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Friday, March 31, 2006
On this day:

The Clone Wars

In the specialty world of Cutting Horses, the clone wars are heating up. And you thought that was just cinematic science fiction.

From Washington Post.

Thursday, March 30, 2006
On this day:

Reality-Cognition Impairment

This is just too stupid to tolerate:
Bush said that Saddam was a tyrant and used violence to exacerbate sectarian divisions to keep himself in power, and that as a result, deep tensions persist to this day.

"The enemies of a free Iraq are employing the same tactics Saddam used, killing and terrorizing the Iraqi people in an effort to foment sectarian division," Bush said.
This is from the mouth and empty mind of a man who watched as thousands of poor blacks in this country lost their livelihoods to a hurricane, who just this week backed a crack-down of thousands of Hispanics who have families in the U.S.

Talk about sectarian divisions!

This man has done more than any man in recent memory to splinter the executive branch into a deadlock. His partisan attack politics and his blatant disinterest in any view outside his own has fractured our government nearly to a standstill. These days it’s big news that the house or the senate actually passes legislation! Witness today’s headline about the so-called lobby reforms.

Now our “uniter – not divider” president is speaking out like a child: “It’s not my fault, it’s all his fault…” Can’t you hear the plaintive whine in this voice? Pathetic. But Iraq is tired of the Warmonger, and wants the U.S. to stop interfering in their affairs. Imagine that - the ungrateful wretches.

Bushie can’t even end his speechifying without a boilerplate mention of WMD’s or the standard comment about how withdrawing troops creates a safe haven for terrorists, as if they don’t already have full reign of Iraq. Someone should study him and classify a whole new pathology of reality-cognition impairment.

That would be a worthy doctoral thesis.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006
On this day:

Onward, Christian Soldiers

We came, we saw and we conquered. We told you to take your newly broken country, freed from the tyranny of a dictator we once supported, and make of it what you will – so long as you do it our way. We will decide your next leader as we have done for the last one. The one you currently pick is a partisan hack, and will not be tolerated. He only represents some of your people, not all. Although you have struggled amid the ruin to form a government time and again, we cannot accept the direction you are taking.

Take some advice from your “Liberator”, (a national leader who surrounds himself with partisan hacks, representing only some of his citizens - less every month) who knows your best interests better than you: Do not keep the man in charge. Replace him. We don’t like him, and we’re patrolling you country, not you. Remember Fallujah.

While we force your frog march toward Democracy in Our Own Image, we reserve the right to tell you how it will play out. After three years, we can firmly assert we own you. Do not mock us, or we will again unleash our Phantom Fury. Our army of Christian Soldiers will pound you weak nation into the sand and make glass out of you. Never forget: our God is a jealous god – and he wants your oil for his faithful. We will deliver; and pity the fool who says different.


Monday, March 27, 2006
On this day:

Something Good as Baghdad Burns

BBC reports Iraqi blogger “Riverbend” and Baghdad Burning is one of 19 nominees for a prize for non-fiction. The winner will be announced on June 14.

I visit Baghdad Burning frequently, awaiting sporadic posts. No doubt, electricity is equally intermittent where she lives. This past Saturday’s post is a poignant reminder of false promises and failed tactics in the destruction of all she once knew after three years of bloodshed.
I don’t think anyone imagined three years ago that things could be quite this bad today. The last few weeks have been ridden with tension. I’m so tired of it all- we’re all tired.Three years and the electricity is worse than ever. The security situation has gone from bad to worse. The country feels like it’s on the brink of chaos once more- but a pre-planned, pre-fabricated chaos being led by religious militias and zealots.

Sounds like Red-State/ Blue-State mentality to me. How long before Americans draw lined in the dirt and extricate themselves to chosen enclaves? I’m also inclined to believe that not all of her “zealots” whom are supposedly benefiting by Iraqi chaos are natives of Iraq.
I’m sitting here trying to think what makes this year, 2006, so much worse than 2005 or 2004. It’s not the outward differences- things such as electricity, water, dilapidated buildings, broken streets and ugly concrete security walls. Those things are disturbing, but they are fixable. Iraqis have proved again and again that countries can be rebuilt. No- it’s not the obvious that fills us with foreboding.The real fear is the mentality of so many people lately- the rift that seems to have worked it’s way through the very heart of the country, dividing people. It’s disheartening to talk to acquaintances- sophisticated, civilized people- and hear how Sunnis are like this, and Shia are like that… To watch people pick up their things to move to “Sunni neighborhoods” or “Shia neighborhoods”. How did this happen?

