Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The End Of Faith

A Review Of Sam Harris' "End Of Faith":

There are many arguments of interest in "End Of Faith", for the atheist, agnostic, or religious fundamentalist. The last will undoubtedly have a coronary reading much of it but it provides a good analysis of the violent nature of religion and a basis for debate.

The books strength is also one of its failings. Harris tries too hard to steamroll religious faith with sharp quips that really have no place in a reasoned debate. Outright insults are not clever and witty, they are a distraction from the essential and inescapable facts Harris seeks to point out. The main focus is on the three major religions of the Middle East that have become the major religions of the world.

Christianity and Judaism are taken to task for their intolerant and at times genocidal natures. The books of Deutoronomy and the rantings' of Paul both receive a general spanking. The Crusades, stoning, Augustine, and several Popes names Urban, Paul, and Pius all are addressed and properly demonized.

Harris' criticism of Islam is also sharp and unforgiving. Like its cousin religions Islam is a swamp of paradoxes, intolerance, and fallacies. Harris contends that of the three, Islam, is currently the most doctrinaire and the least given to accept democratic principles.

He may be right, that we are currently at war with a faith and not an ideology, but with the forces of Christian Fundamentalism and Neo-Conservative Judaism ascendant aren't they just as dangerous as radical Islam?

They all purport to know "The Truth". They have no use for democracy, the civil rights of the individual, and a system of pro-genocidal viewpoints.
Harris goes off on a complete tangent, bringing in Friedman and Dershowitz into a liberal versus neo-con missive that has no place in this book. This chapter could have easily been the thesis for a completely different book, one that would fit well in the right wing publishing houses of Regenry. The politics expressed in the chapter are revealing of Harris' beliefs but serve no useful purpose.

It would be easy to write Harris off at this point. That would be selling the author short. In the chapter "West of Eden" he sets his sites on modern Christian Evangelicalism and delivers a sharp killing blow to the movements pretenses at righteousness.

Harris has set the chess board for the reader. Both sides are equally inhospitable, blood thirsty and trapped in the ghosts and goblins of their faiths. It presents the world not in a simplistic good versus evil battle but two unresponsive and obsolete monoliths attempting to destroy each other and take all rational thought with it.

If this was the end Harris would have been better off. His discussion of torture, pushes ones ethical and moral gauge to the limit. What Harris is assuming is that those that have been captured are all suspects. They have not been charged, at least to our knowledge, and can not be heard in a court. So any accusations against the detainees cannot be covered by a paint brush of accusation.

The best analysis Harris saves for last. Using Eastern philosophy/religion as a counterpoint to the "Big Three" the author argues that the search for "self", so common to East is more the tact that we need now. This does not constitute an endorsement of any Eastern philosophy by the author outside of believing they are more evolved in their humanism. The Abrahamic faiths lead down one road, unless they are radically altered, bloodshed and Apocalypse..

The "End Of Faith" starts off promising, veers off track a bit, but in the end Harris comes on strong and grabs the checkered flag. This book puts plainly why religion/faith is the single most dangerous human construct. It devoid us of our reason, provides a superficial excuse for out worst tendencies, and is completely worthless in out pursuit of who we are.

Worth Reading Score (0-100): 88%

Rating Scale Explanation:
0%-25%= Nothing to see here , move along.
26%-49%= Better time than sitting on a tack, but not by much
50%-65%= The Rutherford B. Hayes of books, very average
66%-79%= A decent read, but serious problems.
80%-85%= Well worth your money and time
86%-95%= Worth shushing your kid to finish a chapter
96%-100%= Author write, You read.

Quote of the Day

Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself.

So I Guess Even HE Needs a Helping Hand

Taken from cnn.com:

FORT SMITH, Arkansas (AP) -- A former top-ranking executive at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pleaded guilty to fraud and tax charges Tuesday, admitting that he stole money, gift cards and merchandise from the world's largest retailer.
Tom Coughlin, 57, faces a maximum of 28 years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. He also could be fined $1.35 million. The judge ordered a presentencing report that will take up 10-14 weeks to prepare. Wal-Mart lawyers referred Coughlin, once a protege of Wal Mart founder Sam Walton, to federal prosecutors after discovering Coughlin had embezzled money from the company and used expense vouchers to buy products as varied as snakeskin boots, hunting trips and Bloody Mary mix. They estimated losses at up to $500,000. In federal court, Coughlin spoke only when he was asked questions by U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson. Afterward, defense lawyers issued a statement in which Coughlin accepted responsibility for "serious personal mistakes in judgment."

Wow. Does that mean he might ACTUALLY GO TO JAIL? Better yet, I think a better punishment would to wear the snakeskin boots while he greets customers at a Wal Mart in his new job capacity as a greeter, earning minimum wage, no health insurance and living in a one room apartment.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Supreme Quote Of The Day

We look to the history of the time of framing and to the intervening history of interpretation. But the ultimate question must be, what do the words of the text mean in our time.
William J. Brennan, Jr. (1906-1997)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sexy! Sexy! Thursday Cheese Blogging!

