Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mountains of Pony Poop

Via Crooks and Liars

Holden is going to be up to his butt in pony poop if Shrub's approval rating sinks much lower. The latest CBS News poll has it at 34%.

Just so you don't have to take your shoes off this is the historical bottom.

The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high....

Just in case you are wondering how Deadeye the lawyer shooter is fairing. He has dropped another 5 points and now stands at a miserly 18%. Feel the love.

Caught Pig

Sorry for the pocine reference to any one that may be offended by the mixing of Arabs in the same post with pork.

There is an old southern phrase "a caught pig squeals" and it seems to me that Duabai Ports trying to shut up Lou Dobbs on CNN and his coverage of the ports deal is a pretty good place to use it.

Much to CNN's credit they are refusing bend to the pressure.

A word of advice to Dubai Ports. Even though Bush, Cheney and Rove have been trying to silence the press for the last 6 or more years doesn't mean its a good idea.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

More Chicken Dancing

You knew it was going to happen. You knew that some scheme to allow Shrub to save face over his temper tantrum and obvious lack of engagement on the Dubai Ports fiasco would raise its ugly head. Time is reporting that a deal is in the works that will make everyone happy.

Here is the money quote from an unamed Senate Republican aide:
"This avoids a direct clash," the aide said. "It solves everyone's problem. The President doesn't have to cancel the deal or veto anything."
If you read the article carefully you will note that nothing is really changing. The UAE is not changing the deal but only delaying the actual takeover of the 21 U.S. ports for 45 days so that the plan can be "re-vetted".

The reality is that Bush and company with the conspiracy of Frist and the boys are just taking this out of the limelight for 6 weeks or so in the dear hope that everyone will be preoccupied by some other atrocity by the time the deal goes through. I'm pretty sure the civil war in Iraq will garner enough media bandwidth by then that no one will notice. It's a strategy that has worked over and over again for Bush and company. Give the rubes something else to chew on and the won't notice the man behind the curtain.

I don't where the term "chicken dancing" came from but we used to use it in sales presentations when we were basically selling "vaporware". Distract the client from asking meaningful questions about functionality and performance and dazzle them with eye candy and fancy footwork.

Then again there is also that old adage about "boiling frogs".

Vive la Resistance

Thanks to Steve at YDD I had a nice read over at American Street. In a very good post Kevin Hayden asks some serious questions about who you are. It's a nice piece on the mindset of some of us liberal bloggers and I wish I had said it first. It reminds all of us that if you want to live in an open society and be free to live your life as you see fit then you have to do everything you can to resist the encroachment into our way of life by the hard right and intolerant religious right. Good read, give it a go.

Well, it seems we have a theme. Susie at Suburban Guerrilla is on fire today as well.

A hundred thousand dead in Iraq. A little girl, drenched in her family’s blood and screaming into the night. Naked men made to crawl like dogs, forced to listen to the cries of their wives and sisters being raped in the next cell. Icebergs melting, workers sickened and dying of poison at their jobs, bodies of the elderly floating in the chemical soup that used to be New Orleans and one fucking lie after another.

These greedy bastards. These immoral motherfuckers.

If you’re not outraged, there’s something wrong with you. And if you’re outraged, you need to do something. It’s a moral fucking imperative.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bad Sign

When you have lost William F. Buckley Jr. then the light at the end of the tunnel is the 12:40 from Topeka!
From the NRO
"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. "

"He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat."

I think the above statement is overly optimistic. Expecting Bush to act like a leader? Won't happen. Acknowledge defeat? Not on your life.

UPDATE: #1: The Heretik picks up the theme (cool graphic too!)


I have already posted on the absurd idea of allowing Dubai Ports to manage 6 of the most important U.S. ports but I haven't really touched on the reality of this and similar things that will inevitably happen over the next few years.

Like it or not, the U.S., especially during the Bush reign, have been systematically selling the U.S. to the highest foreign bidder. The Bush tax cuts, war expense and other fiscal mismanagement have been financed by foreign investment. The current account deficit for 2006 is going to be somewhere around 900 billion dollars. Within just a few years these foreign lenders such as China and Saudi Arabia are going to own virtually every capital asset in the U.S. This means factories, ports, real estate, corporations and all the rest are going to be increasingly controlled by foreign countries. What's more this kind of debt gives these countries the ability to punish the U.S. severely if we don't tow the line. All it will take is for them start unloading their reserves and we will see our economy collapse.

Estimates are that by 2013 or sooner fully 75% of the American GDP will be represented by foreign liabilities. This current deal is just an indicator of what is to come if we continue to live beyond our means. Robert Heinlein covered the concept very succinctly and that is TANSTAAFL (There ain't no such this as a free lunch).

We may very well be beyond the point of no return so get used to the idea of having to kowtow to some foreign government. Even if this port deal is scrubbed for the time being it is only a matter of time before it and more become the reality we have to live with.

UPDATE: BTW...if you think I am overstating the issue check out the following. Do I hear 21?
From UPI

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A United Arab Emirates government-owned company is poised to take over port terminal operations in 21 American ports, far more than the six widely reported.

The Bush administration has approved the takeover of British-owned Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to DP World, a deal set to go forward March 2 unless Congress intervenes.

P&O is the parent company of P&O Ports North America, which leases terminals for the import and export and loading and unloading and security of cargo in 21 ports, 11 on the East Coast, ranging from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida, and 10 on the Gulf Coast, from Gulfport, Miss., to Corpus Christi, Texas, according to the company's Web site.

