Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush to unveil super-flu plan on Tuesday

Curses - trumped again by The Onion -

The stages of Halloween

I. Infant to @ twelve - intense anticipation of spooky times to come and lots of candy.

II. Indulgent young adult - passing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

III. Grumpy old fogey - turning out lights and eating candy yourself.

I've reached Stage III myself. Actually, there are very few Stage I's on our street these days, so I'm joined by most of my neighbors in Stage III.

But what Halloween would be complete without visiting a "Hallelujah House" or another similarly named spectacle?

We have a wide assortment of them around here, from churches disguising their Revivals For The Youth as "harvest festivals", to knock-offs of the one-and-only Landover Baptist Hellhouse.

Enter door number two at your own risk....The Demoncrat Room
In Room number 2 you will experience the horrors of life under the extreme liberal agenda! Your guns will be taken away! Your children will be taught that homosexurals are human! You will pay taxes while lazy good-for-nothing negroes eat fried chicken and watermelon and watch color TV all day while you have to work! Boodists, Cathylicks and other satanists will go unpunished and will walk the streets like they own them! See for yourself what blasphemy will occur if the Clinton/Gore liberal feminazis are not stopped!

On-site Republican voter registration is required; minimum registration is two states. Prizes will be given to the individual(s) who manage to register in all fifty states, "Puerto Rico and all U.S. holdings and territories." Participants will have to dodge the Al Gore monster as he tries to chop off your hands when you register to vote! While the evil Gore aims for your hands, the liberal demoncrat Lieberman will aim lower, trying to perform a circumcision. If you fail to dodge the demons and register in two states, you will be evicted from Hellhouse!


Friday, October 28, 2005

Clean house

Michael is right - Libby never should have had the opportunity to resign.
Scooter Libby should never have been allowed to resign: Cheney should have fired his ass as soon as Fitzgerald stopped reading the indictment.
If the administration was ever really serious about "restoring integrity", Libby's butt would have been out the door as soon as it became apparent he would face indictment.

That goes double for "Official A(sshole)".

There's no denying the Bush administration has been like the worst kind of evangelical missionaries; so certain of their twisted worldview they were willing to jeopardize the security of the country and utter disdain for the law of the land.

Talking points

If I'm hearing this discussion on CNN correctly, two Republican talking-points are emerging. Number one - blame Joe Wilson. As Paul Begala pointed out, this is what got the Bushies in trouble in the first place.

But Joe diGenova is pushing a goody - the CIA is at fault for not providing better protection for Plame's cover.

Amazing.....Republicans are worried the CIA can't protect itself from Republicans?

We still don't know who told Novakula about Plame.

The saga continues.....

The ONION tells all

Bush To Nominate Next Person Who Walks Through Door

October 27, 2005 | Issue 41•43

WASHINGTON, DC—After Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination for the Supreme Court Thursday, President Bush announced that he will nominate the next person who walks through his door. "I assure the American people that the next person who enters my field of vision will be a highly qualified candidate of unimpeachable character, with a solid record, and—what's more—a good heart," Bush said. As of press time, 17 people were waiting outside the door, including the president's daughter Jenna, and special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

I'm dreaming of a bankrupt Christmas


Mr. Andante has a big family, and they refuse to consider drawing names for gifts. So, once again I'm knitting and crocheting and shopping at the Dollar Store and Goodwill.

Googling around for gift ideas, I came up with a few not-too-expensive things for those who are oh-so-hard at gift-giving time. Most of them are out of my price range, which ranges anywhere from "free" to $10.00, but I thought I'd share.

For about $54.00 plus shipping, why not delight that persnickity gift recipient with a title?
When you book a table in a restaurant or check in to a hotel, imagine how much better service would you receive if you were the Lord / Lady of Glencairn? The person who receives this gift pack will be the proud owner of a square foot of the Glencairn Estate located in Caithness in the far North East of Scotland and therefore become the Laird / Lady of Glencairn.
If a square foot of Glencairn Estate sounds a bit too cheap, you might go for acreage - on the moon.
Here's your chance to own 1 acre of the Moon, and have the certificate to prove it.

