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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Slow Week : Holiday Hours

Its been slow to update lately. I moved my music keyboard up onto the desk to play some piano and that makes it a little more difficult to type on my computer keyboard as well. I can never quite get it to balance, so its always sliding and bouncing around when I'm trying to type.

Negative feedback.

I've been celebrating. Trying to have a little fun before I die. That, and I've been working. The good thing about people quitting at work all the time is that they have to give me more hours to work. I know they consider going to self-serve whenever they think about putting me out there more often but that just isn't an option now is it guys?

An absence of options.

I did however get a chance to read through the latest Bill Whittle essays: STRENGTH (Part 1) and STRENGTH (Part 2).

I understand why people like to quote and link Mr. Whittle. He has a very excited and convincing style of writing that is ripe for blockquoting. However, his articles are full of fallacious thinking. That cannot be ignored no matter how convincingly he writes.

I could spend all day refuting each of his assertions one by one. But I would rather just ask that you not assume that his gross caricatures of Liberals are true in any broad sense whatsoever. I could just as easily point out all the ridiculous things that people like Robertson or Falwell say and tar the entire right wing as idiots. I could do so with flowery language and analogies but in the end I've done nothing more than create the web's biggest strawman.

I could then pander to your ego and stroke your own sense of entitlement but what do you gain from that? From what I can tell, you get a warped view of history and our place in it.

Yes, our American society is a great thing. And no, I as a liberal, have no desire to hand it over to the fundies, of either the Islamic or Christian varieties. I, unlike Mr. Whittle am equally at ease pointing the finger at that pattern of human behavior as being abhorrent in all forms. That we emerged from that kind of thinking was a product of secular ideals. While Mr. Whittle praises what we have become he panders to the mentality that we overcame and ignores the process by which we achieved our success.

Let's give a little credit where its due.


Today is my birthday. I turn thirty years old.

Its more than I expected, more than I deserve.

Thank you to each day.

whadaya know?

Krugman: To Tell the Truth:

"The truth is that the character flaws that currently have even conservative pundits fuming have been visible all along. Mr. Bush's problems with the truth have long been apparent to anyone willing to check his budget arithmetic. His inability to admit mistakes has also been obvious for a long time. I first wrote about Mr. Bush's 'infallibility complex' more than two years ago, and I wasn't being original."

Now, I knew that Krugman was right, he knew that he was right and now he feels like the veil of insanity might finally be lifting from the Media. We'll see...

The NYTimes printed a self-critical editorial about how they should not have taken, Bush, his Neocon backers and their Iraqi exiles seriously when they were spinning stories to get us to invade.

Wow, thanks guys.

So how is it that an economist can see through the BS that the big media people like the NYTimes was so ready to believe? Because he focused on behaviors instead of authority. He was looking past the usual markers of truth that the media use, to see that the rhetoric and the evidence did not match. He was not getting tied up in politics as the art of power but just simply observing human behavior.

Mmmmmm... Indian Food.

India Palace Tulsa - Menu Page 2

Yes, I'd like to start off with some Naan, an appetizer of Vegetable Somosas and for dinner... I'll have the Matter Paneer.

Thank you.

To drink...?

Iced Chai Tea please.

India Palace Restaurant
6963 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74136

(918) 492-8040
(918) 492-8350 Fax

Or if you're in Dallas visit the Cosmic Cafe.

Cosmic Cafe
2912 Oak Lawn Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 521-6157


Chaotic Not Random

Ahh.. to have goals, and to achieve those goals.


I willingly engaged in at least two activities that I normally avoid.

I went to the mall


I got my hair cut.

Two normal-type activities for any other red blooded American guy. But I am not usually that type of person. I eschew the mall. I grow my hair out long to minimize my haircutting experiences. I do not have your typical short spiky type hairdo...

usually... but I did, and I do.

So why oh why oh why did I do it?

I needed a change. I was getting a little annoyed that I hadn't done anything to break out of my routine for a while. I would stare at myself and see my own comfort; in what I was. I know that fear of change kills your imagination and your vitality. I see how people get trapped by fear. We all seem to think that we are the center of life's spotlight. The whole world will teeter and fall should we take any step to change the program. Its not true... few people really care how we look or what we do. Changing something about yourself reminds you of this fact.

So what do you do when your own self image revolves around being different? What does that salmon that swims against the current do to change his ways?

Well, you turn around an go with the current for a while.

So it will be.

I bought some cologne. Its called "Cool Water". I asked the lady at the counter. "What's the latest thing out?" We sampled several kinds...

Me... following a trend? Sure... why not? Its smells good too.

I told the girl at the hair place. "Let me see a book, I'll pick something out." After a couple minutes of discussion I told her to just cut it short and make it look good. I put my fate in her hands. She did well, exactly what I wanted. I got a typical guy cut, complete with glued up spiky bangs.

I don't think I've worn cologne since High School. At my parents house they still have some old bottles of soured scents sitting up on a small shelf in their bathroom; Polo, Fahrenheit, Eternity and Aramis. I was quite the little trend follower back then.

I had changed. Lately I just put on a little deodorant for work and nothing else (scent-wise). I still don't think that I'll be drowning myself in stinky fragrance on a daily basis but I might now and then to mix it up. We shall see.

Its new... its different. If only in small ways.

Its not like I'm packing up and moving to a foreign country. Yet.

Oh boy.. Oh girl

Temptation Waits: May 17, 2004 - May 23, 2004:
"So many men have told me that they are fundamentally 'good guys,' but that women just don't seem to want someone that pursues them. And then we women, after chasing those bad boys, mope after they screw us over--claiming we could be satisfied if we could only find a good man . . . Ah the games, and to further muddy the waters, we have the complicated issues relating to the delicate balance of power between two people who find themselves physically attracted to each other. And then came the freaking internet."

This is girl, she, and boy (both okies) have turned their storytelling talents to the (hopefully gloved) task of revealing the wild, quirky, rude, nasty and unbelievable underside of online dating.

It turns out that I know girl from a "past life". So it was a nice surprise to run into her again.

Damn, I let some of my politics slip at work.

How did it happen?

A co-worker admitted that he would never vote for Kerry because he flip-flops. I think my jaw just dropped. I told him that I could never vote for Bush because he was liar and he was incompetent.

I have to marvel. How does this flip-flop thing work? I mean, all politicians dance around and give non-answers or cater their message to their audience. Any politician with a long career will have issues where they have changed their stance.

(Do I need to mention that many lawmakers who formally pushed to limit stem cell research are, rightly, rethinking their position?)

Are we to pretend that Bush doesn't not do this? Keep in mind that I have listened to his speeches. They are fluff. He does consistently says that we will fight evil. But every time I hear him say such things I bust out laughing. He claims that tax cuts are growing the economy when that claim has been false since he first started making it. The economy may be picking up again but there is no proof that it had anything to do with tax cuts. Lest we forget that Bush forecasted the effects of the tax cuts but was wrong both times that he did. The way its going he can claim that the tax cuts are working if the economy "picks up at any time after the passage of said tax cuts"; be it three months or three years after they were to have worked their supposed magic.

But, so the conventional wisdom goes, Bush is not a flip flopper.

This despite the 2000 election rhetoric about being a moderate, working across both sides of the aisle type president. Has our country and our government been any more divided? He is even having trouble keeping his own party from devouring itself. The CIA and the State Department are giving each other evil glares and the Pentagon and the Defense Department are at odds over Iraq.

For fun I tracked down some of the notorious Kerry Flip-Flops, and I found some...

Now, Kerry Expresses Doubt About NAFTA. "Kerry, who voted for NAFTA in 1993, expressed some doubt about the strength of free-trade agreements. 'If it were before me today, I would vote against it because it doesn't have environmental or labor standards in it,' he said." (David Lightman, "Democrats Battle For Labor's Backing," Hartford Courant, 8/6/03)

Holy Cow, so ten years have passed and we have seen the affects of NAFTA on our economy. So, Kerry is supposed to stick with his initial belief even in the face of ten years of NEW EXPERIENCE.

