Saturday, August 19, 2006

Omygod! It's Shakes on a Plane!

This deserves to be repeated as often as is necessary:
You CANNOT Make a Liquid Bomb Onboard a Plane

...it turns out even the science of mixing harmless-looking liquids together to make a bomb is fallacious as well:

While it's true that a slapdash concoction will explode, it's unlikely to do more than blow out a few windows. At best, an infidel or two might be killed by the blast, and one or two others by flying debris as the cabin suddenly depressurizes, but that's about all you're likely to manage under the most favorable conditions possible.

[T]he Hollywood myth of binary liquid explosives now moves governments and drives public policy. We have reacted to a movie plot. Liquids are now banned in aircraft cabins (while crystalline white powders would be banned instead, if anyone in charge were serious about security). Nearly everything must now go into the hold, where adequate amounts of explosives can easily be detonated from the cabin with cell phones, which are generally not banned.

Meanwhile the dauntless heroes of the TSA announced just on Thursday that their intrepid security officers found two containers with "explosive residue" in a carry-on bag in West Virginia.

Unfortunately the "explosive" turned out to be nothing more than ordinary facial cleanser but luckily, the entire airport was evacuated, giving TSA officials a chance to scare all the white folks in Huntington because a Pakistani woman wearing a headscarf was trying to fly.

Across the ocean, our dauntless British ally is now "encouraging" passengers to not even bring empty bottles on board. Who knows what sinister and dastardly deeds can be performed with an empty bottle!

So what do we have? Fear that is totally unnecessary. Must be an election year.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bush in one word

Crap

Petals for Peace - Spread the Word

Originally posted by Man Eegee. The content that follows is a verbatim reproduction of the original post.

Tomorrow is another day of action for Accidental Activists across the country. Dust off your favorite protest gear and join in our campaign to end the Iraq War.
WHAT: “Petals for Peace” Public Action - More info at www.glnawi.org

WHEN: Deliver 9am to 5pm and/or gather between 1:30 to 2:30 pm Friday August, 18th 2006.

WHERE: Outside Rep. Mike Rogers office, 1327 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing,
Michigan FAX (517) 702-8642.

WHO: Called by Greater Lansing Network Against War & Injustice
Petals for Peace - Position Statement

Petals for Peace is a metaphor for a different kind of foreign and domestic policy—one designed to achieve real and lasting security for Americans. Brutality and force toward all opponents and double-standards for America, its interests, and its supporters are not and cannot be the foundations of real peace and security. Each flower in Petals for Peace represents the recognition of “the other” and a willingness to develop and use non-violent methods of conflict resolution. These methods are not complete pacifism; instead they are a rejection of brutality, violence, and force as the appropriate response to opposition, even when violent.

President Bush has said that Americans have only reluctantly gone to war. Sadly, that is completely false for the war in Iraq—a fiasco for our country. Petals for Peace symbolizes a way of thinking and acting towards one’s opponents where the reluctance to go to war is real, not rhetorical.

A Different Kind of Policy
  • “Terror”: The United States needs a new policy to combat indiscriminate violence that targets civilians (what others inappropriately call “the war on terror”). Iraq was never involved in the events of 9-11-2001, and force, inappropriately applied around the world, serves our opponents’ goals, not our own. The goal of our policy should be to isolate and reduce those who supportand use violent means, not to provide them with ready justifications—as we currently do.
  • Iraq: The U.S. military presence in Iraq is an occupation; if continued, it will only extend and deepen the violence. “Staying the course” is the worst option. The U. S. should begin an orderly and thoughtful withdrawal of its forces and seek other means for holding Iraq together as a single state.

    Permanent bases in Iraq would represent a continued occupation, source of regional anger, and justification for attacks on the U.S.

  • Lebanon: U.S. efforts to delay a cease fire so that Israel could pursue its military campaign against Hezbollah and our quick re-supply of Israel with 500 lb. bombs demonstrated to the world that it cares more for its policy of force than the lives of people. This was yet another set-back in the effort to curb indiscriminate violence. Both the U.S. and Israel lost ground in Lebanon in their efforts to achieve real peace and security. Solving Lebanon requires addressing Palestine.

  • Detention and Torture: Our government has detained without trial hundreds of individuals whose engagement with indiscriminate violence is without demonstrated foundation. Many are clearly innocent of any such action, many have been tortured, and most have experienced humiliating and degrading punishment.

