed to use a helicopter. or a hang glider. or drive to an airfield, board a cia jet, and parachute into langley to go to work.

is this one of those great mysteries i'll never solve?

am i going crazy?

more jive choice

2 days ago i wrote on how the gop "choice" plan for education would harm public schools and benefit nobody but private school parents by discounts via vouchers.

today i take on how gops distort "choice" in medicare.

the choice is between low-monthly-payment high-fee-for-service plans and high-monthly-payment low-fee-for-service plans. (i count deductibles as fees.)

that's not a choice. it's a gamble.

it forces seniors to bet whether they'll get sick or not. our most vulnerable seniors, the ones with least money, are most likely to bet they'll stay healthy. they opt for low monthly payments and hope they don't come down with conditions they're not covered for or that require hospitalization along with high deductibles.

i'm not a senior citizen, but i hope to be one someday, and i can tell you i don't want that kind of choice. i want full coverage, period!

the only things i want to choose are my doctors and my drug store.

and i bet most seniors feel that way.

south park blame game

south park satirized the katrina story to start their new season last night. the theme was how placing blame grows more important in folks' minds than actually dealing with an emergency.

unfortunately, just a few days ago i learned that in 5 years bush has cut the army engineers' funds for new orleans levee maintenance by 44%.

i don't think i laughed less hard at south park, but it didn't take away the bitter taste in my mouth.

the game

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.
—Thomas Jefferson

yesterday, while questioning condi rice, sen george voinovich (r-oh) said we need to stress that the koran forbids suicide and killing women and children.

yes, that might persuade some young muslims not to engage in such actions, but suicide bombing isn't a strategy but a tactic, and to defeat terrorists we need to defeat their strategy.

their strategy is to make us overreact, because our overreaction builds resentment and frustration and alienation and resistance.

when we kill 39 innocent civilians like we did the other day, we play right into that strategy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

what, again?

hurricane wilma went from category 1 to cat 5 within a few hours, stunning most observers.

i don't think 3 cat 5s have ever been seen in one season before.

let's hope whoever it hits is ready.


as the plamegate prosecutor's investigation moves closer to the veep's office, i've got to say my money's been on cheney all along.

see, he's got a big mouth—or loose lips, if you prefer. he likes to show off his insider knowledge.

back in 1990, after iraq invaded kuwait and international sanctions were imposed—ostensibly to pressure iraq to pull out—within a month defense secretary dick cheney went on the news saying—and i think i've got the quote pretty close, tho it has been 15 years—"war is closer than ever. saddam hussein is beginning to feel the effects of the sanctions." up till then everybody thought sanctions were meant to avoid war, but cheney let it slip that the real purpose was to soften up iraq for attack.

then it happened again 4 years ago. recall that gasoline prices had dropped in the late '90s. in new jersey they bottomed out around 85¢ a gallon in the spring of '99. then they began to climb—just about at the time g w bush announced his presidential candidacy. (i'll leave it to you to speculate as to whether oil companies did it to help their oilman buddy get elected. in any case, they helped bring on the recession of 2001.)

the price at the pump rose for 2 years. then, in early summer, the new vp got on tv and said the price was about to fall. he said he could tell from the futures market. sure enough, within a few weeks it began to drop. but the economic damage was done.

a year or so ago i heard bob novak say he's been friends with cheney since dick's first days in dc. that clinched it for me.

then again, my other top suspect has been rumsfeld—another bigmouth—but it doesn't look like i'm right on him.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

11-YO militants?

our vaunted military bombed and killed 70 iraqi "militants," including a group planting a roadside bomb.

local residents say half the dead were civilians, including children as young as 11.

jive choice school daze

if you think "school choice" vouchers is a good idea, you need to look at the numbers.

even if the entire US education department budget were put into vouchers it would come to less than $1000 per student per year—nowhere near enough to cover private school tuition.

the main effect would be to funnel federal funds away from public schools that get them now and into the pockets of parents of private school students. vouchers would give them a tuition discount.

parents fooled into supporting the plan include a small percentage of latinos and african americans misled into believing it will help their kids—the kids already most hurt by under-funded public schools.

gops are fond of saying you can't solve a problem by throwing money at it. they apparently mean to solve poor performance of some schools by taking money away from them and giving it to folk who already have more than most of us.

