Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain the fabulist and Reagan the liar

McCain campaign ad irony alert: narrator, "Only 1 man didn't play politics with the truth," as video plays of St. John walking and talking with Pres. Raygunz.

If 1 spoke truth, then Ronnie must have lied through his teeth when he told the American people he would not negotiate with terrorists while at the same time his administration personally delivered a birthday cake and a Bible to Ayatollah Khomeini as we illegally sold Iran weapons.

If Ronnie Raygunz ever did meet the truth, he raped, sodomized, decapitated it and then kept the torso for future necrophilia.

But the American people voted for him anyway even after he said in first debate against Mondale that only opposition to dictator Marcos in Philippines and against apartheid in S Africa came from communists, an absurd, fantastical statement.

Nevertheless the media—led by George Will ‘s supposedly neutral commenting on ABC after working as Reagan debate coach—focused on Raygunz “performance”—“there you go again”—rather than the falsehoods he uttered.

That explains how otherwise logical people can vote vote for fact free McCain; they become seduced by emotional impact of words they hear rather than analyze them for factual content.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Shame of the Union Speech; St Jr., the dragon slayer

Jon Carrol commenting on Shame of the Union Speech

[(I)n his 2002 State of the Union address that President Bush defined the purpose to which he has been dedicated ever since. "Evil" was his constant point of reference, and he claimed the mantle of one who would end it. America's enemies were an "axis of evil," while America's friend was God, who, Bush told us, was "near."

In such a cosmic moral struggle, normal standards of restraint did not apply. That you could not imagine yet the wreckage of law and decency - torture, wiretapping, concentration camps, treaty betrayals - that would follow from this course does not detract from your obligation to acknowledge that it was openly set by Bush's first statement of purpose. Your bus was being driven by St. George, the dragon slayer. And why should mere rules of the road apply to him?]

Monday, January 28, 2008

Krugman agrees with me

[...Whatever hopes people might have had that Mr. Clinton would usher in a new era of national unity were quickly dashed. Within just a few months the country was wracked by the bitter partisanship Mr. Obama has decried.

This bitter partisanship wasn’t the result of anything the Clintons did. Instead, from Day 1 they faced an all-out assault from conservatives determined to use any means at hand to discredit a Democratic president.

For those who are reaching for their smelling salts because Democratic candidates are saying slightly critical things about each other, it’s worth revisiting those years, simply to get a sense of what dirty politics really looks like.

No accusation was considered too outlandish: a group supported by Jerry Falwell put out a film suggesting that the Clintons had arranged for the murder of an associate, and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page repeatedly hinted that Bill Clinton might have been in cahoots with a drug smuggler...

Any Democrat who makes it to the White House can expect the same treatment: an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false (at least not on Page 1)...

What the Democrats should do is get back to talking about issues — a focus on issues has been the great contribution of John Edwards to this campaign — and about who is best prepared to push their agenda forward. Otherwise, even if a Democrat wins the general election, it will be 1992 all over again. And that would be a bad thing.]emphasis added

Guerilla war in Iraq

These ain’t good. First indicates insurgents–can’t we find better description than insurgents,say anti-American forces--in Mosul have started platoon size ambushes of our troops. In a city, they could upgrade to company size: small enough to evade US air strikes but large enough force to inflict casualties.

Second indicates looming failure of strategy unless our Sunni “allies--in quotes because tribal militias will fight in their own perceived interests—can assume some role in police or army.

A revote for parliament give more political influence to Sunni areas.

Roadside bomb kills five U.S. soldiers in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Five U.S. soldiers were killed when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb and then came under small arms fire in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Monday, the U.S. military said.

By Patrick Cockburn in Fallujah
Monday, 28 January 2008
A crucial Iraqi ally of the United States in its recent successes in the country is threatening to withdraw his support and allow al-Qa'ida to return if his fighters are not incorporated into the Iraqi army and police.

