Friday, December 14, 2007

The Star's Portillo argues in favor of Ethnic Studies in Tucson high schools

The Arizona Daily Star's Ernesto Portillo has continued to provided excellent arguments in favor of TUSD's Ethnic Studies program. The program has been under attack by state Superintendent of Education Tom Horne, who no doubt is bowing to the political forces which represent bigotry and xenophobia in Arizona.

The Ethnic Studies program, which is available to all Tucson high school students, focuses on literature and humanities from the point of view of those who are not white males. In other words, the program values diversity and presents the contributions of all members of society. The program is very strong on academic excellence, and has consistently demonstrated success in this area- its students have gone on to major success in college and found good jobs, which may be part of what threatens Horne and other Arizona "conservatives."

In this editorial in the 12/14/07 Star Portillo cites several excellent arguments which clearly show the weakness and backwardness of Horne's position. Sorry the Star's links only last a couple weeks, btw.
Horne last month asked Tucson Unified School District's Ethnic Studies Department to give him copies of course materials and the program's cost. He told the Arizona Daily Star, "This is not about education or academics; it is about values."

Really. Whose values?

Would those be of TUSD, parents and students who have asked for and benefited from ethnic studies? Or are they the values of someone who, by his own admission, is opposed to ethnic and gender studies?
Mr. Portillo here echoes what I feel is the strongest and most obvious argument against Superintendent Horne's attack on the program. Horne and his backers don't like it because it focuses on work that is not from their own culture. I can't help but see a really glaring intolerance of cultures not their own. As if the program teaches kids to be rabble-rousers or something!

Portillo on high school in the 70s:
One of my teachers, Geta LeSeur, who taught English and whom I've written about previously, introduced to her ethnically diverse classes literature from women and men of color, along with the accepted works of white males.

Native American. Black. Chicano. Poetry. Essays. Novels.

Prior to this period, it was unheard of — in nearly all of Tucson, I dare say — to read literature outside the foisted norm. I didn't know African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native-Americans and Mexican-Americans wrote prose and poetry.

This powerful, eye-opening literature spoke truth to me as a young Chicano trying to make sense of the confusion around us.

There were the Vietnam War, civil-rights marches, Nixon and Watergate, Wounded Knee, César Chávez and grape boycotts, and more.

The rich literature gave me a realistic view of my changing world, and LeSeur and other forward-thinking Cholla teachers helped me develop critical-thinking skills and instilled a lifelong love of learning.
Critical thinking skills? Exposure the reality of, and value of diversity? Curriculum that gets students interested and causes them to actually study, and think? What in the world is wrong with that? Horne and his ilk would say that's fine, but it's the wrong kind of curriculum. But it seems some in Arizona feel it's more like the wrong kind of cultures being represented, the wrong kind of people, and the wrong kind of critical thinking skills.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No Country for Old Men followup

No one's posted the Oprah interview with Cormac McCarthy to uTube. I went to Oprah's site, the interview's sound and vid were distorted, and did not load in a cohesive or orderly fashion. Oh yeah, then there's the annoying "registration." Why the hell should I have to give them my email address just because I want to watch an interview with my favorite author or access any of Oprah's other fascinating topics? Tell us why, marketing luminaries. Is it because you went to a seminar where someone in an expensive suit told you you might be able to indirectly squeeze a few more dollars out of your target audience by insidiously gathering personal data? ...Go to when they tell you need to "register" or "sign in."

Ahem. Anyways here is a McCarthy-esque thread that came up when a friend asked what Cormac McCarthy book to get for an inlaw for Xxxmasss. My bud was like "hey what is the best Cormac McCarthy book?"
It's so strange how dark this stuff is, and how gripping somehow.

No Country for Old Men, btw takes place in 1980, yes, 1980. The Cohen brothers did a good job with it, but it was more like a filmic exercise- they got everything down and it worked pretty good- especially the complexity of the plot.

I think as far as handling the odd zen questions of McCarthy they depended on the photography to handle it more than the conflict of the central character. That worked, but still, other characters were developed more thoroughly in the book, and in the book their conflicts meshed with the odd, lifelike, roaming central questions of the book.

What the Cohen bros. faced in the movie is what you face when you turn a book into a movie, typically. You try to have a film that says what the author said but works as a film too, and can be gripping the same way most films are gripping. Nice effort, you should go see this, just go get Claire and just go see it. hmmmmm....

The border trilogy is probably considered his most important work- it's really just 3 books written several years apart that have an interlocking storyline and message. I'd say of all the tough questions McCarthy asks, they are all encapsulated in their most stunning, thought-provoking, disturbing form in the Border Trilogy, especially in All the Pretty Horses.

Blood Meridian would have to run a close second, even compared to the trilogy.

I think the strangest and most puzzling thing about this guy is that his books describe a world that is so beautiful, but there are these dark and random doings going on at the hands of people. You read one of his books and you feel like you've been through one of the most beautiful landscapes you've ever seen- the Earth in its cruel, wonderful, merciful, blooming ways. Then the humans come around, and you never know what you're going to witness, the ugly part, or the inspiring part. Dig?

Saturday, December 08, 2007


R.I.P. Stockhausen. We've lost a real giant, a real innovator, a big inspiration to us noise-lovers & classical music freaks.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ethnic Studies under attack in Arizona high schools

Tom Horne, Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction, citing concerns about "values" and "ethnic chauvinism," is apparently seeking to dismantle a very successful Tucson Unified School District ethnic studies program.

TO HIS CREDIT, Mr. Horne does play a mean classical piano, is taking Spanish classes, and is also entirely pissed at voter-driven tax cuts that harm Arizona school funding.

HOWEVER. The ethnic studies program under attack has resulted in statistically proven success among high school students. The program is designed for Latino, Black, Native American and Asian students. Other students who are interested also take part. Quoting from this article in AZ Daily Star by George B. Sánchez:
TUSD's ethnic studies department was created in 2004 as an umbrella for its black, American Indian, Pan-Asian and raza studies programs.

The ethnic studies programs heighten students' understandings of different cultures, offer a critical perspective of U.S. and world history and bolster cultural identity for some, [Augustin] Romero [coordinator of TUSD's ethnic studies department] said.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, raza studies has significantly expanded during the past five years.

About 900 students are officially enrolled in raza studies classes at four high schools. Teachers who have taken part in raza studies workshops are able to incorporate the department's lesson plans into various classes. Romero estimated that about 1,400 students are served daily by the program.
(Sorry the Star's links only last a couple weeks.) Our man Horne, however, who also opposes bilingual education and women's studies, is concerned about "ethnic chauvinism."
...concerned about what he calls "ethnic chauvinism," which he described as "teaching people to make their primary personal identity the ethnic group they were born into rather than identifying as an individual in terms of character and ability."
Mr. Horne has a problem with an academically excellent high school program that's not based on his own culture, in other words! Apparently, to him it's "cultural chauvinism" if something the school district is teaching is not based on a certain culture.

