Friday, July 30, 2004

Chess Terrorism
Fischer, one of the great eccentrics of the chess world, has been wanted for arrest by the United States since 1992 when he played a match against old rival Boris Spassky -- and won -- in Yugoslavia despite U.S. economic sanctions.
Whew, I'm glad they caught him in Tokyo. I feel safer now.
How are Kerry/Edwards Going to Pay For Their Jobs and Healthcare Proposals

You know this will be the meme, as laughable as it is so let's just give them an idea or two shall we?
An Answer to Diebold or Other Election Fraud in 2004

Got a digital camera? If not, buy one and deduct it as a necessary expense to ensure your right to vote. Bring it to the polls and take 1 or 2 or 10 pictures of your ballot. Throw in some shots of the pollworkers and make sure you verify the quality of your pics before you hit the send/enter/submit button and send your vote off into the electoralsphere.
Friday Virtual TravelbLogging™

Sorry, we're staying home this week.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

To Be There When The Picture Is Painted


'Night, Francis.
"I cannot do better," he said, than to quote from a lecture by the painter John Minton "in which he said of his own artistic creations, 'The important thing is to be there when the picture is painted.' And this, it seems to me, is partly a matter of luck and partly good judgment, inspiration and persistent application."
Somethings Are Better Left Unknown
California scientists say they have created the first synthetic version of a rogue protein called a prion and used it to give mice a brain-destroying infection, evidence important to settling any lingering doubt these mysterious substances alone cause mad cow disease and similar illnesses.[Nitpicker emphasis]
I became acquainted with prion research early on through a good friend in grad school who was (and is) into that whole protein folding thing. It seems to me that most doubts about the causal link between prions and mad cow disease (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans) had already been diminshed - at least in the protein biochemistry field. Something tells me though, that the general public would rather have lingering doubts about this relationship than the knowledge that someone has successfully synthesized prions. Talk about a potent form of bioterrorism - and many people get upset about genetically modified crops that don't even have any potential for that use.
Doctors WithoutLooking for New Borders
US regretting [sic]the pull out of aid agency Doctors Without Borders from Afghanistan hoped that they would reconsider.

'We regret it. Certainly, we're aware of their plans. We hope they'll reconsider. They are doing important and valuable work there. They've been there for 24 years. They enjoy wide international respect precisely because of the risks they've been willing to take and the sacrifices they've made to end human suffering', US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said in his daily press briefing.[Nitpicker emphasis]
More freedom, democracy and safety in the Middle East brought to you by the 'we had an exit strategy in Afghanistan, it was called Iraq' U.S. Administration. So, let's see they've been there for twenty-four years, I'm thinkin' that covers the Taliban rule and now ...hmmmm.
Near Miss

When he started like this:



and followed it with the "I was born in the West Wing", I thought he was toast. Fortunately his address improved. I'd give him a strong "B" though I can't say that I was either moved or inspired by any aspect of it as I had been earlier by Wes Clark's performance. However, I'd have to admit that likely had as much or more to do with the fact that I believed (and still do) he was our brightest presidential hope - I grieve the loss of that promise. However, Kerry's daughters shoulda made Daddy proud. If people view him through a softer filter, it's not because of his performance but because of theirs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Ridin' the donkey

Al Sharpton's 6-minute speech went on for twenty and it's a good thing. He offered a response to Dubya's assertion that perhaps the Democratic Party takes African Americans for granted. Here's a transcript, these are my personal favorites...
We are also faced with the prospect of in the next four years that two or more of the Supreme Court Justice seats will become available. This year we celebrated the anniversary of Brown v. the Board of Education.

This court has voted five to four on critical issues of women's rights and civil rights. It is frightening to think that the gains of civil and women rights and those movements in the last century could be reversed if this administration is in the White House in these next four years.

I suggest to you tonight that if George Bush had selected the court in '54, Clarence Thomas would have never got to law school.

Mr President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question.

You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule.

That's where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres.

We didn't get the mule. So we decided we'd ride this donkey as far as it would take us.

Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats.

Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of good men (inaudible) soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.

This vote can't be bargained away.

This vote can't be given away.

Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale.[Nitpicker emphasis]
A little more of this and a little less of John Kerry warrior, commander-in-chief -would go a long way.
E Pluribus Unum

Obama

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Big Dog Still Has It

You can love him, you can hate him, or you can (like I do) fall somewhere in between. But NO ONE can deny Bill Clinton's gift. I never voted for Clinton; I entered a protest write-in vote knowing it was safe to do so. I have to admit he turned out to be a better President than I had imagined - let's hope I'm really wrong about Kerry. Wherever John Kerry is tonight you can bet he's glad there are three days between his performance and that of President Clinton's tonight. He is soooooo good. He did not miss an opportunity. He gave us a theme of unity ... creating a more perfect union. One of diverse beliefs, colors, orientations and he didn't attack Bush and the Republican Congress but rather praised them for their love of country and strength of convictions as he simultaneously pointed out what those convictions have wrought. He drew a stark contrast between the results of 12 years of Republican rule before him and 4 years of Republican rule behind him versus 8 years under Clinton/Gore. As Billy Crystal might say, "He was ... mahvelus". I can't help but wonder what he would have been able to do with an appealing candidate.

Al Gore gave a decent speech and had a few good lines e.g., "You win some, You lose some and then there's that third category ..." and gave special thanks Bill Clinton. I'm sure he wishes he'd reconciled that one about 4 years ago - his pain is still visible when he speaks.

My man Jimmy (a man for whom I believe I hold the non-Georgian record for the 'number of times voting for'- see above) gave the most biting rebuke of the Adminisration's policies in his speech and didn't back down one iota when Brooks the puppet took issue with his attack.

Update: I forgot, Hillary had a great one-liner as well. Something like ... "John Kerry has all of the qualities to be a great leader, I know I great leader when I see one".

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Have You Signed Yet?

As you know, the ban on assault weapons (AK47s, Uzis) is due to expire. Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed at Columbine High School, is sponsoring a petition to get Congress to extend the ban, go sign it.
Appeal for Darfur

Since the holocaust we have vowed to fight genocide and yet we did nothing in Rwanda. Blogger, activist and former Air Force officer, David Englin is trying to make a difference. Go visit his blog, RIPPLE OF HOPE. While our Congress has recognized the killings in Darfur for what they are, genocide, the Bush administration continues to play semantics. David has developed some templates and links to make it easy for you to keep the pressure on your representatives in DC - go do it!
Brits for Kerry
Senior Labour MPs are clamouring to join the American presidential campaign of John Kerry this summer in a direct snub to the alliance between Tony Blair and President George W. Bush.

The avowed intent of a dozen MPs to dislodge Mr Bush threatens to embarrass Mr Blair at a difficult time in the war against terrorism. Yesterday one of the Labour MPs denounced Mr Bush as 'a complete and utter menace to the future security of the world'.[indeed]

The group, which includes the former ministers Nick Brown and George Mudie, close friends of Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, is in talks with Mr Kerry's team with a view to campaigning on a freelance basis. Their plans are a problem for Mr Blair because he had hoped to reposition himself to prepare for the possibility of a Kerry victory with more subtlety.[pity; Nitpicker emphasis]
Pee-Rations
[snip]
The US military has devised a way to ensure its troops in battle need never go hungry - with dried food that can be rehydrated using dirty water or urine.

