Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cry Baby

Alberto Gonzales feels he is a victim of the War on Terror. I wonder did they hold him incommunicado for seven years in a chain link cage. I wonder if they sexually humiliated him or ridiculed the most revered tenets of his religion. I wonder if they tortured him with simulated drowning. I guess not.

This is a free country. Apparently nobody wants to give Alberto a job that he feels is appropriate to his status. What a guy.

Tristan De Cunha

I was reading about the most remote human settlement in the World. It is an archipelago in the roaring forties of the South Atlantic, halfway between South Africa and South America. It has fewer than 300 residents, all descended from fifteen original inhabitants. They speak a bastardized English patois and have little education.

Seems like an OK place. A little stormy. Cool weather, not frigid. They have some goats and can grow hardy root vegetables. Plenty of fish and tasty crustaceans. They probably have cheese from the goats. The closest people are on the island of Saint Helena, not exactly a metropolis and that's hundreds of miles away. No airport. The only access is by ship and there is no suitable harbor or anchorage. They don't get much traffic.

It might be nice to live there for awhile. They don't allow immigration but I'm a registered nurse and my wife is a school teacher. They probably don't have many of those. It's not like we're going to settle down and raise a family, little late for that.

TV Should Be Free

I understand Viacom and Time Warner Cable are in a battle over reimbursement for Viacom Cable TV programing.

I don't understand why I should have to pay for cable TV. It's full of commericial advertisements and the content is insipid. I Watch the Daily Show sometimes and Celebrity Rehab recently and I understand these shows are on Viacom provided channels. I wouldn't miss them that much.

Mostly I watch Cable news. I think I would be just about as satisfied if all I had was radio.

Party On, Garth!

The Bush administration is backing out the door, throwing money behind them. When you add up the wars, homeland security, wasted disaster relief and the myriad of economic stimulus, bailouts and TARP, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't add up to eight or ten trillion dollars. Every penny of that money is off the books. This means it's not money you paid in taxes, it's money you will owe in taxes in the future.

Paris Hilton could have done a better job of running the government the last eight years and we all would probably be dressed a lot nicer and have had more sex, for less money.

Does anyone think that any of the off the books money, that has been spent, did any good for anyone except corrupt contractors, brain dead government employees and greedy capitalists? Come on, fess up! This is a big time blog. Sometimes I get as many as twenty hits a day.

I just want to hear from one person that they don't think it's all been a waste.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Highlight of 2008

So, what do you think the most important story of 2008 is?

The success of the surge in Iraq and Bush's glorious victory over World wide terrorism?

The Pope's benevolent forgiveness of Galileo after only 400 years, for insisting the earth is round and circles the Sun? Even though all good Christians know it's not true.

The election of America's first foreign born, Islamic terrorist, commie, mudperson President, Barack Obama?

My pick is the World's continuing economic meltdown. It seems like a no brainer to me, although I read on that homosexuals are brainwashing our children in school, killed Terri Schiavo, force young girls into having abortions with dirty serrated grapefruit spoons and want to roast Sarah Palin's mongoloid baby in a pit at a Hawaiian luau, then eat his flesh, that seems pretty serious too.

What am I missing? Leave comments.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

God's Work

Some may choose to be offended by the increasingly shrill and repugnant themes running through the rhetoric coming out of the spokespeople of the American Right. Blatant racism. Sexism. Homophobia. Religious fanaticism. Jingoistic militarism. Callous contempt for the poor. Conspicuous consumption of limited resources by the favored few. All of these and more are causes championed falsely by them, in the name of American conservatism.

As long as they are out there selling this bill of fare they will find little mainstream support. They are not just shooting themselves in the foot, they are cutting themselves off at the neck. I, for one, do not wish for greater moderation on the part of the Right but an even more extreme, repulsive and hateful toxic spew. This will ensure that they languish impotently for a good, long time.

I believe that any full time job should bring with it a standard of living by which the worker can expect with frugality, to fully support him or her self with modest sufficiency. I believe all should be able to live freely and openly, according to their own beliefs, as long as they don't interfere with the rights of others striving to do the same. I believe in the availability of educational opportunity to all who are willing and able to benefit from it. I believe that affordable and economical basic health care should be available to all and they shouldn't have to bankrupt themselves to get it, for themselves or their loved ones. I'm not sure this makes me a socialist but if it does, call me one. There are worse things to be.

Keep the hate coming, Right Wingers, you're doing God's work.

Bush Derangement, Then and Now

The far Right Wing are an increasingly insular, isolated and disgruntled group composed mostly of racist bigots and religious fanatics. One of their most closely held beliefs is that there is a Bush Derangement Syndrome and nobody ever gave poor GW a chance to shine. That's bullshit. When he was elected the first time he enjoyed wide support. After his election he had very high popularity among most Americans. He fucked up. He has been the worst President ever. He has caused deep cultural divides to open among the population. He has squandered our influence and power pursuing multiple unilateral foreign wars of aggression against countries which pose us no threat. He has dismantled many of our most cherished traditions of personal freedom. He is ever eager to shift blame away from himself, accepting responsibility only for his ever decreasing successes. He has been a divider, not a uniter both at home and abroad.

Barack Obama is now in the same position as Bush was eight years ago only now we face much graver conditions and challenges. Time will tell whether he is any more up to the task than Bush. The idea that failure or success of our nation is somehow preordained is stupid but much what can be expected of the Right.

Bush and his xenophobic minions flatter themselves that history will smile on them and that Bush will be judged as a great man, ahead of his time and not a pathetic clutcher always behind the curve. He styles himself as a new Harry Truman. I don't think anything could be farther from the truth. When Truman left office, he had nothing to hide. He went home to Missouri and his small town friends, some of whom he served with in the trenches of World War I. He walked the streets every day, with no fear or apprehension, among them. He made no claim to greatness and couldn't care less what people thought of him. When he and Bess had people over for dinner, they were more likely to be humble neighbors than captains of industry or foreign dignitaries. I don't think that their post Presidential careers are going to be similar. I don't think people's opinions of Bush are likely to change.

I could be wrong.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Nuclear War in South Asia?

I'm wondering if there will be war soon between Pakistan and India.

India feels that Pakistan has not done all they can to bring those responsible for the recent terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice. They cannot let this incident go unresolved.

Pakistan feels they are being held responsible for the attack in error. They fear Indian military incursion.

It doesn't matter if any of these things are true. Both sides bear deep enmity for the other. They have a history of armed conflict. Rhetoric and troop presence along the borders are escalating. All it needs is an incident to set things off.

The US doesn't have the moral authority to intervene. We started two of the stupidest wars in our history in retaliation for just such an incident. We do not have the military strength to intervene because we are now utilizing most of our military resources to fight those wars.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Boeing, Boeing

Have you seen Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner? It is very cool. It uses a lot of Mylar and carbon fiber laminated with epoxy to create a large, long haul airliner that has more in common with the experimental planes of the Rutan brothers than the 707 that revolutionized air travel in the late 50s.

If it is successful, it will be the biggest step forward for commercial aviation since metal, monocoque monoplanes replaced wood framed, fabric covered biplanes with wire strut stressors. The problem is that nothing like it has ever been built before that will be subjected to the heavy loads and extreme, extended stress and strain of commercial airline use.

All the computer simulations in the World can't tell you what's really going to happen when these birds start to pile up the miles. First, they need extensive real world testing and evaluation. Thy need a few years at least of freight hauling use before being put into even relatively short haul passenger service. Boeing has taken hundreds of orders for these planes on the basis of claims of huge increases in energy efficiency and has promised delivery of a reliable, safe, all the bugs worked out product with delivery pending now. They have staked their reputation and future revenue that they can deliver.

I don't think it's going to happen. Not for at least a few more years and some additional engineering work. I think they have made a mistake. Don't buy their stock. Don't fly in this plane.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Medical Conscience Rule

This is a joke. Every health care agency or facility has written policies and procedures to which they agree to adhere. Each health care agency or facility is licensed and inspected regularly to validate that license. If they are found to not be in compliance with their own policy and procedures, they will be made to rectify the situation or be shut down. Individual employees have no say in what duties they will perform. Refusal to perform a procedure or dispense a prescription duly ordered will find the employee out on their ass. If the facility can't legally fire an employee for cause, an alternate cause will be found. Believe me, if you want to fire a person, a reason can always be found. An employee's situation can also always be made uncomfortable enough to make them quit. I've done it myself and had it done to me, both. The other aspect of this is that the health care community, while large, is small enough so that facilities and professionals informally network and communicate. Personnel information that may be considered confidential or undocumented, is freely traded by savvy administrators. An employee with a predilection for trouble of any sort will find job offers few and far between, no matter how much their specialty is in demand. An employee will think twice before demurring from established norms.

This medical conscience rule is put in place by callous politicians as a sop to their knuckle dragging, right wing retard base. Whether it is quickly reversed or allowed to stand for several months, it will have no effect.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We Need a Little Solidarity in the Golden State.

I see that the National Organization for Women is supporting the judicial review of Prop 8 by the Supreme Court in California, along with the State Attorney General, Jerry Brown and Governor Schwarzenegger. It's good to know the girls understand the concept of solidarity, although it's hard to see how very many of them could be hung up on straight marriage. Having the Republican Governor along for the ride won't hurt. Somebody needs to figure out how to get this concept across to the African American and Hispanic communities. It's not like nobody ever denied them any of their civil rights. I include President Obama in with the African American community. It's great to reach out to your opponents but one of the most sacred trusts of our form of government is to protect the rights of oppressed minorities. Maybe he's suffering from a little Jewitis and thinks his people are the only ones who have experienced real injustice.