The Star's Ernesto Portillo Jr. also rails against Horne and the xenophobic attack on education in this op ed piece. See also this Star editorial against Horne and his attempt to suck-up to Arizona bigots. The Tucson Citizen spanks Horne's ass in this timely editorial. The local Fox station has of course linked the ethnic studies program with protests against local law enforcement's handling of the case of a student who was not only "an illegal," but also (gasp) smoking pot. Link to Fox-twist here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

University of Arizona new Architecture addition keeps getting shot up


A new glass building on Speedway Boulevard in Tucson Arizona is apparently an easy target for countless lowbrow idiots driving up and down the street. Speedway has for decades been a magnet for gearheads, kids, people just cruising, all in the name of fun. Of course a gorgeous new building along Speedway's southern side in the northwest corner of the University of Arizona has drawn the attention of the few bad apples that tend to show up in crowds, ruining the fun for everybody, including those working late in the building.

Show some respect, morons. Maybe if you got an education, or made use of the education your parents worked so hard to be buying you right now, you'd understand that not only are people usually working late in the building, not only do you have no right to shoot at buildings- in this case a public building your taxes paid for, but that YOUR thoughtless actions do nothing other than fuck up all of us. The University is there for everybody. Those of us on the staff work very hard to enable it to fulfill its mission- to discover, build and serve. If you need help extrapolating, this mission can be interpreted as being involved in the betterment of this world, and giving you and others the tools to ensure we don't destroy our own planet. This does include CIVILIZED BEHAVIOR.

Information and pic are via the Arizona Daily Star. Story by Tom Beal at this link. Sorry their links only last a couple weeks. Pic by David Sanders.

UPDATE 12/10/07. UA police arrested & charged 2 young Tucson men on 12/8. From the UAPD press release:
The University of Arizona Police Department has made an arrest in a recent case involving damage to the University of Architecture building. An alert student who heard projectiles striking the windows of the building called the UAPD on December 8, 2007 at 10:03 p.m. Witnessing a vehicle leaving the area the student relayed the information to responding officers who were unable to locate the vehicle upon arrival. Corporal Jeff Kamper later spotted a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle and with assistance initiated a high-risk stop.

Two suspects were identified and an air pistol (BB type) was located after the stop. Detectives questioned both suspects this evening and have charged both subjects with felony counts of Criminal Damage over $10,000.00 and Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Damage both Class 4 Felonies.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Phoenix New Times editor and CEO arrested

The arrests appear related to retaliation by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Phoenix New Times reported that Grand Jury subpoenas were used by Maricopa county to track readers of the Times' stories related to Arpaio, and to scoop up reporter's notes, tapes and publications. The New Times also has had a series of reports on Arpaio's doings in the Phoenix area. Hm.

Apparently the paper is involved in a criminal case for publishing personal contact information about the Sheriff a few years ago. The grand jury subpoenas reek of spying, intimidation, and trampling of the 1st Amendment, so the paper felt obligated to disregard secrecy laws and let the public know about this little facet of life in Phoenix. What is the Press for, right?

Quoting the editor & CEO via a local paper:
“the authorities” probably believe revealing the subpoenas is against the law, “but there are moments when civil disobedience is merely the last option.”

"We're not harboring state secrets, we’re not harboring terrorists, we’re just straight up reporting on issues they don’t want us to report on.”

Read the article here in the East Valley Tribune. I've linked to the Phoenix New Times and recommend reading their articles about the Sheriff and the current tactics Maricopa County is using against the Press.

Welcome to Arizona, everybody!

-->UPDATE 10/19/07 P.M. John Peter Zenger would approve. The Maricopa County Attorney has dropped charges against the Phoenix pressmen and stated publicly that the prosecutors involved in the spurious and insane charges had overstepped their bounds in a major fashion. Quoting from the (Phoenix-area) East Vally Tribune: "Citing “serious missteps” by Dennis Wilenchik that led to the arrests of the paper’s top two executives, Thomas also dumped legal efforts to force New Times editors and reporters to turn over notes, emails and other research related to stories involving county Sheriff Joe Arpaio, as well as information about the alternative newsweekly’s Internet readers. To reiterate, John Peter Zenger would be proud, and is mostly likely SITTING UP in his grave, with his fist raised.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Josh Olson on lonliness

Yes, I read about in on the lovely Boing Boing.

I will quote writer Josh Olson's words and add a link and a brief comment after:
We spend much of our lives alone. Some cope with it better than others. The ones who don’t are primed and ready for victimhood. You have to learn to be with yourself, because if you don’t, there’s a whole world of drugs, booze and rotten people who will be your friend until you’ve been sucked dry. Beware of what loneliness makes you do; and beware of this creature [the lady in the photo above], because she is out there, she is real, and Janna St. James is only one of her pustulant manifestations.
This is the last paragraph from a fascinating story that appeared here in the L.A. Weekly.

Basically the story is about someone who was active in internet message boards for writers, and what happened to her. In short, why I don't chat or meet people over the internet. What really struck home for me was the paragraph above- the sentence in bold especially. We are born alone. I have always liked spending time alone. But. Abusive elements can really fuck things up. What a fascinating story. There's a lesson here for anybody's who's ever been had.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum takes down Mexican flag after complaints and threats

The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, a Tucson-area educational and environmental resource that's been around since the 1950s, will no longer fly the Mexican flag, or the U.S. flag, because of complaints and threats by local morons over the Mexican flag.

This article in the Arizona Daily Star states that death threats were actually made against the museum's animals in recent months.

I'm sorry to say it but this represents an accurate picture of the type of person that's receiving equal coverage in the newspaper around here lately.

However, the good news is that smart money says this kind of bullshit represents nothing like a random sampling of public opinion around here. It's highly likely the Star's passively-active dramatic coverage points to the actions of an extremely small, xenophobic, over-reactive group of citizens. In fact if you look at the subtext of the article it appears someone named Kaluzniacki who sits on the museum board was instrumental in the museum's gutless decision. True to form, the Star does nothing to reveal Kaluzniacki's political ties, nor does the Star report on the veracity or sources of the complaints the Desert Museum says it has received.

Of course in typical Star fashion the actions of the fringe are presented as some kind of legitimate occurrence, as if the xenophobic attacks against the Mexican flag should somehow naturally be countered by letters to the Museum in favor of flying the Mexican flag.

-->UPDATE 10/13/07 After hundreds of people called in to complain, both flags are going back up. A museum official said:
"We are going to explain that it is part of the museum's heritage dating back to the early '50s, and the flags are flown in great part to represent the binational conservation and educational endeavors of the museum regarding the Sonoran Desert,"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dennis Kuchinch has balls of brass

In this interview on PBS Dennis comes out in favor of keeping jobs in the U.S, higher wages for ordinary working folks who keep the U.S. in the green, sensible corporate and industrial policy, and sensible foreign policy.

Kucinich may not be tall or look like a TV star or an athlete, but he can kick your ass when it comes to policy, when it comes to doing things that are good for the United States and all of our nearly 300 million souls and rest of our fellow world citizens. This guy could easily kick the ass of any Democratic or Republican presidential candidate when it comes down to brass tacks.

