Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Virginians | Fight the Marshall/Newman Amendment

Notice Virginians or other willing volunteers:
From Rev. Mykeru

Fight the Marshall/Newman Amendment Here (6MB~.wmv)
Although November seems far, far away, coming up just that soon will be a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution, known as the "Marshall/Newman Amendment" which, as the Commonwealth Coalition describes it, would "...add to our constitution language that would go well beyond prohibiting same sex marriage to prohibit any and all legal recognition of unmarried relationships, gay or straight."
The intent of the Amendment, on the surface, is to prevent civil unions between gay couples. In this case the right wing, more specifically the religious right, is willing to amend the constitution of the state of Virginia to do it. In fact, what's required is changing the Virginia Bill of Rights so that, in the Orwellian way we've almost gotten used to with this species of God-boggled nutcases and their political familiars, the rights of some of our fellow citizens will be curtailed: Not exactly the kind of thing you'd expect in a bill of rights. And not just gays and lesbians either. Invariably targeted legislation not only affects the people being aimed at, but others are bound to get caught in the crossfire. Already in other states where the same sort of measure has been passed, bad faith law has also changed the legal status of common law relationships between heterosexuals and made domestic violence protection for some women that much more difficult to attain.
In reality, what's being proposed is an Amendment that would redefine marriage and relationships to be null and void unless they followed the narrowly drawn definition of a particular subset of politically savvy and spiritually bankrupt Christian fundamentalists. Measures like this are politics as usual for the likes of Bill Frist, who wants to do the same on a national level. Why? Is there some crisis involving marriage? Like the flag, does it actually need protection? No, of course not, but if your interest is pandering to the fringe in order to maintain a margin of political power, it's the sort of thing you do.

Continue at mykeru, which I'm honored to link to.

AP's Hatchet job against Senator Harry Reid?

I thought this read like a hatchet job when I read the whole thing in my local newspaper rag yesterday. What a surprise(Not!), apparently hatchet job it is.

Associated Press caught deleting line in news story, makes story more biased against Senator Reid
It gets worse.
This is rather serious. The Associated Press ran a story yesterday (byline John Solomon) attacking Senator Harry Reid for accepting tickets to a boxing match in Nevada as the guest of the Nevada state government (something that appears totally fine under Senate ethics rules).AP then comes under some rather severe criticism from bloggers, this blog included, because the article notes in its second paragraph that rather than doing the bidding of the Nevada boxing folks, Reid was in fact pushing legislation they didn't like - i.e., Reid was not in the pocket of the Nevada boxing folks.Today, Josh Marshall discovered that AP appears to have edited its story and deleted the sentence that makes clear that Harry Reid was pushing legislation the Nevada boxing folks didn't like. I.e., AP just happened to delete the key line of their story that proves that Harry Reid isn't dishonest. And AP happens to delete this line from their story right after we all criticize them, using the line as proof that AP's story doesn't hold water.
Continue at Americablog:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Haditha | A breakdown in morals and humanity

How many more innocents will be slaughtered before we get our troops out of Iraq. George W. Bush didn't pull the trigger on these people, but their blood is on his hands. Did I say on his hands? Hell, dubya's got blood up to his neck, Iraqis, American troops and the other unfortunates that found death in "Mess-opotamia". For power, oil and corporate profits.

"Democracy assassinated the family that was here,"
--graffiti on one of the houses
From Timesonline:

Marines and the 'massacre': a neighbour tells of aftermath
From Ali Hamdani in al-Haditha and Ned Parker in

"GRAPHIC accounts of the apparent slaughter of unarmed
civilians have been obtained by The Times as Washington braces itself for the
results of an investigation into what threatens to be the most damaging military
scandal in Iraq.
On Saturday Iman Hassan, a 10-year-old Iraqi girl, told The
Times how she had watched US marines kill her mother, father, grandmother,
grandfather, four-year-old cousin and two uncles.
Residents in the insurgent
stronghold of al-Haditha have now stepped forward to corroborate elements of
Iman’s story and to describe to The Times the murder of a second family, which
included five children, the youngest of whom were two and three years old."
"The latest accounts given to The Times paint a gruesome picture
of events on
November 19. About a quarter of an hour after the attack on
Iman’s house,
Mohammed Basit, 23, an engineering student, said that he
watched as Marines
entered the home of his neighbour, Salim Rasif, He peered
from a window as the
family, including Salim’s wife, sister-in-law and their
five children, rushed
into a bedroom.
I saw them all gathering in their
parents’ room, then we heard a bang which was most likely a hand grenade, then
we heard shooting,” he said.
Fearing for his life, he moved away from the
Throughout the next day the Americans cordoned off Salim and Iman’s
homes,which are located about 20 metres apart. The next night Basit and his
father slipped inside Salim’s house.
“The blood was everywhere in Salim’s
bedroom,” Basit said. “I saw organs and flesh on the ground and a liver on the
bed. Blood splattered the ceiling. The bullet holes were in the walls and in
different parts of the house.
"Later Basit joined
relatives and friends who went to al-Haditha mortuary to pick up the bodies of
those whom the Marines had killed. The corpses were zipped in plastic bags.
“They were all shot, even the kids. They were shot more than one time, mostly in
the chest and the head,” he claimed.
Salim’s daughters — A’isha, 3, Zainab,
2, Noora, 15, and Saba’a, 11 — and his eight-year-old son, Mohammed, were among
the dead."

The complete article

YouTube-Allman Brothers

My favorite video of the week already-(that's not to say I won't have another). The Allman Brothers Band 1970. With Duane Allman, Rolling Stone's number 2 guitarist of all time(just behind Jimi Hendrix). This video shows why Eric Clapton was a big fan and recruited Duane Allman for his "Layla" masterpiece. Here Allman duels with fellow guitarist Dickey Betts with brother Greg Allman on vocals and keyboard. Duane Allman was killed in a motocycle crash October 1971 just shy of his 25th birthday.

