Dissolve into Evergreens
This blog used to be about politics. Not so much anymore as I have worked through my fascination with that subject. It now seems appropriate that with a new president and the end of the Bush nightmare that I move on to new subjects that are more in line with my current interests. I may still occasionally express an opinion about political matters but for the most part I will be commenting on music, photography and personal observations. Thank you for reading.

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There needs to be more bands with two drummers.

That's my opinion!

We will no longer be using the word "blog".

CNN.com - Georgia considers banning 'evolution' - Jan. 30, 2004:
"Superintendent Kathy Cox said the concept of evolution would still be taught under the proposal, but the word would not be used. The proposal would not require schools to buy new textbooks omitting the word evolution and would not prevent teachers from using it."

"Cox repeatedly referred to evolution as a 'buzzword' Thursday and said the ban was proposed, in part, to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas where parents object to its teaching."

This is great. We've got people so worked up over a word that's been demonized out of usefulness. Its another casualty in the war on meaning. Is the answer just more dishonest language? If a word gets re-defined, we find a new word? In this case the phrase will be "biological changes over time". Like what happens if you get fat from eating too many potato chips?

"If you're teaching the concept without the word, what's the point?" said Rep. Bobby Franklin, a Republican. "It's stupid. It's like teaching gravity without using the word gravity."

Gravity?... oh.. does he means "Changes in location due to the proximity of a neighboring mass"?

The day that the creationist succeed in replacing evolution with their whacko brand of pseudo-science will be the day we'll be officially too dumb to govern ourselves. Box it up, put it in the attic, we don't need no common sense no more!

via Crooked Timber and Calpundit

Clever Like a ?

Bush's Aides Put Higher Price Tag on Medicare Law:

"The Bush administration said on Thursday that the new Medicare law offering prescription drug benefits and private health plans to the elderly would cost at least $530 billion over 10 years, or one-third more than the price tag used when Congress passed the legislation two months ago."

I'm suspicious. I have a hard time buying that this Whitehouse that seems intent on scripting the political course of events would let this announcement hit the streets at this time without some outcome in mind. I mean this is the same administration that has opposed extending the 9-11 investigation when it asked for more time. For what reason? And this is the same administration that has hid Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings from us as well.

The only other alternative I can fathom is that they plan to use this as part of a larger political narrative. This is an election season and most political campaigns have a story arc. Like a good movie that brings you to tears as the protagonist overcomes great odds to triumph, campaigns want people to hit the polls right when the story hits its climax. Controlling that story can mean the difference between being a four year superman or a has been, also ran.

Political jujitso of the Rovian school usually involves feeding the criticisms and then making a hard right turn leaving your critics looking like fools. Though lately I have to wonder just how adept are Bush's political operatives. The Moon/Mars proposals were nothing short of colossally stupid. The steroids stunt was laughable. And we'll need to take our shoes off to count the proposals that occur some time in the next decade.

So I'm having a bit of a hard time deciding whether what we are seeing is the political meltdown of a administration that is trying to be all things to all people are the beginnings of a classic bait and switch wherein Bush will "prove" his mettle with forthcoming vetos or spending cuts.

At the same time, the officials said that the overall budget deficit for the current fiscal year would exceed $500 billion. The deficit for fiscal 2003 was $375 billion, a record amount.

Mr. Bush says his budget request, to be unveiled on Monday, will cut the deficit in half within five years, by promoting economic growth and keeping spending under control.

Even after three years I still have a hard time deciding if what we are seeing is cleverness or stupidity, they are hard to tell apart sometimes. Right now I still lean towards stupidity and a vain attempt to bury all the bad news till after November and promise the moon till then as well.

We can watch and see ourselves as the election year grinds on.

Random Ramblings

When I think about politics I see that we're all a lot closer than we all realize. I mean that.

We've come to a basic consensus about just what kind of government we like and we argue about the specifics. And then there are people on the extremes that are working their asses off to convince us that their vision of the world will produce the results that we all want. We have a difficult time discerning just who the whackos are.

What we want:

A free society where we can do pretty much the stuff we want to do and limit the things we find annoying. I know its an unrealistic image. Most of us can live with a relative amount of annoying shit in the world. Some of us have no tolerance whatsoever and waste our time trying to ban gay people or CEO's. The rest of us live with the annoying shit and sometimes we even learn to love the messy world that we live in. Sure I find televangelist annoying as all get out but I have no short or long term plans to get them sent on a one way mission to mars, even though that's a damn good suggestion.

We want government to pay for the things we want and stick it to the people that piss us off. We don't want the police sniffing around when we're being naughty or kinky but we want them there in a flash when our stuffs being messed with. Most of us are probably small "l" libertarians but with a strong empathy for others. We express this by either creating government programs or practicing "tough love". I think most of us realize that politicians are full of shit but some of us look the other way because we've spent too much time explaining to others that the other party is evil incarnate. We should have just kept our mouths shut.

We don't learn from our last mistakes so when yet another email message pops up that says "You're a Winner" we click it and think "hey maybe this time." We all think that the laws of nature don't apply to us. We suffer under the illusion that we're all just a little bit more deserving than everyone else. This leads to an untold number of nasty consequences which mostly involve running red lights.

So its no surprise that we think that giving power to ourselves and our friends is a good idea. Its not. You're not any more worthy than anyone else. That's why we get so many cases of some "holier than thou" moralizer getting caught stealing money or sticking his wick in some forbidden wax. Just how many times do we have to write tales about power corrupting? Rings of Power, Swords of Kingship, Talismans of Godlike Sexiness? We all succumb in the end. Its best to pass things along. Treat power like a hot potato. Keep it moving.

Another truism: we lie our asses off to get what we want.
Related corollary: We'll deny lying and even rationalize why it was necessary.

We'll cheer on the home team even when its painfully obvious that they suck. We lack the ability to be objective in the face of emotional issues. So even when the evidence jumps up and down in front of our face we still manage to focus right past it. We're stupid like that. That's why we need institutions. They protect us from the people who currently hold power and their inevitable stupidity. They will do something wrong. We will do something wrong when its our turn.

Bet on it.

(and if you find an Talisman's of Godlike Sexiness.... email me! I umm... lost mine.)

Cool Band of the Day: Del Rey, (epitonic) and (homepage) and (download song)

Bush Awol

Democratic Veteran :: AWOL: Sort of the Least of It:

At this point I think Clark should, whenever asked about the desertion charge made by Michael Moore simply say: "I strongly condemn Michael Moore's use of the word deserter, we should be clear that Bush was not a deserter, he was Absent Without Leave during his guard service and Michael Moore is making a more serious charge."

"The wing-nuts/freepers have their own spin on this too, it never happened. Let's for a minute concede that. A far more serious (for an officer) and more overlooked offense is the failure by 1st Lt Bush to obey a direct order to get a flight physical and which would return him to flying status. As an ex-military pilot (and CO of a reserve unit) I can assure you that the powers-that-be do not take disobedience of direct order with too much good grace, nor are they too happy about 'rated aviators' who not only let their flight status lapse, but refuse to obey an order to become current again. Fact. No wiggle room. None. You obey or you don't, if you don't you pay. If one of my enlisted troops had been so flagrant about violating a direct order, I would have at least had him/her at an Article 15 hearing (Captains Mast), if it had been an officer, I would have had their nuts. Period."

I'm not a big fan of the military myself, but for others its pretty big thing. I'm sure I would feel strongly had I ever enlisted myself. As it is, I just watch with a certain amount of confusion as Bush plays the military card with what I see as very little respect for the service he so applauds.

McNamara (yes, that McNamara) has a few choice words to say about Iraq as well.

Onward christian soldiers?

New Hampshire has spoken, and who cares what they think?

I am in favor of the rotating primary system myself. Why should Iowa and NH get to filter out the candidates before anyone else even gets to vote?

But I just don't see what other people see in John Kerry. He looks like another Al Gore to me. He's been in the Senate for four terms and he has a record that will restrict his flexibility in the general election. But people in the "exit polls" seem to think that he stands the best chance of defeating Bush.

I feel sorry for Dean, because he has defined this election. He created a path by going after Bush on Iraq and getting the Democratic base all fired up. But I think people got spooked and saw Kerry nearby saying a lot of the same things as Dean but with a better "biography", and they migrated.

I'm afraid that should the Dems pick Kerry in the primaries and send him up against Bush we'll see Kerry stray from the winning (Dean) message and get ripped apart by the Rove machine. Even if he does win I'm not sure we'll get what we really want, a cure for the Bush disease that's infected the presidency. Should Kerry go on to get the nomination we can only hope that the inventive fundraising and communication mechanisms developed by the Democrats can be put to good use.

