Monday, October 31, 2005

I Can See It Now

I wasn't able to pay my bill, so Universal Light and Water cut off my sunlight which has caused my oxygen scrubbers to slow down, increasing the pollution in my house, the solar panels are empty so nothing in the house actually runs anymore and I thought I would be planning for the future. As if the power companies wouldn't jump all over the opportunity to regulate something they didn't have to produce.

U.S. Military Wants to Own the Weather - Yahoo! News: "What would a military strategist gain in having an 'on-switch' to the weather?

Clearly, it offers the ability to degrade the effectiveness of enemy forces. That could come from flooding an opponent’s encampment or airfield to generating downright downpours that disrupt enemy troop comfort levels. On the flipside, sparking a drought that cuts off fresh water can stir up morale problems for warfighting foes.

Even fooling around with fog and clouds can deny or create concealment – whichever weather manipulation does the needed job.

In this regard, nanotechnology could be utilized to create clouds of tiny smart particles. Atmospherically buoyant, these ultra-small computer particles could navigate themselves to block optical sensors. Alternatively, they might be used to provide an atmospheric electrical potential difference -- a way to precisely aim and time lightning strikes over the enemy’s head – thereby concoct thunderbolts on demand.

Perhaps that’s too far out for some. But some blue sky thinkers have already looked into these and other scenarios in 'Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025' – a research paper written by a seven person team of military officers and presented in 1996 as part of a larger study dubbed Air Force 2025."
Just out of idle curiosity, doesn't Africa need water? Wouldn't this be a better use of time and brainpower? Or is that charity?
"In 2025, the report summarized, U.S. aerospace forces can "own the weather" by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications.

"Such a capability offers the war fighter tools to shape the battlespace in ways never before possible. It provides opportunities to impact operations across the full spectrum of conflict and is pertinent to all possible futures," the report concluded.

But if whipping up weather can be part of a warfighter’s tool kit, couldn’t those talents be utilized to retarget or neutralize life, limb and property-destroying storms?"
Good question. But that is nothing compared to my terror alert after reading the following.
"Another reason for embarking on this new science could be to make sure inadvertent effects of existing projects, such as the heating of the ionosphere and modifications of the polar electrojet, are not having effects on weather, Eastlund stated.

As example, Eastlund pointed to the High frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). This is a major Arctic facility for upper atmospheric and solar-terrestrial research, being built on a Department of Defense-owned site near Gakona, Alaska.

Eastlund wonders if HAARP does, in fact, generate gravity waves. If so, can those waves in turn influence severe weather systems?"
This is just a thought, but given the unforeseen consequences of a good majority of scientific experiments, does it seem like a good idea to have gravitational waves on the planet we live on? Couldn't we do this somewhere else? I know they say it is to modify the weather, but I'm just not that anxious to see the unintended results.

For scientists, they certainly are lacking in imagination. What would Einstein say?

Stingingly Accurate Ad

VELVETREVOLUTION.US :: "VR launched another new ad in the Washington DC City Paper to expose those who lied us into war. Since the start of the war, 2000 soliders have been killed and over 15,000 soldiers have been maimed and wounded. This death and destruction was unnecessary, and VR urges people to reform our government with enlightened and progressive leaders. Please make copies and give them to everyone you know, and donate to support this ad campaign so we can blanket the country with these ads!"


I'm not. "In Texas, thousands of evacuees who found shelter in apartments face eviction threats because rents are going unpaid.

In Louisiana, some evacuees are beginning to show up in homeless shelters because they haven't received federal aid or don't know how to get it.

Advocates for the poor say the situation will worsen this winter.

“They are the poorest folks … and they are the ones who are going to be left with nothing,” says Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “It's going to show up at homeless shelters this winter.”

The housing crunch could get tighter in November, because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wants to move an estimated 200,000 Katrina evacuees out of hotels as soon as possible."
The blind leading the blind.

Over a cliff.

In broad daylight.

With witnesses.

Wow, That Was Fast

One week to go from 2000 to 2025.
Oct. Is Deadliest Month in Iraq Since Jan. - Yahoo! News: "Those deaths raised the death toll for October to more than 90, the highest monthly total since January when 107 American service members died. The latest deaths brought to 2,025 the number of U.S. service members who have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

In Washington,
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said there is no readily apparent explanation for why the number of U.S. casualties was higher in October than in previous months. But he said the insurgents' roadside bombs — which the military calls improvised explosive devices, or IEDs — are getting more sophisticated.

'We see an adversary that continues to develop some sophistication on very deadly and increasingly precise stand-off type weapons — IEDs, in particular. They're obviously quite capable of killing large numbers of noncombatants indiscriminately, and we're seeing a lot of that, too,' Di Rita told reporters."
I wonder if anybody remembers those old sayings; nothing is foolproof, fools are ingenious, necessity is the mother of invention? What part of our Revolutionary War has been forgotten? Popping out of bushes and shooting at the white crosses on the red uniforms = plant explosive devices near where the vehicles go. Why are we so surprised when somebody improves on our original atrocities?

Not Everybody Likes Milk

I happen to be one of them. I don't like the taste or the the consistency. Can't stand the stuff. Ever since I can remember I have eaten my vegetables. It wan an authority thing. I had heard that kids didn't like vegetables, so I did. Especially spinach as long as it wasn't creamed. My dad was not lactose intolerant and mom being German also isn't, she just doesn't drink it. Neither one of us has ever broken a bone. Even when I got hit by the car it only cracked C3, thank goodness or I wouldn't be here today.
Dairy advice criticized by lactose-intolerant - Diet & Fitness - "Her sons Denzell and Armonni have the same problem. So do as many as 75 percent of African-Americans and 90 percent of Asian-Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Government dietary guidelines include advice for people with lactose intolerance that note other calcium-containing foods like fish, broccoli and fortified orange juice. But critics say information on milk alternatives is sometimes buried.

The debate was raised a notch this past month when a vegetarian advocacy group filed a lawsuit aimed at getting milk producers to label their products with a warning that milk may cause digestive problems in lactose-intolerant people."
I also believe it is one of the reasons why Asians and Blacks carry their weight around the abdomen where it is most dangerous. This is because it is visceral fat. Fat throughout the organs, not lying on top. The healthy BMI for Asians had to be dropped because they are perfectly capable of looking skinny while having serious fatty tummies. I found it absolutely impossible for me to lose weight until I added plain yogurt to my diet. I personally like Pavel's. The whole fat variety. I find that live cultures help me digest so I also love the more fragrant cheeses, but I don't eat ice cream or drink milk. Not even chocolate.

People need to be informed that there are alternatives out there. The food guide is helpful, if you are a geek and have plenty of time. They also need to know how to cook and present so people will eat the good stuff.

Do you think I could pitch a show to the Food Network?

I'm reading this morning

I got a late start, found out Scalito had been nominated and now I'm surfing to get other's opinions and hope they match with mine.

I don't think it is going to work. Too much has happened in the last two months for the average American Joe to not realize that things aren't going well. The trust of the people has been abused and they are not happy. From local elections to the Commander in Chief they are not pleased. They feel lied to and that is never a good thing when things are not going well.

At least, I hope they do. They might not. One of the excuses for voting for Twig during the 2004 election was that he should clean up his own mess. They might still feel that way. Or just not care, feeling that nothing they do will make a difference.

Or they can slap on a bumper sticker and wear a wrist bracelet. We wore copper ones during Vietnam.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Say What You Really Mean

The press sure is different in Canada - A case of the mean reds: "This administration lies about its lies. White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked last week if Cheney was always truthful with the American people. 'Yes,' McClelland lied. 'The vice-president, like the president, is a straight-forward, plainspoken person.'

