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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History repeating? Yes.

The Importance of...: The Anti-Miscegenation Amendment:

"'Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant. It is subversive to social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery to black beasts will bring this nation to a fatal conflict' (Gilmore, 1975, p.108)."

Rep. Seaborn Roddenberry of Georgia in 1911 on a constitutional amendment to ban interracial marriages.

That's right, they tried to amend the constitution to ban interracial marriage. They claimed to speak for America, they claimed to speak for morality, and they claimed it would destroy "social peace". Now only the fringe speaks this way about interracial marriage. It was wrong then and this current amendment is wrong now.

The world will not end, and we will not lose our morality, such as it is. Dogs will not marry cats and clogs will not marry hats.

(thanks to atrios, who always has the best links!)

also check out 12 reasons same sex marriage will ruin society.

Now back to work you serfs!

KOTV - The News On Six:

"Nickles says jobless workers have more incentive to find a job when the extra unemployment benefits end. He says the more people are paid not to work, the less inclined they are to find work."

Excuse me Mr. Nickles, would that incentive be a starving family? Or maybe lack of health care?

So glad you think these are good things. Considering that most of the people whose votes you rely on are workers and they will see negative wage pressure as a result of your decision, I ask you, why should they vote for you?


David Grenier: Gay Marriage:

"If they are really trying to stop pedophilia, incest, and bestiality, they could simply propose constitutional amendments against pedophilia, incest, and bestiality. If this isn’t so much about gay marriage as it is about the “slippery slope”, then why not pass an amendment defining marriage as between “two consenting adults”?

David Grenier hits the bullseye with this post about the opposing forces in the gay marraige debate. Making anything I had planned to say superfluous.

This is just one small point that I felt has been overlooked by most. The slippery slope started when you accepted special priviledges for two people in a love relationship. I have pointed out before that there is an easy way to stop this slope at a sane position.

Consenting adults.

The Jesus Fetish

I can't help but have a cynical reaction to the new Mel Gibson movie. I know that some Christians will use it as a springboard for new evangelical fervor. As if it isn't hard enough living in Tulsa when they are restrained by a sense of propriety. Now they will leave the movie, hit the streets and feel energized to accost the first person they meet that doesn't show a sufficient amount of enthusiasm for JESUS!

I live in "Jesus Country". And as a non-believer I feel a little like a fleshy pinky to a room full of snapping turtles.

What's worse, now that they've watched Jesus get beaten to a pulp on the screen they will have an inflated sense of what it means to "live up to" Jesus. What could possibly be enough to compare to the suffering that Jesus had to endure?

UPDATE: (Feb 27) I've added this link to an excellent review of Passion by Orcinus:

The Passion of the Christ is, in other words, a film designed to virtually obliterate the memory of the love at the heart of Jesus' message, and replaces in its stead a sense of Christianity as a closed community devoted to nurturing other "true believers" and obtaining retribution against the "other side." It poses a sense of Christianity as a series of constant, unending challenges to the question: Can you live up to His sacrifice? And the suffering Jesus endures in this film makes it clear the answer must always be: No. You can't possibly. Only rigid adherence to the "true faith" gets you in the ballpark.

There's a nasty convergence of the coming culture conflicts with a growing fetish for martyrdom. Living like Jesus will been transformed into a challenge to heap suffering upon oneself. That could spell trouble as the election campaigns will surely stir the pot of hot button issues.

I feel like I'm living behind enemy lines here. Local newscasts are giving away tickets and little flyers for the movie are everywhere.

The good news is that it will soon all be over and out of theaters. The bad news, it will always be available on DVD and VHS, and no doubt thousands of copies will bought up and distributed by evangelicals for missionary reasons.

Dropping the A Bomb

President Calls for Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage:

"On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard. Activist courts have left the people with one recourse. If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed, because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country."

Glug Glug Glug...

That's the sound of President's Bush re-election campaign as it descends to the bottom to find his base.

On the issue of equal rights for gay people, the right wing fundies will go down in history yet again as being on the wrong side of human dignity and social progress. That Bush is willing to follow them into history should be enough reason not to vote for this man and his cronies come 2004.

I know this because the issue revolves around a deep seated hatred of gay people as part of religious dogma. Much in the same way it was dogmatic to oppose interracial marriage, voting rights for women, equal rights for blacks and so on and so forth. I know this because the battle has already been won. The demographics already show that the younger generation no longer holds the same prejudices as the current one. Even if this constitutional amendment passes (which it won't hopefully) then it will be thrown out.

According to bruce's Rules of Government #231 we know that "In a free society that respects individual freedoms, tolerance will always grow faster than intolerance."

We recognize that as we allow more freedom for others the more we can expect for ourselves, and that if we build up institutions that curtail our freedoms they will inevitably be turned against us.

As much as the Republican rhetoric espouses individual freedom, we see that those freedoms only extend to the point where they might serve to enrich their corporatist buddies. You will have more freedom to throw money into Wall Street, but we'll be keeping an eye on your sex life and intervening when we feel its necessary to generate campaign contributions. They have blown another hole into their false image as a party of individual liberties.

A few things...

I still can't stand cooking on electric stovetops.

Despite using the phrase "adult sized vegetables" in their incredibly annoying commercials I have to say I like that Progresso puts the word "vegetarian" above the list of ingredients on their meatless soups. Saving us the trouble of having to read through a long list of ingredients to see if there is anything in there we might not wish to eat.

Did you know that Salsa Verde Doritos has chicken product in it? You would know this if you read through the ingredients.

Every time I see Pat Robertson spouting utter nonsense on his television show I wonder if he ever lays in bed at night wishing he had been born in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia? In those countries his vision of a theocratic society in which assholes like him would be able to smack around women is a reality instead of simply a "dream in the making" like here in the US.

The 700 Club is what happens when people with Taliban-like tendencies are born in a free society.

The NEA is a terrorist organization. Don't believe me, ask Rod Paige.

Rod Paige is the Education Secretary.

He should have a new book out soon, called "How to lose 2.7 Million votes in one day!"

Run Ralph Run...

... because the Democrats are comin' after yo ass!

I won't be voting for Nader this election, unless he can beat Bush.

Given the fact that Democratic hit-dogs are out barking means that we can't expect much civility from them regarding Nader. Today on Talk of the Nation I found myself siding with Pat Buchanon over David Corn. Pat echoed my view that Nader has the right to do whatever he damn well pleases. Any vote the Nader gets will be one that he earned. Simple as that. The presumptious attitude that all votes "belong" to either the (R) or the (D) is ridiculous. Any vote that a person willfully cast for another candidate other than them is "Stolen"? Give me a break.

Here in Okalhoma the good ol' boy network has made it extremely difficult for new parties to break into the system. There is only thing the (D)'s and (R)'s hate more than each other, and that's a third party.

Garage Sale Expedition

Spent the day with my Dad. We share a sick fascination with junk. He looks for computer parts and I look for books, cds and camera gear. We went down to the "Biggest Garage Sale" at Expo Square.

Here are the highlights.

The Slide Viewer: Its an Airequipt Superba 33a Projector and it cost me $2.50. Its in great condition and most importantly it has a working bulb and a slide tray. It even came with some slides from 1967 of a family Christmas. I asked the lady how much it costs and she responded "How much is it worth?" Meaning how much would I pay. I thought for a second and said "A couple bucks". Which is what I was prepared to pay. She said it was worth at least five. I agreed and pointed to the sign that read "Everything Half Price" and said "And since everything's half price that would make it $2.50 right?" She didn't seem too pleased by the turn of events but it was a donated item, it was getting late in the day and there I was ready to buy.

So its mine! I finally have a slide projector to look at my slides. Now I just need a place to project them...

The Girl: Some time ago I ran into this cute girl at a thrift store. We talked a little and I was impressed with her. I thought I saw her roaming through the booths today but never ran into her. I kept an eye out, and I'm sure my Dad thought I was acting weird. I guess I was, but cute girls do that to me.

The Books The only thing I really ended up buying besides the projector was a hefty stack of books. I spent way too much time sifting through boxes looking for anything interesting. Most cost less than a quarter, some were part of a "bag of stuff for a buck deal".

Here's what I got:

  • Candide - Voltaire

  • The Jungle - Upton Sinclair

  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig

  • The Tower Commission Report - New York Times

  • The Reivers - William Faulkner

  • Heart of Darkness and Secret Sharer - Joseph Conrad

  • Enlightenment Reader - Viking Portable Library

  • The Enlightenment: The Science of Freedom - Peter Gay

  • Rabbit is Rich - John Updike

  • I had a copy of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller in my hands at one point as well, but let another guy buy it who seemed more interested.

