Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Don't Ask

Don't even think of asking me how the first 18 holes of my golf week went. Today is another day and after all the practice I got yesterday ( a lot of extra strokes) I should be cooking with gas today. Right? The weather was nice, the course was nice but hard, the companionship was great (not much laughing) so on balance I can't complain. It is just a game after all. Now if I could just find that Crossroads that Robert Johnson was talking about.

All's Well

How about that! Even though I didn't sit in front of the TV or computer worrying and wringing my hands the Goddess shifted Katrina just enough to spare The Big Easy and all its sin and whiskey and jazz and funky stuff and whack Mississippi and Alabama instead. Not that that I have anything against those two wonderful southern states and neighbors but I find it rather odd that two of the most religious states get it instead of sin central. Maybe they better rethink the insistence that God on His Throne, stern visage and all, is the real deal and look more favourably on the Goddess.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Safe in Arkansas

Made it safe and sound and ready to embark on an overdose of golf followed by lots of cold beer and friends. Went out and did nine holes last night after we got here and didn't embarass myself too badly. Due to the lack of practice my short game is atrocious but some time on the driving range this morning should help that out.
Things seem to be proceeding as normal without my constant attention so you guys must be covering OK. Mustang Bobby seems to come out of his exposure with Katrina without too much damage. DrMax is complaining about his boring life. Jane is still on watch and Tbogg is still Tbogg. I am not going to worry too much...

Pray This Is An Overstatement

Here is the statement from NOAA on the probable effects of this size storm on New Orleans.






Pray to any God or Goddess you feel appropriate, but pray.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Successfully made it to Memphis, so we are half way to the goal. Got here early enough in the afternoon to take in a few tourist things.The Rock and Soul Museum is worth a stop. It highlights the other musical forces from Memphis besides Elvis. Sam and Dave, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and all the others. Stax, Sun and Hi records. WDIA, the first black format radio station. Personally, Beale Street is a bust...it is just a block of tourist traps and though there is a lot of music blaring there doesn't seem to be a lot of soul in the background. Seems artificial and contrived.

The one thing I did manage to do was have ribs at Corky's on Poplar. I must say, modest person that I am, that these ribs are almost as good as mine. This is great praise, remember that I lavish days of tender loving care on a couple of slabs at a time and Cork's probably cooks a ton or more a day. Smoky, juicy, falling of the bone. Mighty fine. Make sure you get them Memphis style with the dry rub. They will ship them via Federal Express if you can't come to the source but I can't guarantee how good they will be.

Next the back woods of northern Arkansas. We are going to a small retirement community just north of Bentonville and right on the Missouri line. I know it is dangerously close to the corporate home of the great beast Wal-Mart but i have charms in the pocket to help ward and besides I should have enough booze to dull the karmic pain that emanates from the place. If not I will send up the flag.

I will try and post as the week goes by and I see how badly my handicap has deteriorated over the last 6 months.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Piling Up

Did you ever notice how everything seems to wait until a couple of days before you are going on a week holiday to happen? Well, that is the situation for yours truly and why there has been no activity here for the last couple of days. There is plenty to talk about... just no time. I am just trying to get out of town, see some friends and play a little golf before I have to hit the international road again for the rest of the year. Off to Japan for the balance of September week after next, a week home and then to Lyon for a couple of weeks and then the U.K for the balance of the year except for the Thanksgiving break.
I think everybody knows that my presence in the U.S. will be limited for the next few months and they want everything in the next couple of days.
Anyhow, long and busy day today, travel to Memphis the next and on to Northern Arkansas for the week with a side trip to St. Louis to see the steamship Arabia museum then back and pack for Japan leaving the 7th. The only highlight here is that this is a part of Japan I have never visited before and am looking forward to exploring something besides Tokyo.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

He's Nuts

Sorry. I am sort of distracted. I failed to point out an excellent post by MandT over at Adgitadiaries Eban Jeezus Kain't Raise Roadkill. Granted he quotes me but it doesn't take away from the post.

Stand Up

MJS of MortalJive: The Rest Is Silence left this in the comments section over at Corrente and I think it needs a little more distribution
Some folks claim that Democrats don't stand for anything--this meme conjures in my mind images of townspeople griping about a knight while he holds off a dragon. Standing up to the baser, untoward and unsavory ravenous conmen of our world is a pretty good start from where I sit.

Stand up between the wage monster and the wage-earner, the wildlife slayer and the wildlife, the wilderness destroyer and what's left of the wilderness.

Stand between our lives and the cowardly war mongers, between the penis and vagina patrol and you-get-the-idea...

These straw men, these hollow men, the fake men and fake god-lover, the phony doctor and his phony crowd-whippin' diagnosis "from afar", the war merchants, the bought news stations and the bought news reporters, the dirty congress person covered in pork grease--the natural opponent of the Lord of the Flies is the liberal, the intellect, the valiant and the clear eyes of reason and decency--common decency, not some arbitrary "decency" for prudes.

Stand between me and those freaks who want to tell me what to believe, what to say, who I can make love to: this is what a proud liberal democrat can stand for, and this is what I admire in those who do (in case anybody cares).

Amen, brother(or sister as the case may be)

What He Says

Digby responds to Matt's wishy-washy view of what is needed to regain our country going forward. I agree completely with everything he says and recommend everyone read it, think about it and agree that it is time we come to the game to win and that the old strategies of letting them define us is a proven recipe for failing. Change the rules and win the game.
What we should be debating is how we win elections. The base of the party is ready to support anyone who is willing to speak in clear, straighforward terms about the contrast between the Republicans and the Democrats and they believe that it could be a winning electoral strategy to do that. Certainly, they are extremely impatient with the split the difference, triangulation strategies that have failed to win majorities for the last several election cycles.

That, I think, is the real question here. Will our "shrillness" help or hurt the party? I think the netroots believes it's time to try a message that has a little more heat than lukewarm water. The establishment, still smarting from their seminal loss in 1972, is scared to death of anything that resembles real passion. Far more than a serious division in the party over specific policy, that, I think is the real fault line. What kind of politics --- not policies --- do the Democrats think will win?