"Whipping Post"-The Allman Brothers Band
Thanks to the heads up from Jane at Firedoglake

In his own words


"Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."
--L. Ron Hubbard(creator of Scientology)

Nothing to Hide

Found at Eponymous

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day


Whitman says it well:
.."O strong dead-march you please me!

O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me!

O my soldiers twain! O my veterans passing to burial!

What I have I also give you.

The moon gives you light,

And the bugles and the drums give you music,

And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,

My heart gives you love."

--Walt Whitman, from The Last Sunbeam

And Mine

Memorial Day

I brought a rose here today
to lay upon your quiet grave
in this place where memories play
for last goodbyes
for mornings in May
with heart so troubled
words can't say
the soul seems lost
along the way

I don't fear a past so sad
nor future yet to be
in my mind a wind blows mad
I fear eternity

I hope you walk
on streets of gold
within a land of peace
but my heart needs to know so bad
so answer want you please
is there balm in Gilead
and solace where you sleep

--Rdean, 85

No comparison, I know. I'm certainly no Whitman
and will never be a Tennyson but words are words.
Happy Memorial Day. Place/or plant a flower
in memory

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Voyagers approaching Intersteller space

If you saw the movie Starman(1984?) you heard about the golden disk. The golden disks are on the Voyagers (I & II). Both are now approaching Interstellar space and still sending back information:

Jupiter with moons Io and Europa

Neptune. More info here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Musician Desmond Dekker dead

"London - Desmond Dekker, the Jamaican reggae legend whose 1969 song Israelites became a worldwide hit, has died from a heart attack at his home in Britain, his manager said Friday.
Dekker, who became the first Jamaican musician to introduce the reggae sound to the world outside his native country, will also for ever be associated with the 1970's top hit You Can Get It If You Really Want, written by Jimmy Cliff."


"Israelites", crank it up
From Roxanne


Caption this:

Stolen from rox populi

Congressman Chandler and "The Pets Act"

A short video of KY. congressman Ben Chandler's speech regarding H.R. 3858, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2005(The Pets Act). Congressman Chandler was the minority floor manage for this bill, which passed by a vote of 329-24. This speech was given on
May 22, 2006. This bill takes into account people's pets during an emergency evacuation.
During Katrina many people perished because they would not leave their pets behind.

The speech is here:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Animal overpasses

Every time I see a dead animal on the highway I wish highway designers in my area took wildlife crossings into account in their design. Unfortunately I don't think there's much chance of that. This one is an interesting concept. I wouldn't think it would add a terribly larger price to those ugly four lane highway projects. Anyway beautiful idea, it should be added to all new highway projects.

Animal overpasses
The Black bear Overpass

Y2Y is an ambitious project to create safe freeway crossings for animals from the Yukon to Yellowstone, in the form of overpasses and underpasses designed to lure animals into crossing away from traffic. That's good news for animals -- who are dying in increasing numbers from traffic fatalities -- and good news for drivers. As Clive Thompson reports, "slamming into an enormous black bear at 60 miles an hour is kinetically equivalent to driving into a brick wall."
Their goal is not just a wolf pack surviving here and there, or a few scattered grizzly bears or elk or bighorn sheep, but a landscape in which animals can thrive, roaming and reproducing widely and avoiding the genetic perils of small populations trapped in shrinking habitats.
When the researchers write up their findings for scientific journals, they call this goal "functional connectivity," said Michael Proctor, a zoologist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alberta. He calls it "sex across the highway."
Originally from the Black Bear Overpass at Collision detection

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Photo of a thousand photos

This is just amazing. This photo, at this site, is made up of thousands of smaller photos and those photos are made up of thousands of smaller photos, that you can then zoom in on and go to thousands of smaller photos to zoom in on. On and on, forever? Check it out.
Found at BoingBoing

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Impending U.S. Police State

Top Ten Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State
Hey America! Freedom is
just around the corner…behind you
Allan Uthman