    Any recommendations on where I should start and what I should shelf is greatly appreciated. I've already started reading into the "Enlightenment Reader" since it has short essays by many people I'm curious about. I'm not nearly as educated as I would like to be. I reside in that middle area between the experts and the incurious.


    Alfalfa Bill will take his business any damn where he pleases... Thank you.

    "I could offer other recent examples of the lack of service and foolish business practices of small businesses in Oklahoma but suffice it to say I'm not listening to any more pleas to keep my purchasing local - until local businesses start taking business, and their customers, seriously. "

    In this new age where people with access to the internet have many more choices its imperative that local business owners step up to the plate and start recognizing good business practices. As much as I may rant and rave against corporate America I can attest to the fact that many big chain stores at least recognize what it takes to make customers happy. I have had customer service skills drummed into my head and I have noticed that small business owners are severely lacking in what it takes to make customers happy and want to return.

    Local merchants have little grounds for complaint when they lose business to the internet. The online shop is always there, always open, you get its undivided attention and it doesn't give you shit about what and how much you buy. It can be intimidating enough walking into a store for the first time, navigating an unfamiliar environment and trying to find what you want without also suffering the indifference or (on some rare occasions) the hostility of the employees working there. Its enough to make you want to just sit at home, fire up the computer and say "f*ck it, I can get it cheaper, without the pressure and without the hassle online".

    Small business owners need to recognize that people will shop with them only if they offer what the online merchants cannot, and that's a human being ready and willing to provide the help a person needs to make a good purchase decision. They fail at that and they will vanish.

    When you can no longer rely on being the only place within a thousand miles to buy a particular product, as was the case pre-internet, you have to try harder to win your customers. You can't rely on somebody to come through your doors, hold their tongue and plop down their money if they have the option to go elsewhere. And now they can.

    Online retailing is changing the way we shop. I have already adapted to having access to virtually anything and everything I might want. This new horizon of options has been a blessing for people outside of major metropolitan centers who have felt isolated for too long. There has been catalog shopping in the past, but the internet experience provides more options for consumers and it gives them more choices of where to shop and when to shop. This is a very good thing.

    While we'll still shop for daily items on a grab and go basis, and some things will have to be seen a touched to consider, we'll adopt online shopping for all other purchases and this will mean the face of Main Street America will change yet again.

    Thy Will be Done

    Today a giant hole opened up under City Hall in San Francisco, swallowing the city officials that have been issuing Marriage Licenses in defiance of God's will.

    Onlookers were turned to salt.

    Well.... Not really. But that's what would happen if we still lived in Old Testament times!

    I'm now a blog manufacturer?

    In the New Economics: Fast-Food Factories?:

    "'When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a 'service' or is it combining inputs to 'manufacture' a product?' the report asks."

    Umm yeah, that's the Economic Report of the President. In what can only be seen as a vain attempt to reclassify jobs to make the economic situation look rosier.

    (This blog made in America!)

    Irrational Bush hatred infects top scientists!

    White House manipulates science, leaders in field say:

    "''When scientific knowledge has been found to be in conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions,'' charges a document signed by 60 scientists in an unprecedented joint effort by the leaders of the nation's science establishment."

    Crony Conservatives see science an an unconvenient little practice by those that just don't see the futility of their actions. What kind of money can be made discovering new cures for cancer, or treating diseases, or learning how to help mentally ill people, or caretaking the environment, or peering into space. Don't they know that making money just means fudging the books, brokering a sweetheart deal or selling off government assets for a nice chunk of change?

    Where did these people get their MBA's from anyways....?

    On today's Talk of the Nation, Science Friday, John H. Marburger III, chief of the president's Office on Science and Technology Policy couldn't quite bring himself to defend the president outright but instead praised the president for being commited to performance.


    Dude, 60 of your fellow scientists, including "12 Nobel laureates, 11 winners of the National Medal of Science, three recipients of the prestigious Crafoord Prize, the heads of some of the country's leading universities and biomedical research institutes, and two former presidential science advisers" just put the smackdown on your administration's junk science, that's gotta hurt.

    If you hurry you might catch up with Colin Powell as you both chase your professional reputations through the Washington D.C. sewer system.

    Chaotic Not Random:

    Best definition of God...

    "...an invisible man who lives in the sky and made everything and loves everybody and holds all possible knowledge and power and cares intently about what people do with the bits of flesh between their legs."

    If you're not already reading anything and everything that Kilgore writes, you should.

    Eclectic Light Observations

    One time, while visiting a small used cd place in Dallas I had the apparent gall to ask if they had any used cd's by E.L.O. preferably something remastered. The little punk behind the counter made some crack about xylophone music and made some of the same faces he would have made had he heard me fart. I've tried my best to give up musical snobbery, something I'm sad to say I've let myself previously indulge. I can only hope he gives it up as well. Punk...

    After buying a used copy of E.L.O.'s greatest hits (not remastered damnit) I then proceeded to try to share my enthusiasm for their brand of disco-synth-orchestral-pop-rock with my ex-GF whilst sitting in summer afternoon traffic on I-35. In retrospect, that was a bad idea.

    I don't like being cold, but I like being warm when its cold outside. Its like cheating nature. Cavemen eat your hearts out! They would be so jealous...

    Never once in our three years together did my ex and I ever have a bed larger than a twin. If you've ever shared a twin bed you know it can be a bit, cramped. Fortunately she was a small girl and we liked being close. On the occasion we'd have access to a larger bed I would miss the intimacy.

    I now have a queen sized bed.

    I hate waiting for an email I know will never come, but still hope will eventually show up out of the blue sky.

    Tonight I put on my copy of E.L.O.'s greatest hits, laid flat spread eagle on my back on my queen sized bed, put on my headphones to muffle the rattle from the electric heater over by closet and thought:

    Life is good like this... I need a cavegirl, who appreciates a good electric fire a queen sized bed and disco-synth-orchestra-pop-rock.

    I ask for so little...

    Forest through the trees

    David Grenier: Racist Republicans:

    "As long as we live in a society who’s economic system is based on profits and markets, we’ll never solve the problem. When you’re dealing with a market you’re dealing with an issue of supply and demand. If you’re trying to make a profit, the goal isn’t to create abundance so that everyone will have everything they need. The goal is to make the supply just below the demand so you can get the most value possible. This works with jobs as well as products although the math is a little different."

    Wow, give this man a prize. You can't solve problems with a system that are inherent in the design. That's like complaining that combustion engines require fossil fuels to run. A reasonable person would say "You have to start with a new design if you want to have an engine that doesn't consume fossil fuels". Well yeah. But when you suggest that we try something different, something that doesn't rely on a perpetual underclass and the creation of artificial needs otherwise reasonable people seem to think that what we have is the best or else it would change... miraculously, without effort on anyone's part.

    ... and give Joshua a prize as well.

    The problem, of course, is that so many people refuse to see the divergence between the world they want to live in and the world they do live in. And if you back them into a corner, they always want to know what your plan is.

    "Well, the first thing we have to do is abolish slavery."
    "I see! Well that looks great on paper, but what are you going to do about the cotton industry? The farmers could never afford to pay wages for all the work that's done by slaves now. And what about unemployment? You dump a bunch of free Blacks into the Northern economy, unemployment'll shoot through the roof! And what about political franchise? What if free Blacks start voting in their own candidates, who want reparations for slavery?"

    Ah yes. Obviously correct, we should just leave well enough alone. making things better might require change, and we all know that is bad.

    Not Republican? check...

    Brad Carson For U.S. Senate 2004

    Brad Carson has taken his Senate bid to the internet. Unfortunately he doesn't have much of a site to see. He's taken out ads on Blogads, which should help him raise awareness. Ads are appearing on DailyKos, a hive of democratic activists.

    He needs to get his message up so people will have a reason to support him other than being a Democrat. These days that's almost enough.

    Vote for me, I'm not a hypocritical Republican!


    Apocalypse now-in-stores

    Now, That's San Francisco / Nothing like a few thousand gay marriage ceremonies to reignite your urban pride:

    "... the Bible is basically a reinterpreted regurgitated piece of classic patriarchal misogynistic mythmaking that says exactly what the church rewrote it to say. "

    THAT.. might be the best description of the Bible I've seen yet! He also referes to the "Left Behind" books as apocalypse-porn.

    In short, to the neocon Right, a nation that allows gays to marry is a nation with no boundaries and no condoms and where all sorts of illicit disgusting behaviors will soon be legal and be forced upon them, a horrific tribal wasteland full of leeches and flying bugs and scary sex acts they only read about in chat rooms and their beloved "Left Behind" series of cute apocalypse-porn books.

