Saturday, December 30, 2006

Grand Canyon and creationism

It's official, the Bush administration is living in Fairy-Tale Land. Nobody cares much where you worship but people draw the line at myth being passed off by the government as fact. Science, one of our most civilized accomplishments as humans, and of which God, if there is one, would surely be proud of us for, must not be supressed in the public and educational arena. It is science that is going to save us from global warming, industrial pollution, nuclear waste, and rampant mutant bacteria. Trying to force myths and stories down our throats as fact will do nothing but make things worse, and it appears BushCo supports this practice as some kind of diversionary tactic. The BushCo bullshit machine is continuing its policy of spreading lies and insane policy throughout the federal government, in this case at the Grand Canyon.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is publicizing the fact that federal workers at the Grand Canyon are not allowed to state the age of the canyon. Morons appointed by BushCo supporting the right wing Christian agenda also won't allow the canyon bookstore to sell books about geology, while allowing the sale the sale of just one new book, a book stating the Grand Canyon was created in the same flood that Noah got mixed up in. A pamphlet written for Park Service interpretive rangers detailing how to discuss the difference between science and religion was also supressed by BushCo over the past four years.

Now, this is in a U.S. national monument, here, land stewarded by the federal government, and last time I looked our government has a pretty strong policy about separation of church and state.

Apparently that doesn't really matter to BushCo, who, with this action and many, many others like it, is promoting a very false view of reality. I suppose this is because the only people who support Bush and his henchman, besides those who would gleefully dig up the Grand Canyon to mine copper, are fucking gullible morons who believe whatever they're told and who're too subsumed with guilt to distinguish between myths and stories versus reality.

In the TV culture-age marketers tell us that if a lie is hammered home again again and again people will eventually come to believe it and support it. Like the idea that McDonald's serves food, for example, or the idea that sending the best and bravest and brightest folks in the U.S. military to Iraq was somehow necessary.

In a further demonstration of BushCo standard operating tactics, the huge uproar over the bookstore policy and the creationist book being passed off as science, and the supression of actual scientific books, was quelled by an empty promise to "review" the moronic fake-science book about a supposed biblical origin of the Grand Canyon. A Freedom of Information Act request by PEER revealed BushCo standard operating procedure: lie, redirect attention, and keep on doing stupid shit. From the press release of 12/28 published on PEER's website:
In August 2003, Park Superintendent Joe Alston attempted to block the sale at park bookstores of Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail, a book claiming the Canyon developed on a biblical rather than an evolutionary time scale. NPS Headquarters, however, intervened and overruled Alston. To quiet the resulting furor, NPS Chief of Communications David Barna told reporters and members of Congress that there would be a high-level policy review of the issue.

According to a recent NPS response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PEER, no such review was ever requested, let alone conducted or completed.

Pitiful, eh? Don't let's tolerate this kind crap in the government that represents us.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Weakening organic standards

The USDA has an organic advisory board which is being packed with representatives from large industrial agribusiness concerns. The board is in a position to define what the word "organic" means, as far as what practices are observed to eliminate pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, and other chemicals and poisons from the food we eat. Read about the current state of the board here in the article by Megan Tady of the New Standard.

Presumably, this article also functions as a good indicator of the state of the USDA during the Bush regime. In other words, the USDA functions to represents big business rather than to keep food supplies safe, and agriculture renewable and sustainable.

I don't know why it is but since we've had that psychopathic moron Bush in office, there has been this idea stated over and over again that these huge businesses that control so many things can be trusted with our food supply, our economy, our infrastructure. It was bad enough under Clinton, there was NAFTA, and a lot of creepy pro-megabusiness things going on. But now, given the evidence of so much greed and corruption (Haliburton comes to mind- read up on the scandals surrounding its stake in the Iraq boondoggle), it is particularly unwise and devastating to continue to allow foxes to guard our henhouses.

The Organic Consumers Association is grass roots non-profit that works, among other healty, vital things, to keep the meaning of the word organic from changing into something the mega-corporations can throw around in an attempt at short term gain and smashing competition from smaller farms.

If huge corporations had their way, our entire food supply would be nothing but tasteless poison. You can easily taste the difference between vegetables and meat grown in corporate conditions versus those grown in a truly natural setting. Places like McDonalds have to infuse their food with flavor agents to make it even taste like food. Read Fast Food Nation for a chilling, well researched and packed-with evidence report on routine agribusiness practices. I heard the movie was not that good- but the book showed the journalistic talent of the San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Eric Schlosser, who wrote it. I have not spent a dime at McDonald's or the like since, except for the time I saw a movie with a coworker who needed to have coffee and cookies after.

Organic farmers have an eye toward a healthy end product, without the wake of environmental and economic destruction left by mega-agribusiness. Tune in and think. Read up. And think what happens when our food supply consists of frankencrops and animals not even given the dignity due to living things. We parish, that's what. We can't survive eating poison and shit, and that's what the mega-corporations like Con Agra and the like feed us- it's well-documented, and with the money these folks are making (that's right, at the heart of all this nasty stuff is people, not some robot like corporate entity, but people, very very rich people) it is best for them to invest some in changing their ways of doing business so that our one-and-only planet, and our one-and-only community are sustained in a healthy manner.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Viewing a hardon from space

This is classic, apparently, according to this story in UPI, schoolboys painted a giant dick on the roof of the Yarms school in STOCKTON-ON-TEES, England. The penis could be seen from space and made it to the venerable Google Earth.

Hint, if you read the news story: In Britain, "Willy" means "dick."

Apparently, they also burned a big dick into the grass.

Let's hear it for dick from space!! I always knew dicks from space could be seen as important, and I've always sensed Google Earth could be used for something humorous, or at least a venue for the interstellar transmission of some kind of fertility symbol.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pacifica radio network and digital preservation

Pacifica radio was where I discovered jazz when I was a kid. WPFW in Washington, D.C. did a lot to lift me and my buddies out of the 70's doldrums.

It turns out Pacifica is a lot older than that, having been there during the civil rights movement, the times of the Beat generation and much more. Not only did they broadcast a significant portion of culturally vital events, they also recorded them.

Digital preservation is a way to stay in touch with heritage, the different cultures we all come from, and culture we all, to one degree or another, share. In this article in Raw Story, the story is on how Pacifica is looking to spread the word and collaborate to preserve our heritage, and the voices who have let us all benefit from, and demand a true freedom.

In the library/computer geek world it's called LOCKSS, "lots of copies keep stuff safe." Work is involved, cooperation is involved, and, these days, unfortunately, having courage to stand up against copyright paranoia and culturally repressive trends is also involved. Tune in to a Pacifica radio station today. Delve into heritage, and history, and the voices and ideas that make our country great.

Info can be had about, and donations can be made to, the Pacifica Radio Archive here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

real bread

I knew there was something missing from Wonder Bread. Always have. I grew up on whole wheat, black bread, pumpernickel. When I was young we drank beer like Schlitz and Coors, but always respected zesty beer with body, like Molson Ale. Then when the microbrew revolution hit, we knew for sure beer had kind of lost its life-force through being brewed in the same old usual way w/ boring and lackluster varieties of hops and grains, as the microbreweries zipped up the taste and body of beer with fancy old fashioned hops and grains and yeast.

This story in the San Francisco Chronicle details grain as it used to be vs. grain as it is now. It reminds me of the beer Anchor Steam used to brew, based on a recipe found on Sumerian tablets from thousands of years ago.
A story of wild wheat seeds that began 10,000 years ago with Neolithic hunter-gatherers who harvested them on the shores of the Mediterranean sea is continuing today in California, a tale that underscores the new era of modern genomics.

The Stone Age people used wild wheat seed to bake their bread long, long ago, and now the seeds from current generations of wild wheat growing in Israel have yielded the gene that scientists at UC Davis are crossbreeding into modern wheat plants to increase their nutrients for an undernourished world.

Through many centuries of domestication by farmers and plant breeders, the wheat found in today's breads lost some of the vital protein and minerals, such as iron and zinc, that the genes in the ancient wild seeds carried. After cloning the major gene for those nutrients from current wild wheat, the UC Davis scientists have bred them back into new wheat strains without the need for more controversial genetic engineering.
For more information about gardening as it used to be, see the Native Seeds Search website. Native Seed Search has, among all kinds of other cool stuff, a seedbank where you can buy actual, not cloned, ancient varieties of chilis, beans, peas, melons, gourds, corn, even tobacco.

Skeptical? Try what is known as an heirloom tomato. Compare it to a regular tomato you buy at Safeway or Alberston's.