"If there is no change in three months there will be war again," said Abu Marouf, the commander of 13,000 fighters who formerly fought the Americans. He and his men switched sides last year to battle al-Qa'ida and defeated it in its main stronghold in and around Fallujah.

"If the Americans think they can use us to crush al-Qa'ida and then push us to one side, they are mistaken," Abu Marouf told The Independent in an interview in a scantily furnished villa beside an abandoned cemetery near the village of Khandari outside Fallujah. He said that all he and his tribal following had to do was stand aside and al-Qa'ida's fighters would automatically come back. If they did so he might have to ally himself to a resurgent al-Qa'ida in order to "protect myself and my men".

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
H. L. Mencken

Knife fight to save US Constitution

Tie the top three Democratic candidates for president together wrist to wrist to wrist, give each a knife, and let 'em fight 'til last person standing, not necessarily to death like in a spaghetti western

Though an an immodest proposal,

this provides an analogy to the general election where every wingnut, Repuklikkkan, mouthbreathing misanthrope and swiftboating bastard crawls from cesspools of ignorance spewing vile lies, calumnies, and slanders towards the Democratic nominee.

If Democrats and progressives and office seekers all get in a tizzy by media decontruction of candidate's every phrase--"it took a President" and "Reagan's party of ideas"--we distract ourselves from the war to come.

We should agree now on common principles.

I'd suggest 4.

!. Rollback the police state of GWB and consider the Constitution as supreme law of the land by recognizing it includes the Geneva Conventions as duly ratified under Article Six.

2. Reproductive rights.

3. Health care for all.

4. Sunset the Cheney's administation tax cuts for the rich.

We the people must prepare for all out war to preserve our very Constitution.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Election polls had Dewey winning

Just another reason to hate primary season: breathless reports on polls purporting to place candidates in horce race fashion without mentioning the accuracy margin.

"Obama’s edge on Clinton slipped by two points overnight but remained in double digits, 38 percent to 25 percent, in the rolling poll, with John Edwards gaining two points to climb to 21 percent and inch closer to second place.

Having seen error rates between 3 and 7%, let's use reported number at 5 and look at the place and show possitions in the race,2nd and 3rd: Clinton at 21.4 and Edwards 24.4

How'd they calculate exactly 3.4?

Link from suburbanguerillaand original at

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quote of the day daily double

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?
Will Rogers

Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.
Will Rogers

Would Jesse Helms count Jesus a Marxist?

He practiced just like MLK, and at least his followers later practiced followers practiced marxism: Matthew25, "35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.",36;&version=31;

Then we have the whole non-violence thing, so 2 centuries ago.

"Take the poor out and club 'em to death/that's what the statue of bigotry says." sings Lou Reed.

From Wapo
[Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), charging that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. espoused "action-oriented Marxism" and other "radical political" views, yesterday temporarily blocked Senate action on a House-passed bill to create a new national holiday in memory of the slain civil rights leader.
Helms' assault on King, which prompted a scathing denunciation from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), came as the White House was putting out word that President Reagan intends to sign the measure, even though the administration once had opposed it...

Helms had hardly begun his attack on the bill when Senate leaders of both parties, including Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), [WTF, Strom?} the conservative chairman of the Judiciary Committee, filed a cloture petition to shut off debate and bring the bill to a vote, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

And Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), floor manager for the legislation, acerbically attacked the contention by Helms and other critics of the bill that another federal holiday would be costly for the economy. "Since when did a dollar sign take its place atop our moral code?" Dole asked.
Although Helms' colleagues had expected his effort to derail the bill by sending it to committee for hearings, the tone of his attack--linking King to what he called "the official policy of communism"--appeared to take them by surprise...

A federal holiday should be an occasion for "shared values," but King's "very name itself remains a source of tension, a deeply troubling symbol of divided society," Helms said.

Helms said King had used "nonviolence as a provocative act to disturb the peace of the state and to trigger, in many cases, overreaction by authorities."

