Saturday, December 30, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bad Moon Rising - Government Approved Science

It's hard to understate how frightening an idea this is. While America's eyes are turned Eastward and our hearts are warmed with the self-destruction of the American Right, those same Rightists have managed to sneak into legislation a major tenet of Neocon ideology.

New scientific publishing guidelines give strict partisan oversight to scientific findings and the flow of scientific information. The new rules essentially subject all data to political interpretation before being made public. This effectively creates an in-house propaganda unit for every government-funded scientific research project.

Before, many of these projects were spun and distorted by extra-agency government units whose take could be measured next to the actual scientific findings. In other words, there was always a division between the scientific results and "the official findings." Not anymore. This new directive clears the way for political manipulation of research, data and of course, results.

This is the very essence of corruption. The very meaning of the word. This type of manipulation and secrecy of science combined with, on the other hand, the corporate secrecy of science effectively takes science out of the public sphere. And in our brave, new, modern world this amounts another face of the rising American fascism.

The Bush administration is clamping down on scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, the latest agency subjected to controls on research that might go against official policy.

New rules require screening of all facts and interpretations by agency scientists who study everything from caribou mating to global warming. The rules apply to all scientific papers and other public documents, even minor reports or prepared talks, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Read the article: New publishing rules restrict scientists.

Friday, December 15, 2006

All About 2012

The date December 21st, 2012 A.D. ( in the Long Count), represents an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun), what that ancient Maya recognized as the Sacred Tree. This is an event that has been coming to resonance very slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It will come to resolution at exactly 11:11 am GMT.


Friday, December 01, 2006

What Darkness Lurks...

Digby over on Hulabaloo points us to several columns by John Marshall of Talking Points Memo covering the quickly growing tendency of right wing loyalists to paint the myriad of Republican failures as, wouldn’t you know, the failures of the American people. They’re out there on the net and in the newspapers and on the cable news suite right now talking up this crap. Scolding average Americans everywhere for being down on the war, down on the Repubs and for wanting change. Typical.

Theirs is a kind of power that’s meant to appeal to the kid in all of us… the locked-in part of our human psyches that will always have a need of a parent figure, a need to be told what’s what, a need to have the world interpreted for us. That we’re all far more capable of figuring it all out for our selves with a little hard work and reflection is meaningless to them and is, indeed, something they hate to see in the populace at large. It's why they shout loud enough and stamp their feet strong enough to drown out the sound of our own conscience talking to us. And should anyone cognizant enough to hear their own voice start speaking, it's why they mock and deride and marginalize.

This is their philosophy of governing… the occluded, perhaps subliminal side of everything they stand for, but never talk about in classrooms or conventions or on TV. This is why the demand from us servitude, compliance and ignorance. It’s also why we see, down so many avenues, their attempts to cover-up, to silence, to censor.

It is why we people like us call them people like them "evil".

In order to gather their power, to wield it and sustain it, they must actively smother what so many of us understand to be mankind’s greatest assets—our spiritual, emotional, intellectual freedoms.

A snip from Digby’s post:

I'm sorry that these starry-eyed neocons who looked at George Bush and saw a genius are disappointed that the rest of the country didn't support their vision. They were given more of a chance to prove themselves than dreamers and fools usually are --- and they failed on a grand scale. This is what the Bushites deserve and what they should expect for ram-rodding through a war without real public support and then screwing it up royally. The families of all these dead and wounded soldiers, unfortunately, didn't deserve this and neither did the poor Iraqis who didn't know they were going to be guinea pigs in a 7th grade neocon thought experiment based on cartoons and psycho-babble.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Neither War Nor Politics Nor Gossip, Yet, Of All

With so much going on in the world around us right now, it’s important to call attention to some of the less fantastic, less dramatic, less bloated headlines.

Film director, Robert Altman died today at the age of 81. He was/is one of my all-time favorite directors. The first film of his I saw was The Player towards the end of my high school years. The opening shot, a record breaking long take with swooping, shifting camera angles, was like a slap in the face. And if the opening shot was a sustained smack, then the rest of the film was like a boxing match. A pinnacle of storytelling, camera work and acting that gave my teenage self an entirely new perspective on filmmaking.

If you haven’t seen any of his films, well, get to it. Here’s my top five (in order of release date):

1) M*A*S*H
2) Nashville
3) The Player
4) Short Cuts
5) Gosford Park

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Party Expands

As I continue to reassess what this blog should be all about, if exist at all, why not glide on over to Ed Ballinger's band new, squeaky clean, I Should Care Less.

Fun fact about Ed: He like to put Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream in his underpants and head out on the dance floor to do the Electric Slide. You didn't hear it from me though.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Number One Son, Heed This Ancient Parable

The following was grabbed part and parcel from Billmon's Whiskey Bar blog. I think it sums up the situation nicely, don't you?

What the Dems are saying:

Pelosi praised "the beauty and genius of our democracy," and thanked voters for giving Democrats the chance to lead.

"Democrats pledge civility and bipartisanship in conduct of the work here," she said, calling for "partnerships … not partisanship."

What the Dems are actually thinking:

MARSELLUS: Step aside, Butch.

Butch steps aside, revealing Marsellus standing behind him, holding a pump-action shotgun. KABOOM!!!!

Zed is blasted in the groin. Down he goes, screaming in agony. Marsellus, looking down at his whimpering rapist, ejects the used shotgun shell.

BUTCH: You okay?

MARSELLUS: Naw man. I'm pretty fuckin' far from okay.

BUTCH: What now?

MARSELLUS: What now? Well let me tell you what
now. I'm gonna call a couple pipe-hittin' niggas, who'll go to work on homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. (to Zed) You hear me talkin' hillbilly boy?! I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'm gonna git medieval on your ass!

--Quentin TarantinoPulp Fiction.

Again, this was lifted from the always wild and wooley, Billmon's Whiskey Bar. Borrowed sentiment to be sure, but borrowed with love.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post 201 - Who Will Lead Them?

Wowee Zowee, what a night. Was up till well past three savoring the spectacle. And catching GOP pundits and Fox News all red-faced and pissy while calling so damn many races for the Dems was sheer political porn. It was H-O-T.

All in all, a great night for me, for the American Left, for all of America, for the world. It's wildly encouraging to see the American public put their foot down. Yea, a couple years too late, but hell. Better late than never, I guess. As I read somewhere last night, "Subpoena Powers: Active!!!"

Last night's victory drink: Trader Joe's carbonated blueberry juice and a splash of 100% cranberry juice over vodka.

Last night's victory dinner: Truffles on soft-boiled eggs with shaved parmesean and brown butter.

Last night's hero: The American public. Wow. Not even the GOP's fiendish shenanigans could sully the upsets. Hoo-rah!

Last night's zero: Joe Lieberman. Sucked in enough Republican votes to down Ned Lamont by a good 10% margin. And the way things look to be shaking out, he'll be the deciding vote in a tied senate. Ugh.... let's hope payback aint quite the bitch it's said to be.

Ok.... now I'm late for work. But I will say that a hangover never felt so good.

The flight's not over!!! Glenn Greenwald explains the day after in "The Great Victory - crushing the developing myths." Read it now!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

200th Post!!! - Now Go Vote!!!

Champagne, confetti, horns and those little things you whip around that make a noise like a spine realignment-- for everyone!!! It's the 200th post on Finish My Wine dot Com!!!!

Woo hoo!!!

Ok, here's a broom and a trash bag. Clean up and then go vote if you haven't already. If you have, I think I saw a dude stashing a few beers in the lettuce drawer of the fridge. Grab me one, cuz I done voted already.

Continuing election coverage:



*Crooks and Liars*

*Huffington Post*


Check out Gore Vidal's ‘The Most Important Election in My Lifetime’
Check out Glenn Greenwald's "Tradesport predictions and other election matters "

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Good Time To Look Forward

Yea, yea… not much posting lately. As I approached (and still do... this is #199) the 200th entry for Finish My Wine dot Com, Michael Benton from the blog, Dialogic, invited me (and you and everyone else) to participate in an upcomming issue of Reconstruction, an online cultural studies magazine. The issue will be about blogging and Michael wants writers from across the blogosphere to pen entries about their motivations behind blogging and any ideas on the theory and practice of blogging.