During the rule of the mean Reds, homophobia has come out of the closet. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) equates minority sexual orientation with bestiality; Florida Governor Jeb Bush has speculated that an earthquake triggering the demise of San Francisco would 'probably (be) good news for the country. Did I just say that out loud?'

Same for rank incompetence. Michael Brown, the deposed director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told a post-Katrina Hurricane congressional panel last month that he didn't see the need for ice shipments to the hurricane-stricken region to keep elderly people alive and dead bodies from rotting in the sun.

'I think it's wrong for the federal government to be in the ice business, providing ice so I can keep my beer and Diet Coke cool,' Brown told the inquiry. Which calls to mind Dwight Eisenhower's frustration with a party stalwart: 'In his case, there seems to be no final answer to the question, `How stupid can you get?''

Exponents of clean government and family values to a man and woman, Reds continually fall short of their proclaimed standards — meant, apparently, to apply to others and not themselves. Forced to step down as House speaker when his adultery was revealed, Newt Gingrich ('You cannot get to universal (health) coverage without a police state') begat his short-lived replacement Bob Livingston (more adultery), who begat current speaker Dennis Hastert, a water-carrier for price-gouging HMOs and assault-weapons makers.

In the Senate, meanwhile, former majority leader Trent Lott, obliged to step down after appearing to endorse 1950s-era segregation, begat Bill Frist, whose "blind trust" was recently exposed as a sham when it was revealed that in April he arranged for it to dump shares in the family firm, the erstwhile Medicare-bilking hospital chain HCA Inc., ahead of a profit warning that caused HCA stock to plunge. Frist is now under formal SEC investigation for potential insider trading in a stock he claimed two years ago not to have owned in the first place.

Meanwhile, the Reds' hallelujah chorus, men and women with sores on their knuckles from the commute to work each day, are models of startling hypocrisy.

Bill ("Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!") O'Reilly made a hefty payment earlier this year to settle allegations of sexually harassing the producer of his syndicated radio show. Bestselling morality author Bill (Virtuecrat) Bennett, a Reagan cabinet officer and the first "drug czar" under George H.W. Bush, once included games of chance among the nation's indicators of moral decrepitude before being exposed as a Vegas habitué, and more recently suggested that the crime rate would fall if only more pregnant black women would abort their fetuses. The recovering "hillbilly heroin" (OxyContin) addict Rush Limbaugh's TV show was yanked soon after he held up a photo of a then 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton and asked, "Did you know there's a White House dog?"

Long gone are the days when a gentle intellect like Mort Sahl was a friendly goad to JFK and LBJ. Today, we have Ann Coulter expressing her wish that the planes on 9/11 had struck The New York Times building rather than the World Trade Center."
Wow. From start to finish he pulls no punches. Definitely not the MSM as we know it. How refreshing.

The Light Comes On

Just way too late. What were they reading last year?
White House Ethics, Honesty Questioned: "The poll, conducted Friday night and yesterday, found that 55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems 'with ethical wrongdoing' in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an 'isolated incident.' And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush."
This is oh so true.
"One thing you can't ever, ever do even if you're a regular person is lie to a grand jury," said Brad Morris, 48, a registered independent and a field representative for a lumber company who lives in Nashua, N.H. "But multiply that by a thousand times if you have power like [Libby had]. And if anybody wants to know why, ask Scooter. He's financially ruined; he'll be paying lawyers for the rest of his life."
Obviously she doesn't understand, no wonder salespeople have to repeat things over and over.
"Ellen Mulligan, 34, a Republican and part-time art teacher who lives in Hamden, Conn., was one of these. "If I understood what happened, Vice President Cheney's adviser spoke to his wife and then she leaked the secret," Mulligan said."
What, she heard every other word? And took it at face value instead of checking?
"The survey also suggests the emergence of an appealing fresh face in public life: special prosecutor Fitzgerald. Fifty-five percent said Fitzgerald brought the charges against Libby based on the facts of the case and not for partisan political reasons. Less than a third -- 30 percent -- said Fitzgerald was politically motivated."
Welcome to competence on the job, not politics.
"Many Americans believe that others may be involved in the disclosure of Plame's identity to the news media. Nearly half -- 47 percent -- believe that senior White House adviser Karl Rove did something wrong in connection with the case, including nearly a fifth who believe that Rove acted illegally."
Those number will change over the next few months. It just depends on the spin. Heaven forbid it should be based on the truth.

I miss KSJO

I haven't recovered from losing KSJO even though they play hard rock on KFOX and KSAN. I prefer to flip through several stations.
Print Story: As Stern splits, big markets lose rock radio on Yahoo! News: "To soften the blow of Stern's December 16 exit from terrestrial radio, Infinity has changed the format of some of the 27 stations that carry him. Of the 12 rock stations that featured Stern in the morning, three are flipping to talk or the Jack format, which uses no DJs and a random, classic-rock-oriented playlist. Such flips in Sacramento, Calif., and Philadelphia mean one less new-rock station. But in New York, come January 3, Arbitron's top-rated market will not have a station playing current rock hits.

Infinity launched a talk-based 'Free FM' format October 25 on eight stations. The personality-driven programming will feature former Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth and comedian Adam Carolla, among others, as syndicated replacements for Stern in morning drive.

'What Infinity is signaling is that a combination of celebrity talk and comedy appeals to its target market more than music in general and rock in particular,' says Barry Sosnick, consultant and president of 'When you have Infinity, a major player in broadcasting, indicating that music isn't a powerful draw for listeners, (that is) the most frightening implication.'"
One of the reasons I like KFOG is because the morning show is intelligent, current and plays great music frequently. As somoeone pointed out it is like having coffee with your friends you just can't talk back. Dave Morey has been doing the morning show for over 20 years and he never goes off on rants. A nice liberal station without beating you over the head with it. The rest of the day and night are music dominated and user driven.

Pretty soon everything will be the same, no new input. No wonder nobody is trying anymore. Thanks goodness reality tv seems to be dying.

My Dog Has Pride

And a distinct dislike of anything on her body except the covers when she's sleeping.
ruff and ready / As Halloween consumerism continues to explode, pets and their owners are putting on the dog: "Chew dressed as a blue Cosmopolitan. She was accompanied by a martini in the form of her Pekinese dog, Gizmo. Patron Sandy Bent purchased a $50 custom pleather vest with a skull and roses embroidered on it by designer Alexandra Camarillo of Valley of the Dogs for her Yorkshire terrier, Ecko, to wear."
Shai's friend Jack has his Men In Black costume ready to go. He's cute. She's not going for it. Doesn't she have a Yoda look?