In a Democracy you get the president you deserve. If people could reliably smell a fraud we wouldn't have Bush sitting in the Whitehouse right now plotting his re-election strategy. Its frustrating to watch the process but like others, I accept the outcome.

New Hampshire Primary

I think its Kerry's to lose. What happened to Dean in Iowa had less to do with his "temper" and more to do with the rabid followers that streamed in to work his campaign and freaked people out. I mean... ORANGE HATS!! Are you people daft? You look like groupies or cult members or worse yet, extras from a Devo video. I honestly think that a lot of people had a gut reaction to the fanatical Deaniacs and it was one of suspicion. I like Dean's message and I like the passion he inspires in people but he should have controlled his legions better and kept them from going over the edge. Dean and Kucinich, both strong message candidates have the power to turn their base into pod people.


Its hard to see which way its gonna fall for Edwards. We'll see if he'll capitalize on his Iowa suprise or if he'll become overexposed and face a backlash. Lieberman is dead in the water, he was an anchor on Gore's campaign and he was delusional to think he could float alone. His purpose on the 2000 tickets was to appease the centrists. Alone he's an longshot in the primary. I predict he drops out.

The real question is whether Clark and Edwards can stay in the race. Kerry and Dean seem certain. Kerry for his frontrunner status and Dean because of his money. But can we really see two more going on from here? I think we will, at least until February. Sharpton and Kucinich are in it for the exposure and to get their message out, so who knows how long they'll be around and when they'll start getting cold stares from the DNC.

My predictions:

1- Kerry
2 - Clark
3 - Dean
4 - Edwards
5 - Lieberman
6 - Kucinich
7 - Sharpton

If anything I might be getting Edwards and Clark mixed up. I don't understand how other people decide who they like. Listening to some voters voice who they support I'm not suprised that we get some of the lame ass politicians that we do. I swear one voter was against Kerry because he "talked to much". Heaven forbid people!

Kerry has done a judo move to steal some of Dean's message.


But they deserve more for less... don't they?

Op-Art Columnist: Red Ink Realities:
"Of course, most people don't feel that their taxes have fallen sharply. And they're right: taxes that fall mainly on middle-income Americans, like the payroll tax, are still near historic highs. The decline in revenue has come almost entirely from taxes that are mostly paid by the richest 5 percent of families: the personal income tax and the corporate profits tax. These taxes combined now take a smaller share of national income than in any year since World War II."

There goes Krugman again, engaing in class warfare... no wait, he's just describing how others are doing so.

Pick the phrase that best descines your opinion:

a) I think we should shift taxes from income taxes to payroll and sales taxes.
b) I don't see a connection between taxes the government collects and the money it sepnds.
c) Government's never done anything for me, why should I pay for it?
d) I think I should have to pay less the more I make.
e) If taxes get too high I'm moving to a country with lower taxes, like... Iran.

Remember folks, you get what you pay for, and everything in moderation.

Jill Paquette: Music

Heard this girl on TV, and was pretty impressed. Talented guitar player and piano player.


2 Questions

In the comments I had a couple questions directed at me.

If you were (dear lord) made President for the month, what would you do to "solve" the problem you are so big on pointing out?

Without writing a 300+ page "What I would Do if I Were President" I will outline a few things that I think are vital to being a good president.

First, I would be a non-partisan president. I would not give ideas or people preferential preference simply because they are from my party or the opposition party. I would value ideas above anything else and I would not play to re-election. I would try to do what is right and that would determine if I was re-elected. It should go without saying that any of the following ideas would be open to critical debate and subject to change.

I would not view corporate entities, their executives or Wall Street financiers as first class citizens and working people as second class citizens. I would not treat workers as cogs in an "economy".

I would apologize to our friends in the world, the nations that share our ideals of freedom and democracy, for all the "with us or against us" and "Old Europe" rhetoric from the previous administration and I would ask them nicely if they would help us clean up our mess in Iraq. Decades of lopsided policies in the Middle East has ruined any credibility we have in that region. The longer we stay in Iraq the more we confirm the worst fears that we are looking to establish a military footprint in that country. I would work hard to make sure that strong civil institutions like schools, hospitals, media and transportation infrasctructure are funded because that more than anything else will convince people that we really want them to succeed. I would try to get our role down to a support role where our presence can no longer be used as a convenient boogeyman by those working to build up animosity against our country. Share the costs, share the blame.

I would make a radical shift in the way that we spend money to defend our nation. I would take on the established military-industrial complex and tell them that the world has changed and can no longer waste billions of dollars each year to buy their products that have proven themselves impotent at addressing terrorist threats. No mini-nukes, no star wars defense shields and no more ospreys. Every penny spent on big weaponry is a step in the wrong direction. I would keep a reasonable number of troops and weapons that would provide for defense but I would not see military spending as simply a way to funnel money to congressional disctricts. (that alone will get me impeached!)

I would take that money and divide it in two ways. One half would go towards training and building a true screening system for cargo and people that travel across borders. This, as well as making sure that first responders across the country would have what they needed to rescue and care for people should another attack take place. The second half I would take to help fund a multi-national worldwide education program to address what I see is the fertile earth for future terrorism, young minds. This would not be a program coming from America but I would like to be a supporter. What I would like to see is an extensive program of new schools and universities built in countries that are right now not providing good secualr education to their youth. I would also encourage a greater exchange of ideas and people amongst countries who have been tradtionally isolated from each other. I would focus on trying to open up societies like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. Not with threats but with a direct overtures to the people there. I believe that if we can get young people connected through shared ideas and connections we can go a long way to reduce the appeal of terrorists that prey on people's misperceptions.

I would actually do what George W. Bush promised. I would approach the world from a position of humility and cooperation instead of one of bullying.

Domestically I would try to get government out of the business of choosing winners under the guise of defense. That $500 billion we spend is not all essential for defense. Much is pork flown in under the cover of the Pentagon to avoid scrutiny. Much of that spending is actually creating stagnation in our economy by letting government pick the same winners over and over again. And much is actually squeezing out real defense spending, like how we can spend $500 billion and not have enough to provide veteran's health care? Just because we spend millions of dollars on pork under the hubris of defense doesn't mean we are safer for it. (this will get me impeached for sure!)

Trade is easy. I would try to steer us in a direction that allows the most free trade as possible but only with countries that are on equal footing as the United States. I would do away with agreements that give countries with no labor or environmental laws an unfair advantage by giving them a level playing field on trade. Countries could acheive better trade status with us by being more like us. If they decide to bring their laws in parity with us they will have no trade barriers, but as long as they have conditions that would undermine our quality of life, such as unnaturally low wages, child labor, corruption, pollution, etc. they would face an equalizing financial penalty. This would go a long ways towards protecting U.S. jobs from flowing to these nations and lowering the overall quality of life for people all over. We need to put upward pressure, not downward pressure on freedom and rights. You want better trade, join the civilized world. (impeached again?)

Taxes, I think reducing waste is better than raising taxes. I don't think we should ever raise taxes to support programs we need simply because its politically unfeasable to kill ones we don't. Pork must die. Cronyism must die! I would protect Social Security, Medicare and push for a nationwide health care system that provides a minimum level of care that helps people stay healthy. People could spend more if they wish but you should never have to be left with nothing between jobs or simply because you got a cheapskate employer.

I would work to reduce debt payments and if needed I would raise taxes in the short term to do so, its only going to debt holders as a diversion of needed monies from where it could be used to where its simply redistributed back to a chosen few. That's not governements role either. In the long run we should only borrow when vital, not as a way to keep spending up while lowering taxes. Keeping debt low will free up money and give us room to borrow in the future if needed. A short term tax hike might be needed if it will provide longer term flexibility. (this will get me kicked out for sure!)

As a general goal I would work to make sure laws are fair. I don't want government picking winners. If we are to keep the current capitalist system I feel we need to make sure government addresses some of the main grievances. I think that as long as all companies are on a level playing field that the winners are the ones that are better, not simply those with the best lobbyists that can tilt the rules in their favor. We can raise standards of conduct as long as we don't allow anyone to undercut those standards and get ahead of others. We should make government's role working for the people of the country directly instead of working for Wall Street and hoping that helps people as a consequence.

(deep breath) ... and that's just part of it....

If a Democrat were able to get in the White House in November and for ever election for the next several decades, would you still blame every one of our problems on the Bush Admin?

No, I wouldn't. I am not a partisan, and I would love to get a chance to criticize a democratic president! If a president doesn't work for what I want then I will be cirtical.

Shake your head as the world just nods away.

