The lights have gone out...

I just checked, a bit before midnight (East Coast time) and couldn't get connected to TIBU then. I tried again five minutes ago and then I got that well-known 'not found error 404' message.

So, that is it: The mother ship has gone down and only this life boat is left for its surviving crew. Let's hope it's big and sturdy enough for all of us - and that, together, we can come up with enough food for thought, so that we don't end up having to eat each other...

Ah well, here's one last farewell to the good ship TIBU; we'll miss the old girl.


It's not even midnight and I can't load anything from TIBU. I should have another 20 minutes or so. I'm NOT ready. Has anyone crossed over yet?


Let's Now Have Capitalism with a Human Face?

By Grant Lawrence

Australian Prime Minister KEVIN RUDD in an essay has denounced the unfettered capitalism and calls for a new era of "social capitalism" in which government intervention and regulation feature heavily.

The Military Industrial Empire that has established global control based on the domination of markets and countries through a combination of military might and fascist capitalism is presently on the ropes.

Now, much like during the fall of the Soviet Empire, some of the players in this present global empire game are seeking to forestall a total collapse of our present fascist system by promising a more humane economic system. That promise of more humanism in economics didn't do much to stop the fall of the Soviet Empire and at this point it may not be enough to stop the collapse of the Military Industrial Global Complex.

So the people in global markets or consumers around the world should now accept the past as a mistake and allow the brutal capitalism (globalism) to right itself and do the right thing. The leaders now promise to make sure that the brutalization and anti-democratic practices will no longer be a part of that system. Even though fundamentally the same forces and workings that brought about globalization, or a fascist system of financial and corporate dominance of governments and people, will remain essentially in place.

But now you see things are different. We should trust the same system that brought about the destruction of economies and the loss of livelihoods along with untold human misery around the world to finally correct itself with government help. The system just needs to be tweaked and all of the past leaders and economists were wrong but soon they are going to get it right.

Strange, our leaders are telling us now that a little bit of social awareness and humaneness is what we should have been doing all along. But the economic system of capitalism hasn't allowed for this promise in the past. The New Deal in America was just a smokescreen to continue the capitalistic exploitation of the American people.

It is now time to come to an understanding that a brutal system based on exploitation and the amassing of fantastic wealth by the few, capitalism, has no place in present or future world economic systems. Instead of having a little bit of socialism, there just needs to be Socialism. When the people of the world accept that human dignity and that the general welfare is what the governments and the economies of the world should be working toward, then there will be a world that begins to represent the best of the human spirit and the highest in human consciousness.

News Roundup for 1/30/09

Simon Bar Sinister from Underdog
Rudy Giuliani

-Headline of the day-
"Giuliani Defends Wall Street Bonuses While Slamming Tax Cuts For The Poor."

You remember Rudy Giuliani. You know, that one guy who was talking about 9/11 all the time? The one time GOP frontrunner whose brilliant strategy of sitting out the primaries until they got to Florida made him a presidential candidate without a hope in hell?

Yeah, that guy.

Rudy brought the same level of genius to CNN that he brought to the campaign trail, arguing in favor of big, fat, unearned bonuses for Wall Streeters, saying that ending them would create unemployment.

"I remember when I was mayor, one of the ways in which you determined New York City’s budget, tax revenues, was Wall Street bonuses," he said. "Wall Street had a billion, two billion in bonuses, city had a deficit. Wall Street had 15 to 20 billion, New York City had a 2, 3 billion surplus. And it’s because that money gets spent... It does have a reverse effect on the economy, if you somehow take that bonus out of the economy. It really will create unemployment. It means less spending in restaurants, less spending in department stores. So everything has an impact."

Guess what genius? The entire fucking nation is not New York City. If some guy on Wall Street gets a big fat bonus, he's not going to spend it at a restaurant in Des Moines or Albuquerque. Besides, we're paying the bonus! Handing out federal money to people to use however they want is welfare, right? Isn't that bad?

Apparently not. Because later, Mayor Brilliant told fellow moron Sean Hannity that tax refunds for the poor were "welfare."

"[If] somebody is not paying taxes is going to get a check from the government, then that is welfare," he said. "You haven’t earned it, that’s a welfare payment. I think he’s going to have to abandon that in light of the economic situation."

Yeah, because the only tax that's actually a tax is the income tax. All those FISA taxes aren't really taxes, because they're... well, what the fuck are they?

Y'got me. Ask Mayor Brilliant, he's the expert. (Think Progress, with video)

-At the other end of the spectrum...-
...we have Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, a Democrat and an Obama booster. Claire wants to "cap compensation for employees of any company that accepts federal bailout money." By how much? Under the legislation, "no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States." For the record, that's $400,000 -- or, as most people call it, "plenty."

"We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," the senator said on the senate floor. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses." Call it an income limit to qualify for a welfare check.

Since this was on the senate floor, it's written into the record. From now until the end of this great nation, this current crop of Wall Streeters will be remembered by history as the guys McCaskill twice called "idiots." Whether or not the bill goes through (sadly, the smart money's probably on "not"), she's a Hero for Our Time for that act alone.

Let successive generations say "Amen." (CNN, via reddit)

-Bonus HotD-
"Official: U.S. will not renew contract with Blackwater."

How sad. An official with the State Dept. says that their contract with the private mercenary army won't be renewed, just because a bunch of trigger-happy Blackwater jerks went and killed a whole bunch of innocent people. Really, that could happen to anybody. It hasn't, but it could.

According to the report, "Losing the contract will be a huge blow to Blackwater. It has been estimated that the Iraq contract makes up one-third to one-half of the privately held company's business. Blackwater has about two dozen aircraft in Iraq and 1,000 personnel." They'll be expected to be gone by May.

That's the good news. The bad news is that all these psychos will be coming back to the US, where most of them will be unemployed.

So there's that. (CNN)

Three fates worse than death (Or worse than giving birth to octuplets anyway)

Have you ever heard of arachibutyrophobia? Neither did I, until very recently. It’s an official phobia, so it must be shared by a good number of people, if not necessarily a very sane group of people. So, arachibutyrophobia is the more than somewhat irrational fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

You’d have to say that if that were the biggest worry in your life, you would have not all that much reason to complain. Which leads us - more stickily than seemlessly, perhaps - to the following.

No doubt, by now you will have heard about that American woman, who’s given birth to octuplets - a word that, rather stupidly, inspires visions of a tired new mother, holding up a box, filled with wriggling octopi…

Anyway, I was thinking: What can be worse than delivering eight bloody babies in a row? As a man, I’m not in the greatest position to judge but they always say that giving birth can be one of the most painful experiences anyone ever goes through - anyone not acquainted with one or more of the world’s many state-sponsored torture rooms, that is - so giving birth to eight in one go must be pretty bad.

So, always prepared to spend some time on idle thought & speculation, I tried to come up with a list of other, pretty damn bad things that could happen to people. In Victorian novels rape was always referred to as ‘a fate worse than death.’ I have no wish to debate such matters here, so I would simply like to come to a short list of things that could be considered to be ‘a fate worse than octuplets’.

There are a few obvious contenders:

1) To be a secret agent who’s appointed to guard US presidential candidates. It’s bad enough that, in a worst case scenario, you would have to be prepared to give your life in order to save a bloody politician but it’s a fate far worse than having octuplets to have to attend each and every political rally, where you will be forced to listen to the same speeches and the same jokes, over and over and over again, until the end of the election season.