Death By Jesus

Pat Robertson gives us another reason to fear a theocracy run by the lunatic fringe of the Christians in this country.
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
Actually, I hesitate to lump Robertson, Dobson, et al into the same crowd as most Christians in this country and I am pretty sure Jesus would feel the same way. Robertson's statement illustrates very clearly my contention that the "American Taliban" would not hesitate to murder those of us that won't tremble in fear of eternal damnation merely because they say so. The only thing stopping them is the law. These people are bat shit crazy and can justify anything in their twisted world view. Try an experiment the next time you come across one and ask him or her if they see anything wrong with the American slaughter of thousands of Iraqi children and see what answer you get.
Here is a little free advice for someone born and raised in the south and who has been surrounded by these poisonous people all his 56 years. Turn your back to them at your own peril. Expecting altruism and behaviour from them consistent with the teachings of the historical Jesus is delusion. Any positive behaviour they demonstrate will be offset by twice as much vitiolic hate and intolerance in the very short term. If they appear sincere and caring then they think you either have money for them to steal or that you can benefit them in some other way. Assume the worst motivation and nine times out of ten you won't be disappointed.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Slow Dawning

The good news is that reality is slowly, ever slow slowly, sneaking up on the American public. The bad news is that it has taken this long for them to admit that what we were saying almost six years ago was the absolute truth and that it may take the next century to undo the damage. That is assuming that all the damage is correctible.
George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove, and 36% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove.

Ten Steps

Juan Cole offers Ten Steps for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. They seem to make sense to me especially in light of what is happening with the "budding democracy". If I remember correctly one of the overriding reason for not taking out Saddam in the first Gulf War was the fear that the vacuum of his departure would more than likely trigger an Isamlic state with the Shiites taking control a Shiite Theocracy as it were. It also seems to me that this was run up the flagpole pre Bush "step on crank". Amazing how the "reality based" crowd was ignored by the hawks that insisted that the Iraqi's had no love for shariah.
Now in the desparation to get a constitution, any constitution, the Americans behind the scene in Iraq are agreeing that having shariah as the main influence in the new constitution is what has to be and therefore what we will have is a Shiite Theocracy. This is such a mind blowing disaster that the words escape me.

Not Time to Hide

The following quote from a good piece by David Sirota at the Huffington Post really pisses me off. What do these elitist so called Democrats think is wrong anyway. Until the we stand up and tell the Neocon Bush assministration that we are tired of being lied to and we are tired of our troops dying for no reason then there is nothing to differentiate us from the sheep that voted for it. Can they not see the sympathetic vibrations emanating from the Cindy Sheehan event? We are on the cusp of a revolution in American thought and every effort needs to be made to push toward that horizon. The nation is beginning to see what the rest of the world has seen from the beginning and that is that the emperor has no clothes. It is time, and has been, to fight back not hide in the corner.

[T]he Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) is once again undermining the Democratic Party. This time, it has "accused war critics of 'anti-American bias'" (wonder if that includes Vietnam War hero and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel?). This is a pristine example of self-proclaimed Democrats literally regurgitating the most offensive and dishonest right-wing spin out there. There is nothing "anti-American" about wanting to bring our troops home. (Frankly, it's the other way around: there is something "anti-American soldier" about wanting to indefinitely leave our troops in a shooting gallery without an exit strategy, without proper body armor, and without any semblance of a plan). The DLC's rhetoric is reminiscent of Attorney General John Ashcroft's now-famous statement that critics of the Bush administration "only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve." It is also frighteningly reminiscent of the 9/8/03 Washington Post story that noted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that "critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policy are encouraging terrorists and complicating the ongoing U.S. war on terrorism."

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Grace over at Scriptoids takes at a critical look at the poster boy for planned parenthood (Jonah Goldberg) and his inept and SFB handling of a story about the idea to put 130 windmills in shallow waters off Nantucket. Jonah uses the story as a feeble and inaccurate excuse to ridicule the Kennedys instead of a real story of hard environmental choices.

I personally think windmills are cool. I spend a lot of time on the west coast of Sweden where there are windmills along all the bays and inlets. Granted they are not part of the natural landscape but I think they are graceful and majestic. The knowledge that they are producing much needed energy with absolutely no pollution just adds to the beauty.

Bad JuJu

If this is true the Army's top dog sure knows how to rain on one's parade. If the current rate of death and destruction reflects what we can expect for 4 more years we are looking at 3400 or more deaths and 26,000 plus wounded. Only Goddess knows how many more Iraqi citizens(50,000+?).

Does anyone seriously think that the country will allow this to go unchecked for this much longer? A better question might be how many election cycles will the neo-con rethuglicans allow this to continue. My guess is that after a disaster at the polls next year they will be bailing and leaving the mess for Clinton or Clark to clean up.

I seriously doubt we can sustain this troop level in Iraq without changing some of the laws about how long reservists and National Guard can stay mobilized. Many of the folks in Iraq right now on their second tour and are at the current legal limit for the length of time that they can be kept active. Four more years at this level means a draft for sure.

The Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq - well over 100,000 - for four more years, the Army's top general said Saturday.

In an Associated Press interview, Gen. Peter Schoomaker said the Army is prepared for the "worse case" in terms of the required level of troops in Iraq. He said the number could be adjusted lower if called for by slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers.

Schoomaker said commanders in Iraq and others who are in the chain of command will decide how many troops will be needed next year and beyond. His responsibility is to provide them, trained and equipped.

About 138,000 U.S. troops, including about 25,000 Marines, are now in Iraq.

Schoomaker's comments come amid indications from Bush administration officials and commanders in Iraq that the size of the U.S. force may be scaled back next year if certain conditions are achieved.

(via AP)

Newt, Newt

It's Saturday after a long week and I have all kinds of "honey-do's" but first I couldn't resist a bit of comment on the talk Newt gave yesterday to the National Press Club. (I can't find a clean electronic link right now..maybe later)

Washington --- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned Friday that the United States could be at war with Islamic radicals for a half-century, but nobody is willing to say so.

"The sheer reality of the long war --- I call it 'long war' deliberately --- [is] we're going to be fighting the irreconcilable wing of Islam for at least 50 to 70 years," Gingrich said in a speech to the National Press Club.

"And . . . my biggest complaint is nobody has yet to stand up and say this is going to be really hard, this is going to take a long time," he added in response to questions after the speech.