Why I Like MoDo

I know I said I wouldn't read the Times again, but I followed a link and found free MoDo. She is intelligent, elegant and brilliantly eloquent.
What's a Modern Girl to Do? - New York Times: "In the universe of Eros, I longed for style and wit. I loved the Art Deco glamour of 30's movies. I wanted to dance the Continental like Fred and Ginger in white hotel suites; drink martinis like Myrna Loy and William Powell; live the life of a screwball heroine like Katharine Hepburn, wearing a gold lamé gown cut on the bias, cavorting with Cary Grant, strolling along Fifth Avenue with my pet leopard."
Boy was I surprised when I started dating. My first date pulled into the driveway and blew his horn. Romance was never as I had read it.
"Decades after the feminist movement promised equality with men, it was becoming increasingly apparent that many women would have to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing and geography. It would once more be considered captivating to lie on a chaise longue, pass a lacy handkerchief across the eyelids and complain of a case of springtime giddiness."
I'm toast.
"Women might dye their hair, apply makeup and spend hours finding a hip-slimming dress, she said, while men may drive a nice car or wear a fancy suit that makes them seem richer than they are. In this retro world, a woman must play hard to get but stay soft as a kitten. And avoid sarcasm. Altogether."
Freaking toast. I have about as much chance of being nonsarcastic as a politician telling the truth.
"Men, he explained, prefer women who seem malleable and awed. He predicted that I would never find a mate because if there's one thing men fear, it's a woman who uses her critical faculties. Will she be critical of absolutely everything, even his manhood?"
Burnt and crispy. No, we don't question their manhood. And what the heck is that anyway? Manhood. Does it slide on and off as needed? I was talking with a younger male (30, since when is that young?) who is having a timing difficulty. I'm sitting there listening to him enumerate all the things he does to make up for it and I had to stop him. What a lot of work for such a nice guy. I told him that a woman would be honored that he went to all that trouble and if she wasn't, well he needed someone else. I said this knowing he has a great girlfriend. I'm able to think and understand that life is not perfect and sometimes you need to make compromises. Is that emasculating?
"When Gloria Steinem wrote that "all women are Bunnies," she did not mean it as a compliment; it was a feminist call to arms. Decades later, it's just an aesthetic fact, as more and more women embrace Botox and implants and stretch and protrude to extreme proportions to satisfy male desires. Now that technology is biology, all women can look like inflatable dolls. It's clear that American narcissism has trumped American feminism."
My most popular post so far was the one on the Idollators. Google hits galore.
"But it is equally naïve and misguided for young women now to fritter away all their time shopping for boudoirish clothes and text-messaging about guys while they disdainfully ignore gender politics and the seismic shifts on the Supreme Court that will affect women's rights for a generation.

What I didn't like at the start of the feminist movement was that young women were dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. They were supposed to be liberated, but it just seemed like stifling conformity.

What I don't like now is that the young women rejecting the feminist movement are dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. The plumage is more colorful, the shapes are more curvy, the look is more plastic, the message is diametrically opposite - before it was don't be a sex object; now it's be a sex object - but the conformity is just as stifling."
That is more of an indicator of the listlessness of the their extremely cosseted generation. The young men aren't any more interested in protecting their rights otherwise there would be more of an antiwar opposition.

I miss MoDo. This was great but I want more and I don't want to pay.

How Manly

Nice, really nice. - Attackers behead 3 girls in tense Indonesian province: "The students from a private Christian high school were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Maj. Riky Naldo said. The area is close to the provincial capital of Palu, about 1,000 miles northeast of Jakarta.

Naldo said the heads of three victims were found several miles from their bodies. Two were left near a police station and another in front of a newly built Christian church.

In Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered police to track down the killers.

'I condemn this barbarous killing, whoever the perpetrators are and whatever their motives,' he said.

National police spokesman Brig. Gen. Arjanto Boedihardjo said the wounded student told police that there were six masked attackers who were wearing black shirts."
Other than making these poor girls last momemnts hell of earth, what exactly do they hope to accomplish. Christianity and martyrdom go hand in hand. Six men to chop the heads off some girls. Did they practice? Draw straws? Will they be caught? Probably not. It looks like this kind of thing happens quite a bit.

At least Marie Antoinette had done something to deserve the hatred of the people around her.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

My Final Miers Post

I kept quiet because I had the feeling that it wasn't going to work out and couldn't see stressing about it.
Hypocrisy and The Miers Case: "As John R. Tunis once wrote, 'Losing is the great American sin.' But Miers, who is undoubtedly a hurting victim in this whole melodrama and deserving of compassion and kindness, is not the loser. No, the losers are those mostly conservative posturers and pretenders who now stand exposed as political hypocrites.

Who said repeatedly some variation of 'every judicial nominee and the American people and the president deserve a fair up-or-down vote?' If you answered virtually every Republican senator, especially Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Bill Frist of Tennessee, you would be more than right.

In addition to that 'up-or-down vote,' every judicial nominee, according to those same honorable folks, was entitled to a fair committee hearing. Every judicial nominee, it turns out, except Miers. She didn't even get the hearing, let alone 'the fair up-or-down vote' she deserved."
Why worry about hypocrisy now? The Republicans and the Bush administration have specialized in "do as I say, not as I do" for so long people think that is the way the world works. Rules only apply when needed and only to other people.

I find it interesting how the MSM is slowly waking up and doing it's job. I can't say better late than never, because frankly, that just isn't good enough. I wonder what else they might dig out from under a rock?


I am trying out the new Beta version 1.5 and so far I really like it. I changed my theme to the Black Japan for something different.

I decided to go Beta after the MenuX (rocks) extension upgrade and it disabled my TabMixPlus (also rocks). Just because I wanted the screen real estate and the Stumble button instead of a toolbar I once again let my urge to be an early adopter take over.

But my happy surprise was when I realized I could access my mail which had never worked on a Mac. Yippee! I love progress.

I am such a geek. I wish I was rich, I would have all kinds of toys.

I love Firefox! I can make it do what I want and that is a commodity that is pretty hard to come by lately.


Blackmail: Government Style

Nice timing.
LAFAYETTE / Suspect's mom agrees to testify / Charges that she was an accessory to murder are dropped: "Moments after Superior Court Judge David Flinn read the single felony count charging Fielding with that crime, prosecutor Harold Jewett told her that the charge would be dropped if she would testify before a grand jury.

'She agreed, and we moved to drop the charges,' Jewett said after the hearing.

Fielding's attorney, Barry 'Blackie' Burak, would not comment, citing a temporary gag order Flinn issued Thursday. Jewett also declined to discuss the agreement further.

Court documents released Friday show that prosecutors began calling witnesses before a grand jury on Tuesday.

'The way it happened was highly unusual. At its essence, it is an immunity agreement,' said Jim Hammer, a former San Francisco prosecutor who is now a television legal analyst. 'Usually these things happen behind closed doors. This one happened right out in front of us. I think (her arrest) was an expedited way to get an immunity agreement out of this person.'"
I'll bet there's a gag oder. If I had been the kid's mother I would have turned him in, but I wouldn't testify against him and this looks like a positively blatant maneuver to force her onto the stand. If spouses can't be forced to testify, parents should not be forced to testify against their children. You say you want children to confide in their parents. If your child feels that nothing they tell you will be protected, this generation will start editing conversations and eliminate a trusted source of information.

If you don't have a good relationship with your parents, legislating behavior will not improve it. Parents are already feeling the need to interfere in kids personal lives even more than their parents did and each generation will rebel in its own way.

Maybe we should stop regulating the parental process. Parents are forced to vaccinate and their children can be taken from them if they don't want their child to undergo certain medical procedures. Whatever happened to making decisions for your family?

Only if society approves.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Onion Style.

I love the Onion.

Sensible Moderation?

I guess if you don't mind being tortured.
What's the Next Choice?: "So now the president has two choices. He can up the ante and give them somebody like Alberto Gonzales, who has a record of (gasp!) sensible moderation but also possesses impeccable qualifications -- and whose nomination would delight the nation's biggest minority. Or he could do the prudent, realistic thing and cave to the sledgehammer right."
We compromise on the stupidest things. I don't care if he's black, Latino, purple-pink polka-dotted with green hair, white, female, homosexual, or heterosexual. What I do care about is that when someone sits on the Supreme Court that they regard all human beings as people. That is a moral compromise that should never be made.

Next candidate please.

I really like this

I am really enjoying Broadsheet. It is nice to see stories about women on a consistent basis. These have a positive slant, are informative and entertaining and so far haven't involved violence. Life | Broadsheet
We've come a long way baby.