Rapist Rights

Jane at Firedoglake has a link to a post from Dakota Today Blog by Doug that is worth repeating. In it Doug establishes an important concept that should be a part of every discussion of this insane law as often as it is mentioned and that is that it is effectively a "Rapist Rights Bill".
I mentioned this in my previous post on this medieval act but it didn't occur to me to carry to the next step. Good for Doug.
Mike Rounds, Governor of SD, is pondering and thinking about the Rapist Rights Bill the SD Legislature just passed. The wingnut loons answered prayers are putting Mikey in a bind. Does he eat everything they shovel his way or not?

Well, He just has to find out if God raped the Virgin Mary. That will provide the theological basis for SD supporting Rapist Rights and treating women as nearly worthless chattle, good only as reproduction machines betting on hitting the Jesus bonus on the reproductive powerball lottery. Speaking of lotteries, how about that Million dollar bribe the anti-women's righters are promising to pony up to fight for their lunatic legislation? Ok, Mike, I wanta buy a vowel and a subsection of a new law. Umm . talk to the lawyers, they are looking for another lawyer's subsidy law. Hey, guess what? Wild Bill Janklow is back in the legal saddle. Whooopppeeee!

Mixed Report

The ever optimistic Washington Post reports the new report from the Pentagon is "mixed". I guess going from one Iraqi battalion able to stand alone last fall to now ZERO able to stand alone is worthy of a "mixed" review.
How can all the money, lives and effort of three years be producing negative results? I am just flabbergasted at this. This is absoulutely outrageous.

To be fair they now say that the number Iraqi battalions that can do battle with U.S. assistance is higher. Three years and this is all we have to show for it?

Oh, but there is good news to report though, as it says the insurgency is now"losing steam" and that it really doesn't even qualify to be called an insurgency. I suppose all the people in the streets waving guns and protesting on TV are just a figment. Damn straight it is not an insurgency anymore but it is definitely a freaking CIVIL WAR.

You can bet your ass that Bush and company will paint this as progress and just part of the democratic process.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Edge

We're over it. The edge that is. It toast...put fork in it...it's done. There is a certain point in an evolution like this when you know that it is so screwed that you need to start collecting your marbles and begin looking toward home.

I'm pretty sure that's your Momma callin'.
138 Iraqis Killed In Last 24 Hours...7 US Soldiers Killed... Talks Suspended On Forming Gov't... Troops Can’t Stop Bloodshed... Thousands March In Protest…

Out of Place

This is probably out of place for a 50 something male but for some reason I find it necesary to comment on the new South Dakota Abortion Law.

I haven't any moral authority on this issue because I will never have to face the decision on whether or not to abort a fetus is the correct decision. You will notice that I very pointedly did NOT use the term "right" decision.

I think my biggest issue is with the bunch of sanctimonious legislators sticking their uninformed noses into someone else's very personal and emotional decision. This is especially true when Tbogg does us the service of giving us an example of the mature, sexually secure and emotionally centered type that made this decision. Holy crap! Since when did the women of South Dakota turn over all their reproductive rights to a chubby, single, convenience store clerk? The insanity is that by proxy this same twit will probably be making the same decision for every woman in America since we all know that this is about testing the mettle of the New Improved Supreme Court.

Shakespeare's Sis, Pandagon, Digby and Redd and Jane at Firedoglake and others are doing a great job of covering this from the female side so I won't try and talk about something I can only imagine on an intellectual level. Let me just say though, that any law that forbids abortion when the pregnancy has resulted from rape or incest is a sick and perverted thing that has no place in a humane and just society. I would love to hear you try and convince me that a rapist has the right and privilege to have his genes passed on to the next generation and the same applies to incest. I would also like to hear the argument that a deformed fetus that will surely die at birth or soon after must be carried to term.
These are sick, sick people.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Recognizing Failure is Not Un-American

This might be GOOD news. I hope so. The Democrats seem to be rallying around a plan for redeploying troops in Iraq to other areas in the region. I am concerned that the Democratic leadership is calling it a ”redeployment" and NOT a "withdrawal" is sending the wrong message. Evidently, opinion research has discovered that “withdrawal” doesn’t play well in the heartland. I am inclined to believe however, that with the majority of the country wanting us to withdraw from Iraq we should step out there and not mince words. I would think it is time to start taking the initiative. Using the word “redeployment” seems to weaken the reality of what is at stake here.

What's at stake? The consistently incompetent Bush and his minions allowed us to be attacked. They then used that attack and “cherry-picked” intelligence to invade a country that was in no way complicit in the attack. They invaded Iraq with no plan for the aftermath and we are now embroiled in a conflict that cannot be won militarily as more than one expert has indicated. We have lost 2277 men and women as of today with another nearly 17,000 wounded and there is still no plan for “victory” or to bring our children home. Because of the unmitigated disaster in Iraq, the horribly misguided and ineffective War on Terror and its allied torture and lawless imprisonments we are an international pariah. Our military is dangerously overstretched and in spite of their desire to do so cannot effectively respond to other important issues (Katrina and Iran come to mind).

We dare not lose sight of what is happening and where this country is heading and calling this a “redployment” is giving too much credit and not enough discredit to the people who brought us to this.

