Thursday, June 30, 2005

Told You So!

Check this link over at Left in SF
If you will recall last week my post on the Rove speech on how this was an opening shot in a classic propoganda ploy.
David over at Orcinus has the usual excellent analysis of the entire phenomena.
If you are so naive as to believe that the fascists in charge can't make the sheep start to accept this meme then I'm sorry for the shock you will have when it hits your life directly.
To quote David:
But there should be no real surprise that Rove made these remarks. They've been a long time coming. I mean, Ann Coulter published Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism two years ago. Sean Hannity's Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism came out a year ago. Michael Savage published The Enemy Within: Saving America from the Liberal Assault on Our Schools, Faith, and Military last year too. Meanwhile, there's been a steady drumbeat on the airwaves from Rush Limbaugh and his thousand little imitators making the same charges.

This is how propaganda is supposed to work: Circulate ideas on the popular level first, perhaps disguised as "humor" or "edgy commentary," until they become part of a broadly popular "conventional wisdom." Seemingly "outrageous" ideas gradually gain broader acceptance, leveraging the populace toward the movement's agenda. Then, when these notions are enunciated at the official and most powerful levels of government, any outrage that might be voiced is easily ignored. (Indeed, Rove's remarks are notable for being the embodiment of a panoply of propaganda techniques all rolled into one.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Where in Hell?

(CNN) -- The number of Americans disapproving of President Bush's job performance has risen to the highest level of his presidency, according to the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.

According to the poll, 53 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Bush's performance, compared to 45 percent who approved.

Answer me this. What part of hell do the 45 percent who still approve of Bush's job performance come from? The scary part is to ask yourself what he would have to do to make that 45% disapprove. Think about it.

Grand Theft Repuglican

Can somebody 'splain to me why this story is on not the front page of every freaking paper in the damn country. Do the news media in this country enjoy seeing their money pissed away/stolen so brazenly that they can't even mention it on the last damn page of the comics section. Gimme a break. This is what Bush ought to be explaining tonight instead of why we are so cocked up in Iraq.

The estimates of excessive spending and improper billing by Halliburton, a Texas-based company that provides logistical support and oil-field repairs in Iraq, are more than twice as high as those in previous official reports. The findings, including previously unpublicized internal Pentagon studies, were released at a Democrat-sponsored forum that was held, Democratic leaders maintained, because the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans have refused to hold the contractor accountable.

"The bottom line is, the Republican leadership in the Congress is giving Halliburton a free pass," said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey.

Large contracts awarded to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root have been a focus of questions and criticism since even before the Iraq invasion in 2003, in part because some were awarded without competition and because of allegations that the company, formerly led by Dick Cheney before he became vice president, was aided by political connections. In some cases, the Pentagon has publicly complained about excess bills and reduced payments, but the audit figures released Monday suggest that billing disputes have been more extensive than previously disclosed.


The hearing featured videotaped testimony from a former food manager in Iraq for Kellogg Brown & Root who said the dining hall where he worked in early 2004 charged the Army for 20,000 meals a day when it was only serving 10,000, routinely used expired foods and punished him for speaking to auditors by transferring him to the more dangerous outpost of Falluja.


A new report, released on Monday by Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, and Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California, quotes the chief of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, an internal Pentagon watchdog, as saying that "questioned" costs under the Logcap contract now total $813 million.

"Questioned" costs are defined by the agency as those "on which audit action has been completed" and "which are not considered acceptable." In the case of K.B.R., the agency found many expenditures to be "unreasonable in amount," meaning they were higher than necessary.

An Army Audit Agency report in November 2004, publicly described for the first time on Monday, found a pattern of duplicate billing and "excessive" costs in the logistics contract, including a charge of $152,000 to provide a movie library for 2,500 soldiers and the purchase of more than $500,000 worth of unneeded heavy equipment.


Pentagon audits of the firm's performance under that second contract, known as RIO-1, have found $219 million in "questioned" costs, mainly because of what critics have called exorbitant fees paid for fuel imports in 2003.

K.B.R. received the oil-repair and fuel contract without competitive bidding, and after it had been secretly hired to detail the needs and likely costs of postwar oil repairs.


Beyond the $1 billion in questioned costs, Pentagon auditors found that K.B.R. had not properly documented another $443 million in expenditures under the two largest contracts.