The same thing keeps happening again and again. "Am I losing my taste or does this bacon have no flavor?" my 80-something mom said when we were cooking Thanksgiving dinner. "The bacon has no flavor Mom," I said, crunching into a strip of the tasteless pseudo-meat. Try the organic stuff, i.e. bacon from farm where they don't dose their animals on poison, let them have some sun and fresh air. Similarly, in the book Fast Food Nation, you see the story of how McDonalds and the like have to douse their food w/ chemical flavor agents, so that their product smells and tastes like food rather than the lifeless industrial end-product filler that it is.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Respect : Activism is not a dirty word

More on the use of cameras by ordinary citizens to document the abuse of of police power:

My main points:

Police work is tough, it is necessary, and police deserve our respect. They are public servants. According to an 84 year old civil rights lawyer whose lecture I attended a couple years ago, police start out idealistic, with the goal of service in mind. It is common for what can be described as psychological problems to occur after a few years on the job. Police become jaded and burned out dealing with the worst, most troublesome and dangerous element of the human species. After a while they may begin to identify anyone they come in contact with on the job with that element. Rights can be violated, power mis-handled, etcetera.

Us civilians do not have to put up with that, even in the paranoid social climate the Bush administration has helped create. It is our duty to not put up with abuse of police power.

That is why we are seeing more news stories about people whipping out the ubiquitous cell phone camera and filming police when police start making mincemeat of people. You have to be brave to do so, but humans are a brave species and we have instincts to take care of each other, keep each other in line, help each other out. Everyone benefits: "Hey! You're losin' it! Back down, you're losing sight of your humanity."

Here is another news story about this topic which describes the phenomena of police overreaction, citizen documentation and organization. The story quotes activists, police leaders, and ACLU folk.
"This police department was a cowboy department, a department that was very quick on the trigger and it is hard to root out those practices from the past. That's why the cameras are important," Ripston said.

"If the police were not overreacting there would be no photographs to take."

Friday, November 17, 2006

UCLA: Police power gone wild

In this story in the UCLA Daily Bruin you can read the sad tale of a student library user grabbed and tasered by police officers for the amazing crime of not identifying himself. Wow. Judge, jury and executioner in the library! Quoting from the article,
"At around 11:30 p.m., CSOs asked a male student using a computer in the back of the room to leave when he was unable to produce a BruinCard during a random check. The student did not exit the building immediately.

The CSOs left, returning minutes later, and police officers arrived to escort the student out. By this time the student had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack when an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, at which point the student told the officer to let him go. A second officer then approached the student as well.

The student began to yell "get off me," repeating himself several times.

It was at this point that the officers shot the student with a Taser for the first time, causing him to fall to the floor and cry out in pain. The student also told the officers he had a medical condition.

UCPD officers confirmed that the man involved in the incident was a student, but did not give a name or any additional information about his identity.

Video shot from a student's camera phone captured the student yelling, "Here's your Patriot Act, here's your fucking abuse of power," while he struggled with the officers.

As the student was screaming, UCPD officers repeatedly told him to stand up and said "stop fighting us." The student did not stand up as the officers requested and they shot him with the Taser at least once more.

"It was the most disgusting and vile act I had ever seen in my life," said David Remesnitsky, a 2006 UCLA alumnus who witnessed the incident.

As the student and the officers were struggling, bystanders repeatedly asked the police officers to stop, and at one point officers told the gathered crowd to stand back and threatened to use a Taser on anyone who got too close.
So, not only did the police zap the hell out of the poor student library user, they threatened onlookers who complained about the obvious abuse of police power, the trampling of civil rights- last time I looked, the Constitution is pretty strong on the issue of not being subjected to military force for not having an ID in a fucking library, for yelling "get off me," for not standing up again after they zap you with how-many-fucking-thousand volts of electricity.

But there are a lot more citizens than police. The fact that everybody is carrying a movie camera these days- the cell phone- makes it easy, if you're brave enough to withstand police threats, to document such abuses. Here is the link to the Youtube posting. As I've said before, true police will be shocked at this behavior. True police work to help us, protect us, not kick us around.

This is the second recent incident where people started crying stormtrooper, or gestapo, at military-style police tactics used in civilian settings, and got hauled off, humiliated, terrified, and not charged with a crime. Here in Tucson, an artfest hosted by a lovely Tucson sculptor at a guest ranch in the desert was raided by insane-acting sheriffs deputies. The incident was covered by the local Weekly, treated with kid-gloves in the major daily. Last I heard the deputy who was frothing at the mouth at the gathering of artists, families, senior citizens and aging blues-rock musicians was in deep trouble over his actions and demeanor.

The point is police are supposed to serve us, not define us as instant threats whenever we don't show ID, question them, or gather at a peaceful arts-fest. It's up to us to remind the government that police serve us, not the government.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Darwin appears on tree branch

Now if there was ever a sign from God this is it, and it appears to be directed toward moron fundamentalist "christians" of the sort who don't believe in dinosaurs, think Halloween's evil, get upset at Harry Potter books, and push blind anti-science creationism curriculum in schools.

What I love about this story is the language used by the person who saw the Darwin apparition:
"I got up this morning, and looked out the window I look out for hours every day. I looked up at the birdfeeder to the spot where a limb was chopped off and saw Charles Darwin."

Yes I read about it on the loveable Boing Boing.

Motorhead sponsoring kid soccer team

Now who ever said these guys didn't care about the community. The soccer coach in the UK Guardian article I stumbled across says he was hoping Motorhead's sponsorship, team uniforms w/ Motorhead's logo, and blasting "Ace of Spades" as the kids take the field would boost performance.

Now that is really nice. It's just that you'd usually expect a local dentist or hardware store owner to sponsor a soccer team, not the rowdiest rock and roll band of all time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tucson police accidentally leave explosives under elementary school desk

Here's another post about the t*rr*rism mentality gone wild, and local law enforcement getting emboldened & overstepping its bounds.

According to this article in the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson police were conducting bomb-search training at an elementary school. Not only is this stupid and insane, but they left explosives under a student's desk! Now that's crazy and whoever even had the idea about exposing an elementary school to bomb-search training, bringing in live explosives, euphamistically referred to as a "training aid" in the article, should not be in that line of work.

It just reeks of paranoia, and police overrunning the state, gone mad trying to root out imaginary terrorists hiding behind every tree.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jail4Judges & politcal strategy

I call it bull-shit. Want to be nice? Call it "cleverly crafted argumentative rhetoric"

The term "activist judge" just means a judge who does not work to uphold radical right-wing policy- social oppressiveness, throwing more people in jail for no reason, the loss of civil rights, and racist, homophobic, xenophobic or misogynist policy.

Strangely enough the true activist judges are the right wing zealots BushCo has worked to pack the U.S. Circuit Courts with.

This story in the Houston Chronicle talks about a crucial issue in the right wing takeover attempt, what Sandra Day O'Connor refers to as the loss of judicial independence.

There were ballot measures, they all failed thank goodness, that would have done things like send judges to jail or have them fired when they don't what people want- what right wing morons want, actually.
"Such proposals reflect a political strategy," said University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephen B. Burbank. "If voters are persuaded to see judges as representing constituents or policies rather than simply interpreting the law, it will be easier to pass laws limiting their independence," he said.
I like the professor's analysis here. The key word is persuade.

The so-called conservatives, the manipulators among them anyway, the ones with loudest mouths, always come up with worrisome-sounding arguments- hippies, weirdos, gays, liberals, are taking over the world, etc. People who don't go to your church are taking over somehow. Then, as the supposed agent of this vague danger, the "conservatives" conveniently point their finger at whoever's not towing the ultraright party line. It often involves misleading terminology, or a term whose meaning is used in a new, manufactured, purposeful sense, for example liberal, secular humanst, activist judge, etc.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A sigh of relief, but...