The Internet Clampdown
One saving grace of alternative media in this age of unfettered corporate conglomeration has been the internet. While the masses are spoon-fed predigested news on TV and in mainstream print publications, the truth-seeking individual still has access to a broad array of investigative reporting and political opinion via the world-wide web. Of course, it was only a matter of time before the government moved to patch up this crack in the sky. Attempts to regulate and filter internet content are intensifying lately, coming both from telecommunications corporations (who are gearing up to pass legislation transferring ownership and regulation of the internet to themselves), and the Pentagon (which issued an “Information Operations Roadmap” in 2003, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, which outlines tactics such as network attacks and acknowledges, without suggesting a remedy, that US propaganda planted in other countries has easily found its way to Americans via the internet). One obvious tactic clearing the way for stifling regulation of internet content is the growing media frenzy over child pornography and “internet predators,” which will surely lead to legislation that by far exceeds in its purview what is needed to fight such threats.
“The Long War”
This little piece of clumsy marketing died off quickly, but it gave away what many already suspected: the War on Terror will never end, nor is it meant to end. It is designed to be perpetual. As with the War on Drugs, it outlines a goal that can never be fully attained—as long as there are pissed off people and explosives. The Long War will eternally justify what are ostensibly temporary measures: suspension of civil liberties, military expansion, domestic spying, massive deficit spending and the like. This short-lived moniker told us all, “get used to it. Things aren’t going to change any time soon.”
Did anyone really think this was going to be temporary? Yes, this disgusting power grab gives the government the right to sneak into your house, look through all your stuff and not tell you about it for weeks on a rubber stamp warrant. Yes, they can look at your medical records and library selections. Yes, they can pass along any information they find without probable cause for purposes of prosecution. No, they’re not going to take it back, ever.
Prison camps
This last January the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root nearly $400 million to build detention centers in the United States, for the purpose of unspecified “new programs.” Of course, the obvious first guess would be that these new programs might involve rounding up Muslims or political dissenters—I mean, obviously detention facilities are there to hold somebody. I wish I had more to tell you about this, but it’s, you know…secret.
Touchscreen Voting Machines
Despite clear, copious evidence that these nefarious contraptions are built to be tampered with, they continue to spread and dominate the voting landscape, thanks to Bush’s “Help America Vote Act,” the exploitation of corrupt elections officials, and the general public’s enduring cluelessness.
In Utah, Emery County Elections Director Bruce Funk witnessed security testing by an outside firm on Diebold voting machines which showed them to be a security risk. But his warnings fell on deaf ears. Instead Diebold attorneys were flown to Emery County on the governor's airplane to squelch the story. Funk was fired. In Florida, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho discovered an alarming security flaw in their Diebold system at the end of last year. Rather than fix the flaw, Diebold refused to fulfill its contract. Both of the other two touchscreen voting machine vendors, Sequoia and ES&S, now refuse to do business with Sancho, who is required by HAVA to implement a touchscreen system and will be sued by his own state if he doesn’t. Diebold is said to be pressuring for Sancho’s ouster before it will resume servicing the county.
Stories like these and much worse abound, and yet TV news outlets have done less coverage of the new era of elections fraud than even 9/11 conspiracy theories. This is possibly the most important story of this century, but nobody seems to give a damn. As long as this issue is ignored, real American democracy will remain an illusion. The midterm elections will be an interesting test of the public’s continuing gullibility about voting integrity, especially if the Democrats don’t win substantial gains, as they almost surely will if everything is kosher.
Bush just suggested that his brother Jeb would make a good president. We really need to fix this problem soon.
Signing Statements
Bush has famously never vetoed a bill. This is because he prefers to simply nullify laws he doesn’t like with “signing statements.” Bush has issued over 700 such statements, twice as many as all previous presidents combined. A few examples of recently passed laws and their corresponding dismissals, courtesy of the Boston Globe:
Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.
Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."
Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.
Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.
Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."
Essentially, this administration is bypassing the judiciary and deciding for itself whether laws are constitutional or not. Somehow, I don’t see the new Supreme Court lineup having much of a problem with that, though. So no matter what laws congress passes, Bush will simply choose to ignore the ones he doesn’t care for. It’s much quieter than a veto, and can’t be overridden by a two-thirds majority. It’s also totally absurd.
Continue(if you dare):

Daryl Hannah video Blog

Daryl Hannah's still wonderful. She has a new eco-video Blog

"Sure, every celeb can give lip service to positive change, but Hannah actually spends most of her spare time walking the walk. The latest proof is her video blog, a series of five-minute films that offer snapshots of how people around the globe are helping each other, and the earth."
Found it on Grist Magazine.

Al Gore still bringing-"wingnuts out of the woodwork"

"Wingnuts out of the Woodwork", I love the sounds of that.

"As you're already aware, Al Gore's new movie on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth, is being released this week. It should come as no surprise that it's bringing the wingnuts out of the woodwork.
A few weeks ago I did an interview with Gore about the movie. He shared some insights on how it was made and the strategies he uses to get past people's ignorance and apathy. Last week, the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels appeared on FOX's Hannity & That Other Guy. He lifted a quote from the interview out of context, twisted its meaning, and used it to smear Gore. I wrote to FOX and Michaels to correct the record. (See also Media Matters and News Hounds.) Suffice to say, Michaels has not retracted or apologized."
David Roberts, Grist Magazine, From BoingBoing

This weeks video of the week is a presentation on climate change by Al Gore. The reason i like this is because its slick, he makes his points well while actually looking like its an issue he cares about.
--Calvin Jones, Climate Change Action

Monday, May 22, 2006

Photographs From Iraq

From Independent Media Pictures from Iraq for May:
Anti-occupation riots in Basra, the Americans keep killing people in the un-occupiable city of Ramadi, and the civil war continues, vicious as ever. The last new photos for a while..
American soldiers search a home in Fallujah
Rioting in Basra
This man, General Mehdii Musabah, was described by AFP as a "police commando commander" of the Interior Ministry; he may be in charge of some of the death squads that have tortured and murdered hundreds of people in Iraq.
Full archive of 18 months of Iraq photos

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Saturday Night Live-Funhouse

Saw this one on Saturday Night Live thought it was pretty good:

Saturday Night Live-Funhouse:
Funny: Every time Bush, Cheney, etc. Says something that turned out to be wrong or a lie they get spit on or thrown up on, and Karl Rove runs in to turn of the camera.
The clip's at Crooks and Liars (of course).

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Police State? Nah just collecting data.

Well I've been seeing some of the reasons the Bushistas have started concentrating on the Mexican border with their posing and corporate News Media. Safe photo-ops for President Bunnypants where he can strut around and ride spiffy looking vehicles. I've also seen the contracts that the military suppliers are expecting, BIG contracts, Halliburton level contracts. Private security firms will be there I'm sure, Blackwater, etal. Follow the money with this gang of thugs, always follow the money. Here's another amazing little secret being slipped under the door. Big brother data on EVERY American. And if you really believe that this bunch of police state wannabees aren't spying on the opposition then I could sell you some land cheap. Read it and be afraid.
From All Spin Zone And
Suburban Guerrilla:

"The EEVS [Employment Eligibility Verification System] would require - for
the first time - all workers to obtain a federal agency’s permission to work,
regardless of citizenship or immigration status. It would create two massive
government databases containing the most sensitive personal information on every
lawful resident. Every worker would be registered in the two systems with data
files tracking every job they ever sought or held. The two systems combine that
information with substantial amounts of personally identifiable information, all
keyed to a person’s Social Security number."

