Monday, July 31, 2006

Specter's FISA bill - Neutering the Constitution


Conservatives are like zombies,
brainless and senseless.

After reading Roy's post "On Being Human" last night I decided I wasn't going to do a political post today. I really wasn't. I swear. Like everyone else, I'm sick of staring into the whirling blades of the political shit fan. Then I read "Echoes of the Nixon era" posted at Salon this morning. It's so disturbing, well ... I just had to write about it. I'll give you 3 seconds to scram, go watch some funny dogs or something ... 3-2-1 ... otherwise, if you want to know what's trying to totally change your world ... proceed at your own risk.

Just after the Supreme Court finally ruled against the administration for something, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Senator Arlen Specter proposes a bill (S. 2543 - the National Security Surveillance Act) that would permanently put the office of president above and beyond the law. If passed the President of the United States would be replaced by an executive branch whose "president" would answer to no one and be accountable for nothing Instead the "president" would be a completely free agent, a dictator at liberty to do whatever he wants in complete, total, and impenetrable secret.

Bush and Senator Arlen Specter

It doesn't matter that Bush is on his way out.

He was just a place holder anyway, a lure to attract evangelicals. The real power brokers in D.C. are groups like the Project for the New American Century which has been around since the middle of the 20th century and plans to rule the entire 21st. Big surprise, its members include guys like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Dan Quayle. They only make cameo appearances on the main stage to set things up, then it's back to the shadows where they can best do their nefarious deeds. At this point they must feel pretty confident that whoever steps into the presidency next will do their bidding. Why not? Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Specter's bill requires that...
"all pending cases challenging the legality of the NSA program be transferred to the secret FISA court, if the attorney general so desires, which he will. Second, it makes judicial review of the administration's behavior virtually impossible, as it specifically prohibits, in Sec. 702(b)(2), the FISA court from "requir(ing) the disclosure of national security information ... without the approval of the Director of National Intelligence of the Attorney General." That all but prevents any discovery in these lawsuits. Third, it authorizes, in Sec. 702(b)(6), the FISA court to "dismiss a challenge to the legality of an electronic surveillance program for any reason." Arguably, that provision broadens the authority of the court to dismiss any such lawsuit for the most discretionary of reasons, even beyond the already wide parameters of the "state secrets" doctrine."
Chilling and surreal but unfortunately all too real. In this article Greenwald writes that...
"worst thing that Specter's bill would do is place the president's FISA decisions beyond any kind of meaningful judicial review forever, and immunize the Bush administration from any real scrutiny of the legality and constitutionality of its conduct."
If this bill gets passed we might as well change the, "In God we trust" to, "In Secret Government we trust" and add the old motto of Germany's SS, "My honor is called loyalty."

We may be powerless to stop what going on but we danm sure won't able to do anything about it if we chose to remain ignorant about what's going on. As Greenwald concludes...
"It is one thing for specific warrant applications to be conducted in secret, with only one side present, and with even the decision itself always sealed from the public -- the standard operating procedures for the FISA court. But those procedures are plainly inappropriate for deciding critical questions of constitutional law that determine the protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to all Americans against the government. The parameters of the Fourth Amendment and decisions as to whether our highest government officials have been continuously violating it cannot possibly be determined in secret and then kept secret from American citizens. Yet the Specter bill would ensure exactly that disturbing, and quite extraordinary, result."










Sunday, July 30, 2006

Voices in the divide



Generally, I think my opinion of the conservatives hell bent on turning America into corporate police state is pretty clear. And I think my horror of the glassy-eyed minions who support the conservative's wars, Karl Rove's zombie marching band, is well established. So it's downright refreshing to write about a Baptist minister (no less) who stands up to the idolatry of merging Church and State, in which so many Christians are currently mired.

Predictably, when Rev. Gregory A. Boyd denounced the right's infiltration and whoppingly successful take-over of evangelical Christianity, one thousand members of his mega church in St. Paul left. But four thousand remained. I'm from Nevada. That's a pretty good split. The house wins. Good for him. Good for them. I wish this were a trend but most of Christendom, even the so-called "moderates", are keeping a wormy profile as the right-wingnuts slash and burn their jagged path through the world. We shall see but at least Rev. Boyd is awake and making trouble. He's no liberal but he tossed out the politicians and money changers while the rest of shepherds and their flocks stand dutifully in the slaughter house line in Bush Co's deranged parallel universe.

The New York Times did an article on Rev. Boyd but I don't know how long it will be accessible before they lock it up in their archives and slap a price tag on it but there's also a thread on DailyKos that will remain available if you want to read more. Treat yourself. It's encouraging news, which is rare these days.







Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saturday at the Roxy extravaganza



Above all, Saturday is a state of mind. It's a time to get down and loosen up. Even I have to lighten up sometimes. A couple of the videos I'm posting today have been around for awhile but I re-watch them from time to time and still enjoy them and if you haven't seen them, you might like them too.

To get things going there's a couple of high thrills sport shorts, then an a rather odd animation which leads to today's dark, somewhat disturbing main feature. Don't worry. It all ends on a happy note. Today is septuple Saturday, so get plenty of pie, popcorn and your favorite beverage and settle in for the show.


Tyson
Ride on the wild side!


Trials Riding
Holy shit!



After you


Main Feature:
Salvador Dali
15:41 minutes


You kicked my dog
Oldie but still hilarious.


ZeFrank 07.28
Did you forget to watch The Show?
Don't worry. Here it is.


Jazz
about :30
A brief mellow short to conclude
what I hope has been
an entertaining visit to the Roxy.







mmmmmmmmm pie


click image to play



Be sure and come back later with your popcorn and pie because today is Saturday at the Roxy.



