Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Marine Bathroom Debating Society

Kerry beats Bush ... in US marine latrines

The US military, which traditionally avoids meddling in politics, is expressing its views about the US presidential race in the one place where a soldier can speak his mind freely: the latrines.

Here, in graffiti, young soldiers wax philosophical -- albeit crudely and with a fondness for four-letter words -- about God, death, President George W. Bush (news - web sites) and his democratic rival John Kerry.

And if one straw poll is to be believed on this gigantic air base in the western Iraqi desert, Kerry is due to rout Bush in the November 2 elections after the Massachusetts senator picked up 73 votes to 58 on the bathroom wall.

Read the rest.

Suckered again

House Defeats Gay Marriage Ban Amendment

The House emphatically rejected a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Thursday, the latest in a string of conservative pet causes advanced by Republican leaders in the run-up to Election Day.

The vote was 227-186, 49 votes shy of the two-thirds needed for approval of an amendment that President Bush backed but the Senate had previously scuttled.

Yes, indeed - that great champion of family values, our preznit - really pushed hard for this amendment.

Don't you admire the way he was up on the Hill every day, lobbying those congress-clowns for everything he was worth?

Don't you know he kept the phone lines humming, waking them up at all hours of the night as he strove mightily to preserve marriage as we know it?

Bush fought hard - at least as hard as Reagan and Poppy. The issues so near and dear to social conservative's hearts are likewise important to him. It's not his fault that a few Democrats are hardheaded, wrongminded, and evil.

What's that you say? The House is dominated by Republicans?

Never mind.

(exit Emily Litella)


(I'm voting for him because he makes me feel safe)
 Posted by Hello

Do yourself a favor

Who needs zooming blood pressure, strokes, etc?

We all know what the SCLM will do with the debates - declare Dubya the winner and nit-pick Kerry to oblivion.

Watch on CSPAN or PBS. There's not a talking head on the networks worth your time.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bush's Reserve Resignation Cited 'Inadequate Time'

President Bush, accused by Democrats of shirking his duty in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, wrote that he had "inadequate time" to meet future Reserve commitments in his Nov. 1974 letter of resignation released on Wednesday.

The letter was released by the White House on the eve of the first presidential debate, in Miami on Thursday, between Bush and his Democratic challenger, John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran.

In the one-page "Tender of Resignation," Bush hand-wrote the following reason for resigning: "Inadequate time to fullfill (sic) possible future commitments."


Dear Master Card,

I regret I cannot repay my debt as I would have inadequate funds for possible future purchases.



September surprise

On the ABC Nightly News, Peter Jennings reported that the Bush team had arrived in Florida prior to the debate, and seemed confident and even "cocky".

Okay - is this just the usual "we are God's Chosen" -type cocky, or have they got something up their slimy sleeves?

Kerry: Where's Osama?

Bush: As a matter of fact, we captured him just today.

(Osama dragged on stage, in chains)

I wouldn't put it past them.

Wednesday Catty Blogging

”Lynne Cheney Jokes About Kerry's Tan

During a campaign stop with her husband, a group of volunteers moved into the crowd with microphones for the question-and-answer period. Vice President Dick Cheney told supporters to look for the people with dark orange shirts.

When Cheney paused as if searching for the words to describe the shade of orange, Lynne Cheney said, "How about John Kerry's suntan?"

The remark drew a big laugh from the crowd and the vice president.

Responding to her comments, Kerry campaign spokesman Bill Burton said, "Is Mrs. Cheney jealous considering how hard it is to get sun in the undisclosed location with her husband Dick? Or is she distracted over how red-in-the-face George Bush be considering his failed presidency?"

Either of the two responses in the last paragraph could be true, but I’m inclined to go with “Mrs. Cheney is perhaps referring to the bright shade of yellow down her a$$hole husband’s back”.

Or maybe she’s referring to the shade of Miss Clairol she uses to touch up her roots.


Ted Rall quotes a couple of folks that make you want to tear your hair out –

"Kerry doesn't know what the working-class people do; he hasn't done any physical labor all his life," Sharon Alfman, a 51-year-old cook in New Lexington, Ohio, told a New York Times reporter. It's true. Kerry is a rich boy. But then she added: "Bush's values are middle-class family values."

Be very, very careful dining out in New Lexington, Ohio. This lady has a real taste for bullsh$t.


Demonstrating that stupefying ignorance can be bipartisan, another Ohioan interviewed for the same article said she is against the war in Iraq because, like 42 percent of her fellow Americans, she thinks Iraq was behind 9/11: "We shouldn't be over there building them back up because they didn't build our towers back up." She is wrong on so many levels that it makes my brain hurt.

Rall suggests a very simple test, things like naming your state’s capital, the name of the nation’s capital, and just one cabinet level position.

With all due respect, I think that’s too hard for these folks. I'd suggest poll workers say each of the following to the prospective voter –

“Raise your right hand”

“There’s dog poop on your left shoe”

Observe reactions carefully. If the voter misses even one, call 911…there’s a village missing it’s idiot.

Episode II - Stoned slackers strike back

In a recent survey, viewers of Stewart's "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central tested better than Letterman and Leno viewers on a six-question politics quiz.

Viewers of all three shows know more about the background of presidential candidates and their positions on issues than people who don't watch late-night TV.

On top of that, "Daily Show" viewers know more about election issues than people who regularly read newspapers or watch television news, according to the National Annenberg Election Survey.


While viewers of NBC's "The Tonight Show" and CBS' "The Late Show" scored better than the general public, Stewart's fans came out on top.

Forty-nine percent of Leno and Letterman viewers got a perfect score on the quiz.

But 60 percent of "Daily Show" viewers answered all six questions correctly.

Just 42 percent of those who read a newspaper four days a week aced the test. Only 40 percent of those who watch network news four days a week got every answer right.

Comedy Central was waiting for news like this. On September 17, Stewart appeared on Bill O'Reilly's "The O'Reilly Factor" only to be told his viewers are "stoned slackers" and "dopey kids."

It also trotted out stats from Nelson Media Research to show that Stewart's viewers are not only smart, but more educated than O'Reilly's.

"Daily Show" viewers are 78 percent more likely than the average adult to have four or more years of college education, while O'Reilly's audience is only 24 percent more likely to have that much schooling.

Plus, the network noted, "Daily Show" viewers are 26 percent more likely to have a household income more than $100,000, while O'Reilly's audience is only 11 percent more likely to make that much money.

So the guy watching Stewart may not only be smart, but may also be rich.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Bush's Hometown Newspaper Endorses Kerry

The newspaper in President Bush's adopted hometown of Crawford threw its support on Tuesday behind Bush's Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry.

The weekly Lone Star Iconoclast criticized Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and for turning budget surpluses into record deficits. The editorial also criticized Bush's proposals on Social Security and Medicare.

The publishers of The Iconoclast endorsed Bush four years ago, based on the things he promised, not on this smoke-screened agenda," the newspaper said in its editorial. "Today, we are endorsing his opponent, John Kerry."

It urged "Texans not to rate the candidate by his hometown or even his political party, but instead by where he intends to take the country."

I know how they feel. I'd get tired of apologizing for him, too.

So do Americans living overseas -

Both Buchman and Valladeres cite the war in Iraq, as well as a rising tide of anti-Americanism, as the main reasons many expatriates are calling for a shift in US foreign policy and a change in administration.

“It’s getting to the point that little old ladies on the tram are hitting me with their umbrellas, saying ‘You bad American, what are you doing?’” said Buchman.

“Even in a US-centric country like Switzerland, we’ve seen how our image has eroded in a frightening way since September 11,” she added. “We don’t like it, so we’re voting.”