Kudos to Holden at First-Draft

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Fried Green Tomatoes

It's been awhile since I talked about food here. Those of you who know me in real life know food is my great passion. Not a snob but passionate about good food. Tonight was the first fried green tomatoes of this summer. Not to blow my own horn but I can cook fried green tomatoes. Slap yo' mama good! Take really green tomatoes and slice about a quarter inch thick. Dipped in flour and then in fresh buttermilk before coating thoroughly in a mostly corn meal and flour dredge that has been salted and seasoned with cayenne and onion powder. Fried in about a quarter inch of peanut oil 'til crisp and golden. Lord ha' mercy they were fine.
Did I mention the buttermilk fried chicken and green beans?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Kristen on Karl - No Pulled Punches

Kristen Breitweiser does a masterful job of ripping off Turd Blossom's head and shoving it up his ass. You really must read the whole wonderful thing.

More to the point, Karl when you say, “Conservatives saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and prepared for war,” what exactly did you do to prepare for your war? Did your preparations include: sound intelligence to warrant your actions; a reasonable entry and exit strategy coupled with a coherent plan to carry out that strategy; the proper training and equipment for the troops you were sending in to fight your war? Did you follow the advice of experts such as General Shinseki who correctly advised you about the troop levels needed to actually succeed in Iraq? No, you didn't.

It has always been America's policy that you only place soldiers' lives in harm's way when it is absolutely necessary and the absolute last resort. When you send troops into combat you support those troops by providing them with proper equipment and training. Why didn't you do that with the troops that you sent into Iraq? Why weren't their vehicles armored? Why didn't they have protective vests? Why weren't they properly trained about the rules of interrogation? And Karl, when our troops come home – be it tragically in body bags or with missing limbs – you should honor and acknowledge their service to their country. You shouldn't hide them by bringing them home in the dark of night. Most importantly, you should take care of them for the long haul by giving them substantial veteran's benefits and care. To me, that is being patriotic. To me, that is how you support our troops. To me, that is how you show that you know the value of a human life given for its country.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Stab In The Back Time

I just want to go on record here with a warning concerning the latest strategy by Rove and the upcoming speech by Dipstick at Fort Bragg.
They have figured out that they are losing the game. The razzle-dazzle they used in the first term is no longer as effective and hence the falling poll numbers.
Solution? Shift responsibility for the disaster in Iraq to the liberals. That was the purpose in Rove's appearance in New York. Begin the effort to shift the blame.
The liberals didn't support the troops and we lost the war.
The liberals didn't suppport the president in his glorious struggle against terrorism and we lost the war.
The liberals wouldn't let us get the information we needed from prisoners and we lost the war.
The liberals questioned the reasons for war and we lost.
The liberals encouraged the enemy with lies about torture and we lost.
The liberals whined for a pullout of troops and invigorated the insurgents and we lost the war.
You will here it more and more from now on out and you will here it from Bush at Ft. Bragg. It won't be as virulent and openly nasty as Rove but it will be there. Some references about failing support for the war and questioning the purpose. A lack of resolve to fight terrorism. Forgeting the tragedy of 9/11 and relaxing the vigilance. It will all be in the Ft. Bragg speech in one form or another.
Listen closely and remember that the true motive is to gradually reinforce the meme that the liberals, by questioning the President and the torture and the reasons for war have given aid and comfort to the enemy and are therefore traitors to the glorious cause of spreading democracy and the reason we have lost the war in Iraq. Mark my words.

Whoop Ass Wallflower

If you are not a regular visitor to Shakespeare's Sister, then you should be. Otherwise, you will miss posts like this.
BTW it is also the place to keep track of the what's happening on the Downing Street Memos.

Change the Rules - Win the Game

Billmon over at the Whiskey Bar has an excellent analysis of Karl Rove's latest bullshit and reminds us that, regardless of out disgust, he remains a dangerous adversary. We should never forget that he has been quite successful over the years of whipping us with our own sticks and taking advantage of our inability or unwillingness to crawl down into the gutter with him.
So Rove is falling back on his classic strategy of rallying the base. What's more, he's mainlining it a much rawer and more savage version of the conservative message than the White House usually permits itself. While the customary surrogates -- Fox News, Rush, the blogger hyena pack -- have snarled and snapped, the results apparently have been found wanting. Now Bush's "brain" is stepping into the ring himself.

But, like fellow psychopath Mike Tyson, Rove isn't just telegraphing his punches, he's also displaying the depths of his fear. The rhetorical ear chewing and head butting is a clear sign the champ doesn't have the juice any more, and knows it. Rove is trying to get by on sheer intimidation. He's pushing as many primordial conservative buttons as he can -- leaning on them, in fact -- in hopes he can once again make the dreaded liberals the story, not the march of folly currently sinking into the Iraqi quicksands.

This is going to get uglier and uglier.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bye, Bye Fifth

Remember when a man's home was his castle and that only a legitimate public need could cause you to lose your home. Well congratulations because the next wealthy developer that thinks your neigborhood would make a nice mall or office complex can take it with no problem. The Supreme court just took another big bite out of the Constitution.


