Saturday, October 9, 2004

Today's compare and contrast

George Bush - The Ten Year Difference - On Video, via Chicago Bruce at DailyKos. It's an eye-opening comparison to say the least.

End of Soccer Season

It's been quite a day today. My son's last two games of the season were played. Like last week, our kids lost one and tied one. Not too bad, and they finished the season 11th out of 13 teams, which is an improvement from the spring where they finished dead last. Given that the team started out coachless this fall, and didn't have someone regular to coach until mid-season, I'd say they did okay. I'm also pleased that this guy will be back to coach next season as well. I'll give him props - he's damn good when it comes to working with kids. My son improved dramatically - he's still a bit afraid of the ball, but he now at least willingly faces his fear and gets into the game. He's like me, not very athletic, but he keeps trying.


The one downer this weekend was during the morning game, where some kid on the other team called one of our kids (who happens to be African-American) a "fucking nigger." Apparently this happened during the last few minutes of play. Trash talk is part of the game, and I as a parent understand that and the kids understand that. Most of it, I'd simply suggest one simple rule: "forget about it." Racial slurs on the other hand, are another matter. That shit poisons the game, just as it poisons every other facet of life. Our coach talked to the refs during the game, and the boy's mom, I, and another parent talked to one of the refs after the game to voice our concerns and anger. I got the distinct impression that the refs just didn't "get it." They seemed to want to write it off as nothing more than trash talk in the heat of a very tough game. We'd try to impress upon these cats that there's a distinction between ordinary trash talk and racism, but I guess they just didn't want to know. About the best we could get was a few smiles and nods while we said what we were going to say. But they'd better start figuring it out. Our community is much more diverse than ever, and the norms of the community are necessarily going to have to adjust: there are just some things where you just "don't want to go there."

Friday, October 8, 2004

A quick observation about tonight's debate before I head off to do my show

Got to watch most of it. Bush pretty much came across as an arrogant, ignorant whiner. Kerry stood his ground, and did a decent job of giving simple, firm answers to questions - looked very presidential. I don't know how the pundits will score it, but I'm not even sure this is a contest any more. Kerry wins, by a huge margin. If this translates into votes in November, the American people win.

Of Note:

Michael Miller asks No one knew?, and asks further, "which part of the following quote is wrong?"
"Our nation is now poised to go to all-out war against Iraq. Iraq has not committed any act of aggression against the United States. Iraq was not responsible for 911. No credible evidence exists linking Iraq to Al Queda's role in 911. Iraq was not responsible for the anthrax attack on our nation. The United Nations has yet to establish that Iraq has usable weapons of mass destruction. There is no intelligence that Iraq has the ability to strike at the United States. According to the CIA, Iraq has no intention to attack America, but will defend itself if attacked. Why then, is our nation prepared to send three hundred thousand of our young men and women into house to house combat in the streets of Baghdad and Basra? Why is our nation prepared to spend $200 billion or more of our hard-earned tax dollars for the destruction of Iraq? Why is our nation preparing to use the most powerful military machine in history to wage an assault against the people of Iraq, to destroy their houses and buildings, to wipe out their water and electric systems and to block their access to food and medical supplies? There is no answer which can separate itself from oil economics, profit requirements of arms trade, or distorted notions of empire-building." - Dennis Kucinich, January 5, 2003

Yet another friendly reminder that there were plenty of dissidents who could and did see through Bu$hCo's lies.

Paul Krugman nails it once again: Ignorance Isn't Strength. "Orwellian" is truly an apt description for Bu$hCo.
President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have an unparalleled ability to insulate themselves from inconvenient facts. They lead a party that controls all three branches of government, and face news media that in some cases are partisan supporters, and in other cases are reluctant to state plainly that officials aren't telling the truth. They also still enjoy the residue of the faith placed in them after 9/11.

This has allowed them to engage in what Orwell called "reality control." In the world according to the Bush administration, our leaders are infallible, and their policies always succeed. If the facts don't fit that assumption, they just deny the facts.

As a political strategy, reality control has worked very well. But as a strategy for governing, it has led to predictable disaster. When leaders live in an invented reality, they do a bad job of dealing with real reality.

In other words, Maier's Law is the golden rule in the White House. The outcome?
The point is that in the real world, as opposed to the political world, ignorance isn't strength. A leader who has the political power to pretend that he's infallible, and uses that power to avoid ever admitting mistakes, eventually makes mistakes so large that they can't be covered up. And that's what's happening to Mr. Bush.

xymphora reports on what happens when you give truth serum to the inmates in the asylum. Now if only some of that serum could have been administered to them before the war.