"All employers would be required to participate in a national employment eligibility verification program in an expansion of the faulty but voluntary “Basic Pilot” program. However, no proposals have been brought forth to provide for a secure system; making it likely that the EEVS system would be a ripe target for identity thieves."
Bushco thinks they can do whatever they want. So far they seem to be right. Who's going to stop them? Congress? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The "Liberal Media"? Yeah Right. If it actually existed. I don't think they care what comes out. Why should they, they're ALMOST at the no turning back point on the Police State slide.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Save Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi

Save Nazanin

Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi is an 18-year old Iranian who has been sentenced to death. For stabbing a man to death. Because he and two other men were trying to rape her and her niece.
If they'd succeeded, she could have been subject to prosecution for extra-marital sex.
Her case is being reviewed by the Iranian Supreme Court this week.
What can be done:
Help spread the story about Nazanin! Tell everyone you know, family, friends and others who might be interested. Direct them to this web page and ask them to take action for Nazanin.
Contact newspapers, TV-channels, blogs and other media and ask them to report this story.
US residents can contact local or national media via NOW.
Write about Nazanin in your own blog, homepage, or in internet forums or chat rooms you frequent.
Put a link to this page in your email signature or at your homepage.
Put one of these banners on your website.
Write the Iranian government or the Iranian embassy of your country , and demand that Nazanin's death sentence is commuted immediately. Read more.
Contact politicians/representatives and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country and ask them to pressure Iran to commute the death sentence and free Nazanin. US representatives can be contacted via NOW.
Contact the United Nations Office of Human Rights and ask them to protest.
Sign and spread this petition, started by the Canadian model Nazanin Afshin-Jam.
Buy a T-shirt in support of Nazanin, designed by Lily Mazahery.

Mercenaries feeding in the Katrina moneypit

"The continuous consolidation of money and power into higher, tighter and righter hands."
--George H.W. Bush (the first federal shakedown)
Mercenaries in New Orleans
Aah, corporate welfare=Republicans at work
In the Black(water)
Tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims remain without homes. The environment is devastated. People are disenfranchised. Financial resources, desperate residents are told, are scarce. But at least New Orleans has a Wal-Mart parking lot serving as a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center with perhaps the tightest security of any parking lot in the world. That's thanks to the more than $30 million Washington has shelled out to the Blackwater USA security firm since its men deployed after Katrina hit. Under contract with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Protective Service, Blackwater's men are ostensibly protecting federal reconstruction projects for FEMA. Documents show that the government paid Blackwater $950 a day for each of its guards in the area. Interviewed by The Nation last September, several of the company's guards stationed in New Orleans said they were being paid $350 a day. That would have left Blackwater with $600 per man, per day to cover lodging, ammo, other overhead--and profits.

Shortly after the hurricane hit, Blackwater "launched a helicopter and crew with no contract, no one paying us, that went down to New Orleans," says company vice chairman Cofer Black. "We saved some 150 people that otherwise wouldn't have been saved. And, as a result of that, we've had a very positive experience." Indeed. It was only days after the company arrived that it started reeling in lucrative deals.

According to Blackwater's government contracts, obtained by The Nation, from September 8 to September 30, 2005, Blackwater was paid $409,000 for providing fourteen guards and four vehicles to "protect the temporary morgue in Baton Rouge, LA." That contract kicked off a hurricane boon for Blackwater. From September to the end of December 2005, the government paid Blackwater at least $33.3 million--well surpassing the amount of Blackwater's contract to guard Ambassador Paul Bremer when he was head of the US occupation of Iraq. And the company has likely raked in much more in the hurricane zone. Exactly how much is unclear, as attempts to get information on Blackwater's current contracts in New Orleans have been unsuccessful.
Continue: The Nation

Border photo-ops with Bunnypants

Make your own caption:
Stolen from uggabugga

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dreams of Flying-series

From a series Dreams of Flying by Jan Von Holleben

From Billmon:
Bush America:

"President Bush . . . has a positive job approval in just three of the 50 United States. This according to 50 separate but concurrent statewide public opinion polls conducted by SurveyUSA for its media clients across the country. Only residents of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho view the president favorably."

On that $70 billion "tax cut"

This is already old news but it's certainly worth a repeat. And here's the key on dubya's latest giveaway to the wealthiest Americans:

“Americans at the center of the income distribution—the middle fifth of taxpayers, who will earn an average of $36,000 this year—could expect a 0.4 percent reduction in their tax bill, or about $20. Those who make less than $75,000—which includes about 75 percent of all taxpayers—would save, at most, $110 each. Those making more than $1 million would save, on average, almost $42,000.”


"House and Senate conservatives agreed on another budget-busting tax bill favoring the wealthiest Americans. The latest plan—announced after months of tense negotiations and slipped deadlines—will spend $70 billion to extend the 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends until 2010, among other proposals. According to a study by the Tax Policy Center, the tax cuts overwhelmingly benefit the richest Americans: “Americans at the center of the income distribution—the middle fifth of taxpayers, who will earn an average of $36,000 this year—could expect a 0.4 percent reduction in their tax bill, or about $20. Those who make less than $75,000—which includes about 75 percent of all taxpayers—would save, at most, $110 each. Those making more than $1 million would save, on average, almost $42,000.” Additionally, the agreement depends on a number of “budget gimmicks to create the appearance that it complies with a key rule that bars reconciliation bills from increasing long-term deficits.” Despite administration claims to the contrary, Federal Reserve economists have found these investment tax cuts haven’t boosted the stock market, and the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation determined that any economic benefits of the cuts are ” eventually likely to be outweighed by the reduction in national savings due to increasing Federal government deficits.”
Thanks to Al Franken:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Axis of Evil, er.. I mean Feeble

Love the Economist cover. Personally I'd have preferred, "Axis of War Criminals" as the title but this is fine to.