Monday, October 17, 2005

new dark ages?

government ignores science and makes decisions based on faith, a new plague may be on the way, and machiavelli has a field day....

Sunday, October 16, 2005

cop beat

every time cops get videoed brutalizing somebody, questions get asked for a news cycle or three, then we all forget about it till it happens again.

you know what questions i mean. race questions mostly, but also how-to-prevent-it questions once in a while.

maybe they always drop the issue after a few days because nobody ever comes up with a useful answer.

so here's a couple [society now owes me 2¢ each]:

• the solution to the racism question is to root out racial phobias, which i suspect are related to xenophobia.

it might take a while to force psychotherapy down millions of americans' throats, so i suggest doing it thru media. get some shrinks together with some copy writers and produce a series of public service announcements. mix humor with information and common sense. put things in perspective for phobes. treat 'em like adults.

for example, show a soccerball with a voiceover saying "this is your brain." then put an arrow thru it so it deflates and say "this is your brain on racism. get over it."

i know it's derivative, but you've got to admit a soccerball looks a hell of a lot more like a brain than an egg does, but a soccerball in a frying pan makes no sense at all.

here's another: show a healthy dog instead of a ball. DON'T SHOOT THE DOG! bandage up one of its forelegs so it hobbles around on 3 legs. use the same voiceover as above.

another possibility is to substitute "country" for "brain." racism has harmed this country to an extent the most fanatical anti-american drug fiend can't even begin to contemplate.

• now for a remedy just for cops:

i'm not going to say forget about sensitivity training. for all i know it does some good. but what we need is a simple, easy-to-follow universal rule that can be drummed into cops heads by repeating it to them once a day just before they hit the streets.

it has to be stronger than "be careful out there" and more specific than "protect and serve." ideally it should be law, and the biggest law is the constitution, which all cops have sworn to uphold.

we don't need to amend it. the answer's already there: the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

at the end of roll call, just before cops leave the ready room, the sarge says: "it can get rough out there in the land of the free, but remember, the supreme law of the land says we owe everybody the equal protection of the laws."

ok, it don't have to be that hokey, but you get it?

Friday, October 14, 2005

one thing we do know about harriet miers

she's a first-class ass-kisser.

let's talk

saw another con complaining about liberals on c-span. guys like him seem to have an easy time getting think tanks or con colleges to give them forums to flush their phobic detritus out across the cableways.

he said libs are moral relativists, which apparently means they have no morals at all.

he also said libs' compassion is worthless, because it amounts to no more than wanting government to do everything for poor helpless victims of disaster, &c, who he insisted aren't really helpless.

he attacked ted kennedy because we haven't heard about him giving away any of his fortune to good causes "like bill gates."

i don't recall the guy's name. unfortunately i'll probably remember his face. it's not pretty.

does anybody—i wish we had the word "anymind"—have any substantive ideas on what to do about the mass phobia and/or paranoia on the "right"?

we need to discuss this stuff. my head's not big enough to do it alone.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

shake, rattle, and helter skelter

river flooding has devastated communities in new hampshire and massachusetts.

so far, more than 1k deaths have been counted in guatemala, 200k homes have been destroyed, and disease is beginning to spread among survivors of the mud.

the UN estimates 2M are in need of housing and 1M in urgent need of aid as a result of the deadly quake in northern pakistan and india.

a muslim woman with 3 grenades strapped to her body was shot and killed in indian kashmir. she would have been the first female suicide bomber in the region.

it's not enough that mother nature has it in for us: we've got to kill each other too.

living wage south?

much concern has been expressed about post-katrina contracts to outside companies, the hiring of migrant workers rather than residents, and failure to guarantee fair pay.