Cashel Blue****AND*****The Lovely Miss Ireland 2005

The Cashel Blue really started it all for this beautiful farmhouse surrounded by fields of rich pasture. Made from Their own "closed" herd of Friesian cows since 1986, this blue reflects other blues of the world but retains its own unique character - a result of the personal attention paid to their animals and pursuit of the highest quality of cheese making. The texture of Cashel is thick and creamy with a healthy buttery color. The flavor when young is sweet and delicate with the slightest tang. It ages beautifully, becoming more pronounced, earthy, and very creamy while still balanced.

Product Metrics From Cheese Supply.com (Link):
Country: Ireland
Region: Beechmount, Fethard, Co. Tipperary
Milk: Cow
Rind: No rind, gold foil
Aging: About 4 months
Recommended wines: Full Sail Porter; Sierra Nevada Bigfoot; Sherry Fino Patricio; Chilean reds
Consistency: Thick and creamy
Taste: Sweet and delicate with a slight tang, aging to become more pronounced,
earthy and very creamy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Open Letter To Chris Matthews.

Well Chris "Tweety" Matthews, the host of MSNBC's Snowbal, has claimed to be misunderstood, when he referred to Democrats, Progressives and war opponents in general when he said:
Hardball, January 19, 2006
MATTHEWS: You point out that [Osama bin Laden] you believe that he's also he's trying to really talk to the Muslim people of the world who he has harmed so much in places like Iraq, but let me read some of these lines. I know you'‘ve been over these, Senator, almost like Biblical text trying to figure these things out. But look at this line.

This is from bin Laden in the audio today. There is no defect in the solution other than preventing the flow of hundreds of billions to the influential people and war merchants in America. I mean, he sounds like an over-the-top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore. Do you think that sells in America, that this war is being fought for the Daddy Warbucks?

Hardball, January 20, 2006'
MATTHEWS: Why is [Osama bin Laden] doing it? Why is he trying to track what he picks up in the Internet and from the media as the lingo of the left in America, like Moore? Why would he start to talk like Moore? People misunderstood what I said last night. I think he's getting some advice from people, he's getting some lingo, some wordage that he hears working somewhere in the United States about this being for war profiteers and he's jumping on every opportunity.

Hardball, July 8, 2004"
MATTHEWS: What happens, Senator Breaux, if it looks like that Al Qaeda is playing cards here, playing a game of trying to get people to vote Democrat for president, to basically make their case worldwide? Doesn't it put your party in a terrible position of having Al Qaeda rooting for you?
Head over to Open Letter to Chris Matthews (LINK) and join the campaign to make this lying sack garbage apologize.
Misunderstood Chris? I ran this through my "Universal Jerk Translator" and I understood you just fine.
For Pete's sake this guy makes O'Reilly look like an agreeable polite person....
Wow that is really really sad!

Lets Hear It For A REAL Democrat, Are You Listening Seantor Nelson (D?-NE)

Excerpts from Senator Boxers Speech announcing her opposition to Judge Alito's nomination to the SCOTUS: (LINK TO FULL TEXT OF SPEECH)
Today, I am announcing my opposition to the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court of the United States.

According to Article II of the Constitution, justices of the Supreme Court may not be appointed by the president without the advice and consent of the United States Senate. So it is our solemn duty to consider each nomination carefully, keeping in mind the interests of the American people. And this nomination is particularly crucial because the stakes have rarely been so high....

Let me be clear: I do not deny Judge Alito's judicial qualifications. He has been a government lawyer and judge for more than 20 years and the American Bar Association rated him well qualified. He is an intelligent and capable person. His family should be proud of him and all Americans should be proud that the American dream was there for the Alito family.

But after reviewing the hearing record and the record of his statements, writings and rulings over the past 24 years, I am convinced that Judge Alito is the wrong person for this job.

I am deeply concerned about how Justice Alito will impact the ability of other families to live the American dream -- to be assured of privacy in their homes and their personal lives, to be secure in their neighborhoods, to have fair treatment in the workplace, and to have confidence that the power of the executive branch will be checked.

As I reviewed Judge Alito's record, I asked whether he will vote to preserve fundamental American liberties and values --

Will Justice Alito vote to uphold Congress' constitutional power to pass laws to protect Americans' health, safety, and welfare? Judge Alito's record says NO....

Will Justice Alito vote to protect the right to privacy, especially a woman's reproductive freedom? Judge Alito's record says NO....

Will Justice Alito vote to protect Americans from unconstitutional searches? Judge Alito's record says NO....

Will Justice Alito vote to let citizens stop companies from polluting their communities? Judge Alito's record says NO....

Will Justice Alito vote to let working women and men have their day in court against employers who discriminate against them? Judge Alito's record says NO...

Finally, will Justice Alito be independent from the executive branch that appointed him, and be a vote against power grabs by the president? Judge Alito's record says NO....