You will be the envy of your friends with this unique and novel property. If you are a first time buyer this is also the ideal way to get on to the property ladder!
And who couldn't use a belly button brush?
Intensively designed and developed by NASA (ahem, honest) costing the tax paying citizens of America billions of dollars, the hi-tech design has left many people speechless. If you're anything like me you'll be thinking "how did mankind survive so long without this essential grooming tool?" and "why on God's sweet earth have we had to wait so long for this wondrous brush?" Of course, if you are thinking along those lines you probably need more medication than I'm currently taking and belly button fluff is probably the last thing on your troubled mind.
And from Gadgetstorm, an update on the ever-popular Eight Ball - The Decision Maker
Press the button on this gorgeous paperweight to have your questions answered by the blue flashing light - is it random, or controlled by some higher power?
The Cat End Towel Holder is interesing -

But if you're really stuck on a gift for that cranky Republican acqaintance, you can't beat the Not your day t-shirt, which reads -
"I can only please one person each day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn't look good either".
May your Fitzmas be merry and bright!


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Down home Carolina cooking - Halloween edition

Stuck for a good old blood & guts recipe?

I still think Halloween was more fun when you just threw on a white sheet, cut two eye-holes, and hit the street with a shopping bag. But for those with gory aspirations:

From our local FAUX affiliate, WGHP-TV:
Classic horror movies depend on blood and gore to terrify. And this time of year is all about scary costumes and masks. But, if you really want to frighten your friends, you can steal some tricks from the experts. But you don't have to travel to Hollywood for make-up tips. We talked to a make-up artist at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Michael Meyer says, blood is one of the easiest props to make. You can buy all of the ingredients at the grocery store. Combine 2/3 cup corn syrup and 1/3 cup chocolate syrup. When it's mixed together, add a tablespoon of red food coloring. Then, add one tiny drop of blue food coloring. You can apply it to your skin with a popsicle stick.

To make fake skin for a realistic "scarred or torn look" use these materials, also available at your grocery store: Combine 3/4 oz of plain gelatin, 1/2 oz of water, 1 1/2 ounces of glycerin* and 1 1/2 ounces of sorbitol*. *Both are available at your pharmacy. Microwave the mixture for about 5 seconds, or until it dissolves. Remember, don't let the liquid boil! To make it flesh colored, add in a little cake makeup, then microwave again for 5 seconds. You can then apply it to your skin, but be sure it's not so hot it burns.

Buh-bye, Harriet

I'm almost sorry to see Harriet go so soon.

Surely someone so inarticulate in her written responses and so ineffectual in the one-on-ones with legislators would have provided endless fun at televised hearings.

So, let's play multiple choice:

A. Miers' nomination was a deliberate attempt to distract the media from other White House woes.

B. Miers' nomination was supposed to be a bone thrown to the religious right so that a more moderate nominee would emerge.

C. Miers' nomination was a deliberate sandbagging; most anyone else would look competent in comparison.

D. Miers' nomination was a genuine attempt by the Greatest Governor Ever to reward his bestest friend for her personal loyalty and Americans would, of course, trust him blindly.

Correct answer? I suspect all of the above.

Obviously, as Hotline reports - "One Bush aide acknowledged that Miers vetting had been rushed and left out much of what's been discovered by the press since the announcement."

They never learn, do they?


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Extreme chutzpah, without the humor

TPM reports -
"New York Times reporter Judith Miller has begun discussing her future employment options with the newspaper, including the possibility of a severance package, a lawyer familiar with the matter, said yesterday."
Remember the definition of "chutzpah"? - a person who kills his parents and pleads for the court's mercy on the ground of being an orphan.

As the one who supplied the music for the War Drum Symphony, she should be in jail. But I'm sure she'll find employment at the Moonie Times or Wall Street Journal.

Better yet, here.

Compare and contrast

I love sports as much as most sports fans, but what's wrong here?

Nationals' Expected '05 Profit Is $20 Million

D.C. Seizes 16 Owners' Property for Stadium
The District government filed court papers yesterday to seize $84 million worth of property from 16 owners in Southeast, giving them 90 days to leave and make way for a baseball stadium.
Could the owners - I don't know, maybe use some of that $20 million to buy their own land and build their own stadium.... or make renovations to RFK?