The meal comes in a pouch that filters out 99.9% of bacteria and most toxic chemicals, says New Scientist magazine.

The aim is to reduce the amount of water soldiers need to carry.

The firm behind it says soldiers should only use urine as last resort - as the membrane can not filter out urea, which in the long term causes kidney damage.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Something tells me that won't be an issue.
It's Only Words and Words Are All I Have...

Don't tell the Moody BluesProcol Harum but in the usage ranking of 86,800 words, guess what word ranks 86,800th?

Update: I knew as I was listening to it in my head that the vocal didn't seem like the Moody Blues and 3pointshooter points out that indeed it was Procol Harum. In my defense, I received a phone call from the local media (as apparently, I'm the only Dem left in town -there aren't many of us to begin with and I had no desire to go to Boston, at least not for the crowning of John Kerry) whilst blogging this or I'd have taken the time to check my doubts (I need only have searched my iTunes) before hitting 'publish post'. Thanks 3point.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Friday Virtual TravelbLogging™

Today's edition, brought to you by the letter "D" for Dr. Pedro P Peña. Not the person, the city (in keeping with the travel theme). I suppose perhaps the surname Pena would be too common to be used alone but do you think they really needed his middle initial and title to ensure the connection between the city and the president. Maybe so, because if this minimal information is correct, he was president of Paraguay for less than three months (not even the whole first quarter) in 1912, after which he was removed by a coup. The city is located on the western edge of the country near its borders with Argentina and Bolivia:



It lies in the Gran Chaco region, a vast parched lowland plain supporting grasslands thorny forests and cactus.
"In the early thirties the Chaco was believed to be a source of oil. Two large oil companies Standard and Shell were involved in the exploration. Competition between the Bolivia and Paraguay over oil rights and the oil companies for these potential oil deposits was heated and eventually led to the Chaco War of 1932 - 1935. Standard Oil backed Bolivia which at that time owned more of the Chaco than it does now. Shell was on Paraguay's side. Even though Bolivia had a large army the highland native soldiers did poorly on the Chaco where the fighting conditions favored the Paraguayan forces. Bolivia suffered heavy losses, in troops pride and land when it lost the war and had to cede 225,00 sq km to Paraguay.

Oil was not found then and after hostilities ceased the native flora and fauna continued undisturbed.

Paraguay now had more territory and the Chaco occupies much of the portion of the land from the western banks of the Rio Paraguay which bisects the country from north to south. Gerhard Roux in Paraguay describes it as the largest region in the country and is also the least populated. It covers a area of 95,337 square miles (244,00 km2) about 61 percent of the whole Paraguayan territory. However it is inhabited by only a little more than 2 percent of the nations's population. Nonetheless the peculiar landscape of El Chaco and its exclusive fauna and flora make it uniquely interesting to tourists.

The Chaco can be reached by boat or highway on the Trans-Chaco route. Nature lovers can enjoy excursions and ride or horseback through almost unexplored areas both in Alto Chaco where rainfall is minimal and in Bajo Chaco an area of big swamps and forests of quebracho and palo santo (holy wood).

There are more than 500 kinds of hardwood trees in this region and approximately 300 types of medicinal plants including such unusual varieties as cactus and "sumu'u" a big-bellied tree. Many different birds can be seen in this region such as the South American ostrich and also wild beasts like jaguars, ocelots brown wolves waterhogs (carpincho) pumas and others.

The drive from Asunción leads through the Low Chaco a land of palm forests and marshes and reaches the Middle Chaco with its capital Filadelfia. Here Mennonites of German descent have set up farms and other agricultural outlets as well as their own schools and are considered to be the only organised community in the whole of the Chaco region.

Even though areas of the Chaco are largely unexplored Paraguay has managed to "tame" some of it for cattle raising agriculture and the lumber industry. The terrain includes palm reeds scrub forest grassy savanna and dense growths of spiny brush. The savanna is used for cattle ranching and cotton growing and the forested part in Paraguay and northern Argentina is noted for its timber.
The low Chaco, nearest Asunción, is marshy (with palm trees) and is primarily used for

cattle ranching,

while the middle Chaco is home to nomadic indians and

Mennonite farms communities.

The high Chaco (Alto), around Dr. Pedro P. Peña, is mostly uninhabited though some military outposts remain.

The bottle tree (Brachychiton populneus)


is an extremely drought resistance species that can tolerate the extremes found in this region.

Given the Gran Chaco is considered South America's last frontier, whether you just want to visit, or hide out for four years, or so, you'd better head to Asunción and start exploring from there, because you won't find much about this area on the internet.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Playing Politics (poorly)
The White House helped to block a Republican-brokered deal on Wednesday to extend several middle-class tax cuts, fearful of a bill that could draw Democratic votes and dilute a Republican campaign theme, Republican negotiators said.
Okay, so how exactly does blocking your own party from continuing tax cuts for the middle class help you out?
Things You should Know in an Election Year

For example, did you know that ...
[snip]
Neither FDR in 1940 or 1944, nor JFK in 1960 received enough votes on the Democratic Party line to carry New York. They prevailed only when Liberal party line votes were added. In 1980, Jimmy Carter received more votes as a Democrat than Ronald Reagan did as a Republican, but Reagan carried New York because of the votes he gained on the Conservative Party.
Excuse me? This, apparently, has something to do with the fact that New York is in a state of confusion. That's right, New York, not Florida or California as one might have expected. Sorry, Blame Evelyn Wood, correction - rather, New York is a 'fusion' state (not to be confused with 'fission', which when nukler can be quite dangerous). What's fusion you ask? Well, it's an election process variant (who knew?) in which:
[snip]
a minority party can endorse a major party candidate. Thus the candidates name appears on two lines on the ballot. The votes on each line are added together for purposes of electing the candidate. In close races the minority party can claim credit for generating the margin of victory. Which should give it some influence in policy making circles of the winning majority party.
In addition to New York there are nine other states that permit 'fusion' ballots, including, as it happens, the one in which I currently reside. In alphabetical order the fusion states are: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Vermont. Interesting array don't you think? Anyway, I was contemplating this fusion thing and thought if we could get the minority party or parties in these states to endorse Kerry, it could counteract the GOP signing petitions for Nader - although I guess none of these states is considered a battleground state. Anyway, I hadn't known about this variant but if you check out Ask Dr. Dave over at The American Voice 2004, you'll learn more about the interesting history of this process (e.g., how Republicans crushed it) and information about other election variants. I have no recollection of how I came across this little tidbit but check out the site.
Terra in the Skies