The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.


As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.

Scratch one Fifth Ammednment. We are so fucked!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Watch What You Say

Well, there is another blow to the right of free speech and truth. Hewitt, Limbaugh, Savage, Frist, DeLay and the rest including fellow democrats have successfully swept more of the Bush crimes under the carpet. They have reinforced the notion that it is not allowed to question the actions of Bush and company and certainly not allowed to question their treatment of prisoners. This will surely chill any thought of courage and any willingness to stand up to the bastards for while.
Remember that it is treason to question our "dear leader" and the cesspool he has created. Ignore the anti-american whirlwind that is blowing across the rest of the planet. If the world thinks we are bad now just wait till Bush and company cash this latest blank check. We are so fucked!

From The Observer
"Under fire from Republicans and some fellow Democrats, Sen. Dick Durbin apologized Tuesday for comparing American interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to Nazis and other historically infamous figures.
"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."
His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Global Warming, Global Denial, Global Assholes

The following from the Observer just goes to show you that my continued assertion that Bush and company are completely detached from the real world and are, in fact, certifiably insane. Can someone explain to me how they can actually sleep at night? Are they that convinced that the American people are so hypnotized by FOX or programmed by the education system that they are not aware of this shit?

Extraordinary efforts by the White House to scupper Britain's attempts to tackle global warming have been revealed in leaked US government documents obtained by The Observer.
These papers - part of the Bush administration's submission to the G8 action plan for Gleneagles next month - show how the United States, over the past two months, has been secretly undermining Tony Blair's proposals to tackle climate change.
The documents obtained by The Observer represent an attempt by the Bush administration to undermine completely the science of climate change and show that the US position has hardened during the G8 negotiations. They also reveal that the White House has withdrawn from a crucial United Nations commitment to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions.
The documents show that Washington officials:
• Removed all reference to the fact that climate change is a 'serious threat to human health and to ecosystems';
• Deleted any suggestion that global warming has already started;
• Expunged any suggestion that human activity was to blame for climate change.
Among the sentences removed was the following: 'Unless urgent action is taken, there will be a growing risk of adverse effects on economic development, human health and the natural environment, and of irreversible long-term changes to our climate and oceans.'
Another section erased by the White House adds: 'Our world is warming. Climate change is a serious threat that has the potential to affect every part of the globe. And we know that ... mankind's activities are contributing to this warming.

Keep Hoping, Keep Hoping
Can we say Impeachment and prison?

I Need Some Outrage

I was kind of hoping that my week away from the internet and constant exposure would some how magically renew my damaged “soul” but I am afraid I “mis-underestimated” the depth to which the right would stoop.
The right wing whackos are now calling Senator Durbin a traitor for repeating what an FBI agent reported and being aghast at the abuse of prisoners at Gitmo. They are deliberately twisting his remarks and saying that he is calling all American soldiers Nazi’s. The are lying with their eyes wide open and hoping the sheep follow right along.
What is so frightening is that they seem to be succeeding into morphing the question of whether torture of prisoners is right or wrong but one of treason for even admitting that it is being done.

I actually think my psyche is being overwhelmed. We really can’t let this happen.

I don’t think the average American realizes what a serious impact this kind of behavior on the part of Americans means to the rest of the world and to ourselves. The moral cost is monstrous. Americans like to see themselves as a moral people. We look with pride on our historic fights for human rights and freedom. Remember that we, as Americans, don’t have an ancient history of thousands of years nor any great traditions that act as the glue for the country. All we have is our short history and our resistance to tyranny here and abroad to give ourselves meaning. This is all we have and mistreating prisoners and then refusing to admit it makes the world see our moral claims and “holier-than-thou” attitude as meaningless hypocrisy. Worse, it removes all our own claims to a national identity based upon what’s right, fair and good. If the country as a whole ever lets what has been going on in our name really sink in it will be a huge deflation of the national ego. All the morality aside, there is also our defense of the “rule of law” as a foundation of American democracy. Forget the absolute moral collapse; consider the collapse of the law. We harp endlessly on the fact that no country or government is above the law while at the very same moment ignoring our most solemn commitments to international law regarding the treatment of prisoners. What is left to us if there is no law left for us to revere?