    Treating detainees without basic human respect is one major cause and justification of violent extremism. It must stop. All acts of torture must be prosecuted.

  • Civil Liberties At Home: This administration has lost its credibility when it claims that restrictions of the civil liberties of American citizens, including programs of domestic surveillance, are justified by legitimate security concerns. The public and/or its elected representatives have a right to see the evidence. Surveillance of anti-war groups is wrong and wasteful.

    It is important that U.S. policy not be one of aggression or preemption. Petals for Peace represents our desire for the U.S. to break its dependence on force to solve conflicts between governments, organized groups, and individuals.

    We ask for peace and social justice. http://www.glnawi.org

Thanks to everyone who has replied to let me know you will be delivering, ordering, or faxing a Petal for Peace to Rep. Mike Rogers in Lansing, Michigan -- and/or to your own US Representative, wherever you are in the United States.

To let us know you will be delivering - if you haven't already - just hit "Reply".

Thanks to all who've sent their information

Peace,
Margaret, checking glnawi2004@yahoo.com email.
Please consider supporting my Brother in Peace, Terry Olson, in this noble endeavor and also feel free to start your own chapter of Petals for Peace by targeting any local war-supporting Congress(wo)men or Senators.
To order flowers for tomorrow (Friday)'s Michigan Protest, call Bancroft Flowers as early as possible at (866) 476-8608. Carnations are the preferred symbol of this particular movement.
To read more information on another form of non-violent protest, entitled De-Consuming for Democracy, check out this link.

Paz, Man Eegee

The latest Spike Lee joint

A documentary about Katrina and its aftermath:
Film director Spike Lee's long-awaited four-hour documentary about Hurricane Katrina was due to receive its world premiere last night, watched by 16,000 people who lived through the tragedy.

The first half of Lee's $2m (£1.05m) documentary, When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Acts, was scheduled to be shown to a sell-out audience in the New Orleans Arena. The venue is next door to the Superdome, the sports complex where more than 15,000 people sought shelter during the hurricane last year.

"What we hope with this piece is that it brings attention back to New Orleans, back to the other gulf states that are still dealing and struggling with the ravages of Hurricane Katrina," the director, 49, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper. "A lot of Americans are saying, 'That was so last year. I'm on to the next thing. C'mon, you're killing us with this Katrina thing.' Well, I'm sorry. People are still struggling, and ... will be dealing with the aftermath for years."

The film's opening sequence begins by interspersing archive footage of parties and parades in New Orleans with pictures of debris and bodies floating in the floodwater. The rest is given over to the direct testimony of angry and devastated local residents, officials and some of the celebrities who came to the city to help, including the actor Sean Penn and the hip-hop artist Kanye West.

It will be shown on US television twice in the coming weeks, once in two parts, and once as a whole on August 29, the first anniversary of the night the storm hit land. By the end of the crisis, at least 1,836 people had died; thousands more remain displaced.

The economic aftermath continues: this week, in a judgment that could set a precedent for hundreds of insurance claims, a court ruled that an insurance firm offering payouts for wind damage was not required to pay for water damage, even when high winds were the cause.

Calling the movie "arguably the most essential work of [Lee's] 20-year career", Newsweek said audiences might be surprised that the director, who made his name with a series of feature films addressing racial politics, "views the tragedy as a national betrayal rooted in class, not skin colour. To him, what the victimised share most is that they had very little to begin with and were left with nothing."

This looks like a film not to be missed. Being a fan of Lee's for a long time, I'm pleased that he took the time to create a documentary that is so timely and so relevant given the currently worsening economic situation that more and more of us find ourselves facing. If you ain't rich, Uncle Sam will take your taxes and send your kids to be bullet stoppers in some Godforsaken war, but don't expect Uncle Sam to even give a second thought to your well-being in times of emergency.

This week's wanker award goes to: The Minutekkklan

Via XicanoPwr:
It seems that now the MinuteKlan have decided to go into the food industry to peddle their racist views.
Minuteman Salsa is proud to be America’s 100% US-born and bred Southwestern salsa.

You don’t support illegal immigration. Buy Minuteman Salsa and keep foreign-made salsa from slipping across the border into your pantry.

A portion of the proceeds of every sale of Minuteman Salsa will benefit the courageous men and women of the Minuteman Project, guarding America’s borders.
Barnum was right: there's a sucka born every minute. You'd think though they'd be a bit more PC and call that shit "Freedom Sauce."