I read constantly analyses mostly written by foreigners or Iraqis who’ve been abroad for decades talking about how there was always a divide between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq (which, ironically, only becomes apparent when you're not actually living amongst Iraqis they claim)… but how under a dictator, nobody saw it or nobody wanted to see it. That is simply not true- if there was a divide, it was between the fanatics on both ends. The extreme Shia and extreme Sunnis. Most people simply didn’t go around making friends or socializing with neighbors based on their sect. People didn't care- you could ask that question, but everyone would look at you like you were silly and rude.

I grew up in a Christian neighborhood. There, I learned racial slurs against Italians, Poles, and most especially Jews. I had never met a Jew, but I learned to dislike them (I later married one; we’re raising our daughter Jewish). I never clearly understood such behavior. That the Irish-Americans would debase others of European descent, fellow Christians and Caucasians, seemed weird to the young Tannish. Perhaps that was why I had so much trouble fitting in socially, that I didn’t parrot my peers or take odd behavior at face value.

In my limited experience, this is how Christians act. Demeaning others is part of how the Irish Catholics and the German-Scandinavian Lutherans are raised. No wonder our Born-Again evangelical president starts a war against brown people. This is just a natural progression of his upbringing. Not tolerance, no quarter.

I can’t wait until 2008.

Sunday, March 26, 2006
On this day:

Getting Their Goat

Yesterday’s protests serve as a reminder that the “Age of the White Man” is over. No longer can a group of racist white guys mandate a change in this country and make it stick without question. Long gone are the days of American ethnic cleansing, desegregation, and bigotry: Good riddance.

The Bush administration doesn’t seem to know this. Even as they promote a Hispanic Supreme Court justice, as they watch a black freshman senator from Illinois take the spotlight, they still deny that “people of color” form a significant portion of the nation, and that portion is growing. White affluent people live in a self-made cocoon formed of their insecurities, of their enclave suburban or small-town boundaries, of their white man’s church mentality. These sons and daughters of privilege are clearly out of touch with America as it is today.

While the conservatives and the white Christians try to regress this country back to a previous era, the world progresses toward unity, inclusiveness and the reality that Caucasians make up a small sub-category of humanity.

Where does it state in our constitution that the founding ideals of this great nation are intended only for European immigrants? Who claims that progress and economic growth can occur without change in society? How can anyone believe that global acceptance of Democracy can progress while any one demographic oppresses another to any degree?

The Bush administration has finally hit a nerve with Americans. As thousands take to the streets in peaceful protest there may be thousands more who are willing to accept a regime change in America, who will not speak out until their votes are counted. We have seen that war and mismanagement, deficits and disaster combined cannot alienate Americans and future Americans as fast as trying to take away their right to live here, their right to choose where on this planet they want to raise a family, to seek happiness and prosperity.

This may very well be the nail on the coffin of the Bush administration. It’s about time…

Friday, March 24, 2006
On this day:

Where Did I Leave My Horse?

I like this line: “One horseman shy of an apocalypse.” I’ve been feeling that for years, a sense of imminent doom. Washington Post’s Dana Millbank bid us all a Happy Doomsday.

She only touches on a couple topics, no doubt the recent meeting she has covered, but the list of portents is growing. CNN talks about the Alaskan pipeline. Bush passes the buck on troop reduction to his successor. I could go on and on…

I know this blog is quite negative. I too often point out what I feel is wrong with our nation, our world, western culture… people in general. I do this in a spirit of hope, however weak, that my words inspire someone to improve their relation to their world. We all need to treat others better, to bring a renewed sense of integrity, honesty and commitment to fellow humans into our actions, words and thoughts. No one lives in a vacuum, indeed, we’re all intimately connected. To ignore this, as we have been doing for centuries, is exactly how we are now arguably at the brink of destruction.

Whether you believe in the Second Coming or not, can’t you feel the impending doom of mankind? If you dare to look, it’s all around us. Calm you mind and observe, you’ll see. Let this be a call to self improvement. Only by changing ourselves, can we change the world.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
On this day:

Some Music History

Something light for my work-addled brain tonight. NY Times has an interesting article about a song we all know...

