If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad; if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal." - John F. Kennedy
Friday, September 30, 2005
Bush's Boom has found its way to her house somehow as it could to all of ours. There but for luck go I.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Of course my two rethuglican senators from Georgia voted for Roberts. No surpise there as Saxby Chambliss would have voted for Darth Vader if Cheney had said to and Johnny Isakson is just not an independent thinker.
UPDATE: As usual Billmon has his usual quality post up about it all.
Back and Good News to Boot
Delay is toast.
Frist is in hot water.
Dubya's numbers are still bad.
Not all good though. Roberts is confirmed with a lot of Dems voting for him. Still waiting for a list of who did so I can add them to my shit list.
It will take me a few days to catch up on everything, including the time change.
Right now it is time to do expense reports which will mean trying to decode a lot receipts in Japanese. Good thing is that no one in accounting reads Japanese either so I will probably get the benefit of doubt. Really, all those minibar charges are for coffee and water, really.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Back to the USA
Now for the 13 plus hour plane ride. It's a very long time in one place. Since flight time is almost equal to time change and we go back over the international date line I will will arrive in Atlanta within a half hour of when I leave Tokyo. It will make for a long Wednesday though on the personal time line.
Finish packing and off to Narita. See you guys on the flip side.
BTW if you plan on coming to Japan for business or pleasure...bring lots of money. Just an example if you have a cup of instant coffee from the mini bar in the hotel it will cost you $4.50. Ouch!
Monday, September 26, 2005
Remember the scene in "Star Wars" where the Jedi Master Obi-wan Kenobe tells Darth Vader to strike him down as it will do nothing but make Obi-wan more powerful. Keerist - These guys need to watch some movies. And Rove called Cindy a clown?
Sunday, September 25, 2005
|Top Magazines to Read In the Oval Office Waiting Room|
|2.||Callous Disregard Monthly|
|5.||Greed, Stupidity & Discrimination Review|
|7.||Religious Intolerance Digest|
|8.||Mountaintop Removal Quarterly|
|10.||Contemporary Conspicuous Consumption|
New Pledge of Allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the Chinese-made flag
and to the Republicans for which it stands,
one nation under a Christian God, hopelessly divided,
with limited liberty and delayed justice for all.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
We Broke It, We Own It
We are faced with some hard decisions ahead. What happens if we beat a fast retreat? Will Iraq collapse into a complete civil war with ethnic cleansing and massive civilian death and suffering? Will we have triggered a holacaust of destruction with our irresponsible effort to remove Saddam from power with trumped up intelligence and everchanging justification of what we are trying to accomplish? Who knows the extent of carnage that will result.
What will happen if we contiue our stubborn struggle to suppress the insurgency? We know we will kill more civilians. We know that more Americans will die and be maimed. Regardless of our presence it is getting worse and most likely will continue to do so. How long are we to hang on before we give up and leave?
Is there anyone who will not admit that we are responsible for all the past destruction and all the future destruction? The majority of Americans foolishly supported the invasion and many still trumpet the mistaken and misleading "Support The Troops" mantra.
Billmon has come to the same painful realization that I have. Something has to give. Regardless of the outcome and the probable disastrous results we really have no choice but to recognize the fruitlessness of trying to make a bad situation better with more violence and death at the hands of American soldiers. It's like when the firefighters arrive on scene with the building already too involved to try and attempt to put out the fire. All there is to do is try and keep the fire contained and let it burn itself out.
We have set the middle east on fire and poured fuel on it for two years with our agression and lack of a coherent strategy. It is fully involved and there is nothing left to do put pull back and protect, as best we can, the exposures. There is no upside here.
To quote Billmon:
We have to get out -- not because withdrawal will head off civil war in Iraq or keep the country from fallling under Iran's control (it won't) but because the only way we can stop those things from happening is by killing people on a massive scale, probably even more massive than the tragedy we supposedly would be trying to prevent.