I just remembered one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. It happened so long ago (about 1995) but I was just reading through some chatter on a music mailing list and it came back to me.

I had been listening to a great band called echolyn. I discovered their music while digging through a discount bin at a local used cd place. All I found was a two song sampler and that blew me away. I picked up the full disc, "as the world" and soon I was a huge fan. Later I got copies of their earlier cds that were out of print and one person was kind enough to inform me of how to get a rare original copy of their e.p. "... and every blossom" a four song followup to their album "suffocating the bloom".

I had their home phone number!

I called and talked to Brett Kull the guitar player who said he's be glad to send me a copy of the cd if I'd send them a check for the cost. They only had about ten extras left and he said he'd go ahead and send the cd instead of waiting for the check to arrive. So cool! At one point he yelled over to a couple of other guys in the band and I remember thinking "cool, the whole band must be there."

I received my copy of the cd, which I still have.

Of course you can enjoy two of the songs off that e.p. and that's half of them!

Bright Sides
Brunch in the Sun

As well as samples from their other cds.

Its not often you get to call up a favorite band, talk to them personally and buy a cd from them over the phone. So I would say that was a good day.

Just tell her parents you weren't watching her because you were blogging, they'll understand.

Now seems like a good a time as any to address an issue I've been wanting to write about. Its best to tie more than one thought together, hopefully it makes for a more interesting read.

For years Adbusters has been trying to buy airtime on the major networks to promote their campaign for Buy Nothing Day, advocating a refrain from shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. They are consistently turned down because the networks say they don't run advocacy ads. Which is odd, because they do. Recently CBS announced that they would reject ads from both Moveon.org and PETA because they don't run controversial ads. Controversial being in the eyes of the beholder apparently. I think Tina Fey on SNL had a great line about the rejection of the Moveon.Org ads:

CBS announced that it will not air moveon.org's winning anti-Bush ad during the Superbowl, saying they don't air so-called Issue Ads. Unless the issue is that girls are sluts for beer.

So CBS, who has a license from our (lets admit ownership) federal government to use the public airwaves for their own profit get to decide what constitutes "controversial"? I personally find most commercial advertising deceptive. And I really find the ads from the National Office of Drug Control Policy irritating as they cross the line into blatent distortion of facts and fearmongering. Yet these ads which are funded with our tax money are gladly accepted by CBS but ones critical of the Bush Administration policies are not?

If CBS is to be consistent, then they must also adhere to this policy when it comes to the ONDCP's ads. Marijuana decriminalization currently enjoys 72% support among the American public, according to the latest CNN/Time polling data. Clearly this is a "controversial issue of public importance" that divides American public opinion, and any public service announcement on the subject that promotes only one side of this issue must be considered an issue ad.

Its hard to be an advocate for sane drug laws without people painting you as a user. But even with that stigma many people have come out in opposition to the drug laws we have that treat all drugs equal despite the obvious reality that they are not. The ONDCP ads make me want to throw something at the screen, not because I think its wrong to point out the dangers of drug use but because they are misleading. The ONDCP has come out targeting marijuana specifically.

Under the leadership of Director Walters and with the goal of supporting the President's drug use reduction goals, the Media Campaign was revamped in 2002 to produce harder-hitting ads and outreach that focused specifically on the harms of marijuana.

What rubs me the wrong way is that the ads exhibiting the dangers of marijuana use could just as easily apply to the abuse of alcohol. The affects of marijuana abuse that the ads depict are very similer to the affects of alcohol abuse; loss of coordination and lack of judgement. The irony of running these ads during the Superbowl are enough to make me laugh. For one of the main sponsors advertising during the big game will be Anheuser-Busch, who promote a product that if abused presents similar dangers as marijuana abuse. People have died from drunk drivers! Kids have died at the hands of drunk parents like they do at the hands of stoned parents. Why the distinction? One drug, addictive and harmful if abused is legal and the other, addictive and harmful if abused is not. One will be consumed in mass quantities while the game is being played the other will be villified. Abusing one substance in your home will be acceptable, even sanctioned by society, the private use of the other will get you hunted down and even arrested.

And before you point it out, I know there are differences, but you cannot deny the harm that aalchol abuse has caused for people that become addicted and act while intoxicated. That ad with the guys at the drivethru could just as easily been about drinking. The ad about the child who is left unattended could have just as easily been about alcohol. The difference is that we have laws that restrict the use of alcohol while not making the substance itself illegal. So while you are allowed to abuse alcohol as you wish in the privacy of your own home or even in public spaces we restrict the behavior that might lead to the harm of another innocent victim.

And you see... that makes sense! What doesn't make sense is saying that the actions of marijuana users, while just as dangerous as alcohol abusers means we should outlaw the substance itself. Reading through the Marijuana fact sheet at the ONDCP website you will notice that they never say that marijuana use can lead directly to death. This is the case with other drugs that I think should be outlawed, as well as other substances that can lead to death of the consumer (Whopper anyone? Just kidding!!!). What you do notice in their fact sheet are some telling staements:

Smoking marijuana leads to some changes in the brain similar to those caused by cocaine, heroin and alcohol.


Marijuana contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco.

They make an effective case for why we should discourage and even ban use of marijuana in young people, which I would support 100%. But its the same case that is made for restricting cigarette and alcohol use my minors. I'm dumbstruck. I want somebody to make an effective case for why we should treat these substances differently.

So during the Superbowl we will see three advocacy ads. One that points out the dangers of tobbaco use, one that advocates the responsible use of alcohol and one that warns of of the dangers of marijuana abuse. That these ads are NOT considered controversial is a matter of debate. That these are issue ads is incontrovertable. The way in which CBS draws the line is disturbing.

Moveon.org and PETA are asking for access to the airwaves in order to advocate their positions. I haven't decided whether we should open that floodgate or not. I'm still thinking about it. What boggles my mind is that the door is already open but the gatekeepers decide on who gets in and who doesn't based in large part on where the ad orginates. So why is it ok to advertise for responsible alcohol use, the dangers of tobacco products and the dangers of marijuana use but not ok to ask for ethical treatment of animals, and responsible government action regarding spending?

I dare say a decade ago, before the lawsuits, the tobacco ads would have been taboo as well.

We either open the ariwaves for people to advocate their causes and take the weird and whacky with the good or we restrict it all. I tend to lean towards opening things up even if that means I'll be seeing ads I don't agree with saying things I find distasteful. But you this IS america, and we've decided thats they way we do things.

We're sorry the Rover you are trying to reach has been disconnected or is no longer in one piece. Please hang up and try again later.

Luckily though some contact has been established:

Scientists said they managed to reset Spirit's computer and put the rover into what's called "cripple" mode to bypass software problems.

Is it just me or do you think they got the "Blue Screen of Death", hit CTRL-ALT-DEL and brought it up in "Safe Mode"? No doubt they skipped the scandisk.

The Mars Rover actually uses a Wind River OS. Does that mean anything to anyone?

Part Foods, The Rich Part

Whole Foods Market : Locations : New Stores

What's the matter, cant find OK on the map?

Sheesh... we get no respect. Why don't you build another fifty stores in California? What's that... you are? Hey, thanks for nothing!

Great Minds

Tonight on David Letterman Al Franken used the "coloring Book" line that I used a couple days ago:

What is that, did Saddam have a WMD coloring book stashed under his mattress?

Do I sue? Nah, it was an easy catch, great minds think alike.

I Didn't say David Kay Says!

Text of Reuters Interview with David Kay (washingtonpost.com):

"'I think there were stockpiles at the end of the first Gulf War and those were a combination of U.N. inspectors and unilateral Iraqi action got rid of them. I think the best evidence is that they did not resume large-scale production, and that's what we're really talking about, is large stockpiles, not the small. Large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the period after '95.' "

Suprised? Raise your hand, a helper will by by shortly with a home study course and a Baloney Detection Kit for you to take home. Please just take one.

Part of the problem is following the case. Saddam had weapons, used them in the Iran Iraq war and could use them again. We ignore the Gulf War, and the ensuing sanctions that would have made it especially difficult to rebuild an WMD program.

Cheney now says that they were simply extending the Clinton policy on Iraq.

You believe that? We'll make an exception for you, you can take two copies of the BDK home. The difference being that Clinton didn't cook inteligence and pitch lies in order to justify a military invasion and takeover.

Let me ask you another question. Would you be ok with another country establishing a permanent military base in your state? For bonus points, would you be ok if that country were a Muslim country and asked that you suspend certain laws for their convenience.

I know your answer. Its no.

So why do we expect other countries to accept such arrangements. This has been nagging at me for a while. The answer must be that we're nice people right?

Will we build permanent military bases in Iraq?

