Travel notes, notes from my future self, photos I take along the way, rants, reviews, news and whatever else that catches my fancy on any given night.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Wild horse blues


Willie Nelson
I don't know if you've been following it, but a couple of years ago Congress approved the sale of wild horses to slaughter houses. There was a huge outcry so they passed an appropriations bill designed to stop the practice but as soon as people looked away the USDA approved a petition submitted by the three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants in the United States to resume slaughter. Now the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals the American Humane Association plus other groups and individuals have banned together to sue the USDA. I hope you will consider participating in this effort. It has the best chance to succeed if we act together.


"Think occasionally of the suffering
of which you spare yourself the sight."
Dr. Albert Schweitzer



A horse can smell the blood and hear other horses crying from the "kill chute" and by the time it is lead into the "knockbox", it is generally shaking violently from fear, and scrambling and falling on the blood and urine soaked floor in an effort to escape because it sees other horses hanging upside down, bleeding to death. Once the horse is tied down the butcher bludgeons it with what they call a "captive bolt", a horrible name for a despicable act. The "captive bolt" is a four inch retractable nail, that is suppose to knock the horse unconscious, horrible enough on its own, but all too often the poor animal is still awake, terrified and struggling as one of its hind legs is shackled and it is yanked upside down into the air where its throat is cut and it is left hanging to "bleed out".

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act: a permanent ban is still needed, and that's still only a start if we are to become a compassionate and ethical society.


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Salad Fingers #7




David Firth has posted a new episode of Salad Fingers titled Shore Leave. As always, I find it strangely soothing.




Saturday, February 25, 2006

Follow the money



It's depressing watching billionaire Bush and his billionaire cronies plunder the world. We are like villagers under a spell. We cannot grasp the evil that is upon us. Even when we hear the truth we crave the lie, prefering it's twisted comfort.

How does that joke go? It reminds me of all this. Oh yeah... If you teach a man to start a fire he will be warm for the night. If you set a man on fire he will be warm for the rest of his life.

Anyway, here's an article about the Corporatacracy and the Dubai port deal. It appeared in the Palestine Chronicle. You might find interesting. At least I did.

Dirty Little Secret Behind Port Scandal by David Sirota

Politicians and the media are loudly decrying the Bush administration's proposal to turn over port security to a firm owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - a country with ties to terrorists. They are talking tough about national security - but almost no one is talking about what may have fueled the administration's decision to push forward with this deal: the desire to move forward Big Money's "free" trade agenda.

How much does "free" trade have to do with this? How about a lot. The Bush administration is in the middle of a two-year push to ink a corporate-backed "free" trade accord with the UAE. At the end of 2004, in fact, it was Bush Trade Representative Robert Zoellick who proudly boasted of his trip to the UAE to begin negotiating the trade accord. Rejecting this port security deal might have set back that trade pact. Accepting the port security deal - regardless of the security consequences - likely greases the wheels for the pact. That's probably why instead of backing off the deal, President Bush - supposedly Mr. Tough on National Security - took the extraordinary step of threatening to use the first veto of his entire presidency to protect the UAE's interests. Because he knows protecting those interests - regardless of the security implications for America - is integral to the "free" trade agenda all of his corporate supporters are demanding.

The Inter Press Service highlights exactly what's at stake, quoting a conservative activists who admits that this is all about trade:

"The United States' trade relationship with the UAE is the third largest in the Middle East, after Israel and Saudi Arabia. The two nations are engaged in bilateral free talks that would liberalize trade between the two countries and would, in theory at least, allow companies to own and operate businesses in both nations. 'There are legitimate security questions to be asked but it would be a mistake and really an insult to one of our leading trading partners in that region to reject this commercial transaction out of hand,' said Daniel T. Griswold, who directs the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based libertarian think tank."

Look, we've seen this before. Just last year, Congress approved a U.S. taxpayer-funded loan by the Bush administration to a British company to help build nuclear technology in Communist China. Despite major security concerns raised - and a legislative effort to block the loan - Congress's "free traders" (many of whom talk so tough on security) made sure the loan went through so as to preserve the U.S.-China free trade relationship that is allowing lawmakers' corporate campaign contributors export so many U.S. jobs.

There is no better proof that our government takes its orders from corporate interests than these kinds of moves. That's what this UAE deal is all about - the mixture of the right-wing's goal of privatizing all government services (even post 9/11 port security!) with the political Establishment's desire to make sure Tom-Friedman-style "free" trade orthodoxy supersedes everything. This is where the culture of corruption meets national security policy - and, more specifically, where the unbridled corruption of on-the-take politicians are weakening America's security.

The fact that no politicians and almost no media wants to even explore this simple fact is telling. Here we have a major U.S. security scandal with the same country we are simultaneously negotiating a free trade pact with, and no one in Washington is saying a thing. The silence tells you all you need to know about a political/media establishment that is so totally owned by Big Money interests they won't even talk about what's potentially at the heart of a burgeoning national security scandal.