marc morial, urban league prexy and new orleans resident, spoke on those and other issues at georgetown law yesterday. (full text)

he pointed out that there's no shortage of work to be done and suggested putting local folk at the head of hiring lines and giving 50% tax forgiveness to companies that pay a living wage.

i would add "with full benefits."

but more important: now we have to cut taxes to get bosses to pay living wages? is this what we've come to? this "nation under god"?

damn! missed again

i don't always pay much attention to commercials, but sometimes something sneaks into awareness.

today an announcement of a big sale of i-dunno-what ended on the grandiose tag "if you miss it, you've missed history!"

if i live past the end of history, i'm sure i'll miss it then. we all will.

better luck next time....

heard it on the cnn vine

a curfew will be observed in iraq during the pre-referendum period.

a story about a US marine counter-"insurgency" operation contained the line "their objective: denial."

when you need a curfew to get thru an election, you know you're in trouble.

here denial is an ego defense mechanism. in iraq it's an "objective."

here it is...

...proof that the terrorists are winning.

the strategic aim of terror is to make governments overreact, generally by becoming more authoritarian, so the society grows less open.

going to war against the wrong enemy may also be such an overreaction, but it's not the classic model.

"historically, public safety has always been the excuse for taking away people's rights."
bill kunstler

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


the reason i'm considering transforming phobizone into paranozone is the systematic delusions of so many right-wingers.

i'm not saying no delusions exist among leftists, but they're epidemic on the "right."

just look back at the rapid spread of rush limbo's vince foster "murder" mystery rumor, or ronald bailey's thousands of footnotes to "prove" environmentalism is a conspiracy to gain power by terrifying the rest of us, or ann coulter's disjointed slander/treason nightmares, or michael savage's equally incoherent projection of his mental disorder onto liberals, or the way one of the most respected justices in the history of the supreme court is routinely labeled extremist, or the widespread fear that the UN and gun control are the vanguards of a plot to surrender american sovereignty to a world government, or the notion that we had to invade iraq to prevent militant extremists from creating an empire "from spain to indonesia."

now we see a similar response to dem claims we aren't prepared if avian flu becomes a human pandemic. on-air callers say libs and dems are using scare tactics, and the flu isn't a real threat—not yet, anyway—because it takes at least 6 months to mutate so as to pass from human to human, and the dems and libs shouldn't criticize drug makers, because they can't make a vaccine till the virus mutates into what's contagious between humans, &c. fingers also get pointed at lib media and trial lawyers.

i don't know where it's coming from or how it got started, but it's definitely an overreaction with at least some misinformation thrown in.

the virus need not take 6 months to go human to human. it may've always taken that long with other viruses in the past, but no rule of virus behavior requires it to take so long to mutate.

in fact, some spreading within human families has already been found, but it may be virus from birds getting on folks' skin and going to other folk through close contact, not by contagion via a human host, which is what would cause a pandemic.

also, cases have now been found in europe and turkey, so concern grows. to keep it in perspective though, only 117 human cases have been seen worldwide. 50 have died.

there is no vaccine. what exist are drugs called antivirals. the government stockpile currently has only 1% of what we'll need if a pandemic spreads in this country.

the main antiviral is made by roche, which holds a patent. they don't want to license other makers, saying it's too complex a process for other companies to put together in a reasonable time. but roche's current capacity won't allow them to make nearly enough doses. they'd have to build more factories first.

i have no idea if dems have a unified position. they ought to advocate licensing more companies to make antivirals to be stockpiled by public health agencies.

gop cons must be worried dems will score points with the public and roche's profits will suffer, so they may be doing spin and damage control: stirring up phobes by projecting scare tactics onto the dems.

idée fixe

something slipped my mind yesterday but was strong enough to come back after i'd finished posting for the day.

a caller to washington journal said she has no problem deciding how to vote: she simply picks the candidates planned parenthood opposes.

it's no secret folk can be fooled into voting against their own and/or the nation's best interests. i think the caller gives insight into why they do so: they have what they think is a good reason, one so compelling that it outweighs everything on the other side.

any suggestions on what to do about it?