It's easy to feel some comfort after the events of last night, but the "Republicans," or whoever it is that's been fucking us over for so long, are really pissed now. I keep picturing them seething, like termites, sending out wave after wave of h*mel*nd security "experts" to "keep us safe." This is a regime that is terrified of its own people and has caused us all considerable harm- harm in terms of the economy, the destruction and poisoning of the environment, and the erosion of the law. Let's not forget that they still have an enormous spying network set up, they still have the wherewithal to classify dissidents, critics, protesters, anybody, as t*err*rists, that this is the regime that can't win an election w/o cheating, has demonstrated enormous incompetence as well as disregard for its own people in the face of natural disasters and national defense, and sponsored an enormous network of lies and slippery rhetorical half-truths in order to support itself. Let us not forget that the constitution has been systematically dismantled, and legal foundations going back thousands of years in civilization have been for the most part destroyed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Men with guns at the Polls in Arizona

See this AZ Daily Star article for a kid-gloves treatment of what is happening here on the Southside, the side of Tucson where most people speak (gasp) Spanish. We would be doing pretty good if this were the only incident of voter intimidation around here, and we would be doing better if we had a way to prove that there was no cheating, particularly in the Diebold-infested "voting machines." Yes, they are voting machines, and they do mechanically cast a whole lot of votes, but do they cast your vote or do they just respond to somebody's keyboard punches? Ask the Dieblold higher-up, who told the whole fucking nation a couple years ago he'd do whatever it took to make sure Bush won.

I have seen men with guns at the polls before. The last time was when we supposedly elected Fuhrer Bush. I was coming home from work, having voted at 7 that morning. I was walking by my polling place, and there stood a man with a short hair cut, and an obvious firearm at his side. He was about 10 feet from the door of the polling place. The firearm was covered in a holster, but you could tell what it was and you could tell the guy was putting on a very good "cop" act, w/o the badge, to the disgrace of all true cops, who are there to help folks, serve the public. The guy looked at me like he wanted to kick my ass. I was just walking by. I thought he was going to follow me or something.

In the Daily Star article I link above, the reporter describes a man with a gun, who is named but not described. An accompanying man with a camera, and a known anti-Hispanic/anti-immigration person with the armed man are described.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Americans terrified by "Turd blossom" Rove

Who the hell needs Halloween when we've got BushCo?

Karl Rove, one of the main criminal psychopaths behind the Bush Administration, is portrayed as a Halloween bogey here in this UK Guardian article regarding our bleak political landscape.

Be it noted that nowhere does the Guardian article mention the even worse spectre of election fraud.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

OK, this is insane

This story demonstrates not only the traditional disregard for the rights of schoolchildren, but also the popular current psychopathic alarmist pseudo threat-related behavior on the part of vague authoritarian military/police well-armed behind the scenes troops. Whoever was responsible for this should lose their jobs but will most likely be promoted instead.

Who is dispensing terror here? Our own government, home-grown crazies, or foreign crazies?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Librarians gone wild."

This is what Melissa used to say when we were temps, and wondering if many of these folks ever got out for a drink- "It's librarians gone wild!!"

But Wow!

Here is something that will get the attention of all of those library information associates, library information analysts, library specialists, librarians, and lovely digital archivists.

It's some of the most lovely libraries in the world, and I mean lovely, together here in this book, in hot, slippery living color.

Seriously, the book is called "Libraries," photographs by Candida Höfer.

Nice work huh? It looks like all the libraries are in Europe, at least in the link to the "" blog I post above. However I know there are some dandy library architecture spaces here in the U.S. and certainly in good old Tucson. The Gould Simpson building's library is a small gem with a million dollar view. The old library in the AZ State Museum has the coolest reading room in the world, and probably some of the biggest windows you'll ever see. The Main Library on Campus has good mezzanines- unknown, cluttered behind poor interior decoration- I think they have a committee discussing, and discussing, and discussing, that- and a great courtyard in front of the entrance, which courtyard is of course full of disgusting smokers breathing their vaporized chemical shit in the general direction of the rest of us. Oh, also, the 2 stroke gas powered blowers all over the place a couple times a week too. The guys wielding them have ear and eye protection and masks, but naturally they blast our ears and fill the courtyard with pollution and dust during peak hours. Yes, I know, welcome to Arizona.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

America getting sick of "Conservative" morons

This is a quote from a recent email to a friend out of state:
There's a governor's debate on the tube tonight. The repub. challenger started right off talking about family and that same code crap. I don't think those morons know that shit is getting old with the rest of us. I thing the radical right repressive minority makes up about 2% of us. Since they are repressive, they seek to cover up the dealings and the statements of the rest of us. That's what Bush gets for getting into bed with those fools, but it was perfect for them, and his neocon thinktanks approved it cuz it's another perfect subterfuge, ala Reagan. As scared as we are of neo-fascism, what we see is nothing but the impotent attempt of the same assholes from the Reagan age to fuck us over. Sooner or later, all of us will be about as serious about Bush as we were about Reagan.

Welcome to politics in Arizona. The conservative moron running for governor is behind a big anti-gay marriage deal here in Arizona. He started his intro statement to the debate with "I love everyone in Arizona." Well, unless you're gay, or unless you support gay people. That equals about 98% of the population around here. So the guy does not really love much of anybody, only those who go to his church or who do not like gay people. So the only way this guy can win an election is with the help of Diebold and their slimy vote manipulating computer hacks. Welcome to outsourcing in the post Reagan age. If they can't fuck over the people they're supposed to represent using our own government, then they'll hire an outside company to do, and pay them using your tax dollars. Brilliant. This is why we have business masterminds like Rumsfeld running important areas like defense. Way to go. Thanks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fear Greed and Infotainment vs. The Press

See this piece in the Arizona Daily Star, by a David Cuillier, a former newspaper reporter and editor, and current vice chairman of the national Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee.

Some details and comments about BushCo paying journalists to spread propaganda are mentioned. Also, some details about the Press' duty to speak out, and newspaper companies gradually sliding away from the press' function as a check on government and industry misdeeds.

I think what caught my eye about this op-ed piece is the tendency of some people to believe assertions that basically anyone who questions the current administration is somehow helping "the terrorists" or actually on the side of religious fundamentalists who wish to harm our country. Of course what shows such assertions to be utter bullshit is that there is no motivation for anyone questioning BushCo to side with destructive religious psychos from foreign nations. We have enough destructive religious psychos here, not quite as militant as the overseas version, calling themselves Christians, and doing a big insult to Christianity in the process, anyway. Anybody who's not a few bricks short of a load, for example those that are fed up with the lying and cheating of the Bush Administration, would never be on the same side as the morons of the ultraconservative religious right of any nationality.

But my point is that people can act like they believe whatever Cheney says, and whatever the so-called Conservatives have been saying since the Reagan days, when the Conservatives started wishing to get in control, and devote the government to serving large corporations and a handful of rich business leaders, rather than our own country, its own people, its environment and its infrastructure.

The writer of the article points to fear as motivation for folks to rally around something, anything, blindly. So no wonder the Vice President and other hired mouthpieces like O'Reilly, and, I guess, the President, keep having to dredge up new demons for people to fear. Outlining threat after threat, they keep picking more and more on people right here at home, usually their political opponents, often those of diverse social backgrounds who don't attend the correct church.

You can read the comments section of about any story in the Star, and see the few people whose duty is to hammer away at the actually very conservative paper, calling it again and again "The Red Star." Usually comments are tinted with xenophobia, racism, hatred, and form an amalgam of whatever kind of drivel you can hear well-paid conservative mouthpieces spout on just about any "news" show. You can't really call anything about that section of current events info "press." You can't really call it info because most of it is lies, the rest of it is twisted truth, and the overall function is to divide and conquer by covering up the truth, and to intimidate with the threat of playground-style name-calling into unquestioning silence.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Right wing slimeballs trying to influence election

So what else is new? Business as usual with the right wing religious nuts and power-mad robber barons trying to fuck over our country and every man woman and child in it.

Read about it here in the Huffiningtonpost blog.

Or watch it yourself. I wouldn't. I just think it's another example of why TV is bad. And I think this type of thing happens daily on the TV news.

A snip from the story:
"The Path to 9/11" is produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias. This is the network within the ABC network. Its godfather is far right activist David Horowitz, who has worked for more than a decade to establish a right-wing presence in Hollywood and to discredit mainstream film and TV production. On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11's director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to "transform Hollywood" in line with its messianic vision.

Before The Path to 9/11 entered the production stage, Disney/ABC contracted David Cunningham as the film's director. Cunningham is no ordinary Hollywood journeyman. He is in fact the son of Loren Cunningham, founder of the right-wing evangelical group Youth With A Mission (YWAM). The young Cunningham helped found an auxiliary of his father's group called The Film Institute (TFI), which, according to its mission statement, is "dedicated to a Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Televisionindustry." As part of TFI's long-term strategy, Cunningham helped place interns from Youth With A Mission's in film industry jobs "so that they can begin to impact and transform Hollywood from the inside out," according to a YWAM report.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

tacos tacos tacos

My friend Missy Bit has been talking about tacos up Oakland way. Just wanted to post a picture of Chuck7's Tucson/California style tacos of late.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The "Cheneysphere," "crying wolf," and deterioration of our infrastructure

Two articles I read recently on Raw jibed nicely with and articulated a couple topics that have been on my mind lately.