Ps. asia and Roy, I had insanely over-buttered popcorn last night instead, although Mr. Lee was willing to do an emergency pie run at 8 pm. I am happy to report that the magic worked! This morning I'm brimming over with love again; well at least for today all the idiots get a pass. After all, it's Saturday. Pie for everybody.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Musings on a summer afternoon


Warning. I'm on a rant, talking into the gale here. I'm sick of nursing this leg. It hurts. Yes, it's getting better. Yes, I was the star at the gym again today but it's getting old. I want my leg back. I'm sick of hobbling around on the cane and crutches. I'm sick of being in the house all the time. I'm sick of being grateful because I'm not in war zone. What kind of touchstone is that anyway? Just be glad I'm not beating you today? Fuck that. And yes, I'm sick of the wars that the crazy, wingnut, authoritarian, fundamentalists are waging upon us all. Who cares what label they give themselves, christian, muslim, jew, conservative or whathefuckever, I'm sick of em all.

And no, I don't feel better for ranting. I sick of humans in general. All this talk about human rights, humankind, humanity, human life. I'm sick of humans taking the center stage on every fucking thing. Human history, human needs, human achievements, human casualties. I’m sick of human exploitation of all the other sentient beings residing on this planet. I’m sick of the gut wrenching cruelty inflicted on animals round the clock, year in and year out. I’m sick of so-called decent people turning a blind eye to the exploitation, torture and murder of peaceful species for food, for clothing, for medicine. For fun. For the hell of it. Because they can. On and on and on ... all humans all the time. Religions that are strictly about humans and god, humans and their fucking fantasies of salvation. And that's another thing. Salvation is a crock a shit. It rubberstamps more atrocious behavior than everything else combined. Do it for Jesus. Praise Allah. They all make me sick. You all make me sick. Piss off. Your gods suck. They are war masks. Nothing more. There may be a god, but it ain’t what you think, mother fuckers.

Okay then.









Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bear naked truths


painting by: Michael Onona


It's 3:30 pm in Alaska now and the grizzlies and sea gulls are finally out in force while a volcanic cinder cone steams and glows in the distance. I just watched a huge, battle scarred bear snag a giant fish out the rapids and carry it to shore as another bear moved quickly out of the way. Rules of the game. But watching the doomed fish struggle for life reminded me that the bear is enjoying more than a sushi and caviar lunch. It's a blunt look at life in the food chain. We're all food for somebody and I don't fault the bear for his way of life but as a human I abhor the cruelty our of farm factory system and haven't eaten meat for decades. I fall short of my own goal though. I do eat fish, eggs and dairy and kind of hate myself for it. We did switch to cage-free eggs a couple of years ago, but I'm not strict about it. I eat in restaurants and I know they don't include compassion in their bottom line.

But it was another good day for the bears and most of the fish swimming upstream to spawn their young and die.






Dancing bears and knees




I was the star of the gym at physical therapy yesterday. I better well be. I did my exercises at home, pushed into the pain, and want the damn credit even if it was done in fear of Dave the Therapist JUMPING on my knee if it doesn't improve pronto. It's not exactly pronto, but my knee is improving.

I just checked the Alaska bear cam but they are no where to be seen. The sea gulls aren't even up yet. The cam operates from 5am to 11pm Alaska Standard Time but the website notes that the best time to watch the bears fish is between 1 and 5. I've gotten kind of hooked on bear watching. I guess it's something of a replacement for my cockroaches as it's another floating world that doesn't know or give a damn about us oh-so-complicated humans and our hel-bent-rush towards, not only self-destruction, but global undoing. Watching the bears fish as they have always done temporarily soothes my feverish mind and aching soul.

The Bird Park is all abuzz today over the Thursday Special, crumbled saltines. I found a few stale crackers tucked away in a bag this morning and put them out. Big hit!



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Neocon chicken hawks


I've had a long standing working idea of the word "chicken hawk" but never read a definition of the term until today when I stumbled on Glenn Greenwald's (Unclamed Territory) article ,"What makes someone a chicken hawk"? It's a much used and often misunderstood term but, even if you already, positively know exactly what it means, I think the article is still worth a read. I've included a couple of paragraphs below and found a nice image at to help illustrate the idea.



GEORGE BUSH - CHICKENSHIT LIAR
LYING US INTO AN UNWINNABLE WAR

photo: FireDogLake

"A "chicken hawk" is one who strikes the pose of a warrior, who imputes the personal courage of a soldier in combat to themselves by virtue of the fact that they are in favor of sending that soldier off to war, or who parades around with the pretense of personal courage and resolve while assuming none of the risks. And a "chicken hawk" will, conversely, attempt to depict those who oppose such wars as being weak, spineless and cowardly even though the war opponents are not seeking to avoid any personal risk to themselves, but instead, are arguing against subjecting their fellow citizens to what they perceive are unnecessary dangers." ~ Glenn Greenwald







Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bears, birds and a lazy afternoon with shade


I've got the National Geographic grizzly cam open in another window and the headphones on so my head if filled with the roar of a wild Alaskan river and the corner of my right eye with giant bears fishing its rapids. As usual there are plenty of seagulls hanging around on clean-up detail. It kind of surprises me that the bears don't swipe at them, especially when the birds crowd within inches while they strip a freshly killed fish carcass, but I guess it's ancient bear wisdom that seagulls are quick and not worth the effort. A bald eagle is also on the river today and that does seem to bother the bears. No doubt the going rap on eagles is that they are pushy bastards you have to keep an eye on. The grizzlies will be at the river all day, just like yesterday, and the day before yesterday, deep in ice water, amid the swirling gulls, eyes trained on the rapids, occasionally lunging into the swill and coming up with a fish.