I know the answer. Its yes.

Pink Floyd Worship (but briefly)

Did you know "Wish You Were Here" By Pink Floyd is one of the most beautiful songs ever written? Its true, go listen, its on "Wish You Were Here". Not sure what it is, but that song just does a number on me.

Sadly, I don't have the remastered version, I hope its better than the one I have, its a little heavy on the muffle. Its a tragedy in and of itself that the first generation of cds were poorly done dumps that now we're finally getting a chance to fix with digital remastering.

Worth Repeating Again

Boston.com / Politics / Campaign 2000 / News

Nothing causes howls of pain from right wingers more than a rehashing of the case of "George W. Bush and the Mysterious Gap in Service." They accept Bush's lame response that he has "some recollection" and we should all move along. We should ignore the fact that a mere mortal caught doing the same thing would have been drafted and shipped off. But never mind.. move along, move along.

From May to November 1972, Bush was in Alabama working in a US Senate campaign, and was required to attend drills at an Air National Guard unit in Montgomery. But there is no evidence in his record that he did so.

I said move along damnit!!!

David at Orcinus has more.

If only the targets of Bush and Co.'s opposition campaign of distortion would get off so easily. If this were a limbo contest Bush's bar would be held over our heads and the Democrats bar would by held flat to the floor. But defining the rules of the game are stock and trade for this group.

Witness, Halliburton employees get busted for taking kickbacks. So now we'll see that bar fly up. Is it really a conspiracy theory if there's overwhelming evidence? Of course we have Cheney making shit up again. No accountability there either.

I like this response to the discovery that a junior aide had found ways to get memos from the Democrats computer system.

"Those documents that I did read were, in my view, not obtained in any way that was improper, unlawful or unethical," he said. He described them as "inadvertent disclosures that came to me as a result of some negligence on the part of the Democrats' technology staff." His only obligation, he said, was to see that the Democrats were told that the computer system had a flaw that allowed Republican aides to read some of their memorandums.

Umm, it was their fault for not locking things down tight enough? I think a car theif should use that one. "I mean judge, if they didn't want me to take it they should have done more to protect it, I mean sheesh, we all know that its isn't stealing if the car wasn't locked right? I was a flaw in the owner's security staff that allowed me to drive away with it! I swear!!"


Can we all agree that Jim jumped the shark... a long time ago?

The Liberal Flag of Convenience?

MSNBC - Prosecutors say no to Limbaugh plea pitch:
"I believe this proposal would be in keeping with the public interest, Black wrote. The public is better served by treating addicts as patients rather than criminals."

This is funny because this is Limbaugh's attorney saying this. Next thing you know they'll be arguing that since he didn't hurt anyone prison is more punishment than the crime warrants. The U.S.S. Limbaugh may be sailing the straits of liberalism as long as he thinks it will get him a reduced sentence but rest assured, should he not walk the plank he'll be heading back out to the high seas to join his old pirate crew.

Nobody's scared of the Dread Pirate Limbaugh!

Few Debate Thoughts

I've had access to C-Span this week. I don't normally have cable. So I've been watching the speeches from all the candidates. I feel sorry for people that base their votes on debate appearances. In short you have media shills, who already have their little "stories" about how candidate X is: (insert pigeonhole here). Then they go about asking the candidates to respond to their characterizations.

Then the candidates just try to pair up a part of their stump speech that might relate to the question in some way shape or form. The time constraints make these debates just about useless for learning about the candidates. I would almost say they do more to make candidates appear one dimensional and evasive than anything else. And of course, stroke the egos of the media darling hosts.

A few fantasies while watching...

1. Lieberman simply vanishes, only to reappear magically at the end of the debate.

2. Sharpton makes a snappy comeback and THEN says something informed.

3.One of the candidates asks both Brit Hume and Peter Jennings about the report that found watchers of their networks were more misinformed than NPR listeners.


C'mon, go read Dustbury, you know its updated!

Eschaton: Comments on Free Trade

I'll repost what I had to say there. Its less formal because its a "comment" but I'll bring it up here for your digestion.

Its so refreshing to see so many people finally getting it. Thank you thank you thank you, it was a long hard slog (to borrow a phrase) and requireed lots of repetition.

Right, so there is no such thing as free trade as it was sold to us, just like there is no such thing as Permanent Tax Cuts!!!

As long as you have govts and borders you have distortions in trade. What we had is wholesale ignorance run amok. There is a truth in the mantra that trade will better our lives. The anti-G movement was never about stopping trade, or even the adjustments that might have to be made as we bring the world into a bigger market. What we saw was a freedom of capital within a restricted labor market without any means of addressing inherent inequialities. Race to the bottom. Though nobody seemed to care a decade ago.

If a tree falls in China and no Americans are there to hear it does it still make a sound?

How was it ever considered "good" to exploit certain kinds of labor that we have had the good sense to ban here. Why is a child working in a sweatshop in LA any more repulsive than one working in asia. Doesnt make sense if you ask me. I dont care if it DOES mean cheap goods, slavery meant cheap goods as well. We had the good sense to see the problem with that. We never said, oh well, but I like cheap food, its too bad about those black people.

For years we were complicit as long as we still had jobs, cheap goods and we never had to see the people making them. We've lost one of those things and now we care. 50 inch plasma tvs could cost a penny but alot of good that will do you if you don't have a job.

Classic NotMeism at work, well fast forward to... now, and its you too. welcome to the future.

Its funny that only now, the so called "left" as represented by Eschaton readers, namely the more affluent liberal variety are just now coming around the realities of what this whole anti-globalization thing was all about. For years we heard this same crowd poo-pooing the anti-G movement because they bought into the terms dictated by the economic puppetmasters (even the term anti-globalization!). They were perfectly happy to reap the short term benefits of selling out manufacturing because it fit with their whole Democratic-President-Saves-the-World mythology. While the grubby people that work with their hands were "rightfully" losing their jobs to "free trade" they fiddled and bought old Commodore 64's on Ebay. Now of course we see the price of their complacence. The main damage was done under Clinton and not Bush. Bush just happens to be an extraordinary asshole on top of it all. The anti-G movement grew under Clinton for a good reason. We all knew that trade policies would have the predictable results. What passed for media discussion of the issue was a combination of a thumbed through version of Economics For Dummies and corporate talking points.

It pains me to see the current crop of Democratic candidates trying to capture the Clinton aura while at the same time trying to pretend the free trade disaster was not all his fault. I've always suspected that Clinton's greatest crime against the GOP was not his liberalism but his blatent attempt to take over the corporatist arm of the Republicans and claim it for the Democrats. Isn't that what the DLC is all about, a pro-corporate arm of the Democrats?

There was good reason to believe that Gore would continue these corporate friendly policies. THIS more than anything fueled the mass defection to the Greens in the 2000 race. I still maintain (though you dare not mutter such blasphemy at DalyKos) that the dems strayed into GOP territory to shore up their funding, thus disaffecting their base. Nader was a symptom people, get over it!

With any luck, and its seems likely, the dems have rediscovered their roots and realized that unless they represent the working people of America they don't have squat.

Good night and my God continue to bless this blog!

I Would Laugh my Ass Off!

I just had a hilarious thought...

What if Bush and Co. decide that Iraq needs...

Proportional representation?

This occured to me while I was trying to decide what would be some possible answers to the election issues in Iraq.

Here I Go Again?

Wow, does this guy's opinions look familiar?

There are some excellent points on my most recent post. As I suspected many of you are smart enough to point out the obvious holes in my arguement left there due to my unwillingness to write a book on each subject ;-)

I hope to sit down soon and add some more to that post to clarify some questions people have. Right now I'm not at home and I need time to think about my ideas. If I write too prematurely I fear I'll make errors that I'll just have to retract later. Unlike professional pundits or idealouges that regurgitate party line CW I actually do try to formulate original debates for each post, and that means I'll sometimes make poor arguements or present good ideas poorly. I'm more prone (I hope) to do the latter.

Last night I stayed up and watched a rerun of the SOTU. It was about what I expected just short of Bush staring at his hands and going "whoa dude, my fingers are all wiggling around!". In other words, I think Bush lives in a fantasy land where we can always cut taxes and keep proposing new spending. I have some sympathy to the conservative arguement for keeping government spending in check. But its hard to take Bush seriously as one of those conservatives when he expects to single handedly fund the economy through increases in funding and tax breaks for everyone. This is a credit card president. I know he's used to saying "put it on the tab" but that doesn't work in the real world where other people don't pay your bills for you. Right now I'm listneing to McCain speak on the budget who actually seems to care about restraining spending, but you guys didn't want him, instead going with the pretty boy who couldn't even get his companies out of the red. (shrugs) Suffice it to say I would be happier with McCain in the Whitehouse even though he is a Republican.