The message from the Democrats should be that we are the party with a plan to address Bush’s and the GOP’s disaster in Iraq. We mustn’t let the right wing spin machine continue to paint us as un-American for recognizing that Bush and his administration are a bumbling, corrupt, incompetent failures. We should not be ashamed of wanting to pick up pieces of the American dream and to do something positive about getting our asses out of this double-damned war. We should also let the American people know that there is nothing un-patriotic about recognizing a failure in Iraq and seeing that there is nothing to be gained from "staying the course" except more death and a decisive option to get our people out of harm's way is not “cutting and running”.

Hidden Agenda

This is a follow-up to my post here on the take over of port management at a half dozen U.S. ports by state owned Dubai Ports World which is controlled by the United Arab Emirates.

Bush is refusing to budge on this and has even trotted out Chertoff, and Condi to dismiss concerns by a whole raft of people on both sides of the aisle about the control of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore and Miami falling into the hands of known terrorism supporters at worst and enablers at best.

There is a piece in the San Jose Mercury News noting that Treasury Secretary John Snow, who's department has sign-off on such deals, is not necessarily lily white. Remember that Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

Note also that David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations was tapped by Bush just last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

You have to also question why this deal was fast-tracked through the review process in less than 25 days when Congress requires a longer 45 day review when a foreign government is involved and national security may be impacted.

There is some political fallout risk for Bush to continue to back this obviously devisive issue and in light of the track record of this administration you cannot help but wonder what the rest of the story is. I find it hard to believe that we see all of the iceberg here. What other "deal" with the UAE is hanging fire and what is Bush and company's stake in it. I might be cynical but I suspect that this deal for the ports is merely a stepping stone for something even bigger that will net Bush and his cronies even more money, if not directly then indirectly.

If I have learned nothing in the last 6 years dealing with this bunch is that you take nothing at face value and that if you assume the least favorable result for the American people you will probably be right. It's a tragedy but it's true.

UPDATE: Does is give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside like it does me that Bush didn't even know about this until it hit the press? Yet he is ready to grab his crotch and veto any attempt to delay or examine it closer. What a maroon.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Fair Warning

Mustang Bobby gets to the job of commenting on Leonard Pitts' column in the Miami Herald before I do and does his usual excellent job.

The column begins;
The enemies of freedom will be defeated.

-- President George W. Bush, 2005

We have met the enemy and he is us.

-- Pogo, 1971

The following happened in the United States of America on Feb. 9 of this year.

The scene is the Little Falls branch of the Montgomery County Public Library in Bethesda, Md. Business is going on as usual when two men in uniform stride into the main reading room and call for attention. Then they make an announcement: It is forbidden to use the library's computers to view Internet pornography.

As people are absorbing this, one of the men challenges a patron about a website he is visiting and asks the man to step outside. At this point, a librarian intervenes and calls the uniformed men aside. A police officer is summoned. The men leave. It turns out they are employees of the county's department of Homeland Security and were operating way outside their authority.

Walt Kelly first used that phrase "We have met the enemy and he is us." on Earth Day in 1970 and I have always thought it one of the most profound sentences ever uttered. Leonard Pitts does the usual excellent job of distilling the salient facts and making sure the reader does not miss the root of the issue however I am not so sure Leonard is strong enough in his implications.

In spite of what you may wish to believe, this country is on the fastrack to becoming a fascist state. We are losing freedoms at an ever increasing pace and the trend is accelerating. Out leaders only give lip service to our needs and only respond with any true action when the corporate fat cats speak. A little research upon fascism will show you that this is the definition of fascism.

While the terrorist may kill a few or a lot of us the most dangerous people are those that take our hard won liberties for granted and place their unswerving trust in their elected leaders to do the right thing. They can kill us all.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

How Long Can a Polar Bear Tread Water?

I guess everything Bush and novelist Michael Crichton discussed and pooh-poohed about the threat of global warning was spot on and the little detail about this being the first time in memory that the Great Lakes have been ice free in mid winter is nothing to get alarmed about.

I'm sure it is just an aberration but if one had any "chicken little" tendencies it might be something to set them off.

"There's essentially no ice at all," said George Leshkevich, a scientist who has studied Great Lakes ice for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, since 1973. "I've never seen that."

What me worry? Not at all worried about Greenland melting 10 times faster than thought. Nope, not thinking about all the drowning polar bears either.

It's interesting to see what the always lovely and talented Fred Barnes says about Bush and the ridiculous theories about Global Warming.

In his new book about Mr. Bush, "Rebel in Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush," Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best-selling novel, "State of Fear," suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.

Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as "a dissenter on the theory of global warming," writes that the president "avidly read" the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest "talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement."
Georgie I'm as big a fan of science fiction as you will find but I do recognize it as fiction. I haven't read Mr Crichton's book but I do remember that he is a FUCKING SCIENCE FICTION WRITER!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Coon in the Chicken Coop

VIA John at AmericaBlog

It seems to me to be the last thing we want to do if we are going to maintain a high security profile at our ports. Hell, I wouldn't outsource operations of our major ports to my mother for Goddess's sake. For my money the ports are our most vulnerable access point and the most likely candidates for our next terrorist event. Do all of Bushes rabid followers know that this is how Dear Leader is protecting them. I would like to see maiden Coulter's take on this.

The Bush administration has outsourced the operation of six of the nation’s largest ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a country with troubling ties to international terrorism. The $6.8 billion sale would mean that the state-controlled Dubai Ports World would control “the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.”

Some facts about the UAE:

– The UAE was one of three countries in the world to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

– The UAE has been a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia.