Thursday, February 23, 2006

Corporatacracy, port of entry - point of diminishing returns


2287










The March issue of Harper's has an excellent article by Lewis Lapham titled: "The Case For Impeachment". It details House Resolution 635, Rep. John Conyer's motion to impeach President Bush. In the interview, Conyer explained, "What would you have me do? Grumble and complain? Make cynical jokes? Throw up my hands and say that under the circumstances nothing can be done? At least I can muster the facts, establish a record, tell the story that ought to be front-page news". He's right and I'm grateful to him for taking action.

Lapham writes, "on reading through the report's corroborating testimony I sometimes could counter its inducements to mute rage with the thought that if the would-be lords of the flies weren't in the business of killing people, they would be seen as a troupe of off-Broadway comedians in a third-rate theater of the absurd." Too bad for us, these thugs have made it to the main stage. They are engaged in a very real, very deadly deceit such as Bush's insane plan to turn over six major American ports (including New York City) to the United Arab Emirates. It's another mind boggling triumph of the creeping Corporatacracy. The Arabs. the boys at the Bilderberg Group and the Carlyle Group must be delighted over this one, what to speak of the terrorists scheming in their secret cells.



Thursday, February 16, 2006

Birthday strawberries




Today is my daughter's birthday. Her alarm rang this morning just as I called to wish her a happy day, year and many happy years to come. She was born just before dawn that February morning. The night before we had shared a half gallon of strawberry ice cream right out of the box so, once again, I reminded her to be sure to eat her ice cream and promised I would do the same.

Also to celebrate today, I whipped up a batch of Marvel Meal (vegeterian suet) for the bird park. It was a huge hit. Everyone was going for it then a big crow showed up and pried open the cage. Now it's completely gobbled and gone.






My daughter was big, over 10 lbs, and born at home before the midwife arrived. Her (very nervous, well-meaning) dad tried to help but I finally had to ask him to please, just let me be. I'd been practicing a relaxation technique for a while and when the contractions started all I wanted to do was relax and let them happen. I didn't use drugs of any kind but the experience was completely painless, in fact it was ecstatic. It was as though I became a primordial force like a great wave upon which she tilted, riding quickly, easily into the world. Her birth is one of my touch stones. It proved to me that life really does take care of life and that sometimes the best, the only thing we need do, is get out of the way.








It's also my mother's birthday today although she died many years ago. We were never close. We clashed terribly but then I was not easy by anyone's standard. It's hard making amends to a person long dead but I'm picking my way. I like to think it's not, that it's never...too late.






Sunday, February 12, 2006

The old bottle and the sea





For some reason this bottle has been on my mind for the last couple of days. I photographed it while we were camping on the Caribbean last November.




It was a lovely glass home for the several creatures clinging to its neck. The clouds drifting over the sea are from the edge of a hurricane that was passing by not too far south.




The NYT doth protest too little

The New York Times posted a rehash of Bush's crimes today and pulled their punches, as usual. Bush commits treason and they note that he has a "central flaw". They should be calling for Bush's resignation and impeachment. But this is the paper that withheld information regarding Bush's police state spy program for a year. That makes them part of the "Trust Gap", not valued members of the free press protecting truth and freedom which are supposed to be "the American way".


The Trust Gap / Editorial
Published February 12, 2006 by the New York Times


We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less.

This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time. But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point. archived at CommonDreams.org

The article briefly covers DOMESTIC SPYING - PRISON CAMPS and THE WAR IN IRAQ but fails to mention that during the KATRINA DISASTER Bush preferred to go golfing rather than tend to the business at hand. And another thing that belongs on the short list is the fact that his administration committed an act of TREASON by leaking the identity of a CIA undercover operative to the press. That's pretty fucking noteworthy. The United States government takes betrayal very seriously, especially in a time of war. We execute traitors. Bush, on the other hand, just keeps going.

But we all know why the Times didn't bring up the "T" word. They CO-OPERATED with Bush Co.. They were the leakies. They published the fact that Valerie Plame was a deep cover CIA operative. I always marvel at the irony. She was risking her life working undercover in the Middle East gathering critical information for the United States about who has weapons of mass destruction and what they are planning to do with them and Bush outs her, destroying the entire network she was associated with and puts many operatives lives in danger. If other agents were killed because of it, we'll never know because, after all, it's secret. Why would the President of the United States do such a thing?

I'm not impressed with the Time's show of "getting tough" on Bush at this late date. They are part of the whole, stinking mess.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Global warming, polar bears and Republicans

Here's a quiz:
What do polar bears, hurricane victims, and global warming have in common?

Answer:
They are all being ignored by the Republicans.

Polar Bears are starving to death because global warming is destroying their habitat. They are another species that may become extinct because of it.

The Republicans prefer to either deny the situation or bullshit about it. Other than giving lip service to change, they are completely unwilling to submit to the regulations of the Kyoto Protocol designed to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. One of the first things Bush did he when became president was withdraw the United States from the Kyoto Protocol. As always, he is motivated by greed, guided by ignorance and full of hubris. But the Republicans can't bully, bribe, blackmail, baffle or buy off the weather. Instead they are trying to muzzle scientists that speak up about global warming. Bush should be muzzled. Whenever his lips are moving, he's lying.