Via World O'Crap
[snip]
If it was a dry run, what did they learn?' Brown asked. Well, says Annie, they learned that they wouldn't get arrested, since they apparently weren't arrested, just interrogated and let go.' (So, it's not necessarily illegal to glare at women while being Arab -- good to know.) They also learned 'how far they could go' (to the restroom with a McDonalds sack), and 'how flight attendants work' (apparently they pass out the drinks, then collect the cups). So, all in all, a very successful operation, and well worth the years spent learning to play those musical instruments. (Actually, real terrorists could have learned some interesting tips on how the airlines and the federal authorities handle various occurrences -- not from the musicians, but from Annie's articles, which include helpful info from the FAM public affairs guy.)
World of Crap has more fun at Annie's expense [tear] and tells of a few terrarific travel experiences of his own.
[snip]
3. Last year, while on another layover, we decided to just sit in the plane while waiting for the next leg of our journey. We noticed that the guy who came to restock the drink cart had a boy with him; the kid helped him pick up trash. "Hey," I said to my sister, "I thought that only people with airport ID were supposed to be able to get on the tarmac -- and that kid doesn't have any ID!" She said, yeah, but he's the guy's son, so they probably didn't consider him a threat. I said, "Well, some terrorists could have thrown some guns over the fence to him, and then asked him to stash them here in the magazine bin for them to pick up after they board -- and since he's just a kid, he might be too stupid to know not to do it. That's the kind of stuff that happens when people break federal regulations." And then my sister said she didn't want to travel with me anymore. That wasn't all that scary, but on the way back home, at the Vegas airport, we saw a guy yell at an old woman in a candy store because he gave her the wrong kind of fudge. That was rather upsetting.
Go read the whole thang.
Commercial Fear

The sweatshirts, and coats that look like plain waterproofs, are made from the same fibers used in police and military knife-proof and bullet-proof vests , according to the maker, Madre.

'We created this product so children would be ok, even if they went off to play by themselves,' said a spokesman for Madre, a provider of child day-care services before it added protective clothing to its portfolio earlier this year.

The clothing, sold only through the company's web site, www.defense.to, isn't cheap, at 46,095 yen ($419) for the coat and from 40,950 yen for the sweatshirt. They come in 12 colors and can be embroidered with initials or other slogans.

Japan has always prided itself on its low crime rate, but concern over child safety has grown after a series of crimes involving children.

An intruder attacked pupils with a knife at a primary school in western Japan in December 2003 and an 11-year-old schoolgirl murdered a classmate in June by slashing her throat.

Earlier this month, a Japanese software firm unveiled chip-embedded student ID cards that alert parents via email when children arrive at and leave school.
"... the same fibers used in police and military knife-proof and bullet-proof vests ..." Couldn't they have just said Kevlar?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Someone should have told him ...

it only works in the movies.
A doctor in Saskatchewan who planted a tube in his arm filled with someone else's blood to try to avoid a conviction for sexual assault has been deported.
...
The Zambian-born doctor had been ordered deported in June.

He was convicted in 1999 for two sexual assaults and of obstructing justice.

When investigators accused Schneeberger of sexual assault in 1992 and took blood samples from him, the DNA didn't match that from the crime scene.

Schneeberger had planted a plastic tube filled with someone else's blood in his arm. When he was ordered to provide a blood sample, he offered to do the procedure himself and took it from the plastic tube in his arm instead of from his vein.

Allegations from another victim eventually led to Schneeberger's 1999 conviction.
I recall how improbable was the scene (in gattaca ) where Ethan Hawke's character, Vincent, jerked away while having his blood drawn, substituting a syringe of Jerome's (Jude Law) blood, in a continuing effort to conceal his true identity. Yet, it would appear (insofar as this report indicates) that the good doctor got away with the substitution as well. Nevermind that allowing a suspect to collect his own sample is akin to, I don't know, maybe allowing a defendant to try on a bloody glove over a pair of latex gloves in front of a jury. Stupidity aside, where were they when he was collecting the blood? The article implies that he had 'internally' planted the tube in his arm. Were that the case, there would have had to have been an exposed incision. Why? First, if the blood remained in his arm long enough for healing to have occurred, the blood would have been severely hemolyzed - something that should have been noticed. Second, if the needle had to pass through his DNA-rich skin to reach the blood in the tube, the sample likely would have appeared as a contaminated sample with his own profile represented as a minor component of a mixture, which someone should have detected. On the other hand, if a portion of the tube were 'exposed' one would expect that the 'witness' (of which there should have been at least one) might have notice the incision etc., and might have wondered why the doctor would choose such a site for sample collection. Somebody should have had some serious 'xplainin' to do.
A Little Fun With The Press

Am I the only one who thinks this would have been treated a tad differently if it had been Vanessa Kerry? Didn't think so.
Lest We Forget

Number 900.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

If Bush Were a Democrat

Steven Vincent over at Democratic Underground has it about right.

Or would that be left?
Independent Republican

I read this title and I wondered where Safire had found one. Now I know it must have been in Kentucky:
A Republican lawmaker says it was inappropriate for a GOP office to display a bumper sticker declaring: 'Kerry is bin Laden's Man. Bush is Mine.'

Kentucky Rep. Anne Northup said she found out about the stickers over the weekend and doesn't want any more distributed. 'What campaigns need to center on, debates need to center on and the party needs to focus on are ideas,' she said.
Non-confirmation of Presence

Weapons inspectors are going back into Iraq (by invitation). Why? Drum roll please ... to confirm the non-presence of weapons of mass destruction.

Is it possible to confirm the non-existence of something? Hasn't that been a major sticking point with the whole God thing? Can't prove the presence, can't prove the non-presence? Although one would think there'd be some pretty substantial evidence of the former.
Not So Mellow Yellow
Lance Armstrong's pursuit of a record sixth Tour de France victory gained momentum on Tuesday when he won the first Alpine stage to reclaim the yellow jersey from Thomas Voeckler.
Go Lance!
FLIP - FLOP

NOW He wants to be the PEACE pResident.
Freed
A Filipino truck driver held hostage in Iraq for nearly two weeks was freed Tuesday, a day after his nation withdrew its final peacekeepers from Iraq — a move that met the kidnappers’ demands but angered U.S. and Iraqi officials.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Commercial Enhancement
Adolph Coors Co., the No. 3 U.S. brewer, is engaged in talks to merge with Canadian brewing company Molson Inc. and create a more powerful rival to market leaders SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch, the companies said on Monday.
The bad news is, the beer will still be horse manure. The good news is they might start having really great commercials. Though I can't say I've heard any recently, Molson Golden used to have (80's) some great radio ads.
Marine Claims He's Not a Deserter
Hassoun, 24, of West Jordan, Utah, disappeared June 20 from his base near the troubled Iraqi city of Fallujah and turned up unharmed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut on July 8. It remains unclear how he traveled from Iraq to Lebanon, where he was born and still has some relatives.
Hassoun claims he just left to work on a campaign in Alabama Utah. He might have gotten away with it but he didn't go to Harvard Business School and the Senator isn't running this time around.
Another Republican Off the Ranch
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency for two Republican presidents criticized President Bush's record on Monday, calling it a "polluter protection" policy.

Russell E. Train, who headed the EPA from September 1973 to January 1977 - part of the Nixon and Ford administrations - said Bush's record on the environment was so dismal that he would cast his vote for Democrat John Kerry.

"It's almost as if the motto of the administration in power today in Washington is not environmental protection, but polluter protection," Train said. "I find this deeply disturbing."[Nitpicker emphasis]
Maybe there's hope for the Republican party yet.
Why Wait ('til They Come For You)

Whenever I think about the Patriot Act, free speech zones, a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, attempts at 'state-sponsored' censorship (Moveon ads, Fahrenheit 9/11, Reagans the movie, Howard Stern), viscious attacks against any dissent (Blix, O'Neill, Clarke, ...), rallying around 'the flag' and the 'cross' in an effort to divide and conquer and single-issue voters, I can't help but be reminded of Pastor Martin Niemöller’s words:
"First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then came the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me."
Most Americans are Caucasian ... but not all
Most Americans believe in God ... but not all
Most Americans that believe in God are Christians ... but not all
Most Americans are heterosexual ... but not all

Update: I forgot ...