What Does Patrick Fitzgerald Really Want?

It seems to me as if all this excitement about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich being corrupt is nothing Patrick Fitzgerald hasn't known for months. In as much as he is a successful politician in Illinois, he probably is corrupt. Most politicians everywhere are corrupt. We see that over and over, year in, year out.

Fitzgerald seems more than a little compromised as well. He was the guy that kept dragging his feet in the Valerie Plame investigation. In the end, the only one he prosecuted, for relatively minor charges was poor Scooter Libby, even though everyone knew he was just carrying water for the Vice President and that Karl Rove certainly had more culpability.

It's unlikely that Fitzgerald has any real evidence against Blagojevich. He'll never go to trial. All this does is give Chicago and its many shady political denizens a black eye and by association Barack Obama, at a very opportune time for the Republicans. I smell a set up.

Republicans invented the sale of influence. Credit Mobilier, Teapot Dome, if there is dirty political money around, the Republicans are bound to be nearby, bent over with their pants down around their ankles. Selling a Senate seat happens every day. If it didn't, Libby Dole would never have been a Senator, or Hillary Clinton and no Kennedy would ever have been on the roll at all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dignitas Personae: If Jesus is the Only Condom You Need, Does That Mean He is a Scumbag?

The Catholic Church has introduced a new instruction to the faithful on reproductive rights and technology, the first since 1987. Not much new here. In addition to previously stated dogma, new prohibitions are added against any kind of in vitro fertilization or examination of embryos for any kind of genetic flaw. Also prohibited is any kind of genetic manipulation of embryos, naturally created and implanted or not.

Bottom line is, you get to have unprotected heterosexual sex, within the bonds of Holy Matrimony and whatever issue ensues is yours to keep. That's it. End of story.

I for one applaud this new instruction. This will speed up the schism that already exists within the Catholic Church World wide, concerning reproductive practices and rights. The percentage of Catholics within the age of childbearing, in the developed World, who currently adhere to these strictures is statistically insignificant. This new instruction will help to drive home the realization among them, that the Church exists outside of the reality in which they live their real, everyday lives. Those serious about participating in organized Christianity will have to find or found new churches in which to practice it.

Among those who have the ability, means and opportunity to pursue higher education and professional attainment, marriage, if engaged in at all, is commonly postponed until after the third decade of life. To expect these individuals, who will become the leaders of society in their fields of endeavor to abstain from sex, until they are halfway through their productive span of life, is nearly surreal.

To expect society to shoulder the expense and burden of support for those severely disabled by genetic or congenital defect, for which early prenatal testing is available, is irresponsible.

To deny the value of scientific embryonic research, is indicative of the kind of militant ignorance for which the Catholic Church has been justly famous, since before the excommunication and imprisonment of Galileo.

This instruction makes it impossible for any government, anywhere in the World, to incorporate canon law into civil code and that is exactly the way it should be. People have a right to adhere to whatever reproductive practices they like. Societal enforcement of Roman Catholic reproductive strictures are as wrong as the one child policy of the ChiComs.

Other Christian denominations, no matter how fundamentally conservative or clothed in arcane mummery, have the ability to adapt to the inevitable changes in human society. The Catholic Church is proving, once again, that it does not.

The Catholic Church is not dead but it is dying. So be it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Prays For Barry

Barack Obama wants to reach out to fundamentalist Christian voters during his inauguration. It wouldn't do any good to have a lesbian Episcopal bishop give the invocation at his inauguration. It wouldn't broaden his appeal to have a clergyman of the African American Christian tradition deliver a prayer. A Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Jewish holyman would not help him and it would be unwise not to have an invocation at all.

For the last 60 or so years, Billy Graham has been the unofficial vicar of the White House. Billy is a pompous, hypocritical ass. He drinks, fornicates, is a racist bigot and abused his wife and children throughout his overly long life. He lived high off the meager donations of millions who could ill afford the expense of supporting him. He's old and sick now. Soon he will be in Hell, where he belongs.

Rick Warren is a good choice to be the public face of evangelical Christianity in the Obama administration. There are many clergy and Christian leaders in this country who more authentically represent real Christian values. Men and women of high moral standards, compassion, true to the real inclusive ideals of Christ. The fundamentalists and evangelicals would not like or accept them. Rick is a fine choice.

Equal Treatment Under The Law

Here's something I don't understand about Bernie Madoff. He was not exposed by the authorities. He admitted guilt, more or less out of the blue, when he ran out of money. Where was the oversight? This guy had 20 billion of other peoples money under investment. Who was examining his balance sheets and verifying the investments he was supposedly making?

He is currently walking around free. Living in a Manhattan penthouse, out on bail, represented by the best lawyers money can buy, all being paid for by money he stole from widows and orphans. If this guy had an Italian or Hispanic surname, everything he owned would have been confiscated under the RICO laws and he would be locked down in solitary, eating baloney sandwiches and drinking jailhouse coffee.

Fifty billion stolen is more money than any gangster has ever been accused of. Where is the equal treatment under the law that this country is supposed to be all about?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What Do They Want?

Have you seen the cover of the Christmas Edition of Mexico's Playboy Magazine? There is a picture of a beautiful young woman wrapped in a shawl, very evocative of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It's not pornographic or anything like that. It does have an undeniable heterosexual appeal. Is that a bad thing? I thought the Catholic Church was all about heterosexuality. As far as I know, Mary was a straight lady. The museums of Europe are full of depictions of her over the last several hundred years, showing a lot more tit than what's on the cover of this magazine. Maybe I'm not clear on the concept.

The Church hierarchy is choosing to take offense. What do they want on the cover? Andy Dick in drag?

Another Casualty of War

Muntadar al- Zaidi, the young Iraqi journalist that threw his shoes at George Bush is a brave man. Stupid but brave. The rest of the World already knows that the Iraqis don't like Bush. The rest of the World already knows that George Bush is a dim witted, little crap weasel.

I'm sure Muntadar knew what he was doing when he threw his shoes and called Bush a dog. It will probably cost him his life. He already reportedly has a broken arm and ruptured spleen. He'll probably be dead in a day or two. Just as well. It will save him a much more painful death involving slow starvation, drinking water full of coliform bacteria and frequent anal rape.

Just another of hundreds of thousands of young Iraqis dead because of George Bush. Pointless. Needless. Inexcusable. While George frolics on the South lawn with his yapping, shaggy son, Barney. Imbecilically heedless of the evil he has done.

Great Minds

The Fed is going to lower rates by half to .5% later this morning. What good will this do? It will not encourage banks to lend. It will not encourage consumers to borrow. It is inflationary and enough inflationary measures have already been taken. Too many, in my opinion.

Bernanke is out of his depth. Paulson was never a bright man and is clearly now broken by his job, aged beyond his years and looks vacantly, mouth agape, at the camera when making public appearances. Soon he will be drooling. Bush makes a nice appearance though. If they dressed him up in a little pinafore and curly mop wig, he'd be just like Shirley Temple. A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.

Obama is going to be stuck with the counter productive actions these guys have already taken and will have to work with a Democratic Congress that wants to fund huge social programs. If I had any confidence I would get my share, I might be a little happier. I don't think that's going to happen.

Bummer. Fucked in the ass again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Man Of Constant Carol

On the First Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Second Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Third Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Sixth Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, six Off Shore Leases, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, seven Sonars Sounding, six Off Shore Leases, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a strip mine in a National Park.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, eight Lines a Tapping, seven Sonars Sounding, six Off Shore Leases, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, nine Banks Defaulting, eight Lines a Tapping, Seven Sonars Sounding, six Off Shore Leases, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, ten Dungeons Dripping, nine Banks Defaulting, eight Lines a Tapping, seven Sonars Sounding, six Off Shore Leases, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, eleven Teens Abstaining, ten Dungeons Dripping, nine Banks Defaulting, eight Lines a Tapping, seven Sonars Sounding, six Off Shore Leases, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

On the Twelfth day of Christmas the Preznit gave to me, twelve Toxic Runoffs, eleven Teens Abstaining, ten Dungeons Dripping, nine Banks Defaulting, eight Lines a Tapping, seven Sonars Sounding, six Off Shore Leases, five W-M-D, four Falling Chads, three Arab Wars, two more Cath'lic judges and a Strip Mine in a National Park.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Burnin' Down the Church

The Hivehead's Church up in Wasilla burned down Friday night. They say it's arson. It's a story covered heavily by Fox News and Wingnut blogs like Powerline and NRO. While they make no accusations, the Salmon Slut herself speculates it was politically motivated and targeted against her.

What's going to happen is the local law will find that the Church was accidentally burned down by members of the Church youth group, while smoking crack in the basement, after punch and cookies upstairs. The only connection to the Governess will be that one or more of her own sticky faced brood will have been gathered 'round the pipe. The glossolalian halfwits of Wasilla will be too embarrassed to admit that their own differently abled progeny incinerated their tabernacle in pursuit of narcotic oblivion. The matter will be handled privately.

You're never going to hear about it again after today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Auto Bailout Failing

The Republicans in Congress don't want to bail out the Big Three Auto Companies unless they can break the UAW at the same time.

I don't have that big of a problem with that. I have belonged to 2 unions in my life. The Teamsters and the SEIU. Both followed the model of professional union organizers running the union and handling collective bargaining and the workers having minimal input. Interested workers rising in the union ranks are quickly co opted. These unions were both corrupt and inefficient.

My wife has been a member of a union all of her professional life. It is a different model, where all of the union officials and collective bargainers are working union members. It seems like a better model. Not so corrupt. It has some of the same problems though. In the end labor becomes so costly that the industry can no longer compete and the consumer can no longer afford the product.