"In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the loin sleeps tonight..."

Sing it with me:"A-wimoweh A-wimoweh A-wimoweh A-wimoweh..."

As it happens the rights to the song were bought for, well, a song. Music companies repackaged it as artists reworked it, all the while the survivors of the songwriter earned nothing. Now, after 60 years, the family gets paid back. Read about it.

Monday, March 20, 2006
On this day:

Monday Machine Malady

I was just sitting here minding my own business, doing my nightly blogging run, when all of a sudden my computer locked up (gasp!). I had a Washington Post article about our administration’s group hallucinations loading, choice fodder for tannishblog, when the cursor froze. Upon pressing the reset button, I watch carefully as my computer goes through its post routine:


That’s where it stopped. Two minutes passed as I stared at the screen hoping against hope that the lines upon it would start moving again. No such luck. Reset again; same results.

At this time I start cataloging in my head all the photos, music, and documents I’ve collected on this machine. Before you ask – no, I don’t have a backup set. This computer doesn’t have a RAID array, either. With a resigned sigh, I unplug the beast; take it to my workstation in the basement, and start tearing it down. As an enthusiast, I have inherited many of my friends’ old machines, of which I still have many loose pieces. I plug in an old 6.5GB drive and fire the sucker up. It boots fine. For good measure, I try another older and smaller drive: This one still has WIN95 on it, which boots quick and easy.

After spraying all the cat hair and dust bunnies out of it with compressed air (I know…), I take a chance and hook up the original drive. At this point, I’m already resigned to shelling out a hundred or so in a new drive and mourning the loss of precious data. I envision myself cramming until midnight to load software and tweak the machine until it purrs.

Then the stupid thing boots like it’s supposed to. If it had a face, it would be smirking at me.

Now I begin my overdue archiving project. How should I do this: burn a bunch of CDs and try to keep them organized, or take one of the old hard drives, hook it up to the second IDE port and copy the file onto it? The first is safer and much slower than the second option. I think I’ll do both for extra safety. And start shopping for a new, larger disk – just in case.

Saturday, March 18, 2006
On this day:

The Sky's The Limit

I have to ask. I know I'll seem like an idiot - not for the first time, though: What good is a spending ceiling if you raise it any time you want? From Washinton Post:
It was the fourth debt-ceiling increase in the past five years, after boosts of $450 billion in 2002, a record $984 billion in 2003 and $800 billion in 2004. The statutory debt limit has now risen by more than $3 trillion since Bush took office.
I vaguely recall some campaign rhetoric about our "CEO President" running an oil company into the ground. It's one thing to have been an officer of a corporation, it's an entirely different matter is that same company was successful. One one level at least, the government must run like a company, or a household, using sound financial strategies to maximize spending potential. This administration can only maximize spending - there is no potential, it seems, outside of the potential of fiscal collapse.
"This should be a wake-up call for every member of the Senate, every member of Congress, and a wake-up call for the president of the United States," said Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee. "The question is: Are we staying on this course to keep running up the debt, debt on top of debt, increasingly financed by foreigners, or are we going to change course?"
It wont be. Our President is "Resoloot." Have I mentioned that before?

The bright side, if there is one, is not all Republicans voted for raising the ceiling:
"Congress must stop hiding wasteful spending under the American flag," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), one of several Republicans who voted against the final bill.
Amen, Jeb. Nice to hear that from a Texan these days. It's a welcome sign of the times.

Thursday, March 16, 2006
On this day:

Strategy of Terror

President Bush is about to restate his Terror Strategy. In an overdue document mandated by law, Our warmonger-in-chief will assert his idiocy of strategy and his ignorance of diplomacy by making pre-emptive strikes a central tenet of US strategic priorities.
In his revised version, Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document continues. "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."