Defeat, in other words, isn't the only alternative to failure. It could also lead to the kind of warfare that CIA counterinsurgency specialist Michael Scheuer warned about in his book Imperial Hubris:Progress will be measured by the pace of killing and, yes, by body counts. Not the fatuous body counts of Vietnam, but precise counts that will run to extremely large numbers. The piles of dead will include as many or more civilians as combatants because our enemies wear no uniforms.
Killing in large numbers is not enough to defeat our Muslim foes. With killing must come a Sherman-like razing of infrastructure. Roads and irrigation systems; bridges, power plants, and crops in the field; fertile plants and grain mills -- all these and more will need to be destroyed to deny the enemy its support base. Land mines, moreoever, will be massively reintroduced to seal borders and mountain passes too long, high, or numerous to close with U.S. soldiers, As noted, such actions will yield large civilian casualties, displaced populations, and refugees.
Again, this sort of bloody-mindedness is neither admirable nor desirable, but it will remain America's only option so long as she stands by her failed policies toward the Muslim world.
New Sheriff In Town
The Whitehouse is using the same message it has since the debacle became a shitstorm. Support the troops, don't let the terrosts win, we will be in more danger from terrorism if we cut and run, we need to establish a democracy in the middle east. All of these are smoke and mirrors and don't recognize the reality of the situation.
The majority of Americans now think the war was a mistake. Are the majority of Americans unpatriotic?
From Froomkin comes the meme that we on the antiwar side need to push at every opportunity.
Staying doesn't make things better, it makes things worse.
This is the way we counter the Whitehouse spin. Staying feeds the terrorist recruiting, increases the hate for Americans in the middle east and gives the insurgency a raison d'etre. We need to refocus our efforts and treasure on things we can make a difference in.
It is a new day in America and we need to grab the initiative and push the above meme at every opportunity. Dubya and company got a free pass on 9/11 and they have gotten a pass so far on Iraq. That was yesterday and the power of the majority is with the folks that knew Iraq was wrong in the beginning and is even more wrong today. The longer we stay the worse it will get.
Al Gore in 2008? When I look at the horses in the purported race so far I really can't work up much excitement. With 63% of Americans now convinced that is was a huge mistake opposition to the Iraq debacle is money in the bank and Al has been against it, very vocally from before the beginning. Hillary, Biden and Kerry all have the baggage of voting for it. This is a big plus for Al.
The environment and the impact of global warming and the recent slew of Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes, polar melting, gas prices, etc. play right into Gore's strongest suit. He is Mr. Environment. Another big plus.
Remember the warnings and recommendations before 9/11 from Gore on global terrorism that were ignored by Dubya Gump and friends? Another plus.
Don't discount the payback factor as well. Gore can count on some serious postive karma getting even with the thugs that stole the election he won with the popular vote.
Lastly, if you look and listen at the Gore of today he is much a more positive and effective public speaker than in 2000 and he is back on the speaking circuit. Don't forget that he is also clean and tested. He survived the Rovian slime machine in 2000 and if there was something they could have used against him then they would have. No swiftboats.
I hadn't really thought much about a Gore comeback but I could come to love the idea. Let me see... Gore/Edwards in 2008 I think I like the sound of that.
Anti War - Gore
Mr. Environment - Gore
Payback is Hell - Gore
Support for the Working Poor - Edwards
Now that Katrina has turned over the rock and shown America and the world the truth about poverty and the suffering that results and the effectiveness of this administration in dealing with it, Edwards' meesage from 2004 rings a lot truer in a much larger population that it did.
Timing couldn't be better in my humble opinion.
It's Raining Hard and It's Very Windy
I guess it is like when you lose a filling in a tooth. You just can't keep your tongue away from it no matter what.
I hope everybody gets through this ok and it is not funny but the coverage is starting to get silly.