2) To be a conspiracy theory fact finder - which probably comes as close to being a contradictio in terminis as you will ever find but imagine yourself to be one of those people who will watch obsessively every ‘new’ bit of footage of those planes flying into those towers, who will read any new ‘fact’ that appears anywhere on the WWW and who then will have to go out and claim that, despite all these millions of images and articles that are out there, there is this vast conspiracy to hide these depressingly highly accessible images & articles from the people at large. A fate worse than octuplets for anyone who’s still on nodding acquaintances with sanity - which is why you have these little plaques in conspiracy theorists’ offices, which read, “You DO have to be crazy to work here but it doesn’t help”.

3) To be Oprah. Sure, she’s richer than the average oil exporting country, more powerful than most world leaders and better looking than the Pope but her job is worse than wiping roadkill from a dead Hell’s Angel’s hairy bottom. She has to smile politely when people come to talk about yet another Godawful self-help book. She has to pretend to actually like all these terrible, self-obsessed people, like Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise or Sylvester Stallone’s mad mum - and, to top that, she has had to live through all these awful, interminable television years, suffering the indignity of having the whole world watching her painfully public struggle to avoid becoming a very undesirable mix of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, by not becoming the first black American Michelin woman. Now, there’s a fate truly worse than giving birth to octuplets. Hell, it’s worse than delivering eight fully grown octopi, I’d say.

So, those were the first three (fit to print) ideas I had of things that are worse than giving birth to octuplets. If you have any other and/or better ideas, I’d be very happy to read them and go ‘Ouch!’.


(Fat chance - Or: On a slippery slope in a handcart to Hell…)

The Pasha of GOPerstan

Rush LimbaughYou can call it the Republican confederacy or Crazyland. I've been thinking of it as GOPerstan. The last Republican strongholds are mostly huddled together in the center of the nation. For the most part, they're far from the coasts, where people stubbornly insist on living in the real world. The coasts of America are godless places, where people believe in evolution, accept human-caused global warming, are pretty damned sure invading Iraq was a very expensive mistake -- in more ways than one -- and that the economic policies that brought us to the brink of an honest-to-goodness depression should probably be abandoned. With the exception of Alaska, America's coasts -- along with most of the rest of the nation -- are lost to the Satanic forces of liberalism. Woe be unto the realm.

This is what Crazyland or GOPerstan or the Republican confederacy looks like today, according to Gallup:

Gallup map
Click for fullsized map

The familiar red/blue breakdown of the states shows a whopping four red states out of fifty -- Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska -- as solidly Republican, with Nebraska leaning. Every other state is either blue, leaning blue, or a toss up. Those red spots on that map are the only places where voters who identify themselves as Republican are the majority.

"In all the other 41 states, including every one of the large population states, Democrats outnumber Republicans," wrote former Bushie David Frum yesterday. "In 29 states, including every Northeastern state and every Midwestern state save Indiana, Democrats outnumber Republicans by 10 points or more."

As a result, the Republicans in the House of Representatives -- all of whom face reelection every election cycle -- have been reduced to mostly representatives of the reddest of the red districts. The Republicans in the House are now mostly right wing zealots, representing GOPerstan. These are the people who believe that not only should abortion be illegal, but birth control as well. These are the nuts who think everyone should have a basement full of guns, to prepare for the day that the UN takes over America. These are the crazies who think Barack Obama is the antichrist. These are the farthest right of the right and, after having modern Republicanism widely rejected by the rest of the country, these are almost the only ones left representing the Republican party in the House of Representatives. This is the House delegation from GOPerstan and its scattered principalities.

Today, the Republican National Committee will elect its chair. Call it the King of Crazyland or the President of the Republican confederacy or the Pasha of GOPerstan. There are five candidates and it's a nailbiter. Current RNC chair Mike Duncan looks like he might come out the winner, but it's too close to call.

Right now, the de facto head of the GOP is Rush Limbaugh. No, really. That's how bad it's gotten for the party. Some emptyheaded talk radio blowhard is the guy with all the pull in the party, mostly because the party has been reduced largely to Limbaugh's listenership. When Limbaugh said he hoped Obama would fail, Rep. Phil Gingrey told him to step off.

“I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach,” Gingrey said. “I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."

That turned out to be a bad idea. There's a power vacuum in GOPerstan and Limbaugh was the magnate who filled it. Before this particular story was over, Gingrey called into Rush's show to lick his boots.

"Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity, of course this is not exactly the way to I wanted to come on..." he groveled. "Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico... I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments... I regret those stupid comments." Oh Great Celestial Rush, who lights the sun and sets the stars in their courses, show mercy and forgive this insignificant worm for his impudence.

"[O]ur congressmen talk to and about Rush Limbaugh like Old Bolsheviks praising Comrade Stalin at their show trials," said Frum. "Rush is right! We see eye to eye with Rush! There is no truth outside Rush!"

But, if Rush is Mr. Popularity in GOPerstan, he's nobody in the US. His ratings are good only if compare them to other talk radio. But the truth is that when he's on, most people are listening to Hotel California on their local classic rock station. It's like when Bill O'Reilly brags about his ratings as a cable news talk show -- what that really means is that he's getting his butt handed to him by "The Ghost Whisperer." Big fish, small pond.

It strikes me that the Republican party, in their current position, are being forced to super-serve GOPerstan. Those remaining House members have to keep their constituents happy, but for the most part those constituents are lunatics. As the party gets smaller, the remaining party members get crazier. And, of course, this shrinks the party even more. In a very short period of time, the Republican party has gone from the party of the majority to the party of the fringe -- impotent and slowly going insane in its isolation.

Whoever the chair of the Republican party is tomorrow, they'll have to find a way to get the party away from nuts like Rush Limbaugh and his audience.

The way things are going, that's going to be a pretty good trick.


Blue Hyacinth

Lost, lost, lost
As if lost in a labyrinth
Of quicksilver pain
You like a grounded reptile
Slashing and burning
In jerking saliva
And I am hardly sinking
Like your drowning flotilla
In a breastful of hemlock

Thump, thump, throbs
Your little heart
Beating hard upon
My closing moments
Penetrating your shame
With a ramrod
Of vanity crucified

To save you from dying
In collapsing disguise
From the long breath
Of your shadow's weary self
I see you it is me in you
Being overshadowed
In leaves of blue hyacinths.


Slow Journeys

(I'm afraid this one is bit of an indulgence. I wrote and posted this on the original TIBU, on the eve of my birthday in 2007 - and since I'm feeling somewhat melancholic and introspective right now, with the old site dying on us tomorrow, I decided to dig this one up again. I can only hope you won't mind too much.)

Slow journeys


I call to you.
I call to you:
the child,
the children;
the moments we were so alive
and without thought.

The magic of moments;
the curtains that moved with the night;
the curtains that promised all fear
and protection at times;
the witch and the teeth
and the moments of praying;
the gathering night
and the magic,
so fearsome and true.


The well-used deck of playing cards;
the crease that like an avalanche
ran through the jack of hearts -
and all those signs and
mangled cards:
The games we played:
I turn a card -
and now you love me,
now I hate you


and the night;
those first dark promises
of joy and death.
Before I knew
the full vocabulary of lust,
I dreamt up demons
and sweet torture.
Waking up with sudden
cooling white and swamp stuff.


Fear, at times,
does not need words.
I knew I was doomed;
I knew I was tainted.
I had a world of hurt
and an amazing lack of trust
to feed me to these nights -
and to the light,
that if it caught me
would proclaim me
to be monstrous.