In the corner of my left eye it's another scene, the Bird Park. Mr. Lee put the off-road trailer out there, the one he got in Idaho for a couple of weeks ago and the birds have claimed its shadow for themselves. They stand in it for hours nibbling in the grass, taking quick forays into the hot sun for a drink or a dip or a poop in one of the tubs. Periodically one arches its wings to get a little air under them. I'm sure it's hot in those down vests. I've been scattering bits of goodies in the weeds so, the birds not chilling in the 90 degree shade, are hoping through the bramble looking for treats. The house special today was a left over fish stick from last night's dinner. Yum!

Oops, a bear just grabbed a huge fish and is casually stripping it as a crow looks on longingly. He hops towards the bear, then jumps away but can't get his eyes off the feast. It's a huge bear with a big, sagging belly. Perhaps she's pregnant but I don't think this is the right season. I don't know. More likely, she's stuffed with fish. The crow is getting bolder and, at the same time defending his territory, running at sea gulls that land near by but you can see all this yourself, that is if it's between 1 and 5 pm Alaska time during the salmon run.

I graduated to a crutch the other day and started physical therapy for my knee. My god! Until now, I have completely pampered it but the therapist showed no mercy. He gave me one week to straighten it out myself. After that, he promised to straighten it for me. Shit. The first day and I was already yelling in pain. He is a nice guy though in spite of the torture but you can believe I'm doing the exercises he gave me. I don't want my poor knee straightened for me. Plus, I've got to get it straight or I'll walk with a damn limp the rest of my life.

A magpie who was here this morning just showed up again, this time with a friend. I recognize him because on each side he has a distinguishing little patch of gray feathers, but faster than I can write it, they're gone. It's slim pickings around here in the afternoon.

YouTube: Bird Park Afternoon - 00:06 seconds



So that's it. A lazy afternoon rambling. Nothing more. It's a quiet day here in Nevada. The quail will be by soon. They prefer visiting in the afternoon but, although I'm sure Bush has done plenty of things since I last checked that I could rage about, I just had a lovely baked potato with soy sour cream and salad and am feeling pretty mellow, like the bears. At the moment, the web cam is doing a close-up of that same bear with the sagging belly. She has another fish. Before that they did a close-up of a grizzly snoozing on the rive bank. Seems the bears have had a good day.

I did just finish an excellent book, Crashing the Gates, but I'll save the details for another time. It's worth a post of its own.







Sunday, July 23, 2006

Conservatives rewrite NASA mission statement


At the beginning of this year, the Bush administration used heavy-handed measures to silence NASA scientists reporting on global warming. In spite of their efforts Dr. James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, made it clear that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet." At that time Charles Stern wrote a short article called Harassing NASA in which he criticizes conservatives for their effort to cover up global warming. He wrote:

NASA'’s mission statement includes the words, "To advance scientific knowledge and understanding of the Earth."” If the top scientific thinkers in the world feel strongly enough about their conclusions toward these ends (global warming) that they are willing to voice their concerns publicly, perhaps President Bush should concentrate less on shutting them up and more on listening to what they have to say.

But, as AeroNews.Net noted yesterday, instead of reviewing the data and heeding the warnings on global warming the Bush administration, always adverse to science, simply wrote NASA's mission statement, dropping the words "to understanding and protection our home planet". Another of their head-in-the-sand dirty moves to keep the Corporatocracy's "business as usual" plan running at open throttle, no matter what the cost. The secret conservative mission statement must read something like: "Screw earth and everybody on it, but us".

In a manner that has come to define conservatives, the change was done secretly, behind closed doors. Not even NASA knew. The news is only now making its way through the agency. It was reported in the New York Times on July 22nd in an article by Andrew C. Revkin titled, "NASA's Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet". In it he writes,

"The change comes as an unwelcome surprise to many NASA scientists, who say the "“understand and protect" phrase was not merely window dressing but actively influenced the shaping and execution of research priorities. Without it, these scientists say, there will be far less incentive to pursue projects to improve understanding of terrestrial problems like climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions."

Typical of this sneaky administration that places itself above all review.

As senior NASA climate scientist James Hansen, director of the agency'’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies put it, "The Bush Administration wants to have an open, honest debate on climate change as long as that debate involves people who agree with their position."


In a all out effort to censor his writings and lectures on global warming, the Bush Administration has made a personal target of Dr. Hansen. They desperately want to shut him up because he says things like, "without U.S.-led changes in emissions controls, the world will be left dramatically and irreversibly altered due to global warming." I love this guy. It's encouraging when anyone breaks the silence and dares to stand up to these fucks.

An administration-appointed public affairs official, George Deutsch, regularly screens Dr. Hansen'’s documents and news media interviews in order to "“make the President look good." Hansen has also received several phone calls warning of dire consequences for his critical commentary but hearing of the change in NASA's mission statement he was quick to point out that the change "might reflect White House eagerness to shift the spotlight away from global warming.

For starters, visit Stop Global Warming. We can't afford to wallow in the problem any longer. It's time for solutions.








Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday at the Roxy - short versions, latest episodes and ...


I guess I really am a low brow because I was laughing out loud at these excerpts from The Big Lebowski.


Warning.... Graphic Language


Now, to raise the bar a bit, here's the second part of this Saturday at the Roxy, the latest from Ze Frank...




The third and final feature at the Roxy today is ... coughs. What's that? You didn't catch what I said? Sorry. The last part of today's triple feature is a little ... poetry... I know. I know. If you're like most people, you probably don't like/hate poetry but really .... don't blame Poetry. It's the poets themselves but ... that's a rant for another day.