And the Medal flip-flop...?

On several occasions dating back to his 1984 Senate campaign, Kerry has asserted that he threw ribbons, not medals, over the fence. Recently, on ABC's Good Morning America Kerry argued, "No, you didn't see me throw...Charlie, Charlie, you are wrong. That's not what happened. I threw my ribbons across..."

Ok, I never got this one. Why is this important again? This ranks with the SUV flip-flop as being the most asinine nitpicking. If I had thirty years of public statements on record and this was the worst you could come up with on me I would feel pretty relieved.

If Bush never flip flops its because he never strays far from his "defeat evil" script.

But I've been thinking about this all wrong, thinking like a liberal again. I was getting all caught up in ideas about proof and evidence and all that nonsense. I assumed that the rules applied equally across the board.

I've since come to realize that the reason they can throw a weak label like Flip Flop on men of longstanding service like Gore and Kerry and have it stick is because its all just a pretext.

That's right... a pretext: a fictitious reason that is concocted in order to conceal the real reason

So what is the real reason? I'm not certain but from what I can tell, most of the people that I've met that support Bush do so out of a religious conviction. The Christians have anointed their man, Bush and pinning labels on Kerry are nothing more than thin excuses to vote for Bush anyways.

Bush is the holy warrior who will defend "our way of life", as DelGiorno put it. Christians are scared of the Muslims. September 11th put the fear of Allah in them. They are rallying behind the same warriors that defended them against the Commies. You remember the Commies don't you? That time the Christians had the fear of Marx put in them. Fear is a powerful motivating force for all sides. Leaders of all varieties use fear to consolidate their power.

From FlipFlopper.com

"When will the jackass Democratic leadership in America figure out that the war on terror is bigger than them getting back the White House? The prison scandal was a perfect opportunity for the Dem's to stand BEHIND our President, not with the Islamofacist-head sawing-animals."

Once again we can only understand this mentality if we accept that large numbers of Iraqis are involved in worldwide terrorism. Notice the dichotomy? President on one side, terrorists on the other. The author of this quote equates any and all that do not line up with the President as being "with" the "Islamofascist-head-sawing-animals". That includes Democrats and Iraqis; the infidels and the people that would sympathize with them.

President Bush has become a cult-like figure for a portion of the religious right. I give Bush himself the benefit of the doubt, that while he DOES pander to that segment with certain rhetorical flourishes, I don't feel he ever comes out and overtly puts out this image as Holy Warrior. Religious right figureheads, like Robertson and the Free Republic have cultivated an image of Bush in that community that feeds into this US-President/Them-Muslims picture. They do so for complicated reasons, including various political goals that have little to do with terrorism.

The usual disclaimer applies. I make generalizations about a small but very vocal minority of Christians . However, a much larger group of church-goers are influenced by this group that has anointed Bush as "our man". I've met quite a few people, who are very socially liberal but will still vote for Bush because of reasons of church.

I must confess I'm still a little baffled, and with all such posts, I'm still trying to figure out the details.

Weigh in...

The Shower

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Kids in Satan's Service

Michael DelGiorno, radio talk show host for KFAQ here in Tulsa had this to say the other day.

"The enemy we are facing - this is true Islam"
"We are in a Holy War against our way of life and the God we serve."

Once you assume that you are part of the one true religion, blessed to be God's people and that no other religion is so similarly blessed you come to the conclusion that any other religion in the world is your enemy.

Flip the coin of good and evil. If we are heads they must be tails. We are good, therefore they must be evil. They, falling victim to the same dunderheaded mentality come to the same conclusion and both sides go about the creator's intended goal of getting us to annihilate each other.

See why I'm a secularist?

While a recognize that there are deranged people that want to kill my sorry self, I also recognize that same mentality in my neighbors who want to kill others as well. Its the natural result of patterns of thought.

Can we stop and think for just a second... please?

Ok, that's good enough. No need to overdo it.


Chaotic Not Random:

Laughing is a social event, a form of communication. You shouldn't feel the need to laugh out loud when your sitting around by yourself... unless your schizo, or something's just too damn funny!

Kilgore Trout goes back to talk to Young Kilgore.

"KT: Listen. Do you want to be thirty years old, sitting alone in your apartment on a Saturday night, posting bitter essays to the Internet about your sexual frustrations? Or do you want to be playing lead guitar for a band called Monkey Cunt and having three-ways in the ladies' rooms of back-alley clubs?

YK: What's the Internet?

KT: It's a place where you're going to be spending way too much time if you don't pick up that guitar."

Well, I have been playing guitar for over ten years and I can vouch that being a guitar player, in and of itself is not a gateway to the fantasy life of three-way sexual encounters. Maybe if I was in a band called Monkey Cunt things might be different. I guess I'll never know...

Frito Play


As part of cross (crass) promotion fun with Shrek 2, Frito Lay is offering people a chance to win one of four "Storybook Trips".

  • The Splender of the Canadian Rockies

  • The Paradise of a Secluded Tropical Island

  • The Enchanting Delights of Switzerland

  • and my favorite, full of irony...

  • The Untouched Wonders of The Galapagos

  • Untouched... because nobody touches them perhaps?

    You win:

    A luxury yacht off the coast of this Pacific haven for nature (for 4)

    Just like Darwin on the Beagle.

    The Beagle was not an exceptionally large vessel by any means. Measuring only ninety feet in length, she carried a crew of 74 people, "including the Captain, three officers, the crew, a doctor, an artist, and the naturalist. Darwin shared the poop cabin (at the back of the ship) with two officers. Their space was so cramped that Darwin had to remove a drawer each night so that he would have room for his feet."

    Don't forget your sunscreen.

    In preparing for the voyage, Darwin made a list of things that he would need, including 12 new shirts and other clothing; slippers; light walking shoes; a folding, portable dissecting microscope; a geological compass; a case of pistols and a rifle; a Spanish-English dictionary; a book on taxidermy; reading material (Humboldt and Milton); his favorite geology text, Lyell's Principles of Geology; a Bible; a pair of binoculars; a magnifying glass; and jars of "Spirit" (probably alcohol) for preserving specimens.

    For the record. I'd choose Switzerland.

    Spare a Dime?

    One advantage to dealing with the public in a retail setting is that you can witness patterns of human behavior. I enjoy doing this. I think I'm pretty good at it. The best compliment I ever received was from a friend that admitted he thought I was "insightful".

    My own humility prevents me from owning that compliment.. but he said it, not me!

    I'm pretty anti-social. I'm not the personality type that enjoys trying to communicate in a sea of people. I like one to one. I get to do that with customers. The "sale" is common ground where strangers can start a conversation. Most of the time my conversations with people center around their needs and how we can get them what they want and on their way. Sometimes, if the person seems willing and time permits we'll talk about other things other than the immediate task at hand. I enjoy that the most. I also think that it has improved my skills at finding common ground with people despite large gulfs in our backgrounds and our interests. You learn to identify common shared values and where common sense overrides the nonsense that gets fed into our brains day after day.

    I've also learned how to tell people "no". I enjoy it actually. Not because I take a certain kind of glee in being difficult because I feel I am doing a service to humanity.

    Ok, that's a stretch. But I do feel that something needs to be done to curb this growing assumption that you can get what you want by being an asshole about it. We have gone away from being a society that only complains when its warranted to one that complains as a part of our everyday lives. We feel that if we don't whine and complain that we are getting ripped off. What we don't understand is that the more we complain and whine the more companies will develop methods of screwing people with legitimate complaints to try to shield themselves from scammers. We always assume that people are trying to scam us so when people have real problems we don't know if to believe them.

    These days I have seen nice, decent people acting against their very nature and asking for freebies. You can tell that they are uncomfortable asking. They feel obligated to ask for free stuff because they believe that other people are getting better deals than they are by being assholes.

