Saturday, October 30, 2004

This was one of my favorite Daily Kos diaries

You People Make Me Sick, aimed at the whiners among the liberal/progressive community, and reminds us what the issues really are and just what a miserable failure Bu$hCo is. It's a rant, so be forewarned.

Weapons of Mass Incompetence

So, this is what Bu$hCo has to show for the first and (hope to God last) term:

RDX? Missing? We sure didn't plan for it, offers up a couple stories on the missing explosives scandal. What do we learn?

In a new disclosure, the senior U.S. military officer and another U.S. official, who also spoke on condition he not be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter, said that an Iraqi working for U.S. intelligence alerted U.S. troops stationed near the al Qaqaa weapons facility that the installation was being looted shortly after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003.

But, they said, the troops took no apparent action to halt the pillaging.

"That was one of numerous times when Iraqis warned us that ammo dumps and other places were being looted and we weren't able to respond because we didn't have anyone to send," said a senior U.S. military officer who served in Iraq.

You read that right. And who's responsible for the planning prior to invading? It sure wasn't the troops on the ground - contrary to Bu$hCo apologists such as Rudy Giuliani. What else do we learn? Bu$hCo was too busy being charmed by Chalabi (the now discredited neo-con darling) and planning victory parades to actually be bothered with securing ammo dumps.

By now we're also well aware that old Osama bin Forgotten is apparently alive and well, and is making videotaped announcements. That's right: the man behind the organization believed responsible for the 9-11 attacks is still around tweaking Bu$hCo's noses; the same guy that Junior's military leaders failed to capture when they had a chance in Tora Bora; the man who is the target of Junior's most glaring flip-flop.

"I want justice. There's an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive.""

George W. Bush - September 17, 2001

"And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."

George W. Bush - March 13, 2002

Feel safer now knowing that we have a bumbling idiot in the White House?

Friday, October 29, 2004

Friday Pre-Election Day Meditation

Never being afraid isn't what fearlessness is about. What fearlessness is really about is knowing that you are afraid...and acting anyway. When you cultivate fearlessness, you are making true bravery a part of your life. You are claiming your warrior-spirit. We call people brave when there is a dangerous situation that they are fully aware of and they still take the risk. "Aware" is the key word. Even if we accomplish great things and are considered successful by others, we can't be considered brave if we're not aware of what we are doing.

-- Angel Kyodo Williams

Suppressing the vote

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Stupid GOP Candidate Tricks: Oklahoma Senate Edition

Coburn: Blacks have "Genetic Predisposition" to Die Young

COBURN: If you die... If you're an African American male in this country, you die before the average... your average life expectancy is less than the retirement age of social security. How, what kind of plan is that that we're gonna take from those because they had a genetic predisposition to have less of a life expectancy. You're gonna steal from them and give it to somebody else. The fact is that we can solve the problem. We can't solve it if we won't talk about it. And we can do with what Albert Einstein said was the most powerful force on earth, which is compound interest. Get it out of the hands of the politicians.

This is the same clown who's obsessed with supposed rampant lesbianism in Oklahoma public schools, has advocated the execution of doctors who perform abortions, and may have performed an involuntary sterilization procedure on a female patient. Where does the GOP find these people?

Support ...erm...Blame the Troops!

Conservatives launch baseless verbal attacks on U.S. troops

So, let me get this straight: questioning the Bush's wisdom in invading and occupying Iraq, questioning Bush and cronies' decision-making is unpatriotic and demoralizing our troops. However, blaming troops for following orders made by said decision makers is patriotic and not demoralizing to our troops. Huh. What are they smoking in Bu$hCo's hermetically sealed bubble?

Tolerant Republicans Speak Out

West Boynton man allegedly threatens to kill girlfriend for backing Kerry

WEST BOYNTON -- When an 18-year-old couldn't convince his girlfriend that George W. Bush was the right choice for president, he became enraged, put a screwdriver to her throat and threatened to kill her, sheriff's officials said.

"You won't live to see the next election," Steven Soper told Stacey Silveira on Tuesday night as the two fought inside his gray, two-story home west of Boynton Beach, according to a police report.


On Tuesday, Soper stormed off after Silveira's brother mentioned the family, including Silveira, supported Kerry, family members said.

Soper called and ended the relationship, so Silveira drove to his house in the 7500 block of Oakboro Drive to return his belongings. That's where things turned violent.

He dragged Silveira into the house kicking and screaming, a police report said. Neighbor Lisa Belout was watching television, heard the commotion and called 911.