The Conservative Nanny State

The Conservative Nanny State
By Dean Baker

Free EBook in PDF. How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer.
Free EBook in PDF

Another old master dies

Stanley Kunitz
July 29, 1905 – May 14, 2006

.."My dear, is it too late for peace, too late
For men to gather at the wells to drink
The sweet water; too late for fellowship
And laughter at the forge; too late for us
To say, “Let us be good to one another”?
The lamps go singly out; the valley sleeps;
I tend the last light shining on the farms
And keep for you the thought of love alive,
As scholars dungeoned in an ignorant age
Tended the embers of the Trojan fire.
Cities shall suffer siege and some shall fall,
But man’s not taken. What the deep heart means,
Its message of the big, round, childish hand,
Its wonder, its simple lonely cry,
The bloodied envelope addressed to you,
Is history, that wide and mortal pang."
--Stanley Kunitz, from Night Letter

"..You write your poems in order to find out what you mean, who you are. You're always working out of a cloud of unknowing in the hope of moving into a little area of light. I can't tell how many poems are left in me, but I'm aware of a blind stirring that leads me on. The curious thing, when I consider the course of my life, is that I have begun at this age to think of myself as a reasonably happy person. I wonder if I could ever have said that before...."

"Stanley has managed to do what many of us fear is impossible," Howe once wrote. "He is a poet and he is sane." - LA Times obituary
Thanks to Woods Lot

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Living With War cd now out

I've been listening to Neil Young's Living With War cd streamed through headphones at the office for a while now. IMO it's one of his best, at least up there with Tonights the Night and Rust Never Sleeps, and one of (if not the best) political cd in decades. You can order here or listen here.

An Inconvenient Truth-Trailer

The movie trailer for An Inconvenient Truth. Al Gore's new movie on global warming. I couldn't get the video imbed to work. That's the problem with trying to work on a Blog while at work. No time to play with settings. View the trailer here or at Crooks & Liars.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Drug War secrets

This posting over at Drug War Rant is so good I had to post the whole thing. Anyone who is familiar with our government's "War on Drugs" tactics aren't a bit surprised by that government's assault on civil liberties in the name of terrorism. We've seen it before. The government's official voice in the corporate media plays the game very well. Drug War Rant should be bookmarked by anyone who wants to keep up with the same lies, deceptions, and violence our government's been using since the days of "Killer Weed".

Photo: Drug War Chronicle.

If only people could learn from the drug war...
Drug policy reformers been talking about the dangers of corrupt government over-reach and the intrusion of the federal government on individual rights and freedom for some time. And this isn't just coming from a theoretical libertarian principles perspective. It is a practical understanding on the part of people from varied political backgrounds based on witnessing the destruction first-hand.
So pardon us for being a little bit frustrated that people are taking so long to learn the lessons.
When the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal broke and the world was shocked, we already knew about the everyday prison torture here in the United States (disturbing video).
When the world finally realized that Guantanamo was filled in part with people held indefinitely for no particular reason, we already knew of similar cases in the war on drugs (such as Isidro Aviles, who was intimidated into accepting a 23-year sentence based on possession of $52 cash and ended up dying in prison -- his mother still doesn't know the cause).
As each new and expanded instance of government spying on American citizens in the name of the war on terror is revealed and serious people start discussing whether it should be of concern that the government is perhaps weakening the fourth amendment, our jaws drop and we wonder if the country has slept through the devastation of the 4th Amendment in the name of the war on drugs. This was done with no demonstrable benefit (and, in fact, seriously increased dangers) to American citizens. And yet we discuss the "merits" of government intrusion in the name of the war on terror as if there was no historical perspective.
We hear about innocent people killed by our soldiers in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some people are outraged; others are saddened but philosophical -- after all, some collateral damage is expected in war. And yet we've seen the loss of innocent lives for years right here in this country, when military tactics are used domestically in the war on drugs.
And now, in the war on immigration, it is expected that President Bush, in his Monday evening speech, will call for the deployment of thousands of troops within the United States to protect the border. But you see, if this is true, we already know what will happen. We've been there before.
On May 20, 1997, Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. (pictured left) was herding his family's goats 100 yards from his home on the US-Mexican border in Redford, Texas, as he did every day. Six days before, he had turned 18 years old.
Unknown to Esequiel or any of the other residents of Redford, a group of four Marines led by 22-year old Corporal Clemente Banuelos had been encamped just outside the small village along the Rio Grande River for three days. After watering his small flock of goats in the river, Esequiel started on his way back home when the Marines began stalking him from a distance of 200 yards.
The four camouflaged Marines were outfitted with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and weapons. Esequiel carried an antique .22 caliber rifle -- a pre-World War I, single shot rifle to keep wild dogs and rattlesnakes away from his goats. The autopsy showed that Esequiel was facing away from the Marines when he was shot. He probably never knew the Marines were watching him from 200 yards away.
Thus it was that a 22 year-old United States Marine shot and killed an innocent 18 year-old boy tending his family's goats. This outrageous act was the inevitable consequence of a drug prohibition policy gone mad. Esequiel Hernandez was killed not by drugs but by military officers of the United States government.
If only people could learn from the drug war. We've tried to teach, but they won't listen.
They snicker uncomfortably because we said the word "drugs" or "marijuana."
They dismiss us and our information because they assume we are part of the "long-haired, maggot-infested, dope-smoking crowd."
They ignore the whole issue because it's only about criminals, right? And why should we care about them?
They shuffle back and forth uncomfortably and say "I agree with you, but we really can't afford to make the drug war a political issue right now."
But the really scary people are the ones who say: "We haven't won the war on drugs/terror/immigration/_____ (fill in the blank) because we've made the government obey the law. We need to give them more tools to fight these wars, even at the expense of individual rights. After all, 911/meth/crack/super-pot has changed everything."
These are the ones who are willing to give up their prize possession -- a free country with a government of, by and for the people -- for a handful of "magic" beans.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Al Gore on SNL, POTUS, if only

Al Gore on Saturday Night Live. Some good stuff, "Now glaciers
are on the attack." From YouTube.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mini Kiss/Mini Crue?