One is Cheney. More and more, he seems like the real criminal behind what is apparently, and sadly, a fascist takeover of our government. He's been around since the Reagan days, when all this crap started happening, and increasingly seems like the man pulling the strings of the respective puppets. Now that the right wing radicals are on shaky footing and their massive unpopularity is public knowledge and receiving media coverage, Cheney's bile-spewing is starting to seem desperate and is becoming more and more negative and insane-sounding. They call Gore crazy every time he gives a speech but that's just a cheap effort to smear him. Cheney and the rest of the right wing radicals don't need a smear campaign to lose support- people can just listen to the things they are saying.

The Raw Story article I'm talking about is where the boy who cried wolf comes up. The writer, a Hannah Selinger, points out that anytime anyone, in this case Connecticut senatorial candidate Ned Lamont, starts talking about failed Bush policies or the fact that the so-called war in Iraq was a grave mistake and was justified with lies, Cheney starts saying that that person is actually helping Middle Eastern morons who would bomb and kill us, that that person is in line with religious fundamentalists who want to fuck over anyone that doesn't believe their fundamentalist bullshit. So Cheney here is crying wolf again and again these days.

Out of his mouth comes some of most negative, bile-infused, twisted lies and smears you'll hear these days. He never has anything good to say about anything. This is our Vice President, the most powerful vice president ever. But to what effect?

The other article, this one in the Seattle Post by a Chuck McCutcheon, deals with something that's on my mind a lot lately. We all pay a lot of tax dollars, but the Bush Administration is squandering all of it on some truly moronic things, while the country suffers. We are left in the lurch while the Bush Administration slowly destroys the economy and puts the nation in debt. I'm talking about infrastructure, one of those things a government is responsible for, one of the reasons we pay taxes. Roads, power grids, protection and assistance in emergencies and natural disasters, prevention of natural disasters, protection from outside aggression and home grown crazies (yes BushCo does a horrible job protecting us from threats- they've weakened a strong military, exported our National Guard, and used a false war on terrorism to override laws, democracy and the constitution) are some of the things we pay for. But when a government stops respresenting us, stops protecting us, avoids its role as a helper and supporter of the people, then what kind of government is that?

New Orleans was the first thing that got me thinking about it- the wasteland it became and the apparent utter failure of government assistance after the hurricane of nearly a year ago. Why did that all happen? Would it have happened under Kerry? Global warming has made weather much more dangerous. BushCo has famously done nothing to reverse it, and is instead denying that global warming exists. BushCo is also famously involved in denying a lot of scientific evidence, even covering it up, scientific evidence of anything that blows the whistle on BushCo's tendency to destroy the environment.

Power failures are getting worse. Mental health services are a disaster, and ever since the Reagan days people who should be in a home somewhere are walking the streets and often end up in jail. The Seattle Post article points out a few other key points and makes the obvious point that we are less, secure, less safe under Bush and Company than we would be under an administration that wasn't burning our tax dollars in a war that is destructive, unnecessary, and toxic.

So my point is, when Cheney tells us Democrats are going to make us less safe, he's lying.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

"...the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution."

Thank you, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of Detroit for ruling on the OBVIOUS unconstituional power grab and wild stab at indimidation by the Bush Administration's warrentless spying program.

In the dark of night they operate, with the ability to do whatever they want without regard for your freedom, the very freedom they claim to be fighting for. That whole spying program had NOTHING to do with preventing attacks against the United States, it has EVERYTHING to do with supressing oppostion to Bush and attempts to get BushCo to abide by the law, and our right to speak out against such obvious abuses of power, and countless others. They call it a chilling effect. They call it being made an example of.

Preventing the pychos and their bombs and their violence resulting from crazy fundamentalist beliefs has EVERYTHING to do with good intellegence and not frittering away our military resources on a meaningless and tragic war. It has everything to dow with retaining the best and the brightest for careers in keeping the U.S. safe, and not sending them off to get poisoned by spent uranium, and cutting their benefits when they come home. It has everything to with listening to the professionals who keep their eyes on the tragic, crazy psychos of this world, not with surveiling the millions and millions of people who are fed up with BuchCo and its malign ways and have the courage to speak out. It has everything to do with not alienating various branches of the government with crazy budget cuts and insane rules about speaking the truth about threats, both paramilitary and environmental.

In other words, get a warrant.

Judge Diggs will no doubt be labeled an "activist judge" by the right wing radical BushCo mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh and Vice President Dick Cheney. They will say national security is at stake, but that's a lie. How can anyone believe anything they say anyway? Public opposition to them is massive but they will launch a massive PR campaign. They will fight the ruling and no doubt try take away even more of our rights, and that'll be because that's what BushCo and the NeoCons are all about: taking away your rights, the rights that allow you to send mail, check out library books, talk on the phone, walk down the street WITHOUT BEING SEARCHED BY THE POLICE, SECRET POLICE OR OTHER SHADOWY GOVERNMENT OR PRIVATE POLICE FORCES FOR NO REASON AT ALL OR FOR SIMPLY HAVEN SPOKEN OUT AGAINST THE FOOLISH MORON AND HIS POWER-MAD HYENAS WHO ARE CURRENTLY MAKING A SHAMBLES OF GOVERNMENT AND OUR COUNTRY AND OUR CONSTITUION. All in the name of freedom. The supreme lie, there, we are crushing the constituion this country was founded on, as well as checks and balances, in the name of freedom. I say they are doing all that in a mindless power grab which will benefit the few, and not the many.

Don't let's forget they are there to represent us, not a handful of the very rich.

Read about it here.

And you better believe they are pissed, and they are going to be more pissed the more people speak about against abuses of power like warrentless spying, investigations and searches.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

BushCo and the 5th ammendment

Editorial writer Sarah Garrecht Gassen has a piece in today's (8/13/05) Arizona Daily Star detailing provisions and relevance of the constitution's 5th ammendment. Her premise is basically the 5th ammendment is about not getting scooped up and trampled by the government on a whim, i.e. "protecting the ordinary from the powerful."

In a day when the constitution is being dismantled, trampled by people like Dick Cheney and his pals at BushCo, and the word "freedom" is reduced to cheap stickers on the back of pickup trucks, keeping informed about our rights is more important than ever.

It's worth a look at the comments link at the bottom of the editorial to see the moron viewpoints and the more realistic arguments of those who read the Star.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"The kind of taco you don't look up from"

I've always liked the idea of a journey where you make your way from point to point doing something you love. The journey is defined and mapped out by activity at its stops, like Burt Lancaster swimming his way pool by pool across the county in The Swimmer, or the journey through Dublin in James Joyce's Uylsses, or a downtown Tucson pub-crawl, on foot, pub to pub, (with a cab ride home after). One day I am going to spend a day in L.A. shooting photos, making a vector across the city, and organizing the work to reflect that journey.

In this article by Cindy Price of the New York times, the journey is a strech of the California coast and the purpose is tacos. I happen to make great (usually vegetarian) tacos almost every day, and I love California, so I can relate. Price and her boyfriend start in an obscure L.A. neighborhood, and munch their way north along the coastal highway all the way to San Franciso's Mission district. Nice article, nice journey.

For more on the taco experience, see Bandini's excellent Tacohunt blog.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Followup on the Plame scandal

So Plame and husband Wilson are suing over having their careers fucked over by high-up, unaccountable, revenge-minded morons in the Bush administration. Don't let's forget that the actions of the Bush administration in this case reflect business as usual there.

The quote below comes from this posting at
PLAME: Good Morning. I'm proud to have served my country by working at the Central Intelligence Agency. I and my former CIA colleagues trusted our government to protect us as we did our jobs. That a few reckless individuals within the administration betrayed that trust has been a grave disappointment to every patriotic American.

Joe and I have filed this action with heavy hearts but with a renewed sense of purpose. I would much rather be continuing my career as a public servant than be a plaintiff in a lawsuit. But I feel strongly and justice demands that those who acted so harmfully against our national security must answer for their shameful contact in court.

WILSON: My name is Joe Wilson. I proudly served my country as a Foreign Service officer for twenty-three years. I was deeply honored to be appointed Ambassador to two African countries by President George Herbert Walker Bush, for whom I also served as acting ambassador to Iraq during the first Gulf War. In that capacity, I was the last American diplomat to confront Saddam Hussein before the launching of Desert Storm. In the Clinton Administration I was Senior Director of African Affairs at the National Security Council.