– According to the FBI, money was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers through the UAE banking system.

– After 9/11, the Treasury Department reported that the UAE was not cooperating in efforts to track down Osama Bin Laden’s bank accounts.

UPDATE: Georgia10 at KOS has the complete 411 on this whole deal here

First Lady of Southern Food

One of my cooking icons passed away earlier this week. I had the chance to meet her at Bulloch Hall here in Roswell, get her autograph in my copy of her first book "The Taste of Country Cooking" and spend a glorious 45 minutes or so talking with her about food and cooking. It is a favorite memory.

It was here in Roswell that Scott Peacock Her caretaker for the last 7 or 8 years and the chef at Watershed, put on an 80th birthday party at historic Bulloch Hall. Alice Waters sent produce. Peacock cooked the meal over an open hearth. It was an interesting relationship and one that that was very special for both of them. It always amazed me how a forty-ish, gay chef from Alabama wound up being such a soul mate and eventually caretaker for an old black woman.

Edna was the granddaughter of a Virginia slave and was born on April 13 (Thomas Jefferson's birthday), 1916, in Freetown, Va., a community of former slaves, and against all odds, created a shrine to great food at tiny Café Nicholson in New York. The café was an icon hosting such 20th-century luminaries as Truman Capote, Greta Garbo, Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner.

She was the Southern answer to Julia Child and influenced myriad cooks (including yours truly) around the country and insured the preservation of many of the South's disappearing food traditions. To quote Alice Waters, "Edna Lewis had the hands and soul of a great artist, and like all great artists, she had something of which the rest of us know little or nothing."

In 1995, the James Beard Foundation gave her its first Living Legend Award. In 1998, Saveur magazine placed her at No. 9 on its list of 100 favorite things, calling her its "favorite Southern cook and national treasure." And in 1999, she received the Southern Foodways Alliance's Lifetime Achievement Award and was named a grande dame by Les Dames d'Escofier International.

She was a fine lady and I am very happy to have met and talked with her. She will be happy to know that her cookbooks, especially the first, are two of my favorites and I am trying to keep the traditions alive as well.

Photo courtesy the Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Jaroslav Kanka/Special

Just in Time for the Rain

Back to Atlanta in time for a rainy and chilly weekend. All of my good intentions to get out and some serious walking this weekend are pretty much shot. Don't say it...I know I am a wimp for letting a little freezing rain stop me from walking.
Going out in few though and go to historic Barrington Hall here in Roswell for a demonstration of African cookery in honor of Black History Month and also to see their exhibit of antique folk pottery including some Dave jars. For those of you that are not into folk pottery- Dave was a slave in South Carolina around Edgefield famous for his large storage jars and the fact that he was literate enough to inscribe them with poems and Bible verse. It should be worth a trip in the cold rain as thee jars are very rare and there are very few remaining examples.

I think the rest of the afternoon is going to be spent braising some veal shanks for dinner.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Heckuva Job Boys

Bush just loves our boys and girls in uniform and really, really respects and honors the job they are doing all over the world protecting us from the terrorists. In fact, he thinks so much of the job they are doing that he is proposing to give them a whopping 2.2% pay increase. Did I mention this is the lowest increase since 1994.

Senator John Kerry is leading a coalition of other Senators in trying to get this increase to a meaningful amount.

“Our troops are sacrificing so much, in every corner of the world. Shortchanging them and the families who love them is a lousy way to say thanks,” said Kerry, who authored the letter.

“Our military deserves leadership that matches their service and patriotism. Getting our troops the pay raise they deserve is the very least we can do to show how much we value everything they do for us. I’m going to fight for a fair military pay raise until it becomes a reality, and I thank my colleagues who have joined me in doing so,” added Kerry.

I don't know know about you but I can feel the love radiating from the Whitehouse.

Blood Money

via Marketwatch

Halliburton Co., coming off a banner year in the energy sector and flush with Pentagon contracts abroad, announced Thursday a series of measures to share the spoils with shareholders.

The Houston-based company said its board of directors approved a two-for-one stock split that would double its shares outstanding to 2 billion. Stockholders must still sign off on the split.
The quarterly dividend for Halliburton stock was also raised 20% to 15 cents a share. The higher payout is set for March 23 for shareholders as of March 2.

A $1 billion share buyback is also in the works, the company said.

How much of the blood dripping windfall will wind up in Cheney and Dubya's pockets? Maybe Rumsfool will get a cut and let's not forget Abu Gonzales, Feith and all the rest.

How much Halliburton stock do you own Mr. and Mrs. America? How much Halliburton stock do you think the 1000 or so widows, widowers and some 2000 children now without fathers and mothers hold?

Maybe Halliburton will set aside some to help us pay off the 500 Billion or so we have spent so far on their cash cow. I know I'm counting on it.

Baby Jesus Does Dirty Dick

Just catching up with all that is happening in my personal universe of blogtopia (see blogroll) and you really need to check in on Neil Shakespeare. He seems to have oversdosed on Deadeye Dick and has produced a long series of collages and narratives that address the current flap. Of course Baby Jesus, who can't miss a dustup, is also up to his holy ass in the thing. Travel over there and enjoy the whole series.

Straight Shooter Wanted

Don't ya love it when the chickens come home to roost? Bush's approval is slipping again.

I believe the American people are beginning to figure out Bush now and it is dawning on them that he's kind of dim, ineffective, and not a very deep thinker and reacts childishly to outside forces ( leading to unnecessary wars and more), and they're fed up. They are waiting for the Democrats to show some leadership and provide them with some alternative.