Update: It's about 2 hours later and Anderson Cooper is still talking about how windy it is and how hard it is raining. I think the storm is pretty much on top of him so he's really surprised that it is really raining harder and it is much windier. He's still out in it. I hope he doesn't believe showing us how brave he is. Dumb ass.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Wandering in Tokyo
Tokyo is amazing in that there are little pockets of relative quiet amongst the absolute madness of this many people packed together over hundreds of square miles.
Tokyo is a crowded city. Tokyo Metropolitan prefecture, with a total area of 2,168 square kilometers (837 square miles), has a population of about 12 million, or about 14,339 people per square mile. Many who work in Tokyo commute from neighboring prefectures, such as Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa, making the population of "greater" Tokyo, the area within a 30 mile radius of the city center, around 30 million. This is one-quarter of the entire population of Japan.Today I wandered over to Hamarikyu Gardens. It is a classic Japanese garden of the Edo period located along a tidal basin off Tokyo Bay. One minute you a walking along surrounded by tall buildings and hundreds of people and then when through the gate you are surrounded by quiet and cool and green. It was a nice stroll and convenient enough to my hotel so I could walk. I would rank it as a must see if you visit Tokyo. I even got a chance to see some street performers at the gate doing some impressive juggling and balancing with everyday things like china tea pots.
I think tonight is an attempt to take night photos along the Ginza. We'll see.
I must say that everyone is doing a great job and reading everyone's blogs does help me feel I am still part of the real world.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Holy Moly! Cat 5 and Getting Stronger
Hurricane Rita's rapid intensification cycle that began Tuesday afternoon continues. Top winds are up to 165 mph, now a category 5 hurricane. Even as a large and extremely intense category 5 hurricane, further strengthening is possible as the atmosphere remains favorable for development over the next 24 hours.
I hope everyone makes it through this one. We're thinking of you. While selfish, I can't imagine what it would be like for my wife to have to deal with something like this while I am so far away and I am glad this thing is not headed for Atlanta.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Get Your War On
Monday, September 19, 2005
Hoisted On His Own Petard
Transcribed from an incredibly painstaking, well-crafted satire of Rush Limbaugh created by WNNX-FM (Atlanta, GA).
"Sung" by Rush Limbaugh, using sound clips of his own voice from his radio broadcasts!
Here is the first stanza;
I can't imagine how many hours someone must have spend listening to pigboy to get this put together. Enjoy.
They say that I'm sleaze
An elitist, if you please
Everybody disagrees with my rap (with his rap)
I'm horrendous, I'm appalling
My ratings now are falling
'Cause I'm so full of bull, so full of crap (full of crap)
With condescending cries,
Making money selling lies,
You might say everybody hates my guts (hates his guts)
I'm offensive, I'm a bigot
I'm a fraud - Can you dig it?
I'm a sexist, racist, homophobic, fat, pathetic putz
If you vote to confirm John Roberts as the new Chief Justice of the United States I will declare you a blood enemy and will do everything within my meager power to insure you lose your elected office. It's crunch time folks and regardless of the outcome your vote will label you forever. There is absolutely no excuse for a Democrat to vote to confirm this creep. There is absolutely no upside for a Democrat that votes to confirm.
This will likely be the last Chief Justice I see appointed in my lifetime and it will sorely piss me off to see this man in the highest judicial post in the land. He is highly unqualified based on exprience on the bench and he is philosphicaly 180 degrees out of step with the principles our founding fathers cherished and attempted to instill into the Constitution of the United States.
If you want or need another enemy then go for it.
I can already see it now. We pay outrageous sums to sleazy contractors or bush-buddy corporations to build overpriced, poor quality and otherwise substandard housing using labor at basically slave wages who will not even be able to buy the shit their are building. The money will disappear without a trace and after it has changed hands a few times it will wind up in the pockets of poeple who already have more money than they can ever spend.
As sure as a dog returns to its own vomit these cretins will use the disaster in New Orleans to line their pockets, screw the poor, pickpocket the middle class and in general screw the working people of the nation. It is their 'modus operandi" if you will and if the media and so called opposition party had any balls they would be saying the same thing I am.