Watch out for this guy, he is one of the few voices keeping the Midwest strong, in favor of realistic economic and social policy. He also keeps his religion out of the social and political fray. Go Dennis, the world would be such a better place if we could keep our religions out of government and social affairs.

Mike Huckabee

I don't think a "Christian Minister" should be president. Separation of church and state is a very important worldwide principle right now.

1/16/08: To reiterate this point, I'd like to include this quote, which shows this guy is SERIOUSLY FULL OF SHIT, delusional, dangerous, psychotic:
"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

However, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who got interested in being a triathelte and lost 110 pounds, is in favor of sensible, preventative healthcare, and is in favor of giving a hand to folks coming up here from Mexico looking for work, despite his "social conservative" and anti-gay marriage position, looks like a traditional, low-tax, less-government Republican who would not let the U.S. be overrun by Huge Corporate Interests seeking to overrun government, workers, Citizens, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc in favor of short-term profits. See his interview and read about him here on PBS.
Oh yeah, he also apparently plays bass, with his fingers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rosemont mine PR hatchet-job reported as fact in the Arizona Daily Star

The photograph is a beloved natural area south of Tucson. Rosemont Ranch is at the edge of the area's highest mountain range, the 9200 ft. Santa Rita range. A copper company has claimed the right to create an open pit copper mine to remove Rosemont Ranch, swallow the area whole, and leave a giant pit behind. Copper mines typically release tons of airborne contaminants, and let tons of chemical pollution seep into the aquifer. Opposition to the mine has been widespread in the area. The only voice in favor not obviously associated with the mining company itself has been the Tucson Chamber of commerce which has made such inane statements as this:
"They've got to mine there, because that's where the copper is," [Jack] Camper said. "You can't lock up everything. If you do, you lose your tax base, and we can't afford to live here."

In this article, which is not quite a pro-mining puff-piece, and which does present a watered-down version of opposing arguments in the body of the story, the Arizona Daily Star presents as fact ridiculous arguments created in a "report" authored by a company obviously on the payroll of the mining interest. The journalist does not present much information about the author of the report or his employer. Instead a quote is given from one the many Pima County officials opposed to the blatant environmental destruction:
"It's not an objective report," said county Supervisor Ray Carroll, whose district includes the area where the mine would be developed.
"It's a glowing, rosy report that promotes their interests," he said. "It's almost as if the analysis was put together by the sales department of Augusta Resource."

Ok, so wouldn't it be normal for a journalist to do a little background on "Western Economic Analysis Center?" Well that's not what you get in the Star. What you do get is the following headline:
Long-term impact debated
Proposed Rosemont copper mine would add jobs, revenue, economist reports

For more balanced coverage, and to get a much more realistic picture of what is going on and what kind of company we are dealing with here, please see coverage by Tim Hull and Tim Vanderpool in the Tucson Weekly:

Glass Half-Empty - The company that wants to mine in the Rosemont Valley is promoting water plans that may be all wet By TIM HULL. (08-09-2007)

Fierce Opposition - The controversy over a proposed Pima County mine proves copper is no longer king By TIM VANDERPOOL. (06-14-2007)

Rosemont Rising - Can this mine fight turn a national tide? By TIM VANDERPOOL. (03-08-2007)

Dreams and Duds - Dapper miners with their eyes on Rosemont Valley get thumped by Pima County By TIM VANDERPOOL. (01-25-2007)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

University of Arizona Business School involved in U.S. Military project to search the Interent for "...threats"

My point here is the Star's language makes it look like basically the U.S. Military is gearing up to start tracking anybody who opposes Bush and what his administration has done to mess up our country.

There is probably no better time or place to say that those of us who love this country feel it's very important to speak out in opposition to Bush and his policies. The intention is to prevent BushCo-sponsored destruction of the environment, destruction of the infrastructure, destruction of the economy, destruction of the Bill of Rights & Constitution, destruction of healthy and productive foreign relations.

This is a democracy after all, and we are free to exercise our right to free speech as we see fit.
"The possibilities are endless," [Hsinchun] Chen...director of the University of Arizona's Artificial Intelligence Lab... said... The UA is collaborating with various federal intelligence agencies and essentially taking orders for what Dark Web will focus on.
Wow. Taking orders, huh? Focusing on whom? The article at the Arizona Daily Star focuses on actual threats- mass killings committed by extreme fundamentalists against ordinary, unsuspecting, innocent people. But further down the subtext gets scarier.
The various agencies he works with on Dark Web have their own unique uses for the data.
Also, the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management, under which the programs mentioned in the article are operating, is, simply put, the U's business college. Isn't that about profit? Isn't this kind of along the same lines of having a for-profit "private security company" involved in law enforcement? It might be a good time to ask how many private, for-profit interests are involved in so-called Homeland Security.

UPDATE-- 9/27/07-- More information and links are available here at Wired's Danger Room blog. Also, the wonderful Boing Boing's Xeni reported last winter on similar efforts, sticking more closely to the analysis of actual threats.

From the Star:

Terrorists use the Web as a virtual university of how-to videos for making bombs, enticing recruits and plotting attacks — but UA researchers are zeroing in on them.
UA's Dark Web project scours the Internet to listen in on terrorist chat rooms, untangle the vast network of extremist links and spot threats emerging daily.

That gives Tucson the world's largest database of terrorist-generated Web sites, a collection of more than a half billion pages, postings, images and videos — a new tool for the military and U.S. agencies to use in assessing threats.

And now the UA will use a $1.5 million federal grant to look deeper into one pressing danger: how the Web teaches extremists to set up improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, the roadside bombs often used against U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

"Our young soldiers, before they're being deployed, will know the IEDs through the enemies' eyes," said Hsinchun Chen, director of the University of Arizona's Artificial Intelligence Lab, which is three years into its Dark Web work.
UA will now get even "closer to the action," Chen said.

The Army's military intelligence school at Fort Huachuca is also working to gather intelligence on IEDs.

Officials there can't comment specifically on Dark Web, but fort spokeswoman Tanja Linton noted that the Internet makes the job of intelligence officers more challenging.

"As a rule, obviously, having a better understanding of the enemy is always a goal of military intelligence," Linton said. "The better we are at identifying terrorists, the better off we are.

"Now we're fighting people who don't wear uniforms," making it especially tough to root them out, she added.

Sophisticated analysis
The UA is collaborating with various federal intelligence agencies and essentially taking orders for what Dark Web will focus on. "The possibilities are endless," Chen said.

In cyber-terms, Dark Web is now about at version 2.5 and moving toward version 3.0, Chen said, growing savvier along with its prey.
Its success lies in the sophistication it brings to analyzing social linkages between groups and the ability to identify and track individual authors by their writing styles, Chen said.

That component, called Writeprint, helps combat the Web's anonymity by studying thousands of lingual, structural and semantic features in online postings. With 95 percent certainty, it can attribute multiple postings to a single author.
From there, Dark Web has the ability to track a single person over time as his views become radicalized.