Monday, October 10, 2005

i & i

one night around a decade ago two lights went out in my north jersey apartment.

i went to the cellar and checked the breakers but found them all closed, so i phoned my landlady. she sent her husband over, but he found nothing wrong either.

[in case you wonder why i don't call him "landlord," think of queen victoria and prince albert in a can: she owned the place, he was her consort/handyman. i'm kidding about the can. it's a pipe tobacco prank you may've heard of. kids love to phone drug stores and ask "do you have prince albert in a can?" if the answer's yes they say "well, let him out!"]

the next day she brought an electrician over. i told him what happened. he made me change a bulb to make sure that wasn't the problem. i told him two lamps went out at the same time, but he insisted, so i complied. the lamp stayed dark. he checked the outlet with a meter, which he could've done first. then he went to the basement to look at the wiring and make an estimate.

½ hour later he came back and told my landlady there was no telling how long it might take to find the broken wire, and he'd have to charge the hourly rate, so it might add up to thousands of dollars. then he pointed out that it was an old house with outmoded wiring, so the same kind of failure was certain to recur, so she'd save plenty if she rewired the whole house now. he said he'd do it for $15k.

i chimed in to ask why he didn't draw a wiring diagram that might help him find the problem quickly.

he responded that i wasn't paying for it, so i should stay out of it.

then he told a story. he'd made the same recommendation to another homeowner. a week later he drove past the house and saw a competitor's truck parked there. he pulled over, and the rival electrician told him he'd been crawling around in there looking for a broken wire for 4 days—at the hourly rate, of course.

then he said he had a big job coming up, but he could squeeze her in before it and would even knock $1000 off the price if she made up her mind in two days. [this is a sales technique called "putting hurry into it."]

when they left i went downstairs and drew a chart of the cables and light fixtures under the cellar ceiling. i tried all the lights and eliminated the good lines i could identify. i gave the chart to the husband and told him it had to be one of two lines i had marked and which one was most likely.

he found the trouble and fixed it within a day.

the next time i spoke to my landlady, she seemed to suspect i knew how to find the problem because i had caused it.

electricity was a complete mystery to her. she never imagined circuits could be logically analyzed.

sales and marketing were also unknowns to her. she didn't know her unscrupulous electrician used scare and pressure tactics—techniques commonly used by salespeople and con artists to play on ignorance and insecurity.

we're all ignorant and insecure in one way or another, and there's always somebody out there looking for a way to take advantage of it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

e i e i o!

one factor that makes da prez's speech thursday at the national endowment for democracy such effective rhetoric is that it's a real hodgepodge. so many ideas jump from his lips to your brain so fast you don't get a chance to see they don't follow logically.

you can look it up and see what i mean, but here's just one paragraph as an example:

Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 -- and al Qaeda attacked us anyway. The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet the militants killed more than 180 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan.

notice his use of misdirection and the straw man fallacy: he misstates the criticism against the iraq war with an argument that's easy for him to shoot down. "caused or triggered" isn't the point at all. obviously nobody claims our invasion of iraq caused 9/11 or that beslan is related to it.

bush never actually refutes the first clause quoted above, but who has a chance to notice if they only listen?

fortunately we get to read it too.

ain't the internet wonderful?!