    SHHHHHH!!!! you've giving away our agenda! Though I don't recall us deciding on leeches at the last meeting?

    He Who Must Not Be Re-Elected

    Crooked Timber: Don't Be Afraid:
    "Barbara Chamberlain, 79, also of Milwaukee, backed Edwards for the same reason, the Associated Press reports from Wisconsin, I have hope for him beating you-know-who, she said.

    Oh come, Barbara, you'll just have stop living in fear and come out and say it, Voldemort. Now, doesn't that make you feel better?"

    Frontrunner for funniest post of the year!

    Kudos to Kieran of Crooked Timber.

    Why John Kerry?

    After thinking it over for a little while, and there's nothing I don't think about, I still don't know the answer to this question. Why did people rally around John Kerry? What happened in Iowa and New Hampshire that won Kerry the "Well, geez he's gonna win anyways" vote? Should Kerry pay royalties to Dean for his entire campaign message?

    Kerry wrapping up the nomination reminds me of Justin Timberlake winning his grammy, when I expected him to stand up in front of the microphone and apologize for winning against people that are clearly more talented and worthy than himself.

    Of course I felt the same sense of bewilderment when the Republicans chose Bush over McCain. I remember thinking "So, they want a guy that basically believes in nothing but can tow the party line to rake in millions"?

    Kerry's a placeholder. Place vote against Bush here, no side effects!

    I feel like I've slipped into an alternate universe where two cardboard cutouts will be competing to lead the most powerful, nuclear armed nation on the planet . When we pull their strings one will say "Tax cuts create jobs!" and other will say "I'll stand up to special interests!"


    Wake me when we've re-elected Bush, the worst president in history.

    The Economic Environmentalists

    Mr. Mankiw Is Right (washingtonpost.com)

    One has to wonder what the owning class would be saying if their primary source of income was threatened. No doubt we'd launch a war and declare their foes "enemies of civilization".

    In contrast to the response today:

    "...programs to retrain them should be expanded"

    "Them", referring of course to the great unwashed workers that should simply accept their role as so much froth floating atop an ocean of economic inevitabilities. We should not expect to fight against forces of NATURE. Corporations hide their incomes from taxation like crabs protect themselves with shells. CEO's collect massive compensation packages like spiders who build their webs in choice corners. Money flows like a river into corporate profits. To claim that it should be otherwise is not simply to argue for fairness, for nature is not fair, but to suggest upsetting the natural order of the world and inviting in chaos, or worse even, Socialism, the economic equivalent of water flowing uphill.

    Outsourced workers should accept their fate like children who built their sand castles too close to the ocean's edge. Recessions are the tides that wash away any and all progress we've made. When workers lose their jobs and face destitution opinion makers shake their heads and lament such tragedies but view it much like an earthquake.

    Sorry it happened to you.

    Riverside Pedestrian Bridge - Tulsa Oklahoma

    Last Tuesday it was getting late in the day and I felt that it was one of those days that would give us a spectacular sunset. Its was cool and the air was moist. So I decided to drive out to Riverside to see if I could get a shot off the pedestrian bridge. I almost didn't make it there before the sun was setting. I left my house here in Broken Arrow as it was already starting to go down. I had procrastinated a little too long getting ready to head out. I did make it there though just as this scene was unfolding. I jumped out of my car and headed up onto the walkway and took this shot as well as about a dozen more before I ran out of battery life. I had neglected to charge them up fully before leaving the house. After the sun set I took a little walk down to the 21st street bridge and back. I'll post a few more of these shots in the near future. I don't want to bog down the front page with too many photos.


    Welcome to Ashcroft's America

    Justice Dept. Seeks Hospitals?’ Records of Some Abortions:

    "The (justice) department wants to examine the medical histories for what could amount to dozens of the doctors' patients in the last three years to determine, in part, whether the procedure, known medically as intact dilation and extraction, was in fact medically necessary, government lawyers said. "

    This is an important story and a good illustration why civil libertarians (aren't we all?) should be wary of the Bush Admin and especially John Ashcroft.

    In light of "modern medical practice" and the growth of third-party insurers, it said, "individuals no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential."

    The way I read it they want to use the hole in privacy punched there by private insurers. Because private insurance companies have been so successful at whittling away at our sense of privacy the DOJ is arguing that we have already lost that expectation. Nothing makes my heart go pidder-patter more than seeing corporate power and government power working in tandem to erode our privacy.

    Of course, this is a predictable consequence of the partial birth abortion ban.

    The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002.

    An extremely controversial Supreme Court decision in 1973 that, on the basis of the right to privacy, gave women an unrestricted right to abortion during the first three months of pregnancy.

    The right to abortion is based on the right to privacy. You following yet? As much as some like to rail against judicial activism we know that the prolifee crowd has decided to take their fight to the courts by way of pushing for biased judges and by slowly eroding the foundations for Roe v. Wade.

    NASCAR Crowd

    Ya know, I kinda like watching NASCAR races. But they (those marketing of the races) don't do me any favors. I'm obviously not in the target demographic for the average viewer. I watch the pre-race show for the Daytona 500 and I cringe as they bring out Lee Greenwood to sing his one song, as B-2 Stealth Bombers and F-15 Eagles fly over, as Air Force One circles and lands behind the racetrack, as LeAnn Rhimes sings the National Anthem with a sea of corporate logos waving in the background, as President Bush struts around posing with the ever-present men in military garb...

    ... and I know how all the older football fans felt watching Janet and Justin strip and grind during the halftime show.

    Can't I enjoy a sport without being subjected to assumptions of who I am and what I like?

    As much as most marketing campaigns try to relay a sense of individualism, its really all about putting you in a tight demographic so they know where to find your eyes and ears. Its never more obvious than when they miss.

    Cult of Personality

    Op-Ed Columnist: The Real Man:

    "But when administration officials are challenged about the blatant deceptions in their budgets or, for that matter, about the use of prewar intelligence their response, almost always, is to fall back on the president's character. How dare you question Mr. Bush's honesty, they ask, when he is a man of such unimpeachable integrity? And that leaves critics with no choice: they must point out that the man inside the flight suit bears little resemblance to the official image."

    It all rests on this image of Bush as honest and decent, moral... the anti-Clinton.

    "Some of his critics hope that the AWOL issue will demolish the Bush myth, all at once. They're probably too optimistic — if it were that easy, the tale of Harken Energy would have already done the trick. The sad truth is that people who have been taken in by a cult of personality — a group that in this case includes a good fraction of the American people, and a considerably higher fraction of the punditocracy — are very reluctant to give up their illusions. If nothing else, that would mean admitting that they had been played for fools."

    I would ask, what proof, other than Bush's psuedo-religious posturing that this president is any more honest and moral than the last one? The proof against seems to be his entire biography!

    Agreeing with Bush

    President Announces New Measures to Counter the Threat of WMD:

    "The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weapons."

    I agree with this assessment, so much so in fact that I agreed with it close to five years ago (or more). Its become increasingly obvious that conventional warfare has become obsolete in dealing with the worst new threats. The recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan illustrate this point. They were some the last of the easy targets. Our greater, more immediate threat, of nuclear proliferation by states that already possess nuclear weapons cannot be dealt with by invasion. Doing so will only create an environment that unleashes those weapons into the chaos. Where they end up we cannot predict. This is not a feasible option, and why we can only make vague growling noises at Pakistan for doing exactly what our government claimed Iraq was doing, possessing and proliferating dangerous weaponry.

    Once a nation attains nuclear status the nature of our relationship with them changes. So while invading Iraq sent a message that nations on that path will be subject to overthrow, our dealings with nuclear armed nations like North Korea and Pakistan send a clear message that once you've sneaked into the nuclear club the rewards will be worth the risk.

    Bush loses me when he once again trots out missile defense as the panacea to nuclear threats from terrorists. I can only rub my eyes, check the clock melting over the tree limb and wonder what kind of alternate universe Mr. Bush inhabits. Its obviously not one where terrorists used PLANES to launch a devastating terrorist threat against New York and Washington D.C. Because if we lived in the same universe we might both assume that missile defense system would not have prevented that scenario and it will not protect us from similar threats.

    Bush once again plays politics by shifting the blame for the Iraqi debacle on "poor intelligence". That we didn't have good intelligence in that region is evident. But what Mr. Bush did was to cherrypick that intel and present it as rock solid and incontrovertible. For him to now come out now and say we need to make sure the president has good information is just laughable. We need a president that can admit when he doesn't have all the facts and doesn't use the intel that's there to push an ideological goal. That's what we need Mr. Bush.

