••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?)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ingmar Bergman left in the early hours of yesterday morning. Within a few hours, Michelangelo Antonioni had followed him through the exit door. It remains to be seen whether this signals the onset of some art-house apocalypse - some Biblical purge of revered European auteurs - but the omens are hardly encouraging. How are Godard, Resnais and Rohmer bearing up? Can we urge them to stay indoors, wrap up warm, and maybe put on some old DVDs. Anything to keep them out of circulation until the curse has run its course.

[click anywhere]

thanx, Peacechick Mary.

Monday, July 30, 2007

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI and IRS have searched the home of Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in a ski resort in Alaska as part of an investigation into his links with an oil-services company, officials said on Monday.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street became increasingly skittish about Rupert Murdoch's prospects for clinching a deal to buy Dow Jones & Co., sending the stock of The Wall Street Journal publisher down more than 5 percent Monday as a deadline arrived for the Journal's controlling shareholders to make a decision.

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Legendary Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, who influenced a generation of film-makers with his often stark works on themes of mortality and sexual torment, died on Monday at the age of 89.

Bergman's daughter Eva Bergman, quoted by Swedish news agency TT, said the self-taught film-maker and scriptwriter died peacefully in his home on Faro Island in the Baltic Sea.

bbc story
get well soon

WASHINGTON - Chief Justice John Roberts suffered a seizure at his summer home in Maine on Monday, causing a fall that resulted in minor scrapes, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

maybe this experience will improve his judgment...but don't hold your breath.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

on book tv

in case you're among the unfortunate folk who've never watched book tv on c-span2, i hope you check it out soon.

i've learned an awful lot from it about history (both recent and more distant), politics, religion, and even science, and sometimes i actually develop a desire to read one of the books i hear about.

it's billed as "48 hours of non-fiction" book events every weekend, tho it's 72 or even 96 hours on holiday weekends, and every once in a while a novelist gets featured.

most of the schedule consists of approximately hour-long talks in book stores, libraries, colleges, think tanks, or other venues, by authors on tour to promote their most recently published work. they generally start with a highly informative lecture-like speech followed by a q&a session with the audience.

there are also a few regular programs: in depth is a live monthly 3-hour interview that includes viewer phone calls; after words is a weekly one-hour interview by a guest host; encore booknotes is a weekly replay of programs from a long-running interview series discontinued a few years ago.

in addition, c-span camera crews go to book fairs around the country for live telecast (and later replay) of panel discussions as well as individual author presentations.

the book tv staff has also recorded a lot of short interviews—mostly in the 5 to 10 minute range but sometimes shorter or up to a half hour or, rarely, even longer—that get inserted as filler between the long shows, whose running times are far from uniform.

one of those prompted this write-up.

in early may congress held an event in the capitol building called get caught reading. book tv did a number of very short interviews, whose subjects—unlike nearly all those i've seen before—are not writers but readers talking about books they read recently, and those readers are members of congress!

what made me sit down and write was one that was on before and got run again this weekend featuring rep john shimkus (r-il). mr shimkus said the only [!] books he reads are the bible—which he reads every day, "devotionally"—and children's books he reads with his kids, such as the harry potter series and something he said so quickly i missed it.

on the upside, at least he's not one of those christ-crazed nutjobs terrified potter books will turn their kids into witches and warlocks.

on the other hand, he's a member of congress who only reads the bible and kiddie books!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

WASHINGTON - Frustrated by delays in health care, injured Iraq war veterans accused VA Secretary Jim Nicholson in a lawsuit of breaking the law by denying them disability pay and mental health treatment.


The lawsuit also accuses the VA of deliberately cheating some veterans by allegedly working with the Pentagon to misclassify PTSD claims as pre-existing personality disorders to avoid paying benefits. The VA and Pentagon have generally denied such charges.

BOSTON (Reuters) - The parents of an Iraq war veteran who committed suicide sued the US government on Thursday for negligence, charging their son hanged himself after the government ignored his depression.

WASHINGTON - The head of the FBI contradicted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' sworn testimony and Senate Democrats requested a perjury investigation Thursday in a fresh barrage against President Bush's embattled longtime friend and aide.