    I don't simply tell people no. That would lead to nasty confrontations. I inform them that I can't do what they are asking but that I will do what I can to make sure that they are treated well, and receive the best information and service. I'm not going to give you free stuff, but I'm not going to screw you either. I am your advocate.

    Speaking of freebies...

    The other night I was hanging out in an area of downtown Tulsa. You the know the one? The small one? That corner where the people are?

    Yeah, that one... around 1st and Elgin.

    On three separate occasions my friend and I were approached by random men and hit up for money. Each took a different approach and I had to wonder if they got together for the night and drew straws to see who would get what story that night.

    Man number one: Prayed for us... big mistake. I've had this happen to me on at least one other occasion, it too in the downtown Tulsa area. So the man gets down on one knee and says a little prayer. I don't remember what the prayer was about. I was too busy wondering what the hell was going to happen when he was done. He then lifts his head, wipes a tear from his cheek and say "Could I have a quarter?"

    I thanked the man for his prayer but sorry, no quarter.

    So... Yes, I'm a heartless bastard.

    Man Number Two: Had on a backpack, missed his bus, and could he have ten bucks? Nope, no Hamilton for him either.

    Man Number Three: Comes walking over proudly proclaiming his sobriety and recounting a story about how he works at "that building over there", the Williams building, and showing us the business cards of two taxi drivers he knows and could he have a few bucks for fare?

    Do I need to mention that this was well after midnight?

    I lied and told him that I had spent all my money already. Sorry bud, I'm not as sober as you are, but I put it on my debit card. I still had a couple twenties on me.

    Since moving back to Tulsa I haven't had to deal with as many panhandlers as I did while I was living in Dallas. There, I lived pretty close to downtown and would get hit up nearly every time I would go to the corner 7-11 for some snacks. It got pretty fucking annoying. I would see a guy for the first time and he'd hit me up for some cash, telling me some story about cab fare, or some other such nonsense. Then every other time he'd just say "hey man", nod his head up, give me an expectant look, and flip up a hand near his waist. I'd usually just shake my head and go on in. Occasionally I'd give the guy a few bucks on the way out, even though we both knew it was just a handout. I considered it insurance for the next time I got a hankering for a late night Slurpee.

    My favorite experience was having some totally whacked out lady knock on my front door and try to sell me on some story about bus fare back home. She only had about two whole teeth left in her mouth and looked like she could gain about twenty pounds and still be considered skeletal. She got no money either. I politely declined to have her take down my address so that she could send me the money later.

    Later, being when somebody broke out the driver's side window of my car and stole my little Panasonic portable cd player; while I was home, during the day. I was more pissed off that I had to get my window repaired than I was that my cd player was stolen. I was even more pissed off when I realized that I had lost a copy of a Dream Theater's fan club only cd of demo versions of their songs. It was in the player.

    Nowadays I hide the player under the seat in some attempt to fool myself into believing that doing so will keep people from busting out my window again. I no longer take rare cd's with me in my car.

    Duh...I know. I know!

    One friend once came out of a store to notice that her tire had gone flat. Luckily for her there was a helpful soul nearby that would change her tire for her. He also happened to be stranded (happens a lot doesn't it?) and could use a few bucks for bus fare.

    Who could turn down a man willing to let the air out your tire and then change it for you?

    So, who to believe? Are we to assume that every person that approaches us looking for a few bucks is nothing more than freeloader looking for easy money? I do now. I've heard the stories again and again. I've even seen one of those dirty, haggard looking men from the median walk over to a better car than mine and drive off.

    And why does every sign ever made out of cardboard with an appeal for money also have to include the phrase "God bless"? Are we to assume it a sign from God to give them money?

    I wish I could take a stranger at face value if they came to me in need. I would give what I had in a heartbeat if I thought I was really helping someone and not just throwing money away to some panhandler. I shudder to think that should I ever need a helping hand from my fellow man that I might be met with the same skepticism and callousness as I exhibit towards others.

    We get the society we ask for...

    Have you ever considered the money we would save if we didn't have to buy things like locks, security systems, jails and police services?

    I know its unrealistic, but its a thought.

    Dear Tulsa World,

    Oliver North has no credibility and is nothing more than a useful idiot for bigger players.

    On April 6, 1989, North took the stand in his own defense. For six days, North admitted to having assisted the contras during the Boland prohibition on U.S. aid, to having shredded and removed from the White House official documents, to having converted traveler's checks for his personal use, to having participated in the creation of false chronologies of the U.S. arms sales, to having lied to Congress and to having accepted a home security-system from Secord and then fabricating letters regarding payment for the system. But, North testified, ``I don't believe I ever did anything that was criminal.''

    His recent column is nearly as amusing as his last one that appeared in your paper where, after spending nearly half of his article attacking John Kerry and the Democrats he reminded us to ".. keep it in perspective, and remember who the real enemy is." We know who the enemy is for Mr. North, its those do-gooders that insist that people like him obey the law even when "heroes" such as himself feel like they are doing "what is right". He is quite put out that members of our government have "emboldened our enemies" by doing their job and holding people accountable.

    Didn't we all get the memo? We're at war. Out the window with the fry bread! If we break a few laws and rough up a few innocent people that's all part of the war... right? If we have to bomb a few villages, intern fellow citizens or engage in some drug trafficking its all understandable as long as we win the war! We'll clean up the mess in the next big "War to End all Wars"?

    Its Cold War Deja Vu day here at TICW.

    His latest little rant against all things Democrat and Liberal states that "There is no "plot" by high-level officials to break U.S. laws or military regulations, or violate international treaties."

    Rich, a man who admitted to participating in one such plot now assures us that its not happening now. Even when many of the same people are back in power.

    Why should we believe that they have changed their ways? Didn't they try to appoint Poindexter to head the Total Information Awareness program?

    And why does any respectable rag publish this man's lies? I know the answer to that question.. no need to answer.

    Does anyone recall that it was once "ok" to fund a bunch of bloodthirsty Jihadist in Afghanistan in the name of winning the war?

    Alternate Reality Show : Episode 12

    CNN.com - Hastert questions McCain's GOP credentials - May 20, 2004:

    I swiped this from Kos.

    "Hastert: 'If you want to see the sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda. There's the sacrifice in this country. We're trying to make sure they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the wherewithal to be able to do it. And, at the same time, we have to react to keep this country strong.'"

    Hey, what's that hiding behind the wounded soldiers?

    Reread the above quote. If it makes sense to you, you must be one of the few people who still take it as an unsupported fact that wanton tax cuts make our economy stronger. Draining the treasury will, of course, magically make weapons and armor and salaries appear. Not to mention the tax cutting induced bonanza of cash that will be used to pay for lifetimes of disability and medical care for those injured in fighting.

    Ahem.. I word about taxes. If you don't mind sticking around for a few?

    What am I saying... you're here, you must be bored and hungry for my opinion?

    Its all the rage these days to talk about tax "relief". Its as if the GOPer's sit around with word association flash cards. Taxes.. Relief.... Taxes..relief. They are rigid in their rhetoric.

    The word "relief" implies a burden. A burden is something that is imposed on people to makes their lives more difficult. So does that term apply to taxes?

    "Amen!" says the choir.

    We all want less burdens on our lives. So we should follow the logical conclusion and rid ourselves of the taxes imposed on us by the evil government. Because we get nothing from them. Why did we even have them in the first place? Are they relics of some former despotic regime?

    Our huddled masses yearn to be relieved!

    um, yeah.

    There's just one flaw with their otherwise brilliant plan to provide people with the goodies they want. At some point there is going to be a bill for all the other goodies that the government hands out. There is just no way that we should expect government to provide any services to us if we refuse to pay for them. Wishful thinking seems to lead us all to believe that someone else will pay those taxes or that by voting to cut ourselves some beefy refund checks the government will actually have more money.

    For consistency I wait with no anticipation whatsoever to watch as Bush stands up in the Presidential debates and tells the people of the U.S. that we should not expect any new programs or entitlements from the government because "Dammit, I'm serious about shrinking government!"