It sounds like a great project. A diverse blogging public checking in with their take on the hobby/job/obsession… It couldn’t be a more relevant topic these days as the number of blogs on the internet continues to explode (over 55 million to date!). However, there’s been little discussion as to what they mean to those who create them and those who frequent them. And there’s certainly been no effort to centralize the discussion.

So, I was digging around in the ol’ headspace in a effort to come up with an angle for why I started this blog-thing and why I continue to do it. And that’s where I hit a wall.

I’m just not sure if I’ve got much to offer at this point beyond foot-stomping political posts and link-heavy traffic-cop type posts. Work’s become severely encompassing and my rush hour creative energies, as feeble as they may be, have begun to turn elsewhere. There just doesn’t seem to be any point to keeping this up right now beyond sheer vanity… And anyone who’s known me for more than ten minutes can attest to my contempt for that particular deadly sin.

So… no determinations at this point. Just questions. We’ll see what happens.

Buuuuuuuut seeing as I’m taking the time to write all this, I may as well toss in some political snark, right?

I’m fairly politick’d out right now. The local TV ads for the mid-term seats have been wildly entertaining.. if only because to think of them in any other way would quickly become wildly depressing. And the Rove-ster’s October November surprise… wow. Hussein sentenced to hang just days before the American elections. Gee. Transparent AND irrelevant.

It’s like the GOP has so little to offer that even their whoppers have that stale fart smell about them. The kind you catch a wiff of in hospitals or, more appropriately, in funeral homes. It’s the smell of decomposition. The slow and inevitable march towards the grave taken step by step, cell by cell, microbe by microbe.

But who knows. With all the GOP election-day shenanigans poised to reappear this year, one can’t be too sure of exactly which way the shit will fly after it hits the fan. Really, the only thing you can count on right now is that, win or lose, the GOP and the Fox-ite zombie army are already figuring ways to blame the ills of the next two years on the still powerless Democrats and those rotten American traitors, the “liberals.”

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Topical Post

There's something about people dressing up their pets that just cracks me up. So, in observance of this Halloween Holiday, I pass on to you these links sent to me from Mrs. Delano III.

Take your pick, Halloween Dogs and Halloween Cats.

All hail the Principia Absurdia!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Omen: Part IV -- The Jitters

Well, Ill be dipped in shit. What do think this is a picture of?

A hint: Haloween aint the only thing scaring some folks right now.

Wonkette's got the answer.

Friday, October 27, 2006


The Rude Pundit pulled out an ice cold bottle of vodka for the president’s limp, uninspiring speech the other day. He clocked in with comments between frosty shots.

My favorites:

10:38 - Already bored. The Rude Pundit's thinking of the most frightening Halloween costume he could wear. Maybe it'll be a zombie Rush Limbaugh gnawing on Michael J. Fox's brain. Nah. Too much padding.

10:44 - Bush ain't "satisfied" with the situation in Iraq. Umm, gee, motherfucker, didn't you put that souffle' in the oven? If it doesn't rise, it ain't our fault.

10:49 - Oh, fuck, he's giving that creepy squint-smile. And he's off - acting like a phone psychic, predicting what people of the future will say about us. Apparently, "My mommy was blown-up in a worthless war" is not one of those things. Nor is "Boy, I'm glad we stopped using gasoline cars."

11:25 - Wonder if that burrito place is open for lunch? A burrito'd soak up all this vodka.

For the whole enchilada, er, burrito, read Live Vodka-Shot Blogging the President's News Conference.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Q4 - It's All Downhill From Here

Calamities, fiascos, and clusterfucks rule these days. I peer out from behind my mountain of paperwork and dream of a match, a match, my kingdom for a match. And I'd skip and spin down the stairs and out to door but not before watching it all catch and start to glow.

Despite the election fast approaching, I’m feeling way, way burned out on politics. Or maybe I’m just coming down with a cold… or maybe both. Anyway, for whatever reason, I aint exactly feelin’ it right now.

So, allow some of my friends to do the heavy lifting today:

*Rollie St. Bacon rolls the bones and comes up Carter. Though, if you prefer a little less milk in your coffee but are still in that 70’s frame of mind, dig his column on the day that rock and roll really died. And if rock and roll aint yr bag… Oh! Baby! You need to get out more. Maybe take a ride in a shagadellic make-out mobile.

*Mrotzie invites us along on her Roman holiday where her and her beau introduce pancakes to unsuspecting Italian villagers.

*Melissa in Ecuador keeps bringing it with stories and pics so spot on, you'd swear it was you that's been knee-deep in unruly mountain children and interesting cuisine.

*Bad News Hughes continues his zany adventure into the heart of darkness, AKA his own twisted life.

*And if all that readin’s got yer eyeballs a scortchin’ and a scratchin’, Ms. BeBe Gun’s got some excellent works of visual acuity for you to gander at.

*And finally, if all that sittin’ and starin’ at the screen’s got you ancy for some shopping, dig on Joanna Ballinger’s Red Attic handbag emporium. Do I need to remind you that them holidays are right around the corner?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Monkey Trouble

WFMU’s Beware of the Blog points us in the direction of the Best Damn Monkey Portraits Ever. As your doctor, I’d advise you have a look.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight

So Yahoo’s having an email Q & A forum with’s director, Eli Pariser. Users can add a question to a long list sent in by readers. Apparently Yahoo, moderator Judy Woodruff and Pariser will pick out their favorites for him to answer in an upcoming column.

That’s all fine and good, I guess. MoveOn is a decent organization who, from what I’ve seen through my own involvement with them, are trying (and succeeding) to connect people of similar political persuasions. They aim, at the very least, to educate and if they can make an activist or donator out of participants, they’ll gladly do so.

That they’ve become downright demonized in the right wing media is sheer testimony as to how effective they’ve become at raising both consciousness and capital—and how much they scare the pants off “conservatives” and the GOP faithful.

After reading down the “what would you like to ask Eli Pariser” message board, one fact become glaringly, pitifully obvious… (And forgive the polarization here, I tend to despise lumping regular folks’ personal politics in to one camp or the other. It’s become a lazy, divisive technique of the base-catering goons on AM radio and cable news, but it serves to set the stage here.) … As I said, after reading down the message board, one fact just jumps right out and boxes your ears.

It seems that one side of this fight comes armed to the teeth with facts and has a strong grasp on issues and the players involved. By and large, they’re willing to consider the opinions of others and even attempt to bridge some of those great empathic gaps we all seem to keep falling in to these days.

The other side in this fight paints with strokes as broad as their sentences are short. They toss out characterizations about catchphrases without a hint of shame. They offer little in making their point beyond the petty mocking of opinions and ideas that they plainly don’t understand. There is little substance and less good will. They give us a clear look at the ass-end of the echo chamber. Manufactured outrage distilled to its basest, most simple sentiment.

Perhaps not surprisingly, these folks are made up of the blindly pro-Bush, the GOP grunts, and the "with-us-or-against-us" crowd. Nevermind that the torchbearers of the ideology that they're still clinging to have been unmasked and exposed as the plunderers and swindlers they've been all along.

Not that the “left-leaning” comments are spun entirely of gold. There’s plenty of knckleheaded brain farting and party-line lockstepping. But the genuine, thoughtful, knowledgeable, heart-felt sentiment comes overwhelmingly from that “left.”

I don’t know how long this is gonna be up, or how much you can stand, but if you feel like wading into those particular waters, check out Talk to Eli Pariser of

The King's Eyes and Ears Are Now Bionic

As the mid-term elections creep closer, and we find that Rove and the GOP are about to light the fuse on a one hundred million dollar advertising and propaganda blitz, and dictator-in-chief Bush signs in to law a regressive, twisted piece of legislation that strips every US citizen of their right of Habeas Corpus, the ever-floundering Department of Homeland Security has sunk a couple million into a data trolling service hoping to snare and analyze even the most inane of anti-American sentiment from across the globe.

Truthout’s Chris Floyd explains this latest insanity shat from the “with us or against us” mindset.

Why is the United States government spending millions of dollars to track down critics of George W. Bush in the press? And why have major American universities agreed to put this technology of tyranny into the state's hands?