Next time Joe Six-Pack starts raging between innings against black single mothers getting food stamps, one might remind him of corporate sports welfare.

Melanie has more.

Source: No announcement in CIA leak probe today
The federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity could hand up charges as early as today, but Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is not expected to make any public announcements Wednesday, one source with knowledge of the probe told CNN.
I have a relative whose Christmas day tradition is to cook up a huge Christmas brunch and invite the entire family.

According to this tradition, their three little boys have to wait until brunch is over and the last slow-eater has finished the last crumb before opening presents - which is often pushing 12:00 noon.

Damn, I know just how those little boys must feel.


Monday, October 24, 2005

'Twas the night before Fitzmas?

Lots of speculation that Fitzgerald will lay the cards on the table tomorrow.

What a time for my eyeballs to start acting up.

It's a bit difficult to read, therefore hard to cruise around the blogosphere dropping comments here & there, or posting here.

If anyone knows anything about corneal dystrophy, I'd sure like to hear your thoughts.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Texas crude ain't always oil

George Will:
Miers's advocates tried the incense defense: Miers is pious. But that is irrelevant to her aptitude for constitutional reasoning. The crude people who crudely invoked it probably were sending a crude signal to conservatives who, the invokers evidently believe, are so crudely obsessed with abortion that they have an anti-constitutional willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade with an unreasoned act of judicial willfulness as raw as the 1973 decision itself.
That would be George W. Bush -
"Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion," President Bush said.


Saturday, October 22, 2005


If you read the WaPo Scooter Libby profile all the way to the end, you'll know exactly how the Bush administration regards the country's security:
"Cheney and Scooter play chess on several different levels," (Mary) Matalin says. "That's how their minds work. It's not about what's right in front of him. They look at things in the sweep of history.

"The Wilson thing was almost mosquitoesque."

Calm before the storm

'Calm' not being the right word - more like waiting for various axes to fall. Tense, expectant.

Wilma chews up the Yucatan, the Florida Keys are under a hurricane watch. Where will the storm strike next, and at what strength?

Patrick Fitzgerald is wrapping up his investigation into l'affaire Plame - are indictments imminent? I suppose starting up a treason investigation website could mean an announcement that everyone who appeared before the grand jury is as pure as the driven snow and no further action is needed.

Or not.

Will Dubya yank his bestest friend's SCOTUS nomination - the hapless Harriet?

If they didn't understand before, I'm sure the Bushies are now comprehending the meaning of the phrase "cat on a hot tin roof".

Best case scenario for BushCo - all three happen at once; the SCLM will go for the hurricane every time.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Impatient AND shrill

How rude and impatient can you get?
Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA regional director, told a Senate panel investigating the government's response to the disaster that he gave regular updates to people in contact with then-FEMA Director Michael Brown as early as August 28, one day before Katrina made landfall.

In most cases, he was met with silence. In an August 29 phone call to Brown informing him that the first levee had broke, Bahamonde said he received a polite thank you from Brown, who said he would check with the White House.


In e-mails to various FEMA officials, including one to Brown, Bahamonde described a chaotic situation at the Superdome, where many of the evacuees were sheltered. Bahamonde e-mailed FEMA officials and noted also that local officials were asking for toilet paper, a sign that supplies were lacking at the shelter.

"Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen," Bahamonde wrote in an e-mail to regional director David Passey in a call at 4:46 p.m. CT on August 28.


Bahamonde said he was stunned that FEMA officials responded by continuing to send truckloads of evacuees to the Superdome for two more days even though they knew supplies were in short supply.

"I thought it amazing," he said. "I believed at the time and still do today, that I was confirming the worst-case scenario that everyone had always talked about regarding New Orleans."

Later, on Aug. 31, Bahamonde frantically e-mailed Brown to tell him that thousands are evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that "estimates are many will die within hours."

"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical," Bahamonde wrote.

Less than three hours later, however, Brown's press secretary wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant that evening. "He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes," wrote Brown aide Sharon Worthy.

"We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."
The nerve of this guy, trying to interrupt Michael Brown during his dinner!

Note to those in Wilma's path - please schedule your rescue and recovery needs during hours that will not interfere with normal meal or sleeping hours.

Psssst....need a sensible national energy policy?