Friday, October 07, 2005

hob mutates into arano?

speaking at the national endowment for democracy yesterday, da prez gave us all a lecture on history.

no. wait. history is about the past, isn't it? this is more like mystery. professor bush's theory solves the mystery of al qaeda's motives: terrorists want to establish control of one country, presumably iraq, so they can force us out of the muslim world and extend their dominion "from spain to indonesia."

wow! spain, huh? that's heavy!

see, da professor can find no motive other than conquest for the attack of 9/11, therefore our "liberation" of iraq did not provoke the presence of terrorists there.

maybe i was wrong: maybe "phobia" isn't a strong enough word.

how's "paranoia"?

rove scores

karl rove is going to the plamegate grand jury for the fourth time and was informed, in roundabout lawyerish lingo, that he is a target of the investigation, relieving the worries of those of us who thought he might get stranded at third base and never see leavenworth's home plate.

witnesses are typically asked to testify more than once only when their evidence contradicts other evidence. it's only fair to give a guy a chance to clear up a discrepancy, right?

still, three callbacks is relatively rare, and in this game, the fourth time's the charm.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

fixin' to die?

i think i'll wait till i'm about 120 before i visit alaska.

their new tourism slogan seems to be "alaska b4udie."

i doubt anybody reading this can't translate that, tho i was surprised recently when a blogger didn't like my abbreviations but tempered the criticism with "then again, i don't do text messaging."

maybe don't read license plates too? that's how the short form of "before you die" will appear in at least some of the ads.

i'm not going to venice either, till after i go to alaska. for readers too young to know, the saying goes "see venice and die."


i'm with senator jack reed (d-ri).

today he reminded da prez that bush's repeated ad infinitum description of iraq as a major front in the war on terrorism only became true because we invaded.

if we were so concerned about the human rights of iraqis, why did we turn their homeland into an on the job training ground for violent extremists?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

back on track

i heard a recent survey shows campus attitudes have taken a left turn at last.

some con kids are whining about the trend, saying the classroom atmosphere makes it hard for them to learn.

some even pretend to be liberal to shield themselves from biased grading they project onto lib teachers.

lib professors on con campuses also feel pressure to conform, making meaningful exchanges with students difficult.

there is a god

as we watch the slow public unraveling of the career of gop lobbyist/filmmaker/alleged swindler/tom delay cohort jack abramoff, my faith in the power of truth to come out grows.

it hasn't been hurt by delay's second indictment, either.

nor by the reversal of fortune of bush cheney rumsfeld rice rove libby & co as more and more gets revealed about how far they went in using fear and lies to blind the people of this country to the extent of their power game.

i think the one thing that could top those would be a dual impeachment: dubya and dick barbecued on one spit.

invitation refused

thanx, sirreene, for this one, to which you added "She handled it with class don't you think?"

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

hey! hey! tom delay

how many bucks did u wash 2day?

3 inquires 4 miers

• the first thing the senate judiciary committee ought to ask harriet miers is what they asked chief justice john roberts: is there a right of privacy? roberts defended privacy rights, but that doesn't make it a dead issue.

i still think the best way to start the questioning is to ask: do you have a right of privacy?

• the second thing they should ask miers is one they should've asked roberts but didn't (unless i missed it somehow): does the 'advice and consent' clause require the senate to vote on a nominee?

the beauty of the question is that it's an important constitutional issue and not a hypothetical one, but it will never come before the courts.

judicial nominees might be able to avoid constitutional questions that may be part of cases they'll have to decide if confirmed, but they have no such excuse on this one. the doctrine of separation of powers will prevent the courts from ever hearing a case involving advice and consent.

thus it provides an opportunity for nominees to show how they reason and make decisions—if senators ask them to give arguments for and against both sides of the question in addition to stating their own opinions.

i already wrote on the subject on 8/1 and 9/15, but it looks like senators don't read this blog. surprise!

• the third question: what advice did you give the prez regarding the legality of invading iraq?

she can't use attorney-client privilege to evade this one: the question isn't what her client said, but what she said to him. the privilege doesn't protect the attorney.

if she claims she said nothing on the subject, that tells us bush either didn't care about legality or didn't respect miers' opinion enough to ask her.

if the white house claims executive privilege and/or national security interests prevent miers from talking, it's as good as admitting the invasion was illegal and they knew it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

old joke that fits our politics today

a senior citizen on a train platform asks a baggage handler for directions to her train.

"go left and you'll be right" he says.

she replies "don't be impertinent, young man."