    Many of the proposals set forth in the rest of his speech are common sense measures that should have been in place already. This isn't a new threat, many people saw it coming years ago and political wrangling kept us from adequately addressing it. The blood of the victims is on the hands of this administration, the last administration and all the political operatives from both parties that believe the entire world revolves around beating the other side. And I'm not talking about the terrorists.

    Is the Media Liberal?

    Ahhh... the long standing debate...

    This post on ABCNEWS The Note makes the case the the press IS liberal because of its stand on specific issues:

    Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections.

    They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are "conservative positions."

    My first response was to think "Did I miss when the press appointed ABCNEWS as their spokesperson"? My second response was "Is this some sort of joke"?

    Who are "the media"? The ABCNEWS post refers to a very specific group, the Washington and political press corps but this hasn't stopped some people from saying "gotcha, see the media is liberal". The press consists of a wide variety of journalistic types from the "investigative, undercover, could get his throat cut if anybody catches on type", to the show pony anchors. So who are we talking about? Nobody ever defines who represents the media, though we are to assume "the media" consists of the talking head pundits and the Dan Rathers and Peter Jennings of the television world, as well as the Washington Posts and the New York Times of the newspaper world.

    Are they (the people in the press) Liberal? I would not doubt that the individual members of the press are liberals. According to my understanding of the definition of the two positions (as defined by me!) I would have to say that being a liberal would more likely lead one into a career or journalism. Why should you go into a field that requires exploring issues from an objective point of view if you take the view that there is a knowable truth and that that truth comes from authoritative sources? While being a conservative doesn't preclude one from a career in the media, it does seem an odd fit. Sort of like being a liberal and a clergyman. I find that most conservatives in the media tend to view it as an outlet for promoting their truths rather than a forum to discuss all sides of an issue.

    Is there a Liberal bias? Now you might conclude that since the members of the media are prone to be liberals themselves that they would carry that bias over into their reporting, and thus validate the claim that the media is "liberal". This is the hard question and the answer is Yes, Yes and No. The first yes, because the presentation of all sides of an issue for debate is liberal in nature. The second yes, because the media will react negatively to conservative issues that seek to end debate, and finally no, because, the conservatives have been very effective at using the biases of the media to their advantage.

    How can the media be conservative?One of the inherent biases to the media is its increasing reliance on official sources. Anything that an authority from government or powerful interests says becomes newsworthy, and will be dutifully reported. The conservatives have become very adept at promoting their causes by issuing statements that have the effect of moving the media lips. The media outlets become ventriloquist dummies for official claims. So when the President of the United States says that his budget will cut the deficit in half in five years it will be reported as stated. Ironically, in this way, by relying on authorities for information the press are being conservative in nature. Reading through Eric Alterman's book "What Liberal Media" you get the idea that this is one of his main arguments. During the 2000 election the media was dutiful in reporting what was in effect a campaign of character destruction against Al Gore because it could not refuse reporting official statements. In addition, by always presenting "both sides" of an issue they give equal weight to what might otherwise be a lopsided debate. For example, even though the vast majority of the scientific community accepts climate change as a reality the media still feels compelled to present both sides, giving equal weight to a small minority of voices. This works for either side but it means that no matter what, the conservative message will always have a forum, no matter how "liberal" the media becomes. The conservatives have been very effective at taking advantage of these media biases and have created numerous Think Tanks to produce experts and data for the media consumption. By this method they have promoted their agenda with surprising efficiency.

    And talk radio? I think its safe to say that talk radio has become the home field for conservative opinion. By and large what you hear on talk radio these days is a ritual of self affirmation. The liberals are wrong and here's why. The times I have listened to talk radio I have been amazed at the relative lack of discussion that takes place. Most often when a caller presents an opposing view they are quickly derided and the pre-writ truth is trotted out for proof of the host's righteousness. Its not by accident that Rush Limbaugh's fans are called Dittoheads. Listening to Rush is not an exercise is self examination. You know what Rush will say. He will bash liberals and confirm your faith that you are right and they are wrong. For that brief moment balance is restored and you are reassured that the world as you see it will be defended.

    Conservative Liberals? What strikes me as the most amusing is when conservatives bash so called "liberals" who are really just conservatives on the left. This IS possible. These are strident lefties that cling to "liberal" causes but they do so as a matter of faith. What you get are lefties that believe they are right either because they feel a sense of group identity or they have faith in their cause because they follow some authority figure. As a liberal activist I can attest that this is fairly common. I run across people that can not form a coherent rationale for why they support a cause. I was once derided by fellow activists because I dared promote the idea that McDonalds may NOT be the worst evil in the world, because they provide low cost food to poor people who can't afford to drive across town to pay top dollar for organic produce. That McDonald's represents the very heart and soul of evil has become a item of faith amongst some in the lefty activist community. This holds true in many circles. You find anti-globalization activists that can't explain why subjecting the third world to a set of rules that will condemn them to ongoing poverty is wrong. Its a matter of faith that this is true. You find Palestinian activists that can't explain to you why the Israelis are evil, they just ARE. If this sounds like conservativism, that's because it is, as I define it. Just the same as when right wing conservatives accept as a matter of faith that capitalism is the best of all possible economic systems, or that their religion is the only true path to salvation. So it hardly offends me when conservatives of the right hold up conservatives of the left for ridicule. They are eating their own counterparts. Many of the strident Anti-Bush people also fall into this camp. Many of the Deaniacs came from this cabal of conservative "liberals" rallied there by Dean's Anti-Bush message. This turned off many of the true liberals that saw that kind of slavish devotion for what it was: conservatism. I still feel Dean is a liberal in the best sense of the word and he would have made a great president. But his campaign imploded under the weight of contradiction.

    So is the media liberal damnit? I don't know. When I watch news programs I see a bias but I would not go so far to call it liberal. I see it as sensationalism mixed with journalistic "professionalism"; a strange system of "rules of behavior". For the most part I see the claims that the media leans liberal as an attempt by the GOP to shame the news media into giving their viewpoints and appointed mouthpieces favorable treatment, even to the point of letting them promote specious claims. This was evident during the buildup to the war where Bush Administration claims were constantly given air to the point of building a consensus for invasion where none existed prior. The voices that have since been proven right existed but were drowned out by the stampede of official propaganda.

    So there's your answer. It proves what we always knew.. that making such hollow claims one way or the other ignores the complicated nature of this issue.

    So yes, You're right, whoever you are. And yes, I know, I should read Goldberg's "Bias".

    Get Your Smear Right Here!!

    G O P.com :: News

    If there's anything that the RNC has turned into a an art form its the attack campaign. They spend an enormous amount of time and effort digging up any and all information they can in order to turn it into a smear. Then they take it out of context, rewrite it with loaded words and twist it into smear.

    Some prime examples of the latest attacks on Kerry, the presumed Democrat nominee.

  • Sen. John Kerry's Hypocrisy, Vol. I, Issue 6

  • Sen. John Kerry's Hypocrisy, Vol. I, Issue 5

  • Kerry And Terry Insult National Guard

  • Sunday Supplement: Terry's Continuing Trouble With The Truth

  • So we'll see another rehashing of the 2000 election strategy. Bush wilpubliclyly take the high road while the RNC takes the lowest road it can find. They've already started with the "trouble with truth" theme they used against Gore. I hope Kerry's team has learned from Gore failures last election because botbarrel'sls are now pointed in his direction and soon all of the GOP parrots will bsquawkingng their trash.

    It will be easy blogging thcampaigngn from the GOP side with all the free smear you can reprint. The lazy press will of course run with any story that lands on their desks, even those bought and paid for by the campaigns. We all know who has the money here don't we? It takes lots of money to keep the GOP lie machine running at full steam. People will bash Bush for free. You have to pay them to say good things about the munchkin president who has "trouble with the truth".

    Load the guns, its election season folks!

    Stepping up, Stepping out

    MSNBC - Bush releases Vietnam-era Guard records:

    "Bush says no one in his family pulled strings and that he got in because others didn't want to commit to the almost two years of active duty required for fighter pilot training."

    Is this true? Bush got into the guard and got to avoid dangerous combat because others didn't want to take the time to learn to fly a fighter? While I find this a little bit... incredible, I can't say whether this claim is true or not.

    I'm Shocked... just.. shocked!!!

    Cam's in a tizzy because O'Reilly is committing the cardinal sin, questioning Bush.

    I think Bill O'Reilly's pissing on the president in order to attract a bigger audience.