It seems that the Bush administration’s domestic and foreign policies have even prompted some diehard Republicans to switch camps.

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, a Cuban-born American and professor of international law living in Geneva, says he is encouraging his fellow party members to “think twice” before voting for Bush.

Five-letter word and "security moms"

I keep hearing the phrase "security moms", and how these "security moms" are voting for George Bush.

I wouldn't be so sure...moms are, well - moms. They have children, and they aren't quite as gung-ho when you mention the five-letter word that rhymes with "craft".

The Quaker meeting I attend is composed mainly of very right-wing types who salivated over the prospect of war in Iraq.

However, as soon as it became apparent the mission was not accomplished and more & more troops were needed, they suddenly became pacifists...at least, where their draft-age children were concerned.

So, I'm not too concerned about the security moms. I just keep saying draft...draft...draft.

Eventually, it sinks in.

Hope is on the way

After a long downhill slide lasting at least a decade, my friend with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases finally succumbed last night.

As a little personal memorial, allow me to quote myself -

She worked for over thirty years as bookkeeper at a small company. When she came home, it was to another full-time job – a farmer’s wife and the mother of several children. In all her “spare time”, she was active in her church and community, donating her time and talents to many volunteer organizations.

Retirement was just a few years away. Thanks to a frugal, simple lifestyle and a lifetime of hard work, she and her husband would be able to enjoy their “golden years in financial security. She looked forward to retiring from her bookkeeping job and spending more time with her grandchildren, volunteer work, and a little travel.

That was then – this is now. A few years before her retirement date, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

These days, she is never left alone. She depends on someone else to dress her, feed her, take her to the bathroom, and give her a bath. Her mind is still active, but her depression is profound.

Along with the ravages of Parkinson’s, she is now in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Her “golden years” have become a living hell.

Otherwise, her health is fine. She will probably live - and continue deteriorating - for many years to come.

She spent the last several months in a nursing home; uncommunicative and fed through tubes.

Parkinson's can be cured - the promise is in stem cell research. John Kerry has said -

Today, millions of children and adults suffer from incurable diseases like diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, heart disease, cancer, and spinal cord injuries. John Kerry and John Edwards believe that we must lift the barriers that stand in the way of science and push the boundaries of medical exploration so researchers can find cures that may exist. Continuing in our nation's great ethic of discovery, John Kerry and John Edwards believe that stem cell research holds immense promise for curing or treating these diseases and medical conditions. They will lift the ideologically-driven restrictions on stem cell research that are impeding progress toward cures for millions of Americans suffering from debilitating diseases.

Stem cell research offers not only the potential for alleviating or curing debilitating diseases, but would lift the financial burdens on families and the health care system. Every which way you look at it, it makes sense; however, "sense" is being held hostage by the fundamentalists and idealogues.

Fahrenheit 9/11 - the DVD

Here's a great idea from Richard Cranium at the All Spin Zone -

Fahrenheit 9/11 is coming out on DVD in 10 days. There's been a lot of buzz that the DVD "extras" will be even more explosive than the film itself.

Listen, you know you're going to buy it anyway when it comes out. So why not let your purchase work for progressive candidates? All affiliate proceeds received from your purchase of F9/11 (or any other videos you buy when clicking on the link below) will be donated to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Click here and add it to your DVD library.

More on GOTV

On Sunday, the NY Times reported a striking increase in voter registration in Ohio and Florida.

More from the AP -

Rural areas, which trend conservative and Republican, aren't necessarily reporting the same growth as urban, more liberal and Democratic strongholds: Brazos County, Texas, hasn't beaten its 2000 numbers so far, though officials said applications are now rolling in. The state of Oklahoma, however, saw new registrations in July and August increase by 60 percent compared with four years ago.

Oklahoma officials said they had 16,000 new Republican registrations, 15,000 new Democrats and 3,500 new independents. In Oregon, where new registrations grew by 4 percent from January through Sept. 1, Democrats outregistered Republicans two-to-one.

After you do your solemn civic duty and vote, your next duty is getting someone else to the polls, particularly one of these new voters.

Stoned slackers, unite!

Remember the Bill O'Reilly interview with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show?

O'REILLY: But it is. It's true. I mean, you've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night, OK, and they can vote.


O'REILLY: You can't stop them.

STEWART: Yeah, I just don't know how motivated they would be, these stoned slackers.

O'REILLY: Yeah, it just depends if they have to go out that day.

STEWART: What am I, a Cheech and Chong movie? Stoned slackers?

O'REILLY: Come on, you do the research, you know the research on your program.

STEWART: No, we don't.

O'REILLY: Eighty-seven percent are intoxicated when they watch it. You didn't see that?

STEWART: No, I didn't realize that.

O'REILLY: Yeah, we have that there.

Of course, we never saw "that", which O'Reilly claimed to have "right here".

But Comedy Central strikes back -

The folks at Comedy Central were annoyed when Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly kept referring to "The Daily Show" audience as "stoned slackers." So they did a little research. And guess whose audience is more educated?

Viewers of Jon Stewart's show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch "The O'Reilly Factor," according to Nielsen Media Research.


Comedy Central also touted a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey, which said young viewers of "The Daily Show" were more likely to answer questions about politics correctly than those who don't.

Comedy Central had no statistics on how many people watch "The Daily Show" stoned.

I didn't see the O'Reilly show, as I have a very low gag reflex. My guess is that O'Reilly was joking.

But I'll bet the ranch if you asked the average O'Reilly fan about it, they took it in all seriousness, including the 87% who watch The Daily Show intoxicated and the research O'Reilly has "right here".


Monday, September 27, 2004

Dear Hack -
My husband is stationed at Camp Anaconda, Iraq. He recently remarked to me that the TV 's came back on in the mess, you see apparently the transmission stopped right before the Democratic National Convention and miraculously came back on for the Republican Convention. Technical problems can happen but this is a little to convenient, don't you think? now I know as well as the next person, that if these guys want information there going to get it, but I don't know, it just strikes me as fishy...UnAmerican, even. It's a fact that in Iraq (or the military for that matter) these guys have no choice when it comes to their fate. Whether it be pay, conditions, injury's, their family's, etc. The one thing they do have, however, is their voice. So now it seems to me, even that has been tampered with. Their power to make an informed choice as to who will be there future commander in chief has been obstructed by "technical difficulty's" its just embarrassing and quite frankly, fucked. Perhaps you have some thoughts on the matter. CONCERNED WIFE.
Strikes me as fishy and un-American, too. And very, very Republican.

Warming up for the debates

"Are you telling me seriously that people in Wisconsin are going to return to the presidency a man who promised jobs and lost them?" Kerry asked. "I think the good commonsense, fiscally responsible, conservative citizens of Wisconsin know that it's our responsibility to pay our bills and not dump them on our kids and on future generations."

Kerry told the town hall that voters shouldn't be wary of changing horses midstream when the horse is drowning. Kerry also poked fun at reports that the Bush campaign insisted that the debate podiums be set relatively far apart so Kerry's five-inch height advantage won't be so apparent.

"May I also suggest that we need a taller horse?" he said. "You can get through deeper waters that way."

When the horse is drowning....I love it. Perfect comeback to all the folks who insist "we shouldn't change horses, blah, blah, blah".

He's rockin'!


Sunday, September 26, 2004

Sweet music

"The way we live in peace in a family, in a marriage, in the world, is not by threatening people, is not by showing off your muscles. It's by listening, by giving a hand sometimes, by being intelligent, by being open and by setting high standards," - Teresa Heinz Kerry, 9/24/2004

I dedicate half my vote for John Kerry to the wise Teresa.

Iraq Elections on Track, Bush Says

Does he know Saddam Hussein is planning to be on the ballot?