The White House defiantly stuck by Gonzales on the perjury matter and flatly denied that FBI Director Robert S. Mueller on Thursday contradicted the attorney general's sworn testimony on internal Bush administration dissent over the president's secretive wiretapping program.


In his own sworn testimony Thursday, Mueller contradicted Gonzales, saying under questioning that the terrorist surveillance program, or TSP, was the topic of the hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WASHINGTON - Bill Clinton will be there. So will 300 officeholders from more than 45 states. But one thing will be missing when Democrats gather in Tennessee this weekend to discuss how to appeal to moderate, independent-minded voters in 2008: the Democratic presidential field.

who needs moderates, anyway, right?

MONTEREY, Calif. - Jumbo squid that can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds are invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations, according to a study published Tuesday.

Voracious predator

Monday, July 23, 2007

how bush admin overthrew elected government of haiti

read or watch randall robinson interviews on c-span's q&a and democracy now!

article of impeachment?

oh, and get this:

AMY GOODMAN: Why say that the president, Aristide, had an obsession with power? This was a man who was the democratically elected president of Haiti, certainly got a higher percentage of the vote than President Bush got in this country.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: Please, don't refer to the percentage of vote as equatable to democracy, as equatable to the kinds of institutions we have reflecting democracy in America. Hitler was elected by popular vote.

yeah? check out hitler's percentage. compare it to aristide's 92% in 2000.

JACKSON, Miss. — The Federal Emergency Management Agency will keep selling and donating surplus disaster-relief trailers despite concerns from environmental groups and the start of testing to determine whether the trailers have unhealthy levels of formaldehyde, the agency said.

man! is this disgusting! are they trying to mummify folk?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

gop smear of joe wilson continues

last night on npr's news & notes, a gop strategist said a "bipartisan" report of the senate intel committee concluded that wilson was "less than forthcoming." the statement went unchallenged.

that view has been echoed and re-echoed in the usual big lie fashion. here's what the washington post had on march 7, which was not the first time that publication presented similar opinions:

A bipartisan investigation by the Senate intelligence committee subsequently established that all of these claims were false -- and that Mr. Wilson was recommended for the Niger trip by Ms. Plame, his wife. When this fact, along with Ms. Plame's name, was disclosed in a column by Robert D. Novak, Mr. Wilson advanced yet another sensational charge: that his wife was a covert CIA operative and that senior White House officials had orchestrated the leak of her name to destroy her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson.
in fact, what the "bipartisan investigation" supposedly "established" appeared only in an "additional view" attached to the report by just 3 senators, all gop, and rejected by the dems. here's what wikipedia has on it:

In the first "additional view" attached to the report, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), joined by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Christopher Bond (R-MO), presents two conclusions that Democratic members of the Committee were unwilling to include in the report, even though, according to Roberts, "there was no dispute with the underlying facts." Those two conclusions related to the actions of Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador who was sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate allegations that the Iraqi government was attempting to purchase "yellowcake" uranium, presumably as part of an attempt to revive Iraq's nuclear weapons program. The two conclusions were that the plan to send Wilson to investigate the Niger allegation was suggested by Wilson's wife, a CIA employee, and that in his later public statements criticizing the Bush administration, Wilson included information he had learned from press accounts, misrepresenting it as firsthand knowledge.
see, even the "liberal" media help perpetuate lies by letting them slip thru without contradiction, so they get said over and over again, making an almost indelible impression in our memories.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

NEW YORK - A steam explosion tore through a Manhattan street near Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday during the evening rush hour, sending residents running for cover amid a plume of steam.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said it was not terrorism related. There was no immediate word on injuries. Subway service was suspended because of the explosion.