This is an interesting concept 'irreconcilable wing of Islam'. I guess he means that they don't want to be turned into Southern Baptists or Jews but by GOD we'll kill everyone of them unless they do accept Jesus as their savior. There is absolutely no room for negotiation on this...it's them or us and don't even consider peaceful coexistence...ain't happening...no siree.

"The question we have to have an honest national dialogue about is simple: If we leave Iraq, do you really think [militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi] is going to retire? Do you really think after the victory parade of the people who hate us they're going to have fewer recruits? Do you think they are going to be less dangerous? Do you think Madrid, Amsterdam, London, New York and Washington were accidents?" He said terrorist suspects being held at the U.S. terrorism detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may have to remain "locked up for their entire lifetime" because "these are people who have said that as a matter of their religious faith, they intend to kill us."

I'm sorry Newt but I know and have known a lot of Muslims and I for the life of me can't remember one of them telling me that he or she was going to have to kill me if I didn't accept Mohammed as my spiritual leader.
Not that you will ever read this Newt but let me expain it to you.
If we would quit pooping in their sandbox and trying to manipulate the middle east as to protect out precious oil supply. If we would quit supporting the abusive regimes. If we would quit calling them whacko crazy people and disrespecting their beliefs and traditions. If we would treat Israel the same as any other foriegn country and condemn their agression and violation of the Geneva conventions and dozens of U.N. resolutions.
In a nutshell treat them as we outselves expect to be treated then everything would eventually calm down and we could share this dying world for the rest of its limited years until we all choke to death on our own waste.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Quiet Here Today..Too Quiet

In meetings all day so it will be rather quiet here today...you guys play nice.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

More on Iraq

Both Armondo at Kos and Kevin Drum have pertinent posts that are tangent to my previous post. I agree that the time is now to strike fear into the hearts of the Democratic leadership on the issue of what to do about Iraq. Now is the time for Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Howard Dean, and all the rest to recognize the pain and anquish that is building in the country over the misbegotten adventure in Iraq. Find a positive position on withdrawal and damage control or do not expect our support for their politial ambitions.
Fish or Cut Bait.

Where's The Biggees?

Is it just me or is there a material dearth of big name Democrats or Progressives making any kind of statements about what is going on down at Camp Casey? Maybe I'm just seeing the wrong news or reading the wrong pages in the AJC. It would seem to me that this is a perfect opportunity to take the lead in putting the Iraq disaster squarely in Bush's front yard so to speak. Here you have a woman that singlehandedly put the American view of the war into clear human terms and it is resonating with the nation. Cindy has weathered the shit storm from the talking heads on the right with no apparent damage and who probably deserves as much credit as anyone for the additional 5 point drop in Bush's approval polls in the last week.

What are the leaders on the left afraid of? Too much controversy? It should be a clear signal to them that with all the guns on the right focused on trashing Cindy that she is a positive symbol and is able to energize the populace.

I am pretty sure that missing this opportunity to get out in front of the Iraq issue using the energy that has developed around Cindy is a mistake. This kind of debate about the cost of the war in boys and girls and treasure is good for country. It has been too slow to develop and should have been in the forefront long before now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Evidently there is an evil attempt to Google bomb Intelligent Design and cause any Google searches for it to go instead to National Center for Science Education (NCSE). I just want to go on record and say that abusing Internet search engines is not nice. (Unless, of course, it is for a really, really good cause,) Those dimwits (Hello George) that think teaching Intelligent Design have a right to think how they wish and to have anyone who searches for Intelligent Design come up with a website that does not support Intelligent Design is a travesty. Before you know it someone might try and bomb the phrase "Miserable Failure"

Don't blame me it was Sis's idea.

Political Blasphemies

Bobby over at BBWW points us to the Miami Herald and
Robert Steinback on Cindy Sheehan and other blasphemers:

For more than two years, many Americans have wondered what noble cause our soldiers are fighting for in Iraq. But to dare to ask the question brought certain denunciation from the neo-conservative political power grid: Only a traitorous, subversive, unpatriotic, flag-burning, communist America-hater would question the virtue of a U.S. military venture.

The intimidated media shied away from asking the question. A decorated Vietnam veteran presidential candidate waffled over posing it. The opposition party caved in rather than mount a challenge about it.

And so it went largely unasked, except by a few harmless pundits on the Left.

Meanwhile, the stinking morass of Iraq deepened, claiming military and civilian lives, depleting the U.S. treasury and eviscerating U.S. global prestige.

It took the mother of an American soldier slain in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan, camping outside President Bush's Texas ranch, to ask for an explanation of the noble cause her son died for -- and thereby expose the president's utter lack of a persuasive answer. Sheehan embodies the power grid's worst nightmare: A citizen whose authority to pose the question is close to unassailable (though they've tried) -- and whose personal loss makes her impervious to intimidation.

Sheehan's stand got me thinking about what other legitimate debates have been turned into sacred but dubious axioms. I came up with what I'm calling the Seven Blasphemies None Dare Debate -- concepts neo-conservative Bush loyalists feel must not, should not and cannot be questioned.

Political blasphemies aren't synonymous with conventional wisdom, which are ideas no one bothered to question for so long that they gradually became broadly accepted -- even if inaccurate.

Rather, political blasphemies are highly debatable, complex issues that have been deliberately reduced to simplistic maxims specifically to squelch debate -- which then work to the clear advantage of one side in that debate. Partisans need only express shock that anyone would dare question what everyone knows to be true, and voil! Debate closed.

Herewith, my nominations for the Seven Political Blasphemies of contemporary America, starting with the one Sheehan has challenged.

• Not every deployment of U.S. troops is, by definition, a noble exercise. Premise: Commanders-in-chief make mistakes (and, sometimes, mislead). "Support the troops" is not, as clever neo-con partisans imply, the equivalent of "don't question the president."

• It is overly simplistic to dismiss all those who resist the American presence in Iraq as "terrorists." Premise: As long as the militants targeting U.S. troops and allied Iraqis are lumped together as "terrorists" -- a step or two below "roaches" -- there is nothing to debate; they must be crushed. But doing so closes off discussion of their true motivations (which would help us understand what we're up against), as well as the possibility that the U.S. presence in Iraq is provoking the resistance.

• It can be argued that the world is not better off without Saddam Hussein. Premise: Nobody likes a dictator, but sometimes, there is a short-term geopolitical benefit in the presence of a tyrant who keeps rival factions from colliding -- Tito in the old Yugoslavia, for example. This doesn't have to undermine the long-run goal of eliminating all despots.