Most American Presidents are elected ... but not all

Are you currently 'in favor'? Where will you be tomorrow? When will you cross them? Will you remain the right kind of 'Christian'? Will you stay in lock-step? And if you don't? Even if you support the 'ends', are the 'means' justified? Who will stand up for you? We're all Americans. Ask yourself what that means (or at least what it should mean). The Bush Administration and their religiously right constituency have gone too far ... stand up now. Stand up on November 2nd. Stand up for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
Bloggered

I don't know whether it's a combination of Blogger and my OS (Mac) or Blogger and my browser (Mozilla) or the trifecta involving the combination of all three -but I couldn't get my blog to load this weekend. This has happened on one other occasion and, as at that time, I can get other blogspot blogs to load but not this one. There are some known issues with Mozilla (one of which is that on occasion, though not always, the text of some blogs is transformed into gibberish). Now, with the latest version of the text editor I can, for the first time, use spellcheck without it resulting in the addition of several random characters into my text. I don't, however, care for the additional html characters it seems committed to adding to my posts. So, I'll dump most the things I'd thought to touch on as I'm sure they've been covered by others at this point. I'll get on with things tonight if the stars are appropriately aligned -jeesh, sometimes this is too much like work.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Friday Virtual TravelbLogging™

This third edition is brought to you by the letter "C" for Crete as in Greek island of. Many adventures and amazing views await you. Alas, however, cruelty is mine name and, for the moment sleep is my game. I promise luscious details tomorrow night when I'll have more energy to deal with Blogger's latest version (which I'm sure I'll like once I've become accustomed to it) but for now ... zzzzz.

Update:

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands (5th largest in the Mediterranean) and marks a boundary between Europe and Africa. Typical of all of the Mediterranean islands, the weather is temperate although Crete is more mountainous than other islands and has cooler temperatures and wetter summers in these central areas. While human habitation of Crete can be traced back to the Neolithic Period (~6000 BC), the 2001 census has the island's population at just under 700,000. In its 8,000 years of history, Crete's most significant development was during the Bronze Age (3000-1100 BC) with the Minoan Civilization that lead to Crete becoming a marine, trade and art creation center. Speaking of art, El Greco was born (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) in Iraklion, Crete.

One of the largest volcanic eruptions in the last 10,000 years (on nearby Santorini Island) is believed to played a role in the demise of the Minoan civilization. The island has many relics of this period, the two most important archaeological sites being the palaces at Knossos [take a virtual tour] and Phaistos:



If you're not into palace ruins, maybe you'd like to check out a 5th century monastery, Arkadiou. Or, if Byzantine icons are your thing, the monastery of Toplou, seen here:



If manmade architecture doesn't give you goosebumps, Crete has plenty of nature's own. From over 3,000 caves to explore, to getting up close and personal with the Cretan mountains by climbing your way through Crete. Samaria Gorge is a place where you can really get an appropriate sense of perspective:



There are a plethora of diverse walks/hikes throughout Crete. Whether you want to stick to the main tourist towns on the northern coast, or go off the beaten track, there's plenty to do and see on this beautiful island. Bon Voyage - if you hurry maybe you can catch some olympic action in Athens before you take your 12-hour ferry ride to Crete.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Felony to be a Democrat in Florida
Three years after Gov. Jeb Bush announced a new voting system that he called 'a model for the rest of the nation,' Florida is grappling with some of the same problems that threw the 2000 presidential election into chaos, as well as new ones that critics say could cause even more confusion illegitimacy this November.
...
The controversy over the new equipment is just one of Florida's challenges, which also include confirming which voters are ineligible, training poll workers on new policies and processing a flood of new registrations.

State officials announced on Saturday that they would throw out a controversial list used to remove felons from the voting rolls, acknowledging that Hispanic felons were absent from the list. Secretary of State Glenda E. Hood, appointed by Governor Bush last year, had earlier dismissed concerns from lawmakers and advocacy groups about the list of 48,000 suspected felons, which the state made public only after a judge's order.
...
The Republican-led Legislature quickly passed an overhaul of the voting system in 2001, banning the punch-card ballots that caused so much trouble in 2000, giving counties money for new voting equipment and setting recount guidelines. It adopted two-thirds of the recommendations from a bipartisan task force that Governor Bush appointed after the 2000 election, but stayed away from some of the more contentious issues.

Most notably, lawmakers passed over recommendations to make the positions of county elections supervisors nonpartisan and to review the state's policy of permanently stripping felons of voting rights. The package that the Legislature adopted has played a role in the new turmoil. Tucked into the law was a provision keeping registration records secret. A state judge struck it down on July 2, opening the way for a close examination of the list of suspected felons to purge from the rolls.

Newspapers then reported that the list had a simple but glaring flaw: it guaranteed that no Hispanics, who tend to vote Republican here, would be purged, while thousands of blacks, who tend to vote Democratic, might be purged. Governor Bush moved quickly to drop it, but he was too late to avoid accusations from Democratic lawmakers and groups. The critics have denounced the effort to keep the list secret, the touch-screen problems and other troubles as purposeful efforts by Florida's Republican leadership to give President Bush an advantage here.[Nitpicker emphasis/editorialization]
Okay, so it's not a felony to be a Democrat, it's merely that only Democratic felons lose their right to vote in Florida. A model system? Let's hope not.
Classify this under great narratives:
Each excuse to explain the latest screw up by George W. Bush is more laughable than the last. In order to accept the various explanations to rationalize the actions of what may well be the most corrupt – and at the same time most stupid – Presidential administration in recent history, you have to completely abandon the laws of probability.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Yeah, you'd have to say when the improbable is commonplace something's definitely amiss.
The Coalition of the No Longer Willing
The Bush administration faces growing challenges in holding together the 32-nation coalition deployed in Iraq, with four countries already gone, another four due to leave by September and others now making known their intention to wind down or depart before the political transition is complete next year, according to officials from 28 participating countries.
It's a damn good thing our troops aren't spread too thin -can you imagine if that were the case should we and the Brits be left holding the Baghdad?
National Insecurity
The Los Alamos National Laboratory, a key U.S. center for nuclear weapons research, has temporarily ceased all classified work after vital data was reported missing last week from a research area, lab officials said on Thursday.

Such a precaution at Los Alamos, the New Mexico birthplace of the first atomic bomb during World War II, has not occurred in recent memory, lab officials said, highlighting the seriousness of the breach.

The lab said it learned of two missing data storage disks on July 7 during an inventory check. At a news conference, the lab director and other officials declined to detail the nature of the data, citing national security concerns.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Cows already out fellas.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


They Call Me Bond ... Julian Bond
NAACP chairman Julian Bond urged members of the nation's oldest civil rights organization to increase voter turnout to oust President Bush, and condemned the administration's policies on education, the economy and the war in Iraq.