The Skeletor Show - Episode 8



Just got turned on to this one. The new episode is out after a two month haitus. Actually, the whole series is funny as Hell. A bit of info about the show:
The Skeletor Show is a spin-off of the original Masters of the Universe television series. Created and voiced by Daniel J. Geduld, under the usermane 'everyonesvoice'.Along with the Flying Squid Studios logo, another one is used before the opening titles, which is: 'Blatantly plagiarized from Filmation, please don't sue us'. It is a comical parody on the lines of Sealab 2021, which centers around the daily life of Skeletor. Here, Skeletor is portrayed as a comically-frustrated villain, far more so due to the incompetence and insolence of his evil employees than due to He-Man himself.
Some off the wall humor to lighten the load.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Borat Film


Coming to a theatre near you in November. If this actually plays in my community, I'll be shocked.

Olbermann on our "terror" alerts

Our third story on the COUNTDOWN, the basis of all this, at heart, remarks made on May 10, 2005, by a former Bush administration official discussing the old color-coded terror threat warning system. More often than not, he said, “We were the least inclined to raise it. Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment, sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don‘t necessarily put the country on alert. There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it. And we said, ‘For that?‘”

The speaker was the first secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge. In The light of those remarks and his criticism this week of the vice president for politicizing terror in the context of the Connecticut senatorial primary, it is imperative that we exam each of the coincidences of timing since 2002, including the one last week in which excoriating comments by leading Republicans about leading Democrats just happened to precede arrests in vast purported terror plot, arrests that we now know were carried out on timeline requested not by British, nor necessitated by the evidence, but requested by this government.

We introduce these coincidences to you exactly as we did when we first compiled this top 10 list after the revelation that the announced threats New York‘s subway system, last October, had been wildly overblown. And we do so by reminding you and ourselves, here, that perhaps the simplest piece of wisdom in the world is called “the logic fallacy.” Just because event A occurred and then event B occurs, that does not automatically mean that event A caused event B. But neither does it say the opposite. The “Nexus of Politics and Terror,” please judge for yourself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): No. 1, May 18, 2002, the first details of the president‘s daily briefing of August 6, 2001 are revealed, including its title “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S.” The same day another memo is discovered revealing the FBI knew of men with links to al Qaeda training at an Arizona flight school. The memo was never acted upon. Questions about 9/11 intelligence failures are swirling.

May 20, 2002:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The terror warnings from the highest levels of the federal government, tonight are...

OLBERMANN: Two days later, FBI Director Mueller declares that another terrorist attack is “inevitable.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight there are even more warnings...

OLBERMANN: The next day, the department of Homeland Security issues warnings of attacks against railroads nationwide and against New York City landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.

No. 2, Thursday, June 6, 2002...

COLEEN ROWLEY, FBI AGENT: I never really anticipated this kind of impact.

OLBERMANN: Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who tried to alert her superiors to the specialized flight training taken by Zacarias Moussaoui, who‘s information suggests the government missed a chance to break up the 9/11 plot, testifies before Congress. Senate Committee Chair Graham says, Rowley‘s testimony has inspired similar pre-9/11 whistleblowers.

Monday June 10, 2002, four days later...

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have disrupted an unfolding terrorist plot.

OLBERMANN: Speaking from Russia, Attorney General John Ashcroft reveals that an American named Jose Padilla is under arrest, accused to plotting a radiation bomb attack in this country. In fact, Padilla had, by this time, already been detained for more than one month.

No. 3, February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Powell tells the United Nations Security Council of Iraq‘s concealment of weapons including 18 mobile biological weapons laboratories, justifying a U.N. or U.S. first strike, many in the U.N. are doubtful. Months later, much of the information proves untrue.

February 7, 2003, two days later, as anti-war demonstrations continue to take place around the globe.

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Take some time to prepare for an emergency...

OLBERMANN: Homeland Security Secretary Ridge cites credible threats by al Qaeda and raises the terror alert level to orange. Three days after that, Fire Administrator David Paulison, who would become the acting head of FEMA after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, advises Americans to stock up on plastic sheeting and duct tape to protect themselves against radiological or biological attack.

No. 4, July 23, 2003, the White House admits that the CIA, months before the president‘s State of the Unions Address, expressed strong doubts about the claim that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium from Niger.