Overthrown Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was arrested by US forces last December, reportedly plans to run as a candidate in the Iraqi elections scheduled for January 2005.

Saddam's lawyer Giovanni di Stefano told Denmark's B.T. newspaper that Saddam decided during one of their discussions that he would declare his candidacy for the elections.

Stefano said that there was no law that prevented Saddam from appearing on the ballot. He added that Saddam hopes to regain his presidency and palaces via the democratic process.


Saddam's lawyer defends that the ambiguity in Iraq will favor Saddam at the polls. Stefano remarked that a recent Gallup poll indicates that 42 percent of the Iraqi people want their former leader back.

Good thing the elections are scheduled for January 2005. Wouldn't look too good for the Bush/Cheney campaign if the Iraqi people selected Saddam, now would it?


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Bush Campaign Ad Makes Sport of Kerry's Recreation Choices

In a 30-second advertisement to debut today, Bush lampoons one of his Democratic challenger's favorite recreational pastimes while attacking him as indecisive on Iraq and other matters.

The spot includes footage of Kerry windsurfing off Nantucket Island, showing the Massachusetts Democrat sailing back and forth to the strains of the "Blue Danube Waltz" by Johann Strauss.

"John Kerry," the ad says, citing what it calls shifting positions on Iraq, education and healthcare. "Whichever way the wind blows."

How about this?

Needs training wheels

(music - "Wipe Out")

Narration - something about balance, following instructions, etc. You decide.

Fueling the real war on terror

While we're bogged down in Iraq, the Afghan poppy harvest is bringing in a bumper crop with the profits going to terrorists and those who harbor them.

Report: More Afghan Land Used for Drugs

"The past year witnessed record levels of poppy cultivation in areas previously not used for this purpose," Peter Rodman, assistant defense secretary for international affairs, said at a congressional hearing with Charles (Robert B. Charles, head of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs).

"We know that profits from the production of illegal narcotics flow into the coffers of warlord militias, corrupt government officials and extremist forces," Rodman said in a written statement for the House International Relations Committee hearing on the Oct. 9 Afghan elections.

Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., criticized the administration for not moving faster against a drug trade that threatens efforts to build a stable Afghan government. "The drug lords are getting stronger faster than the Afghan authorities are being built up," he said.

Ranking Democrat Tom Lantos of California repeated previous criticism of NATO for not contributing more troops, saying it threatens to turn Afghan's "potentially triumphant exercise of freedom" into "a tragedy with dozens of terror attacks against polling stations."

The drug lords wouldn't be getting stronger and NATO wouldn't need to contribute more troops if we weren't pinned down in Bush's Fantasyland.

Yet on June 15, 2004, Bush said -

"Coalition forces, including many brave Afghans, have brought America, Afghanistan and the world its first victory in the war on terror," the president said. "Afghanistan is no longer a terrorist factory sending thousands of killers into the world."

The lack of planning and follow through in the "war on terror" is breathtaking in it's stupidity.

The Bush administration had a real opportunity to effect positive changes in Afghanistan - a secure Afghanistan with a rebuilt infrastructure, free elections, a constitution mandating equal rights, and minus it's poppy fields would have been an example to the world.

They blew it, big time.

Bush Twists Kerry's Words on Iraq

You know it, I know it. Read the story, then give the article a high recommendation (at the bottom of the page). Keep it on the front page!

(Update - 1:49 p.m. - Isn't this cute? They've changed the title to "Bush, Kerry Twisting Each Other's Words")


Friday, September 24, 2004

State of Florida changes name to State of Emergency

Here comes Jeanne.

Judging by this map, it looks like Indian River, Brevard, and St. Johns counties are due for the next hit.

Be safe, folks.

From the Collective Sigh Theology Department

Psalm 2004

Bush is my shepherd, I shall be in want.
He maketh me lie down on park benches,
He leadeth me beside the still factories.
He restoreth my doubts about the Republican Party.
He leadeth me into the paths of unemployment for his cronies' sake.
Yea, though no weapons of mass destruction have been found, he maketh me continue to fear Evil.
His tax cuts for the rich and his deficit spending discomfort me.
He anointeth me with never-ending debt:
Verily my days of savings and assets are kaput.
Surely poverty and hard living shall follow me all the days of his administration,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

(Yeah, I know it's been around for awhile. But still relevant, no?)

Meanwhile, back on the rest of the planet...

For all the sturm und drang of the Iraq mess, the U.S. election, tensions with North Korea and Iran, and a hundred other trouble spots - you might be forgiven for not noticing this promising news -

India and Pakistan promise to work together

The leaders of India and Pakistan promised Friday to work together to “restore normalcy and co-operation” between their countries and seek peace in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, meeting for the first time since Singh took power in May, also discussed the possibility of running a natural gas pipeline between their nations.

Dialogue between the nuclear-armed rivals started in January when Gen. Musharraf met with Mr. Singh's predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

“I sincerely believe that today is an historic day. We have made a new beginning,” Mr. Singh said after Friday's meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session.

He expressed confidence that “despite the difficulties on the way,” he and Gen. Musharraf would “succeed in writing a new chapter in the history of our people.”

In a joint statement, the leaders reiterated their commitment to continued bilateral talks and to implementing confidence-building measures.

Ahhh, the fine art of diplomacy. Remember diplomacy?

Damn that Musharraf and Valpayjee - obviously a couple of girlie-men. Thanks to them, the world just missed out on a whacking-good nukular war.

Think how great that would have looked on Fox News.


Mrs. Joseph Wilson (aka Valerie Plame)

Not voting for Bush.

(Link via First Draft)

Reason #37,079 to vote for Kerry

President Bush on Thursday countered gloomy assessments of the situation in Iraq by citing a survey that suggested that Iraqis were more upbeat about their future than Americans were about theirs.

"I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America," Bush said in a Rose Garden appearance with Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

We've turned the corner, and it's all downhill from here.

Rig the vote

You’ve gotta love CNN’s current poll question – “Would an Iraqi election be valid if some voters can't cast ballots because of violence?

Gee, I don't know - would an American election be valid if some voters can't cast a ballot because they were intimidated, ballots were confusing, legitimate voters were included on a felon’s list, machines were rigged, and/or the court decided the outcome?

Everyone but Bush

Had to run a bunch of errands today, which took me through some residential areas down here in Rightwing Heaven; I kept noticing something a little odd.

There were several house with signs for all the local & state Republicans - Ballantine, Burr, Coble, etc. But not one of those yards had a Bush/Cheney sign.

Anyone else noticing the same sort of thing?

Presidential ticket sign count on this trip - Bush/Cheney 4, Kerry/Edwards 7. And I only counted my mother-in-law's house as one; her yard has about five Kerry/Edwards signs, plus a bumper sticker on both ends of her car.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

A most wonderful time of the year

Between the Bush maladministration and hurricane season, things have been looking a bit grim lately.

But cheer up - it's almost FLU season!

CDC: Too Many People Who Need Flu Shots Not Getting Them

If you've ever had the flu, you know you're one of those people. You also know you really should get a shot this year.

If you haven't had the flu, let me congratulate you by telling you your time is coming.

Too chicken to get a shot? Perhaps you'd rather lie around in agony for a couple of weeks? Your body will ache from one end to the other, you'll have a miserable fever and feel like every breath will surely be your last.

If it doesn't graduate to full-blown pneumonia, those symptoms will eventually go away, leaving you with no energy or will power and depressingly listless for another 4-6 weeks.

Every year, about 36,000 Americans die from the flu, and they're not all elderly or babies.

The momentary sting from a flu shot is nothing - repeat, nothing - compared to a bad case of influenza.