"okay, lady" he says. "go right and you'll be left."

left behind

i've been making up words like liberophobia for fear of liberals, but maybe i should use one of these i found online:

Sinistrophobia- Fear of things to the left or left-handed.


Levophobia - Fear of things to the left side of the body.

let'em eat candy

it's not getting as much attention as saturday's terror bombing in bali, but indonesians protested on friday.

their gasoline price jumped 87% when the government cut subsidies in the only opec nation that imports oil.

police passed thru crowds handing out sweets to spontaneous demonstrators as speakers delivered passionate exhortations. it worked for a while: the protests were described as "half-hearted." then the top blew off.

indonesia is the world's 4th most populous country. half its 220 million people live on less than $2 a day.

august wilson, 60

he dropped out of school at age 15 when his teacher said his paper on napoleon was "too good" to have been written "by a black kid."

he won 3 tonys and 2 pulitzers.

just this year he completed a 10 play cycle on the black experience in america in each decade of the 20th century.

it was announced last month that 2 weeks from today broadway's virginia theatre will be re-named in his honor, the first time one has been named after an african american.

60 years old.

we'll never know how many great plays he took with him.


does every blog post that mentions...

...al gore get a visit from tipper?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

the conspiracy

tom delay is fighting back by—what else?—attacking dems, calling his indictment part of a left-wing conspiracy.

see, when a dem first lady talks of a right-wing conspiracy, she gets roundly ridiculed, but when the shoe's on the other—i don't need to finish that, do i?

now, if by conspiracy you mean "a combining or working together," then sure it's a left-wing conspiracy. so what?

but if you mean "a planning and acting together secretly for an unlawful or harmful purpose," then the only conspiracy i see in the case appears to be inside the gop—specifically, a plot to have the republican national committee launder money and feed it to candidates in a way that evades state election laws.

in texas, that meant in one instance $190,000 was collected from corporations and sent to the rnc. the rnc sent that money to candidates in states with less restrictive laws and sent texas candidates $190,000 made up of small individual donations from other states.

all it takes is a couple wire transfers, and everybody winds up with just what they'd get if states had no restrictive laws. see?

they supposedly kept the funds separate, most likely by using separate bank accounts.

that's what gops call a firewall.

it's what i call a) bullshit and b) money laundering, pure and simple.

and since that money crossed state lines, it's a federal case. so how come the US attorney general, texas gop alberto gonzalez, hasn't done anything about it?

i don't think i better hold my breath waiting for an answer.

but gops oppose judicial activism, don't they?

in retrospect i now see john roberts' definition of judicial activism didn't go far enough.

during his confirmation hearing roberts said activist judges are those who go beyond what is necessary to decide a case. at the time i agreed, but a case coming up before the supreme court sheds more light on the subject.

a lawsuit started by john ashcroft and taken over by alberto gonzalez aims to overthrow oregon's law that allows assisted suicide.

when state and federal law conflict, federal takes precedence. trouble is, there's no federal ban on assisted suicide, so there's no conflict with state law.

to get around that little problem, the attorney general brings in drug laws. he claims prescribing drugs for suicide violates controlled substance regs.

but the suicide drugs are higher-than-usual doses of ordinary prescription drugs, not the kind normally considered "controlled substances."

so, if the court rules against oregon, they won't be going beyond what they have to do to decide the case, but by saying a lethal dose makes a drug "controlled" they will be rewriting law, and that's activism.

not nice to fool with mother nature dept.

repair of the gulf coast would've been underway a couple years ago, but the white house opposed funding it. from world's only super power to bush leaguers in 5 short years, all because we'd rather fight than fix wetlands.

years ago, detroit bigwigs convinced auto workers they'd lose jobs if the US stopped making gas guzzlers. now the roads are full of imports, gm and ford are struggling, and chrysler is german.

anwr is more of the same. if we drill in the arctic, we extend US petroleum consumption about 6 months after the rest of the world runs dry—or maybe 2 years, if the wildest predictions come true.