How can we take Bush seriously as a leader on the terrorism issue when he doesn't even acknowledge the existence of Osama Bin Laden anymore. He still expects to fuel his strong leader image on the fumes of the Iraq debacle and the deception involved getting us there. There were no 16 words in this speech, just one deadly phrase. He said "... the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities." Ouch, damning. Have you ever seen such a massive downgrade as this? Program activities? What is that, did Saddam have a WMD coloring book stashed under his mattress?

Also, I kept thinking that what we were witnessing in Bush and his speech is exactly what we would have seen during the height of the British Empire as they bought their own rational about "bringing civilization to the savages". That was a disaster then and our own moral quest to save the world will end in disaster as well unless we realize a fundamental truth: people want self-determination above all else. They will tire of our meddling and unless we make a genuine effort to let them decide their own fate we will suffer repercussions. The problem arises from the possible results of giving the Iraqi people what they want. It might not be what we want. So what do we do? We have no choice in my opinion. If we're serious about democracy we have to learn to accept the results. Let the people speak.

In contrast to Bush's speech I also stayed up and watched a good four hours of various speeches. Standout among them was Howard Dean's speech in New Hampshire. I was relieved to see that he is back on message, spending more time pointing out the obvious flaws in the Bush policies versus trying to make his case against his fellow democrats. While I don't always agree with Dean I do have to admire that he can actually defend his case based on logic and reasoning as opposed to the Bush trick of resorting to preprogrammed language and "because I said so" statements. I challenge anyone to watch that speech and still discount Dean as an angry Democrat with nothing to offer.

I also realized, listening to Dean why the "angry" meme has been so effective. I recalled a friend's father who always seemed to be in a sour mood all the time. When he spoke I cringed and always thought that he was just moments away from kicking me out of his house and chasing me down the driveway. But to my suprise, not only did he not ever chase me away we got along pretty well. Even after their son, and my best friend moved away they would still call me to look after their house for them. I misinterpreted his communication style. I realized this while watching an interview with John Edwards followed by one with Dean. Edwards comes across as affable, relaxed, easygoing and in general, a nice guy. Watching Dean come after this I got the impression that Dean was cranky and abrupt. Once again I mistook delivery for content. You see, my friends dad was a native of Connecticut, a New Englander! As a native "southerner" I am used to the laid back soft delivery of the region. So we'll see how Dean plays on his home turf in New Hampshire versus his performance in Ohio. I suspect his brusque delivery will not play well in the red states as well. We'll see if people can get past their biases and focus on the issues. I don't hold my breath there.

This is by no means an endorsement of Dean, (I'll pull a Jimmy Carter!) I just thought I would share my "revelation" with y'all. I do like people that can argue their points without having to resort to rhetorical tricks. Hence my dislike of Daschle, Lieberman, Gephardt and (the 2000 election version of) Gore as well as Bush, Gingrinch and Trent Lott. I can't stand political speech that skirts the truth. I like straight talk, and Bush ain't no straight talker!

That's my quick take on politics. I'll get back to ya on the materialism topic. I hope!

Living out of the Squirrel Cage

Comments - Powered by HaloScan.com:
"If you live paycheck to paycheck, and you hate it so much, and you're so mad about it, stop blogging, go get a second job, invest your money, and make a better, more wealthy life for yourself. "

Jake made this comment about a recent post. Its funny because if he knew me he might realize just how silly this remark is. But he doesn't know me and the responsibility lies with me to explain myself better.

I have made a very conscious decision not to be rich. I am not materialistic at all. I have very few possesions and I don't sit around all day wishing I had more. Every so often I do however get rid of anything that I don't use on a regular basis. I try to keep my sentimental knickknacks to a minimum with exceptions for things that have special meaning. When I do buy things its mostly music or recording equipment, because you see music makes me very happy. I choose to live close to my family here in Oklahoma because I don't want to wake up one day in a huge house with three cars and not remember my mom's name. I realize that the things I don't have are a result of decisions I have made for myself.

I do not argue for myself.

Why do I make the case I do about the inherent injustice I see. Because I see people who live day to day without options. Because I assume a fundamental reality, and it is this: when some people have more than they could possibly need that leaves less for everybody else. The answer is never just to get a second job. That advice makes as much sense as telling each person at the end of a tug-o-war that if they just pull harder they will win. You know that there is only one winner in tug-o-war.
I assume a basic rule of fairness: if you work hard and play by the rules you should expect a reasonable standard of living. That implicit contract is fragile. For many parts of the world it simply does not apply. I fear the same could be true here. You can assume that here in America we will always have the oppurtunity to advance ourselves given our own desires and talents to do so. That does not have to be guaranteed. I do not rant and rave against the rich beacuse I want to be one (laughs) I do so because they limit the options of others by their demand to live not by their own labor, but by the increasing fruit of our labor. You can't tell a single mother working one full time job, raising her child with every penny of her income going to pay for rent, child care, health care, groceries, and gas for the car to just get another job. Her options have been taken from her by the rising costs imposed from above. When the very costs of survival have risen to point that the contract has been broken you have to ask the question. Why has this happened?

Because wealth, like energy is neither created or destroyed only redistributed. Increased demands for more wealth will come from one of two sources, the environment or human and mechanical labor. Both of which are the primary means to derive material wealth. Take a quick look around you. Everything you see is a product of a natural resource in either its raw form or manipulated into an object by human activity.

As we increase demand for material wealth that puts more pressure on the two sources.

Global Ecology and the Common Good

A defining trait of the system is that it is a kind of giant squirrel cage. Everyone, or nearly everyone, is part of this treadmill and is unable or unwilling to get off. Investors and managers are driven by the need to accumulate wealth and to expand the scale of their operations in order to prosper within a globally competitive milieu. For the vast majority the commitment to the treadmill is more limited and indirect: they simply need to obtain jobs at livable wages. But to retain those jobs and to maintain a given standard of living in these circumstances it is necessary, like the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, to run faster and faster in order to stay in the same place.


To be successful within any sphere in this society generally means that one has thoroughly internalized those values associated with the higher immorality. There is, as economist John Kenneth Galbraith has pointed out, a "culture of contentment" at the top of the social hierarchy: those who benefit most from the existing order have the least desire for change.

So you see that feeding the overall trands in consumption and production only increases the demand. If you take it for granted that costs of production will be limited, then even if you take a second job, in the long run it will only be offset by rising costs or lowered wages. Your suggestion might be feasable for short term gains, to crawl ahead of the pack for a moment but you will quickly find that the pack will catch up as they too feed the treadmill. These trends have fueled the increase in two income families, higher costs in health care and other costs of living increases. But in general these trends have not increased our overall well being. Despite fluctuations we exist in a zero sum game. You may not recognize that your desire for wealth is nothing more than your recognition of this fact and your desire to escape this cycle.

Obviously there is much more to be said on this subject and I've only skimmed the surface. But I do hope this deflates the myth that I'm simply jealous of rich people and want to ratchet up my own participation in the cycle.

have a nice day, and remember that we are rich as long as we have a beautiful world to live in and friends and family to enjoy it with. Growing materialism puts that at risk, do you really want to make that trade?

Bears Repeating Again

Seeing The Forest:
"Almost all Americans are still labor -- dependent on their own or someone else's wages. Various legal fictions invented in order to bust unions or to evade taxes (such as declaring certain categories of workers to be 'contractors' or 'supervisors') obscure this fact. But if you can't live off your property but have to work for a living, you're labor. (Small businessmen are a borderline case). "

Ask yourself this simple question.

"How long can I live without my wages?"

If the answer is "not long", welcome to the working class. There are more of us, and as a majority of "we the people" we have the power of the government at our fingertips right?


The market, the media and most politicians are working to destroy any and all institutions that could possibly limit the power of the owning class to dictate all terms of our existence. Thus the wholesale attack on labor unions and a full frontal assualt on the power of government to make our lives better.


Better question?

Why do I like the music of Metric? Do me a favor and go listen to their stuff and let me know the answer.

Why I don't put bumber stickers on my car either.


Link courtesy of Orcinus

"A couple of hours later, while still in Alabama, but close to the Mississippi border, he stopped at a gas station for a drink. As he got out of the car, a team of three crackers approached him and tried to pick a fight. Seeing the large dogs, they backed off, but by this point he'd had enough. Before entering Mississippi, he pulled off the road and ripped the Dean sticker off his bumper. I can't say as I blame him."