    Sure, we'll see that. Even though last election year I watched with absolute horror as Gore and Bush devised elaborate schemes to spend that phantom surplus. I fully expect to get sick of the phrase "My plan...", as each side rolls out there "plans" to fix every ill that plagues our nation.

    Kerry should (but won't) stand up at the debates and say "We're in debt up to our freaking eyeballs so it would be reckless and irresponsible to propose any new spending before I put the government back on sound financial footing".

    We're seeing a clash of ideologies. What do you get when you spend billions to equip and supply an army halfway around the world for years? And pass tax cuts too?

    Deficits. The transfer of our tax monies to debt repayment is reckless.

    Welcome to Texas

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    This photo was taken of a church in Tulsa, however I have edited the name for my own amusement.

    Electrolite: And we're proud of that pride, too.

    Long story short, Texas decides that Unitarians are not a religion and therefore not tax exempt. The reason? Because they do not have "one system of belief".

    For tax exempt purposes I would like to start a religion that states that while we believe in God, we also believe that he willed himself out of existence just after the dawn of creation. We gather every week to praise his wisdom and forethought.

    Hobbes: Do you think there's a God?
    Calvin: Well, SOMEbody's out to get me.

    The more things change, the louder you howl

    Answering 20 Frequently Asked Questions About Conservatism - Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views)

    For all the explaining I couldn't help but think that my definition, scroll down to the left, is so much more elegant and less complicated and serves very well in understanding the sometimes baffling motives of conservatives.

    Just remember that change is always going to lead to doom. Note the complete lack of irony as conservatives argue with passion to "preserve" things like the constitution. A constitutional government, no doubt being one of the evils conservatives of old warned us would lead to the downfall of civilization.

    Civilization is sure taking a long time to fall isn't it guys?

    Without a king, the aristocracy and the church what would keep men from turning to savagery?

    Modern conservatives will proudly proclaim their support for women's and minority rights. Both were to have been nails in the coffin of life as we know it.

    So how many times must we bury her boys?

    Now we see that gays are finally getting a chance to participate in the institution of marriage. And once again we hear the dire warnings that the walls of society will come crumbling down around our ears.

    Today in Massachusetts, gay marriage became the law of the land. Even though Massachusetts is one of the most liberal states in the union, gay marriage couldn't win at the ballot box or in the legislature. No, it won in the courts, where four Massachusetts Supreme Court Justices overrode the will of the people and ignored thousands and thousands of years worth of human history and tradition that says marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Quite frankly, today may turn out to be one of the low points in the entire history of our nation. The beginning of the end of the relevance of marriage, the building block of our society.

    yaaawwwwwnnnn!!! yes, guys we've heard it all before. But I thought the dominance of rich old white men was the building block of our society? I must have gotten ahold of an old copy of the Conservative Manifesto. It changes every generation as the new and dangerous becomes the old and cherished. This time though we have gone too far in respecting the rights of individuals to engage in consenting activities. This time we have finally pulled the keystone from the arch of human civilization.


    Why is gay marriage so very wrong? Well, because its not the way things have always been done. Isn't that reason enough you ask?

    Why were segregated schools so bitterly opposed? You already know the answer to that question. But doesn't it seem silly to ask that question now? Fifty years later we all seem united in our support for the Brown v. Board decision. Funny though, I seem to recall lots of people being all bent out of shape about that back then as well.

    Though there has been no constitutional amendment or act of Congress changing this established legal principle almost a century old, the Supreme Court of the United States, with no legal basis for such action, undertook to exercise their naked judicial power and substituted their personal political and social ideas for the established law of the land.

    Sounds a lot like that evil demon Judicial Activism? Scroll back up and read the first quote again if you thought I accidentally cut and pasted the same text again.

    This unwarranted exercise of power by the Court, contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the States principally affected. It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.

    yes yes yes... walls, crumbling, civilization... falling... end .. of the ... world....

    Fifty years and counting since the world ended for the umpteenth time. I wonder how blacks felt about their segregated lives being described in terms of "friendship and understanding"?

    from comments on Right Wing News:

    It's sad that today traditional values are now synonymous with bigotry, and hatred.

    Conservatives in their own words. Isn't it sad that we can no longer force women to stay in abusive relationships? Isn't it crying freaking shame that blacks can live as free people? Its just the biggest god-forsaken-crime that we can no longer hang people by trees because they are different than the norm?

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed... to be a conservative?

    The world we live in, the things we take for granted as "truths" were not always accepted as such. Even as recent as fifty years ago (was it really that recent?) the accepted wisdom was that white and black children should attend separate schools. Years before that it was accepted that blacks were inferior to whites and incapable of living as free people. Years from now such ideas will be regarded with incredulity.

    Much like the idea that gay people should be denied the right to engage in a married relationship.


    A recent Fox23 poll asked a question: "Would you be willing to pay more in taxes to fund Mayfest?" The majority (over 90%) of the participants in the poll responded "no".

    There seems to be at least possible interpretations of this poll result, besides the obvious "this poll is bunk!" response.

    One, most people don't care for Mayfest. They would be willing to pay extra taxes to support an event in Tulsa but they don't feel that Mayfest is worth forking over the few extra bucks. I can sympathize with this view. I made the effort to attend this years Mayfest and I didn't find too much that really made me glad that I did. But it was free to attend, so my attendance was by no means an endorsement. I went to see the Blue Dome Festival more than Mayfest, and the events provided a good excuse to visit downtown with my camera and take some pictures of the buildings and scenery. I purchased no meats on sticks or works of art. I did however stop by McNellies for a beer.

    Possible interpretation number two: Most people are unwilling to spend any extra money on taxes for anything even if it meant having the coolest, most kick ass festival event known to man. Taxes are bad and any event like Mayfest should be operated privately, supported by whatever people are willing to pay to attend, or what sponsors are willing to pay to be associated with it. I can see the merit in this viewpoint as well. We may all be thinking that "other people" like Mayfest and we just go because its free and something to do on a weekend. Why should we collectively pay for something that should be supported by private means?

    This past weekend I also attended the Renaissance Faire in Muskogee. I have a friend that is part of a show there so I went to see him do his act and to take even more pictures. From what I know, the Ren Faire does not operate with any public funds. You pay to get in and you pay "event prices" for food, drink, merchandise and other "special" events you want to participate in. You choose the level of financial investment you are willing to make and if gawking at women with pushed up boobs and hearing all manner of bad medieval accents is not your thing it doesn't cost you a penny to stay away.

    A publicly supported event would cost you money whether you choose to attend or not.

    These things look pretty simple then don't they? Let events pay for themselves, and if they can't survive then we are better off without them. Let the events that people are willing to support thrive and the rest can be forgotten.

    I can see though that there might be a good reason to use some public tax money to support certain events or projects. Too often we overlook the less than immediate effects of public investments. For instance, festivals like Mayfest are important tools to promote the "livability" of a city. While I doubt that many people would move to Tulsa just to attend Mayfest once a year they might see it as a factor in determining their choice of where to live. Having "places to go, things to see" might not be as important as job relocation or overall cost of living but it does contribute to the overall appeal of a city. Younger people especially see entertainment options as important considerations when choosing a city.

    "All work and no play..."

    While I agree that privately funded forms of entertainment are the most desirable from all points of view I also feel that cities and states can spur private development by providing infrastructure investments in the form of Arenas, beautification or transportation options.


    On a (maybe not so) related note:

    Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that have put a ban on gay marriage on the ballot for a vote. I have to wonder why we are trying so hard to alienate a group of people that could be a benefit to our state?

    Ohioans for Growth and Equality, a lobbying group that opposed the measure, said the new law will harm the state's economy.

    "When the city of Cincinnati did something similar to this, they lost $45 million in convention business," said Tim Downing, chief lobbyist for the group.

    Some large Ohio companies opposed the bill. NCR Corp., based in Dayton, sent a letter to lawmakers last month that said the bill could hurt the company's ability to attract and retain employees.