Anyway, I think the poem queued up here is pretty good, certainly easy listening and quietly provocative to boot. Decide for yourself. It's a poem by Allen Ginsburg called "A Supermarket in California". When you get to the page, click on the player, sit back and enjoy...





And if you want more, check out National Geographic's live cam of wild grizzly bears fishing in a raging river in Alaska.













Friday, July 21, 2006

Mysteries of netiquette revealed


I have only bad things to say about people who include me in Cc'd group emails. An acquaintance did that recently, beginning her letter with something lame like, "Oops. Sorry for the Cc but I'm really busy". Yeah, well thanks a lot, bonehead. Now I am getting 200 to 300 pieces of spam a day. I'm furious. Before she tossed my email address into the shit river of spam, my inbox was virtually spam free.

So, in hopes this may spare someone else the misery, I'm posting something I found online that lays out, in plain language, why savvy people use the Bcc instead of the Cc. I don't know why people have such a hard time switching to the Bcc. I myself had an irrational fear of it and it took me several attempts before I was willing to try it. Big surprise. It worked just fine but so many people I have sent this to prefer to take me off their email list rather than Bcc me. It's weird.


"This came to me direct from a system administrator of very large corporate system. It is an excellent message that ABSOLUTELY applies to ALL of us who send e-mails.

Please read the text below....

Do you really know how to forward e-mails? 50% of us do; 50% do NOT. Do you wonder why you get viruses or junk mail? Do you hate it? Every time you forward an e-mail there is information left over from the people who got the message before you, namely their e-mail addresses & names. As the messages get forwarded along, the list of addresses builds, and builds, and builds, and all it takes is for some poor sap to get a virus, and his or her computer can send that virus to every E-mail address that has come across his computer. Or, someone can take all of those addresses and sell them or send junk mail to them in the hopes that you will go to the site and he will make five cents for each hit. That's right, all of that inconvenience over a nickel! How do you stop it? Well, there are two easy steps:

(1) When you forward an e-mail, DELETE all of the other addresses that appear in the body of the message and forward the message, NOT all the other forwards that came with it! For this reason, we must open multiple messages before we get to the real meat message. Just forward the message that's within the message and that's right, DELETE the email addresses. Highlight them and delete them, backspace them, cut them, whatever it is you know how to do. It only takes a second. You MUST click the "Forward" button first and then you will have full editing capabilities against the body and headers of the message.

If you don't click on "Forward" first, you won't be able to edit the message at all.

(2) Whenever you send an e-mail to more than one person, do NOT use the To: or Cc: columns for adding e-mail address.

Always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) column for listing the e-mail addresses. This is the way that people you send to only see their own e-mail address. If you don't see your BCC: option click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the address and choose BCC: and that's it, it's that easy. When you send to BCC: your message will automatically say "Undisclosed Recipients" in the "TO:" field of the people who receive it.
Have you ever gotten an email that is a petition? It states a position and asks you to add your name and address and to forward it to 10 or 15 people or your entire address book. The email can be forwarded on and on and can collect thousands of names and email addresses. A FACT: The completed petition is actually worth a couple of bucks to a professional spammer because of the wealth of valid names and email addresses contained therein. If you want to support the petition, send it as your own personal letter to the intended recipient. Your position may carry more weight as a personal letter than a laundry listname and email address on a petition.

So please, in the future, let's stop the junk mail and the viruses.

Finally, here's an idea!!! Let's send this to everyone we know (but strip my address off first). This is something that SHOULD be forwarded (via Bcc of course).









Thursday, July 20, 2006

Conservatives / fascists


I found an intersting article today by Jack Fairweather published by a newspaper in Socorro, New Mexico called Mountain Mail. In it, Fairweather quotes Italian dictator Benito Mussolini saying,

"’Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

Speaking of his brand of fascism, Mussolini said, “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State.”

“The Fascist concept of the State is all-embracing -- outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist.”


He then adds a definition from the The American Heritage dictionary stating

fascism as a “system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merger of state and business leadership, together with a belligerent nationalism.”

It's a short, clear article, well worth the 2 minutes it takes to read but, if you don't want to do that, then here's my half minute recap,... fascism is the guiding principle of the modern day American conservative party. The radical right has hypnotized and enamored masses of people via media brainwashing but the sad and frightening reality is that these sleepers at the trough are guzzling poison and are drunk and belligerent on its false, fatal numbing comfort.


Photo: "America Fascist Mind Magazine" by artist Stephen Pitt at light-to-dark.com








Crows and canes


Every morning a crow does a fly-by of the Bird Park to see what's out, which lately hasn't been much due to my knee surgery. To his credit, Mr. Lee has been keeping seeds in the tubes for me but the crows like the marvel meal (veggie suet) I make so the last few days I've got gotten out there on my crutches and stuffed the suet cage with the delicious, peanutbuttery delight. Now, just yesterday, the doctor upgraded me to a cane and prescribed some physical therapy to get me moving so it's a lot easier getting out there plus it's a great relief not clicking around on those crutches. It made Mr. Lee nervous and that makes me nervous.

So, now it's afternoon and Minerva and her companion just showed up and they're nibbling on the marvel meal. Last year she had one gray feather on her right wing. This spring she had a couple of new gray feathers on her breast and just now I noticed that the gray has spread all over her breast, down onto the fluff at the top of her left leg and over onto her left wing. She must be a ancient. She's a regular here and I'm delighted she considers the Bird Park a friendly place to be.

Well, it's raining now and some pigeons have just arrived and are cold tubbing. Seems they prefer bathing in the rain. Go figure. Two are in one tub and a third is trying to crowd in but, combined, they are too fat for all three to fit. A fourth pigeon is in the second tub and has it all to herself. So it goes. Anyway, there's plenty of the marvel meal left in the feeder, seeds in tubes, fresh water in the tubs so, all and all, life is good again at the Bird Park.