Let the Big Three fail and the UAW with them. Maybe none of them is worth saving. Can you really say you'd rather have a Chevy Malibu than a Toyota Camry? Especially when the Malibu costs a good deal more.

Pass Me That Gin Son

More than any other American President, George W Bush's political career depended on the support of the fundamentalist Christian community. While never specific about his beliefs, he always gave the impression that he was one of them. He has waited until the last days of his political career to say otherwise. He now states that he does not believe that what is written in the Bible is literally true but that, "you can learn a lot by reading it". What does that mean? You can learn a lot by reading an old stack of Field and Stream magazines. He's not even saying he believes in God or what kind of God he believes in. Jimmy Carter never kept anybody in the dark about that.

As a liberal with strong ties to the idea of a secular society, I'm in no way offended by Bush's revelation of religious ambiguity. It makes me feel that while he was still a bad President, he was more of a manipulative phony than someone who was motivated by a sincere belief in the desire to establish a "Christian" nation. I wonder how fundamentalist Christians feel? I know many who supported Bush, even though they were against many of his actions. Many do not think that the wars in the Middle East are a good thing. Many are acutely concerned about the conservation of wild spaces, natural resources and controlling emissions of green house gases. Many see a need for health care, especially among the very young, old and disabled. Many believe that anyone who works a full time job deserves the means to live a life style that does not involve twenty guys bunking in an old garage in some one's backyard.

What do you think about George Bush's religion? Surprised? Shocked? Nobodies business but his? Pass me that gin, son?

How will you feel about him in a couple of months when Laura leaves him and his daughter Barbara comes out of the closet? Will you be sorry for him or glad for the girls, who are free at last?

That's you folks

There was this guy named Bernard Madoff. Very smart guy. Spent his life in the World of investments and finance. He made a lot of money. For himself. For other people.

One of the problems guys like this have is they have been successful for so long, they can't believe when things start to go wrong for them and then keep going wrong. This guy had billions invested for other people. He was returning 8-10%, even over the last couple of years. I gotta tell ya. Anybody that could do that pretty much had to be reading God's mail.

I'm sure when he started to declare profits that weren't there it was with the best of intentions. He felt he could recoup the losses he had suffered and make a comeback. It might even have been something he had done before and it probably worked that time. I don't believe Bernard started out to steal anybodies money. I don't think that he has a boatload of ill gotten gains stashed in Swiss vaults.

The problem is that 50 billion dollars is gone. I don't think he was managing any more than 20 billion. They let these hedge fund guys leverage pretty heavily. So it's the banks that lent him the money that will take the biggest bath.

That's you folks.

I think there are a lot more bad boys like Bernard still out there, wondering what to do and when it will all fall apart.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bush on National Security

President Bush, speaking to the Corps of Cadets at West Point, emphasized that the US must stay on the offensive against al Qaeda. These are wise words but what has this jackass ever done to go on the offensive against al Qaeda?

He has not pursued al Qaeda itself. He has not pursued it's leaders, political or tactical. He has not pusued those organizations or individuals that fund al Qaeda. The reason is that many of these individuals and organizations are his friends and supporters. He has strong personal, family and political ties to the Wahhabi community in the Gulf States. All al Qaeda activity originates in the Wahhabi community within the oil rich Gulf States. Bush's whole War on Terror is a web of lies and misdirection.

Bush is a traitor and coward with no appetite for conflict with the terrorist threat that we face. His whole Presidency proves this. He has done more damage to our national security than any President in our history. He has not kept us safe. He has not engaged our enemies. He has not been truthful with the American people.

Monday, December 08, 2008


The great fear among the Catholic Cardinals and Bishops, conservative clergy and fundo fascist televangelists in this country, is that after the next Congress convenes the Freedom of Choice Act will be passed and President Obama will sign it into law.

There is no good reason why this shouldn't happen. Democrats needn't fear that anyone will be alienated by this action and cease to vote for them. The country is already polarized on this issue and abortion is the litmus test by which voters on the right judge all political candidates. The right has already done everything it can to demonize those on the pro choice side of the issue. Even so, people who don't believe in abortion and this is the majority of Americans, believe it is a personal choice, not an act to be punished by punitive laws.

The damage is done. Everybody has already chosen sides. I say, pass the son of a bitch. Then listen to the pigs squeal.

I Love Celebrity Rehab

I don't think Drew Pinsky is much of a psychiatrist. He is a great showman though. He gets washed up Hollywood and media types with totally fucked up lives, to check into his rehab facility in Pasadena and tapes them interacting during a three week detox and therapeutic intervention.

Everybody that watches it can come away feeling good about themselves. If you are not a complete loser, you are guaranteed to feel superior to these poor devils. If you are hitting bottom, with absolutely no prospects, you can identify with the inmates and at least feel comradeship with somebody that wasn't always a complete loser. The action is superior. It's like Three Stooges shorts, only the damage they do to each other and themselves is appallingly real.

There is the added attraction that everybody can hate the completely insightless and ineffective Dr Drew and his cretinous staff of therapists, all of whom are themselves only one bad night away from a loveless marriage to the crack pipe.

If you don't watch this show, you should. It will brighten up your affect. It's on VH-1, all the time.

They Don't Have The Fuckin' Balls.

A lot of people hope that the Supreme Court will rule on whether or not Barry O qualifies under the Constitution to serve as President of the United States. I wouldn't mind it myself if they tried to tell the majority of the American people that the man they elected to be President couldn't serve. That would be great theater.

It's not going to happen. The fundo halfwits are always whining about the liberal courts. The fact is that seven out of the nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by the last four Republican Presidents. It isn't that they aren't conservative. They have the same problem as most conservative American men. They are all cowardly panzies with tiny little, vestigial testicles. Ruthie Bader wipes the floor with them and makes them beg for more.They aren't going to take up the case of Obama's qualifications to be President, any more than they are going to challenge the validity of Rowe vs Wade.

They don't have the fuckin' balls. They don't now. They never will.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Caroline Kennedy

Everybody seems to think that Caroline Kennedy would make a great next Senator for the State of New York. I don't think so.

I don't think so for the same reason that GW Bush was the worst President ever. She has no experience with real people or real life. She has been sheltered from the earliest age. She has everything a person could want. Anything she wants, she gets. She is no doubt a great deal smarter than George Bush. She doesn't seem to have the psychological damage or substance abuse problems that he has. She would no doubt be much better suited to high office than he is. At the end of the day though, they are the same. No real experience, empathy or knowledge of what it is like to be an American, make your way in life, earn a living, relate to people as who you really are. The Senator from the State of New York is going to be different than the one from South Carolina or North Dakota but not that different.

A lot of New Yorkers revere the Kennedys. They might be proud to elect Caroline to the Senate. They would not be well served.

It Was Always about Sex and the Subjugation of Women

In late 19th century America, the cultural dialogue was about whether women should have the vote and independent legal status. The ability to own property and manage their finances independent of their fathers or husbands.

After that, it was whether women should be able to function in society outside of the family. Going unaccompanied in the public forum. Being independently employed. Marriage to a partner of her own choosing. Participating in higher education.

It wasn't until the 1920s that reproductive rights became an issue. Condoms had been introduced to American society by the military in World War I, because of the high rates of venereal disease among troops frequenting prostitutes. Birth control devices, for their own sake, were not legal in any form in this country until 1936 and then only for married women, with a doctors prescription. It would be decades yet before birth control would be freely available to all. Margaret Sanger and her physican husband were outlaws.

Fundamentalist Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in America, most particularly, have actively opposed every single effort by women to get out from under the subjugation imposed upon them by society, from the discretionary beating of women within the family to the active role of women in the Church hierarchy. The Church is inflexible but not stupid. They never admit defeat but they do move on.

In the 1950s, after divorce had become a common fixture of American Family life, it was a battleground the church fought upon. In the 1960's, when huge Catholic families became an anomaly instead of the rule, they vigorously opposed birth control. In the 1970s, as Catholic families stopped sending their young boys off to catechism, parochial schools, and into service as alter boys, in recognition of a growing culture of homosexual pedophilia in the priesthood, the church refused to admit there was a problem and railed instead against permissive parenting.

By the 1980s, the church was too busy maintaining its image of times past to notice that young Catholic families, having developed cultural and sexual lives independent of the church were reclaiming the local churches and schools for themselves, walling the priests off in their rectories and allowing them out only for ceremonial purposes. Parents were present in the schoolyards and classrooms at all times, to protect their young and began to dictate curriculum and school rules. Church activities and charities were planned, scheduled and administered according to the direction of the laity. Nobody consulted the priests. Not for leadership, spiritual or otherwise. Not for personal counselling or lifestyle advice. It was then that children of the previous generation came out and began to tell their stories of abuse. As the legal and moral judgements against the Church began to pile up, the clergy was driven further out of any meaningful contribution to mainstream life in America. Nuns under the age of eighty have almost completely disappeared from the American scene as women distance themselves from a Church that finds no value in them. Priests are far fewer and rarely share the values of the communities they serve, as families encourage their brightest sons to find secular vocations.

While they haven't changed their official stance on anything, the Church doesn't talk much about premarital sex, divorce, or birth control anymore. They are decreasingly active against abortion, the law of the land now for thirty five years. They are focusing on euthanasia and gay marriage. These are not issues many of the laity expend much energy on, especially those engaged in increasingly long, active, heterosexual lives.

The Church will soon have to come up with something better than this. They might want to think about how the clergy can re enter the daily lives of the Catholic community in a meaningful way, rather than sit alone in their rectories.

The illicit Amish organic food co-op trade

You gotta read this to get a feel for what the Bush administration feels is the proper use of deadly force.