Wow, cool site, weird story (that's just the ending). I never put anything on my car, mainly because of my fear of a confrontation like the story from brushstroke.tv. I have however thought that a little preemptive action might be in order in the form of a little fish symbol and an American flag emblazoned with the words "God Bless America". True story... I was sitting at a light and the three cars in front of me either had a fish, a God Bless America flag or both. I know I chose to continue living in the twilight zone and most days I can ignore that little quirk of okie life, other days its like a flashing neon light outside your hotel window. Sorta...

I know that if I fly under the radar and never broadcast my opinions to anyone most people will assume that I either agree with them or have no opinions at all. Or if they entertain the idea that I have contrary opinions they appreciate my good taste to not express them. We can remain civil under an umbrella of ignorance. Bumber stickers, little fish symbols, flags etc. all make us a little uneasy. Sheesh, now I know that good gentlemen who apologized for blocking the crushed ice while getting his Diet Coke wants Bush/Cheney in 2004!

I once knew this girl/women that plastered her car with every liberal progressive sticker she could get her hands on. I appreciate that she wants to advertise her support for the causes she supports but I also felt that pushing the issue of politics into our daily lives is a little... wrong. Because you see, politics aside, we all get along pretty well as we get gas, stand in line at the grocery store or go through other numerous daily social interactions. I tend to think that politics, while important in the big picture, is fairly inconsequential in the course of our daily grind.

I know that if I should choose to advertise my opinions in the form of hats, shirts or bumper stickers, the level of violence, real or threatened would escalate. I know this because while working to get Nader on the Oklahoma ballot or protesting against the invasion of Iraq it did. I'll never forget the cars swerving too close to the curb where I stood, just to intimidate me, and for what? I brought politics out into the open.

Our illusion of civility protected by useful ignorance.

Lead the Way!

Miksang.net: Classes:
"Miksang is a Tibetan word that means 'Good Eye', and is based on the Dharma Art teachings of the late meditation master, artist and scholar, Ch?gyam Trungpa, specifically his teachings on the nature of perception. The 'good' part is that our world, just as it is, is inherently rich and vivid. "

People think I'm odd because I think ordinary things are fun to look at, or fun to take pictures of. How can we see beauty in ordinary objects? Easy, just look at them with fresh eyes. Don't let your preconceived judgements distort your appreciation of the world. Sure people are fun to look at but too often we get distracted by them.

Your assignment today, go find ten things (non human) that would make a great picture. If you have a camera go take some pictures!

(guided by the future Miksang master Heather of Freakishly Prompt)

You Don't Say... But You Do?

Heil Hit-Slur!

The difference between Clinton's fascists and Hitler's fascists is Clinton's have no paradigm. The trickiest to identify are the fascists in Arkansas, but only because the people there found the Nazi salute too intricate a maneuver for them to master."

Moveon.org? Nope, Newsmax.

"If you think Hitler was a lunatic, than you had better give some thought to Gore's views."

George Soros? Nope, that was CNSNews

The only difference between a Communist police state and a Nazi police state is which boot -- right or left -- is on your neck. The Clinton compromise is both boots on your neck."

Michael Moore? Nope, WorldNetDaily, the same site that gave RNC attack dog Gillespie access to the right wing hive brain with liberal (no pun intended) amounts of direct quotes expressing his OUTRAGE, OUTRAGE, OUTRAGE as "... the worst and most vile form of political hate speech".

Of course a swipe was taken at Soros who has actually experienced Nazi and Soviet rule and remarked that he thought Bush "reminds (him) of the Germans". Kinda how like the Bush administration reminds me of the Reaganites?

Is it fair to compare Bush or any other president to Hitler? Sure, as long as those comparisons are valid in some way shape or form. I say if we can't use history as a guide then we're handicapping ourselves. By declaring anything Hitler, Nazi out of bounds we are willingly creating a blind spot in our democracy. A bad idea. I think we're smart enough to recongnize that most of the so and so is Hitler smears are nothing more than attacks to destroy a person's character.

Let's just look at the facts. Hell, I don't even think Reagan was Hitler-esque, and he's by far my least favorite president!

For more of those Clinton/Hitler quotes I recommend you read the entire report here, and muchos gracias to Terry Krepel for taking the time to dig through the right wing garbage to find their own words.

(link thanks to atrios)

But Aren't We Safer?

As much as it may make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside to think that toppling Saddam magically solved our WMD-Terrorist problem its simply not the case. Hopefully there are some people that realize this and with luck they'll get a couple of bucks thrown their way to do work that does actually make us safer.

U.S. Officials Try to Trace Illegal Sale of Nuclear Technology:

"Asher Karni, an Israeli who lives in South Africa, was arrested in Denver earlier this month on charges that he had illegally exported the devices to Pakistan without a license. In court documents, the American authorities charge that Mr. Karni, 50, was at the center of a global operation that used front companies and false billing records to route the trigger devices from a private manufacturer in Salem, Mass., to South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and ultimately Pakistan. "

'Cuz you see the people that want this technology to build the nasty weapons don't care where it comes from. The primary middlemen will most likely not be your fanatics but profit seeking opportunists. States will be the main purchasing agents and they will do so for the sane reason that it will give them leverage. But while we really shouldn't worry too much about states themselves, for they will most likely see it as a bargaining tool first, we should be worried that in the process of the transfer they will pass through some pretty sleazy hands. States desire more leathal weapons because it gives them diplomatic leverage. Look at what a first rate military capable of toppling governments can mean to your ability to dictate world policy.

I think we overlook the potential dangers of Pakistan and Suadi Arabia at our own risk.

In and Around Tulsa Town

(no political content)

Every so often I feel the urge to "go into town". I can say that now that I reside out at the end of a long street that heads out of "town". Tonight I needed to get out for a bit. I thought I might swing by Borders, for lack of a better place to go. I had spent the better part of the day doing one of two things; sleeping and recording a new song. Sleeping because I stayed up way too late last night working on designing an album cover only to discover that the template is a little too short. I had used a sample that was not standard size I suppose. So at 4am I called it quits, printed out a rough copy and discovered the flaw. Today's recording went a long way towards relieving my frustration over the album cover.. incident.

I'm pleased that when I get an idea for a song I can usually get it down with a minimal amount of effort and usually have a decent sounding product on the other end. I credit this to process. I determine the tempo, work out a suitable click track, import that over into Samplitude and record a rough track to get the song structure down. Today's song only had a single acoustic guitar (double), a lead acoustic guitar and vocals. Breakthroughs included a new approach to vocals. I laid down two tracks back to back so the sonic identity would be identical (problems of a home studio to be sure) and then went through and picked out the best of both perfomances, this was helpful in getting rid of a few vocal gaffes that I would otherwise have had to live with or redo later.

The song's nothing I'm overly proud of, the chords are cliche and the lyrics are almost... bad, its kinda country but its fun to listen to and I'm proud of the lead parts!

But enough about the song... the rest of the evening...

So I headed off to Border's, thinking I would get some coffee and look through the latest copy of Electronic Musician or Sound on Sound. I didn't even realize that it was raining when I made that decision. But I was undeterred. Luckily I had picked up Zero 7's Simple Things and stuffed it into my trusty cd holder. I drove out into the rain with a perfect musical companion in Sophie Barker and Sia Furler. I went all the way out to the location at 21st and the Broken Arrow Exp. (64/51) and felt pretty silly about making the trek just to look at a few magazines and drink a cup of coffee. But you see, its not like I can do that in BA, because there just isn't much out here. You shouldn't have to drive half an hour to find a suitable place to "hang out". Right?

Border's was dull, it was a friday night and there were lots of people milling about talking on their cell phones. "I'm hangin out at Borders where are you?" So I headed upstairs to look through the music. They have probably the best selection of anyone in town. While I was there I saw copies of The Notwist, Rosie Thomas and Mojave 3. I didn't buy anything but the Mojave 3 was tempting. I went back down, bought cup of coffee (plain black) and flipped through EM, reading a review of Samplitude 7.11. About a quarter of the way through my coffee I was tired of that scene and headed back into the rain which was coming down even harder.

Back in the car, Simple Things playing, I turned down 15th Street and drove towards Harvard, passing by Umberto's along the way. I turned back around and pulled through the back way at Umberto's. I was hungry and a Calzone sounded so good I had to stop. I had been craving Umberto's for a while. A missed connection with a friend last week denied me of a chance to eat there so I was due. I was due damnit!

If you live in Tulsa, you owe yourself to go by Umbertos' Pizza by the Slice. Its one of my favorite places in all of Tulsa. It's small, the guy who runs the place is always friendly and pleased to see you and the food is phenomenal! But what am I saying? Everybody who reads this thing lives in OKC. Where are my Tulsa people?