The damn fool wants to take over the world, forcing the changes he deems necessary. Is there a better example of megalomaniac intentions? By fighting phantom WMDs he turns our entire military loose on the innocent of the world. In effect America becomes the world's largest Weapon of Mass Destruction imaginable.
Some security specialists criticized the continued commitment to preemption. "Preemption is and always will be a potentially useful tool, but it's not something you want to trot out and throw in everybody's face," said Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "To have a strategy on preemption and make it central is a huge error."
Some experts disagree, but that won't matter: our Fool on the Hill is "Resoloot." that means he's stubborn, arrogant and stupid. All at once. But he's not alone, there are more fools backing him up: From Thomas Donnelly, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has written on the 2002 strategy:
"We have to understand preemption -- it's not going to be simply a preemptive strike," he said. "That's not the end of the exercise but the beginning of the exercise."
The document, released today to three newspapers, has the gall to list our next targets:

Without saying what action would be taken against them, the strategy singles out seven nations as prime examples of "despotic systems" -- North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe. Iran and North Korea receive particular attention because of their nuclear programs, and the strategy vows in both cases "to take all necessary measures" to protect the United States against them.

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the document says, echoing a statement made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week. It recommits to efforts with European allies to pressure Tehran to give up any aspirations of nuclear weapons, then adds ominously: "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided."

These people have to be stopped before the whole globe erupts in conflict. I can almost envision the posters from the Minister of Propaganda: Smiling white folks waving out of their luxury SUV, tooling down a sunlit road somewhere in the American southwest. Plenty of oil for every American. All we have to do is subjugate the rest of the world - piece of cake!

Step right up, folks! World War Three coming soon to a theatre near you. Brought to you by the United States. God Bless America!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
On this day:

More on the New American Century

The American empire is expanding. The Neo-Con agenda is world dominance. Dahr Jamail comments on the likelihood of a permanent American colony in Iraq, a beach head for larger campaigns. It make sense.

Meanwhile the US Senate grills oil executives about their record profits of late. These news items are not unrelated. The specter of peak oil is haunting think tanks near capitol hill and desperate times call for desperate measures. As Republicans forge ahead with their version of a brave new world, the Democrats are making appropriate noises in the name of lip service, but are conveniently lacking the spine to redirect the American juggernaut that is current foreign policy. They're afraid of running out of oil, too.

There is something frightening about this whole scenario, something that transcends the soul. As a Buddhist, I see a beginningless Karmic chain leading to the inevitability of the end of mankind on this planet. There is a chance the Karmic debt can be erased or eased, however unlikely unless a critical mass of people adopt new ways of relating to the world and to each other. As an ex-Christian, I see a self-fulfilling prophesy of Apocalypse spurred by fundamentalist belief that the end of times are near. It's a chicken-and-egg puzzle: Which came first, the proximity to Judgment Day, or the actions that lead to Apocalypse, spurred by the belief in the imminence of Judgment Day?

At this point, does it matter?

Monday, March 13, 2006
On this day:

An Interesting News Clip

This interesting clip came to me through the virtual grapeline. As it comes from a Muslim-American psychologist, and as it mentions Jews in a positive light, the wife’s family is spreading it about.

Check it out.

What I see is a woman daring to speak out against the misogynist and insular Muslim culture. It is interesting to note how the show’s format and mediator mimic Western news media. This underlines her message, which is “Get with the program.” Even the cleric is dressed in western clothes. What the American government is trying to force at gunpoint on the Muslim world – namely the spread of democratic ideals – is already happening at its own, slower pace. Good things are worth waiting for; some things cannot be rushed.

Whatever gains made through this slow osmosis of Globalization have been twisted by our administration as a result of our war. This is not the case. The few gains would have occurred anyway, as is witnessed by this broadcast. The debate is on. What America needs to do is to back off and let it take its own shape. What we have accomplished by destroying Iraq is to give the anachronistic religious extremists fuel for their anger,  thereby slowing the debate: One cannot argue with a closed mind.

Of course that is also true in Washington.

Saturday, March 11, 2006
On this day:

Artless War: Ancient Text

Our Warmongering president is again on the offensive. This time his battle is at home where public opinion, ever the fickle beast, is turning away from a protracted struggle in Iraq. Few people see any sign of gain after three years of combat. Fewer yet see any sign of an end.

Washington Post outlines his – for lack of a better word – strategy:
After previewing the upcoming speech in his radio address today, the president is scheduled to make remarks on the war at George Washington University on Monday. The appearance, which will be followed weekly by as many as four other speeches, marks the start of the White House's latest effort to convince skeptical Americans that it has a coherent plan for victory as the war nears its third anniversary later this month.