Mow them Amish food traffickers down!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Oil is cheap right now. If you listen to a lot of the Business news pundits, it's going to get a lot cheaper. In a few months, the Arabs may pay you to take oil off their hands. We hear about over production and demand destruction.

Don't kid yourself. When oil was at its all time high just a little over 4 months ago, production had been ratcheted up by oil producers and huge quantities were still being bought up and held out of the consumption pipeline for purposes of speculation. As the price of oil has collapsed, all that oil came on the market. There was nobody to buy all the increased production and speculative holdings. The result has been a tremendous oil glut. This does not mean that the World is using a lot less oil. The World might indeed be using a little less oil right now but World wide depression or not, oil production is in a long term decreasing trend and oil consumption remains in a long term increasing trend. The current glut of oil will be worked through. When doesn't matter. It will happen. It may seem like they are giving it away for a while. Enjoy it while it lasts.

$200 dollar a barrel oil will happen and sooner than you think.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

One Down

I lost a tooth today, too rotten and brittle to be saved. Cheerfully chiseled out of my jaw by a woman of mixed Hispanic and Asian heritage, easily young enough to be my daughter.

When we are young, we lose our first set of teeth. We are proud when this happens, for it is part of a coming adulthood. It is not so deranging as the storm of puberty. When we begin to lose our second set, it is also the signal of a coming transition. It may be a joyous one to others but I do not regard it so.

The bleeding, blinding headache, swelling and raw throbbing in my jaw are tolerable because they demonstrate that I'm not dead yet and may live to endure the loss of many more of my bodily constituents before they finally flame into cinders, what mindlessly little of me will be left.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Marquis De Bernanke

I'm not sure I have this totally correct. If others have more insight into what is proposed, please chime in and enlighten those of us in the dark.

Normally, when introducing money into the system, the Federal Reserve Bank tries to maintain some balance. They may sell bonds to those entities that have acquired money. They then have that money to reintroduce into the system or retire. They pay interest on the bonds they have sold. They may allow the entities that hold the bonds to lend money against them as collateral, possibly many times over. They may give banks money in return for indebtedness and then let the banks use this money to make loans, not once but many times. This kind of leveraging of Federal Reserve funds, provides the system with liquidity and leaves the Fed with some control over how much money is entering the system and for how long and for what purposes.

What Bernanke is planning to do now is to purchase, at market value, US Treasury bonds already issued and outstanding within the World financial community. This would have the effect of introducing large amounts of liquidity into the system. It would maintain confidence in US Treasury bonds, insofar as there was any question that they were not easily convertible to cash. It might also decrease the availability of safe haven, government insured, investment vehicles. It is printing money, pure and simple. Then using that money to retire government debt. This would be inflationary and undermining of the value of the dollar, in the extreme.

This may be exactly what he wants. If you have been a saver rather than a spender, you will be sadly disappointed with these actions. This is what they do in Zimbabwe.

The Dilemma Of Democratic India

At the time of the partition of India, in 1947, even though large numbers of people were uprooted from their homes, India and Pakistan each had about 15% minority populations of Hindus and Muslims, respectively. Both countries promised secular democracy. Both countries promised to respect the rights of minorities.

India at least still offers a secular democracy on paper. It still has a large Muslim minority, more than 150 million. The largest population of Muslims outside of Indonesia. Muslims in India may not get all the breaks. A lot of people in India don't get many breaks.

Pakistan has less than 2% Hindus in their population, at this point. Not that many of Pakistan's Hindus emigrated out. I wonder where they went? If you're not a Muslim in Pakistan, you don't really have any civil rights. You can't vote. If somebody kills you and rapes your wife and daughter, nobody will prosecute them. Hell, if you are Muslim and you kill your own wife and daughter, nobody will prosecute you. Pakistan has been in an undeclared border war with India for most of the last 60 years. Only India's restraint has kept it from becoming the World's first Thermo Nuclear War.

The United States has always been very friendly with Pakistan. We give them aide. We sell them weapons. We cosign international agreements.

We have never been friendly with India. We don't consider them friends at all. We would be very unhappy if India went to war with Pakistan.

Does not Pakistan pose exactly the type of Islamic terrorist threat to India that the cringing dog Bush claimed that Iraq and Afghanistan posed to us? In India's case, it's even true.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Months ago I warned that with the advent of hard times we could be assured of seeing a resurgence of pyramid schemes. As usual I was half assed wrong and half assed right.

There have not been large numbers of people coming out of the woodwork to scam their fellows. Instead the biggest Ponzi scheme in American history is taking place. The perpetrators are the biggest corporations in America. They have enrolled every tax paying American as their victim, using a corrupt and debauched Congressional and Executive branch of the Federal government.

There is no way for even the wiliest victim to protect him or her self. The take will reach the hundreds of trillions and leave us all ruined.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Barry's BC

I love the Obama birth certificate controversy. Who knows, maybe Barry never had a birth certificate. All of my grand parents were born in this country, none of them had a birth certificate. Maybe in 1961, in Hawaii, they didn't think the darker babies needed birth certificates. Barry's mom was pretty counter cultural, maybe she had the boy at home and never bothered to register his birth. We used to deliver babies on the commune, 35 years ago, with just the childbirth instructional chapter, from the Whole Earth catalog. Never had a problem. No drugs. No C-Sections. No episiotomies. We had a girl that was really good at ironing. Nary a rip or tear. No birth certificates. You are not legally required to register a birth. You can be President without one.

At the end of the day, there may be no way to prove, beyond a doubt, that Barack Obama was born in the United States. Since he was born here, there's no way to prove he wasn't. Even if Barack has a birth certificate somewhere, he should never release it. I love the way this controversy unhinges the fundofucknuts. They should be able to handle these things better, bathing in the spirit of Jesus so much, the way they do. You'd think it would bring a little serenity into their lives. We all the children of the Lord, no matter where we are born or to who.

Hal-a-lou-yah, Baby!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Boom Tube

Television programing was being invented as the early baby boomers were growing up. There were a lot of us and so there were a lot of shows for us. Most of them were pretty weak.

Romper Room totally sucked. I am convinced that marijuana cigarettes got called doobees in response to the insipid Romper ladies exhortations to do be a Do Bee, while looking through her magic mirror at all of us. The less said about Captain Kangaroo and Mister Green Jeans, the better.

We got a lot of retreaded serial Westerns from the Saturday matinees of the '30s, '40s and early '50s. I liked those. Gene Autrey and Hopalong Cassidy were pretty faggy but John Wayne was good, whether he was on his own, part of the Three Mequiteers or teamed up with wily, old Gabby Hayes. My favorite was a cowboy star named Sunset Carson. He never had a sidekick. I pretended I was his sidekick and learning to be a crusading range rider. Cowboy Bob Steele, the Yiddish Avenger was really good too. He was only about five feet tall and mowed down the big bad men with his tiny fists, what little kid wouldn't like that.

The local kid shows would never fly today. The budgets were low, the scripts rudimentary and the talent pool shallow. There was this one guy named Engineer Bill, who had a huge electric train set up. There were always a lot of closeup shots of his trains going into and coming out of deep, dark tunnels, accompanied by loud train whistle sound effects. He would have a little boy on each day as a guest. The little boy was always an electric train enthusiast. Engineer Bill and the boy would examine each others equipment and the boy got to run engineer Bill's big locomotive around the track a few times. Then they played a milk drinking game called Red Light/Green Light. I'm sure many's the boy who reenacted that game years later when remembering his visit to Engineer Bill's Round House, only with something a lot stronger than milk. Something bad happened one day on the set of Engineer Bill's Round House. The show was never on again and Engineer Bill retired from the entertainment industry and sold insurance somewhere in the Valley, for the rest of his life. He died recently. His daughter wrote the obituary and said he was a wonderful man. Maybe she didn't have any sons.

Another great show we had was Billy Barty's Big Top. Billy was a famous dwarf. He was no taller than a five year old. This show had a circus theme, a large participatory audience of young children and Billy dressed up like a Ringmaster, with a tailcoat, top hat, shiny boots and a whip. I don't know if you've ever seen Billy, he got pretty steady work in the movies for decades playing demons from hell. Many of the children in the audience would cringe and cry out when he came near. Most kids shows played cartoons. On Billy Barty's Big Top they only played Three Stooges shorts. That was good. I liked the Three Stooges.

Soupy Sales was a guy that really understood kids. He never patronized or talked down. He made fun of adults. His whole show was just him in a kitchen set and two, dog paw, hand puppets, White Fang and Black Tooth. Adults got the idea he was somehow dirty or subversive. He wasn't. He was just in tune with little kids. He had to move around a lot. Chances are he was on TV in your area when you were a kid at some point. He was in Detroit before LA, then moved on to New York City. He lasted about a year.

Us kids got a little older, we watched the dance shows in the afternoon. American Bandstand played everywhere but I think it was out of Philly. We didn't have that much in common with the kids in Philly.

LA had it's own nationally syndicated dance show, Lloyd Thaxton's Hop. I always thought it was better than Bandstand but then, it was a West Coast Show. There were three big Rock and Roll AM stations in LA. KFWB was the best in the early '60s. Later, KRLA was best during the Sunset Strip years. As AM radio faded out into '70s FM, the KHJ Boss Jocks won out by default. At any given time during the '60s and early '70s at least one of these stations had an afternoon dance show on local TV, every weekday, after school. They mostly spun records but they always had at least one live act. These were good bands. The Sunset Strip and Laurel Canyon was the place for aspiring musicians in those days. The Doors. The Byrds. Sonny and Cher. The Beach Boys. Gary Lewis and the Playboys. The Turtles. They were all on, all the time. English Bands that were in town would do the shows too. If you were in the 8th, 9th or 10th grade, it was a big deal for social kids from the same school to get a block of tickets and go to these shows as a group. They would dress up in their best clothes, arrange dates with a suitable dancing partner and get a couple of Moms to haul them up to Hollywood, in the family wagons. The rest of us would all tune in that afternoon to see them on TV. It didn't matter that they looked incredibly young and unhip, next to the DJ hosts, the professional Go Go Girls and the Bands. They were there and we weren't, so who was unhip? These shows changed all the time. There were a bunch of different ones. Boss City, Ninth Street West, I can't remember all the names. It was a long time ago.