'They preach racial neutrality and practice racial division,' Bond said Sunday night in the 95th annual convention's keynote address. 'They've tried to patch the leaky economy and every other domestic problem with duct tape and plastic sheets. They write a new constitution of Iraq and they ignore the Constitution here at home.'

Volunteers with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have been working on voter drives in black communities across the country, registering more than 100,000 so far in 11 key states, including Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and New Mexico, Bond said.
Go Julian.

Son of Star Wars
The US administration is negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic over its controversial missile defence programme, with a view to positioning the biggest missile defence site outside the US in central Europe.

Polish government officials confirmed to the Guardian that talks have been going on with Washington for eight months and made clear that Poland was keen to take part in the project, which is supposed to shield the US and its allies from long-range ballistic missile attacks.

Senior officials in Prague also confirmed that talks were under way over the establishment of American advanced radar stations in the Czech Republic as part of the missile shield project.

Buyin' Votes

With the annual U.S. budget exceeding $2 trillion, it is difficult to track the ebb and flow of federal grants across the country with precision. But since mid-March, when the race for the presidency began to gain momentum, Bush officials have routinely fanned out across the country in a public-relations offensive hard to miss. In many cases, they are doling out cash grants, typically for the sort of projects that draw fire from administration deficit-hawks when they show up as earmarks in congressional spending bills.

In a mid-April swing through the battleground state of New Mexico, which Mr. Bush narrowly lost in 2000, a top Commerce Department aide presented $2.5 million to boost local business development. In mid-May, just a few days after Mr. Bush appeared before the American Conservative Union and vowed to 'maintain spending discipline,' the White House dispatched the Environmental Protection Agency chief to Chicago to launch a task force to coordinate environmental programs in the Great Lakes basin, a region rich in natural resources -- and votes. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio -- all of which border the lakes -- are considered close races in the presidential election. As it happens, the EPA-led event highlighted a Bush proposal to spend $45 million to clean up contaminated Great Lakes sediments, a $35 million increase from fiscal 2004.

'Ribbon-cutting ceremonies by cabinet secretaries is what we call presidential pork,' says Stephen Moore, head of the Club for Growth, a right-leaning advocacy group. 'There's not a lot of difference between Congress pushing these pork bills, and the White House going out and celebrating them.'

Monday, July 12, 2004


Nevermind the intelligence itself, the exaggeration of it lies by Bush et al or the fact that there was never an immediate, imminent, grave, gathering or existent threat to our country but the number of times we have seen this headline should be evidence enough that there was no rationale for invading Iraq.

Making Inroads
The Bush administration Monday proposed lifting a national rule that closed remote areas of national forests to logging, instead saying states should decide whether to keep a ban on road-building in those areas.

Environmentalists immediately criticized the change as the biggest timber industry giveaway in history.

Under the proposal, governors would have to petition the federal government to block road-building in remote areas of national forests. Allowing roads to be built would open the areas to logging.

The rule replaces one adopted by the Clinton administration and still under challenge in federal court. It covers about 58 million of the 191 million acres of national forest nationwide.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Actually, states decide whether they want to petition to block roads as it's stated - in absence of a petition roads are fine. We need to get rid of these people while some semblance of our country (physically and philosophically) remains. They made the announcement in Idaho because it has the most affected acres (9.3 million) and a Repugnican idiot in the statehouse who will not petition to keep roadless areas intact.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


Finally going to see F9/11 tomorrow night. It's part of a Dem fundraiser for the county party. Add this event and prep to usual weekend chores and I'll likely not post 'til Monday night.

The Sound of Silencing
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Gunmen have shot dead the Russian editor of Forbes magazine, who earned notoriety by writing a book about exiled magnate Boris Berezovsky.

Paul Khlebnikov, 41, had walked out of his office late on Friday in northeastern Moscow when a car pulled up and several shots were fired at him. Khlebnikov, a U.S. citizen of Russian origin, died on his way to hospital.
So, the magazine just started publishing in Russia in April and reported Moscow the city with the most billionaires - did someone not like be "outed"? Khlebnikov also wrote a rather unflattering account of the exiled Boris Berezovsky in his book entitled Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia but that was back in 2000.


Friday Virtual TravelbLogging™
Okay, it's Saturday but that's the way it goes sometimes. So, where do you go when there's a quagmire? Oh Canada, of course. That's one of the reasons that today's (or yesterday's) edition is brought to you by the letter "B" as in Banff, Alberta, Canada which is nestled in the Canadian Rockies. Mountains, wildlife and pristine bodies of water await you here,
the abundance and majesty of which is generally proportional to your efforts to 'explore' (i.e., 'packing in'). That, of course, isn't strictly true as you can take airplane or helicopter tours of the area (something that wasn't prevalent the last time I was there but we'll leave it at that). Backcountry lodges (including meals) are available (though book well in advance) and accessible by foot, horseback, crosscountry skis or snowshoes. I still maintain the backcountry is best experienced by backpack and
.
It's also a whole helluva lot cheaper (and peaceful) going that route. If you're not up for hardcore backpacking, there are over 600 miles of trails in Banff National Park from which to choose.

However, whatever your desires, they can be met here - you can stay at a dude ranch, or even go dogsledding!
This

remains my preferred mode of transportation -make sure you bring your fly rod. Here's a look at the current weather and one thing should be evident, it gets kinda cool at night so bring your longjohns if you're going to be camping. Here's a nifty little interactive map of Banff if you want to explore accomodations, attractions and retaurants there.

On the other hand, if you're looking to hide out for, I don't know, let's say four years or so, real estate is scarce and pricey.This


little "mountain hideaway" in Canmore (5 minutes from Banff) goes for a cool $625,000. I don't know about you but you but I find it hard to consider something a "hideaway" when you can't take a picture of it without getting the nextdoor neighbor's place in the frame. Anyway, longer term, your best bet would be to live and work around Calgary, which is less than an hour away. Happy trails.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Speaking of being on the top of their game, have you stopped by Opinions You Should Have lately? Tom is on a roll and he'll be a "newswire' at the convention in Boston as well.

Stay Off the Grass
'What is this?' the woman's voice said.

I turned around and found an old friend, Lauren Elliot, walking over from one of the three or four dirt diamonds cut into the endless grass. You could fit Shanghai into the Great Lawn.

She was one of the lawyers playing in a company game for her law company, Orrick.

'We're losing to the associates. What are you doing?' she asked.I'm trying to see if I can hurt the grass,' I said. I put my hand down. After this stamping in one spot for several times, I found the grass the same as it was before I started stomping.

I was doing this because it is the way I do everything, see it and touch it before telling you about it. In this case, the Parks Department, as cheap fronts for Mayor Bloomberg, won't give any permits to the group running a demonstration against the Republican war during their convention at Madison Square Garden in August.
Yep, people and grass ... bad. Just look at all the damage done by golf galleries. Gotta love Jimmy Breslin.


You're Not Going to Believe This
A news organization (AP) finally gets off their ass and decides to make a concerted effort to get the Deserter's military lack of service records, and guess what? They're not there.
HOUSTON, July 8 - Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.

It said the payroll records of "numerous service members," including former First Lt. Bush, had been ruined in 1996 and 1997 by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service during a project to salvage deteriorating microfilm. No back-up paper copies could be found, it added in notices dated June 25.