Perhaps the most important statement Judge Alito made during the entire hearing process was when he told the Judiciary Committee that he expects to be the same kind of justice on the Supreme Court as he has been a judge on the Circuit Court.

That is precisely the problem. As a judge, Samuel Alito seemed to approach his cases with an analytical coldness that reflected no concern for the human consequences of his reasoning.

Exactly this is why members of the Supreme Court are called JUSTICES and NOT JUDGES.

Could Not Have Said It Better Myself

From The Ethical Atheist (LINK):

NOTE: Freethought and tolerance obviously prohibit
these from being "commandments"! Just consider them "suggestions".

1. Thou SHALT NOT believe all thee art told.
2. Thou SHALT constantly seeketh knowledge and truth.
3. Thou SHALT educate thy fellow man in the Laws of Science.
4. Thou SHALT NOT forget the atrocities committed in the name of god.
5. Thou SHALT leaveth valuable contributions for future generations.
6. Thou SHALT liveth in peace with thy fellow man.
7. Thou SHALT liveth this one life thy have to its fullest.
8. Thou SHALT follow a Personal Code of Ethics.
9. Thou SHALT maintain a strict separation between Church and State.
10. Thou SHALT support ye who follow these commandments.

E-Mail Ben Nelson (D?-NE)

Without even a struggle Senator Ben Nelson has enlisted in the Permanent Minority Campaign (see- Joe Lieberman (D?-CT)). A Democrat supporting Judge Sam Alito for the Supreme Court, to borrow a phrase, is like a wife screwing the man who killed your husband.


This was my E-mail to the Senator:

Dear Senator B. Nelson,

I think there is a typo in your biography, it has you listed as a Democrat.

Please reconsider your vote on this offensive nominee or your party affiliation. Permanent minority should not be our party's slogan.
Maybe not as tactful as you might put it, but that's just me.


Buffalo Beast INFAMOUS worst 50 people in America's page is up and running!

This folks is just damn funny! (LINK)

For example:
15. Karl Rove

Charges: A greasy pig whose only distinction in life is his total lack of decency. Rove is decidedly not a genius; he is simply missing the part of his soul that prevents the rest of us from kicking elderly women in the face. His admirers have elevated fanatical, amoral ambition to the status of a virtue, along with lying, cheating, and negligent homicide, all in the name of "values." Quite possibly the worst person in the worst White House in American history.

Exhibit A: "As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing."

Sentence: Lowered head first into oil refinery smokestack.

Thursday's Sexy Sexy Cheese Blogging! (FIXED Recipe Links)

A Lovely Piece of Edam*************The Lovely Miss Netherlands 2005

EDAM (Description from Cheese Supply.com)

The spherical shape and bright red wax coating make Edam one of the most recognized imported cheeses. Made from skimmed cow's milk, Edam is smooth and supple with a slight aftertaste.

Product Metrics:
Country: Holland
Milk: Cow
Rind: Red wax rind
Aging: At least 6 weeks
Recommended wines: Fruity red wines
Consistency: Semi-soft, aging to firm, with small holes; pale straw yellow pate
Taste: Mellow and nutty, aging to stronger


Beef Casserole with Edam

Dutch Leek Soup

Edam Cheese with Shrimp Stuffing

Harry Reid Takes A Swipe At Big Brother.

Although this Administration has devolved more into Big Blather, The Raw Story reports that Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is once again going on the offensive (my favorite lines are in green and bold print):

Reid fires back at Bush: 'The president has been giving us doublespeak for years'
01/24/2006 @ 11:27 am

Filed by RAW STORY (LINK For Full Text)

RAW STORY has learned that Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid is set to slash the Republican Party in a renewed assault -- just a day after President Bush launched a national effort to defend his wiretap program as "terrorist surveillance."

I went to college in the 1960s and studied government. One of the things I remember discussing was a quote by Lord Acton:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.”

It’s been many years since I graduated college, but I finally understand what Lord Acton meant.

Republicans today control the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. They have absolute power, and it has corrupted their Party and led to the culture of corruption that we see now in Washington.

We have the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, admonished three times for ethics violations and under indictment now for money laundering.

We have the White House, where an employee has been indicted for the first time in 135 years.

There’s Karl Rove, who is under investigation… and David Safavian, the man appointed by President Bush to be charge in charge of hundreds of billions of dollars in government contracts who was led away in handcuffs because of his dealings with Jack Abramoff and others.

And then, we have the Republican “K-Street Project, which has invited lobbyists inside our nation’s Capitol….as long as they are willing to pay the right price.....

Get 'em Harry, and remember there is NO reason to apologize when you are telling the truth about these (alleged- big wink and nod) crooks!

Supreme Quote Of The Day

"Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent."
Assoc. Justice Louis D. Brandeis

And So It Goes.