One show I remember was called Groovy. I think it was KHJ and Sam Riddle was the host. Sam was a little guy who managed to look like he was in his twenties for a couple of decades. He wore really expensive designer clothes, pointy toed shoes with stacked heels, big floppy cravats and flippy, shellacked, haircuts. He was a top morning drive time DJ. When he did a show it always got the best bands. The Summer of '67 I think, they switched the show from an indoor studio to the beach next to the Santa Monica Pier. Since it was a beach show, they needed a guy with a body to host. They got this guy named Michael Blodgett. He was not a DJ, just some kid who wanted to get into show biz, from the Mid West. He was like a big, friendly, floppy puppy. They teamed him up with the head dancer from the studio show, a hard body, valley girl, with three coats of lacquer, named Kam Nelson. This show was only on for about three months but it was the best LA afternoon dance show ever, even though there wasn't much dancing. Micheal would run around the beach and talk to people. Kind of like Huell Hauser, only young, not gay and not incredibly lame. Kam would deliver monologues on why she thought long hair for guys was really, really sexy. They always had a dance contest, every day. Just for girls. Just in bikinis. So maybe it was really a bikini contest. It was very tastefully done though. No leering judges. Kam always picked the winner. She knew about dancing and bikinis. I worked most afternoons so I only got to watch it a few times. It was good though.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Making Change

I was at the drug store the other day. I purchased a single item that cost $2.14 including tax. I gave the cashier, a very attractive young woman whose name tag read Sierra, a five dollar bill. She punched it up before I was finished reaching into my back pack for 14 cents.

She stared at the 14 cents blankly. She asked me what eighty six minus fourteen was. I told her. She asked me what one hundred minus eighty six was. I told her. She asked me what one hundred minus fourteen was. I told her. I was starting to get a little confused myself, at this point. Sierra continued to stare at my fourteen cents.

"It's OK Sierra", I said. "Just give me back my 14 cents."

She gave me back my 14 cents, then gave me the $2.86 that her register told her was my change. We all learned to make change when I was young. It's not about adding or subtracting. It's about counting backward. It's not something anybody needs to do anymore. Why should poor Sierra know how? She probably knows how to do a lot of stuff I don't.

Happy Holidays

The current common wisdom, as heard from government spokespeople and the media is that the economic crisis is stabilizing. According to them we will have another couple of bad quarters and then the economy will begin to expand again. This is ridiculous.

The defaulting of leveraged debt continues to increase and there remain a couple of hundred trillion worth of these babies outstanding. These loans weren't made with real money and nothing to collateralize them with but layer upon layer of more leveraged debt. Residential real estate prices continue to drop with commercial and agricultural markets still to follow. While consumer spending is way down, personal savings rates are near zero and unsecured credit card debt is still skyrocketing. Foreign trade deficits, while decreasing, are still high and as a percentage of GDP may actually be rising. Presently, what we are exporting is equity in American business and it is being sold at pennies on the dollar. The only sector of the economy that is expanding is government spending. The sector that is decreasing the most dramatically is government revenues. If you look at a chart of the monetary base on nearly any scale, it shows a parabolic rise.

Many in business, government and academia are rightly realizing that we are currently in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. What they don't recognize is that this crisis is just getting started. It might be years yet, before things really play out and a generation or more before things start to improve. There is no money to support the kinds of services and benefits that people take for granted and politicians promise to increase them. Standards of living continue at all time highs, while the average citizen continues to go deeper into debt. We continue to spend more money on our military than the rest of the World combined. We are defending an America that doesn't even belong to us anymore. The American family has fewer children than at any time in it's history and access to education and information is vastly greater than even a few years ago but illiteracy is at an all time high and rising. A Chinese child whose family lives in a provincial area, in one room, on an income of a few dollars a day, receives a better education than the majority of American youth. Things aren't just getting worse. We're still making them worse.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Loss Leader Turkey

Later this morning I will buy a frozen turkey at Ralph's. If I spend $25 dollars it's 37 cents a pound. A 24lb bird will cost me about $9. I don't like to cook a big turkey. Then it's like a race to eat it before it goes bad. The trick is to utilize the entire bird at your leisure over a month or two.

I will bone the bird stripping off all the meat. The carcass I will immediately roast along with the neck, giblets and skin, with a couple of sliced onions, on a rack. When done I can make a nice, brown stock with carrots and celery, some for soup and some for casserole sauce. The fat gets poured into a saucepan. Chunks of the meat can be slow simmered in it, into a confite, which will keep for months in the frig. Very French. La La. The thigh meat would be good for this. The drumsticks I will put in a butcher's brine. It can cure for weeks if I want and makes a good roast or barbecue. It can also be cooked with blackeyed peas, beans or greens. It will be redder than ham and only a little salty. The breast can be cut into one pound portions, plastic wrapped and frozen. Easy meals. The small scraps I will use right away for soup and we'll eat soup this week. The larger scraps I will bag up and freeze along with half the stock for pot pie, a la king, tettrazini, whatever. A lot of meals, cheap. Yum.

It's not so much we need to economize. I like a little domestic challenge.

Turkey isn't that inspiring of a poultry variety. I'm not that crazy about it. It's OK. I wish we had a holiday where they sold cheap duck. Goose would be even better.

Who are those Guys?

Over 90% of Americans say they believe in God. Almost half say they go to church at least once a week. 66% of Americans say they are very patriotic and virtually all the rest claim to be at least somewhat patriotic. Republicans claim to be the party of fiscal conservatism. It is mere window dressing in the party platform. They claim to be the party of religious, patriotic Americans. The numbers don't add up. If they were what they claimed, they would sweep elections in every State. Who are they ?

They are the party of race hatred, cultural separatism, subjugation of women and children, traditional economic entitlements. They are the Gay bashers, disenfranchisers of the poor, revilers of the educated, the artistic, the tolerant, the scientific, anyone engaged in novel thought or creativity. They are the party of authoritarian organized religion, seeking to stifle those of alternative philosophy or lifestyle. They are the party of unilateral foreign wars of aggression, currently targeting the towel headed, sand nigger but ever on the lookout for new enemies.

They say that America has made a terrible mistake and is headed for disaster. For all I know, they are right. I know I will not go where they want to take me. I would rather go to Hell, be devoured by Satan and burn forever in his foul, digestive juices, than take one step, as a fellow traveler on the road to the America they would create. You can't always know where you go. It can be enough to know where you are not going. When unsure of the dangers ahead, go with those who pose the least danger.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why All The Bailouts Will Fail

CNBC reports that four and one third trillion dollars have already been committed by the Federal government to bailing out the financial system. That is a lot of money. It is ultimately money thrown away.

If you give money to sailors, they will find prostitutes. If you give money to builders they will add a bathroom to your house. If you give money to lawyers they will file a lawsuit on your behalf. If you give money to doctors, they will diagnose you with a disease, then cure you. If you give money to policemen they will arrest people you don't like. If you give money to merchants, they will buy stuff cheap and put it on sale. If you give money to miners they will dig holes in the ground. If you give money to a company losing money they will lose some more. If you give money to poor people, they will buy crack cocaine and have pizza delivered. They can't help it, it's just the way they are.

If you give money to bankers, they will steal it. Then they will ask for more. They can't help it. It's just the way they are.

There is no use blaming the bankers. They are just doing what bankers do. The blame is on us, for giving them money.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bush Pardon?

Despite crimes committed and damage done to the American people, President Bush is not a traitor. He is not guilty of treason. To treat him as such would be unfair. He is a scoundrel. What he has done is the equivalent of petty crime on a grand scale.

He should be tried for his crimes. He should be exposed for what he is to the American people. After conviction, he should be placed in a cage on the National mall, displayed for a week. People could come by, jeer and catcall. They could pelt him with rotten fruits and vegetables. Finally he should be tarred, feathered and run around town on a rail, then dumped in a stinking tidal flat of the Potomac at low tide, followed by fireworks and liquor for all. He then should be transported to the farthest reaches of the Republic, Guam perhaps, to live out his life in exile, alone and friendless.

The question arises. Can Bush pardon himself before leaving office? Will he pardon himself for specific crimes or can he absolve himself for everything he might have done, up to this point in his life? Would such a pardon hold up if the American people were determined to take appropriate action against him?

I think he'll probably be allowed to go home to Texas and drink himself to death. His parents can take care of him. I hope they live for many years yet.

Cheap Computing.

I'm not usually that astute about anything in particular. A lot of the time I make decisions that turn out to be less than optimal. I look on the bright side. I'm better than most people at dealing with disappointment. Sometimes I do the right thing, often unwittingly or by mistake. I am always pleasantly surprised. I buy a lot of stuff used. It doesn't always work out that well. I've had pretty good luck with computers.