Yeah, the shot stings for a few seconds, and yes - your arm will be sore for 24 hours or so. You might feel "flu-ish" for a day - take a Tylenol right before you get the shot to ward off those reactions. Works for me.

Or ask for a pneumonia shot in the other arm - that'll take your mind off the flu shot ache.

The last time I was naive enough to make an appointment with my family doctor for a flu shot, it cost me seventy-five dollars. Go to the health department, a senior center, or pharmacy for one of their clinics. Their prices are generally somewhere between free and fifteen dollars.

Trust me - if you get the flu, you will spend MUCH more than fifteen dollars on various remedies that won't really help.

If you have CVS pharmacies in your area, click here , enter your zip code, and check "flu clinics" to find the store closest to you.

If you decide against getting the vaccination, let me suggest one thing - get your absentee ballot in the mail as soon as possible.

If you have the flu, you won't be able to drag yourself to the polls in November.


Click image for larger version.

 Posted by Hello


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologizes after remark about 'killing' gay men

Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologized Wednesday for saying in a televised worship service that he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically.

A complaint was filed with a Canadian broadcasting group, and Swaggart said his Baton Rouge-based Jimmy Swaggart Ministries has received complaints from gay groups over the remarks made on the Sept. 12 telecast.

In the broadcast, Swaggart was discussing his opposition to gay marriage when he said "I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry."

"And I'm going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died," Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

On Wednesday, Swaggart said he has jokingly used the expression "killing someone and telling God he died" thousands of times, about all sorts of people. He said the expression is figurative and not meant to harm.

"It's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything. You can't lie to God -- it's ridiculous," Swaggart told The Associated Press. "If it's an insult, I certainly didn't think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology."

Those "ifs" betray them every time.

Never trust an apology that doesn't just flat-out include the words "I was wrong". He's still the same dirty old man in bigot's clothing.

I coulda sworn I was in the National Guard

The period from may 1972 until May 1973 would come to be called Bush's "missing year." But the only thing Bush appeared to be missing during that year was his National Guard duty.

Read all about it in Rolling Stone.

It's almost safe to go to Alabama**

Yesirree....next time you need to capture an escaped 12-foot alligator during the night, just call me.


It was man against beast for a three-hour struggle, but in the end, Chucky the alligator was back in custody, five days after escaping from an Alabama zoo during Hurricane Ivan.

Chucky -- 12 feet long and more than 1,000 pounds -- was captured Tuesday night by a team brought in from the Orlando, Florida, theme park Gatorland to track down the huge reptile in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

What do these guys do for fun, go diving in shark-infested waters? Work as contractors in Iraq?

The Web site said that the "daredevil team used the cover of night to surprise and outwit the alligator."

Dang, why don't we put them on the hunt for Osama?

However, Alabama may not be exactly safe yet -

Chucky was one of several alligators that escaped from the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo in Gulf Shores when storm surges from Hurricane Ivan demolished the facility Thursday.

Officials had told area residents to be cautious, warning that Chucky has been fed by humans for years and could approach people if he sees them.

"If you're a male -- say 6-foot-5 -- and he wants you, you're his," zoo general manager Kate Raymond said last week.

**Sorry, Jeff - I couldn't resist. You make Alabama worthwhile. But I hope you're bigger than 6-foot-5 and are armed to the teeth. :)

Memorize this

Best presidential debate line ever for Kerry.

I'd pay good money to see Kerry compare Dubya unfavorably to Poppy. Can you say "meltdown"?

Suppressing votes from abroad

Over the past year, the Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site has been widely advertised all over the foreign press as the way for Americans to get help on how to vote in the upcoming election. The site, which is maintained by the Department of Defense, is a nonpartisan, comprehensive, and official clearinghouse for voting registration information. Now that it's been put off-limits to many Americans just before registration deadlines kick in, activists fear that Americans will be unfairly barred from voting this year.

Why would the Pentagon do this? Officials at the Voting Assistance Program have told some Americans living abroad that the blocked ISPs were havens for "hack" attacks against the voting site; the Pentagon had no choice but to block them in order to keep the voting site secure from attack. But that explanation is extremely fishy, say critics who see something more nefarious at work. The Defense Department maintains all manner of sensitive Web sites -- for instance, MyPay, which allows military personnel to manage their compensation online -- and it's had no problem protecting those from hackers while keeping them open for legitimate uses.

Here's the workaround site from the Verified Voting Foundation


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Ivan II debate

Question: If the remnants of Hurricane Ivan reform in the Gulf, should it remain "Ivan" or receive another name?

Answer: Change the name. Another hit from "Ivan" is too much like a second term for Dubya.

Won the bet

....with Mr. Andante, over whether or not there will be three debates between the future President Kerry and the Scourge of the World George Bush. But stay tuned for further developments - I won't actually win the bet until all three debates have taken place, and I'm not so sure Bush's team won't pull a fast one.

And no, the bet doesn't involve anything kinky. It's a weeks-worth of dishwashing.

Mr. Andante claimed Bush was too chickenshit to debate, but I pointed out 1) his expectations are so low he's never lost one, 2) he isn't as dumb as he acts, and 3) in the words of that great sage TBogg, calling him chickenshit is an insult to both chickens and shit.

So, brace yourself for plenty of this -

Q. Mr. Kerry, your plan for Iraq?

A. (hits about three points from this excellent speech before buzzer goes off)

Q. Mr. Bush, your response?

A. Imawarpreznitsee? Terror/murderers/9/11/(smirk)
dangerousworld/staythecourse/supportthetroops/(vacuous grin into camera).

Post-debate wrap-up - Bush 532, Kerry 0. Bush "hits it out of the park", Kerry doesn't have any new ideas.

You can hear it coming a mile away - Bush comes off as likeable, Kerry too aloof.

Aside from the enormous damage the man has done to the country and disagreeing with every policy he's ever introduced, one of the things I don't like about George Bush is exactly that - he "comes off as" likeable.

Because I have a gut feeling that if anyone got to really know him, they wouldn't really like him.

I mean, how many "Friends Of George" do we see hanging around with him? The hangers-on are all politicos like Karen Hughes or Karl Rove, big donors, or friends of his father.

I don't like his phoniness, and I despise his policies. If that makes me a "Bush hater", so be it.


Monday, September 20, 2004

Employer-based health care

That the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't offer some form of universal health care coverage drives me crazy. The idea that only the gainfully employed deserve to live and thrive directly contradicts our so-called "family values" and any civilized moral structure.

The centerpiece of Bush's plan is meant to encourage individuals to take more control of their own health care.

The plan includes tax breaks for individuals and small businesses who contribute to health savings accounts. HSAs are accounts in which people can save money tax-free and use the funds to purchase health care.

"The Bush vision is quite radical. He essentially is dreaming of a world where there is no employer-provided insurance," said Uwe Reinhardt, a health economist at Princeton University. "You buy your own insurance, but you pay the first $2,000 to $4,000 per year out of your own pocket."

That's certainly getting away from employer-based health care insurance, but in the opposite direction.

It's just fine and dandy if you're financial well-off, healthy, and don't expect many medical problems. But what of those who are underpaid or unemployed, have medical problems, and can expect more?

And here's another rub. Let's say you're employed and pay $200 per month for your health insurance purchased through your employer. And let's say your employer kicks in $400 to pay for your policy.

Along comes Bush, freeing your employer from the burden of paying for your policy.

Is your employer going to give you a $400 per month raise?

There are honorable, decent business owners - are you willing to bet your health care and that of your family on the honor and decency of your employer?

If your answer is "yes", I've got some swampland I'd love to sell you. The lure of the almighty dollar is strong; even those who resist can be bought out by less conscientious corporations.