    When the name of the game is attracting people to your state, why would we want to sign at the border that says "gays not welcome"? Are we to assume that becoming a haven for intolerant people is a better way of selling ourselves?

    O(myholymotherof)G WMDs!

    The New York Times > International > Middle East > Sarin Shell Is Found by U.S. Forces in Iraq


    General Kimmitt said American officials believe the weapon came from the stockpiles of the Hussein regime. Mr. Hussein had declared all such rounds destroyed before the 1991 Gulf War.

    This little incident will be seen, no doubt to prove that Saddam had WMD and that he was just clever at hiding them. That may be true. But let's not forget a little factoid. Mr. Powell, testifying before the U.N. basically said "Here are the weapons!" with his charts and photos. The WMD claim was sold on actual evidence of the existence of weapons that could threaten the U.S. and its people.

    Fact: Saddam did have chemical weapons, and he used them in the eighties. We have little way of knowing if this shell represents a large stockpile that will come to light soon, or whether this shell is one of a few that never got destroyed or accounted for.

    Fact: Not all WMD's are equal. I would be surprised if anyone would put a chemical weapon like Sarin on the same scale as some of the more dastardly Biological weapons, or even Nuclear weapons.

    However, should a large cache of chemical weapons be found, the Bush administration will be vindicated in their claims of WMD. Now whether you accept that the presence of X amount of chemical weapons was enough to justify the invasion depends on your own level of tolerance. We do not have a zero tolerance policy of WMD's in the hands of our "enemies"; witness North Korea.

    The purpose, at least one of them, of invading Iraq was to keep Saddam's weapons out of the hands of people like Al Qaeda. So can it really be seen as a success if those weapons do make an appearance... in the hands of terrorists?

    Did the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam just turn the search for WMD's into a giant easter egg hunt that we thought we would win? If so, I'll let others sell that as a great plan.

    If that's the case, I think we might be better served if there are no WMD's in Iraq. It might make the Bush Administration look bad but at least we know that those weapons will not end up in the wrong hands.

    In Honor Of...

    ...nothing in particular, I've added some blue to the mix around here. I've also added some spiffy little borders around the blog postings which may or may not bug the hell out of me eventually. I've updated the music section on the left. Most of the links had "gone bad" so I created some new generalized links to bands that I have been listening to recently.

    I expanded the "about me / about this blog" section because I've been getting really tired of people not quite getting the whole point of my posts here. I know the rest of the web is filled with highly partisan people who are intent on pushing their partisan-political agenda, but I can assure you that that is not my intent here. Notice I said "intent" because I might occasionally lapse into ranting and raving. For the most part though I try to take an objective, and analytical view of politics and events.

    I'll admit right here that I don't know a tenth of what I need to know to make an informed opinion. But that doesn't mean I can't make an honest effort to think and draw conclusions about the things I do know. That's what everyone else is doing, but they don't admit that they're just blowing smoke like the rest of us.

    I know that admitting ignorance is a sign of weakness but I don't care. I've known too many fools that perpetuated their own errors because they couldn't simply admit that they were wrong. I can only hope that I can admit my own errors before they become fossilized.

    You should always feel comfortable attacking your own most cherished beliefs. The instant that you have to wall off some of your own thoughts from critical examination alarms bells should go off. The world teaches us lessons every day, and if we refuse to learn do we really become better people?

    I don't know.

    I do hope that you give me feedback on this new layout.


    But, in completely unrelated news:
    Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa: First Annual Blue Dome Festival, May 14-16

  • Friday, May 14, 6:00 PM til 9:00 PM

  • Saturday, May 15, 10:00 AM til 8:00 PM

  • Sunday, May 16, 11:00 AM til 5:00 PM

  • Blue Dome District, 1st Street and Elgin.

    Tulsa area artists are pleased to announce the First Annual Blue Dome Festival, a complement to Mayfest, Many worthy Tulsa artists are denied jury to the highly-competitive national/international Mayfest event. Tulsa patrons and collectors want to support Tulsa artists, and now they can, in one convenient location!

    Various media presented include, ceramic, painting, glass, wood, metal, soaps, herbs, and textiles. T shirts and posters are now available for purchase.

    Go, be merry! Make Tulsa a more exciting place to live.

    Car Woes II

    I shouldn't say "woes" because I actually took the step to have the damn thing worked on. This past weekend we took it down to a mechanic that had previously done some work for my dad. They went in a replaced a couple of seals in the Manifold and the Main Bearing (If I remember correctly.. I'm not certain). The good news is that it doesn't leak oil like it used to.

    The bad news? You guessed it, that hole in my pocket where nearly 400 dollars used to live.

    Having decided to keep the car, I've focused the past few days working on other aspects of it. I spent nearly the entirety of Monday out polishing the paint to what might be considered "a dull shine". Yesterday afternoon I went after the wheels with some cleaner and shined them up all nice and clean. Today, I took a few minutes to try and scrub a few stains out of the seats. Whether I was successful remains to be seen. I also managed to buff out a little paint smudge on the front bumper.

    I still have some waxing that needs to be done. I'll do that once my shoulders stop aching. For now though, at least the car seems in better health. We can keep our finger's crossed. It still smokes a little but that, I hope, comes from oil still stuck to the underside of the car from before.

    I pulled out the blown speaker in the dash and I'll be on the lookout for a replacement. For now I can tolerate not having a dash speaker on the driver's side. It still has one in the door.

    I'm cautious, I still expect it to self destruct any day now. If there was a god of transmissions, I would be down on my knees right now.

    Oklahoma Senator Makes Ass of Himself

    ... an ongoing report.

    The Globe and Mail

    In short, our good Senator from Oklahoma, Mr. Jim (is it gettting hot in here?) Inhofe has already accepted the premise that any Iraqi is de facto a terrorist. A conclusion that falls in line with his other fine reasoning regarding creationism and climate change. This conclusion was deduced even though the evidence suggests that most people detained in Iraqi prisoners where there by accident. But who needs evidence for faith based thinking. After all, we did go to war with Iraq to defeat the terrorists right? The terroristic people of Iraq. A terrorist, being anyone that attacks an American. By Inhofe's definition.

    If you're going to be wrong, be consistently wrong. The good news is that Mr. Inhofe will soon be wrong in the safety of the private sector, where he will no doubt be welcomed with open arms by his friends in the energy business.

    Sen. McCain, and ex-POW himself had the good sense to walk out on Mr. Inhofe.

    As seen on many other fine and grumpy websites.


    OBJECTIVE: Christian Ministries:
    "For the safety of your soul, do not be tempted by the lure of impulse rock chip repair from strangers in parking lots. It may say free, but it could cost you your soul! If you need your windshield fixed, go to a qualified Christian repair shop."

    Yeah sure, this quote is out of context, but can YOU imagine a context that doesn't make it sound loony?

    ok, more fun...

    Also, Pastor Rosas of the Catholic Outreach Baptist Ministries has asked us to remind everyone that tommorrow is "Cinco De Mayo", the Mexican National Holiday. Usually, secular people celebrate this holiday - which has something to do with the independence of Mexico - by getting drunk on beer and tequila. Pastor Rosas has suggested that Christians should avoid Cinco De Mayo parties where such behavior takes place and instead hold Christian "Jesus De Mayo" parties that feature good, wholesome fun (Pastor Rosas suggests "pinatas" filled with evangelical candies) and prayers for our neighbors to the South.

    My favorite is the Spiritual Safety Tip on the 4Kids page: What to do if you find an Atheist?

    Thanks to David Grenier for passing this along through his site, and further back to Decayunderway

    just a test

    There are some new setting popping up on Blogger. Even you MT people might want to pay attention, if only so you know what to expect from some of your favorite blogs.