A geyser of steam, sometimes white and sometimes muddy brown, shot into the air from a gaping hole in the street near the train station and was as high as the nearby Chrysler Building. The air near the site was filled with debris.
i don't want to bury my kids!
washington journal caller with 2 children in armed forces

even if we begin withdrawing today, 4000 americans will have died in iraq before we're out—4000 lives lost supposedly to avenge 3000 killed 6 years ago, not to mention countless innocent iraqis, whose country had nothing whatever to do with those first 3000 murders.

it doesn't add up.

amy klobuchar (d-mn), on the senate floor this morning, said, with so many brave men and women willing to risk making the ultimate sacrifice for us, surely the senate can find the courage to vote up or down on the withdrawal question.

but lindsey graham (r-sc), who got into the senate by building on a masquerade of moderation in the clinton impeachment hearings, stood and repeated the new clichĂ© about the "new strategy"—which is nothing but standard counterinsurgency—and claimed we're winning the war by uprooting al qaeda in al anbar but failed to mention they've simply shifted focus to other places, as effective guerillas always do when confronted by troops.

and when the showdown came, 47 patriots blocked a vote on including the amendment in the final bill.

i would've said "blind patriots," but one was the majority leader, who had to vote "nay" because of a procedural technicality that allows only someone who voted against cloture to call for another cloture vote on the same measure. how complicated, eh?

only 4 gops voted with the dems: collins (me), hagel (ne), smith (or), and snowe (me). the so-called independent democrat voted with the 45 bush supporters.

after the gop victory, my own senator, "darlin'" arlen specter (r-pa), expressed his indignation that the majority leader had abandoned comity by forcing the senate to debate all night. i guess he'd have preferred to be in iraq, kept awake by explosions.

everybody in washington can argue strongly for their positions. often the arguments rest on assumptions of what will happen if we do this or that.

one problem with that is nobody really knows what will happen.

whether we stay or leave, things could get better or worse or stay the same. no clear causal links exist between actions and outcomes, so no meaningful prediction can be made.

another problem is that no american politician can make a credible claim of either objectivity or competence on the issue.

so, if any folk really have solutions that will work, nobody can be sure they know what they're talking about.

so what am i saying here? throw in our cards, throw up our hands, and give up?

well, yes, sort of: we don't have what it takes to agree on the proper course of action in iraq, so we should turn the decision over to a relatively neutral international body such as the UN security council, and we ought to agree in advance to follow their recommendations.

i've said that before, and i haven't heard a better idea yet.

it shouldn't've come to this, you know. letting the UN decide the matter shouldn't be the last resort. war should be the last resort. we've turned common sense upside down.
Giuliani says would not use litmus test to pick judges
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, a proponent of abortion rights, said Wednesday he would not use a judicial nominee's stand on the issue or the landmark Supreme Court decision as a litmus test.
seems to me somebody else said that—oh, yeah, here it is:
BUSH: What he's asking me is, will I have a litmus test for my judges? And the answer is, no, I will not have a litmus test. I will pick judges who will interpret the Constitution, but I'll have no litmus test.
debate, oct 13, 2004

'08 race

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

doug marlette was killed in a car accident in mississippi on july 10, 2007 at age 57. his kudzu strip and editorial cartoons appeared in over 300 newspapers. he also authored magic time and the bridge. he won the 1988 editorial cartooning pulitzer prize and was the only cartoonist ever given a nieman fellowship at harvard.

fresh air interview, 1987

c-span book tv program, 2001

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Dissident US intelligence officers angry at former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld helped a European probe uncover details of secret CIA prisons in Europe, the top investigator said on Tuesday.

so the "security breach" was the result of rummy's winning personality?

what a charming story....


nobody knows what it means, not even the kid who got suspended from school over it, but 5 esteemed justices of the US supreme court have decided it promotes illegal drug use.


WASHINGTON - The terrorist network Al-Qaida will likely leverage its contacts and capabilities in Iraq to mount an attack on US soil, according to a new National Intelligence Estimate on threats to the United States.

the admin is trying to use this NIE to prove they've been right all along, but as i showed a couple months ago, it only proves how wrong they are.

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya lifted death sentences on Tuesday against five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted of deliberately infecting children with HIV, paving the way for them to be freed after eight years in jail.

whew! truly a relief.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jerusalem and Cairo - A new video from Al Qaeda's media arm, with previously unseen and undated footage of Osama bin Laden praising the group's "martyrs," underscores the extent to which the group's propaganda campaign has improved in both production quality and volume over the past year.