    Now let's be honest. You cannot collect a check for your opinions and EVER deny you have a vested interest. How many people are willing to put their livelyhoods on the line for principle? Its easier to rationalize why your opinions are just fine if it means collecting your weekly paycheck. And I'll be the first to say "Hey, you got a family to feed". Just don't act like it doesn't matter to you.

    Now that Bill OReilly has turned on the president its time to admit that he may be a pandering mediawhore? Well, I'm shocked! Next you'll be telling me all those party consultants are just saying what they say because they are getting paid to do so. Which is fine as long as they tow the party line... Right?

    For the sake of full disclosure I have to admit that I lose money on this blog. The sheer amusement I get at pointing things like this out is enough reward for me. Thank you.

    For those with limited thinking skills


    Just because I dis Bush for being an inept president...

    ... does not make me a Clinton supporter


    Read that again, slowly if you have to, I know its a difficult thing for partisan hacks to grasp. I can in fact be critical of Bush and not be a Clinton supporter. I know your little black and white view of the world says that if I'm not a Republican I must therefore be a Democrat. But that is not the case. Some of us are indeed free thinkers on matters of politics. If it helps you can write yourself a little note and stick it to your monitor.

    Not all Bush bashers are Democrats.

    I will be pulling the lever for a Democrat this next election. Not because I have some robotic fealty to that party and all it stands for. But simply because in our winner-take-all two party system I can either vote to re-elect Bush by voting for him directly, or I can vote to re-elect Bush by not voting at all. The only way I have of getting Bush out of office is to vote for the Democrat. And I want Bush out of office. Trust me, if there was a proportional representative government in place here, I would be supporting candidates that actually reflect my opinions, not just those that can strategically get rid of ones that don't.

    Wouldn't it be great if there was a "no confidence" vote that you could cast that says in effect "I'm not voting for anyone but I want THIS GUY out". If the majority of people vote no confidence both guys get thrown out and we start all over again. Why should we live with substandard leaders because of a screwed up system that rewards a candidate that can squeak through without even getting the majority of support? Does winning less than 50% of 50% really qualify as a mandate for leadership? The votes of 50 million in a nation of nearly 300 million can allow you to claim that you represent "the American people". Nearly 4 million people voted for other candidates than Bush or Gore in the 2000 election, that's four times as many votes cast in Oklahoma, nearly as many cast in Michigan (worth 18 electoral votes). Those 4 million people get no representation. The rest of got Bush. I feel like Charlie Brown on Halloween.

    To all those organizations telling people to vote I got a clue for ya:


    I don't care much for the political party system. It means that even if we elect an individual to work in our state interests what we really get is an individual that works for the party's interests instead. So why do we even bother selecting a candidate? Why don't we just cut out that process and select which party will represent our state. Then they can continue going about their merry business of doing party work. The candidates themselves are trojan horses for the party faithful. Who would have thought that electing George W. Bush would bring in a flock of old Nixon people? Did you see that one coming?

    I think Inhofe is a perfect example of a party man. Right now he is up there in DC chairing some committee on environmental issues. He's busy spreading the word that 99% of scientists are wrong about global warming and that there's no need to regulate industries that contribute to the problem. This stance has dubious worth to the state of Oklahoma but it helps the GOP shore up support from the energy industry that wants to avoid costly regulations. Keep an eye on the votes of your local congressman and senators, you will be (or not) surprised by the insane levels of party unity.

    One of the reasons I'm dismayed at the (D)'s choice of Kerry to be the presidential nominee is for this precise reason. As a senator he has been working to strengthen the Democratic party. Which means that his votes in the senate will most likely NOT represent his own personal convictions but the wishes and whims of the party as they have sparred with the Republicans over this and that bill. There is no doubt that at some point in his career the Democratic leadership knocked on his door and said something to the effect that "We need you to vote this way to help candidate X in wherever" or "We need you to vote like this keep us from looking bad'. So what we get with Senators is a history of compromise and political maneuvering. This looks bad when you say one thing but your votes reflect another.

    But Kerry's electable!


    Whose your daddy?
    (Warning: Sacrilegious post)

    Orcinus has all the answers.

    Why would Mel Gibson be marketing a film that relies heavily on views from a excommunicated sect of the Catholic church to fundamentalist christians? And why are they eating it up?

    (dont bother clicking this link its a registration site)

    What Gibson would rather not discuss is his membership in a schismatic group that has appropriated various pious practices and sacramental rites from preconciliar Roman Catholicism, but which rejects the contemporary church's leaders and teachings. Among the most important of those teachings is a complete rejection of any interpretation of the Passion that attributes a particular or continuing responsibility for Christ's execution to the Jewish people.

    I'm kinda confused, do fundamentalists like jews or not? I have no strong views either way. They didn't kill my God, he's still thriving in a small plastic bag filled with warm water heading home from the pet store...

    ... or is he bobbing back in forth while firmly glued to the dash of a '74 Ford Maverick cruising the streets of east L.A.... or is he pressed flat between the pages of a young girl's favorite book of poetry...?

    Never mind... I found him in my desk drawer next to the dead batteries I can never bear to throw out.

    Helping out

    Tonight was fun. I had a chance to help someone that was stranded at the store and needed a ride home. It was clear on the other side of town and I didn't get home until almost an hour and a half after I got off work but it felt good being useful. I think of it as paying into the karmic piggy bank. I'm not sure if I'm carrying a balance or if I've built up some credit, but I think that any time you can make a deposit of good will you should take it.

    I like helping people. Its odd. I work in sales, which means that my purpose there is to convince people to buy things so the company can make money. There are two facets to what I do. One involves manipulating the customer into making a purchase that they might not be ready to make yet. The other involves helping a person make the purchase that they want to make but need help doing so. I like the second scenario best, and it almost makes the job enjoyable. I get to use my knowledge to guide people into making good purchase decisions. Usually this involves copious amounts of gratitude from the customer and often people have remarked about how helpful I had been and how they had found it refreshing and suprising.

    That makes me happy.

    The first scenario makes me miserable. I try to avoid it as much as possible. If I ask a customer if they need help and they express that they are not making a purchase I might come back later and ask again, or more likely I just strike up a conversation unrelated to the products and see if that leads to a comfort level wherein they feel like asking questions that might later lead to a decision about what they want.

    I've had lots of great conversations with people about all types of subjects. People are fascinating if you give them a chance to talk about what interests them. It usually takes little more than a couple of questions to get people started. The hard part is getting them to stop. People tell me all sorts of things. I've had people hand me cell phones to talk to their friends or family. I've met people that live out of RV's traveling the country. Others that have engaged in competitive Jet Ski racing, or responded to everything I say with "heck yeah!". This week alone I've meet people from Russia, Belgium, Australia, Kansas (heh!), Japan and India. I've learned out oil drilling and Radiology, storm chasing and real estate among other things, just from random conversations.

    I think this keeps me from going stir crazy at work. I'm usually happy if I do nothing more than help somebody fix a problem, even if that means not selling them something new. And that, is bad in the eyes of my bosses.

    Is it not truly an upside down world sometimes?

    New thoughts, get them while they're hot!

    I've posted my thoughts on Bush's appearance on Meet the Press as an update to an older post here.

    Quick Verdict : Disappointing.

    Some grammy thoughts...

    It must be the emphasis they place on catering to the youth crowd, but with 104 categories for awards, with less than a third of that devoted to pop, rock, rap and R&B it seems strange that the entire broadcast version of the Grammies was almost entirely composed of those few fields. There was nearly about four separate sightings of Beyonce, and three of Outkast. And of course there was the usual sentimental slant that highlighted Warren Zevon and Luther Vandross.

    So, what's to be said, it was the usual grammy show....

    Some wins for personal favorites:

  • Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album
    (Vocal or Instrumental.)

    Buenos Hermanos
    Ibrahim Ferrer
    [Nonesuch Records]

  • -----

  • Best Recording Package (the "ooo! pretty artwork" award)

    Ani DiFranco & Brian Grunert, art directors (Ani DiFranco)
    [Righteous Babe Records]

  • ------

  • Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
    (An Engineer's Award. (Artists names appear in parenthesis.))

    Hail To The Thief
    Nigel Godrich & Darrell Thorp, engineers (Radiohead)
    [Capitol Records]

  • -----

  • Overlooked Artists of the Year (I made this one up)

    The other 90% of the music world

  • |
    Things I know, things I suspect

    Conservatives and liberals see the world in two fundamentally different ways. One, the conservative, in a very two dimensional way. There is a right and wrong and we know what is right and we know what is wrong. The other, the liberal, lives in a world of constant reassessment. Right and wrong are a matter of perspective, subject to evidence. The conservative draws his conclusions based on what he "knows", this usually means he goes with what is familiar, or traditional. The liberal is constantly looking for new ways to see the world and measuring up tradition versus inquiry. Right and wrong are subject to further testing.