I never would have considered the comic strip "Adam@Home" to be particularly political (in fact, that's one I read when I'm in more of an escapist mood), but even its author seems uneasy with the mess Bu$hCo made. An example here.

Juan Cole has his own ideas of why Saddam was willing to play on Iraq's WMD ambiguities: as a deterrent to Iran - a country with which Iraq had been at war just a couple decades ago.

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Around Blogtopia

Josh Marshall asks, Why Hasn't Bush Taken His Usual Annual Physical This Year?



Over at DailyKos: rumors of a DeLay indictment, and an excellent sentiment found on a clothing label



Atrios has the grade George W. Bush would get on his global test. Can you say, "F"?



Rahul Mahajan of Empire Notes reminds us that today is the Third Anniversary of the US-launched War in Afghanistan. Sadly, the situation there has hardly been a "success story".



Juan Cole has the skinny on conditions in Iraq.



The Left Coaster links to video footage of Representative Tim Ryan explaining why young people are still afraid of a draft. It's a deliciously scathing rant on the whole pack of lies that the White House has been marketing.



Left I on the News tells us that the economy is just 'perking along', with links to stories on the latest mass layoffs at AT&T and Bank of America. The future's so bright I gotta wear shades!



David Neiwert has the third installment in his series on Pseudo-Fascism: Part 3: The Pseudo-Fascist Campaign. Essential reading.



Paperwight's Fair Shot has this gem: Timelines, Fear-Mongering, and Bush. Props to Seeing the Forest.



Fellow Okie blogger thereitis.org has this:

B'Tselem: 50,000 Palestinians Under 'Complete Siege'; U.S. Refuses to Condemn
.



Blogtopia is vast. There's something new to learn every day, and some cool folks to hook up with. Mahalo.

From the "No Shit, Sherlock!" Department:

A truthout twofer: The Verdict Is In and U.S. Report Finds Iraqis Eliminated Illicit Arms in 90's



It's nice that the official reports are stating what many of us argued over a year and a half ago, and even nicer still that at least one of the mainstream newspaper's editorial board is willing to finally acknowledge those facts (albeit the very same paper that was printing all of Judith Miller's b.s.). It's at best cold comfort, and at worst puts into stark relief the tragedy of the 1200+ US-led coalition troops killed, the thousands wounded, and the thousands of Iraqis who have been killed and maimed, and who continue to be killed and maimed as of this writing. So preventable. Whether or not this particular war is the stupidest one that has ever been launched by the US I'll leave to the historians. This much is safe to say though: there was absolutely no need to invade Iraq. Period. The costs (however we want to define them) have far outweighed any supposed "benefits" (whether for the US or for the Iraqis). Those responsible run the White House. Let's make certain they're held accountable.

We must be in the final stretch of the election season

I guess someone finally got offended by this picture outside my office:



Image Hosted by ImageShack.us




Noticed it had been pulled down with a terse message written stating "keep it." Of course it's been up for a few months now. Needless to say, I merely reprinted a new one and put it back up. At least among the true believers one can now visibly see the anxiety rising. Their leader tanked the debate, and his veep didn't fare that well on his debate (looking tired and pulling "facts" out of your ass isn't exactly what I call success), and Dear Leader looks like he'll get bloodied at the next couple debates. I'd like to say that I can feel their pain, but honestly I've never put so much personal stock into one political figure to be particularly upset at their failures. That was the mistake made by Bu$hCo's true believers: unbridled hero worship. They got punked, in a way perhaps worse than the rest of us.

It's morning in America ("What's so good about it?" Edition)

Too bad that America is badly hung over. To give you some idea, this capsule summary of the economy:



see our economic rebound is still on a steady track.



Business News from Reuters Oct 7 10:40am CT



* Oil Hits $53 High on Supply Worries

* Storms Soak Retailers’ September Sales

* Bank of America to Cut 4,500 More Jobs

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Fact checking your fact checks

Cheney suggested in last night's debate that viewers go to Factcheck.com. For perhaps the only time in my life I heartily agree with Cheney (though not for the reasons he intended).



Assuming he meant Factcheck.org, it's also not likely to be too terribly kind to Cheney and his puppet.

Too Funny

Via Busy, Busy, Busy: Does Condoleezza really know what time it is? Does Condoleezza really care?



The classic exchange:



RICE: ... We have broken up 75 percent of the al Qaeda known leadership. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia fully...

BLITZER: Well, when you say 75 percent, of how many leaders are we talking -- 75 percent of a quantity of what? 30, 25?



RICE: Of its known leadership.



BLITZER: But how many...



RICE: I would suspect that that's in the tens to hundreds -- tens to 100.