Media savvy

why do they need propaganda?:

Chertoff Says al-Qaeda Threat Has Not Returned to 2001 Levels

AP: Gov't Report Says al-Qaeda Sneaking Operatives into US

Al-Qaida works to plan US operatives (AP)

AP: Counterterrorism Expert Says al-Qaeda Has Rebuilt

Al-Qaida has rebuilt, US intel warns (AP)

BAGHDAD - Nearly half of the foreign detainees held in Iraq are Saudi citizens, and lists of their names were given to Saudi officials during a recent visit by an Iraqi delegation, national security adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie said in remarks aired Monday.

BAGHDAD - A triple bombing, including a massive suicide truck blast, killed more than 80 people Monday in Kirkuk, the deadliest attack yet in the oil-rich northern city. The bloodshed reinforced concern that extremists are heading north as US-led forces step up pressure around Baghdad.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Republican senator says he warned top White House aide Karl Rove that President Bush quickly needs to craft a workable plan to withdraw US troops fom Iraq in order to salvage his legacy.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

NEW YORK - An angry Dennis Kucinich lashed out at John Edwards on Friday, saying his Democratic rival showed "a consistent lack of integrity" by suggesting fewer candidates should participate in presidential forums and then trying to explain his remark to reporters.

hoo, boy...

oh! & happy bastille day!

Friday, July 13, 2007

this huffington blog post includes a bill of particulars against the vp from former reagan justice dept official bruce fein taken from the june 27 slate: Impeach Cheney: The Vice President has Run Utterly Amok and Must Be Stopped, which includes this fragment:

Take the vice president's preposterous theory that his office is outside the executive branch because it also exercises a legislative function. The same can be said of the president, who also exercises a legislative function in signing or vetoing bills passed by Congress. Under Cheney's bizarre reasoning, President Bush is not part of his own administration: The executive branch becomes acephalous.

actually, more than a few of us already suspect the executive branch has become acephalous. [ok, ok, i admit i had to look it up.]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

today's press conference

You know, I guess I'm like any other political figure—everybody wants to be loved, just sometimes the decisions you make and the consequences don't enable you to be loved. And so when it's all said and done, Ed, if you ever come down and visit the old, tired, me down there in Crawford, I will be able to say I looked in the mirror and made decisions based upon principle, not based upon politics. And that's important to me.

see, when he says "principle," the typist used the wrong spelling. he's talking about his investments. that's what's important to him.
REYNOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - Tougher security along the US-Mexico border is forcing migrants to take more dangerous, remote routes to cross into the United States and pushing up the number of deaths in the desert.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street soared Thursday, propelling the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Dow Jones industrials to record highs as bright spots among generally sluggish retail sales allowed investors to toss aside concerns about the health of the economy.

we don' care how you die,

we got to keep makin' money, honey!

but we've got nothing to hide, no,

nothing to hide, nothing to hide,

yeah, we've got nothing to hide!


House panel rejects Bush privilege claim
Miers skips hearing

WASHINGTON - House Democrats on Thursday took the first step toward holding former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress after she defied a subpoena—at President Bush's order—and skipped a hearing on the firing of US attorneys.

· House Panel Pursues Contempt Charges Against Harriet Miers

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel cleared the way Thursday for contempt proceedings against former White House counsel Harriet Miers after she obeyed President Bush and skipped a hearing on the firings of federal prosecutors.

interesting how they just slightly reword it and get two articles...

Lawmakers block routine access to gun-purchasing data

WASHINGTON - Pro-gun rights Democrats teamed with House Republicans on Thursday to block local governments and law enforcement agencies from gaining routine access to gun-purchasing data.


Almost three-fifths of guns used in crimes are sold by just 1 percent of gun dealers, who forge relationship with gun traffickers making multiple purchases.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

'the rove beetle's taste is repulsive.'

i couldn't resist that line from NATURE. Kalahari: The Great Thirstland (PBS).

it was in the part about how young bullfrogs will try anything, but....