    To say that one worldview is right and the other is wrong doesn't take into consideration the benefits these two ways of looking at the world provide to society.

    ... and that, is a very liberal thing to say.

    Conservatism has the benefit of fighting for what has worked before. There is a virtue in sticking with what works. Otherwise we might always be tossing out the tried and true for the new fangled. bad things happen when bad ideas replace good ideas. The downside being that progress, even when good, has to overcome those that fight any new idea that challenges the traditions. Much good has been delayed because some were certain that change would result in Earth shattering evil. Conservatism has the advantage of presenting the world is a very clear black and white set of circumstances. This can lead to easy decision making. Reducing the world to its starkest elements has power. Calming the chaos can bring people to consensus. In times of danger this means that what needs to get done gets done. Many people see this as an admirable quality in Bush. His campaign will make the case that we are in a time of great danger and that we need a clear and stark view of the world to deal with that danger. The downside comes from reducing the world down to too simple a vision. "You are with us or you are against us", "good versus evil". This can lead to disastrous consequences. All the bad guys, no matter what degree of crimes they have committed, become evil. Entire nations become populated with psychopathic killers. Entire races become scapegoats for all that is wrong with the world and must therefore be wiped from the planet. The killer is a sinner the same as a gay person, the same as a genocidal tyrant, the same as an atheist. A tax cut is a tax cut is a tax cut.

    Liberalism has the benefit of pushing for change and always asking questions. When something is not working it is better to try something new. When there is an injustice it is preferable to risk destroying the whole system to try to make that one thing better. If we find something that works better then we should throw out the old. The downside being that we risk destroying good ideas that have worked well and would continue to work well. We could throw society into chaos for the sake of "righting a wrong". The solution, or the experiment may be worse than the problem we are trying to fix. It also pulls people in different directions. Too much time and effort can be spent debating competing ideas and considering possibilities and not enough time spent acting or reacting to real dangers. In a conflict, the side that acts with the most cohesion and confidence usually wins. Give two men one sack of gold and two guns, and the first guy to grab a gun and fire will get the gold. In a world where violence is always a possibility people will resort to its use. In contrast to the stark bipolar world of conservatism, liberals see things as competing theories, or possibilities. Nothing is ever truly right and nothing is ever truly wrong. This ignores the reality that there is really evil things in the world that will kill you if you don't see them coming. The killer that has you by the throat can be reasoned with, you only just need to present him with evidence why he shouldn't hurt you.

    I am a liberal. For a while I shunned that term because in the black and white world of people like Rush Limbaugh simply being a liberal makes you wrong. This means that no matter how reasonable a person you are, no matter how well you present your case, no matter how strong your evidence you are still wrong by simple fact of being a liberal. However, I have realized that you cannot get around a term like that. As soon as I try to argue my case by presenting evidence, or by trying to present new perspectives, I am engaging in liberalism. The simple fact that I try to see what's wrong with being a liberal is part of the practice. Conservatives don't sit around and try to find ways that conservative thought might be bad for society. There's no need. They're right! They argue their case based on their moral certainty. To me it sounds like circular logic, but to conservatives it makes perfect sense. For example, we must defeat the evildoers because they are evil and deserved to be destroyed. Simple, yes, but effective. The problem, like I said above, comes when you start throwing petty criminals and the hard core villains into the same pot of evil. The pot of evildoers grows until we find ourselves shooting innocent people because they are simply the wrong color or standing on the wrong piece of land. Conservatives argue that liberals simply refuse to acknowledge that some people are just plain evil. We always look to make excuses for their actions. If we could only find out why they're bad, we could make things better. So we end up with liberals coddling terrorists and asking them about their childhoods while we get conservatives bombing peasant villages.

    Obviously we could use a little bit of both kinds of thinking. In moderation if at all possible. People are never really ALL conservative or ALL liberal. But I think we individually fall into one of those two broad categories. Its very difficult to accept the black and white vision of the conservative world at the same time you embrace the evidentiary world of liberalism. Institutions in our society reflect this schism. Science, religion, arts, and the military have internal structual biases towards ways of thinking. I can trust you know which is which. You can even tell the difference in discussions from either side, whether people argue from evidence or they argue from conviction. Once again, I'll leave that for you to decide which is which.

    My next question, are these behaviors learned or are they engrained?

    Sunday, Meet the Pres.

    MSNBC - Find "Meet the Press" in your area:

    "Tulsa, OK - KJRH, 8:00 AM"
    "Oklahoma City, OK ? KFOR, 10:00 AM"

    I see five possible scenarios playing out:

    1) Russert lobs a couple of "hardball" questions which Bush evades and Russert fails to follow up
    2) Russert makes alot of menacing noises but sticks to softballs
    3) Russert eats Bush for lunch and spits out a gooey glob of worthless president.
    4) Russert throws the fastballs while Bush bunts for an hour and claims victory.
    5) Russert goes for the jugular and Bush uses his impressive debating skills to defend his positions.

    ... and here are the odds as I see them:

    1) 1/2
    2) 1/1
    3) 5/1
    4) 1/4
    5) 20/1

    I don't even know how to make odds! That's the best I could come up with! Can you think of any other possible scenarios or do you think something completely upredicatable will happen? Or do you think it will be a snorefest with Bush repeating "We're safer with Saddam in prison" over and over again like some sadistic tape loop?


    I say it was an overwhelming win for scenario #1. Bush has started his campiagn. He riffed on his theme, Saddam was a madman, madmen must be stopped, I stopped him and we are at war.

    Meet the Press: President George W. Bush

    And the President of the United States? most solemn responsibility is to keep this country secure. And the man was a threat, and we dealt with him, and we dealt with him because we cannot hope for the best. We can't say, Let's don't deal with Saddam Hussein. Let's hope he changes his stripes, or let's trust in the goodwill of Saddam Hussein. Let's let us, kind of, try to contain him. Containment doesn't work with a man who is a madman.

    This is a self contained arguement. You start with the premise that Saddam is a madman capable of anything. Once you assume that he is evil, and an irrational actor, then you can justify actions to destroy him. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Saddam was irrational. If you look at his behavior, it is murderous and criminal, but it fit the mold of a dictator intent on keeping a grip on power by murder and intimidation. If you actually take the trouble to read through the history of our involvement with Saddam, our support throught the Iran/Iraq war, the buildup to the first gulf war and the decade of sanctions you will see that Saddam, while a tyrannt, was acting in his own self-interest.

    "Experts familiar with Mr. Hussein's upbringing and years in power said that there was no evidence that he suffered from psychosis or any severe mental illness. The very fact that he was able to stay in charge for so long and exert such complete control argues against insanity, the experts said."

    They suggest that Saddam was more likely to be a malignant narcissist.

    Malignant narcissism, as defined by psychiatrists, is a severe form of narcissistic personality disorder. Like classic narcissists, malignant narcissists are grandiose, self-centered, oversensitive to criticism and unable to feel empathy for others. They cover over deep insecurities with an inflated self-image.

    Which reminds us of someone else.

    "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have."

    A good read about the general history of Saddam and the lead up to the first Gulf War can be found in this excellent report from Frontline. Fascinating is the analysis of Saddam and why he invaded Kuwait. Hint: It wasn't because he was insane..

    SAMI RAHMAN, Former Iraqi Minister: Some people who have called him mad don't know anything about him, don't know anything about the situation. He is a very cold calculator, but he believes very much in using force to impose his will.

    So we're splitting hairs? Saddam was tyrannical but not crazy. Why is that important? Because a madman would actually threaten or attack the United States, and a madman would give islamic terrorists nuclear weapons when they would just as likely use them against him, but a self important petty dictator will do whatever it takes to keep power.

    So the rational view, one shared by many others in the Middle East was that Saddam was a brutal ruler who deserved to be overthrown, but NOT because he was a threat to the United States or any of his neighbors. For the best and most compelling arguement FOR THE WAR in Iraq listen to this interview with Hisham Kassem, publisher of the Cairo Times on Fresh Air. Starts about seven minutes in...

    To me the issues of weapons of mass destruction was something I never really bought or went along with, I didn't think saddam had weapons or mass destruction or delivery systems.
    This was the pretext that the government went to war over. But in my case, my support was not over WMD, these, it was, liberate the people of Iraq"

    But, you as well as I know the problems with this arguement. Would the american people support a war of intervention? Is it legal to invade and depose a dictator simply because he is a tyrannt? Without a threat, can there be war? Its incredibly dubious that you could sell this humanitarian rationale as part of a greater "war on terror".