• Not every society is ready for American-style capitalism and democracy. Premise: Such transitions need time, planning and patience to work. Moving too quickly can create a politically volatile mess, such as in the old Soviet Union.

• The word of God is what one chooses to believe, not a universal truth that unerringly applies to all people. Premise: Your belief in your particular version of God is not sufficient justification for you to impose your will on others.

• The American social model may not be every reasonable person's idea of a perfect society. Premise: Other cultures are not necessarily inferior to ours simply because they are different. We, as Americans, should proudly promote our values, but our aim should be to persuade, not compel, others to embrace them.

• Criticizing the U.S. government is not synonymous with criticizing America. Premise: Nonviolent dissent can be both patriotic and healthy for the nation.

I'm only a harmless pundit on the Left. Still, I find myself hoping more Cindy Sheehans will acquire the courage to demand answers to the questions none dare ask.

To paraphrase Bobby...Some of us old geezers that remember the political environment around the Vietnam war recognize these questions all too clearly. It is only when the populace as a whole and not just some of us liberals begin asking these questions that serious consideration of the actions of our government becomes legitimate. While we are in the mode of "Support our Troops or Support Saddam" thinking the neocon right controls the discourse and remains unchallenged. This needs to change and I think Cindy Sheehan's example is going to help it change.

American Cancer

Mark Morford's screed this morning reminded me of something I've noticed over the last few years and just never put down in words. If you travel as much as I do and to as many different places both in the U.S. and Europe you begin to notice that regardless of where you are in the U.S., whether Boston, Minneapolis, Austin, Sunnyvale, Atlanta, or Seattle, everything is becoming homogenized. Once place looks pretty much like every other. Mark has the same observations but, of course, says it much better.
Ah, there it is, yet another massive big-box mega-strip mall, a giant beacon of glorious community decay, a wilted exclamation point of consumerism gone wild. This is America. You have arrived. You are home. Eat it and smile.

There is the Target. There is the Wal-Mart and there is the Home Depot and the Kmart, the Borders and the Staples and the Sam's Club and the Office Depot and the Costco and the Toys "R" Us and of course the mandatory Container Store so you may buy more enormous plastic tubs in which to dump all your new sweatshop-made crap.

What else do you need? Ah yes, food. Or something vaguely approximating it. There is the Wendy's and the Burger King and the Taco Bell/KFC hybrid (ewww) and there is the Mickey D's and the Subway and the Starbucks and the dozen other garbage-food fiends lined up down the road like toxic dominoes, all lying in wait to maul your arteries and poison your heart make you think about hospitals.

You still don't see this in Europe, though around some of the bigger towns in the U.K. you are seeing the cancer, pretty much everyplace seems to have its own personality. It is a shame we are doing this to ourselves in the U.S. as it must be doing something to our mental health. Again, Mark hits it on the head.
Do you want to know what depresses the American spirit? Do you want to know why it feels like the center cannot hold and the tyranny of mediocrity has been loosed upon our world? Do you want to know what instills more thoughts of suicide and creates a desperate, low-level rage the source of which we cannot quite identify but which we know is right under our noses and which we now inhale Prozac and Xanax and Paxil by the truckload to attempt to mollify?

I have your answer. Here it is. Look. It is the appalling spread of big-box strip malls, tract homes like a cancer, metadevelopments paving over the American landscape, all creating a bizarre sense of copious loss, empty excess, heartless glut, forcing us to ask, once again, the Great All-American Question: How can we have so damned much but still feel like we have almost nothing at all?

I don't have an answer other than to revolt, if possible. Try and do your shopping away from these places and support local retailers and vendors if you can. Avoid the big box places like a plaque and look for alternatives. Maybe mail order is the answer. Regardless of where you can or have to shop try and buy American made stuff even if it costs you a couple of cents more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Where's The Boom?

Jane over at Firedoglake reminds us that the the Bush boom is bust and that by any measure he is not only a failure in Iraq and Afghanistan but at home as well.
Bush started in 2001 with 132,454,000 jobs. The total non-farm payroll number for July 2005 is 133,786,000. This is a net increase of 1,332,000 jobs in 4.5 years. Remember that as a rule of thumb the economy needs 150,000 new jobs a month just to keep up. Do the math and you discover that we needed 8,100,000 new jobs to simply stay even. That means Bumble Bush is 6,768,000 fries short of a "Happy Meal".
Did I mention the 25 million or so new jobs under the Big Dog?

Money, Money, Money

Yesterday the price of unleaded regular self serve at the BP and the Quiktrip on the corner hit $2.599. Ouch! If you are wondering why, this link will help explain it. In a nutshell, though it is just good old greed and if all the politicians, Rethuglican and Demoslack weren't so busy feeding that the Big Oil trough we might see some investigations on why inventories are being manipulated. Don't hold your breath.

Exxon Mobil’s second quarter earnings jumped 35 percent over last year, Royal Dutch Shell rose 34%, ConocoPhillips shot up 51%. Oil companies know that the lower the inventories, the higher the profits, because perceived shortages mean a speculative run-up in price. By keeping the inventories low the Big Oil guys rig the summer time driving season for big profits.

Don't get me wrong about oil prices though. I think they actually should be much higher. It is a finite resource and its impact on the environment is huge. It should be priced such that to willfully waste it(SUV,no public transport, etc.) should be painful in the place where people feel it most. We will never have a public transport system or viable alternative fuels and energy sources until gas gets painful. What gripes me about the current situation is that the extra revenue is going into Bush and Cheney's buddie's pockets and indirectly right back to them. The extra burden on the public should be funding a way to get out from under the thumb of the oil companies and not making the fat cats richer.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Can't Wait

Well, I finished the Half Blood Prince this weekend and while I am intrigued at the reasons Ms. Rowling has for what she has done I am most distressed that I will have to wait Goddess knows how long for last installment. The only possible positive I see are the periodic fantasies about how I would end the series and that I guess right.
Before you ask...NO, I am not the least bit ashamed of reading and enjoying "children's" books.

Alexander Bad

If you haven't seen Alexander yet, my opinion is that it sucks and is a major waste of money. Out of desparation I rented the CD this weekend and couldn't even get through the first hour before I was forced to turn it off. Weak script, acting and overall mishandling of what could have been an interesting movie. Too bad.