The destroyed records cover three months of a period in 1972 and 1973 when Mr. Bush's claims of service in Alabama are in question.

...
On June 22, The Associated Press filed suit in federal court in New York against the Pentagon and the Air Force to gain access to all the president's military records.

The lost payroll records stored in Denver might have answered some questions about whether he fulfilled his legal commitment, critics who have written about the subject said in interviews.

'Those are records we've all been interested in,' said James Moore, author of a recent book, 'Bush's War for Re-election,' which takes a critical view of Mr. Bush's service record. 'I think it's curious that the microfiche could resolve what days Mr. Bush worked and what days he was paid, and suddenly that is gone.'

But Mr. Moore said the president could still authorize the release of other withheld records that would shed light on his service record.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Well, isn't that just hmmm ... convenient. Unf***ing believable. Gee and such a precise timeframe for the record loss - is anybody going to buy this? You would have thought that this might have come to light before now wouldn't you? Makes you wish you had invested in the beach front property in Arizona.

This is more like it.

Here We Go
Ridge is supposed to make an announcement about a new "credible" al Qaeda threat. So far only NBC 'has it'. There was already a scheduled briefing I imagine the delay is them trying to get their story straight so that Ridge doesn't look like Asscroft at his last terra alert outing. Standby. Shorter Ridge: We got nothing. George just said we better get out there and remind the mericans 'bout our steady leadership and the threat against them. We got credible information that al Qaeda is planning a major, excuse me, large-scale, attack in the US to 'disrupt our democratic process' Terra Alert not raised to Yeller but is kinda yeller orange. Nothing, yet NBC panders as if it were news ...where's Tim? Pathetic. Obviously, no link (to al Qaeda either). Will an attack in Boston be seen as evidence al Qaeda wants Bush in office? This may explain why other networks didn't bother to cover it.

Update: This is what they had on their site ...breaking news? Just one whore in a line of many.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


1+1+1+1=3

Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska represent a tri-state area, at least according to this visitor.

I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for this. Kinda like when Penn State was added to the Big Ten ... The Big Eleven just didn't sound right. Or, maybe they reasoned that Penn State wasn't 'big' enough.


Fool(s) Rush In
A day after Edwards was picked by Democratic White House hopeful John Kerry as his running mate, Bush raised the experience issue when asked how Edwards stacked up against his own vice president, Dick Cheney. 'Dick Cheney can be president,' Bush said briskly.
Can be? In other campaign news, I can't get this slogan out of my head: Kerry/Edwards - A Couple of Johns and They're Going to be Workin' for You?


House to Misleader

Oye George, lo jode! - permitió que ellos coman bizcocho manden paquetes. Translation here

About Damn Time
Does this look like a man about to surrender?

I suppose it could have seen it in another article but I sure thought it had been in this one. Or maybe it's a case of the article changing. Anyway, what I found interesting had been the mention of the fact that prosecutors made sure that 'additional factors' were all mentioned in the indictment since a recent Supreme Court ruling makes it impossible for judges to increase sentences based on information juries had not heard and thus on which a defendant(s) had not been convicted. Let's hope he goes away for a good long while - maybe his good bud Georgie Boy can join him. I'll update if I find a link.


I'm a Sucker for a Good Mystery
I found over at Fantastic Planet and thought it was quite interesting. However, in my procrastination tonight I was making the rounds and found that Guy Andrew Hall had stumbled upon the find as well. So, go check out the Mystery of the Three Hares - it's an old one.

Not giving Up
I'm not giving up on Hesiod yet, and hope he returns. But for now, I have moved Counterspin Central to Bloggers Emeriti.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


One Pair Worn Sandals - $1 million, One Ancient Crucifix - $2million, Breslin on JC on the Campaign Trail - Priceless
What's the matter?' Christ was asked.

'My feet. I'm not 33 anymore and they're going to have me out until I can hardly take a step.'

Christ was talking about the start of the political campaigning when the Republicans trying to stay in office have started dragging Christ everywhere, and they will have him out there on the road right up to Election Day.
Go read

what color is the Terra Alert Level Really?
Via Misleader
Two weeks ago, Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge said that U.S. ports and ships were in 'full compliance' with international security requirements that go into effect today. However, a new report by the non-partisan General Accounting Office (GAO) reveals that Ridge was incorrect.

According to the GAO, around seven percent of all U.S. ports and half of all ships have not even been reviewed by the federal government. The Administration allowed industry groups to 'self-certify to the Coast Guard that they were using appropriate standards.' But every security plan the Coast Guard did review 'had deficiencies.' A GAO spokesman said he believed the plans that weren't reviewed by the Coast Guard were also flawed.

The failure to secure U.S. ports puts America at risk. But despite the Coast Guard's estimate that it will take $7.5 billion over 10 years to secure ports from terrorist attacks, the Bush Administration has requested just $46 million in funding for that purpose in 2005.
Mislead: to deceive or delude. Can't we just say it, HE LIED.


Another Unfunded Grand Gesture of the Miserable Failure
The world is losing the race against the AIDS virus, which last year infected a record 5 million people and killed an unprecedented 3 million, the United Nations reported Tuesday.

Colin Powell:Performance Art or Something

Bob Harris over at Tom Tomorrow's has this little gem regarding an embarrassing moment of Colin Powell's; although given his performance in his day job, I'm not sure how high this will rank.


Just a Spoonful of Sugar

What a surprise -not. Kerry brings on charismatic Edwards, whom he doesn't particularly care for, and who adds little in terms of diverse experience, all in an effort to bring some appeal to his candidacy. The question is, will it make the medicine go down? It would appear from polls, although it's early to trust those, that the anti-Bush sentiment isn't sufficient, will Edwards tip the scale?

Monday, July 05, 2004


Too Close for Comfort
Firefighters widened a defensive ring around a mountaintop observatory Monday, trying to hold back two wildfires and protect a powerful telescope under construction.

The crews in southeastern Arizona used bulldozers and fire retardant around the Mount Graham International Observatory, which has two operating telescopes and the $120 million soon-to-be-completed Large Binocular Telescope. The ground crews were helped by an air tanker plane dropping retardant.

'The building's not going to burn, but the smoke and heat could do some real damage to the instruments inside,' said Pruett Small, a fire official.

Researchers from around the world use the observatory, which is an extension of the University of Arizona. When fully operational in 2005, the Large Binocular Telescope will be the world's most technologically advanced optical telescope. It's expected to yield images nearly 10 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope (news - web sites).

The observatory, consisting of eight buildings, encompasses 8 1/2 acres of pine forest on Mount Graham's 10,470-foot Emerald Peak and is surrounded by a 200-foot-wide clearing. It also has a sprinkler system that officials said would be turned on if flames came within a quarter-mile.

One of the two threatening fires was a lightning-sparked blaze that had grown to more than 6,200 acres by Monday. It was burning less than a mile southeast of the $200 million-plus observatory.
Two hundred feet should be sufficient to keep the flames away but not the intense heat - I would have thought for a $200+ facility in an area subject to natural as well as man-caused infernos they'd have done more.