On the 24th the Congressional report on the 9/11 attacks is issued. It criticizes government at all levels. It reveals an FBI informant had been living with two of the future highjackers. It concludes that Iraq had no link to al Qaeda. Twenty-eight pages of the report are redacted.

On the 26th, American troops are accused of the beating Iraqi prisoners.

July 29, 2003, three days later, amid all of the negative headlines...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Word of a new possible al Qaeda attack...

OLBERMANN: Homeland Security issues warnings of terrorist attempts to use airplanes for suicide attacks.

No. 5, December 17, 2003, 9/11 Commission Co-Chair Thomas Kean says the attacks were preventable. The next day, a federal appeals court says the government cannot detain suspected radiation bomber Jose Padilla indefinitely without charges and the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, Dr. David Kay, who has previously announced he has found no weapons of mass destruction there, announces he will resign his post.

December 21, 2003, four days later, the Sunday before Christmas...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today the United States government raised the national threat level.

Homed Land Security, again, raises the threat level to orange, claiming credible intelligence of further plots to crash airliners into U.S cities. Subsequently six international flights into this country are canceled after some passenger names purportedly produced matches on government “No-Fly” lists. The French later identified those matched names, one belongs to an insurance salesman from Wales, another to an elderly Chinese woman, a third to a 5-year-old boy.

No. 6, March 30, 2004 the new chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Charles Duelfer, tells Congress “we have still not found any WMD in that country” and after weeks of having refused to appear before the 9/11 Commission, Condoleezza Rice relents, and agrees to testify.

On the 31st, four Blackwater USA contractors working in Iraq are murdered, their mutilated bodies dragged through the streets and left on public display in Fallujah. The roll of civilian contractors in Iraq is now widely questioned.

April 2, 2004...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI Has issued a new warning tonight...

OLBERMANN: Homeland Security issues a bulletin warning that terrorists may try to blow up buses and trains using fertilizer and fuel bombs, like the one detonated in Oklahoma City. Bombs stuffed into satchels or duffle bags.

No. 7, May 16, 2004, Secretary of State Powell, appears on “Meet the Press.” Moderator Tim Russert closes by asking about the enormous personal credibility Powell had placed before the U.N. in laying out a case against Saddam Hussein. An aide to Powell interrupts the question saying the interview is over.

TIM RUSSERT, “MEET THE PRESS”: I think that was one of your staff Mr. Secretary. I don‘t think that‘s appropriate.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Get—Emily, get out of the way.

OLBERMANN: Powell finishes his answer, admitting that much of the information he had been given about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was

POWELL: ...inaccurate and wrong and in some cases deliberately misleading.

OLBERMANN: On the 21st, new photos showing mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison are released.

On the 24th “Associated Press” video, from Iraq, confirms U.S. Forces mistakenly bombed a wedding party, killing more than 40.

Wednesday May 26, 2004, two days later...

ASHCROFT: God afternoon

OLBERMANN: Attorney General Ashcroft and FBI Director Mueller warned that intelligence from multiple sources...

ASHCROFT: Indicates al Qaeda‘s specific intention to hit the United States‘ heart.

OLBERMANN: And that 90 percent of the arrangement for an attack on the United States were complete. The color coded warning system is not raised. The Homeland Security secretary, Tom Ridge, does not attend the announcement.

No. 8, July 6, 2004, Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry selects John Edwards as his vice presidential running mate producing a small bump in the election opinion polls and producing a huge swing in media attention toward the Democratic campaign.

July 8, 2004, two days later...

RIDGE: Credible reporting now indicates that al Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States...

OLBERMANN: Homeland Secretary Ridge warns of information about al Qaeda attacks during the summer or autumn. Four days after that, the head of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, DeForest Soaries Jr. confirms he has written to Ridge about the prospect of postponing the upcoming president election in the event it is intercepted by terrorist acts.

No. 9, July 29, 2004, at their party convention in Boston, the Democrats formally nominate John Kerry as their candidate for president. As in the wake of any convention the Democrats now dominate the media attention over the subsequent weekend.

August 1, 2004, Monday morning, three days later.

RIDGE: It is as reliable as source—group of sources that we‘ve ever seen before.

OLBERMANN: The department of Homeland Security raises the alert status for financial centers in New York, New Jersey, and Washington to orange. The evidence supporting the warning, reconnaissance data left in a home in Iraq. Later proves to be roughly four years old and largely out of date.