Update: I see that Shakespeare's Sis already dumped on this one. The comments support my conclusion.

Wrong Target

I am not going to dive into the Cindy Sheehan thing again as I have made my point and there are way too many better writers doing a fine job already. Besides I am swamped and need to pay attention to the real job. I just want to make one tiny, tiny point.
The right wing slime operation is shooting itself in the foot, quickly reloading and doing it again and again. How long to you think it is going to take them to realize that Cindy is no longer important and that she has done what she needs to do. She still needs to complete her vigil but that is a personal thing and will only add so much to the story. What Cindy has done is get the BIG questions out there and get the rest of the nation asking them as well. These BIG questions cannot be slimed.
Why are our sons and daughters dying in Iraq?

When are they going to come home?
Are they dying in vain?
Why did you lie to the American people in order to start this war?
When are you going to face up to the fact that you and your minions are miserable failures?
Are you ever going to accept responsibility for what may be the largest and costliest foriegn policy failure in the history of the country?
If it is such a noble cause why aren't your daughters over there?
and on and on.

Cindy has managed to get the rest of the country asking..good job Cindy.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Big Job Ahead

There is a powerful column from Frank Rich in the New York Times today.

The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.

While the entire piece is worth reading and re-reading the above paragraph struck me as the essential one. Mr. Rich is the first mainstream journalist to utter what we all have been thinking. Regardless of the spin and chicken dancing from the administration the deal is done. An extremely important concept included in the paragraph is the question of who will wind up having to pickup the pieces. The next president and his or her administration will have a horrendous task. Withdrawing our troops, preventing Iraq from falling into anarchy (if it is not already there) and beginning the daunting task of trying to repair our global standing. We should really consider the tasks ahead when condidering who will best replace the current misadministration.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Sometimes you just stand back and your mouth hangs open and you say "Holy Jeebus". Mark Morford is just so amazing I am sometime left dumbfounded. The pregnant words just seem to come so easily. I am truly in awe of his writing and I get a quick thrill when his latest shows up in my email. Fer intance Wednesday...
I am most intolerant of, well, of those who allow such intolerance. Of those who would, based on their narrow views of sex, God, love, hope, war, the mind, the Earth, soil and animals and air and water and fire and love and spirit and drugs and guns and dildos, work to legislate those neoconservative beliefs, codify them, make them the law of the land, force their regressive beliefs on everyone else under punishment of violence and beatings and prison. I am, in short, intolerant of intolerance.

Oh, let us be clear. I love diversity, religious pluralism, peace and love and pacifism and good drugs and open-mouthed sensuality, happy to let you believe in any god you like and marry any gender you like and let you love how you will and be in full control of your sex and your body and your mind.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lost Cause

While I am aghast at the right wing effort to slime Mrs. Sheehan I can't help but feel sorry for the worthless and clueless bastards. They haven't realized yet that a grieving mother's frustration and search for meaning in the death of her son is a universal absolute and untouchable. Nothing they can do will dull the edge or mitigate the damage she and her cause will do to the naked one. The longer he refuses to confront the devil he has summoned with the war the more negative the energy will become. I am not even sure that he can recover even now. Maybe if he walked the miles from the ranch to where she is and knelt in the dust at her feet in tears and begged her for forgiveness and promised to do everything in his power to shut down the Iraq debacle he might change the karma of the confrontation but that is his only chance. He is losing this fight. We can pretty much safely assume he does not have the moral fiber necessary to prostrate himself at her feet and beg for forgiveness. He is a proven coward and the spots are pretty much permanent.

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

Can someone please expain to me why this story is not a headline in the U.S.? I can't find anything on CNN or ABC about it. Shouldn't this be a headline or something?
What's even weirder is the statement that he is not connected to terrorist activity....duh... isn't trying to carry a bomb onto a plane sort of terrorist like?

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma man was taken into custody after he tried to carry a bomb on board an airplane on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, an FBI spokesman said.

Charles Alfred Dreyling Jr., 24, was detained on Wednesday morning after a security screener using an X-ray machine saw the device in his luggage as he tried to board a flight to Philadelphia at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City.

"Although the investigation is in its initial stages we have found no apparent connection to any type of terrorist activity or group," FBI spokesman Gary Johnson said.

Johnson said the screener saw an "improvised explosive device" in Dreyling's carry-on luggage.

A woman answering the phone at Dreyling's home on Wednesday night declined to discuss the matter.

Johnson said Dreyling would be charged in federal court on Thursday with possession of an explosive device at an airport.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

East Coast/West Coast

Still in Sunnyvale and up way too early as you can see by the volume of activity this morning. Sure can't complain about the weather here it is absolutely beautiful. So far the only downside is my hotel location right next to 101 and the traffic never stops. Good thing I am a little hard of hearing or I would really be crazy. Another two days of client meetings then back to Hotlanta and the heat and humidity on the 7am (Ugh!) out of SFO. Time for breakfast...finally.

Coup d'état or Sacked... You Decide

The New York Times is reporting it this way...
Baghdad Mayor Is Ousted by a Shiite Group and Replaced | By JAMES GLANZ | Published: August 10, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 9 - Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia.

The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was not in his offices at the time, recounted the events in a telephone interview on Tuesday and called the move a municipal coup d'état. He added that he had gone into hiding for fear of his life.

"This is the new Iraq," said Mr. Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation. "They use force to achieve their goal."

The group that ousted him insisted that it had the authority to assume control of Iraq's capital city and that Mr. Tamimi was in no danger. The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri.

The militia has been credited with keeping the peace in heavily Shiite areas in southern Iraq but also accused of abuses like forcing women to wear the veils demanded by conservative Shiite religious law.

"If we wanted to do something bad to him, we would have done that," said Mazen A. Makkia, the elected city council chief who led the ouster on Monday and who had been in a lengthy and unresolved legal feud with Mr. Tamimi.

"We really want to establish the state of law for every citizen, and we did not threaten anyone," Mr. Makkia said. "This is not a coup."

The AP is reporting it this way...
The mayor of Baghdad, Alaa al-Timimi, was fired and responsibility for managing the city transferred to the provincial governor, government spokesman Laith Kubba said. He refused to say why the provincial council sacked the mayor.