At the time of this posting:
US Military Deaths in Iraq: 2235
Since "Mission Accomplished: 2098
Official US Military Wounded: 16155 (Est 15,000- 42,500)

Ways You Can Help The Survivors:
Share The Sacrifice (also works with Vietnam Vets-- Thanks Samurai Sam)
Operation Truth
Fisher House (Vets of All Wars)
Wounded Warrior Project
Any Soldier
Bush Was Wrong! (Approx 1MB .wmv)
Visit Honor The Fallen
What Does 2000 Look Like? (Music Video)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Quote Of The Day

"Focus is a matter of deciding what things you're not going to do."
John Carmack
(Programmer, Founder id software, creatorof Doom)

Monday, January 23, 2006

And So It Goes.

At the time of this posting:
US Military Deaths in Iraq: 2231
Since "Mission Accomplished: 2094
Official US Military Wounded: 16155 (Est 15,000- 42,500)

Ways You Can Help The Survivors:
Share The Sacrifice (also works with Vietnam Vets-- Thanks Samurai Sam)
Operation Truth
Fisher House (Vets of All Wars)
Wounded Warrior Project
Any Soldier
Bush Was Wrong! (Approx 1MB .wmv)
Visit Honor The Fallen
What Does 2000 Look Like? (Music Video)

33 Years After Roe.

Feministe has the low down and a healthy critique WILLIAM SALETAN's New York Times piece.

Feministe (Link)
Saletan's New York Times Op-Ed.

So I Asked Her, Pickles Did You Put This Tack On My Chair?

By Charlie Riedel, AP

When In Iraq, Don't Drink The Water.

This ladies and gentlemen is called WAR PROFITEERING! Bastards!

CBS Reports (Link):
Halliburton Probed Over Tainted Water

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2006(AP) Water supplied to a U.S. base in Iraq was contaminated and the contractor in charge, Halliburton, failed to tell troops and civilians at the facility, according to internal documents from the company and interviews with former Halliburton officials.

Although the allegations came from Halliburton's own water quality experts, the company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney denied there was a contamination problem at Camp Junction City, in Ramadi.

"We exposed a base camp population (military and civilian) to a water source that was not treated," said a July 15, 2005, memo by William Granger, the official for Halliburton's KBR subsidiary who was in charge of water quality in Iraq and Kuwait.

"The level of contamination was roughly 2x the normal contamination of untreated water from the Euphrates River," Granger wrote in one of several documents.

The Associated Press obtained the documents from Senate Democrats who are holding a public inquiry into the allegations Monday.
The rest of the article goes on to further expose these sons of bitches for what they are. Essentially our soldiers are bathing, cleaning, and making coffee with the equivalent of RAW SEWAGE!!

And So It Goes.

At the time of this posting:
US Military Deaths in Iraq: 2227
Since "Mission Accomplished: 2090
Official US Military Wounded: 16155 (Est 15,000- 42,500)

Ways You Can Help The Survivors:
Share The Sacrifice (also works with Vietnam Vets-- Thanks Samurai Sam)
Operation Truth
Fisher House (Vets of All Wars)
Wounded Warrior Project
Any Soldier
Bush Was Wrong! (Approx 1MB .wmv)
Visit Honor The Fallen
What Does 2000 Look Like? (Music Video)

The WaPo Stands Kinda Tall, Maybe....

The President's End Run
Monday, January 23, 2006; Page A14

THE MOST detailed legal justification to date for the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic surveillance has emerged from the Bush administration, but the 42-page version isn't any more convincing than its shorter predecessors. In some ways -- particularly in its broad conception of presidential power in wartime -- it is more disturbing....
Paging Sam Alito, I believe this is the definition of unitary executive that you refused to give.
The administration cites this sweeping language and the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld , in which a plurality found that the AUMF allowed the president to detain U.S. citizens captured on the battlefield as enemy combatants. The administration says that reasoning applies equally to "all traditional and accepted incidents of force . . . Including warrantless electronic surveillance to intercept enemy communications both at home and abroad."
Even though the Supreme Court never indicated this in their decision, but why should that stop Shrub from wire tapping those evil Quakers? One could argue that Shrub makes the best argument against himself

Blogger Brendan Nyhan has catalogued Bush impeaching himself with a large selection of #1 hits!"

Remember cruising to this classic:

President Bush -- April 20, 2004: gs as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it cSecondly, there are such thinomes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
Reminiscing on long summer nights with your girl at your side grooving to:
President Bush -- June 9, 2005: One tool that has been especially important to law enforcement is called a roving wiretap. Roving wiretaps allow investigators to follow suspects who frequently change their means of communications. These wiretaps must be approved by a judge, and they have been used for years to catch drug dealers and other criminals. Yet, before the Patriot Act, agents investigating terrorists had to get a separate authorization for each phone they wanted to tap.
and who could forget this hit:
President Bush -- July 20, 2005: The Patriot Act helps us defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all Americans. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, or to track his calls, or to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of the tools we're talking about. And they are fully consistent with the Constitution of the United States.
Does the WaPo editorial meniton any of this. BWAHAHAHAHA! Are you for real! No instead after almost insinuating the very beginings of the inklings of an opinion they play good soldier and chicken out. First watch the patented Shrub 180:
President Bush, the paper says, "determined that the speed and agility required to carry out the NSA activities successfully could not have been achieved under FISA." Because those activities "are necessary to the defense of the United States from a subsequent terrorist attack, FISA would impermissibly interfere with the President's most solemn constitutional obligation -- to defend the United States against foreign attack."
And watch as the bastion of the "liberal media" gets all reflective an squishy:
Especially without knowing the parameters of the surveillance, we hesitate to second-guess the president's argument (note- Except that is your freaking JOB!) that FISA's limits are unduly constraining.
(note- Getting a warrant 72 hrs AFTER the fact is constraining? Are you for real?) The surveillance may be critical for national security, and a law written in a different technological age may well need to be refurbished. But the proper way to handle that -- which the administration rejected -- would have been to seek changes in the law, not to do a stealthy end run around the legislative process. In such an amorphous, long-running conflict as the war against terrorism, it's critical to ensure that limits are in place to prevent the executive branch from overreaching.
You get all this and more with a 5 second Google search ladies a gentlemen. Remember order "George Bush Self Destructs" and you get Democracy back free!!!

Trial Lawyer charges may apply, may not be valid in certain states.

Quote Of The Day

photo by John Soares

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.
*Noam Chomsky*

Sunday, January 22, 2006

And So It Goes.

At the time of this posting:
US Military Deaths in Iraq: 2224
Since "Mission Accomplished: 2087
Official US Military Wounded: 16155 (Est 15,000- 42,500)

Ways You Can Help The Survivors:
Share The Sacrifice (also works with Vietnam Vets-- Thanks Samurai Sam)
Operation Truth
Fisher House (Vets of All Wars)
Wounded Warrior Project
Any Soldier
Bush Was Wrong! (Approx 1MB .wmv)
Visit Honor The Fallen
What Does 2000 Look Like? (Music Video)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

They Still Need Us!

I have also put together a video montage to accompany the song hope you like it.

LHC's version of "George Bush Don't Like Black People" (RealVid (6.6 MB)

How You Can Help:
Make Levees Not War
Second Harvest
Boobs4Bourbon ST (Yes its real)

Friday, January 20, 2006

News From The Shire!

Take a walk over to the Angry Hobbit and spy on Turd Blossom!

Isn't Google Earth great!

Karl we are watching you, too!

Where Do They Stand!

From Daily KOS via Eschaton

The Sca-lito Roll Call

Dems voting "No"
Baucus (MT)
Durbin (IL)
Feinstein (CA)
Harkin (IA)
Kennedy (MA)
Leahy (VT)
Mikulski (MD)
Salazar (CO)
Wyden (OR)

Dems leaning "No"
Nelson (FL)

Dems voting "Yes"
Nelson (NE)

None yet.

To be continued......

The Midnight Hour

Wilson Pickett
March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006
Photo EMI (1981)

I'm gonna wait till the stars come out
See them twinkle in your eyes
I'm gonna wait 'till the midnight hour
That's when my love begins to shine
*In The Midnight Hour*

Gone to sleep in the "Land of a Thousand Dances"
the Screamer of Soul, A Walker on "Funky Broadway",
The Tamer of "Mustang Sally",
A Troubled Life, An Untimely Death
Alabama, NOLA, Jersey
At Home Everywhere and Nowhere
"The Midnight Hour" Has Come and "Its Too Late".
-Virgil Libertas

Plutonian Quote Of The Day

You have to have an alertness to deal with the unexpected. The history of science is filled with almost-made discoveries, missed by a hairline because they didn't have the alertness to realize they had a discovery.

Clyde Tombaugh(1906-1997)
Scientist, Astronomer, Discoverer of Pluto

WE HAVE LIFT OFF!!!!!!!!!!

Image credit: NASA/KSC

Yesterday the winds finally died down and
NEW HORIZONS was able to lift off!. Next stop Pluto and its moon Charon. The 9th planet discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, lonely Pluto received its name from an eleven year old girl named Venetia Burney Phair(link to interview) of England.

By the way the young Venetia, came to the name by way of Greco-Roman mythology and not Mickey Mouse's dog.

Link to Press Release

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Trent Lott Needs A Happy Meal

From CNN:
The article in general discusses the continuing ethics woes and some potential solutions. What caught most people's eyes was Trent Lott's (R- MS) response to some of the proposed ethics changes:

Sen. Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, said changes are needed on Capitol Hill. But he said Republicans shouldn't "jump out there and just throw everything on the table, just sort of in a panic."

"Some of it is outrageous," Lott said. "I mean, now we're going to say you can't have a meal for more than 20 bucks. Where you going to -- to McDonalds?"