Monday, July 17, 2006

Lucky Pierre arrives at last



Lucky Pierre arrived today. Actually Roy kindly mailed him to me weeks ago (thank you again, Roy) but, because of my recent knee surgery, I have yet to make it to the post office. Mr. Lee went there today for me.

After living under Roy's house for who knows how long I must say, Lucky Pierre is in great shape ... physically. But he's despondent. I couldn't get him to look at the camera. I understand. He's embarrassed to be seen in public dressed in a Santa clown suit. You must understand, Lucky Pierre is actually an artist, a Parisian and a very proud fellow. God knows what brought him down so low but better times are ahead.

Perhaps it was the nipping of the wormwood, the absinthe, as was so popular among the surrealists when he was still known as Lucky Pierre. Perhaps he had too many Pernod Fils too many times at the dark and smoky bistros. Something sent him on his downward spiral. To gig as a Santa? Ah, Pierre. But now you are found, my friend. It will be slow. Everything around here happens on ashatime but things are looking up my friend. Things are looking up.









Conservatives suck


Paul Waldman at TomPain.commonsense posted a clear-minded critique of conservativism on his website the other day, from which I quote:
"Conservatives supported slavery, conservatives opposed women'’s suffrage, conservatives supported Jim Crow, conservatives opposed the 40-hour work week and the abolishment of child labor, and conservatives supported McCarthyism. In short, all the major advancements of freedom and justice in our history were pushed by liberals and opposed by conservatives, no matter the party they inhabited at the time."


In his article, It's The Conservatism, Stupid, Walden elaborates on why conservatives suck in three bullet points. It's definitely worth a read.

1. Conservatism has failed.
2. Conservatism is the ideology of the past, a past we don'’t want to return to.
3. Conservatives are cowards, and they hope you are, too.


Thanks to Jodi at I cite for the link to Walden's article. I couldn't agree more. For all the chest pounding about how decisive they are, it's clear that conservatives have no spine. How can they? Their minds are closed to facts. They do not think for themselves, they believe what they are told to believe. They do what they are told, when they are told, the way they are told to do it. They are ready and willing at all times to sacrifice everybody else for the advancement of the conservative agenda. They ignore even the most blatantly criminal actions of their leaders because they are gray men and clone-like womem lapping up the "trickle down", clinging to a corrupt hierarchy chiggers on a dying dog.






Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday at the Roxy - cartoon shorts


Here's a few animation videos for your Sunday entertainment. They are from a Canadian site that has a large archive, going back many years. I watched several and have to say I found them a bit on the grim side. Maybe it's the effect of the long, dark winters. Anyway, they're interesting and well done.

The Cat Came Back 1988 - 7 min 37 s

The Owl Who Married a Goose: An Eskimo Legend
1974 - 7 min 38 sec

Night Angel 1986 - 18 min 41 s






Morning in new world


It's 3am and I just woke up thinking about global warming, about how we continue to debate and deny it and how trivial this debate is. The planet's climate is changing as we speak. World wide, global climate change. It effects every aspect of life as we know it. We could have avoided global warming if we started making changes years ago. Patterns this massive, this complex develop slowly but there is a tipping point for all change and scientists say we're past it now. A new global weather cycle has already begun. Noticed? It will replace the old one, the one we evolved with, rose to dominance in and eventually unbalanced with our smoke and gasses, our destruction of carbon dioxide-eating, oxygen-producing trees, with our daily breeding of billions of methane-producing animals for slaughter, with our sprawling, worldwide mile after mile of concret high rise, heat producing cities, we are past the point of no return. I'm afraid it will be interesting. Change one. Change all.

I don't think I'm being a doom bird about it. I guess I woke up with global warming on my mind because of a conversation I had with the Charter guy yesterday afternoon. After he (hopefully) fixed the problem we've been having with our internet connection he came to my office and we chatted for awhile. I think he was curious about what I was up to. My office is, well, colorful I guess you could say, especially as the rest of the house is practically empty, nothing on the the walls, no book shelves, no TV, no mementos scattered everywhere, no treasures on display. White walls, white rugs, and emptiness. We call it our zen house, then there's my room, with a tiny puppet theatre built into one of the book shelves in my "shipping department" amid a general overflow of rocks, shells, trilobites, feathers, piles of papers, boxes of zines, briefcases, my Chaitanya dieties and world alter, including a hand-carved coyote some old guy I met in the desert gave me and a fabulous, fiddling frog. You get the idea. My little world. It's a big contrast to the sense deprivation in the rest of house. Anyway, we talked about global warming. I started it naturally. I guess it's been in the back of my mind ever since.

At the moment, five little fruitfly guys have made themselves at home on my monitor. One is crawling off to the right and another one is standing on the third word in the second to the last sentence of the last paragraph. On my monitor the word is "naturally". I don't know what it is for you. It all depends on the size of your monitor, your browser, resolution, all that. Or was. They move quickly. And another fellow is rubbing his legs over the fourth word of the first sentence of this paragraph. That should be "five" for everyone as it's at the beginning of the paragraph rather than the end. They are having quite a time of it but I'm going have to close their little light field down now and see of I can get back to sleep. Ta.








Saturday, July 15, 2006

Jimi, the Rockridge Institute, and the rest of my day


Mr. Lee drove to Soda Springs Idaho today to pick up an off-road trailer he bought on Ebay. He'll be back Sunday evening. All in all he'll drive over 1200 miles in about a day and a half. I didn't go because it would be too tough, my knee being in this shape. I slept until after noon, healing takes a lot of energy, then worked on the driftwork website. Unfortunately I was working on a wide screen and checking it now on the laptop, I see it isn't quite right. Later. I'm done for the day.