After my retirement from the Foreign Service in 1998, I undertook two discreet missions at the request of my government to the Republic of Niger to look into uranium related matters. In each case, I reported back my conclusions faithfully and truthfully.

One mission was to look into assertions that Iraq had purchased or was in the process of purchasing uranium yellowcake from Niger. I found no evidence that there was any truth to the allegation. The US Ambassador to Niger, and a four star Marine Corps general also looked into the allegation and came to the same conclusion that the claim was bogus.

Weeks before President Bush uttered his now infamous sixteen words in the 2003 State of the Union address, the National Intelligence officer, representing the intelligence community as a whole reported to the administration that the allegation was “baseless” and should not be used. Regrettably, that counsel was not heeded.

In the months that followed I privately urged the administration correct the public record on the falsehood in the State of the Union. When the administration refused to do so, I exercised my civic duty to hold my government to account for what it had said and done in the name of the American people. I wrote an article in the New York Times entitled “What I didn’t find in Africa.” The day following the appearance of the article the administration spokesman finally admitted that the sixteen words “did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union”. Subsequently, the Director of Central Intelligence confirmed that the statement should never have been made. Within weeks, the Deputy National Security Adviser offered his resignation, acknowledging that he had been told on several occasions that the intelligence community did not want the President to be a “witness of fact” about an unsubstantiated allegation.

Even as the administration was belatedly coming clean, some officials and their allies launched what the special prosecutor has called a concerted effort to use classified information to quote discredit, punish, or seek revenge unquote against my wife, Valerie, and myself. This attack was based on lies and disinformation, and included the compromise of Valerie’s identity as a classified officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. These officials’ abuse of power for personal revenge broke faith with their obligations as public servants to uphold and defend the constitution.

But this remains a nation of laws. No administration official however powerful is above the law and I have confidence in the American system of justice. This suit is about the pursuit of justice.

To assist us in defraying the costs of this suit the Joseph and Valerie Wilson Support Trust has been established with a web site at We are under no illusions about how tough this fight will be but we believe the time has come to hold those who use their official positions to exact personal revenge responsible for their actions.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Do you feel loquacious, punk?

Here is the runner-up entry in an annual bad-literature contest held at San Jose State:
"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' — and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' — well do you, punk?"

My friend Shake (his name's Scott, but his friends call him "Shake-" he winks and does a funny "male model" expression when I explain this to women in bars) could win the annual the Bulwer-Lytton "bad writing" literary prize. (Read the article here in the Arizona Daily Star.)

You just have to write the open lines of a shitty book, and you can make as many entries as you want.

This year's winning entry:
"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."
Ha! What a riot! Here is, in its entirity is Shake's "Plymouth Furey: Private Investigator"
The days passed by like heavy traffic in a bad neighborhood,
and brother I knew, I'd seen a lot of both.
As I walked down the dark, dank alley
towards my low-rent office,
I felt the night clinging to the cold brick building walls
like a wet rabid cat on the back of a fleeing Doberman.
I had that cheesy, itchy feeling that something was up-maybe the fact that I
hadn't showered in two days had something to do with it.

I stopped, looked over my shoulder, lit a cig and walked on.
My worn heels echoed on the concrete like rocks falling down an abandoned well.
I've been told that Baltimore used to be an ugly city,
I saw tangible proof that parts of it still were.
A rat the size of a groundhog scurried behind an overstuffed trashcan.
I flicked a butt in its general direction and walked in to the tall, quasi-art deco brownstone
where I kept my office.
I didn't usually visit my office that late, but I didn't usually forget
to take my rotgut with me either,
and besides; I'd left the window open.
As usual the stairs were filthy with grime,
and dammit, I had just waxed my wingtips.
As I climbed the five flights I loosened my tie
and wondered how I'd ever gotten into such a state of affairs.

See, I had once heard that private detectives slept well at night. That they
had so much dirt on other people that it let them wink right off into that
thing they call sleep. Me, I guess I was an exception, because I was on a
first name basis with every crack in my hotel room ceiling. But hell, that
was yesterdays news blowing down the boulevard.

Finally, I reached the tired brown door to my office, the one with the
frosted white glass that stated my name and occupation. I turned the key in
the tin plated doorknob-Christ, why bother, you could open that lock with a
toothpick. It was unlocked! I sensed almost immediately that I had company,
and this time it wasn't just mice. I flicked on the lights. "Hey, they still
work!" I thought with surprise. I was a little behind on the bill.

She was sitting in the ugly, green overstuffed chair, facing my desk.
Staring straight ahead, looking like a beautiful little girl, awaiting the
news of some glorious, yet tragic event. A dusty light bulb hung from a
tangled cord, unshielded, dangling over her head.

"How did you get in here?" I demanded (God I was so quick with words). "I
used a toothpick to pick the lock," she shyly responded.

I couldn't help but notice she was a looker. A classy, sharp, pretty face,
dark eyes, long auburn hair-neatly tied back, a charcoal jacket and skirt,
white blouse, soft red lipstick, and sheer stocking legs that would've
stopped Hitler's army outside Warsaw. "There are laws against breaking and
entering," I said coolly, as I walked towards my desk and then tripped over
an empty box that once contained legal size envelopes. I did a quick dance
as I careened into my filing cabinet.

"I only broke a toothpick," she said, as I stood up and righted the cabinet.
She was quick, I liked that. "Are you a drinker?" I inquired, squinting and
trying to look cool at the same time.

"Did you forget your glasses Mr. Furey?" she asked. I poured myself a drink.
Suddenly, and very loudly, the phone rang, like an act of God. A teenager's
voice was on the line, "Uh, I'm looking for some Plymouth parts and uh."
"Lookit, slim jim," I cut him off, the name's F-U-R-E-Y, Private
Investigator!" I let the ensuing silence tell the punk the rest of the
story, as I dropped the phone into the large metal, empty, bottom desk

like an unwanted pair of old shoes, into an hollow Dumpster.

I lit a cig. "I need help," she said. "That's my job" I responded. She had
beautiful brown eyes that pierced my brain and flashed movies of the good
life on my mind. God, I was a sucker. "It's my husband," she told me,
absently fingering her gold wedding band.

"He's." She began to cry. It was the kind of weeping that took practice,
like driving a hearse. I reached out and offered my handkerchief, but like
most things I offered, it went unnoticed. She calmed herself. "I think I
know where he's been," she said softly. Off in the distance, through the
open window, I could hear a dog barking. "Where?" I asked- this was my job.
"Can you go there for me?" she asked in earnest. "I don't know, money
talks.uh." "Bullshit walks," she added. "Yes, that's it" I said. She
carefully laid down a pile of U.S. Grants onto the top of my desk. "That'll
do for starts," I said, as I thought gleefully about getting a used car, and
finding a better hotel.

"I believe that you'll find him in a sport's bar, C. J. Fooldoons, about
three blocks from here. He's got some kind of sports addiction or
something." From deep within my desk the phone suddenly rang, like a long
distance call from a dead relative in Iowa. I ignored it- but I resented its
potential. I was sick of calls for auto parts. If my father was still
kicking we might talk it over- my name that is. But if's and but's are like
chasing taxis in rush hour. And besides, tombstones don't talk.

I poured myself another shot. "Wanna hit?" I asked her. "What?" she
distractedly responded. "Nothin'" I said. "All right, I'll find him" I told
her. "I'll find him, and then what? Crowbar massage? Nose job? Sorry, I don't
pull the rough stuff. I'm a peaceful man," I said, and with that I kicked
back, my feet almost coming to a rest on my desk blotter as I recoiled
backwards over into a large, dead potted plant. "I don't want violence," she
said over my prone form. "Just tell him, tell him that I hired you, that I'm
worried and I want him home." She then abruptly stood up, as if something
dirty had fallen into her lap. "Losin' don't cost much" I said as I stood
up, dusting myself off. "You sure you want him back?" She looked down at the
floor as if the answers were written on it. If they were, it was too dirty
to read them. "Yes, I do want him back" she said. There was a certain tone of finality in her voice- and a certain stack of fifties on my desk. I had a
job to do. "So he's there now ma'am?" I questioned. "I believe so," she said
wearily. "His name is Adrian, Adrian Largo." She produced a tired, color
snapshot of him from her purse and handed it to me. She had beautiful hands,
like small sculptures that extended from her sleeves. He however, had the
usual early thirties white male look: toothy grin, trendy ring beard and a
beach-weekend tan. God sometimes love was ugly- like a painted rock doorstop.
"I'll do what I can Mrs. Largo" I told her, grasping her upper arm in my
outstretched hand. "Thank you, Mr. Furey. Thank you very much. My phone
number's on the back of the photo," she replied. She turned slowly,
hesitated, and then walked quickly out of the office. Her former presence
was like a ghost of class haunting the dime store dust of my barren, gray
room. From within the desk the phone rang again. I ignored it and opened
another drawer and took out a small bottle of green cough medicine. I took a
swig, put it back and then lit a cig. "I, have a job to do," I thought, as
the phone continued ringing like an empty phone booth in the Taj Mahal.