When I stop and think of how my taxes over the last few years have been used and contemplate how they will be used over the next I get so disgusted and wonder what kind of hell have I turned up in.
What a surprise! There was a whole section of prepared food. There were complete Japanese meals in little partitioned trays with all kind of colorful but unidentifiable things. Single meal boxes of pork and chicken and fish. Yes, there was even sushi. Our host insisted it was all very fresh and safe. I selected some little fried chicken units and a salad bowl and it was quite nice. I feel nothing yet.
No, I didn't have sushi. I couldn't bring myself to buy sushi in a 7-11. I even commented to our host that in the U.S. eating sushi from a 7-11, if they had it, would surely be paramount to suicide and a slow and painful death it would surely be.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
On Not Winning
ONE NEEDS TO know but three words to play poker: call, raise or fold.Via Corrente
Fold means keep the money, I'm out of the hand; call means to match your opponents' bet. That leaves raise, which is the only way to win at poker. The raiser puts his opponent on the defensive, seizing the initiative. Initiative is only important if one wants to win.
In poker, one must have courage: the courage to bet, to back one's convictions, one's intuitions, one's understanding. There can be no victory without courage. The successful player must be willing to wager on likelihoods. Should he wait for absolutely risk-free certainty, he will win nothing, regardless of the cards he is dealt.
For example, take a player who has never acted with initiative — he has never raised, merely called. Now, at the end of the evening, he is dealt a royal flush. The hand, per se, is unbeatable, but the passive player has never acted aggressively; his current bet (on the sure thing) will signal to the other players that his hand is unbeatable, and they will fold.
His patient, passive quest for certainty has won nothing.
The Democrats, similarly, in their quest for a strategy that would alienate no voters, have given away the store, and they have given away the country.
Control of the initiative is control of the battle. In the alley, at the poker table or in politics. One must raise. The American public chose Bush over Kerry in 2004. How, the undecided electorate rightly wondered, could one believe that Kerry would stand up for America when he could not stand up to Bush? A possible response to the Swift boat veterans would have been: "I served. He didn't. I didn't bring up the subject, but, if all George Bush has to show for his time in the Guard is a scrap of paper with some doodling on it, I say the man was a deserter."
This would have been a raise. Here the initiative has been seized, and the opponent must now fume and bluster and scream unfair. In combat, in politics, in poker, there is no certainty; there is only likelihood, and the likelihood is that aggression will prevail.
The Democrats are anteing away their time at the table. They may be bold and risk defeat, or be passive and ensure it.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Sunday morning on the Ginza in Tokyo and they are lining up hours before the Apple store opens to get their hands on a Nano. From the reviews I have read it is pretty slick. You have to give Mr. Jobs credit for not resting on his laurels. I can't justify the expense since my iPod is less than a year old but it is tempting.
Huge Mistake, Huge
"A coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave just one."
Love, Respect and Peace
Some of us would wish that the message of Love, Respect and Peace would find a stronger presence in the U.S. while it struggles with the reality of life. The choice between greed and grace is not easy but very rewarding.
At Asakusa, Tokyo. 09/17/05
I made my way to the absolutely unbelievable Tokyo Fish Market this morning. I have never seen such a madhouse. Little motorized haulers going here and there hauling styrofoam boxes of everything "fishy" imaginable. Every thing from the sea is available for sale here and much of it is "on the hoof" so to speak. Hundreds of vendors are hawking seafood to the public and to brokers for distribution across the country. I'm pretty sure I saw my dinner there this morning.
It looks helter skelter and of questionable cleanliness but the sanitation inspectors are in clear evidence. Everything is iced down or being kept alive in tank or aerated bath. There is a surprising number of live creatures bubbling away in tanks or boxes that are then summarily executed at purchase.
The one big exception are the giant tuna or ahi. They are frozen solid and kept so with a diligent application of dry ice. Really a fascinating experience.