They actually realized what a miserable failure Bush was before the last election but fell into the trap of fear that Rove and company has blanketed the country with for the last 6 years.

Now the dear factor is waring off too and they are no longer willing to be deluded into believing that Bush and company can protect us and that, in fact, they have made us unsafer. This is a great opportunity for progressives to take back the leadership of the country but we need a plan and some courage to stand up and fight for what is right. Not only that but we need a true leader that will shoot straight and deliver the progressive message.

Misplaced Priorities

Just a question. How is it that so many devout Muslim's can get their righteous outrage whipped up over some cartoons, regardless of how incorrect they may be, and haven't seen fit to be outraged and demonstrative over how many of their fellow Muslims we have managed to kill and torture in Iraq, Afganistan and Cuba? It just seems to me that we should have seen riots and burnings of flags and Western businesses long before now. I would think that that the time for hostility towards the Americans and Westerners in general would have long been past. Surely they haven't bought into the Bushian claptrap that we are bringing democracy to the middle east and securing the world against terrorism.
Before someone jumps my case over my insensitivity to the beliefs of Muslims and the seriousness of the blaspheming cartoons let me admit that I am woefully ignorant of the Islamic faith but I think the question needs to be asked. The time for outrage is long overdue in my uninformed world view.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Don't Forget

The news has been preoccupied with Dirty Dick and I haven't seen a mention of the fallout from his real crimes.
As of today 32 American service people have died in Iraq this month(a little over 2/day) and that brings the total up to 2273. Did I mention that 16,653 more Americans have been wounded in Iraq.


Bad Start

This is going to be one of those days.

Had to get up a little earlier that normal as some idiot scheduled me for a conference call at 0630. Made a pot of coffee without the essential ingredient...do over with coffee this time. Conference call with a client that won't let you finish a sentence so a very frustrating 30 minutes. While attempting to pour off the accumulated whey from a brand new quart of organic yogurt managed to pour all but two tablespoons of same down the disposer. Can't wait to see what the rest of the day brings.


Truly sorry to the regular visitors here about the dearth of activity. I fully intended to spend some quality time on the nets and blogger for the last two nights. The reality turned out to be sleep instead. I sat down in front of the laptop last night and started through the blogroll and the next thing I know I am waking up in the same position only it is two hours later. I gave up and crashed. I guess the travel challenges from Sunday night and Monday morning took more out of me than I realized. Couple this with the fact that I am spending all day deep in complex data, researching client data issues and coaching users through the final stages of system acceptance and you have a formula for wearing an old man down to a nub.

Not scheduled to travel next week or the week after so maybe I can get the batteries charged. Bear with me.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Measure of a Man

I am too jet lagged and otherwise disgusted to comment at any length on Dirty Dick's little adventure. If you want the 411 then visit the always astute ReddHedd at Firedoglake. She covers the deal from A to Z and there is nothing material I can really add. There are a lot of comments by people with hunting quail than I.

My comment is only about the character of a person that considers it sport to shoot caged raised birds. This is an excellent measure of someone's fundamental character. This is not the first example of Cheney shooting birds in a wholesale slaughter just for kicks. There is no redeeming aspect to this practice and it shows how little value Cheney puts on life and honor.

It is quite obvious that this misadventure was caused by some combination of idiocy and alcohol and the only reason that news was delayed for 24 hours was that that there was a requirement to clear Cheney's blood of some highly overpriced booze. Give me another plausible excuse.

Serious Travel

I have survived the travel day from hell and am safely ensconsed at the the client in Sunnyvale. I like to travel in Sunday evenings when I come to the West Coast as it just seems I am able to hit the ground running with a better attitude. Yesterday was a different story. The original aircraft that was scheduled to fly us to San Jose had a medical emergency after it left LA and had to stop in Phoenex and therefore didn't arrive in Atlanta until an hour after we were supposed to depart at 540pm. Then it was quarantined?. New plane finally arrived at the gate at 730pm and after all the prep we boarded at about 815pm. Backed out of the gate at 845pm and the starboard engine wouldn't start. New plane. Finally departed Atanta at just after 11pm 5 hours late. Needless to say we didn't get to San Jose until just after 1am and I finally got to the hotel at 2am. Thank the Goddess we were able to get a waiver from the operations folks at SJC since normally the airport is curfewed after 1130pm. They let us land anyway and while the airport was basically shut down we got through. Many of the travelers were then stuck since all but Hertz and Avis rental car agents were closed for the day. Lucky for me I am a dedicated Hertz guy and dodged that bullet. All in all a challenging day of travel and not one you should like to duplicate.

Being the dedicated trooper that I am I am here at the client bright and bushy tailed at 8am though my eyes feel like two "pee" holes in the snow. Fortuneately this client is a coffee loving bunch and there is a bounteous supply of good French Roast and even an espresso machine if I get desparate.

Will try and catch up on all the goings on this evening if I don't crash at 6pm.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Quiet Saturday

Cold and rainy in Atlanta this weekend. Dodged any frozen stuff so far. Running here and there trying to get all the stuff done that needs doing before I head back out to Sunnyvale tomorrow. Did get my car back from the repair shop and I must say they did a nice job as I cannot spot any hint of repairs. That's one load off the mind.