Oh - you say the Bush administration will pass legislation requiring employers return that $400 per month to the employee? In that case, I've got a couple of bridges and national monuments I'd like to sell you, too.

In the meantime, you're stuck with having to buy a private policy for a much higher premium and probably a much higher deductible. And nothing has been done to rein in rising health care and pharmaceutical costs.

`Atmospherics' intelligence is how U.S. troops read Baghdad body language

BAGHDAD, Iraq - It's going to be a good day, the American soldiers thought, as they left the base and started their patrol in the most dangerous part of Baghdad.

On the decrepit streets lined with raw sewage and garbage, Iraqi men silently stared down the passing Humvees, sometimes with arms crossed. One man stepped out of his shop and spit toward the convoy. Children ran along the patrol route, waving, cheering and begging for candy.

A dirty look is better than no one out at all, the soldiers said. When parents are willing to venture out and let their children play, it means the insurgents aren't planning an attack, at least for the moment.

These are more than casual observations by the soldiers. The military calls it atmospherics, and it passes for military intelligence at a time when U.S. troops near Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood no longer can interact openly with Iraqis. It comes mostly from the limited view through the windows that line their Humvees. The soldiers said such looks helped them determine how dangerous their patrol route could be that day.

I hope it works, but I wouldn't bet my life on it. And it's a shame our soldiers HAVE to bet their lives on this type of intelligence.

Brought to you by the same management that now touts "Saddam had every intention of developing WMD's" as the excuse for this war.


The kid's dorm and the "quad" turned into a lake.

If they can get the roads open and the power and water running minimally, they may resume classes tomorrow. Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Print out the list

Conservatives Urge Boycott of Procter & Gamble

Two influential Christian groups are calling for a boycott of two best-selling products of Procter & Gamble to protest a statement on the company's internal Web site that opposes a local statute to exempt gays and lesbians from special civil rights protection.

The leaders of the groups, Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family and the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon of American Family Association, contend that by making the statement, Procter & Gamble, based in Cincinnati, is implicitly supporting same-sex marriage. Social conservatives are trying to place on the ballot a measure to amend the Ohio Constitution to ban same-sex marriage..

"For Procter & Gamble to align itself with radical groups committed to redefining marriage in our country is an affront to its customers," Dr. Dobson said yesterday.

All good Americans will surely want to avoid buying anything from the nefarious Proctor & Gamble.

As a public service, Collective Sigh offers this link to the Procter & Gamble global list of products to rush out and buy immediately put on your personal blacklist.

Your duty is clear. Isn't it?

Gimme That Old-Time Religion Pharmacy

If you've got a couple hundred thousand dollars lying around and you're looking for a good investment - have I got a proposition for you.

When I noticed this -

A little-noticed provision cleared the House of Representatives last week that would prohibit local, state or federal authorities from requiring any institution or health care professional to provide abortions, pay for them, or make abortion-related referrals, even in cases of rape or medical emergency.

....I thought, "there must be a vast market for a good, God-fearing chain of pharmacies.

Here's the deal.

Naturally, our pharmacy chain - let's call it the "Gimme That Old-Time Religion Pharmacy" - won't sell any contraceptives; including condoms, spermicidal sponges or suppositories, douches of any kind whatsoever including Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper or wire coat hangers.

For, as everyone knows, if God hadn't intended women to have babies, He would have mede them ugly and stinky. And he wouldn't have created men.

But that's not all; our GTOTRP's shouldn't be limited to matters of reproduction. After all, God created thousands of human conditions that shouldn't be messed with.

The Gimme That Old-Time Religion Pharmacy chain knows that veins are intended to clog and only withstand a certain amount of pressure. Human hair is intended to become gray and/or fall out. Breath is supposed to stink, and hemorroids are the natural way of getting you off your butt and on your knees praying.

When you come right down to it, all these perfectly natural conditions are part of God's birth control method - who are we to mess around with it?

The possibilities are endless. Any takers?


Friday, September 17, 2004

Ivan's last gasps

Ferrum 44, Chowan 0

Ferrum and Chowan tried to play if safe Friday, moving their Division III football game up a day to avoid the remnants of Tropical Storm Ivan.

Instead, they wound up playing a bizarre game as Ivan, with whipping winds and sheets of rain, arrived early.

With only 127 people looking on, the teams endured two weather delays, skipped halftime and agreed to shorten the fourth quarter to 8 minutes as Ferrum won 44-0.

The Panthers (2-1) were leading 26-0 with 6:51 left in the second quarter when lightning forced a 40-minute delay. When play resumed, it was stopped a few minutes later amid reports of tornados nearby, including one that touched down 6 miles away.

The teams agreed to cancel halftime, and after Ferrum went up 38-0, both coaches agreed to an abbreviated fourth period.

File this under "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature".

Through earth, wind, rain, and fire

Specifically mountains, gusty winds, pounding rain, and thunderstorms.

We are home, safe & sound. It's a drive I never want to repeat as long as I live. Visibility through the mountains was about 10-20 yards, plus all of the above.

Mr. Andante threatened me with divorce if I didn't wait for him to get off work. He drove up, then drove the kid & her car back. I followed very, very timidly in my car.

Thanks to all for the good wishes and good thoughts; we definitely needed them.

I think this qualifies us for a free pass into heaven, regardless of how many times we vote a straight Democratic ticket.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Motherhood mania

If you have little children and think your worries will be over some day, think again. As my mother says - "Once you have kids, you never draw a free breath".

My daughter just called; her college has cancelled classes for tomorrow and all activities for the weekend. They are expecting 20-30 inches of rain from Ivan.

They had about fourteen inches from Frances, and their (mountaintop) campus was flooded. Students are urged to get out. Today. Now.

I told her to stack everything she could in her room off the floor, and mamma will be there in about three hours.

....off I go, into the belly of the beast.

What's the plan, George?

The media keeps fussin' that John Kerry won't articulate a "plan" on Iraq. Isn't it way past time they asked Dubya the same question?

U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism on Iraq's Future

A classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush in late July spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq, government officials said Wednesday.

The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.

"There's a significant amount of pessimism," said one government official who has read the document, which runs about 50 pages. The officials declined to discuss the key judgments - concise, carefully written statements of intelligence analysts' conclusions - included in the document.


As described by the officials, the pessimistic tone of the new estimate stands in contrast to recent statements by Bush administration officials, including comments on Wednesday by Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, who asserted that progress was being made.

"You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," Mr. McClellan said at a news briefing. "And every step of the way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future."

President Bush, who was briefed on the new intelligence estimate, has not significantly changed the tenor of his public remarks on the war's course over the summer, consistently emphasizing progress while acknowledging the difficulties.

Must be another one of those "historic documents". Move along; nothing to see here.

Q. What is the Bush administration plan for a peaceful, secure Iraq?

A. Who cares about ungrateful Iraqi dead-enders? It's on to Iran!


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

(What? It's Wednesday already?)

Yep, one of those days.

As my head hit the pillow last night, the phone rang (never good); a friend had just been killed in an auto accident. Some moron stalled his tractor-trailer on a curvy road and left it there with no lights, no warning, nothing. My friend came around the curve and ran slap into it.

On about two hours of sleep, I schlep down to my mother's house to await a repairman, due at 8:00 a.m. Right - we all know that sad tale. After multiple "where are you?" calls, I got home this afternoon, finally, at 3:00 p.m.

The bright spot of the day was earlier this morning, watching Kitty Kelley calmly hold her ground against CNN's Heidi Collins. Kitty refused to say she was making wild speculations about anything or fall to her knees to confess any journalistic sins, and Collins looked like someone hit her in the face with a bag of nickels. Where do they get these people?