So no matinee, maybe tomorrow, but here's a sound clip you might enjoy. I'm listening to it at the moment and find it pretty interesting. It's a raw mix of comments, often from concerts, by Jimmy Hendrix.

And from the Rockridge Institute, a very sobering look at the accomplishments made by the Bush administration. Their point is that actually Bush is not an incompetent boob. In fact, his administration has done a lot to advance the conservative agenda. The problems we complain about are not because Bush is an idiot. It is because the conservative philosophy is so terribly flawed and designed to benefit only the wealthiest. Here's an example of the changes the conservatives have ushered in. It's chilling.

The idea that Bush is incompetent is a curious one. Consider the following (incomplete) list of major initiatives the Bush administration, with a loyal conservative Congress, has accomplished:

* Centralizing power within the executive branch to an unprecedented degree
* Starting two major wars, one started with questionable intelligence and in a manner with which the military disagreed
* Placing on the Supreme Court two far-right justices, and stacking the lower federal courts with many more
* Cutting taxes during wartime, an unprecedented event
* Passing a number of controversial bills such as the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Medicare Drug bill, the Bankruptcy bill and a number of massive tax cuts
* Rolling back and refusing to enforce a host of basic regulatory protections
* Appointing industry officials to oversee regulatory agencies
* Establishing a greater role for religion through faith-based initiatives
* Passing Orwellian-titled legislation assaulting the environment — “The Healthy Forests Act” and the “Clear Skies Initiative” — to deforest public lands, and put more pollution in our skies
* Winning re-election and solidifying his party’s grip on Congress

These aren’t signs of incompetence. As should be painfully clear, the Bush administration has been overwhelmingly competent in advancing its conservative vision. It has been all too effective in achieving its goals by determinedly pursuing a conservative philosophy.

It’s not Bush the man who has been so harmful, it’s the conservative agenda.


More at the Rockridge Institute.





Friday, July 14, 2006

Driftwork and Lucky Pierre update


I got the contributor issues of driftwork off in the mail today. I forgot to mention to them that they can get extra copies at cost. I was over focused, I guess. I get like that a lot. I also finally filled an order made by the Special Collections Library at the University of Wisconson. They wanted another copy of Reddog Review #5. They ordered it before I had the knee surgery but I didn't get around to sending it until now. It was out of print so I had to make more copies. Plus driftwork had be finished. Susan wanted to take it to a writer's conference this weekend. First things first.

I still haven't had a chance to get to my PO box. Unless something went terribly wrong, Lucky Pierre is there waiting for me. Roy of "Why I Blog" found him under his house, a once proud little fellow fallen on hard times, gigging as a Santa doll. Roy kindly mailed him to me and when he arrives, Lucky Pierre not Roy, I will clean him up and he can join my puppet theatre. There's hope for everyone.




Replay


I gotta bitch. I'm sick at heart now that it's clear Special Investigator Patrick Fitzgerald has let Cheney, Rove and Bush skate after exposing Valerie Plame. Un-fucking-believable. No consequences. Nada. I’d say this makes it official. Our Republican "leaders" are completely ABOVE THE LAW. They can commit treason, lie us into war, rig and steal our elections, cheat, take and make bribes, spy on us, torture us, etc, etc, etc. No one will stand up to them or for us. We know how far the Right got in Germany. Now, with the new name, "neoconservative" and new look, "ownership society", they're really cleaning up. Americans are standing in the slaughterhouse line but are too stupid or too busy to notice or care. Old story. Makes me sick.




Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wednesday recap



Driftwork went to the printer today. This issue took less than two weeks! It's small, 20 pages, but nice. That's five sheets of paper, four pages to a sheet. Next issue, however, I want a little more time putting it together. After I got back from the printer this afternoon I noticed an unacceptable error on the cover so tomorrow I have to go back and get it reprinted. That sucks! A few more passes and we would have caught this one. We also noticed, after the fact, that there's a couple of small errors inside, font sizes that differ by a point, but things a person can live with. But overall, working with a partner and very tight deadlines worked just fine. I can see doing an occasional publication this way.

Naturally, there's still a lot more to do. Upload a photo of the cover, install a PayPal button on the driftwork website, add supplemental color photos for this issue, add submissions guidelines. This time I just did a blog post about the guidelines but I'm happy to say, we've already got a couple of pieces for a new issue. Howver, at the moment I'm taking a break and resting my knee. I'm still on crutches.





Saturday, July 8, 2006

Saturday matinee - Stevie Ray Vaughan


I was taking a little break from editing Driftwork and realized that, my god, it's Saturday ... time for the Saturday Matinee!

I had dig fast but I think this one will do. Lots of great music. Today's matinee is a three part documentary on Stevie Ray Vaughan done by a couple of young Norwegian guys. I don't know where they got all the photos from his childhood, but it looks like they covered a lot of ground. I haven't had a chance to watch all of it but it gets good reviews. I'll have to watch it later but I hope that right now you can ....


Kick back. Take a break and enjoy the show.



Stevie Ray Vaughan:

PART ONE

PART TWO

PART THREE







Friday, July 7, 2006

Automatic letter writer






Helping animals has never been easier since I discovered IDA's (In Defense of Animals) fantastic, automatic letter writer. My god! That sentence sounds like the opening line in an ad for a veg-o-matic in a ladies' magazine but what the hell? It is a goddamn magic letter write-o-matic. Anyway, now I won't feel bad about asking people to write letters on behalf of downtrodden animals so watch out!