Time to start thinking about taxes again and I get riled just thinking about my money going into the Iraq disaster. I am a firm believer in the appropriate taxation but I get real angry when I see it wasted. Be nice if we could "earmark" our taxes and insist it not be used for military or war and other stuff we don't see a need for.

Don't expect anything more from me unless I have some kind of revelation I just must share. I will check in from Calidfonia tomorrow night. Thanks for all the comments and participation, keep it up.

UPDATE #1., Sunday AM; I spoke too soon. Woke up this morning to a light dusting of snow and there are still flurries coming down. Temperature is right at or slightly above freezing so this won't be here long. Hope all you nor'easterners can dig out. I bet my brother in Maine is getting dumped on. Off to the airport soon so see you after the jump.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Give it a Break...Please

It's a little after 9pm here in a snowy and cold Minneapolis and I have to get to bed so I have a hope of some higher function at 3am when I have to be up and head for the airport but I have two quickies.

First, I cannot comprehend why CNN feels it necessary to spend the entire evening flogging the Entwhistle murder/extradition. Jeebus, people are murdered all over the country everyday in all kinds of ways and they usually covered by the local news but rarely make the national news. Yet we have had Larry King spend his entire program on this and now Anderson Cooper is interviewing the same people we just saw on Larry King. While the murder of a mother and her child is horrendous it is hardly deserving of national news coverage 24x7. There are probably hundreds of stories worthy of this air time.
Maybe McClellan's continued lies to the press or perhaps AP'a totaly biased story on Harry Ried and the Mariannas maybe the fires in California or even the lie Bush told today about foiling an attack on LA. I need to stop watching CNN it is just pissing me off.

Second, what kind if fools does the Bush crowd think we are? Evidently they think we are pretty stupid. They foiled a plot to blow up a building in LA with a plane hijacked by someone wearing a shoe bomb? Stop and think a minute. Plot out in your mind the scenario of someone with explosive shoes hijacking a jet liner and flying it into a building. I didn't think so. It is completely and totally fiction meant to keep us off balance and afraid of Osama's boys and believe big strong Bush is fighting the good fight and keeping us safe. We were a lot safer on September 10, 2001 than we are today and if you don't know that in your gut you are a fool.

Bed time....traveling until later tomorrow afternoon. Play nice and write if you get work.

Oh No! They're Listening

Via Talkleft

Careful boys and girls and watch what you say. As if we didn't already know they were listening. Maybe we are as forgetful as Osama? I guess now the effort has switched to an attempt to suppress free speech with the threat of "Big Brother" is watching every word you post. Well, "big brother" in the immortal words of Dear Leader "Bring It On!"

The Christian Science Monitor reports on a huge, planned data mining program that will troll news and blogs.

The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.

The system - parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development - is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government's latest attempt to use broad data-collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism. But by delving deeply into the digital minutiae of American life, the program is also raising concerns that the government is intruding too deeply into citizens' privacy.

The "core" of the system is called Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE). The Monitor article has more details. Ya gotta love it!

BTW, Do you every wonder how many thousands of dollars and mandays were wasted trying to come with these stupid acronyms. There must be a full time gubmint bureau somewhere tasked with producing these things.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Like a Laser

Glenn Greewald has an excellent post covering, in great detail, all the things dangerous about the current assertions by the administration concerning the powers of the President in a time of war while they attempt to justify their illegal wiretapping of American citizens without a warrant.

While it is a well written post and should be read by everyone concerned about the erosion or in many cases the complete disregard for our rights, it suffers from the fact that only truly interested people will spend the time to read it.

Somehow this very cogent message needs to be distilled into an "elevator speech" that can be related quickly to those too lazy or disinterested to read it or the equivalent.

Here is my submission:

The Administration is claiming that Article II grants it the power to do to you, an American citizen, whatever it is allowed to do against our enemies in a war with no oversight from the courts or Congress. This includes wiretaps, imprisonment without habeus corpus, torture and confiscation of all rights protected by the Contitution and Bill of Rights. Do you trust this President and all future Presidents to excercise these powers without restraint? If there is any doubt just look at what Bush has done to Jose Padilla an American citizen.

This is serious business and we need to be able to focus like a laser on the meat of this issue. We won't be able to hold the attention of the average American with some long winded explanation of the history of civil rights or what Thomas Jefferson or James Madison said. We need a short and focused message that we can get out in a couple of sentences that captures the essence of the problem and risks of ignoring it.

Fanning the Flames

I just came in and CNN has its shorts in a knot over an alarm at the Russell Senate Office building on a nerve agent attack. Hello folks, nerve agents are virtually an instaneous weapon. If you are exposed to a nerve agent then the time it takes to show symptoms is minutes and not hours or days. If there was a nerve agent present then we would have people showing symptoms of same. This is pretty obvious a failed detector since secondary tests have proved negative.

This will play well with the Faux news crowd though and raise the tension a little and make people a little more willing to accept intrusions into their privacy.

I hate to be so cynical but the facts speak for themselves. Anyone with any NBC training will see through this as nothing more than fanning the flames of fear.

Fear is the mind killer and stimulates primitive responses in the human mind. Rational thought is supressed and survival instincts take over. This is shameful behaviour on the part of CNN and they know better.

Finally, they are beginning to speculate that this is a false alarm now that they have had some experts expain to them the reality of nerve agents. Probably too late to reach the ones that have already internalized this.

UPDATE #1: It's an hour or so later and we have gone through Paula Zahn and now Larry King and they are still flogging this dead horse. It was a non story from the git go and yet they still are treating it like a major disaster. Appalling.