And then there's the weather worries. We haven't had any damage, except to our nerves. Will this hurricane season ever end?

I checked in with Pat Robertson and the 700 Club to see how their "Pray Away The Hurricane" effort was going, but to my intense surprise (/sarcasm), there is none. Must have learned his lesson when Isabelle scored a bulls-eye on him.

But there was this item -

(New Orleans mayor) Nagin said he would "aggressively recommend" people evacuate, but that it would be difficult to order them to, because at least 100,000 in the city rely on public transportation and have no way to leave.

"They say evacuate, but they don't say how I'm supposed to do that," said Latonya Hill, 57, who lives on a disability check and money she picks up cleaning houses or baby sitting. "If I can't walk it or get there on the bus, I don't go. I don't got a car. My daughter don't either."

Not everyone has a car, or money for a hotel, or friends/relatives in safer locations.

As Ivan approached Cuba, we saw footage of buses transporting people from the western end of the island to safer locations.

I know it's a bit late to consider it, but how about letting people rely on some of that good ol' USA public transportation the next time a storm causes an evacuation? Offer free bus rides to shelters? Or is that too Castro?


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 - small college version

For those who don't know, my daughter is a sophomore at Lees-McRae College, a small Presbyterian-sponsored liberal arts college in the northwest North Carolina mountains.

Last night, the college "after hours" program sponsored "Fahrenheit 9/11" in Evans Auditorium. Here's my daughter's description (names changed to protect the guilty) -

Last night I had to co-run the class election/homecoming polls 30 minutes before the College Program (Fahrenheit 9/11), and then about 10 minutes after it let out. Evans was packed for the program, they had rows of chairs set up in the back section as well but there still wasn't enough seats.

I thought the beginning was really good but it definitely lost my attention and confused me when they were linking people and corporations (so and so funded this group, who had this guy as a board member, who funded this person, who funded Bush).

Everyone was really respectful during it and it got a lot of laughs at all the right places. Pretty good applause at the end too.

I know of a few conservative people that went to it - I know that Steve left during the movie. But, I guess for every "Steve", there was a "James" - James, who is openly conservative, was actually looking forward to watching it (we were the ones running the polls and he genuinely seemed excited to see it), he just wanted to see what all the fuss was about over it and wanted to have seen it before he formed an opinion on it. He stayed the whole time and I heard him laughing a few times, so at least he came into it with reasonable expectations and was able to enjoy some of it.

Sarah ended up not going to it...I'm sad she didn't because even though I knew it wouldn't really change her mind, she'd at least know what she was talking about. She called me right after I got back and told me about Steve leaving. She then said something like, "The whole movie was just Bush bashing, no wonder he left." I replied, "I know it wasn't favorable to Bush, but not everything in the movie was directly aimed at him." To which she replied, "Well, that's what Steve said." I then asked how long Steve stayed...she said, "15 minutes."


Of course, I never cared about sitting through "The Clinton Chronicles". But if it had been a critically-acclaimed documentary about proven facts, I might have.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Storm preparedness

Regardless of where you live, it pays to be prepared.

Greg provides a comprehensive list of everything you need to know and some things you probably would rather not know.

A must-read for anyone living on the planet Earth.

(Laugh out loud alert....move liquids away from the keyboard and click here)

Job placement test

Take this test.

Get the answers right, and Dubya will appoint you Secretary of Defense or National Security Advisor in his next term.

(Thanks to Elayne for the link and the laugh)

Fired because of a Kerry/Edwards sticker on her car

Holy moley.

Lynne Gobbell of Moulton, Alabama said her boss fired her last week because of the Kerry-Edwards campaign sticker on the back of her car.

"I would like to find another job, but I would take that job back because I need to work," she said. "It upset me and made me mad that he could put a letter in my check expressing his (political) opinion, but I can't put something on my car expressing mine."

She was referring to a flier that she said Gaddis placed in employee envelopes to remind them of the positive impact that President Bush's policies have had on them. An employee at the plant who would not identify himself confirmed the contents of the letter.

Gobbell provided a copy of the flier. It says:

"Just so you will know, because of the Bush tax (cut):

I was able to buy the new Hammer Mill
I was able to finance our receivables
I was able to get the new CAT skid steer
I was able to get the wire cutter
I was able to give you a job"

It further says:

"You got the benefit of the Bush tax cut. Everyone did."

(Thanks to Blah3 for the link)

USAir Asks to Skip Pension Payment

US Airways Group Inc., trying to raise money and avoid liquidation, on Monday asked a judge for permission to skip a big pension payment due this week, in its first move since filing for protection against creditors over the weekend.

The No. 7 U.S. airline, which filed for its second bankruptcy in as many years on Sunday, got permission to continue operating using money from a loan it secured last year with the help of government guarantees.

But US Airways told the court it cannot make the $110 million payment due Wednesday for pension plans covering members of the International Association of Machinists and the Association of Flight Attendants, and that it may ask to terminate those plans.

Hey guys - how about terminating THESE plans?


Officers & Directors, total compensation for fiscal year ending 12/31/2003

Elizabeth K. Lanier - $$2,369,528.00
Ben B. Baldanze - $2,222,677.00
Allen W. Crellin - $2,498,819.00

And don't forget - the taxpayers have already bailed these guys out once.

More "Republicans Know Best" nonsense

The administration has been studying drug importation, but Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, said last week it will not likely come up for a vote in the Senate this year.

God forbid we should pay less for prescription drugs when the FLAG is endangered.


Posted by Hello

Don't you love one-party rule?

It's amazing how any issue that could prove problematic for Democrats can be hustled onto the floors of Congress, yet they never have time for anything crucial to the safety, health, and prosperity of the American people.

For some Republicans it is the perfect political storm: a Senate vote on a constitutional amendment to protect the U.S. flag that would put Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, running mate John Edwards and Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle on the spot just a few weeks before the Nov. 2 elections.

The Senate GOP leadership has not scheduled a vote on the proposed amendment, but Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) noted last week that it is a high priority for veterans groups. Other Republicans say a vote is likely before the Senate's Oct. 8 target date for adjournment.

Regarding the highly popular assault weapons ban, Majority Leader Frist, a man with a middle finger on the pulse of American opinion, also notes - "I think the will of the people is consistent with letting it expire. So it will expire."

Police chiefs and law enforcement officals from all over the country have lobbied for the ban.

Appearing at a news conference, chiefs of police from the District of Columbia, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle predicted an increase in violent gun crimes if the bans does expire.

"Our streets, our homes, our citizens and our police officers will face great danger unless the federal ban on assault weapons is renewed," said Charles H. Ramsey, the police chief in the nation's capital.

No word on the great dangers we face if the flag isn't protected.

Devastation linked to global warming

Scientists are claiming that the unprecedented ferocity and frequency of the hurricanes that have battered the Caribbean this year can be blamed on one factor: the unexpectedly warm water that has been building up in the Atlantic over the past year.


According to Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, sea surface temperatures are now 5C higher than recent averages and these have been directly responsible for spawning Hurricanes Ivan, Frances and Charley this summer.

The Union of Concerned Scientists will release a study today -

explaining the ways global warming is changing California. The report predicts a rise in average summer temperatures of up to 5.5 degrees by mid-century, far higher than previous studies have projected. Even the scientists' most optimistic scenario, a temperature rise of only 2 degrees, could cause a host of economically damaging effects, such as the premature ripening of wine grapes.

Already, global warming is drying up water sources (such as the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which is melting earlier than usual). It may also be helping some tropical diseases, such as West Nile virus, migrate north.

And waiting in the wings - Climate experts: El Nino developing in Pacific

El Ninos occur about every four to five years and can last up to 12 to 18 months. The effects can range from drought in Indonesia, Australia and Africa, to storms in California and floods elsewhere.