No. 10, October 6, 2005, 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the president addresses the National Endowment for Democracy, once again emphasizing the importance of the war on terror and insisting his government has broken up at least 10 terrorist plots since 9/11.

At 3:p.m. Eastern Time, five hours after the president‘s speech had begun, the “Associated Press” reports that Karl Rove will testify again to the CIA leak grand jury and that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has told Rove he cannot guaranteed that he will not be indicted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re awaiting a news conference at the bottom of the hour...

OLBERMANN: At 5:00 17 p.m. Eastern Time, seven hours after the president‘s speech has begun, New York officials disclose a bomb threat to the city‘s subway system, based on information supplied by the federal government. A Homeland Security spokesman says the intelligence upon which the disclosure is based is of “doubtful credibility.” And it later proves that New York City had known of the threat for at least three days and had increased police presence in the subways long before making the announcement at that particular time.

Local New York television station WNBC reports it had the story of the threats days in advance of the announcement, but was asked by high ranking federal officials in New York and Washington to hold off on its story. Less than four days after having revealed the threat, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York says, “Since the period of the threat now seems to be passing, I think over the immediate future we will be slowly be winding down the enhanced security.” While news organizations ranging from the “New York Post” to NBC NEWS, quotes sources who say there were reasons to believe the informant who triggered the warning simply made up. A senior U.S. counter-terrorism official tells the “New York Times,” “there was no there, there.”

(END VIDEOTAPE)

In all fairness, as we observe last October and we observer again tonight, we could possibly construct a similar timeline of terror events and warnings and their relationship to the opening of new chain stores around the country. But if merely a reasonable case could be made that any of these juxtapositions of events are more than just coincidences, especially the one last week in which terror policy was again injected directly into a political race, it underscores the need for questions to be asked in this country, questions about what is prudence and what is fear-mongering.
Nerdified Link. My emphasis added. Of course, my money is on the "terror alerts" as a form of fear mongering.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quotable: Gary Larson


Newspapers will run a headline: 'Shark kills human.'
You never see a headline from the other perspective:
'Man swims in shark-infested water, forgets he's shark food.'
Nerdified Link.

The obligatory third anniversary post

Yes, it really has been three years as of today. This blog started on what was billed "Fair and Balanced Friday" (a reference to O'Reilly's whinging about the cover of Franken's book "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them") right after a return trip from Southern California. After being exposed to more Faux News than any human should have to tolerate, I decided I needed a forum to vent. The name of the blog was both a reference to the normal location of my favorite radio stations (indie and college stations) and loosely to a song by The Replacements ("Left of the Dial").

To a large degree this blog has been part of a reawakening process for me that really began in the aftermath of September, 2001. In the months that followed the Twin Towers & Pentagon bombings, I became quickly alarmed by the reactions of many of my fellow Americans. In the process of trying to get a handle on the increasingly jingoistic and militaristic tone of our nation's discourse, it became clear that alternative independent left-leaning voices were both in short supply and desperately needed. Blogging attracted me for the same reason zines and political flyers and leaflets were attractive to me during the 1980s - it appeared as a dirt cheap means of communicating information and ideas with a large number of people. I also saw the blog as a means to working out some thoughts that could then be fleshed out for publication in professional outlets.

This blog was part of a wave of left-leaning political blogs that came on the scene in 2003 & 2004. At the time I started blogging, the A-list bloggers were already established. After three years, I think it's safe to say that I'm a Z-list blogger who kicks it with a number of other cool Z-listers. Wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm a huge fan of trying out things that are new and different, and so I've participated at a number of group and community blogs, participated in a few experiments such as grid blogging, and so on. But this has always been home base. This year's new twist has been to give a few fellow bloggers the keys to the joint, in the hopes that they'd fill in when I'm away from convenient internet access and/or at any time they felt like it to contribute material that might be of interest to my readers. I've been very happy with the trio of blogsitters who have shared some of their work here, and I hope that they'll continue to do so as the spirit moves them.