Ever since the short outrage over the photographs from Abu Ghraib prison it seems we have become immured to the daily reports, if they are even carried by American media, of the cruelties and indignities inflicted on prisoners at Gitmo. Not only are we seeming to ignore Gitmo we seem also immune to the reports of prisoners being beaten to death by American soldiers and of unknown numbers of others held in secret locations by the CIA and others rendered for torture to places like Uzbekistan. Have Americans ceased to care?
We are a party to The Geneva Conventions, which protect people captured in conflict, and they prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." We are quick to claim them for our own troops but we allow Bush and company to ignore them with impunity?
We are also a party to the United Nations Convention Against Torture which requires signatories to "prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction ... cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." But we allow the Bush administration to declare this provision doesn’t apply to the treatment of non-Americans held outside the United States?
Lastly, there is the Uniform Code of Military Justice which makes cruelty, oppression or "maltreatment" of prisoners a crime. Have we allowed Bush to trump even our own law?

This situation is really dragging me down as I wait for the outrage. Where is the outrage? Where is the impeachment?

Sunday, June 19, 2005

We're Back the Natchez Trace done and it is worth the time. Checked in on Mom and Grand Ma. Back home and while I did put 2200 miles on the car I am not too tired. Back to the old grind tomorrow and I am extremely disappointed in you guys. I expected an impeachment and multiple life sentences at Gitmo while I was gone. Just because Tbogg and I take a week off does not mean you are allowed to slack off. Jane has kept busy agitating and stuff so all is not wasted. Going to take me a few days to catch up but is am going as fast as I can.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Muscle Shoals

Well we've made it to Muscle Shoals home of some of the greatest rock and roll recordings. So far the drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway has been great. No problems with the weather as Arlene stayed a little more east than originally predicted.
Natchez is charming and has over 500 buildings on the National time to see them all but Rosalie was worth the trip alone. The drive from Natchez to Jackson is just full of places to see the history of the area and the park service has done a wonderful job. I don't feel so bad about taxes when I see these kind of results. Jackson to Tupelo is another great leg with historical stops the entire way. This is the longest day with 160 miles or so to travel....that doesn't sound like much but when you ar stopping every five miles to look at some historical adds up to a full day. the speed limit is 50 as well.
Jackson to Tupelo and the birthplace of Elvis Presley...nuff said. More good stuff along the way.
Finally a short jaunt to Muscle Shoals/Tuscumbia/Sheffield. Tuscumbia is the birthplace of Helen Keller and you can tour the house and grounds of Ivy Green where she was born and lived until she went off to school.
Tomorrow is the last leg to Nashville only we will stop in Franklin, TN which has some historical interest and where we have never been.
Next off to the hills of Virginia/West Virginia to see Mom for a few days. All in all a good week. Probably 1500 plus miles by the time it is all over and we are back home but not too hectic.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Off into the Storm

Excellent Timing once again. Out trip alongthe Natchez Trace over the coming days is going to coincide with tropical storm Arlene's tour ofthe Natchez Trace. Might get a little wet before it is all over. Fortunately the storm should only be with us over the weekend.
Limited access from the road so don't expect much from this side. Maybe a Balckberry message or two.
On the Road Again!

Friday, June 10, 2005

No Wishy-Washy On This

From the AP and NTodd

JERUSALEM - Israel is considering using an unusual new weapon against Jewish settlers who resist this summer's
Gaza Strip evacuation — a device that emits penetrating bursts of sound that leaves targets reeling with dizziness and nausea.

Security forces could employ the weapon to overcome resistance without resorting to force, their paramount aim. But experts warn that the effects of prolonged exposure are unknown.

The army employed the new device, which it dubbed "The Scream," at a recent violent demonstration by Palestinians and Jewish sympathizers against Israel's West Bank separation barrier.

Protesters covered their ears and grabbed their heads, overcome by dizziness and nausea, after the vehicle-mounted device began sending out bursts of audible, but not loud, sound at intervals of about 10 seconds. An Associated Press photographer at the scene said that even after he covered his ears, he continued to hear the sound ringing in his head.

NTodd is on the fence about whether a device like this can be considered violent, irrespective of the lethalness. I submit that anything used to make innocent people do things against their will is force. Anything that allows the police, government or military to prevent peaceful protest and assembly by force is supression and wrong. Just because this is non-lethal just makes it possible to go all wishy-washy in opposing it. This is one of those black and white things. It's the same argument about how much pain can you inflict on someone before it becomes torture. The reality is that even suggesting that you will inflict pain on someone in your custody is torture. The end never justifies the means.

Meat Grinder or Robots Are Us

Riggsveda over at Corrente has another good post up about education. This one talks about the impact of the attack on education funding (Pell Grants) on the lower and middle class but also introduces us to John Taylor Gatto and Alexander Inglis.
I know, for myself, that I really didn’t begin to become “educated” until I left the formal educational system and I suspect many others have that same sense. If I hadn’t been fortunate enough to be in Hawaii in the service at the right time I would not have connected to several people at the East-West Center that introduced me to the possibility of actual thought as separate from education. There is a very interesting quote from Gatto referencing Inglis’ on the actual functions of public education and I must say, when I think about them, they make absolute sense. It also strengthens my conviction that until you can separate yourself from the structured educational system you will not actually “learn” anything and will definitely not learn how to think or should I say “not think” and thereby open yourself to the actual universe. The post is quite worthwhile and the quote below from Gatto is worth some serious contemplation.