    ... and lastly... here's my favorite WTF moment during the president's Meet the Press interview.

    I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn't true, but it is true. And the American people need to know they got a president who sees the world the way it is. And I see dangers that exist, and it's important for us to deal with them.

    I think it sums up the black and white world of the conservative mindset. You may be a conservative if you agree with this kind of thinking, I personally find it laughable. That amount of moral certainty is what makes people fear Bush. People who are that sure of themselves are often very, very ... very wrong.

    Lost in Translation

    This is a movie review of sorts. I don't claim to me a reviewer. I'll just give my take on the movie, if I liked it, or not, and what I didn't like about it. My point of view, while not always clever or ironic is mine.

    Sound good? Here goes..

    There are two main characters in this movie, the city of Tokyo and the stunning cutie played by Scarlett Johansson. Those two things, plus a great choice of music, make this film worth watching. I can't say the plot did a whole lot for me. Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte strike up a friendship because they feel isolated from their personal lives as well as the culture around them. Together they reclaim a connection to another like-minded human being as well as take on the city and beat back some of its imposing power. Overall the plot exists to provide the filmakers an excuse film a movie that's principally about Tokyo and modern Japanese culture. And thats why I liked it.

    That.. and Scarlet Johansson. The scenes of her lounging around her hotel room were worth the price of the rental.

    ... and that's my incredibly superficial take on Lost in Translation!

    Do you take this women...?

    Marriage is a sacred institution where a man comes to gain possesion of a women from her father.

    Wait.. I went back too far didn't I?

    Never mind...

    Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a women, or so its been said.

    I'm not sure what all the uproar is about. I don't see gay people getting hitched as the biggest threat to the institution of marriage. That title goes to well... heterosexuals. They never stay married anymore do they? I'm sure some of the politicians going on about gay people are divorced and remarried themselves. I tend to think that gay people would treat their marriage as more precious, because they had been denied access for so long. Straight people treat marriage like the corner convenience store, always open and easy to get in and get out.

    Git n Go.

    What cheapens marriage is the legal and financial gains you get from being married. We want people to get married because they are going to stay together and love each other. So why give people OTHER reasons to get married that have nothing to do with those goals? The only reason that gay people WANT to be married is because they are being denied certain rights that can only be gained from marriage. Otherwise I would tell gay people to just avoid getting married. Have some ceremony where you exchange rainbow scarves or something and call it "forever".

    This pandering to homophobes with a constitutional amendment is bad policy. Any time the government gets in the business of defending morality things just get all twisted and screwed up. If they're not hurting anyone then let them be. I think we should put "You stay outta my face, I stay outta yours" on the money instead of "In God we trust". Live and let live is our unofficial motto. And if churches don't want to marry gay people, so be it, that's their right as well.

  • I propose a constitutional amendment banning Gluttony. Fat people will be fined for the amount they are overweight. They will be denied access to fast food joints and donut places. There's a $500 fine if you're caught in a Krispy Kreme. Repeat offenders will be put on Atkins with an Atkin's officer that will conduct weekly weigh ins

  • I propose a constitutional amendment banning Pride. People will be required to start all conversations with a appropriate disclaimer, "I'm full of shit but..." or "I may be wrong but...". All celebrations will be banned, we should never be proud of anything, out birthdays, our anniversaries, our independence etc. Citizens not sufficiently shameful will be required to dress in rags and apologize profusely.

  • I propose a constitutional amendment banning the enjoyment of sex. For all I know this one may be in the works. Its already the official policy of most Christian religions. Sex should be avoided if at all possible. If necessary for procreation then sex must be performed with the lights off and fully dressed (except for open zippers of course). Afterwards you will be required to fill out a form declaring your complete contempt with yourself for enjoying the act. For its assumed that should you actually have an orgasm then some sort of pleasure was involved. A suitable amount of community service will be required for each sex act. Punishment may include attending weekly services where you will be required to pretend to hate sex. A naked man, bloody and nailed to a cross will be a reminder that nakedness is bad and thus sex is bad. Each citizen will be required to own a picture of this naked man.

  • I have a dream.. that we can just get past this whole gay people thing. Grow up people. They're here they're queer and they want to get married for God knows why...??

    Spending out both ends

    This is a continuation of a previous post and a discussion carried over from Dustbury.com. This was originally going to be a comment over there, but it started getting way to long.

    RE: Government regulations and lobbying.

    They key is to make sure that a good balance is maintained. I'm sure that many corporations would like the govt to get out of the business of acting on the behalf of its citizens. I find that the question in not whether government has a role in regulating but the fairness of those regulations. I see it as a playing field analogy. In every contested event you have basic groundrules. In basketball, you have to dribble, you can't kick the ball, and you have to get it through the hoop to score a point, in football, a team has to maintain possession, only certain formations are possible, and you get six points per touchdown and a chance for an extra point.

    The economy of a country is like a competitive event. And the government has to work as the referees. This way the citizens determine the rules by which business is conducted. As long as the rules are known to all parties and are applied fairly across the board then all is good. Its fair that companies ask the government to change the rules if they think they are harsh, an impediment to business or applied unevenly. Its foolish I think to ask that there be no rules. That will be a disaster in my opinion. But some advocate for such conditions. I would go so far to say that should we continue down the road of handing the decision making process over to international trade bodies we are in effect giving up our ability to determine the rules of the game. And they will henceforth be written solely by corporate interests with little or no obligation to act in the good of the national citizens.

    Politicians are supposed to be advocates for people and companies alike. But it seems that too often companies have more say than individuals. I see the Bush admin as the prime example of corporate cronyism at the expense of overall economic and social health. The balance is being tilted heavily in one direction. One that favors a small segment of the society at the expense of the rest of us. Take a quick look at some of the policies being promoted. The Medicare Bill is a great example. This bill effectively gives the drug companies a captive market, funded by tax dollars that has already given up its right to bargain for lower prices. The targeted tax cuts are another great example. Only a small percentage of people are affected by estate taxes or capital gains taxes, and those people just also happen to be the same people that are at the head of these mega-corporations and giving heavily to political campaigns. Bush is giving everybody all that they have asked for, cuts in income taxes and large new government spending programs lean on accountability. I call that spending out of both ends! Its what you would expect to see from an administration that puts the overall interests of its constituents (in this case, corporations) ahead of the interests of the citizenry.

    The worst case scenario is one where the government gets into the game of selecting individual winners by relaxing the rules for just that one company or interest. This will have the negative effect of destroying other healthy entities. The effect is the same as if the refs of a football game would always let one team get away with holding while always calling it on the other team. The winner of the contest would not be the best at playing the game but the ones that had an unfair advantage. Right now the battle for the ears of politicians is not between the people and the corporations but rather between one group of interests and another. So electing a Democrat will change the atmosphere in Washington but we shouldn't expect miracles.

    One of the reasons that I find Democrats on the whole less despicable is because of the interests that they represent, unions, teachers, environmental groups, and a host of other citizen advocacy groups. The balance sheet for the Republicans looks like a who's who of the powerful and the corrupt. That's not to say that those same faces don't appear on the Democratic side as well. They are nothing if not resourceful, even if that means spending time in both beds.

    This chart at Opensecrets.org will illustrate that point, with Dems and Reps getting money from all industries with certain industries favoring one party over the other. You will notice that overall Republicans get more money from a larger group of people. Looking through the tables I had to wonder just where the Democrats get their money. It comes from a few places in large amounts. Labor Unions give almost solely to Democrats, Entertainment groups give to both sides but there are a few large donors that tip that scale in the D favor. In most industries the majority of donors give to the Republicans while a small percentage goes to Democrats, with Labor and Entertainment money making up the difference.

    He.. its no wonder Republicans hate Trial Lawyers, Hollywood and Labor Unions... without them there wouldn't be a Democratic party! ON the other side you have the usual litany of corporate villains, Tobacco Companies, Agribusiness, Oil Companies... and Wal Mart, who gave 8 to 1 to Republicans.

    If you have the time take a few minutes to look through the charts at who is giving to who. Its an eye opener.

    Snow Arrives!

    This morning I woke up and watched American Splendor. I had rented it last night but waited till today to actually watch it. I was originally wanting to rent Lost in Translation but they were out at Hollywood.