Here's how it works. All you have to do is pick the issue you want to address and click on the link. That takes you to the typical email campaign page containing a draft letter on the issue. You can email it as is or edit it as you see fit.

Now here's where the cool, automatic letter writing feature comes in. Once you settle on the words, click "confirm". At this point you can also print the letter out and mail it. Your printer will spit out a nice, clean, professionally formatted finished product ... your letter, as your wrote it, dated, addressed. Just push print and sign. It's great. It is the fast food of activism but not cheezy because a hard copy letter has a bit more heft than a form email. My printer spit out 6 lovely letters in about 10 minutes. Try one out. See how easy it is.

OKAY, that's it from the arm chair activist for now. I've got to get to work on Driftwork. Even on such short notice, and no promotion, we actually gotten some good submissions and the deadline is coming up fast. We're taking it to the printer on the 12th. By the way, we've extended the submissions deadline until this Monday, so think about sending something.

Please support Bill to Protect Animals Sold in Pet Shops

Please Support Ban on Force-Feeding of Birds in New Jersey

Stop Horse Massacre in National Wildlife Refuge

Help Protect Pacific Coast Marine Animals from Drift Gillnet and Longline Fishing

Urge Gov. Blanco to Approve Law Protecting Animal Companions in Emergencies







Campaigns Wikia


Jimbo

Here's a better link to Wikipedia's new political discussion wiki. At this point the structure of the wiki itself is being discussed but this page gives a better idea of the overall vision. I signed up yesterday but am still exploring the site. This is a new project by Jimmy Wales, the guy who founded the online collaborative encyclopedia, Wikipedia. For that reason alone it's got potential but, as the tshirt says, "What better place than here, what better time than now?"










Thursday, July 6, 2006

Reno morning and the political blogosphere


So, I'm off to the see the doctor. He's supposed to take the stitches out today. That's the Big Event d'Jour so gotta go. In the meantime, check out Wikipedias new political wiki. I will do a longer post about it later but, it's all right here. Jimmy Wales has posted an an open letter to the political blogosphere. Looks really promising!






Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Haloscan's new free features


If you use the free version of Haloscan for your blog comments here is a little news you may not have heard but I'm sure you'll find interesting:

"The new database servers installed last week gave us more breathing room to free up some existing features for more users:

* We no longer move old comments to another database for active, non-premium users—we started un-archiving millions of old comments for users on the free plan earlier this week and all your comments (old and new) should be in your accounts by now.
* Searching of comment / trackback pages is now unlocked for non-premium users
* Mass deletion of comments / trackback pings now available for all members
* And the biggest change—email notification of new comments is now 100% free! So be sure to go and activate the free email notification if you haven’t already done so.
* Update 6/12/2006: Comment threads will always have correct comment counts now no matter how old they are or how many comment threads you have in your account (before this upgrade, the system used to be able to fetch accurate counts for the newest comment threads only)."


Another thing they've changed for Blogger and Blogspot users (others to follow) is that they expanded the blog post retrieval feature to support the comment and trackback management pages. That means that now you see human-friendly blog post titles instead of the cryptic ‘post ID’ numbers you used to see when you went there.

You have to log into your account to enable the new features so, if you haven't already done it, get going.









Monday, July 3, 2006

July morning , the jaguar and the crow stone



Mr. Lee and I went out briefly this morning and visited with some friends. I'm not complaining about having to lay low while me knee heals. Perhaps I am enjoying it too much so it was definitely good for me to get of the house for a bit. It's been almost 2 weeks since the surgery and in that time, spring has been very busy pushing everything out and up. Might as well push me too. A time lapse view of the most ordinary place always amazes me.

One thing I've really missed is the lavender explosion. On summer solstice eve I first noticed some of the flowers were going to open in the morning but I missed it all. I had surgery and the bees got everything. I'm happy for them. Imagine all the lovely lavender honey they're socking away. Mr. Lee tells me they are positively, face down drunk in the flowers. I'll have to get a photo but everything is such a big deal on crutches, or perhaps I am just terribly lazy. Mr. Lee tells me I am perhaps the laziest person he has ever met in his entire life. Of course that's not true. I am merely very selective about how and where I direct the fulcrum of my raw, to some terrifying, energy. Today, I photographed the crow stone and the jaguar and converted the July Early Morning AVI into an MPEG for your viewing pleasure. Yes, yes, it's under 30 seconds.


But before the film, a bit of background on the jaguar. Mr. Lee bought him for me last fall when we were in the Yucatan. We were kind of hijacked into spending the night with a Mayan family who lived in the jungle along the road to Bonampak, a fabulous but once extremely bloody Mayan pyramid and city. I say hijacked because their hospitality was mainly a way to hold customers hostage for the night. It was really awkward because the adults just wouldn't let up. They kept bring out more and more stuff for us to buy. We bought a lot. The kids were great, especially the beautiful Leonardo. He was about five and really wanted to communicate with me. He and I stood by the jeep for hours making signs and faces, talking with our hands, drawing pictures for each other and trying out our few words and finding and reading them from my handy, pock-size translation book. He did somersaults for me and climbed up and picked oranges for us to share and I gave him one of my favorite pens and notebook and all the other kids who were standing around staring at me, energy bars.

Once we felt we had let the adults work us over enough, we thanked them profusely and got up into our tent like monkeys scampering up a tree. The tent is on the top of the jeep. We left before they could get at us in the morning. But I love the jaguar. One the adults carved it from balsa wood. Those are eyes on his body. He sits under my monitor and I think of them often, especially Leonardo who is so talented and so trapped. They didn't even realize that they are counted as Mexican citizens. They are Mayan but they have a giant satellite dish on the top on their home and love watching soap operas on television. I think, in certain ways we are more primitive then they are. At least we threw our tv away about 4 years ago so we have wrestled ourselves partially free from the state brain drain. I posted one of Mr. Lee's letters on my blog back then if you'd like to see a photo of Leonardo if you'd like to read more about it.