We can't have our senate members reduced to this! I mean what will $20 buy you in McDonald's anyway. You couldn't hold a lobbyist or committee meeting for an Andrew Jackson! Hell, Hastert would burn through that in a New York minute!

So my fellow Americans I ask you, I implore you collect your McDonald's coupons and send them to:

The Honorable Trent Lott
487 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-6253
Fax: (202) 224-2262

If you take part in this noble cause let me know the denomination of the coupon and product! Together we can make a difference in one Senator's lunch time!!!

Thank You!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Image above: Clouds stream overhead as the Atlas V
sits poised at Launch Pad 41 during Tuesday's
launch attempt. Image credit: NASA/KSC

NASA's New Horizon mission to Pluto Scrubbed ! Scrubbed! AGAIN!

And So It Goes.

At the time of this posting:
US Military Deaths in Iraq: 2222
Since "Mission Accomplished: 2085
Official US Military Wounded: 16155 (Est 15,000- 42,500)

Ways You Can Help The Survivors:
Share The Sacrifice (also works with Vietnam Vets-- Thanks Samurai Sam)
Operation Truth
Fisher House (Vets of All Wars)
Wounded Warrior Project
Any Soldier
Bush Was Wrong! (Approx 1MB .wmv)
Visit Honor The Fallen
What Does 2000 Look Like? (Music Video)

"I Was Set Up. I Was In The Area Pastoring To Police."

Photo Credit: AP Photo
The Rev. Lonnie Latham

I know its old news by now but, as disturbing as the story is, I can't help but laugh everytime I read Latham's excuse.

Okla. Pastor Arrested On Lewdness Charge
The Associated Press

Wednesday, January 4, 2006; 11:14 PM (LINK)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A pastor who has spoken out against homosexuality was arrested after propositioning a male undercover police officer outside a hotel, authorities said.

As the Rev. Lonnie Latham, 59, left jail Wednesday, he said "I was set up. I was in the area pastoring to police."

While the WaPo/AP story gives a rough sketch of the incident, Tulsa's KOCO Channel 5 goes into more, and laugh out loud, detail. (LINK)

An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.

Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church, was booked into Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night on a misdemeanor charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said. Latham was released on $500 bail Wednesday afternoon.

Latham, who has spoken out against homosexuality, asked the officer to join him in his hotel room for oral sex. Latham was arrested and his 2005 Mercedes automobile was impounded, Becker said.

Why, am I NOT surprised?!?
Calls to Latham at his church were not immediately returned Wednesday.
No shit. Now get ready, because this is why his excuse holds about as much water as the cupped hands of stigmata victim.
The arrest took place in the parking lot of the Habana Inn, which is in an area where the public has complained about male prostitutes flagging down cars, Becker said. The plainclothes officers was investigating these complaints.
"I Was Set Up. I Was In The Area Pastoring To Police."


Quote Of The Day

Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we're tired of hearing promises that we know they'll never keep.
Ray Davies- Money & Corruption / I Am Your Man: Davray Music Ltd.

This Is A Reform Bill ! Wait ,Maybe Not.......

Building from yesterday, it seems that reform is on the way!!
Loophole in Lobbying Bill Leaves Wiggle Room

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 18, 2006; A04 (LINK)

Lawmakers are about to bombard the American public with proposals that would crack down on lobbyists. Several prominent plans, including one outlined yesterday by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), would specifically ban meals and privately paid travel for lawmakers.
Well Kudos!!! That's great a turn in the right direction..... wait...... oh....
According to lobbyists and ethics experts, even if Hastert's proposal is enacted, members of Congress and their staffs could still travel the world on an interest group's expense and eat steak on a lobbyist's account at the priciest restaurants in Washington.

The only requirement would be that whenever a lobbyist pays the bill, he or she must also hand the lawmaker a campaign contribution. Then the transaction would be perfectly okay.

"That's a big hole if they don't address campaign finance," said Joel Jankowsky, the lobbying chief of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, one of the capital's largest lobbying outfits.

Well that's cute ain't it? Increasing the stench, the proposed bill WILL NOT cover any changes in the campaign finance reform. Therefore the net effect could be:
"Political contributions are specifically exempted from the definition of what a gift is in House and Senate gift rules," said Kenneth A. Gross, an ethics lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. "So, unless the campaign finance laws are changed, if a lobbyist wants to sponsor an event at the MCI arena or on the slopes of Colorado, as long as it's a fundraiser it would still be fine."

The result, he added, "may well be more out-of-town fundraising events than there are at the moment."

This apparently does not sit well with John McCain (R- AZ) who, along with Russ Feingold (D-WI), have been trying to get their bill before the Senate since the time of the flood. Attention DR. Frist (R-TN)!?

Maybe, just maybe someone should poke their head into the Tuesday K-Street Project meetings, headed by Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum (R-PA) and by Grover "Trickle Down" Norquist on Wednesdays. Should make for an interesting rogue's gallery photo.