All of the darkness and fear,
all of those moments
that I was afraid

but I was also so often in love.
There was Jacqueline -
and yes: I was nine years’ old;
I had no language for love,
so I dreamt of saving her from lions
and tribes of cannibals
and I also dreamt of
dancing round the fires,
partaking of her naked,
roasted body.
I was the saviour and the demon,
feasting on my virtue and her flesh.


Then, there was no doubt:
I was the age of monsters,
invented and included every day -
fear and play a dance of moments:
What’s the colour,
what’s the smell of what is right,
when all that happens
is new and fearsome
and strange and oh so bright -

and how I loved and how I feared
in all those moments


and loving,
growing older,
tainted with this knowledge:
Lies are lifelines;
lies are safe -
I committed endless sins
against the light,
against the bearings
of my shallow soul.

I lied to fuck.
I lied to be alone.
I lied and was quite happy for a while
to curse and to deny
the shadows and the light -

and I denied the Gods
that wait for us
to listen to the flesh
and to forgive and dream of love.


I’ve wasted worlds
between the child I was
and what I now,
so slowly, am becoming -
and I remember:

There is yet time enough
to forgive all that I was:
The years of waste,
the years of pain,
when I hurt and loved
from such great distance.


I have grown less heroic now
and when I say I do remember,
there are no ravens circling round
some tall, dark midnight tower.

Now, I simply love and live,
not for effect or for perfection,
not in denial or greed.
I’ve done a lot of miles and breathing

and I know now
I’m not wise or special -
and I’m not done with learning yet
but I’ve learnt to think and feel and love;

and that’s enough for now.
To know the truth
and the lie of the land;
to love and to grow and to learn:

to take each breath,
as it may come,
without pride,
without shame.


I listen to my footsteps.
I’m learning to be quiet

and I still have lots of catching up
to do with my heart.

Bush Policies Drove Americans to Suicide

Bush policies have not only killed over a million Iraqis in a senseless war, but they have brought a terrible rise in suicides among Americans. Last year recorded the highest number of suicides among American military personnel. But the news gets even worse because Bush's economic policies over the last 8 years have also resulted in an alarming number of suicides over finances.


The Financial Crisis Is Driving Hordes of Americans to Suicide

The body count is still rising. For months on end, marked by bankruptcies, foreclosures, evictions, and layoffs, the economic meltdown has taken a heavy toll on Americans. In response, a range of extreme acts including suicide, self-inflicted injury, murder, and arson have hit the local news. By October 2008, an analysis of press reports nationwide indicated that an epidemic of tragedies spurred by the financial crisis had already spread from Pasadena, California, to Taunton, Massachusetts, from Roseville, Minnesota, to Ocala, Florida.

In the three months since, the pain has been migrating upwards. A growing number of the world's rich have garnered headlines for high profile, financially-motivated suicides. Take the New Zealand-born "millionaire financier" who leapt in front of an express train in Great Britain or the "German tycoon" who did much the same in his homeland. These have, with increasing regularity, hit front pages around the world. An example would be New York-based money manager René-Thierry Magnon de la Villehuchet, who slashed his wrists after he "lost more than $1 billion of client money, including much, if not all, of his own family's fortune." In the end, he was yet another victim of financial swindler Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

An unknown but rising number of less wealthy but distinctly well-off workers in the financial field have also killed themselves as a result of the economic crisis -- with less press coverage. Take, for instance, a 51-year-old former analyst at Bear Stearns. Learning that he would be laid off after JPMorgan Chase took over his failed employer, he "threw himself out of the window" of his 29th-floor apartment in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Or consider the 52-year-old commercial real estate broker from suburban Chicago who "took his life in a wildlife preserve" just "a month after he publicly worried over a challenging market," or the 50-year-old "managing partner at Leeward Investments" from San Carlos, California, who got wiped out "in the markets" and "suffocated himself to death."

Beverly Hills clinical psychologist Leslie Seppinni caught something of our moment when she told Forbes magazine that this was "the first time in her 18-year career that businessmen are calling her with suicidal impulses over their financial state." In the last three months, alone, "she has intervened in at least 14 cases of men seriously considering taking their lives." Seppinni offered this observation: "They feel guilt and shame because they think they should have known what was coming with the market or they should have pulled out faster."

Continued at Alternet.org

Army Suicides at Record High

WASHINGTON – Stressed by war and long overseas tours, U.S. soldiers killed themselves last year at the highest rate on record, the toll rising for a fourth straight year and even surpassing the suicide rate among comparable civilians.

Army leaders said they were doing everything they could think of to curb the deaths and appealed for more mental health professionals to join and help out.

At least 128 soldiers committed suicide in 2008, the Army said Thursday. And the final count is likely to be even higher because 15 more suspicious deaths are still being investigated.

"Why do the numbers keep going up? We cannot tell you," said Army Secretary Pete Geren. "We can tell you that across the Army we're committed to doing everything we can to address the problem."

It's all about pressure and the military approach, said Kim Ruocco, 45, whose Marine husband was an officer and Cobra helicopter pilot who hanged himself in a California hotel room in 2005. That was one month before he was to return to Iraq a second time.

She said her husband, John, had completed 75 missions in Iraq and was struggling with anxiety and depression but felt he'd be letting others down if he sought help and couldn't return.

"He could be any Marine because he was highly decorated, stable, the guy everyone went to for help," Ruocco said in a telephone interview. "But the thing is ... the culture of the military is to be strong no matter what and not show any weakness."

Ruocco, of Newbury, Mass., was recently hired to be suicide support coordinator for the nonprofit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. She said she feels that the military has finally started to reach out to suicide survivors and seek solutions.

"Things move slowly, but I think they're really trying," Ruocco said.

At the Pentagon on Thursday, Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatric consultant to the Army surgeon general, made a plea for more professionals to sign on to work for the military.

"We are hiring and we need your help," she said.

Military leaders promised fresh prevention efforts will start next week.

The new suicide figure compares with 115 in 2007 and 102 in 2006 and is the highest since current record-keeping began in 1980. Officials expect the deaths to amount to a rate of 20.2 per 100,000 soldiers, which is higher than the civilian rate — when adjusted to reflect the Army's younger and male-heavy demographics — for the first time in the same period of record-keeping.

Officials have said that troops are under unprecedented stress because of repeated and long tours of duty due to the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Continued at Yahoo News.com

News Roundup for 1/29/09

Large empty room
Every Republican in Vermont poses for a group photo

-Headline of the day-
"Where Did All the Republicans Go?"

It's a good question. Turns out that the answer is Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Alaska, with Nebraska leaning. Those are the only states that are either solidly Republican or leaning Republican. Five.

In contrast, a new Gallup study finds that 35 states are either solidly or leaning Democratic, with 10 too close to call. Writes David Frum, "These are the numbers that make yesterday’s flexing of muscle by Rush Limbaugh over Georgia congressman Phil Gingery not merely ridiculous but actively dangerous. When Republicans line up behind Rush Limbaugh in this way, they are dividing the country 80-20 against themselves."

Where did all the Republicans go? Crazy, apparently. Because that's the only way they can possibly believe that being obstructionist is a good idea.

Keep up the good work, GOP leadership. Democrats nationwide will thank you for it. (New York Times)

-Blagojevich gets himself impeachified-
With said impeachification coming with a unanimous vote to remove Rod from office. He'll rent a U-Haul and hit the road with a second unanimous vote barring him from ever holding office again.

Don't worry, we're not done with Governor Tracksuit yet. There's still that whole criminal trial thing and that ought to keep a journalist or two employed for a while yet. The he'll probably go to prison and an entire cottage industry will collapse. Cable news will have to go find some other low-hanging fruit.