Cultivation
AJC/Jay Bookman
:
...
"If there is any great lesson we Americans need to learn with regard to the methodology of foreign policy, it is that we must be gardeners and not mechanics in our approach to world affairs,' Kennan said. To extend Kennan's metaphor, a gardener can't make good things happen, but he can help things happen. Or as Kennan himself put it, the secret is 'not trying to force growth by mechanical means, not tearing the plants up by their roots when they fail to behave as we wish them to.'"
...
Kennan's approach was thus two-pronged: First, military power would be essential in pinning down the Soviet Union and protecting the American people and our allies from attack; second, final victory would come not through military power, but by nurturing alliances and by showing the world that a system based on freedom and capitalism was far more attractive than the brutality and repression offered by our Soviet challengers.

Today, a similar two-pronged approach is required to win the war on terror, as even influential members of the Bush administration claim to acknowledge. This too will be a long war, they say, possibly a war of generations. And "like the Cold War, the global war on terrorism is a war of ideas," observes Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

Unfortunately, though, Wolfowitz and others in the Bush administration have proved themselves mechanics, not gardeners, and incompetent mechanics at that. Infatuated with the unrivaled military power at their command, they fooled themselves into thinking that there was a shortcut to victory, that the war of ideas could be won more easily if our ideas were forced down the throats of others at gunpoint. They believed that democracy could be installed, not nurtured, in the Middle East.

All but the most ardent in the administration now understand that they were wrong, that by invading Iraq under false pretenses they have undercut the image of American decency that ought to be our most powerful weapon against terror. But because they have created a myth among their supporters that this president, like the pope, is incapable of error, they cannot bring themselves to change their course.



A Draft for Some
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Whose lives, whose fortunes, whose sacred honor are now on the line for our country?

Our Founders were unequivocal. They didn't count on others to take the risks for them. They didn't call for sacrifice from all except their favored constituencies. The Founders came in large part from privileged backgrounds and were willing to lose it all.

It is thus disconcerting that a country that is unwilling to impose conscription is in effect imposing a draft on that small minority of citizens who were good enough to volunteer to serve our nation in the first place.
...
The possibility of getting caught up in one of those stop-loss orders -- where tours of duty are extended -- is written into the fine print when volunteers enlist, so they are not illegal. But in the current circumstances, they are outrageous. Back home, those being held on duty have neighbors and friends who never thought to serve and could thus enjoy a lovely July Fourth weekend at the beach or in the mountains with their families. But God help those already serving.

Volunteers are told suddenly that they are not free to go after their period of duty is up. They are in this position because our political leaders ignored the counsel of military leaders who knew the occupation of Iraq would require more troops than the politicians were willing to commit. When they were selling the war, those politicians did not want to admit how hard things might get. Nor were they willing to be candid about how their expansive foreign policy requires more troops than the administration is willing to pay for.

God forbid that Americans earning, say, more than $1 million a year be asked to pony up a little more in taxes to support a larger military at a time when, we are told over and over, the country is in the middle of a war on terrorism. Millionaires can't be asked to sacrifice even a little bit. No, they deserve to have their taxes cut while others fight and die. And anyone who speaks up in opposition to this injustice risks being called unpatriotic by those who give up absolutely nothing themselves. Patriotism is defined as a solicitude for tidy incomes, a belief in anything Rush Limbaugh says on the radio and a demand that those in charge of the country never be held accountable for their mistakes.
...
If our current leaders are unwilling to ask themselves and other privileged Americans to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, they at least owe us some candor about the costs of their grand enterprises and greater justice in how those burdens are apportioned.
When saw the title of Mr. Dionne's article, I thought we were of one mind. Which,as it turned out, we were -just not in the way I had been thinking. Since what was evident from the start to many (that Iraq and Saddam posed no threat, immediate, imminent, grave or otherwise to the U.S.) finally became apparent to several who voted in favor of BushCo crusade, I think steps should be taken to ensure that in the future a thorough examination of 'cause' is performed prior to our young pledging their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. I propose that a draft be initiated for each and every such adventure with the lowest lottery numbers reserved for the progeny of those involved in making the determination of whether or not to commit our troops. Further, that if such a situation exists as it does now with one party holding Congress, as well as the courts, that we begin with their offspring. Perhaps that would give them pause. If not, at least we'd spread the sacrifice.

MoveOn Rob and Aaron
The liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org has already proved to be a force in the campaign to defeat President Bush, but it is about to get a big infusion of help from Hollywood . MoveOn's Political Action Committee, MoveOnPac, last week announced that documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War) will produce a series of campaign ads. The group is also about to announce that it has enlisted an all-star roster of directors, writers and Hollywood actors to make ads for the group. One is directed by Rob Reiner and written by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin. Another is directed by indie-film veteran Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging) from a script by radio lefty Al Franken. Comedian Margaret Cho wrote and directed an ad, another stars Danny Glover, and an animated spot features the voices of Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation), Kevin Bacon and Ed Asner. Two more ads are in production, one written and directed by Woody Harrelson and the other starring Alicia Silverstone.
I have to admit I was less than enthusiastic about how effective the top picks for Bush in 30 Seconds would be but Rob Reiner and Aaron Sorkin? -that's one ad that should be excellent.

On a Day When We Celebrate Our Independence, the Bill of Rights Gets Buried

In the spirit of go Cheney yourself ...

It's not just the rights themselves but the story their violation gets buried between reiterations of Bush's lame Iraqi defense and information that Kerry supporters were picnicking as if either were newsworthy. Yada yada we're safer, Saddam bad, Iraq and Afghanistan, Iraq and Afghanistan (let Cheney say Saddam and al Queda), yada, yada and by the way ...

Regarding Saddam, the deposed Iraqi president, Bush said: "Because we acted, the dictator, the brutal tyrant, is sitting in a prison cell.

Two Bush opponents, taken out of the crowd in restraints by police, said they were told they couldn't be there because they were wearing shirts that said they opposed the president. Supporters of Bush's presumed opponent in November's election, Sen. John Kerry, attended a picnic across the street from the capitol at state Democratic Party's headquarters.[Nitpicker emphasis]
When the citizenry can't speak for themselves, are restrained or removed to free speech zones, it's nice to know we have a free and unfettered press to stand in for us.

Whew!

Mike Krzyzewski is staying at Duke , ending talks with the Los Angeles Lakers about becoming their coach. The school said Monday that Krzyzewski had informed the Lakers of his decision. An afternoon news conference was scheduled on campus.

Saturday, July 03, 2004


Feeling Independent?

Happy 4th, South Knox Bubba's got fireworks!

Also, you don't want to miss Barbara's column, she's only there for a short stint unless someone at the Times grows some brain cells in the near future.

Friday, July 02, 2004


Friday Virtual TravelbLogging™

Today's Edition brought to you by the letter "A" for Aberaeron.

Aberaeron is a seaside town on the Atlantic coast of Wales.