Inside, Soper threw Silveira to the floor, spit in her face and bit her cheek, she said, pointing to the brown bruise on the left side of her face.

"He went and got a knife and put the knife in my hand and said, `Kill me because if you vote for Kerry I'm going to die anyway,'" she said while standing outside her home, which has a Kerry/Edwards campaign sign in the yard.

Deputies found an enraged Soper with a screwdriver to Silveira's throat, a police report said. He was ordered to put the tool down but refused, so they used Taser stun guns to subdue him, officials said.

"He shoved a Marine [video] tape in my face and said that's what I was going to be ruining for him if I went for Kerry," Silveira said Wednesday, having just returned from filing a restraining order against him.

Presidential Politics Gets Ugly in Fla.

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - An anti-John Kerry demonstrator was charged with felony aggravated assault with a gun for allegedly pointing a weapon at the head of a Kerry supporter.

Michael Garone, 52, was released from jail Tuesday on his on recognizance.

Garone and others were holding anti-Kerry signs at a street corner Monday in Vero Beach when Trevor Pickering drove up and said ``Go Kerry,'' according to an arrest affidavit.

Pickering argued with the anti-Kerry protesters, and then got out of the car and knocked a sign out of the hands of one of the demonstrators.

``That's when (Garone) walked up to my car and stuck a gun to my head,'' Pickering said. ``I said 'I'm sorry' and 'Please don't kill me,' drove away and called the cops.''

Vandals Hit Local Democratic Campaign Office

Vandals hit a Fair Oaks Democratic Party campaign office late Tuesday or early Wednesday, spraying racist and political graffiti on the exterior.

Campaign workers came to work Wednesday morning to discover their Sunrise Boulevard office defaced with spraypainted swastikas, the word "Bush," and a variety of other slogans. There was also a small caliber bullet hole in the office door window.

The campaign office is located in a strip mall, next to an oil change business that may have also been hit by the vandals.

Campaign workers say the vandalism follows several dozen harassing telephone calls in the past month. "What it's designed to do is to intimidate people," said campaign volunteer coordinator Arnie Godmintz. "But based on what we're getting from folks, they're not the least bit intimidated."

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is investigating.

Don't you just feel the love?



5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video may be linked to missing explosives in Iraq

A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS crew in Iraq shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein was in the area where tons of explosives disappeared, and may have videotaped some of those weapons.

The page also provides a link to a video.

Mosh the Vote

Mosh the Vote

I'm a 38 year old professor who already wears a black hoodie daily, so hey, showing up at the polling place like that will be no prob.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Some Late Week Science

Scientists find remains of extinct tiny human

It is the discovery of the chimpanzee-sized humans that is causing excitement among scientists. Australian researchers report in the journal Nature that they found the bones of an adult female who stood just one meter tall with a head the size of a grapefruit. Since submitting the paper for publication, they found the remains of five or six more of these wee (small) people, who lived as recently as 12,000 years ago, just before the dawn of civilization.

"In evolutionary terms, 12,000 years is just yesterday," said Peter Brown, a University of New England researcher who admits to being flabbergasted when he realized these tiny archaic people had a brain one-fourth the size of modern humans.

"My colleagues reported that when I measured the size of the brain of this skeleton and they were observing, I went pale and my jaw dropped to my knees because people with this brain size were supposed to have become extinct more than three million years ago, but here we had a small-bodied human relative with a very small brain surviving until the relatively recent past, like we have only just missed them," he said.

The "Curse" is so 20th Century

Way to go BoSox!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

(Didn't Know I Was) UnAmerican

View the video here.

Another one worth passing on to someone you know.


View the new Eminem video here.

Pass on this link to someone you know.

What's in my cd & mp3 players?

Alice Coltrane - Translinear Light (2004, Impulse!)

Sam Rivers - Hues (1971, Impulse!)

Arthur Doyle - A Prayer for Peace (2000, Zugswang)

Jurassic 5 - Jurassic 5 EP (1999, Interscope)

James Blood Ulmer - Tales of Captain Black (1978, DIW)

James Blood Ulmer - Are You Glad to Be in America? (1980, Rough Trade)