Fscinating I must say. Can you say propoganda?

No Sympathy For This Devil

Hey George! Mick says you are full of shit.
"You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of s---."


Modo Strikes

Thank Goddess Maureen Dowd is back at the Times. The lagniappe is that Friedman is on vacation. A Twofer!

It's amazing that the White House does not have the elementary shrewdness to have Mr. Bush simply walk down the driveway and hear the woman out, or invite her in for a cup of tea. But W., who has spent nearly 20 percent of his presidency at his ranch, is burrowed into his five-week vacation and two-hour daily workouts. He may be in great shape, but Iraq sure isn't.

It's hard to think of another president who lived in such meta-insulation. His rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious. He's a populist who never meets people - an ordinary guy who clears brush, and brush is the only thing he talks to. Mr. Bush hails Texas as a place where he can return to his roots. But is he mixing it up there with anyone besides Vulcans, Pioneers and Rangers?

Not Surprised

According to the New York Times the 9/11 Comission was not fully informed about the Pentagon's pre 9/11 intelligence.

Members of the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11 terror attacks called on Congress to determine whether the Pentagon withheld intelligence information showing that a secret American military unit had identified Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers as potential threats more than a year before the attacks.

The former commission members said the information, if true, could rewrite an important chapter of the history of the intelligence failures before Sept. 11, 2001.

"I think this is a big deal," said John F. Lehman, a Republican member of the commission who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration. "The issue is whether there was in fact surveillance before 9/11 of Atta and, if so, why weren't we told about it? Who made the decision not to brief the commission's staff or the commissioners?"

I can't say that I am very surprised at the this "revelation". I always suspected that immediately after the attack the WhitewashHouse spent most of its time trying to avoid responsibility for the failure to block or minimize the event. When you couple this information with the failure to act on the PDB, the failure to take FBI field warnings seriously, the failure of the air defense to scramble as intended and on and on you can imagine the scramble to cover their asses was going on 24x7. Any serious consideration of the all the facts available at the time indicated total incompetence on the part of the administration. The MSM deserves a lot of the "credit" for not pushing back on the spin machine that was working overtime. This latest information doesn't change my opinion that 9/11 and the success for terrorism that it represents is completely the fault of the coward Bush and his handlers. It just confirms it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Good for Matt

I see that Matt Yglesias has reconsidered his stance on "intelligent design no big deal". We need to be constantly on the watch for the right's continuous attempts to construct spurious arguments for whacko ideas which they then manage to drive into the mainstream thought which in turn legitimatizes them. Each of these attempts at putting these ideas into the mainstream needs to challenged. We cannot allow them to put their crap like intelligent design on an equal footing with evolutionary theory because once it reaches this level it must be addressed. The right relies on us not to challenge their interpretation of published scientific fact or "cherry picking" ideas from the mainstream that they convolute into their idiot arguments. Nip it in the bud.

Amazing Bullshit

I am horribly busy all week but I couldn't pass this up. via Americablog.

Debra Saunders writes one of the most assinine things I have ever read. She is effect blaming Cindy Sheehan for the needless deaths in Irag. It's not Bushe's fault all these young men and women have died for no reason it's the fault of all the people who have finally begun to realize that we were tricked into war by a liar who refuses to admit that a horrible mistake has been made and doesn't have the courage to face up to his responsibility.
Here is a quote from Debra;
Which is what makes Cindy Sheehan's encampment in Texas so bizarre: No one can be unmoved by Sheehan's horrific loss. That said, Bush didn't kill her son. Casey Sheehan died at age 24 at the hands of men who routinely slaughter innocent children and civilians on principle.

If Bush did what Cindy Sheehan wants him to do, not only would some 1,800 soldiers have died in Iraq for no reason -- worse, their deaths will have served the unhappy function of signaling to terrorists that if they kill enough U.S. troops, the White House will cut and run.

As they have been know to say here in California "Gag me with a spoon!"

Monday, August 08, 2005

Chicken Heart

Cindy Sheehan, the mother whose son Casey was killed in Iraq and who has been camped out in Crawford, Texas asking shit head in Chief to meet with her has been told that as of Thursday she will be considered a threat to national security and will be arrested.

I don't think it is a coincidence that Rice and Rumsfeld also arrive on Thursday. Not only that but on Friday the wealthy GOP donors arrive for a fundraiser. No doubt our dear leader considers it embarrassing having the mother of a fallen American soldier hanging around asking for an explanation of why her son's life was wasted on the the sands of Iraq and is therefore equal to Osama Bin Laden and deserves to be relieved of her right to protest and dissent.

Can you imagine a real president like Bill Clinton doing something like this when all it would take would be a few minutes of his time to put this whole issue to bed. I can't imagine AWOL's handlers haven't counseled him to make the effort and get some positive PR out of this issue. He must be so weak and afraid to admit that the Iraq debacle is not the cheery walk in the park that he predicted that he can't work up the courage to even face this woman and answer her questions.

If this is not an abuse of the power of the presidency I don't know what is.

Isn't it nice that terror alerts can now be turned on an off like tap water in time for the Friday news dump.

If you haven't, you should venture over to TruthOut's documentary on demonstrations by military people against the war talking about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and what they risk for speaking out, you can watch it here. It features Cindy Sheehan, and if you can listen to her talk about her son without getting a lump in your throat you are dangerously close to being a Bush clone.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

On the Road Again

Well, on the road again tomorrow. 8am flight to SFO to begin another lovely week in Sunnyvale. Actually brings back some memories of the 23 plus years of commuting to the valley with my old company. I will never forget the earthquake during the world series and the miserable night in the company apartment. It was memorable mostly for the bad movie script part. Here I was stuck in the company apartments in San Jose with no power and no food. Every restaurant and grocery store is closed due to the damage and no power and I don't even have a pack of crackers in my stuff. After putting all the furniture back and picking up all the dishes that didn't break when falling out of the cupboards I am just standing on the balcony surveying the scene when a couple of young ladies appear on the next door balcony who are demonstrably borderline hysterical. Between the weeping and shrieks we determine that they work for Apple and all are from the East Coast and have no concept of earthquake. Much handwringing and stuff and I establish that they are clueless about what they should do. It is not helping that aftershocks are happening every half hour or so. After some questioning we determince that they have a hibatchi and some charcoal and there is some stuff in the fridge. I volunteer to make some "desparation stew" and that and the bottle of Vodka that appears actually turns into a pleasant evening, aftershocks and all. While the ideal outcome would be for yours truly to comfort these young ladies through the night my culinary heroism did earn me a candle to bathe and shave by the next morning. Disappointing I know, but the truth. I like to think of it as the Lone Soup Ranger to the rescue of the fair damsels...but whatever. Anyhow the good new is I was on the first departing flight out of SFO the next morning.
Remind me someday and I will tell you the story of the lone spot of power on Saratoga-Sunnyvale and how the single Denny's waitress save the day.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Left The Building