McCain, who has been a leader on matters dealing with lobbyists and campaign fundraising, said he was aware of the problem. In an interview after his news conference with Santorum, McCain said he knows the loophole exists and vowed to close it before the bill becomes a law.
Until then folks, the pigs shall feed at the trough.

For more on the K-Street project check out William Confessore's article from the Jul/August 2003 edition of the Washington Monthly: "Welcome To The Machine"(LINK)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Once Again BUSHCo. Full Of BS!

Lie! Obfuscate! But never..EVER... tell the truth. This seems to be the meme for the entire administration. Operation Smear Gore turns into another steaming pile of Bush....

From the AP via Fobes.com (Link):
McClellan said the Clinton-Gore administration had engaged in warrantless physical searches, and he cited an FBI search of the home of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames without permission from a judge. He said Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, had testified before Congress that the president had the inherent authority to engage in physical searches without warrants.

"I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds," McClellan said of Gore.

But at the time of the Ames search in 1993 and when Gorelick testified a year later, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required warrants for electronic surveillance for intelligence purposes, but did not cover physical searches. The law was changed to cover physical searches in 1995 under legislation that Clinton supported and signed.

Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, made the same arguments as McClellan during interviews Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live" and Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes."
Gore said Gonzales made a "political defense" of the president, showing why the attorney general should not be in charge of reviewing charges against Bush and should instead name a special counsel.

"His charges are factually wrong," Gore said in a written statement Tuesday. "Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton-Gore administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law."
The continuing obfuscation and semantic games of the administrations politicos, shows how desperate they are getting . Sad really.

Dammit! New Horizon Launch Scrubbed Today!


Of all the planets, an I still call it a planet, distant Pluto has always held the biggest mystery for me. Maybe its the erratic orbit, maybe its because its moon Charon is almost as big as it is... I don't know. The New Horizons mission has given me the same sense of wonder that the Voyager missions did when I was a kid.

Unfortunately todays launch was scrubbed due to high winds. So we'll have to wait nine years and a day for the data to arrive. Honestly I can't wait.

Side view of Pluto's orbit

Outer Planets Orbits. Note Pluto's ecentricity.

Check out NASA's site for more info (link)
Wikkipedia Entry (link)

C'mon guys lets kick this pig already!!!

Images from NASA, Public Domain and Creative Commons.

The Black Republican Caucus Denounces Hillary's Plantation Quip!

That's right all the African- American Republicans were up at arms today with Hillary's MLK, jr. day comments.

Check the phot of the historic moment over at America's blog (link)

And So It Goes.

At the time of this posting:
US Military Deaths in Iraq: 2215
Since "Mission Accomplished: 2078
Official US Military Wounded: 16155 (Est 15,000- 42,500)

Ways You Can Help The Survivors:
Share The Sacrifice (also works with Vietnam Vets-- Thanks Samurai Sam)
Operation Truth
Fisher House (Vets of All Wars)
Wounded Warrior Project
Any Soldier
Bush Was Wrong! (Approx 1MB .wmv)
Visit Honor The Fallen
What Does 2000 Look Like? (Music Video)

Fred Phelps ONE SICK MOFO!

This ashat might qualify as the single worst human being currently on the planet

From Wikkipedia:

Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr. (born November 13, 1929) is the highly controversial leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, an alleged cult based in Topeka, Kansas. The church is located in the basement of his home, which is located inside of a block-wide, fenced compound; the other houses in the compound are occupied by nine of his thirteen children (the other four children are estranged from Phelps).

Phelps claims that he is a prophet sent to tell the world of the supreme hatred of God, and that only he and the members of Westboro have any hope of going to Heaven. The group, which has roughly 100 members (90% of whom are related to Phelps through blood or marriage), is built around an anti-homosexual core theology, with much of Phelps' activities stemming from a mantra that "God Hates Fags" (which is also the name of Westboro's main website). Gay rights activists, as well as Christians of virtually every affiliation, have denounced him as a producer of anti-gay propaganda and violence-inspiring hate speech.

Okay, this is one sick group of bananas. I found their website title to be disturbing in itself but some of the "flyers" they provide for distribution at their events made me physically shake:
From the Chicago Tribune:
Funeral protest ban is pushed
Downstate legislator set to introduce bill

By Charles Sheehan
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 11, 2006

Angered by a religious group's demonstrations at scores of military funerals, a state lawmaker said he will soon introduce a bill to make such protests illegal in Illinois.

Legislation to be sponsored by Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Norris City) would make Illinois the fifth state to introduce such a bill in response to protests by members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.

Members of the church, led by Rev. Fred Phelps, who is not related to Brandon Phelps, have picketed dozens of funerals for soldiers killed overseas.

Followers of the church, mostly family members of Fred Phelps, say the killings of American soldiers by improvised explosive devices are a manifestation of God's wrath over homosexuality in the United States.

This Ladies And Gents is SPALLS!