Some observations over the past three years that I'd like to share with you:
  1. There are a handful of issues at best that seem to unite leftist, liberal, progressive (or whatever label you feel like using) bloggers - the most salient being a general disdain for the Lush/Zany regime's policies, and opposition to the Iraq war. Beyond that, it's pretty obvious that some of us have more in common than others. Some of us, for example, don't care for wars as a general rule, whereas others simply thought that Iraq was a mistake. Some of us are either recovering American exceptionalists (that's my vibe) or never bought into the notion that America was a special well-intentioned giant to begin with, whereas others are still highly invested in the myth of American exceptionalism. Some of us view the Democrat party as the last great hope for salvaging democracy, whereas others of us view the Democrats part of the problem (with some exceptions duly noted) and still others of us might question the conceptualization of our politics as "democratic". To make a long story short, there are plenty of opportunities to mix just as well as oil and water. I don't have any convenient solutions, other than to be willing to form coalitions around pressing issues on at least something of an ad hoc basis, and to be open to working with folks and organizations that on the surface might seem quite different from you - on some issues, such as war, I find a great deal more in common with some libertarians and conservatives than I would have imagined. The key is to realize that we don't have to agree on every last point in order to work together to achieve a particular end result (think of the American Solidarity concept that cernig and I discussed last fall, for example).
  2. On a loosely related note, I've noticed a disturbing trend over the last year toward intolerance on left-leaning/progressive/liberal blogs when it comes to topics regarding militarism and American exceptionalism, as well as race and white privilege. Dare to mention the truly grotesque acts that our government has committed, or features of the American zeitgeist that make it difficult to have a reasonable discussion with many Americans on matters such as the basic objectives and consequences of our government's actions abroad and one will find that presumably "tolerant" liberals begin to pepper their responses with accusations of being "Anti-American" and so on - and any reasonable attempt to discuss such issues on a meta-level only brings more of the same bile. Don't even get me started on the whole issue of Israel's relations with it neighbors, where criticism of Israel is guaranteed to devolve into charges of anti-semitism (usually with not even a cursory understanding of the definition of "semitic").
  3. If I had any unsolicited advice for liberal and progressive bloggers (or for liberals and progressives who do not reside within the confines of blogtopia) it would be simply this: "Don't worry about what the neighbors might think." As a corrollary, I'd add that if you do seem bothered by what the neighbors might think, stop it. I understand the desire to be "liked" by others, and those desiring to reside in the more respectable neighborhoods in blogtopia feel more of a need to behave "responsibly" (i.e., taking great pains to never offend anyone anywhere), but the truth is that if you're going to wade in controversial waters someone's going to splash you in the eyes regardless. Someone (gasp!) will call you names that you don't like. If you have a position, stick to your guns - but be sufficiently flexible to change an opinion if the data warrant (in other words don't just change a position or refrain from voicing an opinion just to get in with the 'in crowd' - it really isn't worth it).
  4. Too often we Americans have made a cottage industry out of being offended by others' beliefs, lifestyles, etc. We really need to lighten up. I say that to readers of this blog from any political persuasion. Life really is too short to be constantly in a state of being offended by something you've seen, read, or heard. I say that as someone who is now easily past the halfway point of my likely lifespan. I wish I had realized that when I was 20 (but am thankful to have finally learned that lesson at all).
  5. My other bit of unsolicited advice is to new bloggers: have fun. If you're not having fun blogging, why bother? If you're blogging in the hope that you will one day be appearing semi-regularly on CNN or MSNBC or to get invited to all the really cool A-list parties, I'd say you have a better chance of being hit by lightning. If you're blogging because you have something to say, and want to see where this particular medium might take you, enjoy.
So it goes. Let's hope this next year in the wonderful world of blogging is as much fun as the last three years. For those of you who are regulars (all three of you) to this blog, thank you.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Odds and ends

Marisacat has a pretty extensive roundup of what's going on in the Middle East worth looking at.

The previously red rural western US isn't all that red anymore. Thing of it is that all the focus on bombing far-away lands into oblivion and bashing gays and minorities hasn't done much for the average family farmer or rancher, or for downtown businesses. While I have been unabashedly skeptical about the Democrats, I will note that the faith previously placed in the GOP by rural Americans was and always has been misplaced. Something has to change just for the sake of the survival of our communities.

Ever wondered what that primordial ooze that produced Earth's first life forms was like? We may get a chance to find out first hand, thanks to our rampant pollution of our oceans.

Also, Junior Caligula apparently is getting all Existentialist on us - he's reportedly read Camus' classic work The Stranger. The protagonist of the novel is, to say the least, a Bush-like psychopath and in his own way Bush the Lesser has played out his own version of Mersault during his tenure as Preznit.