"It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States," said NASA's chief climate scientist James Hansen of the Bush administration's effort to silence him after the speech he gave last month. "One threat was relayed to me that there would be 'dire consequences — not specified,'" if he spoke up, he told ABC News. Hansen stressed that if we don't act now, "earth will become a different planet."

Friday, February 10, 2006

PBWiki




PBwiki logo

A wiki is a type of website especially suited for collaboration as it allows multiple users an easy way to add and edit content. It's a pretty cool idea so recently when I came across PBWiki I created the Birdpark. What the hell? If you want the password, let me know.




Bird AS pixel







bird
n.
Ancient resident of earth. Descendant of the beast-footed dinosaur.

AS n. Abbr. AS or a/s, air speed
The speed, especially of an aircraft, relative to the air.

pixel n.
Basic unit of composition for an image on a television screen, computer monitor, or similar display.







Thursday, February 9, 2006

Peanut weed




A magpie is out in the very cold bird park this morning stashing peanuts under the weeds. That's one more reason why not clear away the fall die off. I don't know if it's the same bird every day but every morning there's one magpie who comes first and comes alone. He usually doesn't hide the peanuts. Usually he struggles to carry off two or three in his beak or he grabs one, drops it, grabs another, drops it, grabs another, drops it. Pretty soon he has a little pile of peanuts at his feet and he goes around and around picking up and dropping each one. Hiding them is an advanced strategy. Sorry I couldn't get a photo. He's gone at the moment and the pigeons have arrived. They always case the joint from Dick's roof for a while before descending into yard.

Well, gotta go. We're going skiing for a few hours this morning. It's another blue bird day here in Nevada.



Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Veggie doggie delights



Vegetarian dog food is showing up in more doggie bowls these days but, for people who prefer home cooking, I just came across a wonderful collection of canine vegetarian recipes posted by Veronica Nochel. Some of these dishes sound so tasty you might want to make a little extra for the cook. Martha Stewart has given up wearing fur but she's way behind Veronica when it comes to this.

Got a crock pot? Here's an easy one, Veggie "Beef " Stew . And for that lazy summer afternoon yard party, consider adding a canine vegetarian barbeque with canine corn bread to the menu. On a chilly day, the same corn bread goes really well with a nice warm bowl of Chihuahua Chili. A great improvement over chili of chihuahua.

Yummy for Dogs
offers Pupcakes for birthdays and Fido (carob) Fudge for those decadent evenings and Peanut Butter Power Bites for ski days and for any old day, Pizza for the Pupperonis or Hummus for Hounds with Pomeranian Potato Chips. And certainly no menu would be complete without Doggie Dreamsicles, which sounds like a real bowl licker.

This site has a lot of recipes you can print out for free but you can also buy the Yummy for Dogs: A Cook Book for Canines. Veronica donates all the royalty profits from the sale of her book to animal rescue and advocacy organizations. I'd say that's a pretty good deal, especially when you consider the plight of the poor dogs locked up and suffering in the laboratories of unscrupulous pet food companies like Iams. If all this is just too much, I understand, but at least boycott Iams. When it comes to animal welfare, they are scoundrels.




Saturday, February 4, 2006

Help stop Canada's massive seal slaughter





Use your buying power to tell the Canadian government
end the seal hunt!



In March Canadian fishermen will descend on the homes of the Canadian seals and bludgeon their newborns to death. Even though most Canadians oppose the commercial seal hunt, their government and seafood industry continue to support the slaughter. More than 317,000 seals were slaughtered in the 2005 seal hunt. A staggering 98.5% of the seals killed were three months old or younger, some of them skinned while still conscious and able to feel pain. This barbarism needs to be stopped. Not convinced? Watch the slideshow.




Speak up for them because they can't speak for themselves.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts so get busy:
Sign the petition.
Download the Humane Society's pocket guide to boycotting Canadian seafood.
Boycott Canadian seafood. See the restaurants, chefs and companies who have already joined the boycott.
Buy seal stamps, tshirt or sweatshirt.
Help spread the word. Download images of the slaughter for your website, postcard, stationary etc.
Tell a friend.



Thursday, February 2, 2006

Bush's addiction to oil



Body Count: 2248



Bush lied the other night when he said he wanted to reduce America's addiction to oil. The real news of the day is that he just hit up Congress for 120 billion more dollars to support his illegal, immoral oil grab in Iraq. And that's money is just for the next few months. Then he'll need more.

Comments about his so-called "concern" were just meant to take some of the heat off of himself. It worked. At least momentarily he deflected attention away from the shit he's up to his neck in... like wire tapping, the outing of Valerie Plame, his lies about WMDs. These things are not "old news". They are crimes he committed for which he should be impeached, convicted and sent to jail.