Aberaeron's history as a trade route for the agricultural lands to its east began when, in 1805, the Rev. Alban Thomas Gwynne inherited a large country estate and the more than princely sum of £150,000, much of which he used to construct the harbour. He encouraged other merchants to build houses around the harbor and the village thrived. The Georgian architecture and grid layout with wide streets and pavements remains today in the town that is now primarily a tourist destination. Here's a little informational video clip if you desire. I also came across this travelguide that included this:

"Aberaeron, sixteen miles along the coast from Aberystwyth, is a handsome place, even if it is almost unique amongst the Ceredigion resorts for being on an unappealing stretch of coastline. Nonetheless, the town, with its pastel-shaded houses encasing a large harbour inlet, has a rare unity of design, the result of a complete nineteenth-century rebuilding by the Reverend Alban Gwynne. He spent his way through his wife's inheritance by dredging the Aeron Estuary and constructing a formally planned town around it as a new port for mid-Wales."[Nitpicker emphasis -note to self don't hire this company to do any advertising]
I don't know about the appeal or lack thereof with regard to coastline, however, I do wonder about the weather when the first category addressed in the forecast is "cloud cover" which, of course, is separate from "cloud distribution" which is further subdivided into three "levels". I guess that would make this picture

a better reflection of what you might find.

Accommodations in Aberaeron range from B&Bs for as little as £18($33)/night to a harbour cottage for £800($1457)/7 days.

Things to do while you're in Aberaeron include: surfing(though don't expect to be challenged, the difficulty level is beginner), sailing, cycling, coastal boat voyages, a visit to the Sea Aquarium or to Llanerchaeron, a small 18th-century Welsh gentry estate.

Llanerchaeron

Aberaeron is known for its honey ice cream and its Welsh cob festival. Not cob as in "corn on the", but rather as in

horse breed.

If you become a little parched after all your activities, you can stop in at the Prince of Wales pub on Queen Street.

On the other hand, if you're hungry, and if this recipe is an indication of the local cuisine (which could be categorized as "beige" food), you may want to check out Ty Thai to add a little spice to your dining.

Well, that's it for the first edition of Friday Virtual TravelbLogging™, I hope you enjoyed the trip. I figure there may be several people looking to relocate if BushCo manages to steal another stint in the WH so I'll bear that in mind from now 'til the selection. Next Friday will be brought to you by the letter "B" but the city is so secret I don't even know what it is yet.


Paying for the High Crime of Violating Curfew
The U.S. Army has charged four soldiers, three of them with manslaughter, after the drowning of an Iraqi prisoner who was pushed off a bridge, while a senior general criticized U.S. military detention policies, officials said on Friday.

The soldiers, on patrol near the city of Samarra 60 miles north of Baghdad on Jan. 3, pushed two Iraqis off a bridge at nighttime into the Tigris River after picking up the men on a curfew violation, officials said. One Iraqi drowned, while the other got out of the river.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Of course they're 'sovereign now and won't have to worry about curfew violations anymore. Unless Allawi decides to invoke Marshall law that is.


The Death of a Don

'night, Marlon.


the top ten [Letterman's] george w. bush complaints about fahrenheit 911

10. that actor who played the president was totally unconvincing

9. it oversimplified the way i stole the election

8. too many of them fancy college-boy words

7. if michael moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where i get him deported

6. didn't have one of them hilarious monkeys who smoke cigarettes and gives people the finger

5. of all michael moore's accusations, only 97% are true

4. not sure - - i passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe

3. where the hell was spider-man?

2. couldn't hear most of the movie over cheney's foul mouth

1. i thought this was supposed to be about dodgeball
Brought to you by: skippy the bush kangaroo

When Letterman's Top 10 used to be a once a week occurrence it was always excellent. Not so anymore but this one works.


Elections GOP Style partie deux
Via Salon [suscription/pass needed]

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Elections,GOP style.
Via Lambert at Leah, Lambert, Tresy & the farmer
Not that we thought it was limited to Dubya's demolition crew.

If You Say So

This image taken from NASA television
shows a portion of the rings of Saturn
captured by the Cassini spacecraft that
has now entered orbit around the planet.

Looks more like some miniblinds to me.



Bob Herbert:
The fact that this war has made America more, not less, vulnerable to terrorism should be treated as a national scandal. But that is not the kind of story that has the legs of, say, the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Or the O. J. Simpson saga.
Think he's been talkin' to Jimmy?

Fahrenheit: Filling a Gap
Krugman:
Since it opened, 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has been a hit in both blue and red America, even at theaters close to military bases. Last Saturday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took his Nascar crew to see it. The film's appeal to working-class Americans, who are the true victims of George Bush's policies, should give pause to its critics, especially the nervous liberals rushing to disassociate themselves from Michael Moore.

There has been much tut-tutting by pundits who complain that the movie, though it has yet to be caught in any major factual errors, uses association and innuendo to create false impressions. Many of these same pundits consider it bad form to make a big fuss about the Bush administration's use of association and innuendo to link the Iraq war to 9/11. Why hold a self-proclaimed polemicist to a higher standard than you hold the president of the United States?

And for all its flaws, 'Fahrenheit 9/11' performs an essential service. It would be a better movie if it didn't promote a few unproven conspiracy theories, but those theories aren't the reason why millions of people who aren't die-hard Bush-haters are flocking to see it. These people see the film to learn true stories they should have heard elsewhere, but didn't. Mr. Moore may not be considered respectable, but his film is a hit because the respectable media haven't been doing their job.[Nitpicker emphasis]
...
But not now. "Fahrenheit 9/11" is a tendentious, flawed movie, but it tells essential truths about leaders who exploited a national tragedy for political gain, and the ordinary Americans who paid the price.






Breslin on Misplaced Anger
The last time I saw Joel Steinberg was when he came through a door from the detention pens and into the courtroom with cigarette smoke streaming from his nostrils. He looked like the Devil. He was being convicted of a Devil's crime, killing a little girl.

Yesterday, he was all over television because he was released from 16 years in an upstate prison.

The news industry tried to stir people over the release of such a certified Devil. Few seemed to understand that, under the law, you had to release Steinberg.
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He is one of those subjects on which you waste anger that should be directed elsewhere, such as at a president who is getting our young killed.
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All day, television showed Steinberg's arrival on Riverside Drive. So many people were watching with anger that precedes a person settling into celebrity. The anger was misdirected. Steinberg killed one person, 17 years ago. And we have a president who has people getting killed almost every day, young people who went into a war we should never have started and there are, what? almost 1,000 dead, and the blood is on George Bush's hands.

Bush is the worst president the country has had.

He has the most limited mind of anybody we've had.

Compare his stuttering to Bill Clinton's 953-page book. It is a book by a man with an endless curiosity, with no subject out of his reach.

Bush has the imagination of a stuffed chair. If you put all the things in which he has an interest into a book, it would be as thin as a slice of white bread.
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All day, television showed Steinberg's arrival on Riverside Drive. So many people were watching with anger that precedes a person settling into celebrity. The anger was misdirected. Steinberg killed one person, 17 years ago. And we have a president who has people getting killed almost every day, young people who went into a war we should never have started and there are, what? almost 1,000 dead, and the blood is on George Bush's hands.

Bush is the worst president the country has had.

He has the most limited mind of anybody we've had.

Compare his stuttering to Bill Clinton's 953-page book. It is a book by a man with an endless curiosity, with no subject out of his reach.

Bush has the imagination of a stuffed chair. If you put all the things in which he has an interest into a book, it would be as thin as a slice of white bread.
I love Jimmy Breslin, I share his outrage and "imagination of a stuffed chair" is a nice touch, however, he seems edgier than usual here. Hang in there Jimmy, we need you for the long haul.

No!