It was 30 years ago today

I got married! I'm not in that condition and haven't been for 25 years but I remember that day well. From the car breaking down in the rain on the way to the church to ending the evening sharing a tub of Cool Whip. What a hoot!

I was stationed at Ft. Lewis and he flew in from Germany, we put the wedding together in three days (I wore a dress!), borrowed a car from a friend who didn't know how to drive, in the 70's it rained a lot at this time of year, had dinner at the Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker, (great restaurant even though they carded us!) and hung out with our friends later until my mom suggested we might have better things to do.

I fell asleep while he was lighting candles.

I saw him again a few years ago during the Clinton impeachment crap and he went on and on about how a blow job left this country open to security violations and blah, blah, blah. I wonder what he thinks now?

He also had turned into quite the little racist which surprised me since he had never been ashamed to appear in public with me. We had our problems, not the least of which was getting married at 19, but even though I knew you should never start a land war in Asia/Iraq I didn't know you shouldn't mess with a Sicilian mom when her son is on the line. I still feel sorry for him.

Every morning and night for three months we drove past the CIA in Hyde Park and Tony would say "you should go there Deb". We got divorced right after that and I came back to California as part of my plea bargain.

Oops, I meant divorce. He still lives in Kingston, NY I believe. Hey Anth, hope things are going well.

It's his dog Max's birthday today. Happy birthday!

Somebody's Kid is Going to be Very Disappointed

When they find out it doesn't work, it will never work, and they can't tell their friends about it. - Harry Potter's 'flying' car stolen - Oct 28, 2005: "'For those who have not seen the Harry Potter films, this is the car that flies in the movies and is very well known,' a police spokesman said.

The blue Ford Anglia, registration 7990 TD, went missing from the South West Film Studios in St Agnes, Cornwall, western England.

Devon and Cornwall police said the car vanished between 5.30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26 and 4.15 p.m. the following day."

Maybe somebody is looking for inspiration. Hmmm.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Compassionate Conservatism in Action

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Chimps fall down on friendship: "The chimps were presented with two reward options. One option allowed a chimp only to serve itself with food. The other secured the same reward, but also delivered food to another chimpanzee in an enclosure next door.

Dr Silk's team found the 29 chimps tested in the study were no more likely to pick the second option than the first, even though it allowed them to do a 'good deed' at no cost to themselves.

The result was surprising because the chimps had been living together in the same group for 15 years. They were not related, but might have been expected to be very close."
That remains to be seen.

Doggie Play Dates

I'm waitng for Shai's friend Jack to come over for a play date and bump into this article. San Jose is not the friendliest place for dogs, but these sound like great ideas.
Can Rover come over? - Pet Health - "There’s even a big screen TV and, yes, the dogs are allowed on the couches.

“The focus is on owners spending time and working with their dogs, not dropping them off so someone else can play with them,” says owner Loralei Zwitt. “Besides being fun for the dogs, it is a great way for people to connect.'

The facility also has a custom-built agility course catering to all dogs, including seniors, giants, toys, and less athletic dogs.

“We are looking at adding some fitness programs which would include a lap pool, treadmills, even doga classes (doggy yoga),' says Zwitt. 'And we are talking about adding some human equipment so that owners can work out while their dogs work out, too.”"
Right up until I got to the part about doga classes and realize Shai isn't doing that. She's more the let me receive your love and affection kind of dog.

We Didn't Know You Were There

Excuse me, does your boss keep letting you make serious mistakes like this? And keep your job? Don't they have a Republican governonr?
Tent City for the Forgotten - Los Angeles Times: "
So far, FEMA has provided about half of the trailers requested by households in Mississippi — 10,641 of 22,515 requests — and hopes to supply all of them by Dec. 1, Beeman said.

Delays, he said, can be attributed to several factors: communities have not yet granted permits to place trailers; sites are in flood zones; municipal crews have not cleared debris; and newly delivered trailers must be inspected by their manufacturer.

FEMA officials were not aware until recently that people were still living in tents in east Biloxi, Beeman said. Since learning of the encampments, Beeman has sent community relations teams out to determine which households should be a priority.

'It may have been an oversight on our part that we were not going back in there,' he said."
What, you forgot the poor side of town?
On Elmer Street — a narrow lane made narrower by the piles of debris that line it — three families have been living in tents since the week of the storm, suffering from coughs and rashes that crept up their arms and legs.

Asked why he stayed beside the house that has belonged to his family since 1932, Derek Pride smiled and gave a simple answer: 'It's paid for.'
Why didn't the Floridians leave their skyscrapers during Wilma?

East Biloxi's homeowners have always been protective of their neighborhood, settled by African Americans and Croatian fishermen, many of whom have passed down homes for two or three generations. In recent years, casinos have risen along the shores, making residential areas enticing to developers. Stallworth said several homeowners had sold their property "for little or nothing" after the storm.

"I'm encouraging everyone: Don't sell to the casinos, especially right now," he said.

But as the weather gets cold, options seem thin for residents sleeping outside."
The light dawns. I get it. Give up home ownership for very little money, disappear completely as any type of power base.

Deep sigh.


If the right thinks they will be able to shove through a nomination of their choice they should be sorely mistaken. The Democratic Party may be toothless, but the American public is ready to start looking for dentures. These last two months have been one ache after another with a couple of root canals thrown in for good measure.
Harriet Miers Withdraws Nomination: "The last person to withdraw as a Supreme Court nominee was Douglas H. Ginsburg, nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Ginsburg pulled out after revealing that he had used marijuana. Three nominees have been rejected by the Senate in modern times, including Bork.

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate minority leader who supported Miers, called the withdrawal a victory for 'the radical right wing' of the Republican Party.

While the decision was a blow to the Bush administration, the move also may defuse a major controversy for the White House as it confronts possible indictments stemming from the disclosure of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame."
Defuse what controversy? Treasongate isn't going to go away. The building is falling down around their ears. The architects are in serious trouble and the only escape route left to them is to take down their bosses and don't think they won't. As has been pointed out before their loyalty has always been to themselves and not the job or the nation.

Harriet Miers is the first of the sacrificial lambs to try and appease a base that is rapidly becoming distateful to the general public. It should have been the Michaels (Brown and Chertoff), but what the heck, women and children first.

Maybe Jenna and notJenna are going to enlist?

Let Them Wear Blankets

Bid for More Home Heating Aid Fails in Senate: "People could have to 'choose between keeping the heat on, putting food on the table or buying much-needed prescription drugs,' Collins said. 'No family should need to make such terrible choices.'

Reed cited estimates that those who heat their homes with fuel oil will need $1,600 this winter, up $380, and the cost of using natural gas for heating could rise $500, to $1,400.
Well, looks like I undergestimated that expense. My budget is toast. That didn't take long.
The Senate also defeated, 53 to 46, an alternative put forward by Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) that would have increased spending on the program by about $1.3 billion. The measure would have paid for the increase with an across-the-board cut of almost 1 percent in programs included in a $146 billion spending bill covering health, education and labor programs.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said that education grants for low-income children would be cut by $118 million, affecting 37,000 youths, and that Head Start would lose $63 million.
Once you are born it is survival of the fittest (richest).
It was the third time this month that Reed unsuccessfully offered a LIHEAP amendment to a spending bill. He said he would keep trying.
Good luck with that.
The Senate rejected several other efforts to stretch the budget to obtain more money for popular programs. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) sought an extra $5 billion for education grants for low-income children, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) wanted $4 billion more for the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
If you didn't donate substantially to our campaign we don't care about you and we don't even have to pretend.
Meanwhile, House Republicans voted to cut student loan subsidies, child support enforcement and aid to firms hurt by unfair trade practices as various committees scrambled to piece together $50 billion in budget cuts.
We don't care if you go to school (it doesn't matter that we will have to import doctors, we can travel outside the US if needed) and that thing about responsibility? Hey, use the internets to track down the deadbeat parent so your kid can go to a good school, eat food regularly and stay out of jail. It isn't our problem until you step out of line and then we will house and feed you at government expense ($40k a year).