    Comments: Seems that blogger is implementing its own brand of commenting. Its based on page postings. What this means is that each post can now be accessed on a separate page and the comments will be on the page as well. Things seem ok, but there are a few problems that I have noticed so far (obviously it could be me and my lack of experience with the new system so far). One, it puts the post at the midpoint of the page, meaning that a small post will appear as a little post halfway down the page. Not cool. Also, two, there is some horrible formatting to the comments thus far. I expect this to improve if they actually plan for people to adopt this new comments system.

    I will try to find out how I can move the post to the top of its page so people don;t have to scroll down just to find the content.

    For now I still like the Haloscan comments that I have, and until there is better implementation I will refrain from switching over.

    I'm not sure if its a new thing or if I just never noticed it, but there is not a profile page. Mine lives here. I haven't filled out the various details, interests, books, blah,blah... etc. But I might someday when I'm bored.

    The interface is changed up a little. There is now something called a "Dashboard" where you access all your settings. And a nice new feature is the inclusion of a button for blockquotes. Since I have a style setup for blockquotes I use that tag often, so this will come in handy. Whoohoo!

    We'll see how this works out, but so far, I say "At least they didn't break anything".


    Tulsa bishop reacts to heretic charge:
    "The Pentecostal bishops' congress issued its conclusion in a March 29 report. 'Because of our concern for the many people that could be influenced to adopt this heresy and in so doing put at risk the eternal destiny of their souls, we are compelled to declare Bishop Carlton Pearson a heretic,' wrote Bishop Clifford Leon Frazier, chairman of the college's doctrinal commission."

    I was very relieved when I first read last year that Pearson, the pastor of a very large church here in Tulsa was going to be preaching a gospel of inclusion. I hold out hope that he will lead a movement to call attention to the very divisive nature of exclusionary religious practices.

    Sure, its always nice to believe that you, and only you, through your own accident of birth just happen to be in the right place at the right time. You, above all else are blessed with the one true religion.

    This ignores the very real reality that religious membership is HEAVILY influenced by where and when you are born. This is easily confirmed by a quick glance over a map of religious memberships by geography. Very rarely do you have people that go against their upbringing to adopt a different faith than the one that is accepted in their community and by their friends and relatives. Its rare. More likely you stick with the religion that you are born with or you move to a religion in the same overall faith but in a different sect or denomination.

    If you find God to be a benevolent being then you are drawn to an inclusionary religious message. One that acknowledges that an accident of birth should not be sufficient to damn a good person to hell.

    The odds of being born in the exact place and time of the one true perfect religious faith is zero when you consider all variables of time and space.

    Nobody worships Zeus anymore, yet at one time that too was an accepted religious practice. The various forms of Protestantism are offshoots of the Catholic Church, which is an offshoot of the Jewish faith. There is even some historical evidence that suggests that Judaism originated from older Mesopotamian polytheistic religions.

    No one religion has existed in its present form since the dawn of the human race. Even the most ancient of religions have their origins within a measurable timeframe. Even if you believe the creation story of the Bible and that the beginnings of Judaism started at creation then you must acknowledge that there is a good possibility, unless you are from that region of the world, that a good number of your ancestors were heathens, followers of false religious faiths.

    What you lose by adopting a religion of inclusion is that ego-driven need to be special but what you gain is a more compassionate (and realistic, if you ask me) view of the world, and of God.

    My main beef with any exclusionary religion is that it doesn't take much common sense, or an atlas to prove they are wrong in their claims of being the one and only way to heaven. So why should you take anything else they say seriously?

    I accept that people seem to need religion, or at least a spiritual connection to the world they live in. But when that religion leads them to wall themselves off from the rest of society in some vain belief that they are the anointed ones, then we get problems. I like what Carlton Pearson is trying to do, but that doesn't mean I'll be attending Higher Dimensions any time soon. I'll watch from a distance thank you.

    Don't Servants Create Lunch?

    atlass.gif (GIF Image, 790x416 pixels)

    Still one of my favs.


    Classic Perle, Better Than Classic Coke?

    Richard Perle, May 2, 2003

    AEI - News & Commentary:
    "This was a war worth fighting. It ended quickly with few civilian casualties and with little damage to Iraq's cities, towns or infrastructure. It ended without the Arab world rising up against us, as the war's critics feared, without the quagmire they predicted, without the heavy losses in house-to-house fighting they warned us to expect. It was conducted with immense skill and selfless courage by men and women who will remain until Iraqis are safe, and who will return home as heroes."

    Boy, was I wrong.


    Essentially, the cold warriors live on, using American force to further certain US business interests and to install buffers between us and the mythical united Union of Muslim Fascist Republics (a replacement for the non-existent USSR), which said cold warriors began warning about as soon as the USSR collapsed.

    Boy, is he wrong.

    (tip of the hat to Yossarian, at atrios' attic for the Perle quote)

    This post should be read with a modest amount of sarcasm. On the side if you prefer.

    File Under...

    Learned something new: Saturday.


    When you wander off into foreign territory (blogwise), as I have done recently, you have to learn new vocabulary; new shorthand. So I had to do a little digging to figure out just what I was being recently accused of...

    Moral Equivalence.

    I had heard the term before but it lives in a different realm than I routinely visit, namely realms with their feet outside of Cold War mentalities. So with a little digging here and there I was able to get a few takes on just what I was being accused of:

    The Myth of Moral Equivalence

    Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, (1996)

    Their point is that a regime whose practices systematically betray their basic values is obviously a failed regime. If our practices betray our own deepest values then we fail; we are a failed regime. If we pretend to hallow values which our practices do not perfectly achieve, then we are guilty of falsification. So we are both a failure and a fraud. Obviously, such a regime does not deserve the loyalty or affection of either its citizens or its friends. Thus, if the United States is a fraudulent, falsi-fying society which exploits its workers and subjugates all in a facade of democracy, then it is obviously not worthy of respect.

    I thought my point was that we should recognize our own failures and work to correct them. I hardly advocate tearing down our liberal democracy because we cannot live up to Utopian values. I am addressing what I feel might be the polar opposite of Moral Equivalence, call it Moral Negligence, the view that we are morally superior and therefore any self-criticism can be dismissed as self-hatred, serving no practical purpose other than giving our enemies weapons.

    How odd.

    Because you see, its a selective reading of Moral Equivalence, The Iraq Debacle isnot to be confused with this issue:

    This has never been more clear than in the current election, when the "character" of a pampered fraternity party boy who couldn't be bothered to serve out his term in the National Guard and who went on to fail miserably at every business venture he touched is successfully depicted as that of a sincere and patriotic regular guy, while that of a three-time Purple Heart winner who voluntarily left Yale to serve in Vietnam, and whose ensuing three decades of public service have been a model of principle and consistency, is somehow depicted as belonging to a spineless elitist.

    It flows in one direction.

    During my research on Moral Equivalence I found it was a common phrase lobbed about on websites dedicated to the Israeli-Palestinian question. I try to avoid that whole debate as I find it hopelessly mired in bad reasoning and racism. But it seems I can't avoid that tarred terrain should I wander to close too that realm. All I can say is Yikes, don't want to go there, but now I know where the language originates from. Its a debate stopper, much like the other charge leveled at me, that of liar.

    What sticks in some people's craw? Well, its the very notion that our own moral superiority might not be enough to protect us from the ultimate effects of occupation and war. We are like the young people that think good kids never get STD's, or have unwanted pregnancies, only the dirty people do. Our shining armor will protect us. God's blessing and all...

    The offending article:

    Among the corrosive lies a nation at war tells itself is that the glory -- the lofty goals announced beforehand, the victories, the liberation of the oppressed -- belongs to the country as a whole; but the failure -- the accidents, the uncounted civilian dead, the crimes and atrocities -- is always exceptional. Noble goals flow naturally from a noble people; the occasional act of barbarity is always the work of individuals, unaccountable, confusing and indigestible to the national conscience.

    Learn something new every day don't we?

    Welcome to the "Wingnut Hall of Mirrors".

    Oi, the Prison Thing

    (updated: Added quote from The Guardian 5-8-04 11a.m.)

    Some things are so hard to talk about. I've been hesitant to do much live analysis of the Iraqi prison situation because there is so much noise on this issue already. I wanted to have something new to contribute.