The project analyzes which types of individuals might be more susceptible to recruitment by extremist groups, and which messages or rhetoric are more effective in radicalizing people.

In one study, Chen found terrorist Web sites and U.S. government sites are equally sophisticated on the technical level. But terrorist Web sites are about 10 times richer in multi-media content like pictures and video and also about 10 times more effective in creating a community. Terrorist sites are quick to provide answers and instruction when their users ask questions, he said.

50,000 terror sites on Web
Chen estimates there are now more than 50,000 terrorist-led or terrorism-related Web sites, with new ones cropping up every day, especially in Arabic, but also in many other languages.

At its start, Dark Web had the capability to collect and analyze Internet activity in English, Spanish and Arabic.

It's now branching out into other languages, with German and French already incorporated into the system, and Chinese, Farsi and Dutch among about 10 others in the works.

"We have to increase the sophistication of our language recognition," Chen said.
In the future, Chen envisions Dark Web moving from a research prototype into a tool agencies can use independently.

The various agencies he works with on Dark Web have their own unique uses for the data. One group is looking at which ideas are most effective in recruiting, while another is analyzing the spread of training information.

Deception-detection research
The Dark Web team, made up of about five professors and eight graduate students, isn't the only group of UA researchers bringing computer expertise to the national security effort.

Led by Jay Nunamaker, UA's Center for the Management of Information is using subtle indicators in language use, vocal qualities like pitch or pauses, and an analysis of gestures and motions to build a complex model of how people behave when they're being deceptive.

"We take those three cues and fuse them to get a signal of truth or deception," said Nunamaker, whose team, like Chen's, is within the Management Information Systems Department of UA's Eller College of Management.

The next step is to refine the project so it can adjust for different situations and cultures, Nunamaker said.

"Everybody wants a silver bullet, one super cue that will identify truth or deception, but the problem is far too complex for that," he said. "You have to identify the context you're dealing with."

The UA is expanding on the deception-detection research with three recent grants, starting with $823,000 from the Defense Academy for Credibility Analysis. Researchers also are teaming with three other universities on a $1.2 million grant to study human and social dynamics, and are working with West Virginia University on a $350,000 project to pair biometric indicators with the deception techniques.

"There's no single technique that's going to identify a terrorist," Nunamaker said. "It's with all the technologies taken together that you're going to be able to make some progress."

strip-search at Arizona middle school

Looking for ibuprofen, following rumors, unnamed school administrators at a middle school in Safford Arizona detained a 13 year old student for 2 hours, refused to let her call her mother, and strip-searched her. The Captiol Media Services' story by Howard Fischer was carried by the Arizona Daily Star here.

That this happened, that the girl's mother filed suit, that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supported the search, are some of the reasons we should be ashamed of Arizona, and ashamed the Federal court upheld such barbaric behavior.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ricard Serra installation

Installation of this dynamic sculpture by the infamous Ricard Serra, my favorite sculptor, at the NY MOMA. Serra's works are generally huge, will dwarf you while confronting the site.

Here is a sculpture, View Point, in Germany.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ralph Nader speaks at Washington protest

The photo below makes it look pretty bad, but looking around on YouTube and reading various stories, the police and the peace marchers behaved fairly well, all things considered. The worst behavior was coming from the attendees who believe in the "war" and who came to harass the peace marchers.

"The impeachable offenses of Bush outnumber any other list of impeachable offenses of any US president," Nader said. "Not only did he and Cheney violate their oath of office to uphold the constitution and the laws of the land, but they proceeded to impose a practice of torture, to arrest thousands of Americans without charges and throw them in prisons without lawyers.... They spied on millions of Americans randomly without judicial approval. How many more impeachable offenses do those spineless, gutless, hapless Democrats need in the Congress."
From this article on Raw Story.

Here are a couple quotes by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who also spoke at the protests:
“I’ve been in Iraq every year since 1989, and I’ll tell you it’s never been like this before” said former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who described the quality of life for Iraqis as “unlivable” and illustrated a growing refugee crisis in Iraq’s neighboring countries as Iraqi citizens flee the war.
"Nothing is going to stop this machine but to impeach Bush and his gang and bring the troops back home,"
Clarke was quoted here in Broadside online and here in the L.A. Times.

Some YouTube vid here:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Center for Biological Diversity sues to reclaim wilderness

In an effort to start undoing Bush Administration environmental damage the Center for Biological Diversity announced its intention to file suit against the federal government over protected endangered species habitat in 28 states. The amount of land involved is stupendous, 8.7 million acres. The suit describes the typical Administration practices we've all read about. For example, quoting from this article in the Seattle Times:
In the case of the marbled murrelet, the organization contends the government manipulated a scientific review to make it look like the bird didn't need further federal protection. The government also illegally shrank the amount of critical habitat for the Western snowy plover by exaggerating the economic costs involved in the protections, said [a CDC spokesperson].
The outcome of this type of policy is that land that normally would be preserved gets destroyed when industrial and corporate interests move in. In formulating this type of policy, it's quite clear who BushCo represents in the U.S., clear who BushCo is working for.

It's important to note that the more we allow destruction of wilderness, the more the earth looses its ability to keep us alive. Without an environment free of toxins, without fresh air, without wildlands, we all die. BushCo has been absolutely criminal in its lies, policies and disregard for scientific data in this area, and there has been very little talk of consequences or solutions.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

National day of celebration

People should be out rejoicing in the streets over the Gonzales resignation. We should be declaring mass parties, with banners with the names of Ashcroft, Wolfowitz, DeLay, Rove, and Gonzales inside circles with the big red slash.

Read the paper lately and it's like, "oh well there were some questions about Gonzales' integrity, competence and honesty." And "well old Rove, well, he's just going to go fishin' now, with his wife and his dog..." Well what a fucking couple of good-old-boys now, why, those good old boys, they just done had enough now haven't they. The fuck. They are running scared, like all those BushCo crooks, once people start finding out what BushCo has been upto.

Let us all hope that exactly what BushCo has done can be brought to light. And let's hope that damage to the constitution, the law, the environment, the economy, the infrastructure, international relations, and the way in which the federal government spends our tax money may be repaired, and the sooner the better.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Karl Rove resigns

Looks like he just gave his 2 weeks' notice.

Add him to the list of failed BushCo NeoC*n thugs.

Hooray. He was one of the worst, one of the men responsible for the tragedy foisted upon the United States and the rest of the world.

Details here at Reuters Canada.

I'm putting a sweet old family picture with this post as kind of a "unicorn chaser," since the image of Karl Rove is a sickening reminder of BushCo offenses.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Space travel via balloon

In what I'd describe as a revolutionary and simple idea, an independent company called JP Aerospace is using balloons to facilitate space travel.

I read about it here in Wired's "Threat Level" blog.

In dozens of tests, JP Aerospace balloons have reached altitudes of nearly 100,000 feet. The balloons carry cameras, cell phones and GPS devices.