Can Anyone Pay the Bills?

Yes, the economy is in trouble, yes the nation has an unsustainable deficit. No, the people on the bottom of the current economic policies should not be responsible for balancing the budget.
Will Anyone Pay the Bills?: "Her concepts include mandated programs of individual savings for the predictable expenses of child-rearing, education and retirement; social insurance for the costs of catastrophic but unforeseeable medical bills; and some guarantee of safety-net income for people who, through no fault of their own, lose jobs or retirement benefits because of broad economic changes."
Let's be realistic. Delphi wants their workers to take a cut in pay and a rather substantial one at that. Let's say that they are forcibly returned to the wages I earned in my twenties and for ease of calculation since I suck at math, we will use $10 an hour, 52 weeks a year. Vacations are not included, nobody takes a week off on those wages. $20,800/yr, $1733/mo, married with two kids, no DINK's here. I was taught that 1/4 of your income should go for housing, but nowadays that isn't really feasible, so let's be generous and say they found a place to live at $600/month. Their credit is still pretty good so they were able to get a reasonable car for $250/month, they had an old one but it kept breaking down and they couldn't afford the constant unexpected repairs that didn't match payday. It gets good gas mileage and is only taken our if needed but fuel is still costing about $100 a month (2 1/2 tankfuls). Food, ah yes food. Mom's thrifty, no fresh fruit or vegetables, the twins are 12 and growing like a weed but she keeps the food costs to $400 a month (which is way below average and the first to suffer in emergencies). Winter is coming and it looks like that bill is going to go up so we will say $75(lol) a month. No cell phone or cable, dial-up because the kids need it for school, $15 a month. They have $293 left and haven't paid taxes because I don't know what the rate is, but even if it is 15% that is $260, leaving $33 for the phone and any other utilities or expenses (clothes, healthcare, dental, vision).

Yup, they are going to be right on that savings thing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Hope Their Homes Are Paid For

And they have no credit card debt, no kids, no medical issues and not planning on collecting retirement.
Delphi's demand: Take $9 an hour: "According to the proposal, Delphi wants new hires to accept wages as low as $9 an hour, compared with $14 an hour today. The company wants hourly workers making $25 to $27 an hour to accept wages between $9.50 and $10.50 an hour. Delphi also wants overtime to be accrued after working a full week, as opposed to a full day.

Moreover, Delphi wants to freeze its pension plan and said it does not want to accept new pension plan participants after Jan. 1.

Out-of-pocket costs for health care would increase to a maximum $5,000 a year for a family or $2,500 annually for an individual. That would compare to the $500 per family and $250 per person workers currently contribute to the company's traditional health care plan.

Additionally, vision and dental benefits would be eliminated. The company said it also would discontinue 'current health care options' but may offer other affordable plans in the future.

The new wages could put a strain on households dependent on a single breadwinner. At $9 per hour, some Delphi workers would make $18,720 a year under the new proposal. That's more than $600 below the federal poverty line for a family of four, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services"
Yup, and pay for your own medical while living on a 65% pay cut as the credit card minimums double and your variable home loan rate keeps increasing as the cost to heat it becomes a rent payment in itself.

The American Dream. Not for everyone but poverty is always available when you least expect it. Watch us implode.

Party Like It's 1999

Don't they wish.
A Celebration in Search of an Occasion: "And yet, there they were at the gilded Mellon Auditorium last night: the Republican Party's biggest donors, men in tuxedos and women in cocktail dresses, dining on Asian spoon canapes, orange carpaccio and seared mignon of beef, and listening to the soothing tones of a jazz band and a keynote address by President Bush. About 250 Republican Eagles -- those who have contributed $15,000 or more to the party -- and guests were in town for the Eagles' 30th-birthday dinner, which was expected to bring the party more than $1 million.
For the Plamegate defense fund?
"The causes of the discontent have grown: high fuel prices, a national debt that reached $8 trillion last week, a trio of hurricanes and the destruction of New Orleans, the indictment of Tom DeLay, the SEC probe of Bill Frist -- and, of course, the wait to see if Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury will indict a sitting White House official this week for the first time since the 19th century."
That is certainly nothing to be proud of. Hubris, pride goeth before a fall, absolute power corrupts absolutely, love of money is the root of all evil, don't mess with mother nature, there are many more. Didn't these people have grandparents or weird aunts? How about the ten commandments? As corporate bigwigs most of these guys had golden parachutes, I wonder what is in place to catch them this time?

Pardons are always a possibility but I don't think the American people are going to go for it. After Enron, Tyson, bilking Calfornians for energy and the all important lying about the reasons for war, Americans are going to want these people held to the same high standards of responsiblity that they are being held to on the bankruptcy bill.

And I don't mean counseling.

Made My Eyes Leak

Whiskey Bar: 2000

Stupid Law Alert

My dog has been attacked by both a pit bull and a german shepherd for no cause so I am not exactly attacking this law my because I am a dog lover. I am attacking it because it is arbitrary. A 20 pound limit? I own a pug. The largest of the TOY breed. She weighs 22 pounds and she is all muscle not fat. One of her greatest loves in life is to lick bare feet. Because you have committed a crime, paid your debt to society, you will now be deprived of man's best friend.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY / Limits on felons owning dogs get OK / Supervisors vote to support ban on aggressive animals: "The Contra Costa County board of supervisors unanimously supported on Tuesday prohibiting convicted felons from owning any dog that is aggressive or weighs more than 20 pounds, making it all but certain the proposal will become law when it formally comes before the board for approval Nov. 15."
By these rules, they can never have a Bassett, collie, spaniel, or bulldog and a St. Bernard would be totally out of their range. It is not the size of the dog that is important here, as anyone who has been bitten by a chihuahua can attest. They should be prevented from owning aggressive dogs, not breeds or size.

At the rate this country is going, people who have EVER committed an infraction will soon be prevented from living life without a monitor, will have to live in a segregated section of town, allowed no children, not able to vote, never to be forgiven. Nice country we have here. You already can't get a job or a decent place to live unless you meet certain credit requirements, thereby ensuring that there is always a permanent underclass that can be added to at will.

Wonder when the official declaration that we are serfs and indentured servants will come.

Yes, Katrina Highlighted US Poverty

But we have to balance the budget and the poor have no power (they didn't donate to our campaign) so this our solution.
Planned GOP Budget Cuts Target Programs Such as Foster Care: "This spring, Congress approved a fiscal 2006 budget blueprint calling for $35 billion in savings over five years. Now House leaders are trying to win enough votes to increase those projected savings by $15 billion. But they are encountering stiff opposition from rank-and-file House members, as well as from the Senate. And the political problems may only get worse as details emerge of how House committees would achieve the $50 billion in savings demanded by the revised budget."
That is because we need our tax cuts on otherwise the kids can't go to St. Bart's for their eighth birthday.
"The House Ways and Means Committee today will begin drafting legislation that would save about $8 billion over five years, eight times the $1 billion target the panel was given in the spring. To do it, Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) would cut back federal aid to state child-support enforcement programs, limit federal payments to some foster care families, and cut welfare payments to the disabled. He would also eliminate a politically popular but controversial trade rule that directs duties collected on some imports to companies disadvantaged by unfair foreign trade practices. Instead, those duties would go to the federal government.