Here's a good start -
Gaston schools join biodiesel bandwagon

Fuel from cooking oil costs 60 cents per gallon

Gaston County is the first school district in the state to use recycled vegetable oil and produce its own biodiesel fuel. School officials are collecting the slick substance from school cafeterias and restaurants such as The Shrimp Boat and China King's Buffet, and are looking for more donors.


Superintendent Ed Sadler said school officials will produce about 12,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel this year and save $30,000. The school system expects to produce up to 60,000 gallons in the future and save about $150,000 annually, following a nationwide trend of using alternative fuel to save money and cut down on toxic emissions.
Saving money, protecting the environment, and using less fossil fuel?

Sounds like a winner to me.

Conservative backlash

Good piece in Salon by Sidney Blumenthal, and here's the money quote:
Members of the public support conservative presidents so long as they leave the liberal programs that benefit them alone.
Yeah, mon.

I always think of my aunt; a cradle-to-grave Republican, and the icy stare she gave me when I suggested she give up her Social Security and Medicare.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Running of the Worms

It's FAIR and FESTIVAL season in North Carolina, with all sorts of events planned throughout the state.

There have been the inevitable glitches, but none quite so catastrophic as the annual State Fair in Raleigh.

The bad news for the State Fair - nearly half the rides were shut down by safety inspectors, resulting in attendance figures lowered by nearly 20,000.

The good news - the safety inspectors were doing their jobs.

But the usual fun was had by all at the annual Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, located deep in the beautiful High Country mountains.

Forget the Kentucky Derby, the Breeder's Cup, or NASCAR - the Wooly Worm races not only provide excitement and a big (?) purse, but a winter weather prediction:
Niko Wins 28th Annual Running of the Worms

Banner Elk, NC - Lori Parada's woolly worm, Niko, won the championship race and took home the purse of $1,070 at the World Famous Woolly Worm Festival on Saturday, October 15, 2005.

As tradition holds Niko was carefully examined and his colors interpreted to provide the 2005-2006 Winter Forecast.

The Winter Forecast

Week 1: Cold and snowy

Week 2: Cold and snowy

Week 3: Cold and snowy

Week 4: Cold and snowy

Week 5: Severe cold and light snow

Weeks 6-11: Normal cold, No snow

Weeks 12-13: Cold and light snow

Lori Parada, from Ocala, Florida, obtained the winning worm from a young person near the entrance gate who said they sold winning worms.

When asked what will she do with the $1,070 grand prize winning? "I have five children. I can find something to do with the money!"
I'd advise Lori to head back down to Florida and stock up on hurricane supplies.

Happy news, for a change

My cousin's boy is on his way home from Iraq, alive and physically whole.

Debriefing at Ft. Bragg, then (hopefully) home by Thanksgiving.

Would that all families were so lucky....

Monday, October 17, 2005


Have you felt Disgust Overload recently?

Yeah - me, too. The outrages keep coming, and there's no comment I can add.

This one isn't as high-fallutin' as the hijinks at the NYTimes, or the forthcoming civil war in Iraq, or the treason in the White House, but disgusting just the same:
Long Island principal cancels prom
WHAT?...I thought. Cancelling these poor kid's prom? A landmark event in one's high school years?

Then I read on...
Students putting down $10,000 to rent a party house in the Hamptons.

Pre-prom cocktail parties followed by a trip to the dance in a liquor-loaded limo.

Fathers chartering a boat for their children's late-night "booze cruise."

Enough was enough, (Principal) Hoagland said. So the principal of Kellenberg Memorial High School canceled the spring prom in a 2,000-word letter to parents this fall.
Good for him.

And boo-frickin'-hoo for the spoiled kids and their overindulgent parents who are protesting the decision.

These are the same kind of kids who will go off to an exotic locale for spring or summer break and get themselves murdered or raped or stagger drunkenly off a pier or whatever. Then their parents will hire expensive PR, lawyers, and detectives to harass the local gendarmes into finding their over-indulged darlings who should have never been there in the first place.

And we can't help but note this is a Roman Catholic school - a 'faith-based' alternative to public education with an annual tuition of $6,025. I wonder how many kids from the slums have vouchers to attend?