I ordered a Calzone with mushrooms and green peppers. They make it fresh right there from what I can tell is all handmade ingredients. I sat for a bit and read through the latest Urban Tulsa. If your not familar with the Urban Tulsa, its like the Spot in the Tulsa World, but not quite as good. Definately not up to the caliber of the Dallas Observer. The best thing that can be said about the UT is that it has event listings. This issue had their yearly (I can only assume) list of Tulsa's movers and shakers. I didnt make it this year. There's always next year right? I hope it wasn't in order because they had their own publisher ranked near the top. I could only speculate why the publisher of a two bit event listing with copped stories would be a mover and shaker, over other more notable people even. I can only assume a lack of humility. If they had a lick of sense that would have had that guy from Bartcop listed. Who knew that Tulsa was home to one of the most "out there" fire-breathing liberals on the web? Go T-Town!

Exciting evening? Well, not really. But I miss midtown. I've lived at or near 31st and Harvard and 51st and Peoria and enjoyed it immensely. I loved walking to the grocery store, or hopping on a bike to return a rental. This driving 10 miles just to get to the highway stuff is a bit trying. But hey, I like the living arrangements and I can't afford to live by myself right now, so I deal. If that means driving into town simply to "be there" and blow a couple bucks on calzone and coffee then so be it.

According to Zero 7's website, they have a new album coming out in March of 2004 with a new single avalable for download on the 19th of this month!!

GAAAH!!! I just puked in my space helmet!
www.mnftiu.cc | get your war on | page thirty

Wouldn't it be awesome if he landed a rocket ship on the Capital Dome and delivered the State of the Union speech dressed like an astronaut?

If that happened, Joe Lieberman will be sitting on the front row wearing a googly-antenna head-band and wraparound sunglasses, holding a sparkler

(this post is nothing more than a promotion of GYWO)


ACLU too Mr. Limbaugh

WorldNetDaily: ACLU comes to Limbaugh's defense:
"The Florida chapter of the traditionally liberal legal group filed papers today in support of Limbaugh's contention that investigators violated his privacy rights when they seized his medical records as part of a probe into alleged violations of drug laws in relation to use of prescription painkillers, the Associated Press reported. "

You see people get all in a hissy when the ACLU goes out and defends some of the most despicable people around; atheists, perverts and drugged up talk show hosts, but you know what? I don't mind. Somebody has to defend the people that nobody else wants to touch. Whenever I watch another religiously based television program attacking the ACLU for coming to the defense of what we would all agree are loathsome people I mutter under my breath, "You just don't get it do you?"

While I sometimes disagree with their positions I always respect their mission; "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States."

Their main crime in the minds of many? Opposing the religious right who wants to establish an official state religion.

I'm Quoting Yar Again.

Yar's Revenge:

"Personally, I think America is way too fucking big and powerful to be even slightly threatened by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or his remote-controlled balsa-wood chemical-spraying planes, or his 12-year-old centrifuge parts, or his ballpoint pen sketches of cool missile designs, or whatever. But apparently, for some so-called patriots, this pathetic dictator and the destitute, militarily impotent country he was tyrannizing were some sort of grave threat to the American way of life. "

I'm nice, Yar is.. less so. He however says it better than I do.

Anyone know where I can download a copy of "The Old Shoe"?

Freak Show

American Politics Journal -- Cro-Magnon Mail!:

"You are a f'n loser... I am hoping you develop breast cancer or contract a flesh-eating disease and pass it on to your whole f'n family... you b!tch."

Wow, now I know what they mean about the angry left! And the above quote isn't some one off thing, its all like that. Go read if you don't mind racism, bigotry and vulgarity.

Dinner Plans


Try it, you'll like it. Its what I have planned for tonight's dinner.


(update) Dan sends us a link to Rachel Ray's Sesame Noodles!

Maybe I should talk about food more often? Less browbeating from my readers no doubt! Just kidding, I love the debates.

Bush Loving

Jake of countersink seems to think that my dislike of Bush is irrational. So I took a few minutes over the last couple of days to try to think of any policy that Bush has promoted that I agree with. I came up with plenty of "yes.. but" answers. Too many times things that Bush has done that I would have approved of have had negatives that outweighed the positives.

I would be excited about his new call for further space exploration if I thought it went beyond a mere election ploy to give him a JFK aura.

He hasn't completely mucked up the Isreali/Palestinian conflict like he could have. Kudos for that?

There are plently of things he could have done that he hasn't (yet). Like launch any nuclear weapons at anyone. He hasn't turned the "war of terrorism" into a holy war against muslims like some would like him to.

I mean, if it wouldn't have been for the invasion of Iraq and the budget busting tax cuts for the filthy rich then Bush would just have been another bad president. As it stands, he has attained new heights of awfulness.

You're Hungry Again?

OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today:
"It's cute, too, how last week the Angry Left was denouncing the Bush administration for having 'no plan' for Iraq, and now the complaint is that it did have a plan."

I'll let this bullshit stand on its own. Sounds like "Yesterday you said you were hungry and today you say you're not!"


Actually, though, offensiveness and defensiveness are perfectly balanced in Howard Dean, the yin and yang of the Angry Left.

Because being angry is... what? Unjustified? Or are they just mad the left is using the right's favorite political tool for the last decade? Last election you could tell who voted for Bush by the amount of froth on their chins as they left the voting booth.

Funny how we're the angry ones, but I dont ever recall rejoicing in the death of another human being just because I disagreed with them. Much less mock them for the horrible way they died.

(warning: if you have a weak stomach for macho armchair warriors revelling in the death of a young girl, DO NOT follow the above link)

Tax and Borrow

Current Budget Projections

So why again does the CBO expect Individual Income Tax revenue to increase by almost 20 percent in 2006?

And why are we in debt? What ever happened to that mythical surplus that we heard so much about in the 2000 election? Could it have been a great big lie all around. Well, yeah. It always was. But that didn't stop us from spending it.

Tis the season for tax refunds. I always make the argument (contrary to popular thinking) that you would be better off not getting a refund. Whoa! Before you get too far ahead of me let me explain!

I say that if you paid too much in you effectively reduced your day to day income by that amount. You'll get it back as a lump sum. But its not the same as savings. You earn nothing on money withheld by the government. Its like a great big federal mattress that we let our loose change live until tax refund season.

I once got into a debate with co-workers over a Christmas fund option my employer was offering. They would deduct money from each check and keep it until Christmas and then return it to you. The argument was often presented that if you don't see the money you can't spend it. While this seemed a marvelous idea to some I thought it rather dumb. Why let your employer keep and earn interest off your money when you could be doing the same thing yourself? Why should we view our tax refunds as anything other than getting our own money back that was wrongfully kept from us?

I had several people, smart people tell me they like it when money is kept from them, so they can't spend it. That they would never have the discipline to not spend that money if they had it. Even if that meant they would be worse off had they simply put that money into savings.

I disagree, am I wrong on this one?

During the debate about tax cuts the issue was often framed in terms of "your money", meaning the taxpayer. You and me. When the govenment collects taxes, that is our money that they collect to do our collective will. But I am always amused that the debt that government incurs while spending more than we have given them is never our debt. So I ask you?

How can we benefit from a tax cut if that means we also increase our debt? Doesn't that simply mean that our government is willfully collecting less revenue than it spends? I agree that cutting revenue should be balanced by cuts in spending. But the trick here seems to be promising to cut taxes before we have any debate about what spending should be cut as a result. Its a little like having some guy come your door promising to improve the view out of your front window. You say ok, and he cuts down all your trees. A rational person would want to know the consequenses of their decisions. The tax debate is too often framed as "You want money dontcha!?" with anyone opposed to tax cuts seen as greedy spendthrifts that want to keep us from having a better view out our front window.

some numbers for ya... 2003 ones even.


791 billion in individual income tax revenue
710 billion in payroll (social insurance) taxes

Those numbers are about the same, conclusion: When we talk about income taxes we are only talking about HALF of the taxes that most people pay. We all know which tax is progressive and which is regressive right?

125 billion in corporate income taxes
144 billion in other?

Spending: Top four?

465 billion for defense
471 billion for social security
322 billion for interest on the debt
254 billion for medicare

There you go.

Guess Who?

ZNet | Iraq | Selective Memory and False Doctrine:
"All people who have any concern for human rights, justice and integrity should be overjoyed by the capture of Saddam Hussein, and should be awaiting a fair trial for him by an international tribunal.

An indictment of Saddam's atrocities would include not only his slaughter and gassing of Kurds in 1988 but also, rather crucially, his massacre of the Shiite rebels who might have overthrown him in 1991. "

Who said this, and why does he hate America?