As with so many of the Bush measures that have quietly stripped away America's liberties, this one too is beginning with a whimper, not a bang: a modest $2.4 Department of Homeland Security million grant to develop "sentiment analysis" software that will allow the government's "security organs" to sift millions of articles for "negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas," as the New York Times reported earlier this month. Such negative opinions must be caught and catalogued because they could pose "potential threats to the nation," security apparatchiks told the Times.

This hydra-headed snooping program is based on "information extraction," which, as a chipper PR piece from Cornell tells us, is a process by which "computers scan text to find meaning in natural language," rather than the rigid literalism ordinarily demanded by silicon cogitators. Under the gentle tutelage of Homeland Security, the universities "will use machine-learning algorithms to give computers examples of text expressing both fact and opinion and teach them to tell the difference," says the Cornell blurb.

Read the entire article: Sentimental Education: Academia Signs Up to Track Down Dissent.

Friday, October 13, 2006

So Un-Punk

ESPN color columnist Bill Simmons has a good rundown of the remaining three quarters of the NFL season. He’s consistently the only decent thing about the god-awful, wretched, tax write-off, waste of ink and paper that is ESPN The Magazine. If you’ve ever been tempted to pick one up or, heaven forbid, purchase a subscription, for fuck’s sake just don’t do it—Unless you’re a fifth grader with some extra allowance money. At least then, you’ll be reading something written for your age group.

In the interest of opening a window after closing a door, I’d suggest The Sporting News if you’re looking for a good sports magazine. While they do get a little long in the tooth covering the NASCAR circuit, and their NBA section rarely goes over 3 pages, their football and baseball coverage is always outstanding, even in the offseason. It’s written well and is typically devoid of Sports Illustrated-esque, human interest fluff.

Anyway, if you’re a football fan, read Bill Simmons’ Putting the Sleeper to Bed.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Melissa In Ecuador

Yowza, does time fly. I've been meaning to send out a word on and a link to this for over a month now. Ooops. My apologies.

My friend Melissa is down in Ecuador for four months. She's living with a host family and teaching wild mountain children at a run down school house. By all accounts it's been a hell of an adventure. She's got a blog up and running now with incredible pictures and stories. Check it out and get your vicarious on.

Melissa In Ecuador - "This is the blog of Melissa Resh while teaching in Ecuador. I arrived on August 4th, and I should be here until the beginning of December."

PS - The picture above is of a local dish called Cuy. It's basically a deep fried guinea pig.

Coffee, Microscope, Monkeywrench

New job duties have required being here more hours of the day and staying busy while I am here. With any luck I’ll pull in enough dough on the next paycheck to buy a Caribbean bungalow… or at least a case of Corona and tickets to that Naked Raygun / 7 Seconds reunion show in November.

Some recent observations:

  1. Woke up to snow in Chicago this morning. My god. Snow already.

  2. Payroll snafu has had my pay all goofed up for the last month. I was sure I never got one particular paycheck. Had payroll office put a stop payment on it. They said someone cashed it and had me come down to take a look. The signature on the back of the check was, of course, my own. I still don’t understand what happened. I’m gonna blame this one on the chemo. You bethca.

  3. Death knell or not, right wingers and republicans will be pulling out every dirty trick from their nefarious bag in these next few weeks before the election. At the very least, it’ll make for some serious avant-garde theater. Grab some popcorn and enjoy.

  4. These Chicago Bears are going to the Super Bowl. No doubt about it.

  5. Meatballs are the future. My lovely lady made pasta with meatballs last night as the temps dropped and the wind howled. Just perfect. Though, the accompaniment (new episode of LOST) left a lot to be desired.

  6. After rereading ReSearch’s book on Pranks in anticipation of next month’s publication of Pranks 2, I’ve got a spring in my pre-winter step. While we Americans may or may not be hopelessly fucked as prisoners of our own affluence, it’s good to know that there’s still a lot of good, wicked fun out there to be had. Sometimes I forget that.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Another Florida Fish Fry

Man-O!-Man, am I starting to get homesick. Well... not really. It's more like just plain old sick. Retching, heaving, collapsed in a heap sick. Hey, I'm kinda like the state of American Democracy. Weird.

Now watch this video.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Slack Friday

The merciful end of another wicked work week...

Well class, in lieu of any mildly-enlightened commentary or cranky foot-stomping, today we'll be watching a film. Make sure and take notes. You'll be quizzed about it on Monday.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

RE: The Foley / Hastert Affair

I've got nothing to add to all this.

The Daily Show's been a gleeful recipient of the GOP all but writing the jokes for them lately. And in that kinda feeding frenzy they're at their best.

But for a slightly more studious look, take the time to read Glenn Greenwald's commentary. It cuts all the bullshit and makes no DC-esque pretenses. Highly recommended.

Read: Mark Foley and the Unmasked Republican Party.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lube Job For Your Head

Stop what you are doing. Take a few deep breaths. Relax a little. Do that thing with your knuckles or your neck bone. Close your eyes and count to ten.

Now read this:

"Why normals are hideous." Excellent 1994 anti-normal rant from "Nenslo."

Repeat once every work week or as needed.

(Via the mighty Boing Boing)

Monday, October 02, 2006

GOP Hack Gettin' Served

While the substance of this little back and forth couldn't be more relevant, the video itself is for amusement purposes only.

(Props to Scoobie Davis and Atrios of course.)

Friday, September 29, 2006

On Not Letting The Turkeys Get You Down

Of course the bill passed. That’s the sort of thing that happens when the same party runs all three branches of government. It’s called paying the piper. It’s the postage due from the 2004 elections when enough Americans felt that Bush and the Republicans were in some way deserving of total control of the federal government. Anyone who didn’t see something as radical as this so-called torture bill coming, just wasn’t paying attention.

That said, those of us that oppose this home-grown tyranny, this creeping American fascism, are more in number now than ever before. And sadly, ironically, today we even outnumber the power hungry thugs behind this bill and their minions of media-fed fools.

As the tide turns we can perhaps find some kinda hope in our anger; in our disgust. Because the American left of the up and coming generation has had to grow up very quickly. And as we grow up we also grow out—exponentially. In the process, we’ve discovered among ourselves, a new breed of heroes, a new collection of voices, a new brotherhood that would never have existed had the greed of the sociopaths in power not have gone from a trickle to become a tidal wave.

They’ve made lifelong opponents of the previously ambivalent. And that’s the most encouraging fact of all. Especially today, in the face of what, with any luck, will come to be seen as the final victory of a fading faction.

In the end, our side’s most precious and lasting victory will be all the light bulbs over people’s heads that were turned on during these dark times.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Violence Rules

In a general sense, insanity has ruled this week. The very essence of America is about to be rewritten in the form of a bill charging first through the House and now through Congress. The Commander in Chief sez that this bill will help define his powers and responsibilities regarding detention and torture in federal cases, but bipartisan critics decry it as nothing more than an attempt to legally heap more power on the executive branch (one of the major goals of the NeoConservative movement).

The bill provides a green light to legal black holes for people the government describes (ever so vaguely) as threats. Considering the post 9/11 climate of federal surveillance and harassment of Americans involved in peaceful movements and protests, how long do you think it will be before we see citizens plucked off the streets or from their homes only to vanish into thin air for a few years? This is sickening and so fundamentally against the very essence of what America has stood for since our war of Independence from the English monarchy. These are indeed very dark times.

As if all that political and social angst wasn’t enough, how ‘bout some existential ennui? On my way into work today, an apparently despondent woman ended it all by jumping in front of the train I had just gotten off.

I got off the Brown line and was waiting for the Red when an announcement was made about a medical emergency at the next stop (only a couple hundred feet from the one I was waiting at). I was able to walk up the stairs to the overpass and look down the tracks after a few minutes. Firemen and track workers were busy fishing under the train with long poles. I still wasn’t sure what had happened a this point, but after seeing that it became pretty obvious. Pretty goddamn gnarly.

Anyone care to join me for a drink tonight? I’ll be at Chicago’s Horseshoe Bar digging the sounds of The Outlaw Family Band and trying not to mix my tears and my beers.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Long-Ass Boston Red Sox Post

Well, my beloved Boston Red Sox are out of contention for any postseason play for the second year in a row. This despite having an excellent--albeit an oft broken down--team. And because they're all but done for the year, fans' dreams have turned to the off-season (when not lustily pondering another historic Yankees collapse).