The economic news just keeps getting bleaker, doesn't it? (Associated Press)

-Bonus HotD-
"Construction signs warn of zombies."

Good thing, too. Those things are quiet. One minute you're tooling along through a construction zone and the next -- ZIP -- there goes your brain.

According to the report, "Austin [TX] drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of 'zombies ahead.'"

"Even though this may seem amusing to a lot of people, this is really serious, and it is a crime," said Austin Public Works spokesperson Sara Hartley. "And you can be indicted for it, and we want to make sure our traffic on the roadways stays safe."

"Hackers" might be a little too grandiose a term for the perpetrators, since the messages on the signs are entered at the site. The only hacking that went on involved cutting the padlock to get into the box. It probably isn't any more complicated than entering the drink special into the LED sign at the local bar and grill.

Still, it strikes me as a very dangerous and irresponsible thing to do. It's "the boy who cried wolf"; now, when the real zombies come to Austin, no one will believe it. (KXXAN.com)

A New Era of Cooperation and Bipartisanship

It's a new age of bipartisanship. Republicans and Democrats are putting the good of the nation above politics and are working together to make the hard choices it takes to get the American economy going again. Hope oozes up from the cracks in the sidewalks in Washington DC and buildings are festooned with balloons bearing the words "unity" and "cooperation."

Yup, it's a new post-partisan day in the nation's capital -- so long as you don't count all of those Republicans who aren't putting the good of the nation above politics and aren't working together to make the hard choices it takes to get the American economy going again. And, when I say "all of those Republicans," I mean all of those Republicans.

[Washington Post:]

The House approved an $819 billion stimulus package on a near party-line vote yesterday, a plan breathtaking in size and scope that President Obama hopes to make the cornerstone of his efforts to resuscitate the staggering economy.

...Obama's personal salesmanship effort failed to secure a single Republican supporter for the spending plan, which passed on a 244 to 188 vote. Just a day after the president spent more than an hour behind closed doors at the Capitol seeking their support, all 177 House Republicans opposed the measure, arguing that it would spend hundreds of billions of dollars on initiatives that would do little to stimulate the economy. Eleven Democrats opposed the bill.

Not a single Republican voted for the stimulus package, demanding instead that it hinge on tax cuts. That's right. Tax cuts. Because the last eight years of economic policy that depended nearly exclusively on tax cuts has worked so well.

While complaining that the stimulus bill wouldn't do enough to stimulate the economy, they rely on tax cuts -- which analysts say wouldn't do enough to stimulate the economy. The financial research and analysis company Moody's compared stimulus proposals and discovered that tax cuts don't do much (PDF, thanks to Rachel Maddow). I've gone ahead and made a screen shot of the table in question:

table explained below

The numbers represent the stimulus return on the investment. A temporary across the board tax cut adds $1.29 for every dollar spent -- a $0.29 stimulus effect. Making the Bush tax cuts permanent brings us into negative stimulus -- for every buck spent, you get $0.29 in stimulus or minus $0.71. It's a stimulus money loser. Likewise, corporate tax cuts return $0.30 for every dollar spent, a $0.70 negative stimulus.

Meanwhile, extending unemployment returns $1.64, a temporary increase in food stamps returns $1.73, aid to state governments (which the GOP calls "pork") returns $1.36, and infrastructure spending returns $1.59.

Looking at those numbers, which is going to do a better job of getting the economy on track, the Republican ideology of tax cuts to fix every problem forever or the all those liberal ideas about investing in Americans?

Are you wondering why you don't know any of this stuff? It's not that you haven't been paying attention, it's that the media hasn't been telling you. Think Progress ran the numbers, comparing Democratic appearances to Republican appearances, and found that Republican guests outnumber Democrats on cable news by a ratio of 2:1.

Liberal media my ass.

In total, from 6 AM on Monday to 4 PM on Wednesday, the networks have hosted Republican lawmakers 51 times and Democratic lawmakers only 24 times. Surprisingly, Fox News came the closest to offering balance, hosting 8 Republicans and 6 Democrats. CNN had only one Democrat compared to 7 Republicans.

So Republicans -- whose plan won't work and had no chance of passing anyway -- got plenty of air time to propagandize their efforts, but Democrats got very little time to put out the real numbers. In the past, cable news has excused this imbalance by arguing that the Republicans were in power and, therefore, more newsworthy. Now that they're effectively neutered, you wonder what the new excuse will be.

You also hope that Barack Obama has learned a valuable lesson. Bipartisanship only works when both parties are willing to do it. If the Republican party isn't willing to put their partisanship behind them, then this new era of bipartisanship is dead. On the next big issue, he should seek their input, but if they want to play politics with that one too, then he should shrug, walk away, and do it without them.

Barack Obama has plenty of ways to get around the Republican-dominated media and he should use it. They don't call it the bully pulpit for nothing. The stimulus plan is popular enough that he can get the people behind him in any case. If Republicans want to put the brakes on it to score cheap political points, make them explain to their voters -- not Wolf Blitzer -- why they think that's a good idea.



Too easily

(Another first draft...)

I climb the scales
of lust and love
too greedily.

(It's boys with toy cars
and space monsters:
Easily impressed with fantasy.

No less sincere
for being vapid
but not the stuff of legacies.)

And yet - each time
I say I love you
is to raise a silhouette

against the sky:
a Taj Mahal or Eiffel Tower,
meant to last us after all.

News Roundup for 1/28/09

Crumbling bridge
This bridge isn't bad, it's just misunderstood

-Headline of the day-
"Engineers Give U.S. Infrastructure a 'D' Grade, $2.2 Trillion Price Tag."

That's right, all of our ports and bridges and transmission wires and railroads are dumb. They need a tutor to get those grades up and that tutor's going to cost $2.2 trillion. It's OK if you want to say, "Yikes!" at that number.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our infrastructure a D average, with the highest grade being a C+ for solid waste management, thanks in large part to widespread recycling efforts.

"The nation's infrastructure faces some very real problems, problems that pose an equally real threat to our way of life if they are not addressed appropriately," said engineer Andrew Herrmann, who chairs the Report Card for America's Infrastructure Advisory Council. "However, while it may not happen overnight, these problems are solvable if we have the right kind of vision and leadership"

Pffft! As if...

Oh wait, I forgot Bush isn't president anymore. (ENS)

-Drudge is a dumbass-
Today at the Drudge Report, a front page headline ran -- in big caps -- warning us that there's "$335,000,000 FOR STD PREVENTION IN ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL."

Holy crap! What a waste of money that is...

"Democrats may have eliminated provisions on birth control and sod for the National Mall in the 'job stimulus' -- but buried on page 147 of the bill is stimulation for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases!" Drudge tells us. "The House Democrats’ bill includes $335 million for sexually transmitted disease education and prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned."

Of course, the lack of STD education explains Matt Drudge's infestation of testicular centipedes. Never heard of testicular centipedes?

Well, there's your problem right there. Try getting a job when you're infested with testicular centipedes.

That's why Drudge is self-employed. Remember ladies, Matt Drudge has testicular centipedes. Think of this as a public service announcement. (Think Progress)

-A hero for our time-
More from TP. Freshmen Democratic Representative Alan Grayson of Florida on Rush Limbaugh:

Rush Limbaugh is a has-been hypocrite loser, who craves attention. His right-wing lunacy sounds like Mikhail Gorbachev, extolling the virtues of communism. Limbaugh actually was more lucid when he was a drug addict. If America ever did 1% of what he wanted us to do, then we’d all need pain killers.