Methinks the "known leadership" is more of an unknown. Gotta love it. Want four more years of that?

MAB Calls for Action to End Killings

Via Palestine Lives:



[The following is the text of a statement issued by

the Muslim Association of Britain]





In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful



MAB Calls for Action to End Killings



The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) is horrified

and sickened by the air of official silence toward

Israel’s ongoing massacre of Palestinian civilians in

the Jebaliya refugee camp in the Occupied Gaza Strip.

The lack of concern by the British Government and its

partners in the EU has encouraged the Sharon regime to

prosecute its open-ended war against the unarmed

Palestinian people with weapons and methods of warfare

forbidden by international law.



Jebaliya refugee camp is the largest in the Gaza

Strip. It provides refuge for 90,000 refugees within

an area of three sq. kilometres. The Israeli army has

killed more than 60 Palestinians in the last five

days. If the current rate of killings were applied to

Britain it would mean 35 people are killed daily.



‘Israel’s indiscriminate and reckless bombing of

non-military targets in the Occupied Territories has

yet again unmasked the criminal nature and motive of

the Occupation. It is the natural consequence of years

of complicity and appeasement. Had the international

community brought Ariel Sharon before an international

war tribunal in 1982 for the massacres of Sabra and

Shatila he would not be around to repeat his crimes

today.’ Ahmad al Sheikh, President of MAB said.



The MAB affirms that Israel’s illegal occupation of

Palestinian land is the root cause of the instability

and turmoil in Palestine and the entire Middle East.

Its excessive and disproportionate attacks against

population centers constitute ‘collective punishment’

and grave breaches of the laws of war.

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

The Name "Junior Caligula" Fits Bush Like A Glove

Via mousemusings:



"If sex radical Antonin Scalia's predilection for orgies is an accurate taste of things to come, let us explore other parallels between Caligula's colorful reign as Roman Emperor and the Bush Campaignistration.



Gaius Caesar Germanicus (August 31, AD 12 - January 24, AD 41), also known as Gaius Caesar, liked to dress up as a soldier and play with his father's troops as their mascot. He was soon given given his nickname "Caligula" (or Caligulae), meaning "Little Boots" in Latin, after the small boots he wore as part of his costume.



Likewise, George Bush enjoys playing dress up and is affectionately known as the "All Hat, No Cattle" President."

Got to see most of the VP debate

What I liked about Edwards during the primaries is what I still like about Edwards: he comes across as firm and positive. I thought, at least from the portions that I saw, he held his own just fine. I liked that Edwards presented a realistic picture of the federal budget deficit mess left by Bu$hCo and what would be involved in reducing the deficit, and I think he did a decent job of presenting his team's ideas on taxes, health care, and frivolous lawsuits. I'm a lefty with a pretty substantial populist streak, and was pleased that Edwards continues to hammer on corporations that outsource jobs. I don't think he added much to what Kerry had already said about foreign policy, but at least made it clear that he and Kerry were on the same page. It wasn't quite the knock-out that Kerry had against Bush last Thursday (from what I had gathered from the post-debate spin), but then again Cheney is a far more intelligent and skilled debater than Bush.



Maybe it's just me, but even when Cheney smiles he looks like he's irritated, and Cheney looked and acted more like one of those cartoonish villain characters out of a James Bond flick. Not good. He kept repeating the same tired talking points (albeit more articulately) that Bush uses. That didn't impress my wife (who's fairly uninterested in most political matters, and who knows pretty much whatever she sees on the local news and CNN). In fact she asked me after taking care of some errands for about a half hour if Cheney was still rattling on about the same things he'd rattle on about when she left. I told her the truth (i.e., yes). Edwards came across as a gracious opponent at the end thanking the moderator and Cheney - Cheney's failure to reciprocate also came across poorly to my wife (as it did to me).



My mind was already made up long ago, and about the best I can say is that Cheney only further reaffirmed my impression that another four years of Bu$hCo would be a disaster. Edwards impressed me as someone who can step up to the plate. There are positions that Kerry & Edwards take that I will likely strongly take issue with, but I'll say that with each appearance they make the more favorably impressed I become. Having sane people in the White House will be a terrific change of pace. Kerry and Edwards both are up to the challenge. That much should be clear from these two debates.

Mike Gets Mail

Dear Mike, Iraq sucks , a sampling of letter Michael Moore has received from those in the front lines in Iraq (from the upcoming book, Will They Ever Trust Us Again?). I'm sure some wingnut somewhere will ask the question, "why do our soldiers hate America?"

Monday, October 4, 2004

The GOP in a nutshell

You might call it their "Conventional wisdom": "Be afraid. Be very afraid. I suppose fear's what you run on when you have nothing else.