Ways and Means officials said the child-support proposal would change the federal matching rate for child-support enforcement from a 66 percent share to a 50 percent share that would be more in line with other federal and state partnerships, saving $3.8 billion through 2010. The foster care provision would restore the traditional eligibility rules that were expanded by a court decision in 2003. And the change in the "Byrd Amendment" on trade would put the United States in accord with international trade rules and bring in $3.5 billion over five years."
Since when has the US cared to be in accord with anyting an international group wanted? I love the specious reasoning.
"Foster-care cuts of nearly $600 million would cease payments to children taken from the home of impoverished grandparents or other relatives who are not their parents, according to the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Equally controversial will be cuts to the growth of Medicaid under consideration in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The committee's plan, to be formally drafted tomorrow, would slice $3 billion over five years from Medicaid prescription-drug payments and more than $6 billion from other parts of the program. Committee aides framed the cuts as marginal -- even with them, Medicaid spending will grow 7 percent through the end of the decade, rather than the 7.3 percent currently expected."
Let's pretend that poverty is not growing in this country and we can make everything look good on paper. Shades of Enron!

Shame knows no bounds with our Congress. Soon the immigration problem will be solved because this will no longer be a country where you can come to and get ahead. I keep remembering this opening skit fron Saturday Night Live after Reagan was elected. A faux David Rockefeller came out and explained the new eligibility rules for living in the United States. Minimum income $50k otherwise you had to leave the country until you could earn that amount. There were a whole list of other requirements, none of which most of America can meet now.

Welcome to the new world order.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

He Can Believe All He Wants

but that won't change reality.
Measure Would Alter Federal Death Penalty System: "Carter spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel said the proposals are important because 'the congressman believes capital punishment is a deterrent for all kinds of crimes, including terrorism.'
What part of suicide bomber does he not understand? Somehow I don't think the threat of being put to death if caught will deter today's terrorist. McVeigh seemed in a major hurry to embrace death, and the type of terrorist most people are thinking of, considers dying in service to the cause as an honor.
Under the proposals, 41 crimes would be added to the 20 terrorism-related offenses now eligible for the federal death penalty. Prosecutors would also find it easier to impose a death sentence in cases in which the defendant did not have the intent to kill.
Not enough people would be eligible using the current criteria so let's just change the definition.
In one example cited by Human Rights Watch, 'an individual could be sentenced to death for providing financial support to an organization whose members caused the death of another, even if this individual did not know or in any way intend that the members engage in acts of violence.'
But critics are most concerned about procedural changes related to juries, including a provision that would allow a trial with fewer than 12 jurors if the court finds 'good cause,' with or without the agreement of the defense."
Behind closed doors maybe?


Could we please hurry up with this? I have to go to work and will be out of touch for hours. The suspense is almost out of control. How much more damage is this nation going to suffer before the truth comes out?

While some people are getting ready to celebrate Fitzmas, I worry more about the hangover.

Stupidity Knows No Bounds

Exactly what part of the news did these people miss? Unlike the Katrina victims I have no sympathy for these people. If you live in a fire zone you have to expect fires just as you would expect a blizzard or avalanche in snow country. Mother Nature is not to be messed with, when will humans understand that?
Resident: 'We Just Didn't Think This Storm Was Going to Be That Bad': "'Last year, Miami Beach was under a mandatory evacuation three times, and we'd stayed for all three,' Gehring said. 'We just didn't think this storm was going to be that bad.'

Olsen, Gehring and a neighbor, as well as their two dogs, were huddled in the hallway between the couple's bedroom and a closet. 'We had a package of ham, a bottle of vodka and a pillow,' Gehring said."
Great planning. A weeks worth of warning, nice. How are they able to afford to live in skyscraper and have the common sense of an ostrich?

I'm pretty sure that when the earth shakes around the Indian Ocean that nobody goes to the beach.

What Rice Can't See

She is definitely clueless.
What Rice Can't See: "I know very few black Americans who think of themselves fully as insiders in this society. No matter how high we rise, there's always that reality that Rice acknowledges: The society isn't colorblind, not yet. It's not always in the front of your mind, but it's there. We talk about it, we overcome it, but it's there."
I received this email the other day from a new reader. He had asked if he could link to me since I was slightly bent. I asked him what he meant:
"you are a human being. that will bend anyone. you are
black, that is even tougher. How do I kmow this? The
closest male to me is a guy four years my junior, who
just happens to be black. One night while having a
chat with him in a parkinglot at a fancy pool hall, I
had a glock stuck in my left temple by a TALLAHASSEE
police officer. My crime, talking to a black man. My
friend was used to this, and from that point on, I had
a taste of what it's like to be black. Black people
need therapy, not because there's anything wrong with
them, but because they have had to put up with stuff
that will make a sane person angry. And anger is not
good for anybody. you wouldn't want to see the inside
of my intestines."
I've been wondering why my frustration meter is maxed out and my tolerance for cow crap is at an all time low. I admit it, I'm tired. I did what they said to be assimilated and all I got was the debt. None of the benefits. The same battles are being fought that most people were under the illusion of being settled in the late 60's and early 70's.

We need a leader who cares about doing the job, not the title of the job.

Welcome to the War on Women

It used to be the war on poverty, but they won that one, civil rights appear to be headed for some type of takedown, now women must understand their place in society. Life | Broadsheet: "Because Cablevision's new contract provides a slight pay-raise to some dancers -- in exchange for the loss of maternity leave, the touring group's salary was raised to match that of the New York dancers -- it prompted dissension between veteran Rockettes (those for whom maternity leave is important) and younger dancers in the troupe. DeCapua says that this was part of Cablevision's grand plan: The company, he says, wants to eliminate the idea that you can work as a Rockette as your long-term career, rather than as a short-term gig. 'They're saying to the women, you have the right to put on the skimpy outfits and make money for us, but not to have a career and raise a family as a Rockette,' DeCapua says."
Sex objects and breeders.

I like the new Broadsheet. Something new with my Salon in the morning.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Acupuncture is Like Real Estate

Location, location, location as I used to tell my patients. You can't be close, you have to be precise.
Pinpointing pain - Los Angeles Times: "This might be why practitioners and patients alike often notice a distinct feeling when an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin, says Langevin. Patients sometimes describe the feeling, called de qi in Chinese, as pressure, a nick, something akin to a mosquito bite. To the practitioner, the grip on the needle feels like catching a fish on a line, or a 'tightening' of the skin around the needle.

Langevin is now examining what implications this might have for how acupuncture sends messages to the brain. She has published data showing that when needles are inserted into acupoints, the underlying connective tissue winds around the needle 'like spaghetti around a fork,' she says. This doesn't happen when a needle goes into a non-acupoint area."
"Yet when Cho and his colleagues stimulated random points, located a few centimeters away from each acupoint, no activity occurred in the visual cortex."
This is a plumbing issue
NOT all scientists are believers in the so-called "point specificity" of acupuncture. They note that many studies have shown that simply inserting needles in the skin can relieve pain — regardless of whether the needles are placed at random or in the places defined by traditional Chinese medicine.
You are still relieving pressure, pain will decrease. That doesn't mean you have stimulated healing. That is one of the problems with sham acupuncture.

A good practioner can already do this, I've pulled it off myself once or twice
In fact, Cho believes that acupuncture might someday be refined to the point where the use of a dozen or more needles could be traded in for a single well-placed needle. "One good stimulation may be enough" for lasting pain relief, he says.
Acupuncture is just one aspect of Chinese medicine.
In other words, when pain patients turn to acupuncture, other simple changes may produce measurable alterations in brain function with real implications for pain relief.