Now, on with show...

First off, the short I promised the other day. As you might guess, it's an early morning view from my window. (:30)


2nd of July...




And now
the moment you've all been waiting for



Ladies and Gentlemen
Girls and Boys
and
Children of all ages...

Now....

from the ancient, lost inland sea
and mysterious mountains of the Great Basin
The Invisible Theatre is proud to present
The Touchstone of the Gods
Seer and knower
of all secrets.

It puts to test
the heart and mind
of all who dare
to gaze upon it.

It has the power to
HEAL
or
DESTROY
whatever it touches.

Now...
...for a short time only...

on very limited loan from the
Crows

I give you
the One
the Only
the Magnificent....

CROW STONE!!!





Sunday, July 2, 2006

Crows, the bird park and movies of morning light


It's early. Well, for me it's not early or late. I'm in the twilight zone these days, me and my knee. But the light is still young, the kind that falls at an easy angle and quickens what it touches. Nevertheless, before leaving to work out, Mr. Lee closed down the house, shut night's graciously flung open doors and windows, and lowered the blinds in preparation for the oncoming heat ... closed all but my window that is, the one by my bed. We compromised on that. My window gets to remain open about a foot, blind to the opening, until he gets back. After that it too closes. It's enough. I am delighted. I see the quiet light, and hear the occasional bird. Just so you are prepared, I did a little movie of the light this morning and will post it later. No, it's not 5 minutes long. It's about 30 seconds long. This one is made for Americans, my concession after Mr. Lee bitched so much about having to watch the 5 minute video of cold tubbing pigeons.

Speaking of birds, my poor Bird Park is all but shut down since my knee operation. Mr. Lee has a very different philosophy about birds. It goes something like this, "They're wild and should stay that way". I freely admit that I lure birds here for my own selfish pleasure. I'm not a "bird watcher" like people who know the names of all the birds, their habitats and interesting quirks. Perhaps it is even true that I am disturbing the balance of nature. Perhaps there are generations of birds coming here who would not otherwise have survived. Good! Anyway, I'm not so sure that the "Balance of Nature" doesn't include a friendly hand here and there. Anyway, I need a little life around me and birds are easy to bribe. I also freely admit that I have a rather obsessive idea of keeping feeders filled and water fresh. I mean FILLED, twice a day when it comes to the seeds and clean, scrubbed tubs and fresh water as needed. Sure birds drink dirty water but so would I if I had to.

So my Bird Park has fallen on hard times but it's happened before. In fact, the little bastards don't have much loyality in the first place. When things get low, off they go back to Dwayne's. He is my neighbor with the big trees and lawn. The birds prefer his place to our scrubby, desert not-landscape but I don't blame 'em. Worms and bugs hang out in nice, moist areas. Dwayne even has a quail family living in his giant, sprawling, nest of a Navaho willow. The babies are too little to make the fense yet but their parents come over here for a little of the sunflower seed action, but I know they're just slumming.

Minerva is different though. In the first place, crows don't mind harsh terrain. They're big and tough and just hop over crap. Quail are sweet but they are putzes who don't even like to fly, what to speak of hop, if they even could. Maybe they would be more inclined to hop if they wore baseball caps instead of those haute Paris creations but no. Quail insist on being dapper at all times. But back to Minerva. She is loyal and has been coming around for more than a year. She dropped in the other day and I actually hobbled out to give her some peanuts while she watched from the top of Dick's house. You may wonder how I knew that this particular crow was Minerva. I wish it was because I have special crow mojo and know their language etc. etc., but I don't. Minerva has a whitish feather on her left shoulder and a funny, irregular feather sticking out of her right wing. She travels alone or with one friend and comes in the afternoon, not with the squawking brunch bunch. She's older and has aged noticably since last year. The hard winter, I suppose. She is an irregular regular at the Bird Park and gets special treatment. Otherwise, things have grown pretty quiet here. Not much kibitzing in the tiny trees, although a little black bird did sit on one of the 2 foot junipers the other day. That's initiation for a tree. They'll be back though. Oh yes. Once I can get outside and start pumping the seeds into the system, the little bastards will be back.

One last thing about crows and loyality. The other day Mr. Lee was mountain biking up in the Pine Nuts when he came upon a flock of crows circling above a particular spot in the desert. They weren't disturbed to see him so he got off his bike to see what they were hovering over. Usually it's something tasty like a dead mouse or bit of rabbit but this day it was not. Mr. Lee tells me they were circling around and around a particular, small, black, pyramid-shaped stone. He said they told him they wanted me to have it. They also told him to make clear to me that it's on loan.




Saturday, July 1, 2006

Beatbaby #4



Happy July 1st!
This is a special day for me marking a Flight to Freedom that, it could be said, I'd have been better off not needing to take in the first place. But you never know. I don't want to underestimate the value, or is it the necessity, of the long, winding road. It was a hard won escape that I, we, took which I celebrate today. Here's to freedom!


I spent a little time hanging out over at the Phrontistery (FRON-tis-te-ri) this morning, (n a thinking-place). Forthright's (a.k.a Steve Chrisomalis) language treasure trove. Great place if you haven't been there. I just found out about it this morning myself. Anyway, when digging around in his Compendium of Lost Words I found "fabrefaction", a word which vanished from the English language in 1678, only 26 years after it first appeared. It's a fine word and obviously eager to be part of things again because it followed me home and immediately worked itself into this latest episode of Beat Baby.