I locked up my office and walked the map a few blocks up to the sports bar.
I slid in the front door like a lizard with a cause. It was not my kind of
place. No class, no charm, neon and stucco. Don't get me wrong, I like
sports as much as the next guy, but I didn't like the flat brain wave types
who inhabit these dungeons of machismo. The bar was padded brassy and fat. I
hated that. Television monitors were everywhere. Typically, the place was
packed. The bartender was a glandular case who looked as if he had seen one
sports "event" too many. I didn't look around too much- eye contact made me
nervous. I lit a cig and walked back out into the foyer to the pay phone. I'll
go cellular when Jesus does, I thought to myself. I called information
and then called the bar. "Hello C.J.'s," growled the steroid-fueled voice.
"Could you please page Adrian Largo, it's a dire emergency," I asked. "Hold
on, please." Commotion ensued and then I was suddenly voice to voice with
one Adrian Largo. "Yo, Adrian my man! This is (my hand on the phone) mumble,
mumble, I got that bet money I owe you! I'll meet you by the pool table in
the back room in five minutes! See ya!" God what a cheese.

I lit up a butt and strolled outside. I fired it up into the air with an
expert flick of the finger, pretending it was launch time at the Cape. I
walked back in to C.J.'s house of intellect, feeling like a Christmas song in
July. There he was, in the back room near the pool table. Looking like a
teenager whose prom date had been in the bathroom too long.

He stared at a TV monitor as a Hockey fight raged. He wore expensive
clothes, was good looking (In a mail-order fashion catalog sense), and had a
demeanor that seemed to say, "I don't do favors."

I cautiously walked over and then quickly went eyeball to eyeball (I had a
job to do). "Your wife sent me, my name's Furey" I said, flashing him my
weathered State Of Maryland Private Investigators license (which had expired
three months earlier). His face changed directions like it was ready to
refuse magazine subscriptions over the phone.
"Fuck you, pal!" he spat.
"Lookit, sports boy, we need to talk," I told him in my best stern voice. I
flashed open my JC Penny suit to give him a glance at my holstered Mr. Smith
& Wesson (but, hell, I went unloaded). "What can I do for you, sir?" he
responded. My guess was that he was in sales.

"Your wife sent me to tell you that she loves you and she wants you to come
home. That's all." He looked around to see if anyone else knew how stupid I
suddenly was. "Christ, not again!" he said. "She's just a neurotic, that's
all! A neurotic bitch with some weird, romantic idea of love. Like
something in an old fucking movie she saw." He said the word love as if it
were a foreign language- to him I believe it was. All I could do was look at
him, and he was looking at me as if I had just delivered a pizza to his
Mother's funeral. I don't have many words for the unwise: "Grow a real
beard," I told him. "And get some training wheels for your life!" I
departed, expertly flicking an unlit butt in his general direction.

Outside the night was cool and good, like a preview of fall in the late
summer. I walked slowly back to my office, I'd left the lights on again and
I could not afford such extravagance. My wing tips cursed the climb as I
struggled to remember the last time the elevator worked. The lights in my
office were off. I opened the unlocked door and immediately sensed that once
again, I was not alone. I flicked on the lights like some small town chump
summoning the check in an expensive French restaurant.

She was sitting, rigid, in the chair in front of my desk, staring straight
ahead. But this time her face read like the worn out inscription on an old
Civil War statue. All was quiet.

I stood behind her, my hands in my pockets. "Was he there?" she asked. "Yes,
he was," I answered, surprised at the kindness in my voice. "He's still
there," I added. She turned and I avoided her glance. "What did he say?" she
asked. I thought hard, but my mind seemed to be downtown at the street
corner, waiting for the light to change. "He didn't say nothin' ma'am," I
finally said.

She looked down at her feet, and looking down, I knew she'd look up again. I
seated myself, lit a cig and poured myself a drink. "Would you like a
drink?" The words wandered out of my mouth like children unexpectantly
leaving early from school. "Yes" she said, "I'd like that very much."
Suddenly the lights went out. "Damn utilities" I thought. A moment later,
with explosive abruptness, the local freight train stormed by, offering
through the windows a surreal collection of lights and colors that flashed
on the wall behind my desk, and on the large, grimy, framed portrait of
Richard Nixon that hung at its center.

The train faded into the night, leaving us in silent, near darkness. What
little light there was, shone in her eyes as she watched me pour her drink.
From deep within my desk the phone suddenly rang, but I kept on looking
straight ahead at her, and we both pretended not to notice as I reached into
the drawer and took it off the hook.

More about the loquacious Shake here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Syd Barrett dies

Syd Barrett was MAJOR creative force behind Pink Floyd and a lot of the cool things happening in the thriving British music scene of the mid-late 60's. Read his obituary here in the BBC.

I read a decent biography, whose name I can't find at the moment, a few years back and was very interested to learn of the early Pink Floyd's big inspiration in Syd. He seemed to have made the Floyd was it was, and IMO a listen to the earlier Floyd shows them to be inspired, creative, weird and open like no other band. As time passed and Barrett's influence seemingly waned, the band seemed to become cliched and predictable, although their live shows were supposed to be spectacular.

Barrett's reputation is that he kind of went over the deep end on a psychedelic wave at some point and left the band when they were still new. He lived the rest of his life as a recluse. There's a story about a recording date of the later Floyd where a fat bald guy showed up and said he was there to add a guitar part. Folks at the studio laughed him off as a local nut job, but band members caught a glimpse of him as he left and shouted, "Hey!! That's Syd!"

Friday, June 30, 2006

Taking back our meanings

"As far as I'm concerned nobody can be too liberal. Liberal means educated. Liberal means a tempered view. I do not accept the Republican view of the term liberal."

Marge Swien
Retiree who supported Howard Dean for president in 2004

Twisting the meanings of words is a way of miscasting, smearing, others. Are you a liberal? Well there's nothing wrong with it. Rush Limbaugh and other paid rightwing mouthpieces have tried to redefine words and make you, in the eyes of anyone who believes what Rush and those other fucking idiots say, into something that you're not. Simple playground name calling, society's oldest preoccupation.

What a huge, long list of words they use to try to shape what others feel and think. It's just lying.

It's nice to see people taking back their meanings.

The quote above comes from a story in the 6/30/06 AZ Daily Star regarding yesterday's visit by Howard Dean.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Physics factory teachers group takes Bio-bus to Syracuse

Now this is clean living. A group of science teachers from Tucson is driving their biodiesel powered bus across the nation to a meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers in Syracuse NY.

The group of teachers, who calls itself the the Physics Factory, drives the funky blue bus pictured above. They've taken the trouble not only to convert the thing to biodiesel, but have also turned the rolling monster into a mobile physics lab.

They will stop and fill the tank with grungy, used vegetable oil, starting at a potato chip factory in the Phoenix area. The bus gets 5-8 MPG, not much worse than you average, idiot-driven, no-educational-message-whatsoever-except-maybe-as-an-example-of
pure-stupidity Hummer!

Biodiesel is not too new, but it's gaining some attention. A friend has a story about an art-bus that went around the country on biodiesel, I believe the story made it to Boing Boing, I'll have to look it up and post the link as well talk to my friend about the story.

Read about biodiesel here. Apparently any diesel engine can be converted without being too costly, and the fuel is clean burning. Want to stop the horrendous damage to the planet?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Moderates leaving the Repuplican party

I've said it for a long time. The Republicans are so fucked up that even Republicans are starting to hate them. I've called them "true conservatives" and stuff like that. This article in the Guardian, which I stumbled across on, calls them RINOS, or Republicans In Name Only.

In Kansas, a place you think of as being totally right wing, people are sick of the shit and going democrat. The article points out that squabbles about gay marraige, abortion, evolution, etc, are ideological issues and a lot more people, whether you're conservative or liberal, are concerned more about things like taxes, jobs and education.