    " I was in the wrong place at the wrong time"

    That, from Lynndie England, the girl seen with the cigarette dangling from her mouth while pointing out the Iraqi man who had obviously been forced to "handle" himself for the camera.

    I wonder if the Iraqi in the picture would not say the same thing?

    The storyline here has already been established: A few bad actors; they do not represent the majority (Rumsfeld: "99.9%") of the troops serving in Iraq; they do not represent the military, the DOD or the Pentagon; we would not have acted in such a manner.

    We would never be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    You may have noticed that I have been won over to what I refer to as "the institutional view" of events. Individuals of all varieties are all basically the same. Caucasians, Asians, Arabs, Blacks, Latinos etc. have no innate racial programming that commands them to be good or evil. The evidence for this is none other than our own American society. Look around you, we no longer assume that certain races cannot intergrate into American society and live by the collective values held by most of us. We believe that the institution of American society is more powerful than ethnic, or racial programming. That this is a fairly recent event and that there are still people that believe otherwise is a little embarrassing.

    Humans are social beings. We operate within a social framework. We rarely put our acceptance in our immediate social environment in jeopardy. So we have to assume that those acting in the Iraqi prison were doing so under what they perceived to acceptable social circumstances.

    Was it simply following orders or does it go deeper than that?

    For the individuals in the photos it may go no deeper than that, but at some level it does.

    At some level there were people that felt that what they were doing was not only condoned, but acceptable behavior. But why they would have that impression when we, sitting here at home, can so clearly see that it is not?

    Some of the blame I feel can be laid at the people that feel that our righteousness protects us from those same forces that cause others to commit acts of evil. We are not immune. Its like sending your teenager into a situation where there will be drinking, drugs, and sex armed only with platitudes that they "would never do such things". How many times must that fail before we learn that its better to just avoid situations where you will "be in the wrong place at the wrong time".

    Human fallibility is well established. Kudos to those that can stand in the face of peer pressure and authority and declare their moral convictions. I can only hope that I would be so strong. But I would rather not test myself. You set yourself up for certain failure by refusing to admit that you might succumb to institutional pressures. None are sooner blindsided than those that never look to see if trouble is coming. That we are so shocked by the actions of those in the Iraqi prison is evidence of our own illusion about our motives in Iraq.

    The framework for thinking about Iraq is all mixed up.

    On one hand you have the strong conviction that the invasion of Iraq is connected to 9-11. We have even witnessed people decorating their trucks with designs mingling the Iraq invasion with 9-11 imagery. It is in this context that the torture of Iraqi prisoners is acceptable. It was in this context, created to bolster support for the invasion that allowed people to accept Iraq into the greater "war on terror" despite the slim evidence that they were connected in any way. I feel this context is fueled by a hidden racist (or anti-Muslim) presumption. How else could we sell the invasion when on paper its obvious to see there is no connection?

    "The feeling among US soldiers I've spoken to in the last week is also that 'the gloves are off'. Many of them still think they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11".

    On the other hand you have the story of liberation. We are there to bring a better institutional framework to the Iraqi people that so that they no longer feel pressured to act in ways that will endanger the world or create more hatred for America. Under this construct our troops are free to act in ways that help the Iraqi people. Stories of kindness and generosity, while oftimes overshadowed by stories tragedy and violence are coming out of Iraq. We should embrace that and go with it.

    Sadly, the reason it has been so devastating to have the prison pictures surface is that it only strengthens the image of America as an occupying force there to oppress the Muslims and punish innocent Iraqis for the actions of fundmentalist terrorists, an image established before the buildup for war. Or have we already forgotten the predominate framework established during the buildup for the Iraqi invasion? I haven't, not after having numerous angry drivers yell out calls for revenge and invocations of 9-11 during my streetside protests of the war. There was a very strong connection between Iraq and revenge for 9-11.

    "Have you forgotten 9-11?" I was asked on more than one occasion while protesting the Iraqi invasion.

    It was a small crowd that supported the invasion on grounds of liberation, at least before the fighting began. In the minds of many Americans invading Iraq was retribution for 9-11. It would heal our wounds, patch our pride. Kick some ass.

    That this would ultimately lead to these pictures, and these actions is a surprise?

    National Day of Prayer

    Got a little message from the President to remind us little non-believers that we are second class citizens in the United States of Believers.

    "Prayer is an opportunity to praise God for His mighty works, His gift of freedom, His mercy, and His boundless love. Through prayer, we recognize the limits of earthly power and acknowledge the sovereignty of God. According to Scripture, "the Lord is near to all who call upon Him . . . He also will hear their cry, and save them." Prayer leads to humility and a grateful heart, and it turns our minds to the needs of others."

    I'm sorry that I can't go along with your little game, its just not me.

    I never believed that some fat guy in red came down our chimney (we never had one) and left me presents. I never believed that some bunny left eggs in the yard.


    How many times must I apologize?

    Its not by choice, trust me, my life would be a lot easier if I could at least play along, but I've never been good at lying or hiding how I feel. When I realized it was dishonest to say the words, go to mass and pretend otherwise I stopped.


    I know this causes some people no end of discomfort, you can pray for me all you want. That's fine. I know this makes me an evil person bound for the flames. I accept that. That's how you feel. I'm sure I'll meet Santa and the Easter Bunny there too.

    Am I scared I might be wrong? Not really. A while back I quoted C.S. Lewis who deduced the existence of God by our shared sense of conscience. But you see, that's what led me to turn away from religion. I knew.. in my heart, that it was bogus. And I know that some of you think that its Satan or some such nonsense, but I don't play that game.

    Some people think that all the Catholics are going to hell as well.


    As if the Protestants invented Christianity anyways. Let them have their heaven, I'll hang out with the Catholics and the Jews down in hell, far away from the moralizing. We'll raise a styrofoam cup of warm beer to your holiness and say "Damn, I guess they were right after all".

    Then we'll all thank our lucky stars that you're up there and not down here with us.

    Hell will be full of philosophers, Heaven full of fools.


    (This is not an anti-Bush post, I know that every president does this. Screw them too)

    Its a Surprise Every Time

    Not sure why I felt compelled to pick up a copy of Little Plastic Castles, except that lately, this time of year reminds me of a really great day I had years ago. It was raining, I was hanging out at my girlfriend's renthouse and I decided to check out her cd collection. I picked out Little Plastic Castles and went about my task of putting together one of those rickety cheap metal shelves to put in the "studio".

    That was a good time, walking to Albertson's, sneaking out in the night to take pictures of the Broken Arrow Expressway from behind the bridge, getting up early to walk to Phil's Diner (3310 E 32nd St, Tulsa, OK 74135-4417 918-742-456), or getting in the car just to drive the half block to the Wendy's drive thru.

    That's done, that's over, that's history.

    I say "Thank You". I'll think of you now and again when I listen to "Swan Dive". (or "Pulse")

    Or put together a metal shelf.

    By Any Other Name

    Clicking on the picture will open a new window with a larger version
    See more photos.

    Reading this site you would think that I'm pretty bitter, that I sit around all day cursing the fools that don't agree with me. But that's a pretty inaccurate picture based on what I write here, which is mostly related to my politics.

    The ladder of my priorities / interests:

    1) family
    2) friends
    3) women
    4) music
    5) photography / art
    6) politics

    But I write about politics here, mainly because I rarely talk about it elsewhere and I keep my ramblings about women in a private paper journal. If I'm talking about politics its usually with my father, who is a Democrat and believes that Bush, while bad, is part of a cycle that comes around ever so often. He's a bit more optimistic than I am, believing that people will "wise up" and it will all come around to sanity again.

    Maybe he's right.

    I take a very "Rome fell" kind of view. I see history as a series of cycles but that each cycle is eventually doomed to collapse in upon itself. What we, as active participants in history must do is realize that its our own apathy that eventually causes our downfall. If we always assume that "things will work out" or that "others will take care of things" then at some point in time we will be blindsided by forces that have never taken their own survival for granted. I write here not because I think that I will change anyone's mind (though I do sometimes harbor that illusion) but because I never want to take history for granted.

    - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - -

    In general I find websites that detail the daily events of one's life a bore. I'm not voyeuristic enough to relish in knowing the day to day details of people I don't have any connection to. I do however value the insights that those details can reveal. If you're simply telling me that you went to the mall and hung out with your friends, or you have a secret desire to sleep with your co-worker, then that's just data. If however you provide some insight into your life and your thoughts then that can make your life seem more interesting, to me at least.

    Ideas and insights are currency.

    - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - -

    Ran into an old bud the other day, he has a CD out, you can visit his site here and check out some samples. Buy the CD, help the guy pay for more schooling. He's a talented musician and songwriter as well as a fun guy to work with.

    - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - -

    I don't hate America, if you think that you're just wrong, ok? Why would I go through all the trouble of practicing my free speech, expressing my opinions and preaching about the liberal ideals that I feel are the foundation for American Democracy if I hated America? I simply feel that we are letting our worst instincts get the better of us. And no, I am not an appeaser. I wish such simplistic thinking would just die on the vine.. right now!

    - - - - - - - - - - -o- - - - - - - - - - -

    ... and speaking of music, If you don't just love this song (Pinback - Loro.mp3 at Epitonic.com) I have nothing more to say to you...

    Seriously though... Pinback (.com) writes some of the catchiest hooks I have heard in a looooong while. If you can get ahold of a copy of their song Penelope, its just insane, stick-in-your-head music!

    Do Do Do Do DoDoDo Do Dooo!!!

    Gloves Off

    Neologic :: Fanatics, Crooks and Fools

    Considering the hatchet job on Max Cleland in Georgia, a war hero who lost limbs in Vietnam, it wouldn't matter how badly Kerry was wounded or how many medals he won or how many lives he saved in combat -- the Chickenhawks and their media cohorts know just how to neutralize real service to this country and make it equal to George's documented cowardice.

    Make a trivia endurance contest out of it, bore the country to death with it, have professional propagandists spread around a thousand tasteless jokes -- turn it INTO just politics as usual. Sooner or later nobody really cares that Kerry earned those medals, that the enemy shot real bullets into his body, that this wasn't just a drunken Texas bar fight.

    I don't want to re-quote Bear's entire post but its worthy, that's for sure.

    I say.. gloves off.

    By now I can safely say that people who don't care about politics get a pass. The rest of you that keep informed and follow what's going on around the world are on the ball here.

    What kind of moron do you have to be to equate an act of conscience to an act of irresponsibility? You can't run around using phrases like "brave men and women fighting.." in one breath and ignore Bush's lack of commitment to his own military service on the other. You have a man that actually served in Vietnam and earned medals for bravery and then upon returning opposed the bad policies of that same war. He could have just as easily said "I'm out, screw you guys". But no, he put his ass on the line to try to end the war and bring the rest of the guys fighting home in one piece. Then he runs for political office and serves in the Senate for four terms.

    I'm not the type of guy that thinks being in the military is proof that a man is fit to be President. My requirements do however include honesty and the ability to speak and think coherently.

    The same traits that I look for in a car mechanic are the same ones I look for in a President, he must be able to see problems clearly and fix them. He must also be willing to listen to reason and not have his judgment clouded by ideology and his own sense of moral righteousness.

    I've had car mechanics like Bush. I once took a car to a guy to have it checked out. The battery was draining while the car sat. I had replaced the alternator just in case but I suspected that I had a short somewhere in the electrical system. We had noticed that there was a constant pull on the battery even when the key was off but we didn't have the time or the expertise to hunt down the source. We figured it was electrical and hoped a mechanic would know where to look.

    So we took the car to this mechanic and before I even had a chance to explain the problem he was already explaining how I needed a new alternator. I asked him if the battery would still drain while sitting if the alternator was bad. He once again started to explain that I needed a new alternator.

    I turned and left. This guy had no interest in hearing any information that I might provide to him that would help him discover the problem with the car. He was already convinced that he knew the problem and wasn't going to listen to anything that I had to say.

    Sound familiar.

    If you find a mechanic that is not willing to listen to what you have to offer -- run, don't walk out of that shop. Because even if you don't know much about cars you can provide good clues to help them diagnose the problem. A good mechanic can sometimes discover the problem from simply listening to your description of the symptoms.

    Had I left the car there I would have returned to find a new alternator installed and the problem not fixed. I might have even drove off and been abandoned with a dead battery a few days later. I know this because I later left the car with another mechanic that had agreed to keep it until he had discovered the problem. I also know this because I know what an alternator does and how it works and I had already eliminated it from the equation. Sadly, this new mechanic concluded that there was indeed an electrical short that would be difficult to track down as it could be in any number of places throughout the car.

    The moral of the story?

    Patterns of behavior.

    We all draw from various experiences that we have in our personal lives to help us make decisions in matters that we are not as well versed. We've all been on winning teams and losing teams. We've been in workplaces that ran smoothly and others that were chaotic. Hopefully we have come to learn what makes a person a good leader and what makes a person a bad leader. We've seen what kind of behavior produces good results and what kind produces disaster. We learn to recognize these traits in the doctors we trust and the mechanics we leave our cars with.

    Or maybe we haven't.

    Let's look at Bush from a management perspective. Imagine if Bush had been appointed CEO of a huge billion dollar corporation. For four years he had been predicting that his management would increase the stock prices. Twice he has predicted a meteoric increase and both times the stock continued to plummet. Nearly four years later the stock has stopped dropping and had inched back up a few pennies. Would the stockholders be happy with that performance? No way.

    Let's say that CEO Bush gambled on a buyout of another company. He went before the stockholders and predicted that this new company would make the company huge profits. Even though many of the stockholders who had done their own research were skeptical the management team produced charts and graphs and slideshows and documents that "proved" that buying this company would result in mega-profits. A year after the buyout the company is still losing money and the new acquisition is hurting revenue. Would the stockholders be impressed with this performance? No way!

    Its a flawed analogy, but I was hoping that putting Bush's behavior in a different context, away from our biases about party and government would make the case more clear.

    But its been clear for so long now that I can only assume that if you haven't got it yet that you're just...


    I agree with Bear. Who said it better than I can:

    What kind of support base would put up with this? Why, the self-proclaimed moral guardians of this country, that's who. The Christian Right. And let's not forget the crooks getting richer from Bush's patronage. Nor should we underestimate the seemingly unlimited supply of fools.

    By now moderates, independents and even intelligent, honest conservatives have abandoned the battleship, recognizing Bush's flight suit as nothing more than a clown's disguise.

    Fanatics, crooks and fools. That's who's left. So let's take the kid gloves off along with the blinders.

    Fanatics, crooks and fools. From now on, let's call them what they are.

    Bravo my friend.

    Gloves off!!

    Un-F--cking Believable!

    dustbury.com: Cold and calculating:
    "If, like me, you've listened to John Kerry rattle off an endless stream of answers that somehow don't mesh with the actual questions being asked, and wondered 'What the hell is this man thinking?'"

    Well, since you put it that way.

    I see that John Kerry is actually a politician in the very typical sense. Imagine that? He is pandering to the electorate to get votes? The shame. And I hear that he is a stinky rich guy too. We can't have some pampered elitist in the White House, because well, that's just un-American. And imagine serving your country for decades as a soldier and a Senator.. when he could have been calling in favors and cashing in on insider trades?

    Now that I know this, there is no doubt that I will...

    Vote for the guy that lied to get us into a war where over 700 Americans have died and thousands of Iraqis have been killed! The guy that gets upset if people ask him hard questions. The guy that can't even testify at the 9-11 commission without Cheney's hand up his ass. The guy that can't take a dump without checking with Karl Rove to see if it will make the fundies happy!

    Besides, the French looking guy smells like ketchup.


    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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