So this is what it looks like from up there:

This is roughly 18 miles up.

JP's idea is to assemble a platform up there, which can be reached with a unit like this:

From there (140,000 feet), theoretically, a space ship can be launched.

Friday, August 10, 2007

BushCo Lexicography hit-list

"in·for·ma·tion /ˌɪnfərˈmeɪʃən/ [in-fer-mey-shuhn] –noun
1. knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance; news."

"knowl·edge /ˈnɒlɪdʒ/ [nol-ij] –noun
1. acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things."

"blog (blŏg) n. A weblog.

intr.v. blogged, blog·ging, blogs
To write entries in, add material to, or maintain a weblog ... blog·ger n. ... Part of Speech: n ... Definition: a person who keeps a Web log (blog)."

Sample usage: "Well I heard the bloggers are using information to create knowledge on their blogs..."


Next week on Hannity: "Do you want the world of the bloggers or do you want the world of America? America must choose now!!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Return of the Pork Chops

Still relevant after 20 years! Damnit. Classes start the 20th and the worst of the worst are coming back to town. I once got in an argument in the middle of a class with one of these types who would not shut up during the lecture:

"Well if you're not here to talk alot and have fun, then what are you here for?"

"To get an education!"

I will quote from my friend at
I made this flyer in early 1985 as a gut response to the recent infestation of the U of A campus with a strain of vermin known as College Republicans. Not sure their origin but they brought with them a "fashion style" that was soon to be ubiquitious: beach bikes, walkmen, oversized shirts and shorts. Unacceptable though was their attitude of "dont fuck with me cuz my daddy will sue your ass". They were almost exclusively fraternity members and were responsible for making the word "frat boy" synonymous with the Niedermeyer-asshole type frat (Animal House nemesis) it is today. (Once was a day when not all frats were conservative gross shitheads or trust fund hippies pretending not to be.)

Ugh! 22+ years later and I can still spew this hostility!! Its probably pretty easy for me cuz the Bush era we are struggling through makes those horrible Reagan years look like the Summer of Fucking Love in Haight Ashbury.

Me and my buddy Tim hung these all over campus. We actually had a pork chop see us hang one, read it and exclaim "i'm a pork chop!!" and instead of getting aggro on us he begged us for more copies. Now thats a good pork chop!

We also had to ride for our lives on fraternity row to escape their wrath at one juncture. Never underestimate the violence of a Reagan brainwashed (insert Rove/Bush today) humonculous.

As an added related note: it was Tim who first commented to me upon seeing a Pork Chop: "that guy just shaved his neck". We began calling Pork Chops "Shaved Necks". Now you know where the fucking ridiculous name for this website comes from!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Journalist killed in Oakland

Chauncey Bailey, a reporter at the Oakland Post, was killed last Thursday, Aug. 2nd 2007, by a 19 year old who worked a bakery. The bakery was the subject of a story by Baily. The 19 year old killed Baily with a shotgun & confessed to the crime, according to this story in the Chron.

People who spoke at Baily's memorial service expressed a strong desire to continue with the story he was working on. They also expressed the importance of investigative journalism. Chauncy Baily's editor:
"This is a moment of disaster for journalism, nationally and internationally. One of the few journalists ever killed on American soil and he was in the pursuit of stories that were controversial... I hope that this is an opportunity for us to continue the work he was doing and to step up... It ain't over. This community will know what Chauncey Bailey and I were working on... I want us to make his untimely, forced exodus our genesis, our genesis of renewed advocacy for investigative journalism."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

more on the Gonzales scandal

"There are no rules"
Alberto Gonzales, July 2007

"The attorney general took an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Instead, he tells the half-truth, the partial truth, and everything but the truth. And he does it not once, and not twice, but over and over and over again."
Senator Charles Schumer, July 2007

ASTOUNDING stuff is trickling into public view in the Gonzales scandal. My point here is that we are seeing less and less tolerance in Congress for BushCo's lying, cheating, stealing ways, and that damage caused by Bush, Cheney, Rove and company is coming to light, stirring citizenry and congress, Demos and Reps alike, to call for punishment, adherence to the law, the public's right to know the actions of those who are supposed to represent us in government. BushCo has become its own ugly little entity and no longer serves the People of the U.S. The Gonzales scandal illustrates business as usual at BushCo- secrecy, lying, disregard for the constitution and law, attempts to discredit and obfuscate, contempt for the Bill of Rights and the very people the President is supposed to represent.

List of stuff that's been all over the news this week:

1. The entire top tier of the U.S. Justice Dept. was going to quit over the BushCo domestic spying program. That means ASHCROFT, yes, even Ashcroft was was so pissed about Bush's disregard for the law & Constitution that he was going to resign from his job as fucking ATTORNEY GENERAL, along with the head of the FBI Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General James Comey. This was in 2004. Link to Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's 5/15/07 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

2. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are now trying to charge Gonzales with perjury, via a special council. Gonzales keeps saying- under oath- there was no internal dispute over the domestic spying program. Mueller and Comey, in their testimony, have been frank about how the people who ran the Justice Dept. at the time believed the domestic spying was illegal and were about to resign over it.

3. Karl Rove has been subpoenaed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is part of the committee's 7-month-old proceedings regarding the BushCo purge of U.S. Attorneys.

4. It's coming out that the Attorneys were fired in states where the Administration believed the Attorneys would oppose Republican attempts to discredit Democrats and draw attention away from election fraud through phony "voter fraud" scandals.

5. In the media they are now referring to Gonzales as "Gonzo."

Link to DAVID JOHNSTON and SCOTT SHANE's New York Times article, which sums up the week's developments in the Gonzales scandal, and provides the adminstration's masterfully persuasive counter arguments, which arguments I'd like to quote:
“confusion is inevitable when complicated classified activities are discussed in a public forum where the greatest care must be used not to compromise sensitive intelligence operations.”
“The disagreement that occurred in March 2004 concerned the legal basis for intelligence activities that have not been publicly disclosed and that remain highly classified,”
It's worth noting that these strong-sounding arguments are handily deflated by sworn testimony of people who were there when this went down.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Voter fraud" linked to U.S. Attorney firings

On an NPR edition of All Things Considered today I heard a story where for the first time it was mentioned that the Congressional response to the U.S. Attorney firings is now focused on Gonzalez' attempt to fire U.S. Attorneys who may have opposed BushCo's so-called voter fraud diversions.

The story, which story I cannot find on NPR's website, clearly stated that U.S. Attorneys were fired in states were Gonzalez & Co. thought said Attorneys might oppose election-timed investigations into said "voter fraud."

Paraphrasing the the NPR story, I'm quoting this story on regarding a 52 page memorandum written by Michigan congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee:
The memorandum also says the congressional probe has turned up evidence that some of the U.S. attorneys were fired because of their handling of vote fraud allegations, public corruption cases or other cases that could affect elections.
...I am hoping this point makes it to the Arizona Daily Star tomorrow, and I am wondering if it will...