I was reading an article about how the cost of a good usable computer has stayed the same over the last 25 years. That didn't surprise me. Most electronics have gotten cheaper over the last several decades. I remember in the Sixties, when a huge console stereo phonograph/radio/television was considered to be nearly on a par with the purchase of a new car. For the same money today you can still get a full range of state of the art, home entertainment hardware. What surprised me in this article about computers was the price they claimed a good computer cost. It was $2500 to $3000. For new stuff, that probably is true, it might even be more.

Don't ever buy new computers unless you are affluent enough not to care about money. Don't buy a laptop as your main computer. For most users, the best buy is an "obsolete" tower, at least one or two generations old. Towers are easily expandable and for old ones this can be done cheaply. Buy an old tower that is already maxed out and you're even better off. Often these machines have capabilities equal to or greater than current low and mid range models, even when several years old.

I like Apple computers and I am not a "power" user. I can currently purchase an end generation G4 tower with dual 1 GHz processors, a cd/dvd burner, a couple of internal hard drives and lots of RAM, that sold new in late 2002 for upwards of $15,000 dollars , for no more than $150. A lot of times they will throw in a display for free. This machine will do everything and more than most people need right now and for at least a few years to come. They used to edit feature films on machines like these. You aren't going to have any trouble balancing your checkbook, surfing the net, writing the great American novel or downloading all the porn you want with it.

If you travel, chances are you will use a laptop for little more than Email and a little word processing. You might also go on the net to check on hotel reservations or whether your flight is on time. You don't need a new Mac Book Pro for that. An old G3 clamshell will do just fine. Another benefit of an ancient laptop for travel is that even the most Neanderthal baggage handler will disdain to steal it. One less worry while traveling. You can pick these up all day for $50 or even less. So, for $200 dollars you have all your computing needs covered. Find a cheap printer someplace and you're in business.

Apple has a new OS in the works, that will only work for the new generation of multi core, Intel chip computers. It won't be out for at least eight or nine more months. It will take another year or so after that for all the software to be upgraded to take advantage of it. After that, if you really are a power user, you might feel you need a Mac Pro tower. I might even feel I need one. By that time, Apple should be well into the 3rd generation of Intel machines and maybe into the 4th. The 1st generation should be down to at least $500 or so. I'll probably wait a while longer. $200 is my target. The truth is that computers are beginning to significantly outperform the needs of most users.

The biggest single factor that will probably force me to buy another computer is website inflation. People building websites tend to expand them to the limits of the capacity of their own machine to load and display. As they get more capable machines, the websites become more complex and difficult to access. This is especially true of porn sites. Other than simply the prestige of having the fastest processor and biggest hard drive on the block, this is the main reason men want new computers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This Guy

Everything you need to know about the current trends of fundamentalist, Pentacostal Christianity in America, you can learn by reading about This Guy.

Was Tailgunner Joe McCarthy the Founding Father of Our Country?

The founding fathers proclaimed a national motto, E Pluribus Unum. From many, one. The fundo zealot loves to proclaim the Christian heritage of the nation by pointing to In God We Trust, stamped on every coin and printed on every bill. They exalt the linking of God and the nation in the pledge of allegiance, recited by every school child, every day.

The heritage of neither comes from the founding fathers. It was during the Civil War, in the first term of Abraham Lincoln that the Secretary of the Treasury first directed that In God We Trust be stamped on the penny. He was convinced to do this by his protestant minister. The motto was used intermittently on a few other coins for the next century. It wasn't until the hysterics of the Red Scare in 1955, that In God We Trust was required to be inscribed on all money.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Protestant minister in 1892. At that time it was a generic patriotic utterance with no reference to either the United States of America, or God. It was a couple of decades before the United States of America was Specifically added. The pledge itself, while commonly recited from the 1920s on, was not officially sanctioned by the government until the patriotic fervor of World War II, in 1942. The reference to God in the pledge was, like the In God We Trust Motto on Money, not added until the height of the Red Scare, in 1955.

The founding fathers, while they had nothing against religion, were leery of it, having seen how much war, suffering, death and division it had caused in other societies. They were by no means all devoted Christians themselves. Indeed, the greatest among them, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton and many others could well be classified as secular humanists, by today's Rightist agitators. There is no heritage of Christian nationhood that was passed down from them and they would be sorely disappointed to think that anyone in the future would claim it to be so.

The strict separation of Church and State is one of the most important building blocks of any free society. That we have largely subverted this principle tells us about the extent of the freedom that we currently enjoy.

Take Back the Freedoms that were once Ours. The Church has Its Prescribed Place and Must Be Returned to It.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's What's for Dinner.

Have you seen the menu for the White House G 20 dinner tonite? Nothing elaborate. Four courses, a choice of two entrees. Applewood smoked quail. You don't see that on the menu every day. Sounds really yummy. And four different wines. A nice champagne with the dessert plate. I'm sure Whore-Hay doesn't want to embarrass us by not offering a sophisticated and delicious repast to our friends from around the World.

I simmered up some sweet and sour cabbage with bacon ends and pieces for the weekend. I baked a big pan of cornbread. Buttermilk and hot black coffee both go good with this. You really can't get any better than that.

What are you having?

Barack Has It Made

Barack Obama's Presidency can't lose. It's pretty much of a cinch that Bush's Fed Chairman and Treasury Secretary aren't going to turn things around in the next sixty days. So Bush is going to own this depression. Just like Herbert Hoover owned the one that dominated the 1930s, even though he was President during very little of it. It's not going to hurt Barack at all that Bush was a total asshole as President, with the lowest popularity ratings since Andrew Johnson.

If things continue to get worse or stay bad, Barack doesn't have to make them better. He just has to convince the people that are suffering, that he is on their side. If he doesn't do much for them, he just has to say he's doing all he can. There are so many in need and not enough to go round. People will see the truth in that. They will need somebody to believe in. The worse conditions get. The higher the levels of poverty and unemployment. The better for Barack. He can pass all the regressive tax measures he wants, they aren't going to hurt people that don't have any money anyway. If those who are prosperous are treated unfairly, so what? They are prosperous and can afford to pay. There aren't going to be enough of them to turn Barack out of office. Fuck'em.

If things do get better, then Barack is the savior of the country and a second term is assured.

Republicans think they will make gains during the next election cycle, because they have lost the last two. I think that is not very likely. If they treat Barack with cooperation and respect, they validate him and more people will vote Democratic. If they continue to vilify him, they will be seen as the dogs in the manger that they are and people will still vote Democratic as an anti Republican response.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Michael Hayden is a Lying Little Shitbag

Michael Hayden is an Iran Contra criminal. He should have done hard time then and his little worm brother Robert Gates with him. He was a liar then. He is a liar now. These are attributes he shares with most of the highest officials of the Bush administration. He says that al Qaeda is still the single biggest threat to American security. He has not a single fact to back that up. He says that bin Laden is isolated from the day to day workings of al Qaeda and living somewhere on the Pakistani/Afghan border, expending great efforts on his own security. No facts. He says that large numbers of seasoned al Qaeda fighters who fought in Iraq have spread out over the Middle East and East Africa and any terrorist attack on the US will bear their fingerprints. Totally made up.

Osama is more than likely living in one of his families many compounds, in the Gulf States, surrounded by friends and family. I say this because if I was him, that's what I'd do. There is no evidence that he is still in the field or that al Qaeda is still active. There is no evidence that we have ever fought al Qaeda in Afghanistan since the very earliest days of the invasion or in Iraq ever. In Afghanistan we fight the Taliban. In Iraq we fought Sunni Insurgents, a faction of which we named "al Qaeda in Iraq". We never killed a single fighter in Iraq who was a documented follower of Osama bin Laden. We killed a lot of other people though. A lot of them were old people, women and children. More, we just maimed or left homeless and destitute.

I'm not saying there never was an al Qaeda or that they don't pose a threat. I'm saying that after seven years of war on terror, trillions of dollars spent and millions dead and displaced, we don't have a fuckin' clue and Michael Hayden is a lying little shitbag. It's a shame that we haven't accomplished one damn thing we set out to do in seven years of sore conflict. It's a bigger shame we still don't know what it is, that we set out to do. That we don't even know anything about who we're trying to war against, is criminal. That we let this scaly little crap weasel lie to us, is a testament to our own monumental stupidity. We should all just pin little signs on our backs that say "Bomb Me".

You think what I've written isn't true? Enlighten me. Please.

Barnyard Bush Hosts A Sausagefest

Being President is a lot like surfing. You don't have any control over the wave or any assurance that the wave you catch will be a good one. All you can do is try and stay balanced and in the curl, then go as far as you can without wiping out. The best surfers don't do tricks, no cutbacks, bounce or air. They slouch on the nose, Gandelfing on forever. Eisenhower was like that. So was Reagan. Clinton too.

You never want to be concerned that a President doesn't seem to be doing much or that nothing much is happening during their term. That just means they're in the curl and moving along just fine.

Bush would not have been a good surfer. No balance. Show off. Cuts across another guys nose and then claims it wasn't his fault. He decreased taxes and raised expenditures, both way too much. He let corporate profits get out of hand but kept wages low. He encouraged workers with shrinking buying power to borrow their way to affluence. He started not one but two wars and let them both get out of hand and nothing to show but unpaid bills and a lot of dead bodies for either one. He created a huge and unwieldy Department of Homeland Security with no ability to improve on what we already had and great potential for waste, corruption and abuse of the American people. All the while, he strutted around like he knew what he was doing, scoffing at those who were his betters, which in his case was practically everybody. Guys like that spoil the beach for everyone, then go home to Glendale.

Bushie is having the G 20 finance ministers into the White House, to solve the World's financial problems. That'll probably work.

What a fuckin' jerk. It's not any kind of derangement syndrome. Just disgust. He should have stayed in the Valley. On the Slip n Slide. In his parent's backyard. Where his Mama could watch over him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spotlight on---INDIA---Is that Thugee Thing Still Going On?