The president hopes to give "better depth, understanding and context for how the strategy in Iraq is unfolding," a senior White House official said of the planned speeches. Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Cabinet members will be making speeches on Iraq in advance of the anniversary of the U.S. invasion.
The three big hitters in our administration are going out to proselytize the people, shoring up the levees of blind patriotism in the face of malcontent. Perhaps that’s a poor metaphor to use…

If our leaders had taken into consideration an old text military leaders the world over refer to as the definitive treatise on warfare, we might not be in such a terrible position: Sun Tsu’s The Art of War.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.


What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.

Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
What more can be said?

Friday, March 10, 2006
On this day:

A Love/Hate Relationship

A good friend of mine - and a fellow blogger - drops subtle hints in her writings about people like me who, in her mind, spend too much time complaining about our great nation. She sometimes gets disgusted reading this blog. I’m unsure of her motivations, but I detect a love-it-or-leave-it mentality hovering beneath the surface of her thoughts. A less rational person would express this loudly; misunderstanding how doing so is only the sound of one mind closing. However, such is the respect I have for my blogger friend, that I ponder her words and my motivations for vociferous dissent.

On these virtual blog pages, I whine a lot about America and its citizens. Some may agree some may tire of the rant; others will leave as fast as they can click their mouse. Some few may read my offerings and wish me a healthy recovery.

Some readers may infer that I hate our country and all that is stands for. I don’t; neither do I love it. To view a complicated relationship from either extreme, as if one word can express it, is futile. Human feelings and beliefs, especially their relationships, are convoluted structures not easily summated. So, too, is my relationship with America.

Some claim ours is the best and greatest nation on earth; indeed, that is just the message I grew up on. For years, the flag-waving cheerleaders were quietly living their lives teaching this to their progeny. Then came 9/11, and the time came for unity and solidarity, and the cheerleaders took the stage.

There’s nothing wrong with that. America is a nice place to live. I’m happy enough to be here. Yet to believe that our nation cannot improve is a disservice to the memories of those who got us where we are today.

Our founding fathers, as we like to label them, called their efforts the Great Experiment. To them, their fledgling nation was a work in progress. It still is; the experiment continues. It can still fail. A representative government, guided by the people, is one of the hallmarks of our civilization. Humanity has embraced Democracy as the best system we can devise to offer freedom, happiness, and prosperity to all. Nonetheless, the system is not foolproof.

The strength of a democracy lies in its attempts at letting citizens guide the state; the weakness of this system is that it is inherently cumbersome. Likewise, the strength of a republic is to minimize the unwieldiness of the body politick while maintaining the representation of the people. The weakness of a republic is a tendency to create a political class subject to human failings of greed and self-interest, thereby undermining their effectiveness as representatives of the citizens. This balancing of forces makes up our Great Experiment, and it makes the whole structure tenuous and fragile. I try to underline this in my writings. I believe more Americans should be aware how weak is our grasp on civilization. We might treat it with the respect it deserves.

America gives me freedom to think and express myself to the extent that it harms no one. It would be unpatriotic to ignore this freedom. By refusing to accept political status quo, I keep the dialogue alive to the degree I’m capable, refreshing the debate and perhaps forcing others not to take our great nation for granted. By exercising my political freedoms through disagreement, I show respect for our country. Our experiment has come a long way in a short time, but only because the discussion continues. If either political party manages to silence the opposition, democracy will fall. I’m going to do my very best to avoid that.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006
On this day:

The Technology of Politics

Who would think that computer technologies – specifically databases – could turn into a vital weapon in today’s political divide? That’s the scope of an insider feud between powerful democrats and the Democratic National Committee. The DNC, finally getting the message that they need to do something to win votes and to get like-minded people to the polls, have begun an effort to construct a database to discern where those left-thinking people are hiding.

Meanwhile George Soros, billionaire investor extraordinaire, is helping to bankroll an independent firm to do the same thing. Typical to the progressive mentality, neither trusts the other to get the job done. Why is this important? From Washington Post:
Traditional get-out-the-vote efforts operated crudely, such as by canvassing neighborhoods in which at least 65 percent of residents voted for a particular party. It was often deemed too inefficient to focus on neighborhoods where the partisan tilt was less decisive, and it ran the risk of doing more to turn out the opposition's vote.

The advantage of data-based targeting is that political field operatives can home in on precisely the voters they wish to reach -- the antiabortion parishioners of a traditionally Democratic African American church congregation, for instance.