"Voter fraud" was a slimeball Republican tactic to divert attention from, and pacify objection to, election fraud.

Election fraud as, for example, illustrated in Florida, involving voting machines and the poorly covered up trail of bullshit involving voting machines, voter intimidation, and many other similar efforts, which helped put our current president in office.

The link between the U.S. Attorney firings and BushCo's "create-a-scandal-that-conveniently-discredits-Democrats-at-election- time" machinations illustrates BushCo's tendency to cheat, lie & discredit, and has come to light through congressional attempts to shed light on the actions of Bush's old friend, Alberto Gonzales.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No Country for Old Men trailer link

This film blogger has posted a trailer from Cormac McCarthy's No country for old men here. The movie is from the Cohen brothers, who always kick ass.

The trailer of course looks like it was put together by the Marketing department, and is full of jump-cuts and those annoying booming/squishy noises that Hollywood film adverts always seem to have these days. At least there are none of those annoying flashes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

anti-war protest sign mysteriously emerges

Kudos to the Star for having the guts to report on this. Photo above is by the Star's Kelly Presnell.

At a building being refurbished in downtown Tucson, a large anti-war sign from the Viet Nam era has slowly come to the surface on the building's west side. The sign says "Help End The War By Dec. 31, 1971. Join Common Cause," and is approximately 4 x 7 feet. The building is at Stone and Alameda. The City's Dept. of Transportation is the new tenant. The department, at the urging of the Tucson Museum of Art's Executive Director, will not paint over the sign.

The anti-war movement was strong in Tucson in the late 60s and early 70s. Congressman Morris K. Udall spoke out against the war as early as 1967. This Udall quote is from the sidebar to the AZ Daily Star article about the sign:
"This nation has the brains, the know-how, the courage, the imagination to begin to extricate itself from a war we should never have blundered into,"
Sound familiar? By 1971 protesters in the thousands appeared with some regularity in the University of Arizona area.

These days you're more likely to see well-funded anti-abortion circuses, "Christians" handing out leaflets, psycho mall-preachers, aggressive military recruiters, and gospel bands on the open air stage.

The early 70s anti-war sign, which as it turns out was painted by a wealthy young liberal who owned the building at the time, has obvious historical significance, but also has a timely element. That people started noticing the sign now, and that the sign will be preserved, says a lot about popular sentiment concerning the so-called war. The sign had been painted over years ago, and took its time re-emerging, but it chose now to become noticeable.

As it turns out, the building's owner, one Gene Vinik, who died in 1999, had also painted another sign on the building's east side. This sign, which was painted over years and years ago, will never come back. The sign, which had the building's tenant, a bank, threatening to move out, was a giant peach. It said "Impeach the President."

Im-PEACH. Get it? Go Mr. Vinik! A timely fellow, messages and thoughts back from the grave, saying what everybody is thinking right now.

Star article 2 on the story is here.

An aside: links to Star articles are not permanent, as I've discovered going back over some of my old posts. I'll remedy this by quoting more, & going back and trying to replace some of the dead links with links to stories from the Tucson Weekly &tc, whose material stays on the web permanently, and, like an archive should, remain accessible and a matter of historical record.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

BBQ Movie

More Butthole Surfers. I am surprised YouTube did not pull this one. Whacky vid of "Fast Song" from BBQ Movie...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

More Chuck Biscuits

As and addendum to the R.I.P. of a year and a half ago, here is the Man in action. With the Big Boys, Austin TX. I am guessing about 1986.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Butthole Surfers

I don't think there is a better explanatory video for this wild Texas band than this:

These guys were crazy, not in the crazy sense but in the way beyond crazy sense where humor meets musical prowess and originality and just plain common sense.

Here is a version of "Florida" ca. 1988:


And let us not forget this older 1983 performance, where you can really see they used to be a punk band. Includes my fave B*tthole Surfers song "BBQ Pope!"

Also worth noting is this 2-part "interview in bed" with them (ca. 1989?) -very strange and worth watching: ("Tommy Forester is dead" !!)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

World Naked Bike Ride Day 2007

Hopefully YouTube will not remove this video. [Update 6/14/07: fuckin' prudes! They removed this video. It was really quite innocent and well shot.]

What strikes me here is not only how trim these people are (us bike-riders, you know, we keep in shape), or that World Naked Bike Ride Day was on my birthday this year, but the sheer numbers of people that turned out to protest our filthy, violent, gas-belching habits we all indulge in when we drive. This is 4 minutes of people in London riding 4 abreast, peacefully, nakedly protesting the fact that we are slowly destroying ourselves by burning fossil fuel.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Plateau ala Nirvana

"What're they tuning, a harp?" Dig the crazy version of Sweet Home Alabama while they are waiting (see 1st part of vid below).

Dig Dave Grohl smoking a cigarette while playing. That's how good players everywhere just spontaneously bust out in music.
The subject however is Plateau, its lyrics, something about Greenland, the Brothers Meat of the infamous Meat Puppets, another twisted band comparable in stature to the ever-loving Butthole Surfers. Both bands have a distinct Southwest (US) flavor, both rock, both will kick your ass. And dig, my brothers and sisters, Nirvana playing a Meat Puppets song, acoustic, on TV, with 2 founders of the Meat Puppets.

There were times where I keep walking around singing this song...

Nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop
And an illustrated book about birds
You see a lot up there but don't be scared
Who needs action when you got words...

Also dig Cobain reading an apparent WFMU newsletter:

Life returning to Chernobyl

Martin Cruz Smith had it right- the mystery writer's mystery writer, in what damn well may be my favorite of his book, Wolves Eat Dogs, describes the area surrounding Chernobyl as a twisted but thriving natural paradise. Today's news story in this link to the UK Guardian corroborates Cruz' vision. Older folks who refused to move out after the meltdown of 1986 describe packs of wolves, forests growing up in the towns and fields, and dozens of other animal species thriving. The area is still polluted, loaded with radiation. Of course Mom Nature keeps doing what she can to heal the wounds.

Cruz Smith makes you feel like you were there. You can see the place. After I read the book I got on the web and found the journal of a woman who'd take motorcycle trips through the area, stopping to take photos and measure the radiation. She wrote that she was glad to have a fast bike, as it was a comfort getting quickly through the areas that were still really hot, and the roads were deserted so she could haul ass as much as the deterioration of the pavement would let her.

The pictures above are of Pripyat, a town near Chernobyl. The woman's riding journal is here. Read and enjoy.

Wolve Eat Dogs also chillingly predicted the Alexander Litvinenko affair.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Johnny Depp cookie

In keeping with my theme of lightening things up a bit around here, I'd like to present this hilarious Johnny Depp cookie I found at the local 7-11 last night. They had about 6 or 7 of them, all hand painted, sugary, crusty, unique renditions of the dependable and talented Johnny. Wow.

Cormac McCarthy on Oprah

Now this is unbelievable.