This is the part of the movie where we all yell, "YAY!" and throw our hats in the air. Who says the truth hurts? (Think Progress)

-Bonus HotD-
"Reluctant Republicans 'swoon' over Obama after stimulus pitch."

Not enough to vote for it, though. Still, GOP members described Obama as "dreamy" and "a hottie." As Rep. Pete Hoekstra left the meeting room, "Mr. Peter Obama" was clearly seen written over and over on the back of his notebook. (Raw Story)

The naming of cows is a serious matter

It is often suggested that familiarity breeds contempt. What is lesser known is that it also produces more milk:

“Cows with names produce more milk than those animals who are not named, scientists have found. Ermintrude, Daisy and La vache qui rit may produce as much as 454 pints more each year than cows with no names. The average amount of milk produced by a cow over its annual 10 month lactation period is 13,198 pints (7,500 litres). Those cows with names had an average higher milk yield of 454 pints (258 litres).”

Of course, it’s not always easy to come up with the correct name. The poet T.S. Eliot once wrote that ‘the naming of cats is a serious matter.’

Paris Hilton would have agreed with this - if she knew Eliot (or could read.) God knows poor Paris is severely challenged in the brains department, so she can’t be expected to see the difference between a cow and a cat and call them by their proper names at the same time.

As becomes quite obvious if you read the following story:

Paris Hilton, in London to launch her new television show, has said she thought Gordon Ramsay was the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The hotel heiress revealed that, although she said her time in the country taught her slang terms such as “minger” and “fit”, she failed to answer correctly when asked to name the British Prime Minister, claiming she thought it was Gordon Ramsay.

To be fair to Paris, it was a relatively easy mistake to make. One Gordon is a famous chef who likes to say the word ‘fuck’ a lot, whenever he is on TV, while the other Gordon solely appears on TV to explain one of his own past, present and future fuck ups.

Still, it would be mildly interesting to see what would happen if you called a cow ‘Paris’ or ‘Hilton’.

Would such a cow also go on to produce more milk or would she simply end up producing sex tapes and dubious TV shows?

There's Only One Side to This Story

It's easy to look at a new Rasmussen poll and think that the United States is no longer a nation of laws. In that poll, 54% think war crimes weren't committed by the Bush administration. Worse, only 25% do. 70% believe "it would be bad for the United States if the former president and senior administration officials were brought to trial for war crimes," with even 54% of Democrats agreeing.

But these are the results of a population kept in ignorance. The media, with their stupid "two sides to every story" reporting, felt the need to pretend that no one really knows what torture actually is. Congress, spineless throughout the Bush's two terms -- even when his approvals were in the tank -- got the vapors and fell into a faint every time someone mentioned holding any Bushie accountable for anything. There were investigations into all sorts of crimes, complete with sacrificial lambs, but when it came right down to it, the investigations didn't accomplish anything, because there was no action taken on the findings. If the public thinks torture isn't a war crime, the press and Congress can be blamed for it. When it comes to this issue, both have failed miserably. The correct response to Rasmussen's question about war crimes should've been "how the hell should I know? No one tells me anything."

Those who study the issue closely and have some expertise in determining torture have done just that -- determined that the US, under orders from the Bush administration, has tortured. There isn't any gray area here; it's a crime like rape or theft -- either you did it or you didn't, you can't kind of do it a little, but not really.

In July 2008, the Red Cross determined that torture was being used by the United States. The report, cited in Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals," tells us that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah were "categorically" torture and included being confined in a box "so small he said he had to double up his limbs in the fetal position" and waterboarding. The Red Cross told the CIA "that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted."

Similarly, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak told CNN recently that the US had an "obligation" to investigate war crimes by the Bush administration, saying that there's already enough information out there to prosecute former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

"We have clear evidence," he said. "In our report that we sent to the United Nations, we made it clear that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld clearly authorized torture methods and he was told at that time by Alberto Mora, the legal council of the Navy, 'Mr. Secretary, what you are actual ordering here amounts to torture.' So, there we have the clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but, nevertheless, he ordered torture."

But, as I said, the media has this idiotic "two sides to every story" theory, which allows any idiot to spew BS and cast doubt on any issue -- no matter how settled. They do it with global warming, they do it with evolution, they even did it with tobacco and cancer, and now they're doing it with torture. This doesn't inform, all it does is confuse.

"The problem for the Bush administration is that they perfected plausible deniability techniques," constitutional law expert Johnathan Turley told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in an interview about Red Cross report. "They bring out one or two people that are willing to debate on cable shows whether waterboarding is torture and it leaves the impression that its a closed question.

"It's not..."

As a result, people watch pundits try to talk over each other on cable news shows and actually come away from it less informed. There has never, in the entire legal history of the United States, been a time when waterboarding wasn't clearly torture. There has been no case where the defendant was charged with torture, but was later found innocent because it was "just waterboarding." It is torture and it is a crime.

Speaking to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, Turley explained that Obama is required to investigate and prosecute torture. If not, Barack Obama becomes an accessory to the crime. He told Olbermann he had "very little sympathy for the people that committed this torture. I've heard President Obama say we don't want talented people at the CIA looking over their shoulders. Well those talented people in this circumstance would be torturers."

"But in reality nobody thinks that they're going to be prosecuted," Turley continued. "They have something called the estoppel defense where they can say that they were told by people like John Yoo and others that what they did was legal. That does not protect the president and the vice president, and they're the ones and the people just below them who deserve to be investigated and they must be prosecuted if they've committed war crimes or we will shred four treaties and at least four statutes."

The majority of Americans who believe that war crimes weren't committed can hardly be blamed for their confusion. Torture apologists have used the media's "two sides to every story" reporting to their advantage, throwing doubt on what was once a widely accepted truth -- just as creationists have.

But the Barack Obama administration can't make the same claim. They know a crime has been committed and they have a choice to make. Barack Obama has said that we have to look forward, rather than look backward.

I can only hope this doesn't mean he'll look the other way. Because that would be a crime.



Don't Confuse Me With the Facts: The challenge facing professional victims in an Obama administration

With Barack Obama nearing the end of his first week in the Oval Office, I’m tempted to ask what the professional victims are going to do now.

And I’m going to give in to temptation. What are the professional victims going to do now? For as long as many of us can remember, the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have talked about how racist America is. Blacks can’t get ahead. We need affirmative action, quotas, and other such measures to make sure The Man can’t hold blacks down. We’re still mea culpa-ing our way out of slavery, an institution which is 140+ years dead. There are no more blacks-only water fountains, restrooms, or schools.

Still the professional victims point out how there aren’t enough black CEOs, doctors, military officers, elected officials…take your pick. And Barack Obama comes along and shatters that all to pieces. A black man has been elected to the highest office in the land.

So I pose this question to the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world: Now what? Will you pipe down? What sort of arguments can you make now that a black man is in the White House? What “glass ceiling” can you talk about? How is it possible that America is so cripplingly racist when Obama is President?

I have a feeling, though, that even in the face of what should be a tremendous victory for them, the professional victims won’t pipe down. If they do that, they’ll be out of a job. So they’ll continue to carp, because it’s not really about racism. It’s about them and their phony-baloney jobs.

But they should take heart. If people stop listening to this crowd, I'm quite certain Obama will use my money to give them a bailout.

I have no time (A touch)

I have no time
for statements or tattoos,

no wish for permanence
or definition.

Each day I bleed
new words and moments

that I hope will touch
some of your dreaming.