My Turn to Cat Blog
This "le Chat Noir" is the resident manager of the hotel in Nasu. He or she keeps the hotel operating at "peak efficiency" from atop the laser printer at the front desk.
Warning and Prophecy
While I couldn’t be further from the old
If he tells you that the “gubmint” is going to do the right thing for those injured and displaced by hurricane Katrina – he’s lying.
If he tells you that he understands the devastation and feels your pain – he’s lying.
If he appoints someone as the “reconstruction czar”, whether Rove or not, know that the appointment will have nothing to do with competence and will be completely political and said appointee will fail completely to do the job.
If he tells you that the cost will be 200 billion dollars then know that it will be 400 billion dollars plus.
If he tells you that inspectors general will monitor every disbursement then know that that those inspectors are political appointees with no experience in auditing.
If he tells you that his political cronies and corporate whores won’t make a windfall profit, then he’s lying.
Everything you will be told will be a lie. If you write down every statement and put it away and then check it for success in 2006 you will see that it failed.
Look back on their record and you will find nothing but failure and lies. There is no better way to say it – a leopard cannot change it’s spots.
The fundamental/essential rule to remember when dealing with this administration is that they are incompetent and liars. In the 5 or so years they have been in office they have used cronyism and political favor to staff virtually every agency of the federal government with incompetents. They have burned through the country’s treasure at a horrendous pace and are promising even more spending. They are spending your great grand children’s money now.
Bushes’ handlers are having his mouth write checks his country can’t cash without a rollback of his tax cuts and some serious sacrifice by those who have succeeded in this country when things were good (remember the Big Dog).
Please consider this a prophecy and I am absolutely confident of it being true.
Thanks Old Broad.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Commute From Hell
There were no reserved seats available on the train and that meant cattle car. I don't think I can do it justice. It must be experienced first hand. Imagine a couple of hundred people crammed into the train car, all seats occupied so the only thing left is the aisle or the space between cars. Everybody is smoking and drinking beer. There are guys rolling up and down the train with trolleys selling beer and snacks. To make room for them you have to become noncoporeal for a minute as there are no options to get out of the way. There are four stops between Nasu and Tokyo and at each one there is an unbelievable transformation where seats are emptied and filled and all in the space of two minutes while the train is stopped. The train immediately accelerates to 100+ mph and we cruise for a beer or two and the whole thing happens again.
Reach Tokyo station and the entire 15 car train empties onto the platform and a kazillion people get on a single lane escalator at once, which, in turn, spills you out into the main terminal where 38 quintillion people are going in some other direction than you. You don't know crowded until you try and find an exit at Tokyo station on Friday night.
I survived it so I am stronger right?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Tom Delay has the audacity to declare that the Repugs have done such a nice job over the last 11 years that the government is running at peak efficiency. WTF!.
Where is the outrage? Where are the calls for impeachment and special prosecutors? I don't know about you but I think I am reaching the saturation point and my head will just explode. I think the last straw may have been realizing that someone let Britney reproduce and that this seems to be more important than the destruction of the United States.
Jane has been on a roll lately and doing some great posts.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I have noted some things that are interesting/different about the Japanese. They are very rule driven and regimented in many ways. One example is cross walks. Almost all crosswalks are equipped with walk/don't walk signals and regardless of the traffic nobody crosses the street against the signal. Another example was last night as we walked to dinner and a fire engine with lights and siren going was stopped for a red light...very odd.
One very good thing I noted the other night after dinner with the client was that there was a driver waiting to drive him home from the restaurant. Seems that there is a service that you can use that will supply a driver to get you home if you plan on having alcohol at dinner. They drive your car (with white gloves on) and there is a car following to pick up the driver when he is finished. Very sensible.
Now that I have interrupted my morning routine to feed the blog beast I will put on my pants and get to work. Oh! Sorry for that image.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Different Than Tokyo
Hotel is small but clean with a toilet en suite, no Enlish TV so I am now down to just the internet for news. The hotel does have free high speed...go figure.