Fortunately, not all the parents and students are miffed by the decision:
Hoagland said in an interview that parents, who pay $6,025 in annual tuition, have expressed appreciation for his stern stand.

"For some, it [the letter] was an eye-opener," he said. "Others feel relieved that the pressure is off of them."

Chris Laine, a senior from Rockville Centre, said the cancellation was "unfortunate, but you can't really argue with the facts they present. ... It's just what it's evolved into. It's not what it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. It's turned into something it wasn't originally intended to be."

Besides, Laine noted, the senior class still has a four-day trip to Disney World scheduled for April.
Note to the cable news folks - that's a hot news tip if I ever heard one. Mark that down on your April through October schedule for another missing white woman alert.


Friday, October 14, 2005

A Polling Free-Fall Among Blacks
In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.


A few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Bush's approval rating among blacks at 51 percent. As recently as six months ago, it was at 19 percent.
All those photo-ops hugging little black kids for naught. At this point, I truly believe I could out-poll Bush among African-Americans.

And two percent? Hasn't that reached the point where you don't give percentages, you can start naming names?

Must be Condi, Thomas Sowell, Armstrong Williams, and Alphonso Jackson. You might even stretch it to their next-of-kin.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

President Addresses U.S. Troops in Iraq in Video Teleconference

...and at the end, he says:

May God bless you all in your work and when you get back to the states, you know, if I'm hanging around, come by and say hello.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the constitutionally-correct way of things, shouldn't Bush be figuring he'll be 'hanging around' until 2008?

Is he planning to bless these folks with a very-extended extension?

Or is he planning on going somewhere?


Wednesday, October 12, 2005


The Army has a problem:
Opinion surveys indicate that daily reports of soldiers dying in Iraq have dampened young people's interest in joining the military, prompting the Army to try new ways to make the war work in its favor.
I don't know; perhaps if young people thought there was a noble cause, a sensible plan for victory, and coherent exit strategy, and some body armor to go along with it all?

Just a thought.

Pre-Halloween scary stuff

Have you ever opened your e-mail's inbox, read the subject line and felt the hair on the back of your neck stand up?
From: Tom Matzzie, MoveOn.org Political Action
Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 1:31 PM
To: Andante
Subject: Flu Pandemic: Our lives are in this man's hands

We've all heard the terrible warnings about the risk of an influenza pandemic from an avian flu virus. But the Bush administration official in charge of making sure America is ready has no experience related to his job—he's a political appointee. And, a botched response could affect millions of Americans.

Stewart Simonson is the Bush administration's point man for a flu pandemic but he has no public health management experience. He got his job because he is a close associate of former Health & Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.
That's scary enough, but what it boils down to is this - our lives are in THIS man's hands -

....and that goes beyond scary.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Theodore Roosevelt Heller, RIP
Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. Graveside services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery (Ziditshover section), 1700 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals, Douglas MacIsaac, funeral director 847-229-8822.
Will do, Mr. Heller.

Peace, land, and bread

Lenin's promise of "Peace, Land, and Bread" was the blueprint for bringing communism to the world.

These days, Lenin must be smiling somewhere....

No peace - Iraq's insurgency appears to take the upper hand

Precious little land - Creating Homeless in Iraq

Bread? You must be kidding! - Children 'starving' in new Iraq

Looks like Bush is setting up a new boogey-man, a necessity for getting Republican votes.

That's not a legacy, it's a crime.


Monday, October 10, 2005

All guts, a little glory

It seems like I've spent the last week cleaning up my own messes, undoing my own mistakes, and generally untangling my own screw-ups. And it's been raining since Thursday.

It can get you down a bit, this continual blunder mending (and the gray skies). So, I find it useful to relive some of those moments when things went a bit more successfully and the sun shone brightly on my world.

Have you ever had a moment when you nailed it? You ruled? You rocked? A time when maybe you weren't the king of the world, but at least felt like you were the king of your world?

And best of all, had witnesses who applauded enthusiastically?

I'm not talking Pulitzer prize-winning moments, just a personal triumph that put a huge grin on your face and reverberates even today.

I've had a couple of shining moments; here's my favorite.