Well we are back from Cornelia, GA and the 28th Annual Big "E" Festival. There is a historic boarding house there called the Loudermilk that has been turned into a museum of all things Elvis. While the boarding house itself is on the National Register of Historic Places I am not sure the register is meaning to publicize the Elvis museum as well. the creator/curator of this paen to The King is Joni Mabe(pictured above) and the major claim to fame for the museum is a display of what is purported to be a wart from Elvis. I am not sure of the provenance.
Anyhow to get back to the festival, there is a big contest of Elvis tribute artists and the winner receives a thousand bucks. Needless to say we sat through a rather long parade of "tribute artists" this afternoon and I am just a little shell shocked. The things a man will do to please his bride!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Money for Nuthin

"Precious Leader has so far spent 319 days "on vacation" in Crawford.
Bush makes $1,123 a DAY. So far, we have paid him $347,192 to
clear brush at his fake ranch. Meanwhile, Marines dying in Iraq
make $49 a day. Where do I sign up?"

Courtesy of David Allen

No Dumbing Down

I'm sorry but the following quote from Matt Yglesias is one of the dumbest things I've heard from someone who otherwise seems pretty sharp.

Last but not least, nothing whatsoever of practical importance hinges on whether or not life on earth originated as a result of intelligent design. The theory is exceedingly silly pseudo-science, but it doesn't actually threaten anything. There is, moreoever, no reason to think it's especially crucial for the average citizen to have an accurate grasp of state-of-the-art biological theory. Most people don't understand quantum mechanics, general relativity, or any number of other scientific and technical topics and life goes on just fine.

I think what Matt is missing here is the true purpose behind all this Intelligent Design business is not to replace Darwinism with ID but to get he mainstream to accept this pseudoscience as fact. Getting us to accept ID in the schools as reasonable is the same as getting us to accept all their half baked ideas as valid. Abstinence Only, Right-to-Life, Same sex marriage.
This is just another of the endless attempts to "dumb down" the dialogue and muddy the intellectual discourse with bull shit. The only dialogue that they can maintain is one full of non-critical, unscientific thinking. If we let them to continue to "dumb down" the discourse we will be doing a big disservice to the world. Mustang Bobby had a another perfect example this morning with SquareBob Jesus Pants comparing stem cell research with the human experiments of the Nazis in WWII. We should be taking every opportunity to raise the bar in public discourse because if we let the christo-fascists run unchallenged they will have us all not thinking like them. So to speak.

38 Percent

WASHINGTON - The deadly recent attacks on American troops in Iraq are increasing the pressure on President Bush to develop an exit strategy. The U.S. death toll from the war is now over 1,800, and a new AP-Ipsos poll shows the lowest approval yet for Bush’s handling of Iraq, just 38 percent.

38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,
38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,
38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent,38 percent

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Getting Well

Mustang Bobby posted a quote from E.L. Doctorow today which I have reproduced below.
The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally, the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail. How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

While I am pretty fragged from a quick trip to the west coast I felt the need to comment on the idea before I crash. The quote above resonated very sharply and I will read the full article. I have been trying to understand why things are the way the are and continue to be. There is a large force of people who are not happy with the things that are happening and the way the country is moving...it is evident in the polls. So why are things continuing to turn to shit? The quote above explains a lot of it. Regardless of our wishes the reality is that Georgie is our leader, he's the guy that poops in the oval office potty. We don't have to like it but that is the way it is.
Georgie's karma is our national karma and a bad sumabitch karma it is. It is not our absolute but it is biased toward it. The country is shallower, less inquisitive, more vindictive, ignorant and most of all less loving or uncaring, if you prefer, because of it. We will probably never know all the machinations used to promote this spoiled and meanspirited failure to the top of the pile but he is and as such he is us to the world. I know it is a sickening thought and something we try to reject from our thinking but it is undeniable. It is heart stopping and soul withering but true.
Ok, so we are sick by association but regardless, sick. The first step is to accept the sickness as real. Don't deny it. Make it tangible. Make it solid. Make it something real enough to reject will all your will. Don't pretend it is just a scratch and will go away of it own accord. This is a serious injury to our national soul and requires the most immediate and decisive action. An enemy denied is an enemy victorious. If we don't recognize this poison in the nation's blood as real and dangerous and react accordingly, we will regret it to our dying day.

Update: Fixed Broken Link to Mustang Bobby's post

I Made It

Well I did make it to San Jose and Sunnyvale but it has been a long day and I am too tired to spend a lot of time here tonight. I did take a look around blogworld and I must say it pretty much didn't change much today.
Bush and company are still assholes.
More of our best have died in Iraq.
I guess a good note is the closeness of the special election in Ohio. Hackett deserves all our thanks for standing up for what he and we believe and still almost won. This is the way I think it will have to be if the progressive-liberal side is going to make any inroads. We have to clearly state what we want the future of the United States to be and how we intend to make it so. We need to relentlessly point out the failures of the current administration and actively show the electorate how we would do it different.
I think Dean sees it this way as well.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Traveling today

Traveling today so won't be blogging until I hit the hotel in Sunnyvale tonight. Crikey another 14 killed in Iraq today that makes 21 in the last 48 hours. Not a good way to start the week. Goddess have mercy.
Doing this from the BlackBerry so ignore any typos.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sordid Wading?

In case you missed the Book Review section of Sunday’s New York Times, Joe Queenan has once of best bashings of Edward Klein’s The Truth about Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President. Below is a small taste but you will want to read the whole thing. Don't hold back Joe!