"Inglis breaks down the purpose - the actual purpose - of modem schooling into six basic functions, any one of which is enough to curl the hair of those innocent enough to believe the three traditional goals listed earlier:
1) The adjustive or adaptive function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. This, of course, precludes critical judgment completely. It also pretty much destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught, because you can't test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and do, foolish and boring things.
2) The integrating function. This might well be called "the conformity function," because its intention is to make children as alike as possible. People who conform are predictable, and this is of great use to those who wish to harness and manipulate a large labor force.
3) The diagnostic and directive function. School is meant to determine each student's proper social role. This is done by logging evidence mathematically and anecdotally on cumulative records. As in "your permanent record." Yes, you do have one.
4) The differentiating function. Once their social role has been "diagnosed," children are to be sorted by role and trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits - and not one step further. So much for making kids their personal best.
5) The selective function. This refers not to human choice at all but to Darwin's theory of natural selection as applied to what he called "the favored races." In short, the idea is to help things along by consciously attempting to improve the breeding stock. Schools are meant to tag the unfit - with poor grades, remedial placement, and other punishments - clearly enough that their peers will accept them as inferior and effectively bar them from the reproductive sweepstakes. That's what all those little humiliations from first grade onward were intended to do: wash the dirt down the drain.
6) The propaedeutic function. The societal system implied by these rules will require an elite group of caretakers. To that end, a small fraction of the kids will quietly be taught how to manage this continuing project, how to watch over and control a population deliberately dumbed down and declawed in order that government might proceed unchallenged and corporations might never want for obedient labor."

Ask yourself. What will be more important as the wealthy in America continue to widen the gap between the have and the have nots? It seems to me that a subservient working class, under educated and unchallenging is just the ticket. As Riggsveda asks;

Eliminate meaningful education, eliminate the means to get one, and remove the books and other human communications that could enable one to get an education on one's own. Demonize the mere idea of being educated, and the people themselves will do the rest. The fat cats can sit back and let the money roll in, while the endless supply of coolies keep coming down the pipeline.

Worth a little thought I think.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Billie Holiday

The Postmistress just delivered my latest gift to myself from Amazon...
Billie Holiday - Greatest Hits and Billie Holiday The Ultimate Collection

The Greatest hits one are all songs recorded for Columbia at Vocation and Brunswick between 1933 and 1942 and are one of the great recording collections of the 20th century...not just my opinion. I can't believe I waited so long to buy this.

The second is a new collection that does contain some of the above recordings (4 or 5) but covers her entire career up until 1958. 42 recordings in all. The bonus is a DVD of rare appearances on TV and film.

Overdose time.

Need a Two by Four

The Farmer over at Corrente has posted some extracts from a monograph by W.J. Cash originally published in The American Mercury in 1929. It is titled The Mind of the South. This is in response to a post by Tom questioning the dogged determination of apparently a majority of Americans to refuse to accept, at least publicly, that the American ideal is rapidly turning to shit and the pigs are eating it. I won’t post the whole thing here since you can click on the link and read it over there but I really was struck by one paragraph.

It is not without a certain aptness, then, that the Southerner’s chosen drink is called moonshine. Everywhere he turns away from reality to a gaudy world of his own making. He declines to conceive of himself as the mad king’s "poor, bare, forked animal"; in his own eyes, he is eternally a noble and heroic fellow. He has always displayed a passion for going to war. He pants after Causes and ravening monsters— witness his perpetual sweat about the nigger. (No matter whether the black boy is or is not a menace, he serves admirably as a dragon for the Southerner to belabor with all the showiness of a paladin out of a novel by Dr. Thomas Dixon. The lyncher, in his own sight, is a Roland or an Oliver, magnificently hurling down the glove in behalf of embattled Chastity.)

That paragraph pretty well sums up the state of affairs. For years I have been struggling with trying to understand why it appears the American people are so hell bent on ignoring the realities of the world. How they can convince themselves that driving an SUV is OK? How they can convince themselves to buy all this artificial, chemically modified, poisonous food and turn right around at feed it to their babies? How they can elect and then re-elect such an obviously venal, morally bankrupt, and weak minded man like George W. Bush to the Presidency of the United States? It staggers the mind. This monograph has finally opened the door a little.