Back when I was at the top of my form as a classically-trained soprano who would sing anywhere and everywhere I was asked (including a few times I wasn't asked), I auditioned for some solo work in a community chorus performance of Handel's Messiah. As a personal challenge, and because I'm stubborn, I chose Thus saith the Lord of hosts and But who may abide the day of his coming?.

This recitative and aria are generally performed by a bass, but in Handel's day were performed by whatever voice was available. Besides, I was working on my flexibility and lower range, and the aria presented quite a challenge. We would have a small string ensemble and harpsichord for the performance, and I was determined to do at least some rough justice to the music.

I won the part, and started working furiously on mastering the two pieces.

Our church choir was doing a Christmas music program consisting of many different styles of music that year, and the director asked me to do the above two pieces at that performance. We would only have piano accompaniment, but it gave a chance to perform the pieces in front of an audience that was friendly and supportive. The audience for the community chorus program would be much more discriminating.

When the time came, I stepped in front of the audience in the church, and nodded to the pianist to signal I was ready.

The accompanist was frantically shuffling through a stack of music, trying to find his copy of The Messiah. It's a rather thick score, and hard to miss - he had apparently left it in the choir rehearsal room.

The rehearsal room was more than a few hops, skips, and jumps from the sanctuary and it would have taken a good five minutes for him to scramble back there, find the music, and return to the piano. In the meantime, there would be a rather uncomfortable lull in the program.

I took a deep breath and handed him my music.

Could I do it from memory? I'd worked hard on it; I'd heard the music performed all my life. I cleared my mind of doubts and let it rip.

I nailed it. I triumphed...I soared. I never missed a note, word, or beat. The final measures gave me a chance to spin into my higher range before cascading back down to the gutsy lower levels.

I could feel myself literally glowing with happiness as the choir, then the audience rose to their feet to give me a standing ovation. The choir director walked over to me and kissed my hand.

Yeah, I did it again with the community chorus - with music, this time. I got a lot of congratulations and a good review from the local paper's music critter, er - critic.

But nothing has ever surpassed that moment when I trusted my own memory, intellect, and training - and they came through for me.

I feel better already.

Care to share a triumphant moment in comments?


Friday, October 07, 2005

It ain't working

The occupation of Iraq isn't working for many reasons.

Carl succinctly outlines the three most likely suspects, which basically boil down to 1) culture, 2) culture, and 3) culture.

Go read.

Coming up for air

My new hard drive arrived yesterday and is whirring away happily while I try to restore all my 'stuff'.

As usual, I ran into unexpected problems and spent most of the afternoon and well into the night with the procedure.

So, did anything else happen yesterday?


Thursday, October 06, 2005

What we have here is a misinterpretation of God's word
"President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Prime Minister Mazen recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state." (link)
Are you wondering what went wrong in Afghanistan and Iraq, George, even though God spoke to you on the subject?

What is it about the word "you" that you don't understand?

God meant YOU, George - you personally. Report to the nearest recruiting center and do your duty.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Not funny

So I'm reading about the 13-foot Burmese python that burst after trying to swallow a six-foot alligator whole, and my stupid cat brushes up against my leg.

The keyboard doesn't appreciate hot coffee, and neither does the cat.

Serves him right.

Come on, Tammy!

Tropical Storm Tammy to bring rain to N.C.
Tropical Storm Tammy formed just off Florida's east coast Wednesday and was expected to bring rain to North Carolina by Thursday.
It's not often we welcome a tropical weather system, but we are 11-1/2 inches below normal and getting very thirsty.

I've enjoyed the respite from mowing the yard, but enough is enough.

In response to an increasingly serious drought situation, Greensboro City Manager Ed Kitchen declared today (Monday) that Stage III water restrictions will go into effect beginning at 1:00pm Tuesday, December 8. Stage III restrictions are more stringent than the current Stage II restrictions and prohibit any watering or sprinkling of any lawn, grass, shrubbery, trees or flowers. Vegetable gardens may only be watered by hand held hose, container or drip irrigation system, and any nonessential use of water for commercial or public use is unlawful."
As the news-guy said on the local news last night, "Time to shower with a friend".

I wonder if he has a job today.


I fail to see what the military can do about a flu pandemic, as Bush has suggested.

What are they going to do? Shoot all the birds before the virus makes the jump to humans?

Too late...it may have already done so.