Racist Outrage

Well, well, well it is just so outrageous that people like Jimmy Carter and the most reverend Joseph Lowery would take the opportunity of Coretta Scott King's funeral to bring up politics.
Yesterday John Aravosis was the first I saw to warn us of the coming "swift-boating" and sure enough before his post had cooled GOP shill and hate filled shrew Kate O'Bierne was on MSNBC lecturing the "negroes" on how to behave at a funeral. Evidently DarkSyde at Kos reports that Imus is on the bandwagon this morning over the same issues.

Watching CNN this morning while I get ready and they too are playing exerpts from Carter and Lowery and the whole theme is that somehow this was inappropriate at such an event. Guess what folks...this is exactly why these issues were brought out at the funeral and the more you thrash around and bloviate and replay what you stupidly think is wrong the more the message and intent is fulfilled. Go after it and know you are doing the Lord's work in spreading the word that Martin and Coretta lived for. And oh, by the way, the more you flap your trap over this the more you confirm your racism and bigotry. Go for it.

I would suggest they stop and think for a moment on what this woman and her husband spent their lives doing, believing and dreaming. Where other than in their eulogy can the values that they spent their lives for be honored?

I hereby give anyone permission to politicize my funeral and speak on the things I felt were important.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cream Crackers

I had every intention of posting on the proposed Bush budget lie tonight and also comment on a few other things. I have started a couple of times and then discovered that I was asleep. I am not sure why I am so tired and non functional maybe there is something to this jet lag thing.
I can recommend the Mahablog if you want a roundup of the thinking on the Bush budger propsal joke. I mean really, how meaningful is a budget that doesn't include the costs of Iraq and Katrina reconstruction. Actually I believe this budget is some kind if red herring ince it is so unrealistic.

Anyhow, there is no dearth of topic upon which to comment it is just that i cannot seem to stay focused (awake) long enough.

Karl is Out There

If you are having positive wishes about the outcome of the Conressional hearings about Bush's illegal spying on Americans don't overlook the reality of who is playing in this puddle.
Via Huffington Post…….

The White House has been twisting arms to ensure that no Republican member votes against President Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the administration's unauthorized wiretapping.

Congressional sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president. The sources said the blacklist would mean a halt in any White House political or financial support of senators running for re-election in November.


Over the last few weeks, Mr. Rove has been calling in virtually every Republican on the Senate committee as well as the leadership in Congress. The sources said Mr. Rove's message has been that a vote against Mr. Bush would destroy GOP prospects in congressional elections.

"He's [Rove] lining them up one by one," another congressional source said.

Mr. Rove is leading the White House campaign to help the GOP in November’s congressional elections. The sources said the White House has offered to help loyalists with money and free publicity, such as appearances and photo-ops with the president.

Those deemed disloyal to Mr. Rove would appear on his blacklist. The sources said dozens of GOP members in the House and Senate are on that list.

Poor Prospect

I was all set to post my take on the domestic intelligence hearings last night when blogger went down. I read Glenn Greenwald, Firedoglake, Digby, Dkos, FirstDraft, Talkleft and all the rest.

In a nutshell, I think this is a setup to get the Democratic Senators to follow Specter's lead just far enough down the road to be totally committed before he reveals his GOP toadiness and leaves them hanging out to dry. They will be painted as Osama supporters and unwilling to make the hard choices necessary to defend America from the terrible threat of terrorism.

The Dems lost the initiative when they didn't walk out of the hearings in protest over not having Gonzales sworn in. That was a pivotal moment and perfect for the political theatre needed in this situation. On the whole the Democratic team did all right but not great and even some of the GOP Senators were effective (Sessions et al notwithstanding).

A special point should have been made by all the Dems and continually reinforced that this was not about the war on terror but about the rule of law.

Finally, Darksyde at Kos takes the time to remind us that the constant flaunting of 9/11 by the GOP stooges is stupid when put into its proper perspective. It's a point that we all need to reinforce at every opportunity.

And don't miss Digby's post which says in effect and in a much more polite way that basically the GOP will once again castrate themselves for Bush.

Needless to say I don't hold out much hope for the outcome of these hearings. The American people will not be served and Bush and company will have moved their fascist state forward once again.

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's Cold

Lucky I made the trip to Minnesota this week it is only 17 right now with a low scheduled at about 5 or so. Next week they are expecting a cold snap!
Safely here in beautiful frozen Maple Grove and snug in the hotel....tired and sleepy and can't even stay awake long enough to check in with all my link buddies. I will do better tomorrow.
Should be an interesting week with Abu Gonzales doing more "chicken dancing" and outright lying to the Congress. Will be interesting to see it develop.
Everyone have a good nights sleep and we'll catch you in the morning sometime.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Too Cheap

Obviously airline tickets are too cheap. Every other person in Atlanta is at the airport this afternoon. You can hardly turn around.

Every plane I have been on this month has been packed and overbooked. This flight to Minneapolis this afternoon is no exception and yet Delta has lost 2 billion and change in the last 9 months. Just makes you wonder what management is doing.