President Bush ordered former Counsel Harriet Miers to defy a congressional subpoena and refuse to testify about the firings of federal prosecutors, even as a second former aide revealed new details Wednesday about White House involvement in the dismissals.

Russian arms dealer Victor Bout has armed Islamic extremists and sold weapons to some of the Third World's most abusive and murderous dictators and warlords—and he's known for fueling both sides of conflicts.

His success is rooted in the legacy of the Cold War, whose messy unraveling left him with easy access to massive inventories of weapons and ammunition built up by the Soviets. We talk about Bout with journalists Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun, who've co-written a book about him: Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible.

the interview brings out that this international gunrunner is on the state dept's prohibited list, but the defense dept has actually bought arms from him, so he profits from both ends of conflicts he helps start, while neither of our hands knows what the other one's doing.

typical! [i know i'm using that word too much lately. sorry.]

if you don't know why these 2 stories belong together, you ain't keepin' up!

...in a policy statement issued Tuesday by the Office of Management and Budget, the White House said the proposed Reed-Levin amendment infringed on Bush's authority as commander-in-chief and was "equivalent to setting a date for failure."

really? i'd call it a success!

The number of refugees worldwide increased by nearly 2 million last year, driving the total to nearly 14 million, the highest level since 2001, the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

some common sense at last: "internal combustion hydrogen engine"!

now, if only somebody would invent a way to fill my fuel tank with water....

bullshit! compared to 7 years ago i'm much better able to see what a joke bush is.

get this. it's a sample question the article says was used to test for sense of humor:
A businessman is riding the subway after a hard day at the office. A young man sits down next to him and says, "Call me a doctor...call me a doctor."

The businessman asks, "What's the matter, are you sick?"

Participants then had to choose the right ending. For this one, the correct answer was "I just graduated from medical school."

Wrong choices were straightforward answers or conclusions that did not follow from the premise. Among the wrong answers: "Yes, I feel a little weak. Please help me."
typical, isn't it? researchers. sheesh!

the joke should be
a man on a subway thinks he's having a heart attack. he murmurs "call me a doctor...call me a doctor."

a passenger says "ok. you're a doctor."

of course, it's funnier with a taxi.

no, not they're riding a taxi, a guy says "call me a taxi." "ok. you're a taxi."

then again, if you put the heart attack back in, "call me an ambulance" might work best.

that reminds me, i couldn't believe the daily show used "who gave you the quarter?"

i've heard old jokes before, but that one must be from the eisenhower admin.

still funny tho, i must admit....

Friday, July 06, 2007

btw, i was under the impression that, some time ago, scooter agreed to cooperate with the prosecutor, so if he reneges on that, is it a probation violation?

i bet it is....

here's law columnist ed lazarus's view of the reprieve:

President Bush's Decision to Commute Scooter Libby's Sentence: Why It's Indefensible, Even if One Agrees with Republican Critiques of the Sentence

Thursday, July 05, 2007

with all the "race neutral" crap i've heard lately, i just want to single out a quote from seattle:

Wary of a potential court ruling against it, the Seattle School District has not been using the racial tiebreaker system.

"We have had a racially neutral student assignment system for the past five years, and our fears of having schools become more segregated have become fulfilled," said Gary Ikeda, the district's general counsel.

i thought this was an immigration story, but it's about another kind of ignorance.

huh? i thought he was a tory, not a whig.

then again, american whigs were nothing like brit whigs....

i mean, how obvious can you get?

in the concluding fireworks display on last night's pbs holiday spectacular, a capital fourth, the camera angle made the explosions appear to come out the top of the washington monument.

it may have been mere coincidence...or is there such a thing as a visual freudian slip?

Phoenix - Arizona leads the nation in population growth. More illegal immigrants cross its border than any other in the United States. Now, in an apparent backlash to those trends, the state is leading the charge to halt illegal immigration by cracking down on employers.

The ink had barely dried on Governor Napolitano's signature of the new law before employers began scrambling to figure out how to comply with the measure that many have dubbed the "business death penalty."