Go figure. The so-called Neocons and their divide-and-conquer strategy are running out of gas.
Sitting in his headquarters, the new Democrat is sticking to his guns. Republicans in Kansas, he says, have let down their own people. 'They were fixated on ideological issues that really don't matter to people's everyday lives. What matters is improving schools and creating jobs,' he said. 'I got tired of the theological debate over whether Charles Darwin was right.'

...As the Democrats enjoy a resurgence, the Republicans are in disarray. Parkinson's defection encouraged other moderates to abandon a party controlled by right-wing religious zealots. In political terms they are called Rinos, or Republicans in Name Only. If enough Rinos desert, the strict ideologues in the party are likely to drift further right. 'A number of conservatives are actually pleased that the moderates are leaving the Republican party. That really could spell trouble,' Beatty said.

There is a long way to go. Larry Gates, chairman of the Kansas Democratic party, says his side is still vastly outgunned, but he is optimistic. 'The Republican party is just controlled by the neocons. They are not flexible. But in Kansas it is an issue like education that is foremost in people's minds,' he said. The Democrats bypass abortion and evolution to focus on jobs, schools and health. The Democrats' local slogan for 2006 sums up the mood: 'Hope in the Heartland.'

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Egyptian blogger gets out of jail / "Believe it or Else"

Yes I read about on Boing Boing.

His name is Alaa. What, Ah-LAA? Yes, A-LAA.

"Al-AH." I've posted his picture here, I do not happen to have the link to his blog, I don't know what his blog was about.

Read about it here in the wondeful permalink from our wonderful friends at Boing Boing, who I love.

My point here is a dream I had where I met a man named Al-AH, in my kitchen sitting in the dark, with another gnarly looking biker dude. The guy was full of fresh energy and not at all mean or wierd.

I am not saying anything about religion here, your religion, my religion, or your or my lack thereof, or anyone else's, etc. I am saying, What If, all the fundamentalism and rules and repression, and sexism, and controlling, and guilt, ON BOTH SIDES of fundamentalism, both Christian and Muslim, what if all that is just a bunch of bullshit with a built in guilty verdict? For both sides. Invented. Bullshit. With a built in verbal argument to the effect of "you believe this or else."

What if.

My own dream, or my own website post to this effect, is here, on my site, posted about 2 years ago, not long after I had the dream where I met the character called "Al-LA" and shortly after coming across a group of skinny Tibetan monks blowing horns and burning tons of incense on the Univerity of Arizona mall, one sunny February day.

What is my point here?

And what if you live in a country where they get the cops, or private security companies, after you if you don't say what they want you to say? Old news in most parts of the world, a new thing here in the U.S.A. Here in the U.S.A, any constitutional rights we once had are certainly being trampled on by the Bush Administration. Take your pick.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Ay yai yai. Mwa HA HA HA... It's 6/6/06. Everybody's so trained to think it's evil. The hell. Anybody wants to cure evil around this place they can just look in that little dark corner of your own self and decide to do something good around here. There's an old W.C. Fields movie where he gets drunk and falls alseep and a goat crawls in bed with him. He wakes up in the morning with the goat staring at him, I believe they even have a closeup of the goat, and he mumbles "Good god I've got Beezlebub in my bed!"

Friday, June 02, 2006

Fixing the election in 2004

How did that moron get elected in 2004? He didn't. It was a fraud. Rolling Stone has a story rounding up a vast amount of evidence surrounding the issue.

The strange part is our willingness to believe that it couldn't happen.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rove: Trying to be a game-changer

In this 5/16/06 op-ed piece in the Washington Post, writer E.J. Dionne Jr. says you can tell by the way Rove lies that BushCo is running scared. Not in so many words. But the writer prints a few of Rove's choice Republican lies and handily and in plain language rips the lies to shreds.

The title of the piece is Rove vs. Reality. More like BushCo vs. reality. Rumsfeld teetering on the brink, Rove likely to get charged in the Plame leak, DeLay over the brink, the Ambramoff corruption scandal on and on.

What next?

Next it's going to be envirionmental crimes- see the story re: the closing of EPA libraries here in the Washington Post.

Meanwhile here in Tucson the biggest environmental crime to hit the news is the reclassification of the Pygmy Owl as not endangered, so that thousands upon thousands of acres of unspoiled Sonoran Desert can now be bladed and graded and replaced with shitty cookie-cutter houses. There are only 12 of these owls left in the Tucson area. Hopefully the lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Defenders of Wildlife will succeed. Of course there's no mention of protecting this desert for what it is. Details are here in the Star.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Following orders like we always do

Link to a machinima where the characters in a game start wondering what the hell they are doing there. "Why are we doing this?"

Yes I read about it on Boing Boing. As I try to always tell people, if you're not reading Boing Boing, then you should be.

Machinima I first understood when I attended a lecture by a Stanford librarian who was cataloging and constructing an online archive of such things as well as studying the sociological side of in-game communities. People manipulate computer games to turn the audio/visual output into a story, that's what machinima is. The Wikipedia article in the link above is really quite good.

Boing Boing today also had another machinima post. Here is the link.

And here is a link to a machinima "talk show" done from within a game called Halo.

Also see for more.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

More on Fantasy Island

I rode out there yesterday and wanted to ruminate a bit on the situation and the actuality of this wonderful trail system.

From my house you ride a couple miles south and then turn east, where the urban bike trails take you, in a most civilized fashion, in a zig-zagging course along the local airbase's northern fence. Along the way you pass what is known as the boneyard, which is where thousands and thousands of old planes are stored. You'll see f-14's, f-111's, b-1 bombers, f-4 phantoms, and many other types of planes sitting mothballed in the desert. The last 3 miles of the approach to the bike trails of Fantasy Island is dirt, and sets you down right at the trailhead. It's an excellent warm-up ride, and although the trails at Fantasy Island are not that technical, the first part of the course is full of steep little washes that're more enjoyable when you're all warmed up.

All Fantasy Island's optional loops branch out to the right as you follow the inner, 6-mile Lone Cactus loop. Yesterday I wanted to ride the "Bunny Trail," which is on the land that will most likely be developed as part of the compromise for not blading and grading the whole 3 square mile plot. The Bunny Trail is kind of flat and twisty, through land grazed by cattle that looks like something from an old west movie. It's a good place to gear up and haul ass and find out why you put those good tires on your bike. The rest of the loops are rockier, and when the weather is dry rocks accumulate at the bottoms of the some the steep wash-crossings and make a nice challenge as you try to maintian momentum in order to get up the other side. The steepest hills are the end of the ride, so I recommend stashing a beer in your hydration pack and taking a breather at the picnic table at the trailhead.

Always a wonderful ride no matter which loops you take and especially if you ride them all.

Fantasy Island is described nicely in this piece in Dirt Rag by local rider and trails-access advocate Mark Flint.

I went out there with a camera on a ride once but the poor thing never worked after that, so I was a little skeptical about bringing my digital on the ride with me yesterday, much as I'd like to post a few pics of the desert and the trails. Most of the images you find in a Google search are kind of rider/jock oriented- yuck.

The debate over national ID

In this Cnet article Dean McCullagh presents a well rounded look at the threat to civil liberties represented by what is being called The Real ID Act. The article is full of links providing background on the subject, but focuses on the issue by describing New Hampshire's efforet to outlaw National ID. What National ID would boil down to would be a card that everyone would probably be required to carry which has all your personal data on it, and which card can be read via radio at any time. In other words, privacy and the concept of personal information would be pretty much out the window. I have to agree with the article's thesis that most people won't tolerate something like this and the outcry against it will be huge.

My own point here is that we all need to make it clear to our government that we won't tolerate the trashing the of the Bill of Rights.

Yes, I did find the article via a post in the excellent Boing Boing.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bush goes to Stanford

"for every pig there will be a Saturday"

So they hate Bush at Stanford. He can't really go anywhere these days without people turning out in droves to protest. The Stanford Daily gives a lot of detail in this article- a lot of detail.
“I think there’s going to be a new wave of student activism around the country,” [Steve Westly, CA demo guv. candidate] said. “I’m glad to see some of that’s happening at Stanford. I found the protest peaceful and well-organized.”
“I thought Stanford was really a bubble, but seeing all the people that are out here has shown me that people really are concerned,” [Alejandra Aponte] said. “I’m Latina; I’m from Guatemala. Right now President Bush is doing some very interesting things in Latin America. We have a phrase ‘For every pig, there will be a Saturday.’ Basically, his game is over.”