For those who do not frequent Eschaton, Spalls is the combination of: Spine and Balls. Al Gore sure as hell showed that he had a large brass set of both. Damn Al if you would have spoken with this much vigor and definition you'd be serving a second term right now instead of the Indictable and Impeachable Shrub.
Gore Says Bush Broke the Law With Spying Warrantless Surveillance an Example of 'Indifference' to Constitution, He Charges
By Chris Cillizza Special to The Washington Post Tuesday, January 17, 2006; Page A03 Former vice president Al Gore accused President Bush of breaking the law by authorizing wiretaps on U.S. citizens without court warrants and called on Congress yesterday to reassert its oversight responsibilities on a "shameful exercise of power" by the White House.

"The president of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently," Gore said in a speech at Constitution Hall in Washington. "A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government."
Al Gore, publicly, loudly, and with conviction has given those who care about individual rights, civil rights, and the Constitution a rallying cry. "Simple Scotty" McClellan's obfuscations of the truth aside, this current administration has defined where Sam "I struggled" Alito would not, just what a "Unitary Executive" is. Gore expounds on this theory by placing the "unitary executive" ideology in its proper context.
"The disrespect embodied in these apparent mass violations of the law is part of a larger pattern of seeming indifference to the Constitution that is deeply troubling to Americans in both political parties," Gore said. The Bush administration's actions have "brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution," he added.
Check out Armando's article on the "unitary executive" issue here.

Well Here's A BIG Surprise. (Snark Intended)

Speaker Largely Silent Amid Scandal

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 17, 2006; Page A01

With his affable demeanor and his open-door policy, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert remains unchallenged in the most powerful post in Congress, even as a growing corruption scandal roils the Republican leadership and more Congress-watchers say the speaker bears some responsibility for the troubles that have developed on his watch.

As details emerged about unsavory dealings between lobbyists and lawmakers -- including his top lieutenant, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) -- the House speaker stood on the sidelines. As DeLay's legal peril mounted, Hastert backed him at every turn, attempting to change House rules to allow an indicted leader to stay in power and even altering the leadership of the ethics committee, which had been exposing misconduct by the majority leader.
Not surprising actions and inactions by the man third in line for the presidency. The fact that Dennis is a willing tool of the right is compounded by his complicity in the corruption of his party. Whether he is directly involved or indirectly involved his name should be more prominent in the debate about these issues.

With Delay's downward spiral into political Gehenna, Hastert has become the , unpleasant, face of the House Republicans.
How accountable for the actions of his party members should Hastert be? One would hope that the Speaker from Illinois will salvage whatever self- respect that exists in the House by pushing to reinstitute the Ethics Committee. Unfortunately that does not seem likely.

Quote Of The Day

"A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back -- but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."
Marian Wright Edelman (b. 1939)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Make Levees Not War!!!

Rorschach from NoCapital and a poster at Eschaton brought these to my attention, The shirt folks the shirt! A way you can help people in NOLA.

Wow, I think he may have outdone himself ...

From cnn.com:

"I will tell you, the contrast between when I was last here and today is pretty dramatic," Bush said. "From when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to visit."

Oh, really. Well, that's right. God forbid you go to the OTHER parts of New Orleans (Ninth Ward) and see sheer destruction. Naa, that doesn't exist, does it sphincter boy?

The president met privately with small business owners and local government officials in the New Orleans visitors bureau, located in the Lower Garden District neighborhood that was not flooded. The area suffered little impact from the storm, and his motorcade passed stately homes with very little damage.
Bush praised the city's success in bringing much of its infrastructure back -- if not most of its citizens and businesses. He touted it as a "great place to have a convention" and as an attractive tourist destination.

Oh yeah, I could see it now. Tourists going to the Ninth Ward, taking pictures. Wait a minute, they are doing that now. Georgie, catch up boy, catch up! Oh yeah, I am RUNNING with my husband and my 2 kids to go down there. Wait a minute, considering that my son sometimes evokes the fear of God in people due to his destructive behavior, maybe the city needs him to speed up cleanup efforts. I could see that. "Hey, if you do't clear this block off today, the KID is coming" He he he.

Oh well, back to the article.

It's a heck of a place to bring your family," said Bush, seated before a colorful mural depicting jazz musicians, a river boat, masked Mardi Gras revelers and crawfish. "It's a great place to find some of the greatest food in the world and it's a heck of a lot of fun," he said.

Sure if you stay in the MAIN part. I mean, is this guy for real? Come on, I mean even he can't be stupid, oh excuse me, forgot who I was talking about.
Iam frankly sick and tired of all the resources and manpower being poured into downtown New Orleans so that Mardi Gras could go off without a hitch (and please, don't get me started on that. That will be in another future post)

Kids have been displaced, families lost everything, lives will never be the same down there.

But come for the food!

Total fucking asshole.

Rate Me on BlogHop.com!
the best pretty good okay pretty bad the worst help?

Subscribe in Rojo
Blogarama - The Blog Directory Blog Flux Directory Web Blog Pinging 
Service Free Google Page Rank Checker blog search directory rem