Too Funny

Jonathan Mayhew of Bemsha Swing writes:



Writing this bog is "hard work." I mean really hard. Anyone saying otherwise is sending "mixed messages" to the American people and our Polish allies and does not deserve to be commander-in-chief of this blog. I don't understand what this "international test" is. It's hard work.




Thank you muchly for the chuckle!

Say hello to

VoterVirginBlog

Another blog I might want to check out from time to time

tributary. A passage in particular caught my attention:



Burroughs I find engrossing for his commitment to whatever the hell it is, his crazy ass drugged, wrenched, drowning. Rimbaud of a different era...Burroughs contends with language and the world in a way that most of the other Beats don't, really. that's of interest.




I've read some of William S. Burroughs' work and it's wild to say the least. He does have a way with dealing with language and perception that's fun to get one's head around, though anyone diving into Burroughs' world really needs to have an open mind.



Here's an idea of what I'm talking about, from Burroughs' classic Naked Lunch (pp. 119-121):



..."Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down you dig farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard.



"This ass talk had a sort of gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you have to do is turn loose? Well this talking hit you right down there, a bubbly, thick stagnant sound, a sound you could smell.



"This man worked for a carnival you dig, and to start with it was like a novelty ventriloquist act. Real funny, too, at first. He had a number he called 'The Better 'Ole' that was a scream, I tell you. I forgot most of it but it was clever. Like, 'Oh I say, are you still down there, old thing?'



"'Nah! I had to go relieve myself.'



"After a while the ass started talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared and his ass would ad-lib and toss the gags back at him every time.



"Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy incurving hooks and started eating. He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it, but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street, shouting out how it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags nobody loved it and it wanted to be kissed the same as any other mouth. Finally it talked all the time day and night, you could hear him for blocks screaming at it to shut up, beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it, but nothing did any good and the asshole said to him: 'It's you who will shut up in the end. Not me. Because we don't need you around here any more. I can talk and eat and shit.'



"After that he began waking up in the morning with a transparent jelly like a tadpole's tail all over his mouth. This jelly was what the scientists call un-D.T., Undifferentiated Tissue, which can grow into any kind of flesh on the human body. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands like burning gasoline jelly and grow there, grow anywhere on him a glob of it fell. So finally his mouth sealed over, and the whole head would have amputated spontaneous - (did you know there is a condition occurs in parts of Africa and only among Negroes where the little toe amputates spontaneously?) - except for the eyes you dig. That's one thing the asshole couldn't do was see. It needed the eyes. But the nerve connections were blocked and infiltrated and atrophied so the brain couldn't give orders any more. It was trapped in the skull, sealed off. For a while you could see the silent, helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes, then finally the brain must have died, because the eyes went out, and there was not more feeling in them than a crab's eye on the end of a stalk."




There are so many possible layers of meaning to that passage. The whole world he creates before the reader's eyes is simultaneously psychotic, disturbing, obscene, and darkly humorous.

This is kind of interesting

U.S. Can Eliminate Oil Use in a Few Decades: RMI's "Winning the Oil Endgame" shows businesses how to mobilize and profit. More food for thought as we near the point where we will need to transition to a non-petroleum based economy.

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Around Blogtopia

Via American Leftist, Simona e Simona, on the two recently released Italian hostages who have continued to maintain their stand against the US-led occupation of Iraq.


As'ad of The Angry Arab News Service reminds us that civilians bear brunt as Samarra is 'pacified', and even provides us with a picture of a family caught in the middle of the US onslaught.

At Daily Kos, some intrigue: BC04/RNC/NRCC internet firm caught red-handed hacking?. This could be juicy.

Atrios reminds readers to register to vote. Deadlines are coming up really quickly. In Oklahoma, the last day to register is this Friday, October 8th. Tomorrow is the deadline for registration in Texas and Colorado, and Tuesday is the deadline in New Mexico. If you live in Kansas, you have until the 18th of October. I'm focusing here on states where most of my students come from. Michael Moore has a handy list of states and registration deadlines. Seriously, if you haven't registered to vote, please take a few moments out of your life to do so and then make sure that you actually vote on election day. It's a very painless process. I do so regularly, and bring my kids along in the hopes that they get into the habit of voting once they reach 18.

Voting is especially important this year for my younger readers: why? Because the prospect of a draft rears its ugly head, especially if Bu$hCo ends up occupying the White House for another term. As a parent, I'll be damned if the draft returns in time to consume the lives of my children. Steve Gilliard weighs in with Greetings from the President.