It is not that they are stupid. They see and just flat refuse to accept it as reality…and it is cultural. It has been bred and indoctrinated into them from their first consciousness. Their Christian Church teaches them and their peers teach them and parents teach them and TV teaches them to ignore what they see and accept what we say. Ignore the man behind the curtain. How else can you explain the U.S. being the only country in the world to reject the Kyoto protocol and it is just dandy with the majority of the population? They are mentally incapable of accepting the fact that millions of their fellow Americans are without medical care and that millions of American children are going to bed hungry every night and are chronically undernourished. This is the greatest country on earth. That can’t happen here! This explains why it has taken so long for the majority to realize that we are in a no win situation in Iraq and that instead of actually making us more secure it is making us less so. It is not a large majority but at least it is beginning to be such a big elephant in the room that it is sinking in.

So I guess the answer is that we on the “reality based side” are just going to have to keep repeating the reality over and over until it begins to register. It’s kind of like the old saw about the getting the mule’s attention with a two by four. We need to scratch our fingers on the blackboard, bang the gong, shoot off fireworks, and stand in their faces and shout the truth before it will catch. There is hope but we are going to have to overcome years of programming.

Evidently The Mind of the South is still available from places like Amazon.
More on WJ Cash (including the original TMS 1929 American Mercury manuscript) here: WJ

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Free Beethoven from the BBC

The BBC is offering all 9 of Beethoven's in MP3 for free of the next month or so. The 1st and 3rd are available now.

Download all nine of Beethoven's symphonies here the day after they are broadcast. All the symphonies are performed by BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda.

Symphonies 1 & 3 will be broadcast on Monday 6th June, and available to download from Tuesday 7th June to Monday 13th June.

Symphonies 2, 4 & 5 will be broadcast on Tuesday 7th June, and available to download from Wednesday 8th June to Tuesday 14th June.

Symphony 6 will be broadcast on Monday 27th June, and available to download from Tuesday 28th June to Monday 4th July.

Symphony 7 will be broadcast on Tuesday 28th June, and available to download from Wednesday 29th June to Tuesday 5th July.

Symphony 8 will be broadcast on Wednesday 29th June, and available to download from Thursday 30th June to Wednesday 6th July.

Symphony 9 will be broadcast on Thursday 30th June, and available to download from Friday 1st July to Thursday 7th July.


UPDATE: Here is another site that offers free classical music for download as well

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Keep Calm or Panic! Whichever

Jane at Firedoglake is continuing her coverage of the potential disaster that is hanging over our heads with the economy. She is doing a great job. Go read it.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Rewriting Clinton's Presidency -- Not Nice

Michael Tomasky of The American Prospect has an excellent article posted online. He reminds us of one of the agendas of the right that I think we ignore to our peril. This is their constant and purposeful attempt to paint the Clinton era as a miserable failure instead of the success it was, inspite of their best efforts to impeach him for nothing. If we allow this meme to survive unchallenged we risk it becoming the same sort of right wing myth as Al Gore and the Internet. We should challenge this lie at every utterance with the facts. The only way they can justify their insane support for "The Worst President Ever!" is to try and hide his atrocious record from the light that radiates from the Clinton Whitehouse.

Tomasky writes:
But there is another reason these anti-Clinton tomes still appear with regularity, and liberals who criticize the Clintons from the left need to recognize it: The right knows that if its historical interpretation of Clintonism can prevail, liberalism as a project can be killed for decades. That is, if they can convince America over the next few crucial years (crucial because historical interpretations of Clintonism are just really beginning) that the Clinton era was not one of prosperity, peace, and a demonstration that government can deliver common goods but was, instead, one of corruption, turpitude, and a fat and happy people discarding moral values for the sake of higher mutual-fund values, they will have won an extremely important argument with serious long-term ramifications.

Bullshit! Hateful Bullshit!

My, My, SO this is compassionate conservatism. Thanks for straightening me out I thought it was a spiteful and hateful overreaching of government intervention in personal liberty and states rights. Their special place in hell just got markedly warmer.

In a 6-3 vote, the justices ruled the Bush administration can block the backyard cultivation of pot for personal use, because such use has broader social and financial implications.

I drag the following rant from an unknown source out when I can’t think of anything more pungent to say----

In a country where the poor and old cannot afford health care, in a country where the economy is falling apart, in a country where 44 million people live on less than $12,000 dollars a year, in a nation where 5 million people are homeless, in a country where the entire media system is owned by only six media mega conglomerates, in a nation with the highest crime rate, in a country with the world's largest prison population, in a society where 60% of marriages end in divorce, in a country where 25% of kids under 12 live in poverty, in a country that cut 25 billion dollars out of veterans benefits to help pay for a new war, in a country where the gulf between the rich and poor is growing everyday, in a nation that supports dictatorships in Saudi, Egypt, and Turkey, in a country where the government is full of corruption, in a country with the world's highest teen suicide and stress rates, and you're telling me our biggest problems are TERRORISM and DRUGS?