The elephant in that off-season room is, once again, Manny Ramirez. The perennially cranky super-star has begun his annual "I want out of Boston" whining despite being too hurt (cough-cough) to play much over the past month and a half.

Granted, the Ramirez-David Ortiz combo is one of the best one-two lineup punches in all of baseball--the history of baseball, but Manny's lackadaisical attitude toward the city and the team consistently undermines his value. And now another phantom injury has conveniently kept him out of the lineup through the last gasps of a season that was not without its potential. While heroes like Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon fought through their injuries to return to the field despite little hope of the team reaching the postseason, Ramirez gets treated with kid gloves and heaping helpings of adoration for what, in this season and the last, amounts to little more than reverence for his potential.

As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I've gotta say that I'm sick of the merry-go-round. Despite all the analysis about his health and age and his historic skills, when we get down to it, it's about what Manny wants. And he's said what he wants... loudly, clearly. He wants out of Boston. Why not let him go?

Diarist, absolutelax395 had a front page column this Sunday on the Over the Monster sportsblog where he started a lively conversation about what Manny means to the Red Sox--past, present and future. His take is right along the lines of my own.

Well, once again, Manny wants to be traded and this time I am just as pissed as Gordon Edes is about this.

Boston Globe: "While the Red Sox crumbled when Rami­rez went on hiatus -- last night was the 22d game out of 30 Rami­rez has missed since taking himself out of the last game of the Yankee massacre Aug. 21, during which he has been paid $1.918 million (calculated on his base salary of $15 million this season) -- he had the audacity this week, through agent Greg Genske, to reiterate to the Red Sox his desire to be traded this winter."

Manny has not played at all after the Sox took their fall even though so many other players rehabbed and worked so hard to get back to play for the struggling club.

It is time for Manny to go.

He goes on to write about likely options for trades and their potential ramifications (continued by readers in the comments section). He's dead on in suggesting that the Angels are the likeliest targets of a trade. Their prospects are above average and they've expressed and interest in adding a big name this offseason. But if I were to swap places with lil' Theo Epstein and have to come up with a plan, I'd be looking elsewhere.

I'd bend over backwards to work a deal with the Orioles... for a few reasons. (This is where I really geek out, be warned.) Shortstop and near-legend, Miguel Tejada wants out of Baltimore. Great. The Red Sox are likely to lose shortstop Alex Gonzalez to free-agency if they don't pony up... but frankly, I don't think he's worth the money. Even better. Now, seeing as Manny and Miguel's salaries are similar, a straight-up trade has gotta be possible.

I know, I know. Tejada would be a defensive downgrade from Gonzalez. But that bat would go a long way towards softening the loss of ManRam, as Jim Rome likes to call him. Additionally, Tejada's younger and far less prone to Manny-type dramas. Really, it's a win-win situation for both Baltimore (who need to retain some kinda big name) and Boston.

But what about the hole in left field?

Well, take a look at who's coming up for free-agency this winter. Carlos Lee is outta Texas. This year has been an off one for him, but after this exposure to American League pitching, it's a safe bet he'll snap back into form next year. That's my number one. But who's next? There's Alfonso Soriano who's definitely out of DC this winter. He's an excellent bat and has become a decent fielder. Plus there's the added "up yrs" to the Yankees, who would love to get him back. Aging vet Louis Gonzalez is another name being floated, but there really doesn't seem to be much gas left in his tank. Other options include (yawn) Aramis Ramirez, (gulp) Barry Bonds, and (ouch!) Cliff Floyd.

While a trade for Tejada would keep our power intact, a trade with the Angels would likely bring desperately needed pitching and some decent prospects. But whatever option does present itself, really, the only choice Red Sox management should be facing is the choice of where to send Manny Ramirez.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Slope Just Got Slippery-er

Been a busy, busy week here. So, I'll leave my sentiments on the ongoing tourture-bill debate in the hands of someone named Tristero over on Digsbysblog. Considering the sham that is the "rebel Republican oposition" to Bush on American use of tortue, he writes:

So tell me, my fellow Americans: How does it feel knowing that your government will pass laws permitting the violation of the Geneva Conventions against torture?

How does it feel knowing the taxes you pay from money you earned are going towards the salary of legally sanctioned torturers?

How does it feel knowing that the only political party with an organization large enough to stand in opposition to the American fascists in charge of this country's legislature and executive were actually boasting that they were not going to get involved in one of the most important moral debates of our time?

And how does it feel to have George W. Bush, that paragon of moral probity, mental stability, and well-informed intelligence, granted the legal right to determine what is and isn't torture?

I'll tell you how I feel. I am outraged and ashamed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cognitive Dissonance - Weekend Edition

After a full day of football yesterday, I was left in TV coma-land doing the ol’ flip-flip-flip through the overpriced wasteland that is American cable TV. I wound up watching a good stretch of a documentary on slain 1990’s rapper/activist Tupac Shakur on MTV. Later, in the wee hours, I fought the sandman while catching most of a doc on the clusterfuck that was the federal raid on David Koresh’s eschatological Jesus cult near Waco, Texas in 1993. While both programs were well made and interesting in their own right, my main interest centered on how little I know about either subject.

See, it was the 90’s and I was off to my remote little Florida college town. That insular world of punk rock, skateboarding, studying and the fairly constant use of the word ‘party’ as a verb, made it easy to ignore anything under the Current Events banner—well, anything that didn’t pop up on our activist friends’ radars, anyway. The internet for most of this time was limited to the tech-geek-laden IRC and our spendin’ cash went to books and booze not the cable company (or electric company for that matter; which made for some pretty miserable un-air conditioned Florida summers… but that’s a different story entirely).

Watching those shows on TV last night I was struck with how little I know about either. I mean, had something like Waco happened today… hell, whiny, obsessive bloggers like myself would be pissing our pants and stomping our feet within an hour of the initial report. And Tupac’s legacy was something, as an admitted music vampire, that I should have known at least a little bit about. But most modern hip-hop was simply off my radar for years.

It’s like I (and I’m sure plenty of others of the era) lived in this weird little bubble where my reality was entirely what I needed it to be. Information (both vital and trivial) from the world at large just didn’t always make it in. My more pressing concerns—after getting enough hours (but not too many) at work and endless stream of papers and exams—were blissfully self-centered. Buying records going to shows, chasing girls, scoring particular chemicals and on and on.

There’s a particular happiness in all that which I sincerely miss these days. But at the same time, there’s no way I would want to live in that kinda bubble again. That kinda one-way relationship with the world, it’s occurred to me, is how so many of the Bush faithful relate to their world today. That communication cutoff… that isolation of empathy… that apathy towards anything outside of that bubble…

My own disconnect was partially a product of the times (watch the news or buy a paper if you want your current events), and partially a product of my age (“there’s a time and a place for everything and it’s called college.”). It’s interesting to me, and probably only to me, to realize the sorts of things I missed. Things like Waco and Tupac. I could go on to try and make some belabored political point outta this but, naaa. This post has become long enough.

But speaking of disconnect and that little college town: my Gators came up big all weekend in the sports world. We eeeked one out over Tennessee in college ball and ex-Gator Rex Grossman dropped several bombs on the Lions in Chicago’s killer NFL home opener. Additionally, ex-Gator rookie, Chad Jackson, scored his first NFL touchdown for the New England Patriots. Not a bad weekend for this particular distraction.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

IRC Follies is apparently some kinda techie hangout humor site. I haven't spent much time poking around there, but I did find a collection of their favorite IRC conversation ha-ha's. (Internet Relay Chat is a text based chat and file swap forum that's apparently still around after nearly 15 years in existence.)

It's awfully goddamn funny. If you can deal with geek humor you'll find it even funnier.'s Top 100 Quotes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Eye vs. Eye

I've read a little bit about the documentary film Loose Change and its controversial attempts to shed light on the myriad of inconsistencies surrounding the attacks of 9/11 (aka the conspiracy theories). I've been meaning to see the film which is available to view for free on the internet--but haven't yet.

I've also been interested in a recent book that's been published by the editors of Heart Publications' Popular Mechanics magazine, Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts . They apparently take to debunking a cross-section of 9/11 alternative theories with a (surprise, surprise) scientific approach. I caught one the authors/editors on a Fox news segment recently. I felt that he, much like Fox News in general, was more interested in heaping condescending smugness down on the guy (name forgotten)representing the opposing viewpoint.