The 1997-98 El Nino caused an estimated $20 billion in damage worldwide.

The Bush administration rejected the Kyoto Treaty, claiming it was against the economic interests of the United States.

So, let's see - war, pestilence, famine, death.

With the Bush administration around, who needs the Book of Revelation?

No hurricanes there

Scott is blogging from Russia, posting pictures, and getting settled in at Yaroslavl'.

Drop in at Miscellanea for a tour, and say "hi".


Sunday, September 12, 2004

Sight for sore eyes

Wouldn't it be sweet if Dubya was denied retirement benefits?

U.S. News & World Report -

...A review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.

Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.

The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably."

Some experts say they remain mystified as to how Bush obtained an honorable discharge. Lawrence Korb, a former top Defense Department official in the Reagan administration, says the military records clearly show that Bush "had not fulfilled his obligation" and "should have been called to active duty."

The Inhouse Weather Expert

It's that time of year again, when Mr. Andante becomes our Inhouse Weather Expert.

Normally, his main concern with the weather is - "Is it raining too hard to go fishing?" or "It rained three days ago; it's still too wet to mow".

But if there's an adverse weather situation anywhere in the continental United States, Caribbean, or Atlantic - it's Headed Straight At Us.

Never mind we're protected on the west by the Blue Ridge Mountains, and on the east, south, and north by hundreds of miles of land.

If it's a dramatic event like a blizzard, tornado outbreak, or hurricane - it's Headed Straight At Us.

Usually, this pronouncement is followed by an elaborate explanation of air currents, troughs, ridges, and such.

Practically the only time we're affected by destructive weather is when it does an end run around the mountains (rare) or when it comes barrelling in from the Atlantic (even more rare).

Which is not to say nothing exciting weather-wise ever happens around here. Ice storms have paralyzed the region for weeks, and our eighteen-inch snow this past winter kept everyone off the streets for days.

The remnants of various hurricanes have swept through the area and weakened every pine tree over ten feet tall. Around our house, most of them have either fallen on their own or have been cut down.

Hurricane Hugo gave us a definite scare. Mr. Andante woke me at 5:00 a.m., informing me it was Headed Straight At Us as a Category Two.

I crawled out of bed, started coffee, fished out the flashlights, extra batteries, radio, water, etc. By the time I turned on the Weather Channel, Hugo had taken a sharp westward turn and was bearing down on Charlotte, N.C.

I've always thought Hugo got one look at my 5:00 a.m. not-so-happy face and made a beeline in the other direction.

Our Inhouse Weather Expert informed me Friday afternoon that "Ivan" - still off the coast of Venezuela - was not only Headed Straight At Us but had become a Category Six.

"I don't think there IS a Category Six", says I.

"That's what they said on the radio".

I didn't pursue it, but was rewarded that evening when the Weather Channel lady informed us Ivan had re-strengthened to a Category Five, which was the highest level.

No comment from the Inhouse Weather Expert, and I knew better than to react in any way whatsoever.

We'll keep him around, if not for his weather-wisdom. Our thoughts are with all those who really have to worry about what's headed straight at you.


Saturday, September 11, 2004

Lest we forget

Why al-Qaeda is winning

Three years after September 11, President George W Bush's crusade is a failure. "War on terror" is a meaningless myth: you can't combat a supple attack machine like al-Qaeda with shock and awe. What should have been a long, meticulous police operation was turned by Bush - instigated by his foreign policy adviser, God - into an illegal, preemptive attack on a nation that had nothing to do with terror.

This policy has actually increased terror attacks around the world. Last year in Cairo, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Sheikh Yamani, a man who knows one or two things about Arabs, violence and oil, said the invasion would produce "one hundred bin Ladens". They are here, and they have no one else but Bush to thank.

Before someone screams that "Saddam encouraged terrorists!", let's acknowledge there are countries which lend much more active support to terrorism than Iraq. Start the list with Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, North Korea....

Like a multinational product, "al-Qaeda" suits everybody. For President Vladimir Putin in Russia, Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan, even President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the Philippines, "al-Qaeda" is the ideal excuse for any repressive or inept regime presenting its credentials as a full-fledged member of the "war on terror". For al-Qaeda's purposes, bin Laden remaining the supreme evil is an invaluable propaganda coup. And for al-Qaeda franchises - free to pursue their own initiatives - using the brand means guaranteed media impact.

"Al-Qaeda" the brand has now embarked on an inexorable logic of expansion - in flagrant contradiction to Bush's assertion that the world is safer. Al-Qaeda will keep deepening its alliances with ethnic and nationalist movements - with Shamil Basayev, the emir of the mujahideen in Chechnya and trainer of the Black Widow squadrons of female suicide bombers, or with sectors of the Iraqi resistance in the Sunni triangle.

Cheney was wrong - "“It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again and we’ll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States".

The wrong choice has already been made; it was made when the Bush administration declared an unwinnable war and proceeded to fight it through emphasis on conventional methods that have alienated thousands of innocent people and contributed to the spread of militant Islam.


I wanted to do something to mark the third anniversary of another day that shall live in infamy. But Moe Blues does it better.
On this third anniversary of the horrific attacks that “changed everything,” I cannot but look back with sorrow and horror both at the attacks and what has become of our country since then. Our president has squandered everything.
(read it all)
What an incredible waste.

Ten-step program

The "Let loving, responsible, well-informed parents do it" crowd is at it again -

AUSTIN - High school students in Houston and elsewhere may not learn about preventing pregnancy and disease in proposed new textbooks that teach abstinence exclusively.


Critics of the books, which will replace 11-year-old texts, said that they lack a discussion of condoms and contraception in violation of the curriculum requirement that health books "analyze the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods."

For example, Holt, Rinehart and Winston's Lifetime Health lists 10 steps for students to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. The use of latex condoms is not one of them. Students are advised, however, to get plenty of rest.

Yeah, that'll work.

As a loving, responsible, plain-spoken parent who failed utterly when it came to "The Talk", I remain profoundly grateful to the public schools that took it upon themselves to pick up where I so miserably left off. It helped to have a neighbor's (unmarried) daughter reproducing like a rabbit and setting the glowing example.

One can only speculate on the other steps advised to avoid unwanted pregnancy and/or offspring, but let's look back into history and give it a try, shall we?

1. Infanticide - practised since since the beginning of time to control population.

2. Silphium One of the most common contraceptive agents used in the ancient Mediterranean world was silphium which grew exclusively in the country of Cyrene in North Africa. Since Cyrene was the sole exporter of the plant, it became the city’s official symbol on its coinage and it remained the city’s primary source of income until the first century BCE.

3. Aristotle, a Greek teacher-philosopher (384–322 BCE), considered olive oil mixed with cedar oil, lead ointment, or frankincense the ideal contraceptive. This mixture was applied to "that part of the womb in which the seed falls."

4. An ancient Roman woman wishing to avoid pregnancy wore a leather pouch containing a cat's liver on her left foot during sex. To prevent pregnancy, the women of ancient Rome were advised to spit into the mouth of a frog three times.

5. Women in ancient Greece supposedly ground their pelvises in such a way as to increase their partner's pleasure. This practice was also believed to prevent pregnancy – the movement, they believed, diverted the sperm away from the womb.

6. Papuan Islanders recognized the connection between sex and the bearing of children. Concerned that homosexual males might become pregnant, they devised a large public ceremony where men were fed limes to ensure contraception. The ritual proved to be very successful.

7. From ancient Egypt - Put crocodile excrement in the vagina. It is likely that this prescription refers to a hardened plug of dried crocodile dun inserted at the mouth of the uterus to block the entrance of sperm, but the papyri are unclear.