If you have not read Cormac McCarthy, and you are at all interested in the desert southwest, any kind of dark, bleak literature, well told, gripping stories that do not necessarily have a cheery, rosy, happy, neat ending, then McCarthy is highly recommended. His books include All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, & Cities of the Plain- AKA the Border Trilogy, and Suttree, and 2 newer books, No Country for Old Men, and The Road, which I believe won a pulitzer. Oh and don't forget Blood Meridian- WOW.

The amazing thing about him appearing on Oprah is that he's super non-celebrity, the opposite of famous. The CNN article here quotes a time when he turned down a well-paid speaking engagement in the years when he was barely scratching by. I know from other articles I've read about him that reason he's done that kind of thing is he's too busy writing! He's been kind of a writer's writer for years and years but his stuff is so good that more and more people are reading his books.

As soon as this appears on You Tube I will embed it.

[update 7/11/07: found the trailer for No Country for Old Men here. ]
[update 8/8/07: Dang this guy really is hard to find info on. His books say it best, boys and girls, I will tell you that. However there is an awesome interview here from 1992 published at the New York Times by Richard B. Woodward. Still no Oprah interview on YouTube. Apparently clips are available on Oprah's site & you have to register & etc. C7]

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Going solar in Tucson

I am always amazed there is not more use of solar power going on here in Tucson. The average day is sunny. Almost all days are sunny. You can power your house, business, you can make your electric meter spin backward. A solar house setup featured in a recent episode of This Old House in Austin, Texas detailed a system that costs 18,000 dollars- I think this was after incentives had cut the original cost 40 to 50 percent.

Today's article in the AZ Daily Star got me thinking about Arizona in solar circles. The house is a "showcase" home, at a quarter of a mil, but generates all its own energy and harvests water. When it rains here, it really rains, so if you're clever you can water you gardens with what you harvest. But the point is, the more people that go to the trouble of outfitting their homes to face the future, the cheaper it will become.

To say that it pays for itself is important. To say that it's necessary, if we are not going to exterminate our own species with pollution from coal burning power plants, is a more important point.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut dies

This guy had a bearing on life that was a big influence on me from the time I started reading his books when I was 12. Like the AP copy below says, he spoke out about many destructive things- things others just blindly accepepted. The AP copy does not emphasize something else: Vonnegut was a VERY FUNNY GUY. Humor was interlaced in every book he wrote.
Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," died Wednesday. He was 84.
Vonnegut, who often marveled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.
The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic.
He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.
"I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations," Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.
A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view.
He also filled his novels with satirical commentary and even drawings that were only loosely connected to the plot. In "Slaughterhouse-Five," he drew a headstone with the epitaph: "Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt."
But much in his life was traumatic, and left him in pain.
Despite his commercial success, Vonnegut battled depression throughout his life, and in 1984, he attempted suicide with pills and alcohol, joking later about how he botched the job.
His mother had succeeded in killing herself just before he left for Germany during World War II, where he was quickly taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge.
He was being held in Dresden when Allied bombs created a firestorm that killed an estimated 135,000 people in the city.
"The firebombing of Dresden explains absolutely nothing about why I write what I write and am what I am," Vonnegut wrote in "Fates Worse Than Death," his 1991 autobiography of sorts.
But he spent 23 years struggling to write about the ordeal, which he survived by huddling with other POW's inside an underground meat locker labeled slaughterhouse-five.

I was always shaken, inspired, enlightened by every book of his I read. No matter what age I was, each Vonnegut book meant something very big to me and I read many of them a few times. They say he had depression- but here was one guy who didn't spread depression, as I believe so many others do, he spread humor instead.

Monday, April 09, 2007

BushCo hiring grads from Pat Robertson's "Christian" law school

Regent University School of Law, Pat Robertson's attempt to change the world through intertwining "Christian values" and the Law, has had 150 of its graduates hired by the Bush administration since 2001. The attorney who recently resigned as part of the Gonzales scandal, Monica Goodling, who looks like a cast-member from the Lawrence Welk show circa 1973, was a Regent grad. Goodling had graduated from the "law school" 2 years earlier and had been part of BushCo's effort to dump U.S Attorneys who were doing too good of a job. Goodling was involved in importing Karl Rove's pal Timothy Griffin to fuck things up in Arkansas.

Way to go BushCo. The attempts to pack the U.S. Circuit courts with rightwing zealots for judges, label all other judges "activist judges," subvert the law in a million other ways, promote creationism, destroy habeus corpus, the Bill of Rights, and so on, is now joined by a transparent and gutless attempt to give legal muscle to fucking morons who can't separate church from state, who are apparently unaware of the tyrannical actions taken throughout century after century in the name of religion, and are stupid enough to go to a school founded they King of Dorks, Pat Robertson.

Furthermore in an act that surly must be illegal, BushCo placed a Dean from Regent in charge of hiring at the U.S. Government's Executive branch. The hiring of the 150 moronic followers of Pat Roberton's insane and prejudiced social views began immediately after. According the Globe article we can thank the psychopathic John Ashcroft, who put a curtain up so nobody could see the breasts on a statue representing Justice, for the lowering the hiring standards at the DOJ:
"John Ashcroft , then attorney general, changed longstanding rules for hiring lawyers to fill vacancies in the career ranks.

Previously, veteran civil servants screened applicants and recommended whom to hire, usually picking top students from elite schools."

Naturally, Ashcroft is now a professor at Regent University School of Law.

Details are here in the Boston Globe's story by Charlie Savage.

And yes I read about it here in the venerable and great Raw Story.

Friday, March 16, 2007

U.S. attorney firings, Gonzales & Rove

Even the Republicans are fed up with BushCo's attempt to replace U.S. attorneys with compliant BushCo substitutes such as Karl Rove's friend Tim Griffin. The Huffington Post reports here that two additional Republican Congresspeople, Gordon Smith and Dana Rohrabacker of Oregon and California, respectively, have publicly stated it's time for Attorney General Gonzales to call it quits. Senator John Sununu was the first republican to speak up on the obvious transgressions in this matter.

To top it off, 2 years ago Karl Rove and Gonzales were involved in a plan to replace all 93 U.S. Attorneys. Emails cited by ABC news show Rove and Gonzales involved in the sneaky plan long ago, which eventually led to the firing of 8 U.S. attorneys, and a lot of inconsistent rhetoric and explanations from BushCo.
New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged. The e-mails also show how Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel — weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.
The fact the people found out about this and are outraged is BushCo's second-worst nightmare. The truth is that this type of transgression is business as usual for the Bush administration. We see evidence of it week after week after week, they just say, "well we're responsible for that, and mistakes were made..." blah blah blah, and get away scott-free. But it seems like once people find out about it, the wheels start rolling, and the idea of justice starts to come about, like what do you do with people at the very top of a government, a democracy, who break the law again and again, and who do great harm to us and our beloved country, and the government which serves us and makes the U.S. a free country, great, wonderful and awesome. You just can't say "shame on you" and let it go and just accept the harm done.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

diversion vs. replacement plans for attorney generals

Hm not quite sure what to say about this one but I know I am not the only one thinking it. See this link at the LA Weekly blogs.