The Democracy Now! radio program recently hosted a debate between the two men behind the film and the two editors behind the book. Needless to say, it was tense.

For the same reasons I've wanted to both watch the film and read the book, I was drawn to the debate. While it wasn't necessarily disappointing, it wasn't particularly enlightening. But one glaring, shining fact hit me loud and clear; much like the spot on Fox, the Popular Mechanics debunking squad came armed with little more than condescending namecalling and smug poo-pooing sprinkled with the occasional rational rebuttal. While they may have thumped a handful of dents into the arguments of the "conspiracy theorists" (whom are likened to holocaust deniers at one particularly slimy point), they never manage to knock a hole a single one.

I've said it before and I'll repeat myself: While I don't necessarily believe any of the alternate 9/11 theories, it's become my position to give full shift to each and every one--from the wackiest to the more benign. I take this position because the only thing I'm damn sure of, the only thing that makes any sense at all, is that somewhere at some juncture the American public is being lied to; It's because, to paraphrase Michael Ruppert, we're given answers that don't answer and explanations that don't explain; It's because there's so much kept so hidden, that I reserve the right to call bullshit and to assert the possibility of even the wildest of 9/11 conspiracy claims.

As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the most potent weapons we've got against those that would have us hooked on their official party line.

Read the transcript of the debate: EXCLUSIVE...9/11 Debate: Loose Change Filmmakers vs. Popular Mechanics Editors of "Debunking 9/11 Myths"

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11/2001 - 9/11/2006

The following is a post I sent to an e-group of mine on the morning of September 12, 2001:

Damn, I've been beside myself for the last 30+ hours now. (and seeing as i ate mexican last night, it's not the best place to be).

This is just so massive a thing (in every corner of every aspect) that the best anyone can do is attempt scattershot commentary or accounts. It's just maddeningly massive in scope. As they keep saying in the news, i too get the feeling that for a number or reasons, nothing will ever be the same.

This is all really testing the bounds of my pacifism. There are some very ugly doors being opened in the wake of this, which i suppose is the surest sign of victory for the 'enemy'. Despite my befiefs [sic], i too feel that vibe, that populist tendency to want to burn and bomb afghanastan [sic] to the roots to find the fuckers responsible... This is a very scary time. Not just due to the acts themselves and what they reveal about airline security et. al., but the opertunity [sic]this state (of mind, of near-martial law) affords the jingoists, the militarists, the trigger-fingered, the racists, the whole massive, world-wide rush to judgement [sic] and thus punishment. The US public (understandably) seems to have given their blessings to the feds and this leaves us in some real pretty shit. As it stands, we have the backing and the sympathy of almost the entire world. One or a series of ill-advised or emotionally provoked retaliatory attacks can easily swing that balance. And as we learned from the archduke's assassination in the WWI pregame warmup, all it takes is a simple, little shifft in world-public opinion and we might just find ourselves in the crook of a full-scale, world war.

Here in Boston today, the city is nearly shut down if only because everyone is locked into tv coverage (the fuckers picked today to turn off my goddamned cable too). There is heavy police movement and presence as i drive around the much-less-than-normally crowded streets. As the New York attacks were based out of Boston (at least partially) the FBI is also a major presence here. In fact there was just a massive raid on a hotel here netting 3 suspects and a bunch of evidence. Or so we're told. Apparently, there is also a raid or two in Florida, which shouldn't surprise anyone on this list, because, hey, it's Florida.

For me one of the worst aspects of all this is the loss of the Police and Firefighters who all responded to the first crash. Watching the (very newly promoted) NY fire chief on tv last night you could read the utter dejection and despair in his eyes. And indeed he said "I don't know how we [as in the fire dept., but by association everyone] are ever gonna recover from this."


I also hope that nobody on the list had relatives, friends or associates in the affected areas.
and all you new yorkers, DC'ers and others, start taking photos or sound recordings or interviews...

Get out there and get YOUR point of view...
FUCK the news networks, FUCK the gov't info agencies...
They serve their purpose, but what the hell are these newsgroups for (or the whole internet for that matter) if not that?

Off the soap box,


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Heavy-Handed Quote of the Day

I’ve really been trying to get things a little lighter on here. At least a little. You gotta believe me. Alas… we’ve all got our own particular perversions. And apparently I’m inclined to run everyone’s attention span and patience into the ground with mine.

Nevertheless, folks from the four corners of the Earth have begun to converge on Chicago for the outrageously rockin’ Touch and Go Records 25th anniversary party. It promises to be, at the very least, mildly legendary… though, personally, I’m predicting full-blown insanity.

And with that, I’ll leave you with yet another product of my own perversion, a quote by Michael Ruppert of the From the Wilderness website and author of the book I’ve recently begun, “Crossing The Rubicon”:

“The interchangeability of the terms ‘corporation’ and ‘fascism’ has long been established by traditionally progressive critics who document the amazingly large scale of American corporate welfare and the impact of corporate lobbyists on public policy. This represents an institutionalized and ongoing attack on democracy, where the benefits of national wealth are privatized while the costs are socialized; the public pays for its own victimization through waste, fraud, and abuse; and the government sells to the highest bidder its capacity to protect the general population.”
For those about to rock, I salute, and welcome, you.

*UPDATE: An interesting coincidence to my Ruppert quote from Yahoo News today: False Flag Operations: Declassified Military Documents Show How US Government Planned Terrorist Attacks Against its Own Citizens

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh, The Depths To Which You'll Sink

As Joementum spirals downward, new allegations come out about Lieberman's White House connection. The "conservative" magazine, Insight, reveals a Rove-led effort to funnel millions of dollars through "major Republican donors" into Joe's doomed bid to secure the Democratic primary nomination.

Aint that a tad odd? The fellas at the very pinnacle of Republican power finding clandestine ways to get millions to a Democrat??? Something stinks to high hell here. And no one can figure out exactly what. At least one thing's obvious. Joe Lieberman is one dirty rat and oughta be treated as such by every Democrat in the nation whether he wins the mid-terms or not. What he's doing to his constituency, his party and his nation is inexcusable.

From the article:
A senior GOP source said the money was part of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove's strategy to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate in November. The source said Mr. Rove, together with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, directed leading pro-Bush contributors to donate millions of dollars to Mr. Lieberman's campaign for re-election in Connecticut in an attempt that he would be a "Republican-leaning" senator.

[...]The source said that under Mr. Rove's direction, the GOP has abandoned its Senate candidate in Connecticut, Alan Schlesinger, who has dropped to about five percent in the polls. Mr. Schlesinger has failed to win the support of any national Republican and has virtually no contact with the White House.

[...]The source said that under Mr. Rove's plan, Mr. Lieberman would vote with the GOP on national security issues and help provide the party with a 50-50 split on major legislation. The deciding vote would then be cast by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Read the entire nauseating article: GOP secretly channeled millions to Lieberman.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Case Study In Propaganda

President Bush made yet another daffy speech. This week it was to veterans in Salt Lake City that he touted the progress in Iraq, the promising economy, and a few more fictions-du-jour. As it happens, the mayor of SLC, Rocky Anderson, led a protest against Bush and the war. Pretty amazing considering the conservative nature of Utah. He was subsequently interviewed by both Fox News’ afternoon program and MSNBC’s Keith Olberman.

Watch the two Youtube clips of these interviews. Notice a little difference between the two? It’s been done to death, but this juxtaposition provides a simple take on the caustic mix of propaganda and inanity that passes for journalism over at Fox News.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Late Night Rock Out

*This is in no way a total rip off of the Crooks and Liars' "Late Nite Music Club." Really.

Since I'm once again ga-ga over The Jam--more their later stuff now--here's a great video. I wanna see some serious air guitar from you slobs.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Protesting Too Much

“Accuse your enemy of your own worst crimes.”

It’s a line from a brief missive called something like, “The Seven Strategies of a Hung Society.” A friend had it taped to a wall in his college apartment. I don’t know who wrote it or, really, even how accurate it is. I’ve Googled it to death and still get nowhere. But it’s a statement that’s stuck with me for whatever reason.