Consultants working for the Republican National Committee developed strategies to design messages targeting individual voters' "anger points" in the belief that grievance is one of the strongest motivations to get people to turn out on Election Day.
Anger Points: just the kind of thinking indicative of Republicans. But I digress…

That the Democratic Party must get with the times is a given. That they also need some sort of plan is likewise obvious. What the DNC, DSCC, and state and local lefties need more than anything, however, is cohesion. All the data mining in the world, cannot accomplish what a unified front has done for the Republican Party. Perhaps, by collecting information on them selves, the Democratic Party will begin to understand its won weaknesses and learn to adjust. After all, survival doesn’t necessarily happen to the strongest, but to the most adaptable.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
On this day:

Sing It Loud!

Via Brother Kenya - his friend (and now mine, too. Ain't the Internet great?) Ramblin' Jack Allen is blogging his folk songs. I hope he posts some MP3's soon.

Today's offering at Folkwise goes with my earlier post on the whole abortion... um, abortion. Sing it loud!

No Time Like The Present

In Buddhist teachings on learns that we only have the present moment. this eternal dot in time, as it were, is always with us. The future is but a dream, the past is gone. All there is, is now. In light of this thought, it seems that now is the correct time to widen the ideological devide in this country by pressing on with fudamentalist views on one of our nations hottest topics: abortion. Indeed, now is all we have.

Now, South Dakota throws the gauntlet down and attempts to wrest state control of women's wombs from the women themselves. Now, we get to test the mettle of the right-leaning supreme court as politics get up close and personal.

The whole abortion debate reminds me of a quote from Galileo. My best recollection goes like this:
I find it hard to believe the same God that bestowed intelligence and reason upon us intends us to forego their use.
These type of arguments with fundamentalism have been around for a while, it seems. So, now we get to see how the Bush legacy will change America. It's too late to recant our disinterest in politics, politics is coming into our homes - like it or not. The hand is dealt, the dice are tossed, now we see exactly what mess we're in.

I, for one, fear for my daughter's rights as a modern woman in trying times. We humans have been expanding without control, gobbling up resources, turning air and water into waste products. We have the foresight, courage and intelligence to change that trend. We have the technology. But we're caught in a medieval mindset of outmoded beliefs that undermine our capacity to control ourselved on a global level. Why hasn't any believer in God stood up to say: "God has given us the tools to solve modern problems, so we can reach our potential; if God didn't want us to use the science we invent, he would have made us no more than animals." Perhaps God wants us to limit our population to coincide with dwindling resources. Perhaps God wants us to manage our planet better.

Now, I think, is the time for someone to take up that call.

Monday, March 06, 2006
On this day:

Learning and Loving It

Aside from my usual fare of left-handed political leftovers, todays postings come to you courtesy of Ubuntu linux. Being the geekiest person in my immediate surroundings has the benefit of my acruing old computer hardware from the family. Bits an pieces have accumulated over the years to where I can upgrade a box handed down from my mother in-law into a fairly useful workhorse. WIN98 is passe, so I investigated "the OTHER operating system," you know, the one that is based on democratic ideals and not on capitalism.

As a newbie choosing the endless variants of linux (like the supermarket and its 100 brands of chocolate chip cookies), I leaned upon an article from my favorite geek publication - aside from the cyberguys catalog - MaximumPC, which featured an article about "making the switch" to linux. Ubuntu was their choice of distributions, so I took their recommendation.

Tonight, as I got home, I didn't bother to turn on my WINXP rig. I started the new/old linux box and started doing my thing. As for first impressions - outside of gaming (which I love), there's no reason not to give linux a try except for one caveat: some tinkering is still needed by the user. This is not an OPsys for my mother in-law quite yet. Due to resistance from the capitalistic software community, ready integration on such offerings as Real Player and other tools has yet to be smoothed out. Soon, though.

Meanwhile I bask in geekish glory while forgetting that I am yet a newbie. Great Fun!

The US: The Un-torturer

A lot of talk in my political emails today about torture. Dahr Jamail's Iraqi Dispatches points to TomDispatch refering to our great nation's policy on un-torturing "detainees" and are not actually prisoners, but are held offshore in areas, delineated by chain link and barbed wire, that are not prisons. The NY Times joins the fray with a long article detailing images of the not-conflict of the un-prisoners at Gitmo.