My world (in seven syllables)

Made of moments,
shaped by you

News Roundup for 1/27/09

Sean Connery as James Bond
Gets all his spy stuff from Goodwill

-Headline of the day-
"Secret military files discovered on used MP3 player."

Some guy in New Zealand bought a used MP3 player from an Oklahoma thrift store "at a bargain basement price." The bargain was more than he bargained for. He wanted to download the existing songs to his computer and got a little bit of a surprise.

According to the report, "The 60 files on the player contained the names and personal details of American soldiers, including ones who served in Afghanistan and Iraq... There was also information about equipment deployed to bases and a mission briefing." The Pentagon won't comment until they complete an investigation.

"The government isn't doing a good job of protecting the information that it collects," Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington told CNN. Y'think?

There was a time when spies had to go through all sorts of crazy, dangerous stuff to get classified files. Now all they have to do is go to the neighborhood Goodwill store and buy some old electronics.

And you thought James Bond movies went downhill after the fall of the Soviet Union. Wait until he starts scouring pawn shops and Salvation Army stores for old flash drives and MP3 players.

Yeah, that'll be thrilling... (Raw Story, with video)

-On second thought...-
Remember that new Dassault Falcon 7X private jet that Citigroup was going to buy with bailout money?

Yeah, they're not going to buy it now. Turns out that spending $50 million on a luxury jet after getting $45 billion in bailout bucks wasn't the wisest public relations move. It seems people expected them to do crazy things like make loans with that money, just because that was the entire purpose of the bailout.

Citing "pressure from the White House," Citigroup is backing away from the deal and saying they won't take delivery of the plane.

Now they're just going to have to pinch pennies and take one of those four other corporate jets they have. This will be a tremendous hardship, since I understand the ice machines in the wet bars are slow. (Think Progress)

-First the spill, then a leak-
Way, way back when this guy named George W, Bush was president, there was this big toxic coal ash spill in Tennessee. You might remember it. "Spill" isn't such a good description as "flash flood," since the ash was walled up in a big artificial lake that broke open and flooded the countryside with mercury and various other poisons. 2.6 million cubic yards of it.

The power company responsible for the lake of poison, Tennessee Valley Authority, immediately came out with a plan to deal with it -- in the form of a now-leaked memo of talking points. That's right, a massive toxic sludge spill was primarily a PR problem.

If someone says "catastrophic," you counter that it was merely a "sudden, accidental" "release of this large amount of material." If someone mentions "toxic metals," you correct them and say "inert material not harmful to the environment."

"Don't let your dogs or your pets get out. Don't let them drink the water. Keep your kids away from it. Don't breathe it. If you have any contact with it, spray it off," resident Sarah McCoin was told, then was assured, "It is not a hazardous material." I guess it's not "hazardous," so much as "really, really bad for you."

So don't worry, no one's going to suffer long term health problems because of this massive poison flood. They'll enjoy longevity challenges as a result of a limited accidental discharge of inert materials.

Feel better now? (AP)

John Updike is Dead

John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, prolific man of letters, and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce, and other adventures in postwar America, died today of lung cancer at age 76. A literary force who frequently appeared on best-seller lists, Updike penned novels, short stories, poems, criticism, the memoir Self-Consciousness, and even a famous essay about baseball great Ted Williams.

An old-fashioned believer in hard work, he published more than 50 books in a career that started in the 1950s. Updike won virtually every literary prize, including two Pulitzers, for Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, and two National Book Awards.

History of the Internet


News Roundup for 1/26/09

Obama at a blackboard in a classroom
'My name's Mr. B-A-R-A-C-K O-B-A-M-A and I'll be your president today...'

-Headline of the day-
"Members of Congress can't spell new president's name."

Not O-B-A-M-A, but B-A-R-A-C-K. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call "conducted a (highly scientific, natch) Internet search of [Congress] Member Web sites on Friday to see if anyone had referred to the prez using two of the most common misspellings — 'Barak' and 'Barrack.'"

The results, "Barak" shows up on the sites of Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).

"Barrack" was a less popular mistake, with only Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) screwing things up that way.

According to the report, "At the very least, none appear to have confused him with the head of al Qaeda, as some in the media have, though, of course, sometimes that was done on purpose. But, most probably, Obama would laugh off the report and say that it was fine, as long as they keep calling him Mr. President."

Haha! Congress is dumb. Not exactly earth-shattering news, is it?(Raw Story)

-Money unwell-spent-
Bailed-out-with-taxpayer-billions bank Citigroup is getting themselves a brand-spankin'-new corporate jet. Keen!

The report mentions a "new 7X," which must mean a Dassault Falcon 7x. According to the manufacturer's website, this plane is freaking awesome.

"The Falcon 7X offers a widebody cabin as generous in width as the best selling Falcon 900EX, but substantially longer. Even with all that space, the airplane's most welcome feature may be Dassault's breakthrough environmental system. Unseen yet critical elements of comfort have been taken into account in the Falcon 7X," we're told. "These include 'quieting acoustics,' advanced temperature monitoring that allows for thermal controls to hold a precise temperature throughout the cabin and an in-flight 'cabin altitude' of just 6,000 feet, 2,000 feet lower than today's standard. Comfort, it turns out, is the weaving together of many elements, not the least of which is the custom-crafted interior furnishings you select and Dassault Falcon so meticulously installs."

Asked about the plane, Bill McNamee, head of CitiFlight Inc., the subsidiary that manages Citigroup’s corporate fleet, was outraged. "Why should I help you when what you write will be used to the detriment of our company?" he asked a reporter for the NY Post. "What relevance does it have but to hurt my company?"

Dude, we're paying for it. We get to ask. (In One Ear... Out the Other, via reddit)

-Speaking of corporate bastards...-
Meet Richard S. Fuld Jr., former chairman and chief executive of Lehman Brothers.

Junior Fuld bought a mansion on Jupiter Island, FL five years ago for $13 million. He just sold it for ten bucks. Wow, the Florida housing market must really be in the crapper, huh?

Not really. See, the buyer was some nice lady named Kathleen Fuld who, by a coincidence of cosmic proportions, just happens to be Junior's wife. Seriously, what are the odds?

Pretty good, it turns out. According to the report, "It is possible that he is now transferring properties because of his fears of investor lawsuits or a possible bankruptcy, lawyers in Florida said."

"This is the oldest trick in the books” said Eric S. Ruff, a lawyer with Ruff & Cohen in Gainesville, Fla. “It’s common when you hear the feet of your creditors approaching to divest yourself."

I'd bet good money that new homeowner Kathleen lets Dickie Junior live there with her.

Any chumps... I mean, takers? (New York Times)

Oh happy hour: The Jeremiahs are on the march again...!

I used to like the English columnist Jeremy Clarkson very much but the last few years he’s become a bit of an eco bore. Proving that on both far ends of any issue, only the useless and the tedious seem to gather, spoiling any kind of meaningful discussion for all sides.

Of course, on the few occassions that Clarkson is not behaving like a latter-day Cato, ending each and every speech to the Roman Senate with his trademark ‘By the way, I think that Carthage must be destroyed’, J.C. can still be very entertaining.

Only last Sunday, he was complaining about the British government, which was, yet again, wasting money and time, in its never ending campaign to keep the whole of Britain healthy & safe & bored out of its collective skull:

“Genuinely, it staggers me that with all the problems facing the nation right now, some of my tax money is being used to work out how much wine I should drink before supper. What next? An enormous Prora-style holiday camp on the east coast where smiling families in lederhosen will be ordered to do star jumps from dawn till dusk? Drinking to excess is what separates us from the Greeks. Being drunk is what separates us from the beasts.”