Found at the Poor Man

Did you see it coming?
Mini Kiss: touring with Shorter Motley Crue:

Dick's sleepy seconds

All right somebody wake up (the)Dick!

Diebold voting machines even more vulnerable than thought

From Freedom to Tinker
and BoingBoing
Diebold voting machines worse than originally thought

Diebold's notoriously insecure voting machines -- in use across the USA -- have been found to have an even deeper vulnerability than previously known. A new report by Harri Hursti, released on BlackBoxVoting, documents how an attacker with a few moments' of private physical access to a machine could compromise it and load it with his own software, compromising every function of the machine, including the ability to count votes.
Ed Felten and Avi Rubin have written an excellent summary and analysis of the Hursti paper and published it on Freedom to Tinker -- if you care about whether you vote gets counted in 2006, read this now.

Hursti’s findings suggest the possibililty of other attacks, not described in his report, that are even more worrisome.
In addition, compromised machines would be very difficult to detect or to repair. The normal procedure for installing software updates on the machines could not be trusted, because malicious code could cause that procedure to report success, without actually installing any updates. A technician who tried to update the machine’s software would be misled into thinking the update had been installed, when it actually had not.

On election day, malicious software could refuse to function, or it could silently miscount votes.
"here possible, precincts planning on using these machines should consider making paper backup systems available to prepare for the possibility of widespread failures on election day. The nature of this technology is that there is really no remedy from a denial of service attack, except to have a backup system in place. While voter verified paper trails and proper audit can be used to protect against incorrect results from corrupt machines, they cannot prevent an attack that renders the machines non-functional on election day."
Link here

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fletcher indicted on 3 counts

Har De Har. Grand Old Pirates.

Lexington Herald-Leader
Grand Old Police Blotter

Governor Fletcher (KY) indicted on 3 counts.
The special grand jury that’s been investigating state government hiring practices indicted Gov. Ernie Fletcher on three misdemeanors for conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination.

The jury also indicted former Transportation Cabinet official Sam Beverage for perjury, which is a felony.

And the jury also submitted to Franklin Circuit Judge William Graham 14 more indictments that are under seal.

Those indictments cover crimes that may have occurred before Aug. 29, 2005, when Fletcher pardoned all administration officials except himself.

Marines Begging for food in Iraq-US billionaires get new tax cuts

A republican's idea of supporting our troops is a yellow ribbon on their car. Bloody dubya knows that. Body armour? Enough food? Hell with that, that would cut into Dick's Halliburton stock and maybe the latest round of billionaire and corporate tax cuts.
Marines Begging for food in Iraq
U.S. Marines go hungry

The Providence Journal02-MAY-06The Iraq war has been the war fought on the cheap _ not enough body armor, not enough armor on vehicles, not enough night vision equipment.It has been the war in which packages from back home have had to fill some crucial needs.Now, we have chow call at the Greenwood Credit Union in Warwick, R.I. It's the latest in home-front intervention. It's partially in response to the unthinkable image of U.S. Marines approaching Iraqi citizens and asking for food because they do not have enough.There's a big barrel in the lobby of the credit union on Post Road in Warwick. It's decorated with ribbons and it's there because Karen Boucher-Andoscia's son, Nick Andoscia, called and asked his mother to send food.Nick's a Marine corporal. He was in Afghanistan last year, where there was enough to eat. He's in Iraq now even though his enlistment was up last year.He's one of those Marines who can't walk away. His unit, the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd Marines, was headed for Iraq and he just couldn't head for civilian life while those he had served with were heading to their second war."He extended," says Karen. "He told me, 'I really have to go. I can't let my guys go alone.' "There are a lot of stories like that. We don't hear them much. They're kind of personal.So Nick Andoscia went to Iraq. And hunger soon followed."I got a letter," says Karen. "And he had called me before that. He said, 'Send lots of tuna.' "Nick told his mother that he and the men in his unit were all about 10 pounds lighter in their first few weeks in Iraq. They were pulling 22-hour patrol shifts. They were getting two meals a day and they were not meals to remember."He told me the two meals just weren't cutting it. He said the Iraqi food was usually better. They were going to the Iraqis and basically saying, 'feed me.'"

"Nick Andoscia, who is 22, is due to come home later this year. He wants to study criminal justice, his mother says, then go to work for a fire or police department.But for the next few months he will be on patrol in western Iraq, dealing with the heat and the dirt and the danger.The last thing he should have to worry about is an empty stomach. The last thing he should have to do is approach Iraqis and ask for food.
You have to wonder what the gracious hosts must think when a fighting man from the richest country on earth comes to their door in search of something to eat."
Heckuva job dubya!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"Decider" briefed on what to decide

Regarding that "letter" the MSM reported the Iranian President sent fearless Leader. Do you think dubya read it? Don't be silly. Of course not, he had to takea flight to Florida(on our dime) and try to pump up more BS about his "senior drug plan". He was "briefed" about it. He couldn't be bothered on that 2 1/2 hour flight to read an 18 page letter from another head of state to stop an attack on the man's country. Dubya's got crony money to shakedown from taxpayers, more brown people's blood to spill, more of our sons to get killed.