It just seems that every week the crowds get larger. Granted a lot are fellow business travelers but there are a lot of casual travelers as well. If I wasn't a Platinum flyer that let's me expedite security I would be insane. We should maybe look at doubling prices.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Blogger is Fried

This is the first time Blogger has let me on this weekend in the few attempts I have made. Off to the snowy north this afternoon...Minneapolis BRRRR.
Will hope that blogger is feeling more civilized later this evening when I get to the hotel and thaw.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Off the Road Again

The Fallenmonk had journeyed once again across this fair land and now rests wearily in Roswell, Georgia. He has obiviously not missed any earth shaking developments whilst at 33,000 feet.
He is distrissed that Neil Shakespeare has forbidden him access but I must admit that I haven't gushed over his work in the last week. Fair's fair.
Totally "cream crackered" as my Brit freinds would say for I am going to bed with the Mrs.
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

He Said What!

Guess who said the following.

“For 40 years we always assumed the left would take care of our civil liberties,” [Guess WHO] said. “If there were problems, the Democrats were the ones who would push back. But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican in the White House, the ACLU can’t get their calls returned.”
That's right...good guess... Grover Norquist. Here is the link.

Eating the Seed Corn

This comes via SteveAudio who links to the rather batshit crazy VDare but regardless it is an assessment of the state of the union by Paul Craig Roberts. This links up with some discussion in the comments by Steve Bates and Van from Gulf Coast Progressive on labor progress during the Bush disaster.

An early assessment of Lex Bushusuru II, 2006

Gentle reader, if you prefer comforting lies to harsh truths, don’t read this column.

The state of the union is disastrous. By its naked aggression, bullying, illegal spying on Americans, and illegal torture and detentions, the Bush administration has demonstrated American contempt for the Geneva Convention, for human life and dignity, and for the civil liberties of its own citizens. Increasingly, the US is isolated in the world, having to resort to bribery and threats to impose its diktats. No country any longer looks to America for moral leadership. The US has become a rogue nation.

Least of all did President Bush tell any truth about the economy. He talked about economic growth rates without acknowledging that they result from eating the seed corn and do not produce jobs with a living wage for Americans. He touted a low rate of unemployment and did not admit that the figure is false because it does not count millions of discouraged workers who have dropped out of the work force.

Americans did not hear from Bush that a new Wal-Mart just opened on Chicago’s city boundary and 25,000 people applied for 325 jobs (Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 26), or that 11,000 people applied for a few Wal-Mart jobs in Oakland, California. Obviously, employment is far from full.

Neither did Bush tell Americans any of the dire facts reported by economist Charles McMillion in the January 19 issue of Manufacturing & Technology News:

During Bush’s presidency the US has experienced the slowest job creation on record (going back to 1939). During the past five years private business has added only 958,000 net new jobs to the economy, while the government sector has added 1.1 million jobs. Moreover, as many of the jobs are not for a full work week, “the country ended 2005 with fewer private sector hours worked than it had in January 2001.”
Worth a read in its entirety but it is really depressing.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Way its Done

Grace has another special post over at Scriptoids that will demonstrate how a SOTU should go. It is something to wish for and something you should read. If nothing else it will make you feel better about someone's state of the union.


Just spent a very pleasurable time watching Larry King interview Jimmy Carter on CNN. It really brings home the disaster of GW when you get to hear a man like Jimmy Carter answer questions truthfully. You can sense that the weighty issue has circled through his brain and been subjected to reasoned thought and analysis and that his answers truly reflect the way he feels and that there is no hidden meaning in what he says.

It is interesting for me to contrast the emotion I felt last night during the few minutes I watched the SOTU and how I felt watching Mr. Carter.

Net is I felt that I learned something after hearing Carter and that I had been fed the truth. Granted Jimmy is not running for office and is not even required to respond to the press or anyone but you still feel that he earnestly wants to communicate and it is not some necessary evil as our current president.

It was sure a refreshing change from the stream of lies and strutting displayed last night.

No More Telegrams

The end of a major part of American history. It was not a very well publicized change but as of Jan 27 Western Union has stopped doing telegrams. They are going to continue with their primary business which is money transfer and which represents a 3 billion dollar a year business.

I understand the economic pressures that forced this decision what with email and faxes so easy to do, it only makes sense. It is still sad and something depressing about something like telegrams disappearing. This something that has been a part of the fabric of America, and the world for that matter, for 145 years.

The world's first telegram was sent on May 24, 1844 by inventor Samuel Morse. The message, "What hath God wrought," was transmitted from Washington to Baltimore.

There are probably millions of people around the world that still remember a telegram that they recieved. Western Union delivered thousands of messages during WWII that brought the devastating news to families about the fate of their loved ones. Many others probably have happier memories connected with the telegram such as births and marriages.

Even though I haven't sent or received a telegram in 35 years or so it still seems like I have lost something.

More on the SOTU

I didn't watch the whole SOTU(which I haven't done since the Big Dog gave them) there are resources to get the scoop. You can turn to the Washington Post where they do a decent job of fact-checking all the lies meanwhile the New York Times provides a handy chart tracking the frequency with which Bush has used certain key words in his last six SOTUs.

(click on "Graphic: The Words He Used " in the left-hand margin)

They watched it so you didn't have to.

Villaraigosa Does the Job.

Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of L.A. is on CNN right now and he evidently gave the Dem response to the SOTU in Spanish. He is ripping Bush a new one. Nothing positive and hitting every failing of the Bush disaster of a presidency. Very impressive and I can see why he is where he is.
Holy smoke! Why didn't give the English response as well. I will have to go look for the transcript sometime later. He is doing the job that Kaine failed to do last night. I wish I spoke Spanish so I could here his actual response speech. I wonder whether it will be translated and posted anywhere? I'm impressed.