The point is, as has been pointed out to me, isn't it funny the terms mastermind, mega-confession and 911 have been floating around all of a sudden right after the whole fucking country finds out that BushCo had been about to fire the entire staff of United States Attorneys General and replace them with new Attorneys General who agreed with BushCo? The seriousness of the firing of the 8, the disregard for law, the trashing of checks and balances, the destruction of the independence of the judiciary, not to mention BushCo's shitty rhetoric surrounding the topic, quickly became a serious enough issue that Brittney and other fluff-crap could not eclipse it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bushco and torture

'Prisoners of war' vs. 'Unlawful combatants.'
Philip Zimbardo is the kind of guy who would be targeted by right-wing moron and highly-paid propaganda expert Horowitz. The Stanford psychology professor, who has some serious credentials, in his last lecture before retirement, and not doubt not for the fist time, blamed BushCo higher-ups, rather than U.S. Military personnel, for the style of torture and abuse we've heard about over the last couple years.
Zimbardo — who spent months interviewing [Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick II, the highest-ranking officer implicated in the scandal] and his friends and relatives, and poring over his work history and personal background — argued that his sentence should be lessened.

Based on academic research, Zimbardo said, very few people could resist the situational pressures of Abu Ghraib — particularly Army reservists, themselves subject to hazing and abuse by active duty soldiers.

"There's only one rung lower than reservists, and that's the detainees," Zimbardo said while flashing dozens of "trophy photos" of Iraqi prisoners in naked piles, being menaced by snarling German shepherds, covered in blood, or with their eyes missing.

Zimbardo, an unusual icon of both academia and pop culture also starred in the 2002 Discovery Channel reality show "The Human Zoo" and the PBS series "Discovering Psychology."

On Wednesday, he displayed a grainy, 1971 photo of Stanford's mock prisoners with bags over their heads, guards looking on casually — then switched to an eerily similar digital photo
The SF Chron article is here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lightening it up with Isabel Baker

Alright, let's lighten it up here. I ain't saying nothing about the Brian Jones hairstyle in the photo but I'd kill for the old Fender Mustang. Listen to Isabel's caterwaulin' gospel here.

Posted on the fabulous WFMU's Blast of hot air. If you love radio, and if you love music, listen, and contribute. WFMU is a major voice in non-corporate-controlled media, and a major voice in music itself.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Net Neutrality

This video nicely explains corporate attempts to turn the internet into a corporate place where only certain voices have access. As it is now, the net is an open, public, equal place where we can all say what we want. Visit and find how to take a stance and keep the internet a public place where all voices have equal access.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Cheneyspere & Fitzgerald

Dog bless Raw Story for keeping a stiff upper lip in the darkest of times. In this story by Brian Beutler Raw Story claims prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is stalking Vice President Cheney, like a wolf in search of a fat arrogant bullfrog. With all due regards to the office of the Vice President, Cheney's blithe participation in the information war surrounding the Plame scandal has seemed like a Very Bad Thing from the start.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Headlines and pacification

"Dems foiled in bid to bash Bush on Iraq"
-Arizona Daily Star headline. Yes, we are just trying to bash Bush. A convenient buzzword that portrays bipartisan efforts to end an invasion begun on false premises as something more akin to a baseless temper tantrum on the part of Democrats. The headline tacked onto this AP story published in the AZ Daily Star backs up Benjamin Whorf's theory that language affects thought.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Apathy and magnetic yellow ribbons

Asylum Street Spankers on complacency.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Molly Ivins

Here is a lady who would kick your ass, who was living proof the pen is mightier than the sword, who would walk in there and say what's what on a daily basis. And she was from Texas, living proof that Texas is not an outpost of moron, shit-for-brains fuckwads.

One of my cousins down there has expressed some concern about this current view of Texas, for which we can thank not Molly, but somebody named George....

Quoting from an Ivins column of July 2005 about the ACLU:
“We suffer the worst attack on this country since Pearl Harbor, and the Bush administration sends the FBI after the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU exists to protect every citizen’s rights as defined in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States. The ACLU works solely through the legal system: It does not advocate violence, terrorism or any other damn thing except the Bill of Rights. Since when is that extremist? … We are living in a time when our government is investigating an organization that stands for the highest and best American ideals.”

BushCo replacing U.S. Attorneys

Getting fired for doing a good job is exactly what happened to a high up Washington state U.S. Attorney. Jon McKay was damn near famous for his job performance. He was highly thought of by judges and everyone else. He was ordered to quit 2 months ago by the Bush Administration. McKay was in line to become a federal circuit court judge but apparently was not a BushCo automatic right wing zealot drone. It's well know BushCo has been packing federal circuit courts across the nation with right wing radicals, and diverting attention by growing a huge crop of rhetorical bullshit about "activist judges" (= any judge who does not tow the tyrannical BushCo party line).

McKay's firing is detailed, to some extent, in this story by AP writer Gene Johnson here in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. The story is deeper, though, as U.S. Attorneys of similar stature across the nation are being dumped by BushCo under a secretive provision slipped into the renewal of the Patriot Act 2 years ago. A notable example is that of Carol Lam, the San Diego U.S. Attorney who was prosecuting the spectacularly corrupt Republican House Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Hm, go figure. How'd that happen?

This article in by Joe Conason details the other firings.

The House of Representatives has taken notice of this typical BushCo boodoggle thought. The chairwoman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Linda Sanchez, is beginning hearings on BushCo's attempt to end Congress' role in appointment of federal Attorneys.
"No presidential administration - now or in the future - should be allowed to dismantle the important constitutional set of checks and balances to achieve a political agenda."
Go Representative Sanchez!

Also, according the same Raw Story article by Mike Sheehan quoted above, a bill is under consideration that would nullify the slimy Patriot Act provision that allowed BushCo to appoint U.S. Attorneys without Senate oversight.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Using TOR at Bowling Green State

This story, which was posted on the loveable Boing Boing, shows what can happen when you start anonymously using the web at work. A professor got a visit from the campus computer security expert and 2 of the campus police detectives. The trio was chasing an actual wrongdoer but thought the professor's use of the ubiquitous Onion Router (see the EFF's info and download page here) was enough to come and question the professor. They also felt it necessary encourage him to stop using TOR.

A good way to describe The Onion Router, and our current use of the internet, is to point to an obvious analog with postal mail, AKA snail mail. You usually put your letters in an envelope, right? Maybe an envelope made with opaque paper so no one can hold it up to the light and see what's inside? We seal the envelope, too, right? Why do you do this- to simply contain the pages, or because IT'S NOBODY'S FUCKING BUSINESS WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR MAIL?

We live in an age, thanks to BushCo, where you can become a suspect- a suspect of nothing specific, mind you, for resisting violations of privacy. Furthermore, according to the ACLU, it is currently commonplace for the military and the police to spy on people who belong to peace advocacy and anti-war groups.