I was reminded of yesterday’s jeremiad by Clarkson when I read an article in one of England’s less serious newspapers - okay, a tabloid really: The Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph specializes in putting out stories of a highly dubious scientific nature.

What they seem to do is half read some serious science story, latch on to its most dubious bits, paint those purple and then inflate the poor things till they are buggered up beyond recognition and belief.

Obviously, almost nothing that appears in the science section of the Telegraph has anything even remotely to do with real science (reporting) but these pieces can still be quite amusing.

They are like those ‘How about that!‘ sections that most papers now carry - with the added advantage that what is written in the science section need not even be true at all.

Anyway, I thought the following story was quite entertaining:

“Rather than curbing a man’s prowess in bed, new research from Australia claims that alcohol can actually improve sexual performance. The suggestion flies in the face of conventional thinking which insists that men who drink too much are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. The new findings are based on a study of 1,580 Australian men, carried out by Western Australia’s Keogh Institute for Medical Research and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. It concluded that those men who drank a moderate amount of alcohol reported 30 per cent fewer problems than teetotallers.”

Now, I’m sure these new findings (such as they are) will not change the government’s attitude to alcohol. In fact, it might even harden their stance - since this adds another potential pleasure to the act of drinking.

Which is probably the most annoying aspect of this whole health & safety obsession: That you can’t help but think that those who claim to act for the good of all of us are, in fact, miserabilist spoil-sports who simply can’t stand it when other people are having fun.

Whether it’s the fanatical, total war on smokers, the drinking of alcohol or the eating of fast food, there’s always this impression that these campaigners don’t really want us to be healthy: They just want to convert us to their risk & pleasure averse faith - and, failing that, take everything that gives us pleasure away from us by force.

In that sense, I have to say that the extremists on the environmental front very much seem to be operating according to that same principle. While I am - unlike Jeremy Clarkson - not a Global Warming denier, I’m not exactly a paid up member of The Latter Day Green Church of Total Doom.

So, I do feel that, like those health & safety Nazis, a sizable number of the fanatical environmentalists simply hate it when other people seem to have the kind of fun they disapprove of.

Something tells me that, if tomorrow would bring absolute & undeniable proof that all those scientists had been wrong about Global Warming, quite a few of the more obsessed Greens would not be pleased with these good tidings at all.

Like all the fanatics who want us to lead healthy & boring lives, these environmentalists would probably plain hate it if things like cheap flights, fancy cars and other, in their eyes, almost evil assets & pursuits would prove to be absolutely harmless in environmental terms.

Mind you, I’m not saying that Global Warming will prove to be as much of a real threat as the Wizard of Oz was - but I’m quite convinced at least some of those doom sayers would actually prefer an environmental catastrophe over a scenario where consumerist pleasures would not lead all of us to ruin.

In that sense, the colour green suits the Mad Hatter’s part of the environmental movement as well as a more Calvinist black would. Not, however, the pleasant green of meadows and trees and what have you but the glaring green of poisonous envy.

(An old one but quite fitting: Enjoy...)

Gitmo's Closing, Everybody Panic!

Now that Barack Obama has signed an executive order to close the detention facility (read "prison camp") at Guantánamo Bay, one thing is becoming clear -- we're all going to freakin' die. Depending on which right wing nut you ask, the president will have no choice but to move at least one deadly terrorist into either your bedroom or your closet. We are doomed.

Writing for the Center for American Progress, blogger Matthew Yglesias helpfully lays out the arguments being advanced by talking heads in the media. Unfortunately for those same talking heads, he translates the arguments from BS into English:

-The fact that the Bush administration has let dangerous terrorists go free means Obama should keep innocent people detained.

-The fact that the Bush administration screwed up the paperwork on detainees shows that there was more wisdom to Bush’s policies than Obama acknowledged on the campaign trail.

-Obama’s promise of change was empty and hypocritical because it will take time to implement his executive orders.

-The “Guantánamo” issue is primarily about the physical location of the facility rather than the legal status or treatment of the detainees.

-Since many liberals live in San Francisco, anyone who thinks it would be ill-advised to transfer prisoners to a museum in the San Francisco Bay that hasn’t been a prison for decades is a hypocrite.

When you put it that way -- i.e., in plain English -- the arguments don't look so good. No fair using logic, because reality has a liberal bias.

But the argument that's being thrown around the most is that released detainees are "returning to the battlefield." This isn't so much true. The Pentagon has claimed that 61 detainees have "returned to the fight," but can't confirm that number. In fact, of those 61, 43 are "suspected" of terrorist activities.

"[T]hey’ve failed to identify names, numbers, dates, times, places, or acts upon which their report relies. Every time they have been required to identify the parties, the DOD has been forced to retract their false IDs and their numbers," wrote Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall Law School. "They have included people who have never even set foot in Guantánamo—much less were they released from there. They have counted people as 'returning to the fight' for their having written an Op-ed piece in the New York Times and for their having appeared in a documentary exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival. The DOD has revised and retracted their internally conflicting definitions, criteria, and their numbers so often that they have ceased to have any meaning—except as an effort to sway public opinion by painting a false portrait of the supposed dangers of these men."

So writing for the New York Times or being interviewed for a documentary is terrorism. Someone arrest William Kristol immediately. He obviously plans to kill us all.

Also ignored is the unfortunate fact that the Guantánamo prison has done nothing to reduce terrorism in the world. In fact, it's had the opposite effect.

[Agence France-Presse:]

A US closure of Guantánamo Bay could deprive militants of a major propaganda tool and help Pakistan in the fight against extremism, analysts said Sunday.

Opened in January 2002 after the United States invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime for sheltering Al-Qaeda, the prison detained hundreds of alleged militants without judicial review.

As the United States sought to fend off accusations that tactics at Guantánamo amounted to torture, the prison became fodder for militants who used its imagery to capture young minds and recruit volunteers to drive extremist attacks.


Pictures of open-air cages, inmates wearing orange jumpsuits with black bags over their heads and testimony from ex-prisoners about ill-treatment made Guantánamo a symbol of the worst excesses in the US-led "war on terror".

Worse, many of the people we put there weren't terrorists. These people developed an understandably poor opinion of the United States while they were in our torture camp. Far from keeping us safer, Gitmo has been a terrorist recruitment center.

"A McClatchy investigation found that instead of confining terrorists, Guantánamo often produced more of them by rounding up common criminals, conscripts, low-level foot soldiers and men with no allegiance to radical Islam — thus inspiring a deep hatred of the United States in them — and then housing them in cells next to radical Islamists," Wrote McClatchy Newspapers' Tom Lasseter in June of 2008. "The radicals were quick to exploit the flaws in the U.S. detention system."

How many of these terrorists "returning to the battlefield" are actually fighting for the first time? It may be impossible to know. But we do know that more terrorists have come out of Gitmo than have gone in. Lasseter calls it a "school for Jihad." Guantánamo is having exactly the opposite of its intended effect. It doesn't reduce terrorism, it increases it -- either by giving terrorist organizations a propaganda tool or by radicalizing non-terrorist detainees.

In the end, there is no good reason to keep Guantánamo open. None of the arguments in favor of it are any good and all of the arguments in favor of closure are sound and reality-based.

If you still feel the need for something to freak out about, then freak out about the fact that Gitmo's still operating. Every day it exists increases terrorism in the world.