UPDATE: Digby does a fine analysis.

Clueless in Washington

Jane at firedoglake has excerpted a must read post by the oldman over at BOP. It is the usual masterful discussion of the current economic situation and some thoughtful prognosis on what may occur. I’m afraid none of it is good news. An important concept or thread that runs through the entire article is the reality that the Bush administration is totally bankrupt both intellectually and morally. The following excerpt says it quite clearly.

That is the essential point to grasp, that the guys in three-piece suits and the guys in wife-beaters neither of them have any fucking clue what is really going on much less where to take this country. They are literally making up shit and hoping that the world doesn't catch on that they don't have any idea what is going on. And everything comes from that original mendacity. The legal torture memos of Gonzales and the pissing on Korans in Gitmo all stem from the same root. THESE GUYS DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

White Trash- Is Not!

While I am not in agreement with Amanda over at Pandagon over either MiracleWhip (a proper BLT requires it) or mayonnaise (a properly made one). I can agree with her over the following recipe from Amber Pawlik for veggie pizza (via Gavin at Sadly No!). It is, in fact, just so wrong.

2 cans of Crescent Rolls
2 8 oz packages softened cream cheese
1 cup Miracle Whip
1 Package of Ranch Dressing Mix (Dry)
2 cups fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese

It is also wrong for Amanda to represent this as "White Trash" cooking. I am pretty much an expert on this particular type of American cooking and this recipe has nothing to recommend it to that "high art". Proper "White Trash" cooking is not necessarily driven by hard and fast rules but there are some qualities that must be met before a recipe can be awarded that kind of status. This concoction misses on several points.
The first is the Crescent Roll thing. Everyone knows the only worthwhile bread out of a can is buttermilk biscuits.
Second is the use of fresh vegetables when it always canned or frozen for a true "White Trash" creation.
Lastly, who ever heard of using anything but Velveeta cheese to cook with? BTW by Velveeta I actually mean that process cheese that comes in the 5 pound tubes from the USDA food give away program but only a few of us on the Internet actually had to live on that stuff and knows what it is.
Lastly, Lastly, everyone knows you can't make a pizza without tomato sauce straight from the can.
Here is a proper veggie pizza in the true "White Trash" style:

2 cans of buttermilk biscuits(not the flaky kind) spread out and mashed into a pizza shape
1 can tomato sauce spread on
2 cans Veg-All drained (if you want a meat pizza instead lose the Veg-all and substitute 5 cut up Slim-Jims)
4 oz. Velveeta or other process cheese shredded over the top

Feel Safer?

U.S. Relaxing Troop Standards

The US military has stopped battalion commanders from dismissing new recruits for drug abuse, alcohol, poor fitness and pregnancy in an attempt to halt the rising attrition rate in an army under growing strain as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An internal memo sent to senior commanders said the growing dropout rate was "a matter of great concern" in an army at war. It told officers: "We need your concerted effort to reverse the negative trend. By reducing attrition 1%, we can save up to 3,000 initial-term soldiers. That's 3,000 more soldiers in our formations."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Just for Google Fun

Downing Street Memo
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George W Bush
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Big Time Signatures

Shakespeare's Sister is reporting that there are now over 100,000 signatures on the letter to Bush from John Conyers. If you are a blogger and haven't signed the letter or haven't joined the Big Brass Alliance then do so right this minute. You can join the alliance by emailing Pam at Shakespeare's Sister or to the Big Brass Blog itself mail [at]

The Downing Street Memo needs all the air it can get.

Finally the Weekend

Another grueling week is over..thank me. As you can see not much activity on the weblog other than some stolen stuff. I've got several fairly big projects to finish in July which includes a week of vacation. I didn't get my Q2 MBOs until last week and there is a lot to do. Yes, I did whine that two thirds of the quarter were already gone and that it was pretty lousy management. There will really be some noise if I miss a quarterly bonus as a result.
Atlanta has had some really less than perfect weather over the last few days and it looks to stay with us for a few more. Madame is all in a twist that it will be bad for our little holiday week after next but I keep assuring her that it will be fine. We've decided to drive the Natchez Trace from South to North over a few days and just follow our noses, stopping when we want. I made hotel reservations for five nights in Natchez, Jackson, Tupelo,MS, Muscle Shoals, AL and Franklin, TN and those are only 100 - 150 miles apart. Shouldn't be in a rush to get anywhere. I'm looking forward to it.
Just went down to the kitchen to get another coffee and noticed all the activity in the back yard. Woodpecker city! Two red-headed, a downy, a hairy, a red-bellied and a common flicker all at once. Must get some more suet when I go out...Of course, the down side of feeding the wildlife are the less than desirables, crows and even the occasional rat. I don't think there is any way to avoid them when there is food available. Oh well...all the goddess' creatures and all.
I hope to be a little more active the coming week but we'll have to see. Lots going on and some of it means I will have to waste the 45 minutes each way to drive to the office. I really hate that.
Ok, so now off on the Saturday rounds. Later...and there does seem to be some sun shining for a change better get it while I can.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Books Bad, Very Bad They Are