All this denial make my head hurt, given that we speak in context of a war (its OK to use that word: its macho) that is not a police action or (gasp) nation-building. Our administration is so busy masking its actions, spinning its tales, that it cannot and has not functioned as a govorning body. Name one piece of new legislation in the last three years that didn't cut taxes, fund the war, or take away money from long-standing government programs designed to aid people. At this writing I can't think of any...

But I can recall a dozen time our un-leaders have passed the buck, stood "reso-loot," or lied to the press and to the POTUS. I can recall a score of issues that our leaders have acted upon without due process, underhanded and secretive, that we learn about after the fact. And I can clearly see the billions of dollars of taxpayers money wasted in uncoordinated and unmanaged attempts to "rebuild Iraq."

It makes my un-happy!

Sunday, March 05, 2006
On this day:

Of Nukes and Consequences Unintended

The Law of Unintended Consequences has raised its laughing head once again. The NY Times notes that our Terrible War on Terror has effectively strengthened Tehran's hold on the Middle East:
Washington has now become dangerously dependent on the good will and constructive behavior of Shiite fundamentalist parties that Iran sheltered, aided and armed during the years that Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq. In recent weeks, neither good will nor constructive behavior has been particularly evident, and if Iran chooses to stir up further trouble to deflect diplomatic pressures on its nuclear program, it could easily do so.

There is now a real risk that Iraq, instead of being turned into an outpost of secular democracy challenging the fanatical rulers of the Islamic republic to its east, could become an Iranian-aligned fundamentalist theocracy, challenging the secular Arab regimes to its west.

Of further note is the connection to our new "Noocular" Pact with India.

Fast-forward to Thursday's nuclear deal with India, in which President Bush agreed to share civilian nuclear technology with India despite its nuclear weapons programs and its refusal to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

This would be a bad idea at any time, rewarding India for flouting the basic international understanding that has successfully discouraged other countries from South Korea to Saudi Arabia from embarking on their own efforts to build nuclear weapons. But it also undermines attempts to rein in Iran, whose nuclear program is progressing fast and unnerving both its neighbors and the West.

The India deal is exactly the wrong message to send right now, just days before Washington and its European allies will be asking the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran's case to the United Nations Security Council for further action. Iran's hopes of preventing this depend on convincing the rest of the world that the West is guilty of a double standard on nuclear issues. Mr. Bush might as well have tied a pretty red bow around his India nuclear deal and mailed it as a gift to Tehran.

This seems to me a new twist on the game of "Cowboys and Indians" with meaner weapons. Now that we have a partner in potential nulear hijinks, we can get serious. The Texas Bad-boy and his cronies have already done their homework and created a long list of enemies to play against. With the technology of warfare outstripping humanity's capacity for diplomacy, the whole world should tremble as the Warmonger Party starts playing with nukes. It seems that white phosphorus is trite already; one can only burn the faces of so many children before boredom sets in. Now that the end of the presidency of George the Unready is in view, its time to dust off our aging nukes and see what we can do with them. Either we "upgrade" or we use them. Time will tell.


Saturday, March 04, 2006
On this day:

Compare and Contrast

What a week. How much depressing news can we take, as the world spirals out of kilter? Here is a brief study in contrasts while perusing the headlines today.

While another crooked republican prepares to live behind bars, our senate rejects ethical conduct rules.

While George the Unready visits central Asia playing Noocular Santa Claus, the Defense Department plans to spend money we don’t have to upgrade our atomic arsenal.

Wile a teacher gets censured for political remarks in the classroom, a policeman on campus over reacts to a band sticker.

So: our government will not try to fix itself. Our self-acclaimed and “resoloot” War President is putting “noocular” back into our lexicon and in our faces, while thumbing our noses at an “important ally in the war on terror” by being friendly with their enemies. Free expression in the classroom can only occur with parental approval. And our servers-and-protectors are a might twitchy.

As Joe Six-pack would say: “What time are the Oscars on? Hand me that remote.”

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
On this day:

PSST! Pass It On

I have to share this:

Coming to me via Democracy for Illinios' daily email, from Theodore Tilton, a nice short cartoon about the Federal budget. Go to TrueMajority.org and watch it.

And pass it on!