Recent research isn't encouraging...

Deadly 1918 Epidemic Linked to Bird Flu, Scientists Say
Two teams of federal and university scientists announced today that they had resurrected the 1918 influenza virus, the cause of one of history's most deadly epidemics, and had found that unlike the viruses that caused more recent flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, the 1918 virus was actually a bird flu that jumped directly to humans.

The work, being published in the journals Nature and Science, involved getting the complete genetic sequence of the 1918 virus, using techniques of molecular biology to synthesize it, and then using it to infect mice and human lung cells in a specially equipped, secure lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.


"This is huge, huge, huge," said John Oxford, a professor of virology at St. Bartholmew's and the Royal London Hospital, who was not part of the research team. "It's a huge breakthrough to be able to put a searchlight on a virus that killed 50 million people. I can't think of anything bigger that's happened in virology for many years."

The 1918 flu showed how terrible that disease could be. It had been "like a dark angel hovering over us," Dr. Oxford said. The virus spread and killed with terrifying speed, preferentially striking the young and the healthy. Alfred C. Crosby, author of "America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918," wrote that it "killed more humans than any other disease in a similar duration in the history of the world."
Living back in the sticks, we're not sure what killed my maternal grandfather. But it seems quite likely he was one of those 50-million-plus fatalities.

If Bush wants assistance from the military, the best thing he could do is stop this insanity in Iraq so researchers will have the money to find a vaccine and cure.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm a commie!

Wanda made me do it -

You are a

Social Liberal
(63% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(13% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

FEMA - the gift that keeps on giving

Housing promises to evacuees fall short

FEMA pulling funding for hotel stipends as more shelters close
Two weeks before President Bush's mid-October goal for moving Hurricane Katrina victims out of shelters, more than 100,000 people still reside in such makeshift housing, and 400,000 more are in hotel rooms costing up to $100 a night.

Housing options promised by the federal government a month ago have largely failed to materialize. Cruise ships and trailer parks have so far proved in large part to be unworkable, while an American Red Cross program -- paid for by the federal government -- that allows storm victims to stay in motels or hotels is scheduled to expire Oct. 15. It is projected to cost the Federal Emergency Management Agency as much as $168 million.
Finding housing for a large, displaced population is proving to be a nightmare for the Bushies. All their "privatizing" alternatives are floundering, from vouchers to 'faith-based' shelters, to ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.

Kiss that evacuee vote goodbye.

And make no mistake...this will happen again; if not tomorrow, perhaps a year or a decade from now.

There will be more hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes - who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us? Who knows what bin Laden has in store for us?

The only thing we know for certain is the Bush administration doesn't have a clue how to deal with disaster, be it natural or man-made.

I wonder how long it will take before BushCo concedes that FDR had the right idea for putting large numbers of the unemployed to work and at the same time improving the infrastructure and environment?

Unemployed and even unskilled workers combined with the expertise of military engineers, organizations like Habitat For Humanity and the Friends Disaster Service could construct homes, schools, parks, streets, sidewalks, playgrounds, clinics - you name it. They build quickly, efficiently, inexpensively, and with quality. And they could probably do it a hundred times over, all over the Katrina- and Rita-devastated area.

Don't hold your breath - we'll have to wait for the next Democratic president and Democratically-controlled Congress for that kind of thinking.

Meanwhile a city of RVs awaits families in Louisiana, which as everyone knows is exactly what the South needs - more trailer parks and more tornado bulls-eyes.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency once envisioned "cities" of 500 to 600 RVs scattered across the South to house evacuees uprooted from their homes by Katrina. But those plans have bogged down as FEMA has tried to make its way through a maze of bureaucratic hurdles to lease land, comply with local zoning laws and overcome local opposition to "FEMA cities" within their borders.


In search of temporary housing immediately after the hurricane, FEMA officials went on a $1.5 billion spending spree, buying out entire dealerships of recreational vehicles and signing contracts for more than $500 million with one manufacturer of mobile homes. But the plan to create "cities" of 500 to 600 RVs across the South has run into major logistical and political problems.