With all the talk coming from the GOP ranks in the last couple weeks about defeating “Islamic Fascism” the line has been especially stuck in my craw lately. Yea, it’s a blatant attempt at re-branding the “enemy,” but injecting a new buzzword into the American psyche takes the kind of finesse you see in multi-million dollar advertising campaigns or, say, a Karl Rove real politik blitz back in his good old days.

But for Rove, Bush, Rummy and the crew, the good ol’ days are long gone. The glass house they built on the graves of the 9/11 dead and furnished with the fear and fury stoked from a malleable American public has been shattered, likely beyond repair. So in increasing fits of desperation, these agents of the elite continue to toe the party line, presumably until it will be pried from their cold, dead hands. Like captains going down with their ships, they see themselves as the noble stewards of a federal (hell, global) ideology thwarted by any number of conspiring forces… blind always to the towering hubris and foolhardy arrogance that set them on their ultimately fatal course.

Manic propaganda and stage-managed catastrophes are the surest signs that the neocon ship is sinking. And as the water rises and the desperation mounts, captains and rats alike will turn to increasingly transparent tricks and tactics in their attempts to gain some kinda ground, a last gulp of air before the black, icy water pours in around them, up their noses, down their throats, sinking them into history’s abyss.

Stay on topic. Read the following.

R J Askew, "Islamic Fascism" - The Buzzword That Makes Us Weaker

Steve Soto, “Rummy: Opponents Are Appeasing Islamic Fascism, Morally Confused.”

Carpetbagger, “Rumsfeld loses it; will his party go along?”

John Amato, “Rumsfeld says war critics are Nazi appeasers.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Movable, If Soggy, Feast

One year anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina nightmare. Enough's been said about it for the last year and so much so today alone, so I'll keep this brief.

One year since the roof was ripped off America's dirty little secret. Race-based societal stratification lingers like a bloated corpse in a back alley-turned-oil-slicked-creek.

The Republican Neocon wet dream of breaking the back of the middle class would see us all as those hapless, helpless left-behinds in New Orleans or Mississippi--skin color be damned. They'd be content to worry about how they look on TV press conferences, how they appeared to be managing the situation. But when the cameras were turned off, they'd get busy cutting communication lines, turning around aid trucks and holding National Gaurd troops back at state lines with every intention of using the chaos and suffering to their political advantage. They did it. They'd do it again in a heartbeat.

In so many ways the Katrina aftermath was the beginning of the end for Bush and company. So many formerly middle-of-the-road-Americans would awake from the brain-deadening lies they'd been swallowing. So many would begin to understand what we've been saying all along. And now a year later, it seems only those with malfunctioned brains or those with something to gain are the only ones left believing in what the criminals and power-mad fascists in Washington have to say. They don't see the melding of the Federal and the Corporate, the erosion of the individual and the Rights inherent to them. They still don't care about the Neoconservative agenda, haven't read PNAC and could care less that their TV news oozes a toxic mix of misinformation and inanity. They continue to confuse patriotism for obedience, safety for fear, war for peace.

But their numbers are shrinking. And that fact alone should allow this grim anniversary to inspire us to continue fighting to make those numbers even fewer.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Congressional Election Nullified – Nobody Noticed

Been a busy work week here. That and the sun was in my eyes, the wind flared up, it's not in my job description, etc., etc....

Nonetheless, as our once-great Republic slips furthur into the abyss Americans of evry stripe smack the 'snooze' button and roll over for another fifteen minutes of z's. Thank God some New Zealanders are up early enough.

Congressional Election Nullified – Nobody Noticed
It appears the US media overlooked one of the great political stories of the year.

[...]On July 31, 2006, the Contestants filed an election contest, seeking a hand recount and to invalidate the election on several grounds, not only including the affirmative evidence of irregular results, but also including the stonewalling of citizen information requests and the pricing of recounts at an estimated $150,000 that made it difficult or impossible for any citizen to tell who won the election.

[...]Shortly after the last vote was cast, citizens discovered disturbing facts. Prior to Election Day, several poll workers had taken home voting machines for periods of a day to a week at a time without supervision or even consistent tracking procedures. Other irregularities like vote switching on touch screen machines emerged.

[...]So there you have it. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the United House of Representatives, called “the peoples’ House,” now has the authority to nullify elections simply by swearing in candidates and claiming federal privilege based on one narrow section of the constitution, while completing ignoring the others, including the one stating that members of the House shall be elected every two years “by the People,” and not selected in Washington DC. Once again, the country is faced with a Bush v. Gore style selection manufactured in Washington DC, and if only the people did not know which party benefited and which party was hurt by the selection, the country would be unanimous in denouncing this power grab.

Read the entire article... if your blood pressure can take it.

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Photo Post

Chicago's Air and Water Show, Sunday, August 20, 2006. The view from Belmont Harbor.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Two Strange Deaths in European Wiretapping Scandal

I'm off to ride my bike down to the lake and watch Chicago's air and water show. The Blue Angels and other inasane pilots pull stunts and make big noises. I love it. All week they've been buzzing the neighborhoods while they practice. The noise is intense. Windows rattle, car alarms go off. I run to the window like a little kid each time in hopes of seeing a heavily banking F-14 or whatever it is they're flying.

While I sipped my coffee this morning, I came across the following story. Positively hair-raising in a Philip K. Dick kinda paranoiac way. There's little doubt there's some evil fucks working clandestinely in this world. Which is exactly why I reserve the right to question the official line behind things like foiled terror plots and even 9/11.

From AlterNet:

European investigators are tracking the mysterious deaths of two security experts who had uncovered extensive spyware in their telecommunications firms.

[...]The first Italian press reports after Bove's death said the 42-year-old had committed suicide. Bove, according to unnamed sources, was depressed about his imminent indictment by Milan prosecutors. But prosecutors immediately, and uncharacteristically, set the record straight: Bove was not a target; in fact, he was prosecutors' chief source. Bove, prosecutors said, was helping them investigate his own bosses, who were orchestrating an illegal wiretapping bureau and the destruction of incriminating digital evidence.

[...]About 16 months earlier, in March of 2005, Costas Tsalikidis, a 38-year-old software engineer for Vodaphone in Greece had just discovered a highly sophisticated bug embedded in the company's mobile network. The spyware eavesdropped on the prime minister's and other top officials' cell phone calls; it even monitored the car phone of Greece's secret service chief. Others bugged included civil rights activists, the head of Greece's "Stop the War" coalition, journalists and Arab businessmen based in Athens.
Read the article: Two Strange Deaths in European Wiretapping Scandal.

(Via Crooks and Liars.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Fatal Flaws of the Arrogant GOP

For those who have yet to hear the story, a brief synopsis:

Virginia Senator George Allen called out a rival's campaign worker, who was filming Allen's speech, to a collection of prospective donors and local GOP personalities. The filming is common practice, nothing out of the ordinary. The filmer, however, happened to be an American-born young man of Indian descent.

In his speech Allen ad libbed a few mocking references to the filmer much to the delight of the assembled crowd. While not a particularly couth political move, and certainly a grossly impolite one, the ad lib was nothing too shocking in and of itself. The hitch was, however, in what Allen said. He twice referred to the young, dark-skinned staffer as a "Macacca," a derogatory term for Algerians and North Africans in general used mainly by the French--though the term's apparently thrown around in racist circles here in the states form time to time.

Allen first claimed that he was referring to the young man's "mohawk" haircut, despite the fact that he wasn't wearing his hair as such. The Allen camp then claimed he simply didn't know what the word that came out of his mouth was. He later offered an odd non-apology, explaining that he simply "made up a nickname for the cameraman." The trouble is, Allen's mother is an anglo French-Algerian. Allen himself has spent time in the region and is a fluent French speaker. There's little doubt that he'd come across the slur on plenty of occasions in his lifetime.

Watch the video of the speech on You Tube.
Read a bit more on the controversy in this WaPo article.

Senator Allen's lame excuses and non-apology aside, a very telling moment comes amid the slurs. Notice the crowd reaction. Despite Allen confessing he didn't know what the word meant and that he simply made it up, they all seem to know exactly what he meant by it. Is it a staple of Virginian white male name-calling or are they just caught up in the politics of the moment? Who knows. Neither option is particularly flattering.