The herbs, dietary shifts and exercise regimens often prescribed by traditional acupuncturists might have as much to do with the treatment's effectiveness as the needles themselves — physically as well as psychologically.
Chinese medicine treats more than pain, it treats the whole person. Something most Americans are averse to. They don't want to do the exercises and they won't take the nasty tasting herbs long enough for there to be any effect because we are the "I need it immediately society"

In case you were wondering about the useless Master's degree, I'm a little burnt out and taking a break from all the people who want me to fix them but don't want to do anything themselves.

And to answer your question. Acupuncture can help you lose weight if: you modify your diet and get exercise. There is no magic point, no magic herbal formula. Chinese medicine can help with your metabolism, water retention and some aspects of hand to mouth disease, but you are still the final arbiter of your health.

Kind of like American politics.

Going Through The Motions

Is that what I've been doing?
Democracy in Voters' Hands: "Modern redistricting is a travesty. Politicians, using powerful computers, design districts that all but guarantee victory to one side or another. Sure, voters can go through the motions on Election Day, but few races are more than fictions. Sometimes the process is rigged to protect incumbents, sometimes to oust them, but maximizing competition and voter choice is never the goal when politicians get to draw the districts in which they or their friends will run. The result contributes to political polarization, since heavily Democratic districts tend to elect people far more liberal than average while heavily Republican districts tend to elect people far more conservative."
I'm looking at my absentee ballot and thinking "just say no". To everything, but that isn't very responsible. I like to be fully informed before I vote and there has been more opinion than fact. With all of the problems with voting lately, I am loathe to change one more thing that probably will have unintended consequences.

All About the Benjamins

and making sure that the people who need them the most, don't receive them. Then when Capital One calls and asks "what's in your wallet" and why aren't we receiving it, they receive no sympathy with the bitter tea they have been forced to swallow. - Illegal workers found at La. base: "Navy spokesman Lt. (j.g.) Sean Robertson said that 13 individuals had been barred from the base. Neither he nor Zuieback could explain the discrepancy between the numbers.

The action came amid growing complaints from area electricians who say they lost their jobs at the base to lower-wage workers.

Robert 'Tiger' Hammond, president of the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO, said about 75 union electricians lost their jobs after the Bush administration temporarily suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, which guarantees the prevailing local wage for workers hired under federal contracts.

It was unclear who employed the undocumented workers. Zuieback would not give the name of the employer. Robertson said they worked for BE&K, an Alabama-based contractor, and Texas-based BMS Catastrophe."
Does Chertoff know about this? No exceptions was the story last week.

Money. We have ours, don't particularly care how you get yours. And they want to know why grown kids still need their parents help to survive in today's economy.

You Don't Say

Now that the public is distracted by their next shiny new tragedy the truth should start leaking out like three day old trash. News | Hurricane horror stories: "Even today, questions remain about various incidents, and why the unconfirmed horror stories were treated as fact and gained such wide currency. It is clear, however, that the media was only the last link -- if the most influential one -- in a chain reaction that led the world to believe gang rape, rampant shootings and infanticide were fast compounding the city's devastation. Many of the overblown reports trace back through poorly informed public officials, to overworked police officers and national guardsmen, to frightened evacuees themselves. The flooded city of New Orleans, experts say, was hit with a perfect storm of conditions in which fear, despair and wild rumors, like a contagious disease, can thrive. Latent racism, some suggest, further distorted the picture of devastation and chaos presented around the world."
Latent? Latent? There was nothing latent about the response to Katrina.
"Keith Woods, dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, says one reason that stories from New Orleans turned out to be wrong was that reporters were unusually reliant on uncorroborated information from individual sources, whether government officials, soldiers or evacuees. "For the most part the structures that might undergird accurate reporting were often literally underwater," Woods says."
The press hasn't been all that accurate for over five years, why start now? Reporting what you are told is not investigative and shouldn't be printed without corroboration, otherwise a country might go to war and not know why.

And they talk about bloggers.

Design Improvements?

Unlike the Space Shuttle, which can and should be redesigned, condom shape is predetermined. Although there are similarities in the basic design structure, length and circumference seem to vary widely per individual user. That doesn't leave much room for change in either design or function. News | Rubber match: "'Never say never!' Steiner says. 'We are disappointed by the current findings. But for the time being, we think money is definitely best spent on ensuring access to condoms and appropriate counseling. But we remain optimistic that design improvements in the future could lead to increased condom use.' "
Where the rubber meets the road could probably use a little improvement, such as a package that opens easily under stress, fits around the instrument like a glove, enhances male pheromones, stimulates user and partner (microbeads floating along the shaft?), never breaks, package and used product are disposable without a trace.

Now those would be design improvements, at least from an older woman's point of view. A 35 year old man has different wants and needs than a 25 year old which might explain the problem the disparity in the condom studies.

Still, this must be one of the funnier cases the court reporter has had to record. Probably relieves a lot of stress for the the people watching.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Better Late Than Never?

I'm older than these "young" Democrats and am all for a change, I don't think age has anything to do with the frustration felt by Democrats.
Young Democrats Sharpen Tactics Against Old Rivals: "Many Democrats concede that, as a group, they were bullied into submission by President Bush during his first four years, when his popularity was high. They went along with his tax cuts, backed the war in Iraq and helped adopt a controversial Medicare prescription drug program. This year, however, the Democrats began pushing back more, even before the uproar over the administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina. By standing united, they helped to block Bush's plan to create private accounts in the Social Security system."
So far, that's about it.

"But the Democrats shouldn't celebrate yet. Despite the malaise currently gripping the GOP, the Democrats suffer from serious problems of their own. Not only do they face a political landscape rigged against a major turnover of power, but they've also failed to convince the American people that they have innovative leaders or compelling new ideas. Even if they could generate grass-roots enthusiasm, a close look at the nation's previous dramatic political upheavals -- especially those in 1994 and 1974 -- does not augur well for a Democratic revival in 2006.

In those years, the opposition certainly took advantage of a weakened president and a cloud of scandal and corruption: Richard Nixon's resignation and Gerald Ford's blanket pardon of him in 1974, and two decades later, President Clinton's health care imbroglio and the emerging Whitewater accusations. But White House troubles only gave the final kick in the pants to reform efforts that had been in the works for decades, efforts that were helped along by important demographic shifts.

In 1994, with Clinton's popularity sinking, Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich rallied more than 300 Republican House candidates around the Contract With America, a pledge to enact conservative policies and clear corruption from Capitol Hill. Gingrich won a memorable victory as the GOP took control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

But the conservative takeover did not come out of nowhere.

Gingrich and the Republican revolutionaries enjoyed the culmination of a quarter-century of rightward drift in American politics, fueled in large part by the migration of people and votes from the industrial heartland to the more conservative Sun Belt -- greatly increasing the number of congressional seats in the South -- and the movement of white Southerners from the Democratic allegiances of their ancestors to the GOP.

Those shifts figured heavily in the 1994 vote, when a large number of long-serving, conservative Southern Democrats retired and their seats went Republican. The new generation of committed conservative GOP members included John Shadegg of Arizona, the current chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, and Sam Brownback, the conservative Kansas senator who is a possible 2008 presidential prospect.

This reshuffled political map still undergirds today's solidly Republican majorities. (In 1972, Georgia, Florida and Texas sent 49 representatives to Washington, most of them Democrats; today they total 70 overwhelmingly Republican seats. Meanwhile, Northern states such as New York and Massachusetts have suffered comparable losses in their House delegations.)"