India is about a third the size of the United States. It has almost as many people as China. Over a billion. It may soon have more. While China has done much to control population growth, India has not. India's economy has been growing at an impressive 5-6% a year but this is deceiving. The GDP is still only around a trillion dollars a year, a little more than Mexico or South Korea. They have a healthy trade surplus but this is only because most people there are too poor to buy much of anything, much less anything imported.

While they have a wide range of developing industry, it's production does not do much more than keep up with the demands of a growing population. India has the largest motion picture industry in the World. Have you ever seen an Indian movie? They boast one of the larger steel and automotive industrial productions in the World. The steel is of poor quality, oxidizing quickly, even in a dry climate, which India does not have and the automotive output consists largely of small displacement motor scooters of a quality and technology similar to that seen in Southern Europe, immediately after the devastation wrought by World War II. Licensure of industrial production is strictly controlled by government and only a select class can participate. Imported goods that compete with those of domestic provenance are not allowed. This does not foster the development of a beneficial system of competition. Indian manufactured goods do not sell competitively in World markets. I was recently the owner of a late model, state of the art Indian motor scooter. If someone offered me another for free and $2000 a year with which to maintain it, I would turn them down flat and I love motor scooters of exactly the type they produce. Recently the Japanese have been making reciprocal agreements with Indian manufacturers, providing capital and technological assistance. This may help the situation but maybe not. Indian industrialists do not have a good record of profit sharing with foreign partners. The Japanese may soon be gone, as others before them are.

Agriculture depends largely on small, non mechanized family holdings that function at not much greater than subsistence level. Irrigation is primitive and locally sourced. Aquifers in India are rapidly depleting due to over exploitation. Potable water is a major problem in all areas of India, urban and rural. India claims to be agriculturally self sufficient. It is doubtful that this is true. There have been food riots in recent years. The government has been forced to buy large quantities of cereal grains on the international market, in stiff competition with other populous, non food self sufficient nations. This situation is not likely to get better soon. A billion people eat a lot. They are largely vegetarian. It is a wise choice on their part.

India claims a modern educational system and English as the language of education, due to a history of English colonialism and several competing languages of their own, divided into hundreds of distinct local dialects. They claim a literacy rate approaching 70%. This is generous but even if true, leaves 350 million or so with no literacy skills what so ever. Another 350 million Indians have only the most basic skills. That would leave about 400 million with the kind of literacy that would be considered barely adequate in the Western World, perhaps reading at a forth grade level and able to fill out simple repetitive forms reliably. Only a small percentage of those would be suitable for simple clerical work and an even smaller number have real technical training. Those lucky enough to receive technical educations leave India in very large numbers, who can blame them. Those who actually are chosen to receive educations in the West, never return, ever. Many telecom companies have utilized Indian workers, because of the extreme low cost and the prevalence of English language skills. It has not worked out well for them. Most of them are wrapping things up and leaving.

India is a country that business and economic experts tell us is poised to weather the World economic downturn and continue it's economic expansion. I wouldn't hold my breath. It is a hellhole of poverty, disease and starvation in the grip of a religion ridiculously superstitious, even by the standards of six toed, cross eyed, American Pentecostal, snake handling, tongue talkers. Its current population levels are unsustainable and they are in the midst of an uncontrollable population explosion. If by some fluke they did become marginally more affluent as a society, they would choose to expend those resources immediately, on a nuclear conflagration with Pakistan.

It may not be the economic engine to help pull the World into the twenty first century.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Red Rover Come Over

The AIG bailout got expanded this week by at least 40 billion or so. A couple more big banks went bust last Friday. GM and Ford are both going to get at least 50 billion and it won't save either one, only delay their demise. They will get more before that happens. The government is now formulating a plan whereby it will backstop banks if they decrease the amount owed on individual mortgages commensurate with the mortgaged properties current market value. We know that the FDIC will soon need hundreds of billions to keep funding insurance deposits as banks fail. The banks remaining extant will continue to need huge infusions of liquidity as stocks and bonds sell off. The government will continue to need to buy huge blocks of bad debt from financial institutions that hold it. The States are starting to go bankrupt as revenues dwindle and expenses rise. They do not have the privilege of issuing debt and printing money ad infinitum. They are going to demand bailouts, just like financial institutions that are already receiving them. California, where I live, could go trillions in debt, over the next few years. All the other States are in the same boat and most of them, unlike California, already receive more revenue from the Federal government than they contribute.

In the meantime, as the economy worsens and unemployment rises, Federal tax revenues will shrink, whether taxes are raised or not. People eligible for social safety net entitlement benefits are going to be increasing dramatically, as well as additional job creation and economic stimulus programs. Public works programs may build up the infrastructure in the long term and benefit the economy for generations to come but the dollar cost will be huge now. The military continues to run up huge bills the government can't pay. It is likely that the government will even increase military manning levels, as a way to address rising unemployment.

The current national debt is 11 trillion. It will be 22 trillion in less than 2 years, maybe a lot less. It will likely be in the 50 trillion dollar range by the end of President Obama's first term. I have no reason to believe that the economy will be better in 4 years. It likely will be worse, with much worse yet to get. The current level of debt, 11 trillion, at today's dollar valuation is not serviceable by our government, even in an expanding economy and the kind of moderate inflation we have been experiencing over the last 50 years.

How long will foreign entities continue to buy and hold American debt? They have problems of their own. Big problems. The Chinese people are used to eating. They are going to continue to want to do so. If their government wants to stay in power, it will make sure it feeds them. The Europeans have their own financial institutions to bail out and a fragile European union to maintain. The Indians and Africans are a long way away and don't have much leverage against us but they are going to be unhappy as hell. The Arabs have as much of our money as they are ever likely to need. South Americans feel they have been working for the Yankee dollar long enough. I don't see a market for 40 trillion or so in American debt, internationally, over the next several years, do you?

Some interesting things are likely to happen soon.

A Girl Who Smelled Like Sex

Years ago I took a semester long class at the local junior college, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 8 to 9:30. There was a woman in the class, about 10 years younger than me, early to middle thirties. We were the only two that ever asked any questions. She was smart. Pretty soon we were sitting together in the back of the room every day, keeping up a whispered conversation. If one of us didn't get something the other one did and could get the point across. Better than taking notes. If you understand, things fall into place and stay there.

One thing about this girl was a little disconcerting. She always smelled like sex. Not sex awhile ago. Not sex before a recent shower. Juice dipping down her thigh right now sex. Oh well, you live in the real World, you get to deal with real things.

We got to be friends. Like people do in college classes. One day, on break, I bought her coffee and gave her a cigarette and asked her about it. I tried to be off hand. I didn't want her to think I was trying to fuck her. She didn't seem that embarrassed.

She worked nights,like me. She didn't drive. Never had. She needed the class. There was no way that she could make it from work to the class, on the bus, in time. Her brother always picked her up at work on Tuesdays and Thursdays and drove her. He always fucked her in the parking lot, before she got out of the car. He always did it, whenever he drove her anywhere. He had for as long as she could remember. He was always good about driving her wherever she needed to go. He knew she wouldn't abuse the privilege.

It wasn't a big secret. Everyone in her family knew. Even the brother's wife. It was just the way things were. She said if she got married, it would probably stop. If she got married, she would have to quit work. And taking college classes. She was a girl with plans.

The subjugation of women is a relative thing, isn't it?

Pro Birth Is Not Pro Life

Listen closely to what the Pro life movement says, read carefully what they write. What they really are is Pro Birth. They have no concern about the health, function or cognition of either the mother or the child. They don't care about the circumstances of conception. They don't care who raises the child or how. They only care that every pregnancy comes to fruition.

Other than sexual abstinence, they do not condone any form of birth control. Heterosexual vaginal intercourse is the only sexual act they recognize as not aberrant. If you have a lot of heterosexual vaginal intercourse, you have a lot of children. That is their mantra. It is a recipe for disaster. It is not a philosophy likely to be practiced, even by its advocates. The advocacy of Pro Life principles ensures that those adopting it lie, cheat and continually deny reality, to others and to themselves. Pro Life is Pro Lie.

The Pro Life movement allows for no common ground. It allows for no common sense. Increased knowledge or scientific insight is unwelcome among them. It has as its basis, the subjugation of all women and children. There is no shame in engaging with them in dialogue. To attempt to do so repeatedly in the face of repeated rebuff, is a fool's game. We will, as a society, come to a recognition of fetal rights. We will do so, necessarily, without the Pro Life movement. They are not up to the task. They have not the spirituality, the humanity or the intellect for the task.


Help Me Pave The Road To Hell

It is a commonly held belief in this country that we are on the road to hell and that the people who are leading us there are the Chardonnay sipping, hot tub bathing, wife swapping (if they even bother to get married), God denying, evolution believing, homosexual tolerating, over educated, socialist, secular humanist, abortion mongers.

This is a crock of shit. Countries dominated by secular humanist thought have less crime in general and much less violent crime. People live longer in these countries and are happier doing it. They are healthier and have better health care. They enjoy higher standards of living. They have fewer poor. They do not engage in war. They commit suicide less. Women in these countries enjoy real equality and consensual sex is more than just an empty phrase. Abortion in these countries, while legal, is rare and decreasing. In fact, most of the problems modern, secular societies do have, stem directly from those members of society who cling to religious observance.

Show me a country where inequality is rampant, where hunger is common place, where genocidal war flourishes, where famine and disease are epidemic, where atheists are running things.