The following commentary is text I originally posted this afternoon on a blog stite that discussed the scandal:
The bottom line is that the guy stood in front of a group of 99% like-minded people and called the one non-white guy in the room a monkey. Nearly the whole place ate it up.

It bears repeating: a GOP senator called a non-white person a monkey. In order to demean the kid and make himself look better, bigger in the eyes of his constituency... whatever.

As a dumb teenager, I spent an uncomfortable amount of time around white power skinhead types. This is their stock in trade. A friend at the time enjoyed telephoning the local KKK recorded message line. It was usually wacky, silly tripe that made us roll with laughter. But, again, the non-white as monkey derision was common verbiage.

Allen's use of the phrase reveals everything we need to know about his soul. He's as hate-filled and bigoted as any dim-witted neo-nazi skinhead or south-will-rise-again Klan member.

Those with any activist inclinations need to keep this story alive to expose this scumbag for what he is and, with any luck, to out those of similar political stripes. They'd also be well advised not pass up any chance to tie this whole issue to the GOP in general. Make THEM answer for it as well. A tactic similar to how the gaffes of progressives are strung around the neck of every Democrat in the nation.

And finally, don't miss this WaPo article on "maverick" senator John McCain's swift attempt to come to put a stop to the political hemorrhaging.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

3 More In That Vein

What a week, huh? Endless terrorizing of the public at large. And one by one, the boogeymen up and vanish into thin air. It should be obvious by now. There are those that want to keep us afraid. Keep us cowering. For their own twisted reasons.

The latest via What Really Happened:

1) No Plot To Bomb Bridge, FBI Says - A day after saying it was investigating a possible plot by three men to blow up the Mackinac Bridge, federal officials now say the men have no link to terrorism and there is no plot.

2) Terror Charge Dropped in Cell Phone Case - Ali Houssaiky and Osama Sabhi Abulhassan, both of Dearborn, Mich., headed home from jail Tuesday after prosecutors in southeast Ohio dropped the terror charges, saying they couldn't prove a terrorism link.

3) Prescott lets slip that some suspects won't face serious charges - John Prescott let slip yesterday that some of the 24 people arrested last week over the alleged transatlantic terror plot will not face serious charges.

In Keeping With This Week's Theme

Read, FBI says, ‘No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11' by Paul V. Sheridan on the Ithica Journal's website. Just read it.

The Muckraker Report contacted the FBI headquarters on June 6 to learn why their bin Laden's Most Wanted poster did not indicate that Osama was also wanted in connection with 9/11. The Muckraker Report spoke with Rex Tomb, chief of investigative publicity for the FBI. When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on the Bin Laden's Most Wanted Web page, Tomb said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama Bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”

(Via The Existentialist Cowboy.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Expert Analysis of the Latest "Next 9-11"

UK's Craig Murray, ex-diplomat and human rights watchdog, has an analysis that fits all the parts together. It's the most rational look yet at what's sure to be another non-event in the patented "War on Terror."

From the report:
So this, I believe, is the true story.

None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

[...]Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance.

Read the article: The UK Terror plot: what's really going on?

More Surprises... Surprised?

A bit of a roundup of the recent revelations (major and minor) in the British air terror scare and that niggling war between Lebanon and Israel. Culled almost entirely from the great

The Gadflyer takes a moment to reflect on how the American left might sound had they any balls:
"As we've been saying for five years, describing the campaign against anti-American terror groups as a 'war' is as accurate as calling it an armadillo [...] We'd be winning that argument if we had made it from the the beginning. And winning that argument would have meant winning arguments about torture, illegal domestic surveillance and Bush's powers as Commander-in-Chief. It all started when so many of us bought into the rhetorical war."

The Tattered Coat has more about Bush's rushing and pumping up of the British boom-boom flyboy bust.

The World Socialist Website nails the complicit American media:

"No details of the supposed plot have been provided, and no hard evidence that would justify the arrest of so many people or the imposition of chilling security measures that had wreaked havoc at airports in the US and Britain [...] The lack of facts has not prevented the mainstream media, especially in the US, from uncritically accepting the official claims and embellishing them with commentaries by “terrorist experts” about Al Qaeda connections, home-grown terrorist cells and similar hypotheses, all of which are calculated to create a climate of fear and intimidation."

And of course Counterpuch is on task with Christopher Reed's London Fog:

"We await the release of more facts about the 21 (or 23, or 24) young men and one (or two) young women who intended to blow up in mid-air nine (or 10 or 12) transatlantic airplanes "soon" or in the "next few days" or just "imminently". The two-score young Muslim Brits allegedly were preparing liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks, but actually nitroglycerin (or nitormethane, or triacetone triperoxide). However, one of these was so unstable it was likely to fail (as it did in another plot) or smelled so pungent a patrol dog would sniff it at half a mile, or was "almost impossible" to mix on an airplane."

Brasscheck gives us a video collection of the growing series of bogus terror plots as told to us by our government and inflated by our their media.

Seymour Hersh digs up some serious dirt on America's involvement in Israel's "response" to Hezbolla's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers. As it happens, our fearless leaders were intimately involved in the planning and execution of the murder of the thousand-some innocent men, women and children. I guess we had to share what we learned in Iraq with somebody, eh?

"President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli
Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah's heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel's security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American premptiveive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground."

Hersh is interviewed on the article by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman and by CNN's Wolf Blitzer (scroll to the end of the segment). And the White House swiftly, stiffly responds.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

I had a feeling this whole thing stank too good. Enter the latest revelations via

Mere days after the increasingly desperate Bush surrogate Dick “Dick”
Cheney called half the Democrats in Connecticut “Al Qaeda types”—oh-so-conveniently just before the extremely non-political “liquid explosives” terror alert story broke—it turns out that Al Qaeda has nothing to do with the liquid explosives plot at all.

And then there's this gem about how Bushco muscled their way into the Brits' program to pump up this latest "terror" bust: U.S., U.K. at odds over timing of arrests:

British wanted to continue surveillance on terror suspects, official says. NBC News has learned that U.S. and British authorities had a significant disagreement over when to move in on the suspects in the alleged plot to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States.

A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

(Via Crooks & Liars.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Postcard From Gainesville

Thank the gods. Football season has begun. And not a moment too soon. My Boston Red Sox are falling apart and I'll be unable to stomach any more baseball if their latest stumble proves fatal to any postseason bid.

My three NFL teams (Pats, Bucs, Bears) are all looking questionable, but, as they say, at this point in the season everyone's a contender. And there's plenty more stories around the leaue to keep things interesting should my guys flounder. The rebuilt Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals will be fascinating to watch. And what about Manning v. Manning? TO in Dallas? And how many rebuilt, bionic QB's are on the comeback trail? Too much fun.

College ball is also gearing up and my Gators are pre-ranked eighth in the nation. While it was beyond exciting to watch coach Urban Meyer secure possibly the greatest recruiting class in UF history, the unhappy truth is that we'll have to wait till next year for that particular fruit to ripen. For the most part. There are, though, a few rookies who look to be 1st teamers and perhaps even difference makers. It's beginning to look a lot like fall.

Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn gives us a great look at the Gator preseason.

You and Me and Everyone We Know

A sovereign nation has the right to defend herself, eh? So long as the war profiteers have a right to rake in the cash, I guess. All this murder in the middle east is making some people a helluva lot of money.

Israel Asks U.S. to Ship Rockets With Wide Blast

Israel has asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions, which it could use to strike Hezbollah missile sites in Lebanon, two American officials said Thursday...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What's The Haps?

So what’s been the haps this week?

While Republican in Sheep’s clothing, Joe Lieberman was busy getting served by a nobody in Connecticut Democratic primary, Israel massively stepped up it’s invasion of Lebanon. Apparently unfazed by the growing numbers of dead children and innocents. But to what end is this madness for?

Speaking of the Connecticut primary, it seems ol’ Joe will jolt from party that he couldn’t win and become an independent. Sez Joe of his rationale for leave the party to become an independent, “…I cannot and will not let [the primary]result stand.” It’s a really wonderful peek at what democracy actually means to these wicked bastards. What a disgrace. No word yet from Joe’s camp on whether they plan on taking up Karl Rove's offer to help the Lieberman campaign in November.