Left i on the News: says it very well:
"George Bush is the "decider." Iran, according to him, is the number one problem in the world today. He says that "it is my desire and my belief we can solve this [manufactured crisis with Iran] diplomatically." So when the President of Iran, a country against whom Bush is seriously contemplating taking military action but which he claims he wants to deal with "diplomatically," sent him an 18-page letter, the first time an Iranian President has communicated directly with an American President in 27 years (!), he read it, right?
No, of course not, he was "briefed" on it (a "briefing" that was so brief and unimportant that the New York Times doesn't even bother to mention it). Bush was on an important trip to Florida to make yet another political speech about the "fantastic opportunity" for seniors contained in the new prescription drug "benefit" for Medicare. You don't really think he had time during a 2 1/2 hour flight to read 18 whole pages, do you?"
"when Americans use the word "diplomacy," they aren't actually speaking English, in which "diplomacy" has the same root as "diplomatic." No, in America, it comes out sounding more like "dictate" (or is that "diktat"?), as exemplified by this quote from Condoleezza Rice:

"Absence of communication isn't really the problem here. We and the international community have been very clear with the Iranians what they need to do."

About which WIIIAI says, "That’s Condi’s idea of communication: her telling someone what they 'need to do.'" Of course he needn't single out Condi; that's the attitude of the entire U.S. ruling class."

The full letter to George W. Bush from the Iranian President:

An Open Letter to Poor Richard

Poor Richard Cohen wrote a whiny article a few days ago regarding all the "hateful" emails he has received concerning his media Ho Bullshit and sychophantic treatment of his man dubya. William Rivers Pitt writes an excellent retort and baseically bitch slaps poor Richard. An excerpt is below but read the whole thing it's enjoyable.

From truthout:

An Open Letter to Richard Cohen
William Rivers Pitt

...."The hatred is back," you say, as if such hatred is beyond justification. It is interesting that you make so many allusions to Vietnam; the comparison is apt, yet not on point. This is not a situation of "Then" and "Now," but "Then" and "Again." The two issues are joined by a common theme: official malfeasance, presidential lies, administrative fear-mongering and horrific body counts in a faraway land. The lesson of Vietnam was so searing, many believed, that it would never have to be learned again.
Why the anger? Because that lesson didn't take, at least with this crowd. Why the anger? Because millions of people are staggered by the idea that, yes Virginia, we have to go through this again. We have to watch soldiers slaughter and be slaughtered for reasons that bear no markings of truth. We have to watch the reputation of this great nation be savaged. We have to watch as our leaders lie to us with their bare faces hanging out.
Why the anger? It can be summed up in one run-on sentence: We have lost two towers in New York, a part of the Pentagon, an important American city called New Orleans, our economic solvency, our global reputation, our moral authority, our children's future, we have lost tens of thousands of American soldiers to death and grievous injury, we must endure the Abramoffs and the Cunninghams and the Libbys and the whores and the bribes and the utter corruption, we must contemplate the staggering depth of the hole we have been hurled down into, and we expect little to no help from the mainstream DC press, whose lazy go-along-to-get-along cocktail-circuit mentality allowed so much of this to happen because they failed comprehensively to do their job.
George W. Bush and his pals used September 11th against the American people, used perhaps the most horrific day in our collective history, deliberately and with intent, to foster a war of choice that has killed untold tens of thousands of human beings and basically bankrupted our country. They lied about the threat posed by Iraq. They destroyed the career of a CIA agent who was tasked to keep an eye on Iran's nuclear ambitions, and did so to exact petty political revenge against a critic. They tortured people, and spied on American civilians.
You cannot fathom anger arising from this?...."

Take that Richard. Suck it up Ho!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I love Postsecret
Freaked out by the Burger King

Like this one also:

Online Traffic- Blogging

Blogging and Internet information distribution exploding.

From the Washington Post
New Trends In Online Traffic
Visits to Sites for Blogging, Local Information and Social Networks Drive Web Growth

While growth is slowing at most top Internet sites, it is skyrocketing at sites focused on social networking, blogging and local information . . . The number of monthly visitors to each site rose at rates ranging from 185 percent (Citysearch) to 528 percent ( between February 2005 and February 2006.

50 million U.S. Internet users visited blog sites in the first quarter of 2005. That is roughly 30% of all U.S. Internet users and 1 in 6 of the total U.S. population.

Five hosting services for blogs each had more than 5 million unique visitors in that period,and four individual blogs had more than 1 million visitors each.

Of 400 of the biggest blogs observed, segmented by seven (nonexclusive) categories,political blogs were the most popular . . .

Top-ranked sites growing the most, ComScore's data showed, were, a personal publishing site;, where young people do virtual preening and share musical tastes; Wikipedia, an open reference site jointly edited by millions of people; and Citysearch, a network of local guides focused on cities."

From MySpace influencers and the virtues of linking at
"Traffic to Technorati doubled to 1.8 million unique visitors in March from 962,000 in February, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Technorati CEO and co-founder David Sifry visited the MarketWatch studios earlier this week to explain why his service saw such explosive growth in traffic in a month's time.

Thanks to Billman at Whiskey Bar:

Monday, May 08, 2006

The RFID Hacking Underground

An interesting and unnerving story about hackers and their cracking of access codes. It reads like a William Gibson novel.
From Wired:
They can steal your smartcard, lift your passport, jack your car, even clone the chip in your arm. And you won't feel a thing.