Looking for a good book? Dr. Menlo of the always cool American Samizdat has posted a link to Recommended Readings from Literature to Revolution.

Nick Lewis of NETPOLITIK waxes existential with his post Three Seconds to Midnight. An interesting thought piece.

Eli at Left I on the News contra Donnie Rumsfeld: The "worst of the worst"...were neither. So many people's human rights violated at the behest of one of the most corrupt White House administrations this nation (and world) has ever known. Or as Rorshach of No Capital puts it, Guantanamo Bay was a useless hell. Steve Gilliard also weighs in with the post Holiday in Guantanamo.

At No Capital, we have a post on the apparent disenfranchisement of American citizens living overseas: Suppressing the Vote.

Political Physics says If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention. It's a post that's a few weeks old, but quite relevant to the war against the Iraqi civilians that the US seems bent on waging. For more, go here. Props to Tom Tomorrow.

David Neiwert weighs in on the recent "Hailygate" controversy instigated by Wizbang with his post, Consequences.

Steve Gilliard has a couple posts on the fall-out of last Thursday's debate: Bush scared people shitless (which includes an absolutely priceless image of Dubya); and Living in dreamland: The GOP spins the debate.

It's so good to see Elton Beard of Busy, Busy, Busy back posting on a regular basis.

Spadehammer of the blog Hammerdown notes that Bu$hCo must have some new line of cologne on the market EAU DE HYPOCRISIE. Did I just say cologne? I stand corrected: I should have said "toilet water" - before the toilet was flushed. Note to Bu$hCo, if you're going to have a spokesmodel, Condi Rice is no Tyra Banks.

Avedon Carol of The Sideshow points to injustice done: Judicial murder.

That doesn't even begin to cover all the chatter on Fox News' getting snookered again, and outright making stuff up. I always thought that "Fox News" was an oxymoron, with the emphasis on "moron."

I'm sure as always that there is something that I am missing. Blogtopia is vast. Tune in, turn on, but whatever you do, don't drop out. Mahalo.

Some Haiku

That I stumbled upon:



Chiyo-ni (a female Haiku master born 1703)



first snow--

if I write

it disappears, it disappears



~~~~~~~~~~



butterfly--

what's it dreaming

fanning its wings?



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

women's desire

deeply rooted--

the wild violets




When it comes to early Haiku, I'm much more familiar with the works of Basho, Buson, and Issa. I'll have to explore some more of her writing.

Some thoughts on being a soccer dad

This past spring my wife and I finally agreed to let our son play soccer. The boy seemed very enthusiastic until he found out two things: 1) it required a lot of effort both at practice and during a game, and 2) he could get hurt. So after the spring season ended, I pretty much expected that we were done with soccer. Well, much to our surprise, he informed us that he wanted to play this fall. So for the last few weeks, we've been carting the boy to practices and games (and I've got the sunburns to prove it), and the kid's been really into it. He's not particularly fast or strong, but he now gets himself involved whenever he's on the field. We had a coaching change between the spring and fall that I think have helped considerably. I don't know if this group of kids will win any games, but they've managed to tie a few and to keep the other games close.


I do have one gripe. Yesterday during the morning game my son's team ended up with a tie that probably should have been a victory. I'm pretty used to questionable calls by refs. The typical soccer game requires these guys and gals to synthesize a great deal of information regarding the situation on the field and the rules of the game under enormous time constraints. Their job is not easy. Some refs seem to interpret the game a bit differently than others, and that's okay too, as they generally tend to be consistent in their calls against both teams. No big deal. All the prefacing aside, let's cut to the chase: one of the refs Saturday morning seemed to calling off-sides, hands, etc. on our kids while ignoring similar offenses by the other team's kids. Our kids' coach, who usually doesn't make much of a big deal about the refs' judgment began to actively question each of this guy's calls after a while, and then to try to ascertain why those same calls weren't being made when the other team committed similar offenses - no straight answer was given. There's not much that can be done, I suppose. The ref in question is a relative of the couple who've been running the soccer program and seems politically well-connected enough to be pretty much untouchable. I usually don't get irritated at kids' sporting events, but damn, after half time I found myself finally in exasperation shouting "just play as hard as you can kids, we don't have a ref." I'm pretty sure the dude heard me - that was the intention in any case. Several of us later got together and figured that if the ref had applied his calls consistently to both teams, our kids probably would have won the game 5-2 or 5-3 instead of settling for a 2-2 tie. Damn, trying to win that game seemed analogous to trying to win an election in Florida. If nothing else, it sure felt rigged.


Oh well, the next game went reasonably well. Our kids lost 1-0 to the top team in that league, and like the rest of the games this season, the calls were generally consistent. So it goes.