Even before the news of the thwarted British airliner plot this morning, I was gonna thrown a some text and a link to a report from a 2004 issue of Regulation magazine by Ohio State University’s John Mueller titled, A False Sense of Insecurity. It succinctly lays out an approach for a more rational approach to dealing with the threats posed by terrorist organizations. It also makes some sterling commentary as to some instances where our leaders have used our fear of terrorism to their own advantage.

I hesitated to put it on here this afternoon, but upon reading it again, I feel it’s more appropriate than ever. Passages like the following illustrate his point quite well:

What is needed, as one statistician suggests, is some sort of convincing, coherent, informed, and nuanced answer to a central question: “How worried should I be?” Instead, the message the nation has received so far is, as a Homeland Security official put (or caricatured) it, “Be scared; be very, very scared — but go on with your lives.”


As [risk analyst David] Banks puts it, “If terrorists force us to redirect resources away from sensible programs and future growth in order to pursue unachievable but politically popular levels of domestic security, then they have won an important victory that mortgages our future.”

The article comes highly recommended and in the midst of today’s international panic regarding terrorist plotting, it’s truly essential reading.

That is, if you believe the thwarted plot was in fact real…which I, in fact, do not. See, not only has every single red-flag, panic-button busted terrorist scenario been massively overblown by the media, but nearly all have had some level of governmental complicity in their stages of cooking. Whether it’s a placed informant being the actual mastermind of a group of half-assed day-dreamers (as the already forgotten Miami-Chicago terror bust last month turned out to be), or completely fabricated terror scares like at LAX last year, or the endless, unsubstantiated “chatter” rumor dwelling--these incidents are almost entirely fake or the product of paranoia and fear feeding off themselves in some kinda Satanic echo chamber.

In any event, I choose not to buy this bullshit. Not to buy whatever it is these inhuman manipulators are selling. And once that choice is made, I am truly free. Free to look into the abyss and judge for myself. Maybe I’ll conclude, once the “evidence” is in, that today’s near-miss was indeed legit, a skin-of-our-teeth bullet dodge. Who knows. But at least it’ll be my decision, not the government’s or the media’s.

No-Doz Or No-Duh's?

Summer hours gave way to mourning hours this week. As life here on our fortified Chicago compound becomes the new kinda normal that it’ll be from now on, all hell seems to have broken loose in every corner of the globe. Jeez. I turn my back for five minutes and suddenly we’re on the brink of WWIII. Better fire up the coffee, chill the red bull, portion out the no-doz, it looks like I’ve got some catching up to do.

Monday, August 07, 2006

An Awful Silence

"No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich" - Louis Saban

Early Sunday morning, we became immeasurably poorer. Our home, our lives have never felt so empty before. Our hearts are broken.

Yea, it ended her suffering. Yea, it was her time. Yea, we're honored for knowing her. Yea, she made our lives so much more happy. And yea, every day it's gonna hurt a little less. But right now there's too much sadness in discovering all the small things there are in the day that this funny little dog played some role in. Now weird little vacancies. All too many.

Goodbye Molly.

1993 - 2006

Friday, August 04, 2006

Israel Takes A Page From Bush's Playbook

The Existentialist Cowboy's got a rundown of what's shaping up to be a scandal of historical porportions. From his article:

Big brother media got it wrong again! Almost universally ignored is the mounting evidence that the two Israeli soldiers were not kidnapped; they were captured inside Lebanon. [See Forbes: Israeli soldiers were captured —not "kidnapped"]
The implications are enormous. If true, then Israel is guilty of aggression —a war crime! Moreover, Israel lied! The war crime of "aggression" is in addition to crimes associated with Israel's deliberate targeting of civilians.

Concurrently the human rights group —Human Rights Watch —has accused Israel of war crimes in connection with what it calls "...indiscriminate attacks against civilians." The new report refutes Israeli claims that Hezbollah uses civilians as human shields and states flatly that the claims are false. Previously, Human Rights Watch addressed Hezbollah conduct and condemned attacks on civilian areas.

Read the rest: "Israeli soldiers were captured —not 'kidnapped'".

"But what about their motives," you say. Well, perhaps, It's about annexation, stupid!

Things To Do In Chicago With An Almost Broken Heart

Sorry 'bout the summer hours on here this week. It's been a soundly bad week. The family pooch seems to be on her last legs and we're left with the heartbreaking decision of keeping her medicated and miserable or putting her down. The thirteen year old pup's been Mrs. Delano III's buddy for exactly half her life. The sadness has been palpable at our fortified Chicago compound this week. My multiple lesser grievances were just shit icing on that crap cake.

So, I'll be looking for some laughs this weekend. Or at least some good, non-festival rock music. If you're in Chicago, come out with me the see Warhammer 48k at Heaven Gallery tonight. (Quick description by comparison: think Unwound & Drive Like Jehu & Rein Sanction & Melvins played by kids barely out of high school, shockingly enough.) I'll be up for any other suggestions if anyone's got 'em.

Here's the text of a Warhammer 48k album review on a web site from their native Columbia, MO:

Warhammer 48k: Uber Om

If you know anything about Columbia music, you’re in high anticipation of this record. Brilliantly recorded in Olympia, Wash., by eager-for-work Unwound bassist Vern Rumsey (no shit!), Warhammer 48k lets everything fly on Uber Om and in only six songs.

Pain will shoot through your arm as you pull it out of the wall while listening to the opening track “Get Bodacious.” It’ll probably bleed a bunch, too, but don’t let any sudden blood pressure changes detract from your ability to catch both channels of pummeling guitars.
Warhammer lets loose its stoner grind on “Haunted Abortion” by slowing the pace and unleashing the furious guitars only to thrust itself back into full-speed metal and then fade into a bath of noise.

The band pulls back from the adrenaline rush for “Total Eclipse,” an at-first gentle ballad that’ll whisk listeners into an enlightened (read: stoned) bliss with its nimble bass line and simple string arrangement, all of which is torn to shreds by the song’s final pounding minutes, which are laced with devilish vocals.

“Do You Need Help Walking” is the release’s eight-minute cornerstone with guitars that’ll batter you senseless and the most demonic vocal moments out of this primarily instrumental group of songs.

These six tracks are the best body of work to come out of Columbia since The One Inch Punch dropped Horsehead Nebula last year. Is it any wonder why the guys in Warhammer were called Satanists when they played in Lexington, Ky., at a church? Is it just a coincidence the last track is four minutes and 20 seconds long? Is it surprising that the content of the band’s tour journal, published in a November 2004 issue of Move magazine, had to be heavily censored? Is it reasonable to not love this music? I think not.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Ask A Religious Nut

Curious as to how the sickening tumult in Lebanon and Israel can be made even more sickening? Why not ask a religious nut? Media Matters has a run-down on both the perverts publicly frothing at the mouth for biblical Armageddon and the tv news folk that love them. Send in the clowns.

Beirut Confidential

This is a great article on the madness in Lebanon and Israel by rock star chef and "Kitchen Confidential" author Anthony Bourdain. He was there to do a tv special on, what else, the cuisine of the newly resurgent country. But like everything else in the region, it's fucked now. His documentation of the the war's outbreak makes for a unique take on the affair. And incidentally, the main pic for the article is from none other than the intrepid Stephanie Sinclair.

From the article (link follows):
Everything had begun so beautifully. Our fixer, Lena, was bursting with enthusiasm when she met us at the airport. After months of preproduction, finally we were here! Finally, the American television crew had arrived -- to show the world how beautiful her country was, how lovingly restored, how hip and forward thinking in the years since the bloody civil war. On the first day of filming, we'd had a sensational early lunch of hummus, kibbe, stewed lamb and yogurt at Le Chef, a local, family-style joint in a charming neighborhood. The customers at the tables around us in the tiny, worn-looking dining area chattered away in Arabic, French and English. Stomachs full, my crew and I headed over to Martyr's Square and the Rafik Hariri memorial; a few blocks away, our fixer and friends pointing out old scars and new construction, trying to explain how much Beirut and Lebanon had changed since the man's death in 2005. They spoke effusively of the calm, the peace, the relative tolerance that had followed the galvanizing effects of Hariri's assassination.

Read "Watching Beirut Die."
*Update - Read an email Q&A with Bourdain at the Washington Post.