He asserted that there were Marxists in King's movement and that King had been warned against them by the president at the time, apparently meaning President Kennedy.

Added Helms: "I think most Americans would feel that the participation of Marxists in the planning and direction of any movement taints that movement at the outset . . . . Others may argue that Dr. King's thought may have been merely Marxist in its orientation. But the trouble with that is that Marxism-Leninism, the official philosphy of communism, is an action-oriented revolutionary doctrine. And Dr. King's action-oriented Marxism, about which he was cautioned by the leaders of this country, including the president at that time, is not compatible with the concepts of this country." ]

Found from link in comments at

McCain Limericks

Language warning

Going Bankrupt: Economic Consequences of US Empire.

from mediamatters/altercation by way of Tomgram Dispatch

[Why the Debt Crisis Is Now the Greatest Threat to the American Republic
By Chalmers Johnson

The military adventurers of the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the "smartest guys in the room," the title of Alex Gibney's prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

As a result, going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. Its government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of maintaining huge standing armies, replacing the equipment that seven years of wars have destroyed or worn out, or preparing for a war in outer space against unknown adversaries. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay -- or repudiate. This utter fiscal irresponsibility has been disguised through many manipulative financial schemes (such as causing poorer countries to lend us unprecedented sums of money), but the time of reckoning is fast approaching.

There are three broad aspects to our debt crisis. First, in the current fiscal year (2008) we are spending insane amounts of money on "defense" projects that bear no relationship to the national security of the United States. Simultaneously, we are keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segments of the American population at strikingly low levels.

Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our manufacturing base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures -- so-called "military Keynesianism," which I discuss in detail in my book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. By military Keynesianism, I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.

Third, in our devotion to militarism (despite our limited resources), we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of our country. These are what economists call "opportunity costs," things not done because we spent our money on something else. Our public education system has deteriorated alarmingly. We have failed to provide health care to all our citizens and neglected our responsibilities as the world's number one polluter. Most important, we have lost our competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs -- an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing.]

Soros: market fundamentalism since 1980

"Since 1980, regulations have been progressively relaxed until they have practically disappeared.

The super-boom got out of hand when the new products became so complicated that the authorities could no longer calculate the risks and started relying on the risk management methods of the banks themselves. Similarly, the rating agencies relied on the information provided by the originators of synthetic products. It was a shocking abdication of responsibility.

Everything that could go wrong did. What started with subprime mortgages spread to all collateralised debt obligations, endangered municipal and mortgage insurance and reinsurance companies and threatened to unravel the multi-trillion-dollar credit default swap market. Investment banks’ commitments to leveraged buyouts became liabilities. Market-neutral hedge funds turned out not to be market-neutral and had to be unwound. ",dwp_uuid=d355f29c-d238-11db-a7c0-000b5df10621.html

Move long, nothing to see hear, all the fault of the icky subprime lenders.

1/2 of homeless people in central FL work every day

"It [the report] includes a finding that almost half of the region's homeless work every day but stay in a shelter or motel or camp in cars or outdoors.",0,5508710.story

FL: No $ for prosecutors either.

So FL which gave rich folk 8 BILLION dollars in tax breaks by ending intangibles tax during governor JEB!'s term in ofc, now can't afford to prosecute violent crimes .

Sheesh, 'tain't rocket science folks.

My Moms taught me--approximately kindergarten-- that in times when you have plenty of $, save some for tough times. No, can't raise taxes. Cut the budget, harming the most vulnerable amongst us: children, elderly people, and crime victims.

Not with the Bush boys, however, who answer everything with their mantra, tax cuts for the rich.


Violent-crime cases swamp prosecutors
Jim Leusner and Sarah Lundy

Sentinel Staff Writers

January 24, 2008

Saying his office is drowning in murder cases and other violent offenses, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar pleaded with lawmakers Wednesday to give him $5.4 million for new prosecutors to keep up with the region's crime wave.