This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow: January 11, 2004 - January 17, 2004 Archives

look at the screen capture and tell me about fair and balanced. When was the last time you saw a caption with President Bush that said "President has trouble thinking".

Mock Surprise

Herald.com - Your Miami Everything Guide:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a $99.1 billion state spending plan Friday that increases college students' fees, diverts money from local governments to schools and further slashes transportation and social service programs."

No way... kids will have to pay more to go to school? Where have a heard that before?

Oh, Never mind.

Getting in the Spirit

Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Press Release Images

First Color Image from Spirit

This is the first color image of Mars taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. It is the highest resolution image ever taken on the surface of another planet.

I went searching for a pritable file from the new Spirit rover on Mars. Here is an 8 meg file that makes a nice 8x10 print for your wall decor.

And for your viewing pleasure catch the PBS special.


A Billion Dollar Game

Okiedoke - Vintage Okie opinion :: January :: 2004

Thanks for Mike for this heads up.

Ada's losing 440 jobs at the same time the company, Sykes Enterprises Inc. is "building a call center for 400 potential employees in El Salvador". It's a coincidence right? They're not moving jobs are they?

Well, Ada deserves what it gets... take at look at this measly payoff, err.. bribe.. I mean incentive package:

"The Ada center opened in 1999 after the city agreed to give it an incentive package of 20 acres of land, utility hookups and a lump sum payment of $2.5 million."

That's right... millions, not billions. Serves them right huh?

Worth Repeating

taken from atrios

The Candidates' Spiritual Path (washingtonpost.com):

"Distorting a candidate's religious views is not a new hobby. In 1800, supporters of John Adams campaigned against Thomas Jefferson on the grounds that he was an atheist. He wasn't. He was a deist, a believer in a God not involved in current human events, but his views were easily caricatured. In his 2003 book, 'The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America,' historian Frank Lambert documents the smears, including one campaign diatribe that ran: 'God -- and a religious president . . . or Jefferson and no God.' "

I don't think a deist would be elected president in today's America. Hence no more people like Jefferson. That's a shame, most people thought Jefferson was a pretty good president. Isn't he on a bill here somewhere.. and a rock face? Oh crap, why is Reagan's face on everything!?!?

(wakes up screaming)

Never mind.. bad dream. I should stop eating before bed.

Well, its not what he said *wink* *wink*

camedwards.com: Liberal Talk Radio

This is about a comment on Cam's site, not about any of Cam's remarks. To make that clear.

Terry, a frequent commentor over at camedwards.com had this to say, finally, what I wanted to hear, an arguement for why Bush isn't wrong about Iraq.

Digest this...

Regarding your question as to whether President Bush lied about our reasons for going into Iraq, the short answer is, "no." While you say that you and "many other Americans" think he did lie, a careful study of the language of what he actually did say (not what someone else claims that he said) is needed in order to get the truth. To do that, you need to read copies of the transcripts of his speeches. Don't trust to other's interpretations.
(emphasis mine)

Ok, So Bush never said that Iraq was a threat? You know I'm willing to concede that Bush never said that Iraq was on the verge of attacking us with WMD. But if I ran into a room and said "Bob's got a gun, and he's pointing at his head!" You would think that Bob intends to kill himself. Right? Which I could claim I never said. I painted a picture that led you to believe the most logical conclusion. If this is gonna boil down to an arguement of semantics over intent I still think I come out on the winning sign. Did Bush say that Iraq was an "immenent threat"? Maybe not. But did Bush, along with his top aides paint that picture? Yes, because if that wasn't their intent then alot of people got it wrong.

Here's the way I see the breakdown of the arguement:

  • Saddam once had weapons and he once used them

  • Saddam was supposed to get rid of those weapons

  • Saddam is evil, so even if he says he's gotten rid of them we can't believe him

  • Saddam is rebuilding his weapons programs

  • Saddam has close ties to Al Qaeda (like) terrorists

  • Saddam will give these weapons to the terrorists

  • The terrorists will use them to commit another 9-11 terrorist act

  • In general the arguement is sound. Its the specifics where we fall short. If any of these arguements fails then it all crumbles. I find much of the evidence supporting these claims... lacking. As did a majority of the world's population. The conclusion that we should invade is also open for heavy debate. Some people even draw the line that had Bush been patient enough to build consensus then they would have supported the invasion. In fact, this is a popular arguement among more "hawkish" Democrats. The valid question they raise was "why the hurry"? Why not take the time to get support? The answer was that we could not afford to wait, lest another 9-11 happen. So you can see why many people felt that Bush and co. were pushing Imminent?

    Sometimes it seems we are essentially arguing about just how high the bar needed to be before we invade. Some argue that Saddam being a bad guy was enough. An odd arguement coming from groups of people that have previously scorned our "world's policeman" role in the world. Others think that the case as outlined by Bush and Powell was sufficient, that hints of WMD combined with Saddam's ruthless nature was grounds for invasion. This leaves us open to the charge that the United States can and will invade countries that it perceives as a threat, by its own standards if not by anybody elses. We would not accept anyone but ourselves using this weak standard.

    I, as well as many others think that the bar for military action must be very high. Invading another country is a big deal. Not just because we are removing their government but we will also be responsible for all that follows after that invasion, as we are learning the hard way. I think Bush used the aftermath of 9-11 to lower that bar, then hyped up his claims to pull us over.

    We can also disagree about the overall long term usefulness of violent methods. Those that see violence as the most effective tool for solving problems are either in jail or find nothing wrong with invading Iraq before exhausting other options. We can disagree on that, but I thought you guys were the ones paranoid about violent government action? Is that just against us, but its ok to trump up a case and invade other people? Is it really about which directions the guns are pointed? Please say it isn't.

    neologic outlines the holes in the Bush Iraq arguement

    The Doldrums

    Well, the Christmas shopping season is over. People have even finished up the hellish task of returning all those unwanted items. Glad we got that taken of and all but now we have new problems.

    In the retail world, January is like a desert. The aisles, once filled to bursting have become empty. In one small store I worked at we timed the intervals between customers. It sometimes reached a full hour. Then though, we could just sit around and shoot the breeze. I'm now at one of those big box retail giants where its completely unacceptable to believe that there is simply nothing to do. But there's only so many times you can dust a shelf.

    The clipboards have returned. This is a task the managers undertake to justify the fact that they have nothing to do either. They make the rounds of the store carrying clipboards and pointing out shelves that need to dusted. We're all trying to justify our continued existence. Even if that means we work with vigor at tasks that have no importance at all. A popular activity is "re-organizing", this involves deliberately making a disaster area, taking down shelves, scattering product all over the floor and plopping yourself down right in the middle. For the next few hours you carefully put things back where they were before, but different. This not only keeps your mind of the fact that there's nothing to do, but also keeps others from bugging you; trying to relieve their own boredom.

    The simple fact of the matter is that unless you're at the store they don't really want to pay you, even if that means you're just wandering around pretending to be busy. I'd much rather be home, but I haven't figured out a way to get them to pay me for going about my own personal business. The other night a manager came back to where me and several other guys were working and pulls the "You think we can get out of here early tonight?" shtick. The answer that wisely stayed in my head was "sure, I'll work harder, get done quicker, as long as you still pay me for the hours I'm scheduled to work." The correct answer was "yes, sir / ma'am!". Needless to say I put forth no such extra effort. We still managed to get done a little early through no part of my own.

    As an hourly wage slave you constantly play the game, you maxamize your pay for the amount of work done while they seek to maximize the amount of work for the pay given. We're not expected to work for our own benefit. You're quickly pegged as a problem if you answer every request with "you gonna make it worth my while?". So I advise against it. Instead you have to work secretly, like an undercover agent. I'm reminded of what Julia says in 1984.

    "I always carry one end of a banner in processions. I always look cheerful and I never shirk anything. Always yell with the crowd, that's what I say. Its the only way to be safe."

    I never saw Julia as a heroic figure. She just recognized that she was part of system that demanded certain behavior. She was better off than the party members that merely internalized their actions but not as heroic as Winston who tried to imagine alternatives. Julia was a realist.

    We live within a social construct. Coping comes in many different forms, you either believe that what we have is the best of all possible worlds, you recognize the flaws and game them for your own advantage or you try to change things. The first types are the truely annoying people, the rest of us fall into categories two or three. We cope.


    About Me

    35 yr old
    Highlands Ranch
    Recording Engineer
    Voted for Kerry
    Voted for Obama
    Philosophical Type
    Omicron Male
    Feminist Friendly
    22.3% Less Smart

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