About the new Alice Coltrane cd, I'll say this: it's great. Alice's piano, organ, and synthesizer work is showcased in a number of different contexts, from her standard keyboard trio, to duos with her son Oran Coltrane (who plays synthesizer on one piece) and Charlie Haden (the legendary bassist of Ornette Coleman and Old & New Dreams fame), as well as some quartet pieces featuring her son Ravi on sax. About a third of the album is devoted to traditional Hindu and African American spirituals. She also tackles a couple of her late husband's tunes (Crescent and Leo), and performs a few of her originals (including a blast from 1970's Ptah the El Daoud, Blue Nile). It's a gentler recording than the workouts she cut back in the 1970s, but the spiritual intensity that characterizes all of her back catalog shines through. My only complaint, and it's relatively minor: she's a wonderful harpist, and I was a bit disappointed that she didn't play that wonderful instrument this time around. Definitely recommended for fans, and if you've never experienced her work before, it's a pretty decent introduction to what she's about - though I'd very strongly recommend subsequently checking out her classic 1970s Impulse! outings, such as Ptah the El Daoud and Journey in Satchidananda (In fact it was those two albums that turned me into a fan several years ago). Beautiful music from a genuinely beautiful soul. It is so good that the jazz world has not lost her voice.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Wolfpacks for Truth

They told us we were shooting a Greenpeace commercial!


Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq

The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, produce missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations. The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no-man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Saturday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished after the American invasion last year. ... American weapons experts say their immediate concern is that the explosives could be used in major bombing attacks against American or Iraqi forces: the explosives, mainly HMX and RDX, could be used to produce bombs strong enough to shatter airplanes or tear apart buildings. ... The explosives could also be used to trigger a nuclear weapon, which was why international nuclear inspectors had kept a watch on the material. ... The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly warned about the danger of these explosives before the war, and after the invasion it specifically told United States officials about the need to keep the explosives secured ...

The folks who brought us the Iraq war really fucked up. That's about the nicest way of putting it. Josh Marshall puts it a bit more succinctly than I could:

It has become increasingly clear of late in just what a ramshackle and disorganized fashion the occupation was run, with too few troops, too little planning, and often misplaced priorities.

Now we are starting to see the human consequences of that incompetence. I don't think we can know yet how many of our own troops have been killed with explosives that were looted because the administration didn't field enough troops to secure key installations like the al Qa Qaa facility. But the number may be high. And I'm sure we'll get more details on that count in reporting over the next few days.

In any case, it puts the consequences of the administration's incompetent management of the war and occupation in a whole new light.

There's more to the story, and both the lengthy NYT article and the post by Marshall are well worth checking out.

To sum up, Bu$hCo got us into a war that really shouldn't have been started in the first place, grossly fucks up practically every aspect of the invasion and occupation, has placed a bunch of our men and women in uniform in great danger unnecessarily (and let us not forget the civilians who've been caught in the middle), and have energized political and religious extremists in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. And these bozos want four more years!? God help us all if Bu$hCo remains in the White House.

The Stakes Is High

John Kerry for President puts in stark terms what this year's election is really about: legitimizing Bush's presidency and policies.

Interesting Set of Posts

The blog Science and Politics has some rather interesting posts on the theme of cognition and political behavior:

Moral Politics in the Context of History of Marriage

Lakoff In Space And Time

Empire, Empiricism, Empowerment: Contributions to Political Cryptozoology

One of the things the writer hits on is the effects of experience in shaping how we perceive our world, including our political beliefs. One thing that definitely seems to distinguish the authoritarian and non-authoritarian individuals is the extent to which they are exposed to different experiences, world views, etc., as they go through their lives. Generally, authoritarians tend to insulate themselves from those who may be different, whereas non-authoritarians are exposed to a great deal of variety of ideas, belief systems, lifestyles, etc. These varying sets of experiences likely have a profound effect on how folks whom the author calls "conservative" (I prefer the term authoritarian, but I won't quibble) frame their perceptions compared to those whom the author calls "liberal" (I prefer the term non-authoritarian).

The author uses a couple metaphors that I think aptly help us to understand the difference: the village metaphor seems to explain the conservative or authoritarian mindset. The village is isolated. Members of the village are familiar. Everyone in the village shares the same basic set of experiences and beliefs. That which is outside the village, which is unfamiliar and foreign is deemed threatening. It is up to the village elders or leaders to protect the village. The university metaphor seems to explain the liberal or nonauthoritarian mindset. The university is a center, typically part of a larger community. It is an open community. Many members of the university may be entirely unfamiliar. Different members of the university community come with different sets of experiences, and even within the university not every one shares the same sets of experiences. That which is unfamiliar is to be studied, understood. The university community's elders are guides in the process of learning. The metaphors we live be truly shape the way we see our world. "Freedom" from an authoritarian mindset (using the village metaphor) means freedom to be "like us." "Freedom" from a non-authoritarian mindset (using the university metaphor) means freedom to "do your own thing".

Just my thinking aloud.