"James Van Bokkelen is about to be robbed. A wealthy software entrepreneur, Van Bokkelen will be the latest victim of some punk with a laptop. But this won't be an email scam or bank account hack. A skinny 23-year-old named Jonathan Westhues plans to use a cheap, homemade USB device to swipe the office key out of Van Bokkelen's back pocket.
"I just need to bump into James and get my hand within a few inches of him," Westhues says. We're shivering in the early spring air outside the offices of Sandstorm, the Internet security company Van Bokkelen runs north of Boston. As Van Bokkelen approaches from the parking lot, Westhues brushes past him. A coil of copper wire flashes briefly in Westhues' palm, then disappears.
Van Bokkelen enters the building, and Westhues returns to me. "Let's see if I've got his keys," he says, meaning the signal from Van Bokkelen's smartcard badge. The card contains an RFID sensor chip, which emits a short burst of radio waves when activated by the reader next to Sandstorm's door. If the signal translates into an authorized ID number, the door unlocks.
The coil in Westhues' hand is the antenna for the wallet-sized device he calls a cloner, which is currently shoved up his sleeve. The cloner can elicit, record, and mimic signals from smartcard RFID chips. Westhues takes out the device and, using a USB cable, connects it to his laptop and downloads the data from Van Bokkelen's card for processing. Then, satisfied that he has retrieved the code, Westhues switches the cloner from Record mode to Emit. We head to the locked door."

"In 1997, ExxonMobil equipped thousands of service stations with SpeedPass, which lets customers wave a small RFID device attached to a key chain in front of a pump to pay for gas. Seven years later, three graduate students - Steve Bono, Matthew Green, and Adam Stubblefield - ripped off a station in Baltimore. Using a laptop and a simple RFID broadcasting device, they tricked the system into letting them fill up for free.

The theft was concocted by Avi Rubin's computer science lab at Johns Hopkins University. Rubin's lab is best known for having found massive, hackable flaws in the code running on Diebold's widely adopted electronic voting machines in 2004. Working with RSA Labs manager Juels, the group figured out how to crack the RFID chip in ExxonMobil's SpeedPass."


The Stephen Colbert video

Everyone else has linked to Stephen Colbert's takedown of Bushco and their lapdog "News" Media at the correspondent's dinner. Here's my link at Google video. Colbert's bit comes in about halfway through. I just zipped through the crap and went right to Colbert. Enjoy if you haven't seen it.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Your postage paying for dubya's Iraq adventure

From the Madsen Report:
"George W. Bush's War Stamp Tax. According to US Postal Service insiders, the Bush administration, which has prided itself on tax cuts, has imposed a stealth war tax on the American people. In January, the Postal Rate Commission approved a raise in first class postage two cents to 39 cents. The commission has now indicated it wants to raise the price of a first class stamp by three cents to 42 cents next year. The reason for the Bush stamp tax is that when the Bush administration took power in 2001, the Postal Service Fund, a special account established within the Treasury Department, had a substantial surplus. However, in order to pay for its Iraq war adventure, the Bush administration raided the Postal Service Fund and created a deficit. The two successive rate increases have been necessary in order to replenish the fund, according to Postal Service sources. In addition to the Postal Service Fund, the misappropriation of money for the war has also adversely affected the Postal Employees' Compensation Fund, the solvency for which is guaranteed by the Postal Service Fund..."

King George's Stamp Tax

"The Postal Rate Commission is a gaggle of GOP hacks. The two-term chairman is Mississippian George Omas, a former House of Representatives employee and a member of the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill. The Vice Chairman is Dawn Tisdale, a former postmaster of Smithville, Texas. Another commissioner is Tony Hammond, the 1998 director of campaign operations for the Republican National Committee and an assistant to then RNC chair Haley Barbour. Danny Covington, a one-time GOP House candidate whose term expired in October 2005, and Omas areboth Ole Miss graduates and represent a GOP clique beholden to Barbour and Senator Trent Lott."
Thanks to DPF

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Keeping a Democratic Web

From the New York Times:
"One of the Internet’s great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft’s home page. But this democratic Internet would be in danger if the companies that deliver Internet service changed the rules so that Web sites that pay them money would be easily accessible, while little-guy sites would be harder to access, and slower to navigate. Providers could also block access to sites they do not like."
Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet's First Amendment -- a principle called Network Neutrality that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you -- based on what site pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer.
Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn't speak up now, Congress will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by telephone and cable companies that want to decide what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.
This isn’t just speculation -- we've already seen what happens elsewhere when the Internet's gatekeepers get too much control. Last year, Telus -- Canada's version of AT&T -- blocked their Internet customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to workers with whom the company was having a labor dispute. And Madison River, a North Carolina ISP, blocked its customers from using any competing Internet phone service.
-Save the Internet Coalition

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"The Saddest Thing I Own"

Found this while cruising Boingboing.
"The Saddest Thing I Own"

"There are some things that we own that are just so sad. You know what we mean. Sad. It seems likely that these sad things illuminate our vulnerable places, one way or another.
The Saddest Thing I Own invites people everywhere to share the saddest thing they own. What are these sad things? What makes things sad? Do things start off sad? Do some sad things begin as happy things that then become sad? Are some things only sad because for some sad reason we kept them? Are some things just plain sad no matter what? This is what we want to know. "

"Griffy" from "No More Cruising For Griffin"

The Saddest Thing I own:

Monday, May 01, 2006

Religions Smaligions-Let's kill somebody

Same as always in Gaza.
From IndyMedia:
Israel Kills 16 Palestinians Over Weekend; Cuts All Ties with Palestinian Authority
After a week of shelling Gaza day and night, the Israeli army stepped up strikes over the weekend, killing sixteen Palestinians, including an eight-year old child and his father, and a ten-year old girl in her home.

The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a statement of extreme concern over the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the most crowded place on earth.

Newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that Israel will go ahead and take over 20% of the Palestinian West Bank and surround the rest with a Wall, and will reject Hamas' offer for a truce.

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