Up early and off to the client to see if I can bring this to a closure in the days allowed.
- Wool is light, fire-resistant, and maintains its insulating properties when wet.
- Jell-O is a brand of pre-packaged instant gelatin dessert. It's the perfect food for hypothermia. Make the liquid, drink it. Choose a flavor that isn't colored red, so that when the patient vomits in the Emergency Department folks won't think he's bleeding internally.
- Plumber's candles contain more stearic acid than the regular kind. Very hard, burn a long time. Get 'em at a hardware store.
- Rule of thumb: Two sources of light; two sources of fire.
- In a survival situation you live as long as your feet do.
- In an ambush the killing zone is narrow. Get out of it.
- If you don't understand what's going on, back off until you do understand.
- You can live to be ninety without a Rambo knife but hypothermia or dehydration will kill you deader'n dirt by this time tomorrow.
- A terrorist attack is just a badly-placarded HAZMAT incident.
- Half-a-tank of gas is empty. Refuel now.
- Every time you refuel, check your coolant level, your oil level, and your tire pressure.
- In a survival situation you'll be astounded by how far a car can go with no radiator, no oil, and no tires.
- If you have an extensive kit in your car, one part should be detachable and easily portable in case you have to abandon your car.
- Nitrile gloves are better than latex gloves because: Tape won't stick to 'em; there's less chance of allergic reactions; punctures produce large rips so you know they're breached; and they have higher resistance to HAZMATs.
- Without a traction splint a femur fracture is 80% fatal. With proper traction splinting, it's only 20% fatal. Learn to make a field-expedient traction splint.
- Alcohol and disaster don't mix.
- Some situations are non-survivable. Think ahead. Stay out of those situations.
- Never ignore a warning, even if it doesn't make any sense to you at the time.
- Check the batteries in your smoke detector.
- Brush your teeth, wear your seatbelt, quit smoking, wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet, and look both ways before crossing the street.
The first rule of emergency preparedness is to assume the worst and never forget Murphy's Law. If something can go wrong it will.
Bureaucratic timidity. Bad phone lines. And a failure of imagination. Why the government was so slow to respond to catastrophe.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Bad Moon Rising
Something to think about while we see the results of Dubya Gump's leadership in action.
James Howard Kunstler also sees a bad moon rising in the wake of Katrina.
"Meanwhile momentous things are swirling in the background. The price of gasoline may retreat sometime in two to six weeks, but I doubt it will fall below the $2.50 range again. In fact, having gone way above the psychological barrier of $3.00, the gasoline retailers may resist falling below that. There have been no new oil refineries built in the US since the late 1970s. There will be no new ones built now, despite the crunch on refined 'product.' Why? Because the oil companies understand that they are in a twilight industry and refineries represent huge investments in future activity, which the corporations correctly perceive will be shrinking as global oil production passes peak.
"The biggest shock to the public lies a couple of months ahead when the cost of natural gas for home heating (50 percent of the dwellings in America) combines with stubbornly higher pump prices to whap them upside the head. Natural gas at around $12.00 is now many times what it cost as recently as 2003 ($3.00). A lot of Americans will be shivering this winter and some of the weak, old, and poor will die as a result....
"Strapped for cash from filling their gas tanks, unable to buy Christmas presents at WalMart, and huddled around space heaters, the public will be wondering why they were so poorly prepared."
Oh The Burden
Because most Democrats have opposed the war from the start, and many Republicans no longer support the war per se, but only George Bush. The president has carried this war on his shoulders, and the more he's weakened politically by Katrina, the less he will be able to carry. Yes, Mr. Bush has said we'll do whatever it takes to finish the job in Iraq, but he said that before there was another huge job to do.
First of all, Karl Rove's fingerprints are all over the replacement but not firing of Brown. This is classic stuff. One of Karl's favourite strategies is to deflect the issue and to give the press an alternate target and take the heat off the Dubya Gump. We shouldn't let him get away with this again and again. Dubya has the ultimate responsibility for those he appoints. End of discussion.