California has 53 representatives and we don't count either. I'm torn about Prop 77. Just can't make up my mind because lately all we've been doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The band keeps playing but those booked in steerage aren't really enjoying the performance as they go down with the ship.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Thrill is Gone

Now it is all about the benjamins.
ABC News: Would-Be Katrina Havens Weigh Compassion Against Cost: "Mayor Alan Autry, of Fresno, Calif., visited the Gulf Coast after Katrina and promised to take in 400 people — more than any other California city.

'A natural disaster in one American city is a natural disaster in every American city,' he said.

Other local officials worry about how they'll pull it off, given the area's already-high unemployment rate.

'The danger in a county that's struggling with a huge population living below the poverty level is that the systems will just be overwhelmed,' said Bart Bohn, administrative officer for Fresno County.

An Ipsos survey of communities taking in hurricane evacuees found that 44 percent said they worried about the cost. About 25 percent said they worried about increased crime and job availability."
I wondered how long it would take. So, if the evacuees want to go back to New Orleans because they aren't welcome anywhere else and very few communities can really afford the drain on resources, can we stop looking at short term solutions and realize that there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed first?

Friday, October 21, 2005

When She Spouts

thinking minds should wear ear plugs to prevent being contaminated by her vitriolic burblings.
The Independent Florida Alligator: "Coulter defended the war in Iraq and chastised Democrats for 'demoralizing America.'

'The war was a magnificent success,' she said. 'We're a few years into the rebuilding.'

She also criticized the media for being liberal and Democrats for whining about their rights under the First Amendment.

'They're always accusing us of repressing their speech,' she said. 'I say let's do it. Let's repress them.'

She later added, 'Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment.'"
Unlike her I will, and have defended her right to spout that crap. I wouldn't defend it to the death, not even toward injury, but I would defend it, because this is America. I can't believe this woman gets paid to spread hatred and lies.

Oh wait, what am I thinking? This is the new face of the Republican party. Compassionate conservatism and all that.

Friday Dog Blog

My dog Shai Shai and her new friend Jack Jack. It is hard to take a decent picture of a black pug. Isn't she precious? The love of my life, so far.

Shai is 4 1/2 and Jack is 6 months. He tries to dominate her, but she is having none of it. Like owner, like dog.

I went back to bed, but she is stretched out sideways and there isn't any room.

Things are getting better?

A Shot To the Heart In Baghdad: "At least one student was killed and four were wounded in the attack at the Tigris Mixed Primary School in the well-to-do Mansour neighborhood. In Baghdad, where even far larger death tolls can generate little notice these days, the bombing was a grim and unexplained twist of fate."
"Saadoun Sughaiyer al-Janabi was abducted from his office Thursday evening, a day after he attended the first session of the trial, acting as the lawyer of one Saddam's seven co-defendants."
"The latest scandal surfaced Wednesday when an Australian television network aired video showing members of a U.S. airborne unit purportedly setting fire to the Taliban bodies, followed by other soldiers, identified as specialists in psychological operations, using the event to taunt other enemy fighters and draw them out of nearby hills to retrieve the remains."

"Ford and other U.S. automakers have been hurt by competition from Asia as well as high health care and materials costs and bloated plant capacity. Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford said he will complete the restructuring plan in December and announce it in January. He said the plan was painful but essential and would affect salaried workers and hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers."

"The exhaustive report into the Feb. 14 car bomb that killed Hariri and 20 others was issued to the U.N. Security Council late Thursday and will almost certainly inflame tensions in the region.

The Security Council is likely to use the findings to renew pressure on Syria to ease its continued influence on Lebanon. The council is expected to discuss the report on Tuesday, and may consider sanctions against Syria."

And this one is just soo sad

"The cousin tried frantically to prevent Harris from leaving for San Francisco with her boys, but she failed, relatives said. At 5:30 p.m., police said, Harris took the children to the end of Pier 7 along the Embarcadero, stripped them naked and threw them in the water."

I'm going back to bed and get up on the other side.

That's because he's competent

Republicans have spent quite a bit of money in the last decade on legal endeavors that return no obvious positive benefit to their constituents. The recall campaign in California and the upcoming expensive special election that could have waited are two prime examples. On the national level the GOP likes to maintain that they support banning frivolous litigation while engaging in it when it suits their purpose. | Fitzgerald is no Ken Starr: "My recollection is that Weisberg -- and others like him who now complain so bitterly about Fitzgerald -- voiced few criticisms of Starr or the Whitewater investigation. My additional recollection is that many of these same writers felt we simply must learn the 'truth' about the ancient Arkansas land deal, even though it had nothing whatsoever to do with Clinton's presidency, national security or weapons of mass destruction, and therefore Starr's unpleasant methods, such as indicting various people on 'creative crap charges' that had nothing to do with Whitewater, had to be accepted.

Tierney had little to say about Starr or Whitewater, except for occasional smirking asides about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He certainly never exhibited any deep concern about the excesses of the independent counsel back then. Like so much of the whining that now emanates from Republican quarters about political prosecutions and prosecutorial excess, Tierney's complaint reeks of bad faith.

Yet an honest comparison with Starr is actually a useful exercise, if only because it helps to illustrate the phoniness of the grievances against Fitzgerald.

Starr was appointed by Republican judges, under the dubious influence of Republican Sens. Jesse Helms and Lauch Faircloth. He had no prosecutorial experience and proved to be an inept partisan. His investigation meandered repeatedly into new areas far afield from his original brief, took nearly five years to complete, required many grand jury extensions, and cost approximately $70 million. Starr and his prosecutors leaked promiscuously to favored reporters throughout the probe, thereby ensuring favorable press coverage and inflicting political damage on their White House targets.

Fitzgerald was appointed by the Bush administration's own deputy attorney general, as noted above, at the request of the CIA director. He boasts extensive experience and success as a federal prosecutor. He boasts extensive experience and success as a federal prosecutor. He is not only skilled but absolutely free of any partisan taint, having prosecuted both Republicans and Democrats in Illinois. His investigation of the CIA leak will be wrapped up after less than two years, without any grand jury extensions. His office has been remarkably free of leaks, which may help explain why he gets none of the fawning publicity that was once lavished on Starr."
A good proportion of America has either seen or heard of Law & Order and therefore is pretty familiar with the grand jury experience. McCoy or whichever cute assistant DA presents evidence to the grand jury, either the target or a snitch testifies trying to make themselves look innocent or that someone is out to get them, and the grand jury returns an indictment. Sometimes it is what he asked for and occaisionally more than he was expecting. Mr. Fitzgerald seems the type to receive the latter.

One if by land, two if by sea. The indictments are coming, the indictments are coming.

And one of the reasons I think they are coming is something a little out there, but here goes. A famous James Carville quote is "if your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil". He has been extremely quiet since the Novak incident, probably wishing his wife was just wearing a wig.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Political Joke

I found this on another blog and thought I would pass it along.

"President Bush was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes. They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asked the President if he would like to lead
the discussion on the word 'tragedy'. So the illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a 'tragedy'.

One little boy stood up and offered: 'If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a tractor runs over him and kills him, that would be a tragedy.'

'No,' said Bush, 'that would be an accident.'

A little girl raised her hand: 'If a school bus carrying 50
children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy.'

'I'm afraid not,' explained the president. 'That's what we would call a great loss.'

The room went silent. No other children volunteered. Bush searched the room. 'Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?'

Finally at the back of the room a small boy (Lil Johnny) raised his hand. In a quiet voice he said: 'If Air Force One carrying you and Mrs.Bush was struck by a 'friendly fire' missile and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy.'

Fantastic!' exclaimed Bush. 'That's right. And can you tell me why that would be tragedy?'

'Well,' says Lil Johnny, 'It has to be a tragedy, because it sure as hell wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be an accident either.'"