I'll Never Forget

Wherever you go, whatever you do, you meet all kinds and you take people the way you find them. I served with guys that always took the time to help a shipmate along and some that wouldn't kick you to the side if you were being trampled on. I know guys that never came out a nickel ahead for serving and some who jockeyed disabilities they had long before their service, into lifelong pensions and medical care. I know guys who were motivated to serve by a deep love of country and denizens who wore the uniform 'cause nobody else would let them in the door. I knew guys whose worth was incalculable and those whose presence was a terrible liability. For some, military service is the defining experience of their lives, for good or ill. Others are untouched by it. Some serve during times of great need, some do not.

On Veterans day, some places there are parades and tributes. Some places it's just another work day. Some see great value in the service of veterans and some do not. I have my own feelings on the subject. They're mine, nobody elses. You have yours. Good luck with them.

I don't have any more to contribute on the subject. It's not a question of appropriateness. I just don't care to. It's never really mattered to me whether there are parades and tributes or whether I'm scheduled to pull a double shift on Veteran's Day. I'll never forget. Not one damn thing. Step softly.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Are You Getting Dead Peoples Checks?

An old lady in Illinois was found to be living with the bodies of three siblings in her house. One of them had probably been dead for 25 years. They took her off to the the funny farm for observation.

There's nothing crazy about it. A lot of people do something very similar. Old people living together count on every penny of pension and Social Security money to make ends meet. When someone dies, they don't want to make cuts to already tight budgets. They just don't notify anyone of the death and the checks keep coming, usually by direct deposit, into a joint account. If you're careful and aren't shy about signing the name of the deceased, you can keep it up forever.

My wife had an uncle who did this. He and his life companion lived together in a small lake cabin. As far as I know, he didn't keep Bud's body around. I think Bud was terminal and receiving hospice visits. If this is the case, the coroner does not have to be notified of the death. If you go to a cut rate crematorium, they don't keep very complete records or send proper notification to the Feds. In any case, Hughey kept getting Bud's pension and SS checks until he also died. He needed the money. This was long ago. There was no domestic partnership at that time. They were together for at least 35 years. Nobody in the family is really sure. He just started showing up at some of the smaller family gatherings, introduced as Hugh's best friend and eventually became a fixture. Just two old batchelors.

How well fixed will you be if your spouse died or your spouse if you died? If you move to a vacation cabin with a privy and keep a large bag of quick lime handy, you may have more options than you know.

Ice Cream

I like ice cream. Some people are allergic to dairy and can't eat it but they would if they could. My favorites are regular old vanilla and chocolate, the kind you can buy at the market really cheap in 5 quart plastic buckets. My wife likes to save the buckets, so I don't buy those too much.

I'm OK with pretty much any flavor of ice cream. American ice cream is whipped up with a lot of air in it. European ice cream is more dense. Bring'em on. Some flavors I prefer over others. I rarely choose to eat peppermint or pistachio if I have a choice of others but if that's what is available I'm in for it. Sometimes, ethnic stores and restaurants will have foreign flavored ice cream, licorice, green tea and rosewater come to mind. They are worth a try. I went to a place once where all they had was burian flavored ice cream, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Makes you wish politicians and religious leaders were more like ice cream, instead of raw corn whisky and chewing tobacco.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Pro Life Cause Re-Examined.

I change my mind all the time about little things. Everybody does. The big things are another matter altogether. Opinions on big picture issues are formed by experiences and observations made over a lifetime and at some point I become so polarized that I disregard evidence that might cause me to modify my opinion and accept only those inputs that reinforce it. I think this is not a phenomenon exclusive to me. I think most people do it. I think I have tried, more than most, to construct my beliefs myself, rather than to simply adopt those of my family, culture and peers.

I think it is time for people of a liberal persuasion to take another look at the pro life movement. The core of my beliefs on this subject were forged when I was a child and adolescent. Those were different times in America. The things that I saw happening to women forced to endure a pregnancy and raise a child outside of culturally sanctioned conditions, who had to change the course of their lives at a young age to fit within cultural norms necessary to raise a child or risk their own death to avoid it, perhaps no longer exist, in this country.

The reason I took so long to reevaluate my position on pro life issues was because of the pro life movement itself. No other major political or social advocacy movement is so filled with ignorant, hate filled, violence prone, cretins. They offer no real plans for how to deal with the addition to American society of millions of children, born to mothers, many without financial or psychological resources to raise them. These forces continue to couple an insistence on sexual abstinence along with a pro life agenda. They seek to return to the culture of punitive condemnation and ostracism that made life for women before legalized abortion, so intolerable. Always in the pro life movement there is the drumbeat of the most repressive, superstitious, intolerant and evangelical sectors of organized religion. Finally, the unbending insistence that women must be coerced into continuing a pregnancy by law enforcement agencies, the judicial system and ultimately, criminal penalty, make the current pro life movement impossible for me to support.

In the end one indisputable fact remains. Every one of us, not at deaths door already or enduring horrible debility, pain and suffering, is pro our own life, no matter what. The desire to continue our own lives is the most overriding of all. Those unborn, while they may have advocates, cannot advocate for themselves. They are the most vulnerable of all of us and deserve the most consideration. This has nothing to do with religion or morality. Those who make it so do disservice to those they seek to protect.

I could never join the current pro life movement. Those who lead the movement and are most active within it are the same hate mongering, reactionary, religious zealots who caused the problems associated with illegitimacy in the first place. The very term illegitimacy says all you need to know about them. The tactics of the pro life movement are hate rhetoric, violence and even murder rather than dialogue, programs of support and acceptance for pregnant women and increased indoctrination, education and availability of all types of birth control. There are certain to be many among the pro life movement who understand its fundamental flaws but support it anyway. Those people must be co opted into a new movement that can be embraced by larger numbers. The movement must move from John Brown to Abraham Lincoln, hopefully avoiding a civil war, this time.

The pro life cause is a valid one but it must change to achieve its goals. As it exists today it is nothing more than polarizing thuggery that gets us nowhere and helps no one.

Subway Tokin' through the Big Dig

I was never a Hippie. We preferred the term Freak but people tend to lump a lot of the denizens of the Sixties together. I never smoked that much marijuana. Two reasons. One, it's not a very challenging or exhilarating drug. Two, smoking it was a very social experience. It became mainstream so quickly that I always ended up smoking it with some people that didn't meet my highly developed standards of deviance. I know a lot of people that continue to smoke it, after forty years and it seems to be a perennial favorite with the young folks. A mild, gateway drug is important to those of us interested in keeping the pipeline for hard core hallucinogenics, wide open and flowing.

One of the lesser publicized gains of the late election was the passage of a marijuana decriminalization plebiscite in Massachusetts. From now on possession of marijuana in amounts of one ounce or less will get you a $100 maximum fine and a non criminal "ticket" from the police.

I guess the Mormon, Catholic and Snake Handler churches don't mind the evil weed. Right On, Brother Bro'. One step at a time will take us on down the Yellow Brick Road of Life.

From the Horses Mouth

I usually buy cheap Halloween candy about this time. The day after Halloween, leftover candy usually can be had at the local supermarkets and drug stores at half price. About a week later it goes down some more. I was at my local supermarket yesterday and noticed that there was very little cheap candy to be had.

I struck up a conversation with a young employee, grabbing a smoke outside the store entrance. Very interesting. He said nobody bought candy this year. Most of it never even got uncrated but just sat stacked in the store room, blocking passage. This week, they loaded it all on trucks and sent it back. So, no cheap candy. I asked what they would do with all that candy, because it was packaged in Halloween themed wrappings. He said not this year. Most of the candy was in regular wrapping. The candy companies knew it might not sell. They can cut production for a while and hopefully run inventories down during the holiday season. I said he must be glad to have gotten all that candy out of the back room. He said no, now it was filled with Thanksgiving stuff and it wasn't selling and this week the Christmas stuff was starting to come in. The kid said sales were down across the board this year and he didn't think the Christmas stuff was going to sell any better than the Halloween or Thanksgiving items.

This is at a store in a very affluent area of coastal SoCal. It's probably worse a lot of other places. One of the last things people cut back on is food.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Vanity, Thy Name Is Lance

The anti Gay marriage amendment to the California State Constitution seems to be on the way to passing. C'est la vie. California already has some of the strongest protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual preference in the World. Domestic partnership is available to any two people, on any basis and carries the same benefits of marriage. It's pretty hard to sell gay marriage on the basis that it's an anti discrimination measure. Half of Californians, almost none of whom are gay, voted to allow gay marriage anyway. Whether gay marriage is specifically denied by the Constitution or not, I'm sure this issue will soon be revisited. Huge amounts of money were funneled into this effort by the Mormon church, Catholic church and James (don't pull me out of the closet) Dobson. I hope it was worth it to them. You'd think there would be starving children in Haiti that could have used the 80 million more.

I've never been to a Gay wedding. I'd probably go if invited. I don't see that happening any time soon. I have one friend that would like to get Gay married. He's in his early 50s now. He's HIV+. He won't drink domestic sparkling wine and has been known to spend his food stamp money on Stilton Cheese and black truffles. In the twenty plus years I've known him, he hasn't had a steady job or a steady boyfriend. You never know. It could happen.

I think religious intolerance toward Gays is partly their own fault. Gays are religious in surprising numbers and to a surprising extent. They go to and are active within the church. They may be out in every other aspect of their lives but not in church. I don't get it. They should get right in the church's face. It's not like the church can get along without them. Who would play the organ or sing in the choir? Who would arrange the flowers for the weekly alter piece and embroider the alter clothes? Who would come to the yearly church clean up day? They tithe generously. If they withheld services and contributions, the church would soon be begging to marry them, not putting up money to ban Gay marriage.