Secondly, all this discussion and nit picking over the details of what went wrong and who is to blame is merely another distraction from the essence of the situation. The root cause of the whole thing is that planning for the emergency and the execution of the non plan was flawed and incomplete period. The essence of planning for an emergency or disaster is to follow, without variance, Murphy's Law. It applies to every facet of emergency planning.
- We didn't count on the levees breaking - Murphy predicted it.
- We didn't count on the looting and violence - Murphy did.
- We didn't count on the failures of the pumps - Murphy was sure of it.
- We didn't plan for so many refugees - Murphy coulda told ya.
- We didn't know the hospitals would be out of commission - ditto
- Ecetera, ecetera, ecetera
Any thing and everything that the adminstration is trying to use to distract us from the reality of the situation should have been part of any effective reponse plan. We need to keep hammering on the complete and utter failure of our government under the non-leadership of Dubya Gump in planning and executing a comprehensive response to the emergency. We should do it now and often and let them put it off until the time is of their own choosing. We need to counteract their spin with hard words and effective action.
There are no excuses and no crying in emergency preparedness. Absolutely none.
Friday, September 09, 2005
Lots of People
Tickets bought and you are assigned a car and seat and there is specific place on the one of what may be a 100 platforms where the door to your car will stop and open for a couple of minutes. The train will absolutely leave on time.
Once on the train the ride is smooth and comfortable and very quiet even though you are traveling like a bat out of hell. I must say the scenery is a little wanting and while there a few rice fields and stuff to see most of Japan seems to be urban or urban sprawl with a a high density mix of apartment buildings with what appear to be very small apartments. A little disappointing.
My goal for tonight is to sleep a full 8 hours and not wake at 4am (3pm EDT) and then try and spend Saturday figuring out the subway system.
So I am back in my hotel in Tokyo after a one day trip North to be introduced to the client. Sunday I will head back North and spend the week at the client and travel back to Tokyo for the weekend. From what I saw of Nasu on the taxi ride to the client there is not much to entertain there and explains why the client pays for our weekends in Tokyo.
As a side note you may or may not be as depressed as I am with respect to the number of "Golden Arches" I saw in the several hundred mile train trip today or with the fact that the first thing you see as you step out of the hotel in the heart of the Ginza is a freaking Denny's. Gimme a break!
I was hoping to be able to post a picture tonight but most of what I got was a blurry telephone pole whizzing by....I will try and do better tomorrow.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Reporting from Tokyo
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Goddess save us all.
My left wing hippy yippy pinko commie gay loving consorts here in the left blogtopia(see blogroll) are doing a fine job of covering all the bases while I sit here shell shocked and speechless. You'd think someone who had experienced Nam, civil rights, JFK, MLK, RFK getting assasinated, landing on the moon, Kent State, Watts, 9/11, and Iraq and more could come to grips with thousands of innocent Americans dying from the incompetence of out ficticious leader. My bad.
I will check in, I hope, from Tokyo in a day or so. I will arrive(9/8) on my 56th birthday so you guys are off the hook for neat presents but I do expect someone to tell me happy birthday.
P.S. Delta just called and I did manage to get upgraded to business class for tomorrow's flight. Some good news.
Pigs in Shit
I gotta run right now but I will look around and see if I can find a link to the quote a little later.
Update: here is the quote from Lady Bush
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (she chuckled)--this is working very well for them."
Second, since Citibank ATMs are the only option for American issued cards in Japan I called Citibank to alert them that I would be in Japan and was informed that since I hadn't charged anything on the Platinum Citi Mastercard in 6 months they had cancelled the card. No notice. At least I found out before I was standing cashless in the Ginza wondering why my card didn't work. Will have to carry enough cash to cover me for the stay which is not really a problem in Japan since it is probably the safest country in the world. The hotels will at least take AmEx.
Last but not least I see on the news this morning that Tokyo is flooded due to massive rain. I guess I had better pack waders as well.