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fantasy Island in Tucson

Unidentified dork out at the Tucson Mountains, opposite side of Tucson from Fantasy Island

One of my favorite mountain bike trails is Fantasy Island, about 10 miles from my house, located to the east of Davis Monthan AFB's "bone yard." Fantasy Island is full of cactuses and steep washes and rocks and lizards and old jack rabbits with gray muzzles. There's about 18 miles of trail there. The land was going to be developed, naturally, which around here means they scrape the desert bare- our Sonoran desert, a unique ecosystem, and one of the things us desert rats truly love- and put up ticky tacky houses. Local bikers and other community members fought back, joining up, writing letters, going to meetings, working with the city government and trying to work with the State Land Dept. The latest news, according to this AZ Daily Star article, which looks very encouraging, is that the state legislature has passed a resolution calling for Fantasy Island's preservation. The article quotes a Republican from Tucson, a Tom Paton, as saying it's important for the government to listen to and respresent the people. Way to go Mr. Paton. Right you are. The protest against ruining this huge strech of desert, which I put at about 3 square miles, was apparently quite large.

Republicans mountain bike too, and true Republicans are all for the preservation of nature. In this case a Republican argument can be made that having the Fantasy Island area preserved increases property value all around.

The State's resolution is non-binding, however, and the southern part of the mountain biking area (encompassing the Bunny Trail and the Snake Dance Loop) is supposedly going to be developed anyway, but the City of Tucson is behind the preservation measure, and has been working with Tucsonans on the issue for quite some time. The real snake is the State Land Dept, which has been somewhat secretive. They are the ones to watch out for- to many of us the State Trust Land situation is a slimey one, with a PR face and millions of dollars going somewhere but not where they'd like you to believe.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

More about protesting against Republican policy in Tucson

Update, 4/20/06: the fuckin idiot who burned the Mexican Flag was arrested, according to the Star. They just mentioned it in passing and did not say why. Apparently 20 or so people attended a meeting and spoke out against the local police using pepper spray and etc, and that was the subject of the article.

It seems to particularly rile the state's backwards right wing legislators that youth have become interested in speaking out against Republican immigration policy. State Representative Jonathan Patton of Tucson is up in arms over local school district's use of buses to take kids back to school from protests. Patton is also busily working up the hocus-pocus machine against U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva- one of the few Democrats not afraid to speak out against Bush and Company- for giving a speech to students at Tucson High School about the current immigration legislation and Grijalva's role in it. The speech was after Monday's protests. So a congressman with an Hispanic surname giving a speech to students in his district is enough to get the congressman on our good local Republican Jonathan Patton's shitlist! Wow. I can't think of a better illustration of stupidity and racism and attacking freedom of speech than this. I can't think of a better illustration of current trends in "Nuevo Republicanism" - stamp out debate and opposition, create a fuss like there's something wrong with it, divert attention away from the issue at hand, etc. etc.

The story in the Star I refer to above is here.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat, the University's daily, ran a couple stories about the Monday round of protesting- one about the local side of things and the other about state angle. 100,000 to 200,000 people turned out in Phoenix, by the way, depending on who ya talk to.

One of the stories included an excellent picture of what is apparently a pair of fools or professional troublemakers burning a Mexican flag in the middle of the protest. Just trying to get people pissed off and make everyone else look like fools, give the protest a dangerous, violent, unruly subtext.

According to one of the Wildcat stories the current Republican bill, HR 4437, would "require church and humanitarian aid organizations to check the citizenship of parishioners before they provide any assistance." So if you're a U.S. citizen, or anybody at all, and you go to a church and ask for help, you have to prove your citizenship. There you have current Republican philosophy in a nutshell- no ethics, no presumtion of privacy, no attempt to mind their own business.

But the Republicans in government, as many "real" Republicans will tell you, are actually supposed to represent us the people!! Not xenophobes, people who think everyone has to join their church "or else," or other whackos, but those of us who are a part of civil society, who acknowledge that we all want the same things in life from the government, etc. The protests over immigration seem to say a lot of people's voices are not being properly represented in the current round of Republican domination. One student put it succintly:
"I think that there needs to be a counter voice to the conservative right that has been pretty outspoken," said Brett Lovick, a Latin American studies graduate student. "I think that (conservatives) are a minority, but I think that they have had a much louder voice."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Arizona Republican congress-people don't like protests

Republican morons in Phoenix are struggling to mis-characterize the subtance of recent protests, saying the protests are made up of "illegals" and comparing the people who exercised their right to peaceable assemble and redress grievances to, you guessed, terrorists.

Here is the story, GOP lawmakers assail assault on 'rule of law'.

The Star does breifly mention a Democrat's response to the Republican whining, a warm and fuzzy story of an 84 year WWII vet who attended the marches- this is an accurate representation of local Hispanic folk, i.e. a U.S. citizen who's been in the military, etc. Of course the Star does not go into detail about further Democratic congresspeople's arguments against the Republican stance. It's amazing how they boil it all down to a spunky 84 year old man, going up against wealthy Republican congressmen in Phoenix, who promptly respond that "it has nothing to do with race."

More on election fraud and Republicans

Here is a story that show business as usual among Republicans of today. This is how they win elections:

White House link shown in scheme to limit voting

Hiring a telemarketing company to jam the calls at a Democratic get-out-the-vote effort, with the intention of preventing Democrats from voting. Apparently there have been 3 convictions in this case, and the Republican Party shelled out millions to defend its accused employees. The case made the national wire service since one of those convicted was proven to have been in constant communication with the White House during the scam.

Imagine this on a nationwide scale- this why we have a moron backed by corporate criminals sitting in the White right now.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

More about current Tucson protests against Republican policy

The local paper- the one I read anyway, the Arizona Daily Star, (sometimes called the "Daily Red Star" by those who are convinced this paper, which has its share of right-wing propaganda daily, is actually left-leaning, part of some kind of liberal conspiracy, etc.) seems to focus the local protest issue on schools, parents and teachers. Here is another story, Parents hope for business as usual at school : Teachers to join immigration protest, acknowledging the scale of the protests coming this Monday that came out in Today's Sunday 4/9/06 edition. Apparently the reporter interviewed some parents with Hispanic surnames, and asked about the protests, kind of signalling the idea, "hey is this some kind of crisis or what?" and illicit some emotion-charged responses.

The paper seems to be proposing it as an outrage that 450 teachers out of 3700 have asked for the day off. But in fact many many are out protesting right now, that includes students, families, and professionals. Republican policy is massively unpopular and people are beginning to show it, turning out in numbers too large to control.

I say the larger issue is the seriousness of the issue at hand- Republican immigration policy- and the fact that people are turning out in droves across the country to protest, making it hard to portray the protesters as small amount of crazed left wing liberals. Most of the protesters are Hispanic people- mostly not illegal immigrants, mind you- lots of the "Mexican" folks around here in Southern Arizona have had families here for 300 years. Hispanic folks as a whole include many who are quite conservative, strong on military service and Christianity, but not necessarily strong on neocon/ Bush administration versions of conservatism.

Today's Star also included a story, GOP governor hopefuls take hard border line, about Republican gubanatorial candidates, and a meeting serveral of them had at a local highschool. The meeting was attended by all of 100 people. Woo. The candidates said some truly asinine things, for example that teachers who took the day off this coming Monday- the day of yet another round of nationwide protests against Republican immigration policy- should be fired.

The real outrage is that the Star does not have any discussion of the subject of the protests, the scale, the protest issue in other cities across the country, etc.

[Update 4/11/06--The Star must've read my blog (ya right). They did carry a story 4/10- "Marchers in streets; more are due today : In San Diego, other cities protesters seek new laws that benefit immigrants" admitting the nationwide scale of the protesting and discussing briefly the subject of the protests. Of course they channel the whole thing down to unnamed "organizers," just like they when in discussing opposition to BushCo they use the phrase "critics say..." It'd be more accurate to say who by who the protest was organized i.e. just how many U.S. citizens are organizing, and how many of us have had it with the current Republican fashion of screwing people over and lying cheating and stealing and etc, and that we, along with Mexicans here working, participated on a massive scale to oppose Republican immigration policy. The Star doesn't really mention the issues per se but has to admit the scale of this thing.]

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The extent of protests in Tucson

I don't know if this is receiving national coverage. See this article in the Star.

It seems to be going on a couple times a week. The local highschool students are really being heard, leaving class, getting out to protest Republican immigration policy. The teachers are even walking out to join the marches. There is really a very large number of people getting out to make their voice heard here in Tucson.