Policymakers say that warehousing tens of thousands of people in trailer park communities until New Orleans and other cities are rebuilt could lead to the creation of dysfunctional "FEMAvilles," as residents of past encampments have called them. Democrats go further, warning that they may become known as "Bushvilles," just as Depression-era shantytowns were called "Hoovervilles."
Bushvilles, indeed. My partisan political side welcomes communities of Bushvilles scattered around the Red States.

But these are people; people with families who can't be cooped up in RV's for very long without going completely stir-crazy. It's certainly possible for one or two people to live comfortably in an RV or even a small single-wide trailer, but keep in mind when an advertisement says "sleeps eight!" it actually means sleeps "sleeps eight if you put three very good friends in a shortened double bed, three more in a pull-out sofa, and two in a twin bed".

Senator Paul Sarbanes sums it up -
"The scope of this disaster calls for changes in how we think about disaster assistance," Sarbanes wrote the White House. "Hundreds of thousands of people may need housing assistance for 18 months or even longer. We cannot rely on FEMA, an emergency response agency, to provide on-going housing assistance to this large number of families," he said.
We definitely need new thinking from this adminstration. All they've given us for five years is stinkin' thinkin'.

Six Democratic War Vets Seek House Seats
Lawyer Patrick Murphy and five other veterans of the Iraq war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions. Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Nice to read of this. Now, where are the headlines about Republican war vets seeking office?



Monday, October 03, 2005

Monday, Monday

...can't trust that day.

My Monday has started off with a bang. I turned on the computer, and it informed me 'Hard drive detects imminent failure'.

This can't be good.

I suppose I could use the Future Under Bush Administration Regulations (FUBAR) system and hope the hard drive will fix itself while I tell everyone what a great job I'm doing and let the blank CD-R's sit idly on the shelf.

When the hard drive fails, I could take it to CompUSA and borrow a lot of money to pay some geeky teenager to get it back in running order. Of course, the hard drive would be blank - all the data lost.

Or I could prepare for the imminent disaster by making backup CD's, make a note of all the plug-ins, programs, etc. that I consider indispensable, and handle it myself for free- just as I've always done.

Wow, what a concept.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

At it again, this time in Waveland

The Seabees, last seen here putting FEMA to shame by building quick,temporary housing for pennies have also come to the rescue of abused children in Waveland, Mississippi:
For nearly a decade, the private nonprofit shelter in Waveland has cared for children who have been beaten, starved, burned, raped or lived through some other atrocity.

Hope Haven is a temporary stop as children wait for a spot in the state's crowded foster care system.

Hurricane Katrina's storm surge swallowed the backyard playground and shoved about 7 feet of water through the small home, forcing the children, from teenagers to infants, to look for a new start - again.

However, a group of Navy Seabees from Port Hueneme, Calif., is working to restore Hope Haven, hoping the children will soon be able to come back.

"My troops know that abused children lived here," said Chief Charlie Luna. "They know that this will be a nice place for them to come back to, when we're done."


Director Terry Latham estimates the shelter sustained more than $100,000 in damage.

"We lost everything inside the shelter, and in our storage and activity buildings," he said. "We just got a new van through grant money, and we lost that."


Shortly after the storm plowed through Waveland, Latham - a retired Navy chief - was covered in mud when he saw the green trucks rolling through the debris-choked street.

"They were looking for Hope Haven," he said. "I would have danced naked in the street to get them to stop."

The 17 members of NMCB-4 are working 12-hour days to install new sheetrock and tile.

Latham decided the $3,000 estimate from a local company to repair the privacy fence was too much, so the Seabees picked up the pieces and put the old one back together.

"The children who lived here have no other place to go," Sgt. 1st Class Tia Potter said. "For me, it's very important to put this place back together again."

The Seabees should finish their work sometime next week, and Latham said he hopes Hope Haven will be operating again in about 60 days.
Dubya has half a right idea when he considers a military role in disaster response.

The first responders should always be local and state; after all, they know the territory and resources best. But the military, with their equipment, knowledge, and manpower are best equipped to carry out many tasks.

FEMA - if it's managed correctly - should deploy their people to assess needs and develop the capacity to communicate those needs to the appropriate agency. It requires a bit more than a web site, toll-free telephone number, and friends in high places.

(with apologies to Bryan and the Air Force engineers; I'm sure they're working hard also, and promise to post any articles I find!)


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