street smarts

hillary's heart and head are in the right place, but i don't think she's oval office material.

she, like john kerry, voted bush authority to go to war in iraq. kerry's reason for it—in essence, to pressure saddam to let inspectors in—makes sense on its face, but he lived thru vietnam and knew of tonkin gulf and the pentagon papers. bush-cheney-rice & company had been beating the war drum for months before the vote, so no senator should've needed a cpa to put 2 and 2 together to read the admin's telegraph of where they were headed.

that's why the dems should've nominated dennis kucinich, one of the few legislators who saw thru the white house smoke screen. but of course that became impossible once "electable" became the rallying cry that carried kerry thru the primaries.

is nu-cu-lar anything like un-cle-ar?

at his inauguration less than 9 months ago, da prez told folk of other countries: if you stand up for freedom, we will stand with you.

but now he says when iraq has a defense force that stands up against the "insurgents," we will stand down.

if those metaphors sound contradictory to you and me, imagine how it must confuse non-english speakers, like, say, iraqis.

hot rocks

bbc news says the volcano erupting in el salvador cast rocks 10 miles into the air, and some as big as cars landed more than 1000 yards from the center of the crater.

retreat on

newt gingrich, former house speaker, major enabler of liberophobia, and possible presidential hopeful, recently published never call retreat, the last novel in a civil-war trilogy. in it george armstrong custer dies heroically during the civil war, which, had it happened, would have been a good thing for this country, given the massacres he later carried out against amerindians before his karma caught up to him near the greasy grass creek/little bighorn river in 1876.

i hope newt doesn't intend his title as a policy recommendation. retreat is not headlong flight from an enemy. it is strategic withdrawal before superior force, placing obstacles in the path of pursuers, slowing and weakening them by booby traps, sniper fire, and ambushes.

retreat is perhaps the main strategy by which george washington won the revolutionary war.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

attack recap

just a couple quick points today.

the important issue in the fema screw-up isn't that michael brown is inept.

it's that the bush administration has filled so many jobs with unqualified loyalists.

brown is only the tip of the berg. his top aides were also strictly political appointees, along with the #2 at the fda, one of the top immigration officials, and many, many more.

the important thing about the tom delay indictment isn't tom delay.

make no mistake, this one is way bigger than delay...bigger than texas!

the allegation is that the rnc (gop national committee) carried out money laundering to evade state political donation rules.

that trumps everything—even if delay gets acquitted.

where were you when i needed you dept.

yesterday i missed the window of opportunity between blogger's shutdowns, so here's all the stuff i would've posted if i'd had time:

dismal science

the latest econ stats say consumer spending fell, personal income and savings fell, and inflation rose.

so if you're "average," not only do you spend less, but you have to dip into your savings to do it.

so who's doing better in this economy—other than lenders, insurers, oilers, brokers, and speculators, that is?

the latest junk

at last the dover re-scopes trial is underway in my home state.

an unusual factor is that the lawsuit was brought by parents trying to stop the teaching of "intelligent" design in science classes.

i just heard one of the plaintiffs decided to get into it when her young daughter came home from school and said "mom, evolution is a lie! what kind of christian are you?"

remember when bush said he was a conservative with compassion? well, if he took back his statement that "intelligent" design should be taught alongside evolution, then he might be a christian with a brain.

big bill blows it

how can bill bennett be so dumb?

he said we could reduce crime by aborting all black babies.

reagan's education secretary countered the inevitable attacks by saying his critics took his remark out of context.

true, he had said it would be morally reprehensible to do it.

then he added again "but the crime rate will go down."

man with a heart

well, judith miller got out of jail early.

"scooter" libby gave her a waiver to reveal his identity after less than 3 months of her sentence.

i've been in jail a lot of times [fooled ya: just visiting]. i'm convinced even one day in county would be more than i'd want to do, let alone spend a night in the state stir—not to mention 3 months in any kind of slammer.

but i guess dick cheney had a good reason to hire such a great, courageous, compassionate guy.