Preposterous Universe points us to something very interesting via Wonkette) who points to an enlightening list at Human Events Online -- The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. As voted on by leading conservative thinkers!
  • The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels
  • Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler
  • Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Zedong
  • The Kinsey Report, Alfred Kinsey
  • Democracy and Education, John Dewey
  • Das Kapital, Karl Marx
  • The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
  • The Course of Positive Philosophy, August Comte
  • Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche
  • General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, John Maynard Keynes
Did you ever you think you would see Mein Kampf on the same book list with The Feminine Mystique?

However the list of runners-up is just as interesting and in many ways more telling.
  • The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich
  • What Is To Be Done, V.I. Lenin
  • Authoritarian Personality, Theodor Adorno
  • On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
  • Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B.F. Skinner
  • Reflections on Violence, Georges Sorel
  • The Promise of American Life, Herbert Croly
  • Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin
  • Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault
  • Soviet Communism: A New Civilization, Sidney and Beatrice Webb
  • Coming of Age in Samoa, Margaret Mead
  • Unsafe at Any Speed, Ralph Nader
  • Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
  • Prison Notebooks, Antonio Gramsci
  • Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
  • Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon
  • Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud
  • The Greening of America, Charles Reich
  • The Limits to Growth, Club of Rome
  • Descent of Man, Charles Darwin
I, for the life of me, can't figure out why Silent Spring is on the list. But as Sean points out it's Darwin's appearance that is most telling. If this really does
represent how the so-called mainstream conservatives think then they are really intellectually bankrupt.

You do have to consider who was on the committee however and that list is pretty interesting in itself.
Harry Crocker, Vice President & Executive Editor, Regnery Publishing, Inc.
Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
among others...

War Crimes are for Real and Bush Should Pay

There is an excellent a very detailed article by Matthew Rothschild, of the The Progressive concerning the apparent impunity of Rumsfeld and Bush with respect to war crimes. Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the ACLU, the American Bar Association, and Human Rights First (formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) have joined in a call for a special prosecutor. But, guess what, that decision is up to Gonzales and ultimately Bush. These guys have managed, with the appointment of Abu Gonzales to immunize themselves from any prosecution for their crimes.
It is imperative that that issue be kept alive in the media and on the internet. It would be the greatest travesty if these bastards got away with this unscathed. Bush and Cheney should not be allowed to just dismiss the opinions of all of these respected human rights organizations by just saying their findings are absurd. Somebody in the media have to call them on it and keep pressing. It is probably too much to expect our media to do the job.

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA say there is "prima facie" evidence against Rumsfeld for war crimes and torture. And Amnesty International USA says there is also "prima facie" evidence against Bush for war crimes and torture. (According to Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, "prima facie evidence" is "evidence sufficient to establish a fact or to raise a presumption of fact unless rebutted.")

The Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture all prohibit the torture and abuse that the United States has been inflicting on detainees. Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture states that "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

Article VI of the Constitution makes treaties "the supreme law of the land," and the President swears an oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed. Bush has violated his oath of office not only in this but in many ways.

Here is the White House response from Scotty

"The allegations are ridiculous and unsupported by the facts," McClellan said. "The United States is leading the way when it comes to protecting human rights and promoting human dignity. We have liberated fifty million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . We're also leading the way when it comes to spreading compassion."

Gag me with a spoon! When did death, maiming and misery become compassion?

Foot in Mouth

Looks like there is a central message breakdown at Fox, or at least in the London branch. An article in Slate notes the following quote from Scott Norvell the London bureau chief for Fox News. This evidently only appeared in the Euro edition of the Wall Street Journal so damage as been pretty well contained.

Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly. And those who hate us can take solace in the fact that they aren't subsidizing Bill's bombast; we payers of the BBC license fee don't enjoy that peace of mind.

Fox News is, after all, a private channel and our presenters are quite open about where they stand on particular stories. That's our appeal. People watch us because they know what they are getting. The Beeb's institutionalized leftism would be easier to tolerate if the corporation was a little more honest about it.

This happened on May 20th and you notice that all the main stream media jumped on it here.