8. Also from ancient Egypt - lint, moistened with a mixture of acacia, carob, and dates ground into honey, "should be placed at the mouth of the uterus."

9. The women in Northern Canada drank a potion of dried beaver testicles mixed with alcohol to avoid pregnancy.

10. In the modern era United States, get plenty of rest.

Citing statistics from the Texas Department of Health, Farrar said there were more than 16,000 births to teenage mothers in 2002.

Supporters of abstinence-only programs said they need to be given time to work.

Given the evidence of the centuries, it appears abstinence education has gotten a pretty fair trial and come up zillions of unwanted babies short.


Friday, September 10, 2004

The Dubya treatment

We're hoping the kid will be able to come home from college this weekend, and are busy making preparations.

After several days of being scared by and dealing with the considerable remnants of Frances, she'll get the Dubya treatment - sleep as much as she wants, all her favorite foods will be set before her, no work will be required of her, and I'll even clean up her messes.

Maybe she'll get a little rest before possibly getting Ivan-ized.

Thinking about Ivan brings me to Aruba, where my sister & her husband plan to spend their 25th wedding anniversary in November.

From Aruba - Travel Guide.com -
In Aruba the newspapers almost never publish a weather report. They don't need to. Around here, "sunny and warm" is not news. With an average rainfall of less than 20 inches a year, an average daytime temperature of 82° Fahrenheit (27° Celsius), a location completely outside the hurricane belt, and the constant cooling influence of the trade winds, Aruba is one of the most temperate islands in the Caribbean. And just as comfortable in July as it is in January.
Yet from the Caribbean Net News -
Sept. 8, 2004 - Dangerous Hurricane Ivan expected to pass just north of Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba

Ivan is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph. This motion is expected to continue during the next 24 hours. On this track, the center of Ivan should move north of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao later Wednesday. However, any deviation to the left of the forecast track could bring the center close to those islands.
Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, or Venezuela never experience hurricanes. In Curacao, the government evacuated 300 residents.
High winds and heavy rains from Ivan flooded parts of Venezuela's north coast, but no injuries or major damage was reported from the South American nation.

Helicopter charter companies were busy Wednesday ferrying evacuated workers back to offshore oil drilling platforms there.
Can you say "global warming"?

Meanwhile, the mostly-American student body of St. George's University in Grenada (remember those medical students Reagan liberated in 1983?) are holding their own -
Students at St. George's University, which overlooks the Grenadian capital, hid under mattresses or in bathrooms. "The pipes were whistling, the doors were vibrating, gusts were coming underneath the window," said Sonya Lazarevic, a first-year students from New York.


She said that the danger didn't end with the winds. Organ said she wandered downtown later and saw bands of machete-wielding men looting a hardware store.

Lazarevic said the mostly American student body was arming with knives, sticks and pepper spray for fear that looters would move into areas near the school.

"We don't feel safe," she told The Associated Press by telephone.
I guess it's time to invade Grenada again.

Fact checking

It's sort of amusing, watching the so-called "experts" swarming over those "Sixty Minutes" documents to verify their authenticity.

The facts are:

1) Whether the documents are authentic or not, George Bush still blew off part of his National Guard duty.

2) He's been lying about it and/or covering up ever since.

It's a shame all these "experts" didn't exert their powers on those Niger uranium papers.

And it's a further shame that the SCLM jumped on this one virtually overnight, and it took - how long? - for them to start questioning the Swift Boat Liars.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Ripping off the health care system

If you pay too much for prescription drugs, know someone who pays too much for prescription drugs, or have realized that someday you WILL be paying too much for prescription drugs unless politicians have the guts to stand up to these creeps - you'll want to read the Mother Jones interview with Dr. Marcia Angell.

The high price of prescription drugs has put -- and kept -- U.S. pharmaceutical companies in the news recently, but Dr. Marcia Angell argues that problems with the industry run even deeper. In her new book, The Truth About Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It (reviewed in the current issue of Mother Jones), the former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine contends that the industry has become a marketing machine that produces few innovative drugs and is dependent on monopoly rights and public-sponsored research.

Angell disputes the industry’s reputation as an “engine of innovation,” arguing that the top U.S. drug makers spend 2.5 times as much on marketing and administration as they do on research. At least a third of the drugs marketed by industry leaders were discovered by universities or small biotech companies, writes Angell, but they’re sold to the public at inflated prices. She cites Taxol, the cancer drug discovered by the National Institutes of Health, but sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $20,000 a year, reportedly 20 times the manufacturing cost. The company agreed to pay the NIH only 0.5 percent in royalties for the drug.

The majority of the new products the industry puts out, says Angell, are “me-too” drugs, which are almost identical to current treatments but “no better than drugs already on the market to treat the same condition.” Around 75 percent of new drugs approved by the FDA are me-too drugs. They can be less effective than current drugs, but as long as they’re more effective than a placebo, they can get the regulatory green light.

Finally, Angell attacks major pharmaceutical industry -- whose top ten companies make more in profits than the rest of the Fortune 500 combined -- for using “free market” rhetoric while opposing competition at all costs. She discusses Prilosec maker Astra-Zeneca, which filed multiple lawsuits against generic drug makers to prevent them from entering the market when the company’s exclusive marketing rights expired. The company “obtained a patent on the idea of combining Prilosec with antibiotics, then argued that a generic drug would infringe on that patent because doctors might prescribe it with an antibiotic.”

Angell, who is a doctor and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, wants to see the industry reformed. She recently sat down with MotherJones.com to talk about how to “ensure that we have access to good drugs at reasonable prices and that the reality of this industry is finally brought into line with its rhetoric.”

Read the interview.

Need suggestions

Danny in Tampa Bay has a good idea -

I've had an idea, somewhat along the lines of what freewayblogger does. Half of my friends have their windows boarded up from Frances/Charley/Bonnie and are leaving them up until Ivan's over with. I've got some of them to agree to spray painting the most visible boards "Bush Causes Global Warming" "Bush's Enviromental Policy Has Uprooted my Bushes" bah.. I need suggestions. Will send photo's.

Keep it short and keep 'em coming!


Yes, indeed, Mr. Cheney. If what's on the left happens again, I'd rather not have something like what's on the right from our president.

Many thanks to Michael for the graphic.
 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Congratulations to Norbizness for finding a picture that almost, sort-of, kinda shows our cowboy/wrangler/rancher preznit associated with a horse. Posted by Hello
Onward, Christian soldiers

Fight Breaks Out Over Kerry Veterans

A member of a Christian group has been fired after allegedly punching several veterans marching for presidential candidate John Kerry in Monday's Harvest Festival parade in Windsor, Colo.

Russell Laughlin, 40, of Nunn, was a member of the northern Colorado FamilyLife Marriage Conference and was walking ahead of 175 members of Veterans for Kerry.

According to police, Laughlin was handing out pamphlets for his group while making loud insults about Kerry to the crowd gathered to watch the parade.

After about a mile, the veterans group asked Laughlin to go back to his own group, but he refused and instead stood in front of the Kerry group, refusing to move, according to a Chris Humphries, an Army veteran and Kerry campaign employee.

That's when a fight erupted and Laughlin grabbed a veteran by his shirt and started swinging, according to Gary Fedel, a Lakewood, Colo. member of Veterans for Kerry. Humphries said Laughlin then turned around punched her in the mouth.

Police arrested Laughlin on charges of misdemeanor assault.

The FamilyLife Marriage Conference said it dismissed the volunteer, as a result of the melee.

FamilyLife is an organization that holds conferences to bring married couples closer together.

Maybe they need to work on their confrontation mediation techniques?

And did you notice that - "punched HER in the mouth"?


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