The joys of travel!
Sunday, September 04, 2005
While I am not a specialist in disaster management I have read a few books in which disasters happened which I guess makes me more qualified that Mr. Brown. The first rule of planning for a disaster is to assume that the worst will happen and plan, to the limits of your resources, for that event. If the worst doesn't happen you have wasted nothing because Murphy and his law(s) are still in effect and sooner or later the shit will hit the fan.
We have witnessed the epitome of synergy when it comes to Katrina and the Bush administration's response.
What happens when an irrestible force meets an unbelieveable incompetence?
Hit's Keep Coming
From a press release LA Senator Mary Landrieu sent out today:
But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast - black and white, rich and poor, young annd old - deserve far better from their national governmeent.
Behind the Curtain
Just in case you aren't frustrated enough by the Bush administrations demonstration of incompetence take a look at what a Dutch commenter posted on Laura Rozen's blog War and Piece
Dutch viewer Frank Tiggelaar writes:
I believe a good argument could be made that this is actually criminal behavior. This is actually not that much different from the "chicken dance" we have seen before on such things as Iraq, Social Security, environment, taxes...well pretty much everything. The primary guiding principles of this administration seem to be partisan discipline, industry giveaways, and relentless lying on any and everything. These tactics have been working pretty pretty well, at least on the sheep, when it didn't hit so close to home. When it hits you in the face and happens next door it suddenly becomes obvious even to your supporters that Bush and company are total fuck ups. It's taken over two years for some people to realize that Iraq is a total shit storm and that virtually everything about this misadventure is a result of Bush incompetence. It's taken less than a week to realize it about New Orleans. I guess that's progress.
There was a striking dicrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV.
ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time.
The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Your Choice but Choose and DO
The American Red Cross
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Provides a full spectrum of services to disaster victims, including shelter, medical care, food, clean water and assisting with cleanup efforts.
America's Second Harvest
Donation link: Click here
Relief focus: Transports food to victims and secures additional warehouse space to assist member food banks in resuming and maintaining operations.
Catholic Charities USA
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Community based relief efforts focused on the long-terms needs of disaster victims and affected communities.
Direct Relief International
Donation link: Click here
Relief focus:Serves as a private back-up support to official emergency response efforts in the United States.
Feed The Children
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Mobilizing and distributing supplies in hurricane devastated areas.
Habitat for Humanity
Donation link: Click here
Relief focus: Helping disaster victims rebuild piece by piece and house by house.
Humane Society of the United States
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Dispatching Disaster Animal Response Teams (DARTs) to rescue animals and assist their caregivers.
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Keeping animals alive during disasters.
The Salvation Army
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Providing hot meals to displaced disaster victims and emergency personnel working to aid those devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
United Jewish Communities
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Community organized and administered humanitarian relief for disaster victims.
United Methodist Committee on Relief
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: General community-based disaster relief, as well as the creation and distribution of "flood buckets" -- a relief item for those who prefer to donate with a personal touch.
Donation Link: Click here
Relief focus: Identifying serious needs of devastated communities and helping not only with front-line disaster relief but with long-term recovery.
BTW if you are ever in Kansas City make sure you visit the Steamboat Arabia Museum it is amazing what the salvaged from the 1856 wreck. 200 tons of stuff destined for frontier. Its a regular general store. Shoes, clothers, hardware, dishes, pots, tools, food everything you might expect to need as you set up housekeeping in the new territory.
Kansas City has also done a great job of restoring and adaptive use of the Union Station. Amtrak still services it but the rest is shops etc. Very nice and a gorgeous example of beaux arts architecture.
Ok, OK. Winslow's BBQ is the place for BBQ. Down in the old farmer's market area 5th and Main I think, and worth the stop. I highly recommend the burnt ends and sausage plate with your choice of sides.
Enough travelog for today. Will try and post some later from the hotel in Memphis and maybe some pictures as well.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
That's it for the update..maybe more later.