Flies-Amy Everett


Suit case packed and ready

Waiting in this plane every chair empty

But I can’t look around me

Destination unclear but forward

Disengage the safety mask

I wont need them tonight

Ill save them for you

Tell me darling , am I just a fuck because you are escaping

Home is not where you want to go

A Home I have none

So we find refuge in shallow conversations and worn lace

If I told you I loved you

You look away as your tear my clothes away

I tell my self its ok…..

clock shines in the dark

Counting down to when you have to return

back to the empty bed you sleep in

Is this car empty we drive in?

Suit case ready for the Red Eye

To some where close to just far enough away

From the lies

Where is your heart

Not in my suit case….

I can’t speak your language..

Just own inches of your skin

That leaves me empty

As I fly

Some where



And far away


How to Tell if You are a Republican

California’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.3 percent in December from 8.4 percent in November and 5.9 percent in December 2007, the state Employment Development Department said Friday.

Source: Los Angeles Business

How to Tell if you are a Republican. You have Faith in Free Enterprise and you are not an Economic Girlie Man.
Also you believe in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and that Bush is a Good Christian.

I enter you like smoke (Like angels dying)

(Old poem; just to see if I can actually manage to post stuff here...)

Storm the night and break the Gates of Heaven.
This the whisper in the trees
that turn their leaves to the rumours of spring.
Done with death
and done with grieving,
they drive their roots into the waiting soil.

Hold her, hold her tight.
This the clamour of the cranes,
returning from the sun,
the shores of Lake Manyara.
Hold her to the light of all your dreaming,
all your coming homes.

And I hold you, hold you -
as a martyr holds his death.
I paint your flesh with morning song,
with all these dreams I share with God.
I enter you like smoke,
like angels dying.

And I sing to you, now sing to you:
naked as the arms and armour
of a virgin heart,
I move through you like prayers,
rising to the Heavens,
coming home.



The Talkshoe broadcast did not happen, as some of you may know.  It was a connectivity issue.  There is another one scheduled, and you can check here for more information.

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One of our developers flaked out on us, so we are down to one person, and the launch date looms.  2-1-2009 is the goal, and we hope to get everyone situated and satisfied, but we're certain that there will be a goodly amount of woodshedding necessary in the process, and we thank you in advance for your patience.

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Happy Hour-amy everett

Suicide of repentance
Save me from this sin
I stand here on my own
Not even left with a shadow
Skinned knees and 25 cents
Calling collect to an empty voice of treason
I hear the dial tone
Just to remember the dreams I believed in
I disintegrate into time
A blast from the barrel of your gun
Maybe not worth the bullet
Or this ink I write in
But that's OK....
Fault rest , on lines that you drew I confess
Earth quakes.....
So new smiles bind seconds and steal my thoughts from you
Where my thoughts don't belong spinning on your hands that held the knife
Digging into my back
Yeah you had the armor all along
Used mine and left me for dead
You lie there a martyr
But it was the lie , you were never the friend
Next time I''ll listen closer , when I tell my self to leave.
I take my seat at the bar
New adventure rings clear
Probably not good for my head
He becomes the shallow thoughts and the new whisper in my bed
Maybe it's empty

He says ,"you are my sweat heart," But I am not going to lie .
He says,"darlin pussy's don't belong in between your legs. "
I laugh
Silently hurting
For promises dead and gone
Left somewhere I thought was my home
So I leave the drunks alone in their thoughts
And drive my car
To see you for an hour
Just an hour
Maybe it's empty
But for an hour
Everything is all right.....


Tragedy? Amy Everett -New

Secrets fade into tea and hurried conversations
I am the one hiding a secret
All for you
Eyes haunt me for hours
Not just because this is new
But because you turn and twist an unbending road
The one I walk on ,
Maybe To you
I am a good friend
Who knows
All that I know is that
I know
That I am…
So I hunt for satisfaction ,
of Starbucks and drives
How you read between the lines….
Of me and you
I know to you this may be hollow
Maybe a game of Lion and his prey
I give it up to you today
And yesterday
New places
Isn’t what brings me this smile
Maybe it’s wrong
I just can’t help myself
You got me on this Merry go Round
I’ll give you what you need
Even if it’s just a place to rest your head tonight
But I just wanted to tell you why….
Why I will let you lay your head here tonight….
Because I am…
Between coffee and silence
In me is where you live…..

Black Widow

It doesn’t matter does it...
What you write is just ink. Spent. And smeared…
Twisted between lines
between the lies
I become the black widow
spinning this web,
just to not hit the ground
her job is……
I live in the corridors of vast meadows
shaded in black and white
My inspiration committed suicide
With out a fucking answer
Disrespect and coward’s obligations
Guess you really can’t give from emptiness
And Tori says,” Your just an empty cage Boy, if you kill the bird”
It’s your death
My heart was strapped to your pace maker
Disconnect with half cocked smile, can't do it eye to eye....
All you do is laugh
Dr. Kevorkian?
I sit this morning at coffee
Knowing that becoming a black widow means I have to turn my back ,on all that I know
All that I feel
I am fine with that
I watched the rain fall
Piano played in my mind
Spinning, spinning, he comes to greet me
I wish
I was just some where else far away
Numb the pain
Forget the rain
why did you serve this lesson…
You knew I didn’t need one more dissatisfaction
I was there for you
I knewand you laugh?
Sending good byes through ink jet
A million miles of me down to the count of tattooed suicide
But oh …
I am marked for good
Scraping it from my skin
Inch by inch
I sit here now in this web hungry for contentment
The coffee grows bitter
He offers some sugar
I walk away…
Another rainy day….

The Devil I know-Amy Everett

It's 5:00 pm
Smiles surround this stormy Sky
I realize
I am all right
Soul mates are ashes that once burned bright
But if they are ashes it means they couldn't of been soul mates -right?
I stand here jaded in a jaded sigh
Maybe Starbucks will do just fine
Traveling on an empty road is far better than traveling the road of lies
But it's your sin
You called yourself my friend
I laugh inside
I break inside
All at the same fucking time
So I play Yellowcard and turn it up highI sing the lyrics to The Song- Only One
And realize that there is no one for me
You had the resume
You owned the Vacancy signs
And to you that wasn't all right??
See me Cheshire cat , a little broken
But I love that
I drink my tea
Think of all of you
That I love
Realize I am not alone
Soul mates.....................
Maybe just wasn't meant for me
But what I tell you
What was, was this mornings coffee
I know this moment and what I have survived
Just trying to keep it all afloat
And fuck you, you had the last round!
You didn't deserve it at all!
But you know that.......
And drowning was your choice not mine................................

So I wait under street lamps for my regrets
But they are mine.
And I sleep
I sleep
I sleep knowing that I never lied
Where do you rest your head at night?
Maybe I am hiding now
But that's OK...
You' ll have to agree
Maybe my soul mate-is me.
So when you drink
Have one for me
on bending steel for nothing
For traveling a million miles down in return for your lonely glass of tea....
Look in the mirror
do you feel empty?
Maybe it's the devil we know
Looking for the answer
I find mine in the sword
And the love I give
Cowards wouldn't understand
I have cried a million tears but who cares
I use them to sail me forward
Not into a bottle,
I am pure and beautiful
An Angel
So yes , I am jaded
But I am whole
Better than a shot glass you swim in alone
So here is the message
I write so loud and clear
A thousand to leave
To conquer a thousand more seas
Where I can feel the water
Not just read about them in books
Feel the excitement mount!
So here we go.....
Maybe I don't have my soul mate
But for now
Starbucks and notebooks
will suit me just fine.....

Please listen to Yellow Card -City of Devils-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F xCxccmACrQ