    American Splendor: While not anything that made me think "Wow, this is great" I did enjoy it while I lay tucked under the blankets waiting for it to start snowing. Its a story that really tackles the ugly feelings of bitter loneliness and what that does to a person's mental processes. The movie features Paul Giamatti who plays Harvey Pekar, as well as Harvey as himself. Its a bit odd to see the contrast of the portrayed Harvey with the real person. It does steal a little bit of the believability of the movie. The real Harvey has less of an aura of doom and gloom than the movie version. But that just may be the effect of time on the man. Overall I would suggest that you go out and pick it up if you like movies about quirky people living in a quirky world. I felt a little betrayed that everything "worked out" but relieved that it didn't go overboard. Things just go "good enough" for Harvey. And I think that's all he was shooting for.

    Tulsa... Theater... Tulsa?

    The Midwestern Theater Troupe and Nightingale Theater : About The Theater:
    "The Nightingale Theater is located in a small industrial park on Fourth Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. One block East of Peoria, the theater borders both the East Village and downtown, and is easily accessible to the growing Brady District. The metal facade immediately sets it apart from the surrounding brick and concrete buildings. The stadium-style seating is mobile to accommodate any type of traditional or non-traditional seating arrangements, and the backstage area has a 40-foot ceiling ideal for set and prop construction."

    I've been here once to see Dan Piraro (of Bizarro and distant relation fame) who was hilarious as to be expected. Its a cool place. While inside you can almost imagine being in another city, one with a thriving cultural scene. Bravo to whoever got this theater up and running. You do more good than you know.

    This Month: Movies!

    2/6 - 2/8 :: Marx Brothers Madness
    2/13 - 2/15 :: Sam Shepard Valentine Weekend
    2/20 - 2/22 :: Howard Hawks Cowboy Classics
    2/27 - 2/29 :: Fantastorealism

    Admission is by donation unless otherwise noted; all proceeds help keep the theater open.

    What could be better? An excuse to head out there...

    An Okie comments on the primaries among other things

    Well, they are saying Clark will win Oklahoma. That makes me happy. I like Clark, but I like the fact that Oklahoma didn't jump on the Kerry bandwagon even more. I am extremely... repeat... extremely pleased that U.S.S. Lieberman has finally been sunk. I actually started singing when I heard the news. Other than his former VP runningmate status he was always a fringe candidate in my eye.

    I do feel bad for the guy because he's a human being and he deserves a certain amount of respect, but he is the only candidate that would make me feel like staying home on general election day. It was painful to watch a democrat use GOP language when talking about the tax cuts and the war in Iraq. I think its not too much to ask that all democrats should adopt truthful language when talking about the issues. Don't get me wrong, President Lieberman would have been ok with me if it meant Citizen Bush. But I'm glad we have better options still viable.

    Of course, I wouldn't be too heartbroken if the Kerry and Edwards campaigns lost their momentum as well. I still like Clark or Dean. But I am resigned to the fact that who I like matters less than who everyone likes.

    That said...

    Electability: What kind of horsesh*t is this? Is electability where we all try to second guess what everyone else will do based upon what everyone thinks everyone else will do? Sounds like schooling to me, we all group together for safety. The candidate positions become irrelevant as we view them more as a point of rally rather than a candidate of choice. I think its an unfortunate by product of our system. We know that liberal democratic values are dominant in this country. We've been moving in that direction with little course change for decades. However, that matters little when a well organized and ideologically driven minority all vote in block for their anointed candidate, even when that candidate is a proven fraud. We just think that the country is more conservative than it is because we've had networks of transmitters out there spouting right wing time warp positions from a bully pulpit.

    Its too easy to say that if everyone votes for who they want rather than who they think will win we'll actually get the candidate that we deserve. While true in theory its too easily subverted by a small organized minority committed to one candidate to achieve victory. I think winner take all politics is a recipe for picking second rate politicians.

    The South: Isn't this a case of identity politics at its worst? I think it's long past the time that we get past this notion of North and South. People can ask, with all honesty, why people in other parts of the world just "can't get along" when we here in this country still treat the Civil War like it happened yesterday. Get over it people. Its hurting us because people use the built in prejudice to get us to vote against our real interests. In this class warfare any and all wedges will be used to pry people apart. A worker in the north has to deal with the same issues as a worker in the south. Dean was dead on when he addressed this issue. He was crucified for trying but bless him for pointing out that pitting north against south is lowest common denominator politics. I think the media play this angle way too much as well. Rarely is it publicized that so called "red states" are overall recipients of government funding. The more agricultural regions of this country have benefited immensely from wealth redistributed from more wealthy coastal and northern regions. Oklahoma gets $1.52 for every dollar we send to the federal government. That's like earning a 50% rate of interest on every dollar we contribute in taxes. So why are we so angry at the government for taxing us to death? You would think we would be clamoring for more taxes. But "red states" also have higher rates of poverty as well. What gives? Could it be that in the general scheme of things average people are getting screwed while that extra $0.52 that comes back gets funneled into "worthy" hands, namely those that help get certain candidates elected again and again?

    Its called pork; Farm subsidies that go to big agribusiness, military bases used as life support systems for small communities, or military contractors employing hundreds of thousands of people in states with powerful representatives?

    Is it a Dem vs. Rep thing? Heck no. This is class warfare people. There are two teams and the politicians only pretend to play on our team when its election time. In our hearts we realize this. Even when we elect good people we send them to the lions den to get gobbled alive by lobbyists. You fail to bring home the bacon and it doesn't matter if you have an (R) or a (D) on your door, your mudd.

    Special Interests: Its a term that we hear a lot. In political speak it means "bogeyman". Special interests are "them", the people that are making things all go downhill. This election cycle we will hear Democrats attacking corporate lobbyists. What's wrong with the country is that these corporate lobbyists have climbed into bed with Bush and are sucking the treasury dry and robbing ordinary people of their livelyhoods. This is what they'll say, and they'll be right. But we should not be so presumptuous to assume that once The D's regain the mantle of power they will kick the lobbyists out to the curb with righteous indignation. I can make a pretty clear prediction that even if a Democrat wins, we will not see the general nature of Washington change. No matter how nice it sounds when Kerry uses his line about "don't let the door hit you on the way out!" we should not expect to see televised images of lobbyists dressed in their suits standing on street corners holding "Will pimp for government money" signs. Not gonna happen. I'll tell you why.

    The Democrats are trying to get back in power, not to kick out the lobbyists but to regain a bargaining position. The irony of our system is that getting into the positions of power means convincing voters that you really mean it when you stand up there and say "I'll fight for you!". Sometimes politicians really mean it. In general though I think the parties always keep an eye on the ball, consolidating power. To achieve this you need leverage, and that means money. Controlling who gets what is the name of the game. Funneling money to your supporters is part of the game right? Lets ask Tom Delay:

    "There is an old adage, said House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas. To the victor goes the spoils."

    In case you didn't know the "spoils" just happen to be our tax dollars, which are nothing more than favors to be doled out in a big political chess match.

    Bush's reckless spending and disastrous fiscal policy is not some weird "where did that come from" anomoly. Its payoff. The Republicans under people like Delay have been incredibly adept at lining up their corporate ducks. Bush's $200 million warchest of large contribution donors is nothing short of a wholesale indicator that the (R)'s have won this round. All we wait for now is to see if the (D)'s can rally enough voter anger to shift the balance of power in their favor. The best we can hope for is a president that will balance the needs of the country versus the demands of his party to cater to the "special interests".

    In Bush, there is no balance, this is obvious. He is a party man through and through. It was painfully clear when this lightweight came out of nowhere in 2000 backed with an army of "Pioneers". His pandering to the money interests is only matched by his hamhanded pandering to the people of this country.

    Good lord.. Steroids and Moon Colonies, and not one word of Osama Bin Laden?

    Great article about digital cameras!

    Digital Secrets: How Spirit Makes Great Photos:
    "Anyone who has ever agonized over whether to buy a 3-megapixel or 4-megapixel digital camera might be surprised to learn that Spirit's stunningly detailed images of Mars are made with a 1-megapixel model, a palm-sized 9-ounce marvel that would be coveted in any geek's shirt pocket."

    Go read this article if you are interesting in digital imaging. It helps explain a few things. Namely, how this hoopla about resolution can be deceiving. Many of the cheap five megapixel cameras will actually deliver worse results that better designed three megapixel cameras. The primary reason for this will be lens quality and lens compatibility. The secondary reason will be sensor quality. Any ol' tech company can buy a sensor, a lens and make it record images. And it might even be five megapixels worth. However, unless that sensor sees a clear, bright and accurate image it does you no good. The cardinal rules of good photography still stand; get a good lens and hold the camera steady. Follow those rules and you'll get better pictures.

    The Rover camera, despite only having one megapixel's worth of sensors actually has larger sensors as well, which are better at receiving light. So it sees better in lower light and it what it sees gets to the sensor more directly. Some cameras simply pack more pixels into an existing chip. No good.


    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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