Granted, it is a very bad book. Granted, it is a lazy, cut-and-paste recycling of other people’s work. Granted, it relies too much on nasty personal comments about Senator Clinton provided by anonymous sources. Granted, it sleazily intimates that Hillary Clinton is a lying, scheming, smelly, left-leaning lesbian and a non-maternal parent who consorts with lawyers who defend mobbed-up unions and bears a striking character resemblance to both Richard Nixon and Madonna, and who tacitly approved of her husband’s rape of a young woman at a time when Mrs. Clinton may or may not have been bathing, washing her hair or shaving her underarms, while hanging out with short-haired women from the sapphic charnel house Wellesley College. But to suggest, as the talented John Podhoretz did in The New York Post, that this is ‘’one of the most sordid volumes I have ever waded through'’ is to raise serious questions about Podhoretz’s sordid wading experiences.

Embarrassed Nation

Bush's recess appointment of Bolton to the U.N. is argurably one of the low points of this misadministration. Having failed at leadership on every front and stupidly engaging us in an unjust and costly war Bush now wants to cap it all off by appointing someone to the U.N. that, from the view of the rest of the world, will not represent the U.S. but only Bush. The rest of the U.N. will know that Bolton only speaks for the aberrant Bush and Cheney and not for America and he will be marginalized and ignored.
The audacity of Bush Cheney to insist that a political hack like Bolton is even worth considering for a post that has been occupied by people such as Adlai Stevenson, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Arthur Goldberg, William Scranton, Andrew Young, Jean Kirkpatrick, Madeline Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Bill Richardson, and John Danforth is unbelievable. John Nichols of The Nation sums it up quite nicely:

At a time when the United States should be a full and active participant in the United Nations, it will instead be [a] marginalized force -- an embarrassed land represented by one its most embarrassing sons.

Cosmic Irony

Is there some sardonic jokester that coincides the American death toll in Iraq surpassing 1,800 with "Mission Accomplished boy" starting his month long vacation. Even richer is that this marks the 50th trip to the ranch since he wasn't elected which means he is averaging 10 trips a year. Oh yeah, and we're paying for it.
Do you think this vacation he will get to ignore a PDB warning of an imminent attack?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Brats Are People Too

While in Washington at my wife’s high school reunion which, by the way, was for the graduating classes of the 60’s from Seoul American High School in Korea, we were privileged to have a private screening of a remarkable film about brats. “Brats” is a term used to identify the children of military personnel. While I am married to one, I had never spent a lot of time thinking about what the impact of a childhood spent in this environment truly meant.
The movie was titled BRATS: OUR JOURNEY HOME and it is the first feature-length documentary about this hidden American subculture which the Director Donna Musil describes as “a lost tribe” of over 4 million children who were raised on military bases around the world. These kids came from everywhere in America and from all strata of the society but they all shared the experience of having grown up separate from America and under vastly different circumstances than the rest of us. The film is narrated by brat Kris Kristofferson and he even volunteered his time and his music to the project. The film uses archival film sources, home movies, and first-person interviews to tell the fascinating story of life in this very unique world. One of the brats interviewed is General H. Norman Schwarzkopf.
While I have been married to a brat for over thirty years and have experienced first hand how her “different” childhood made her what she is I had never really stopped to consider how “different” that childhood really was.
Consider living and going to school in post-war England, Germany, Greece, Japan and Korea. Packing and moving every few years to a different country. Saying good-bye to all your friends and having to make a new set each time. The movie covers all the good and the bad of such an existence. What is it like for children living in the socialistic and authoritarian world of the military base? What was the impact of growing up in a completely integrated society 20 years before integration came to America?
What is very interesting is that for many years these brats sort of existed in a kind of limbo. They knew they were different than those around them. They felt alone and isolated and had no one to share their experiences with. With the emergence of the internet it has become possible for these people to reconnect and begin to share in belonging to a family that is defined by this shared childhood experience.

Author and Marine Corps brat Pat Conroy(The Great Santini) sums up the feeling eloquently in his introduction to Mary Wertsch's book, Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress:

“I thought I was singular in all this, one of a kind. From Mary's book I discover that I speak in the multi-tongued, deep-throated voice of my tribe. ...[I]t's a language I was not even aware I spoke... a secret family I did not know I had. ... Military brats, my lost tribe, spent their entire youth in service to this country, and no one even knew we were there.”

It is an excellent film and it really needs to have wider distribution but, as with any first time filmmaker, it is a challenge to find the traction. The amazing thing is, Donna has done this with spit and baling wire. It is an impressive first effort at filmmaking (she’s actually is/was an attorney). Donations of a few dollars here and there and six long years of sweat equity are rolled into this. Other brats have donated editing bays and other resources. The film is still not released, or even quite finished its final editing, but Donna is presenting in a few places around the country. If you visit the website there is a list of where she is presenting this year. She still needs support and she has a great website where you can see a lot more about the film and the people involved and of course make a donation.


I was reading the AJC this morning and came across an article discussing how a strong possibility exists that Rove and Libby et al have some chance of pulling the same trick that North and Poindexter did over Iran-Contra. Of course, again, this will be with the help of their idealogical soul mates in Congress. Here is the deal. Launch a Congressional inquiry into the deal and then in the interest of "getting to the bottom" of the whole scandal grant them immunity from prosecution for their cooperation with the Congressional investigation. Lawrence Walsh had Ollie North and Poindexter convicted until he ran up against the Congressional immunity and the two went scott free. The real crime was that they only revealed anything incriminating about their own participation and nothing about all their cohorts' crimes. Nobody really got punished for the crimes of Iran-Contra as a result. It is a prtty slick way to avoid criminal prosecution if you have whores in Congress on your side. Notice that Congress is already making noises in this direction. Therefore, don't be surprised if no one winds up paying for the intelligence disaster of outing Valerie Plame.

Just In Time Escape

Looks like I escaped D.C. just in time. CNN is saying this morning that Bush is going to stir the shit again and make a recess appointment of Bolton to the U.N. This administration has absolutely no shame, no sensitivity to the high ground and doesn't gve a shit what the majority of Americans want or need. They obviously don't have the best interest of the country on their minds or they would not even consider such a raging asshole for this important post. This is a slap in the face to the American dream and an in your face "Fuck You" to the U.N. It just gets worse and worse.

BTW the trip was nice and I actually had a pretty good time. Saw a pre-release of a stellar documentary about military brats which deserves its own post. Check back.

Update: Here is the Link to the CNN story