Just hours after the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association asked lawmakers in Tallahassee to hold the line on budget cuts, Lamar took the bold step of asking for an increase to his $22 million budget.

"We've got a lot more cops and a lot more violent crime, but we don't have the prosecutors to keep up with what we need to do," said Lamar, whose office is facing about $1 million in state budget cuts. "We are in a position of running on empty in the 9th [Judicial] Circuit. The lack of prosecutors cannot be allowed to be the missing link in the justice chain. . . ."

Standing in front of a poster with mug shots of 96 murder defendants, Lamar pleaded with citizens to call their legislators and ask for support. He said the circuit's 122 pending murder cases mostly are handled by four overwhelmed prosecutors in his homicide unit. In contrast, the nine-person homicide unit in Broward County is handling 142 murder cases.

Lamar said all of his 131 prosecutors are buried under an increasing caseload. Law-enforcement agencies have added cops and plan to add more. They are performing more crime sweeps to thwart street violence, and as a result are making more arrests.

But it is the sharp increase in murders during the past few years that is causing the most concern. In 2005, there were 71 murders reported by Orlando police and the Orange County Sheriff's Office. That jumped to 113 in 2006. Last year, there were 98 murders.

Assistant State Attorney Robin Wilkinson, who supervises the homicide unit, said at least nine new murder cases have been filed by police since the first of the year and more are in the pipeline.

"Starting [last] November 7 to December 20th, I worked every day except Thanksgiving," said Wilkinson, who is handling 37 cases. "In the old days, the homicide unit handled 10 to 12 cases apiece. We desperately need help."

Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry, a former prosecutor who handled murder cases in the 1980s and now hears them from the bench, said the caseload for judges and prosecutors locally is formidable.

"His homicide unit needs help," Perry said of Lamar. "These cases take more time, are more complicated and, we've learned as judges, you can't have inexperienced people handle these homicides."

But with the state facing a $2 billion budget shortfall in 2008-09, getting more money could be a long shot. Lamar said he has asked state Sen. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden, and Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, for help. Neither could be reached for comment.

Jay Corzine, a University of Central Florida sociologist who has consulted with Orange County police agencies about violent crime, said the request by Lamar appears reasonable in the wake of the murder spike since mid-2005.

"Generally, homicide trials take a lot more resources than other cases," he said.

But Lamar's move surprised the statewide prosecutor's association, which didn't know he was going to make his own, public appeal for more money.

"I feel that we are stronger collectively," said 13th Circuit State Attorney Mark Ober of Tampa. "I didn't know about what he was doing. We would have liked him in Tallahassee today. . . . We are all in the same boat."

Harry Shorstein, Lamar's counterpart in the 4th Circuit, said state attorneys offices are funded as a group. A formula, based on several factors, such as population, determines how much each circuit should get. That's why it's best for prosecutors to lobby as a group and not go it alone.

"I don't think that's an appropriate way to do it," said Shorstein, whose circuit includes Jacksonville, which is considered to be Florida's murder capital in recent years.

Legislators could decide to give Lamar $5 million by taking it away from the 19 other state attorneys -- which wouldn't be fair, he said.

"I have a problem reconciling that," Shorstein said.

Bill Vose, Lamar's chief assistant state attorney, said the $5.4 million could add 50 or 60 prosecutors and 80 or 90 support staffers.

During his news conference, Lamar said the 9th Circuit, which comprises Orange and Osceola counties, handled more felony trials during the past few years than any other in the state.

Lamar said he was requesting the new money from the Legislature to put his office in line with the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, which he said was of similar size but had less violent and juvenile crime.

He also argued that prosecuting crimes related to tourists is not factored into his office's yearly allocation from the Legislature. The money tourists spend here, he said, helps generate sales-tax revenue for Tallahassee, which is used to help fund prosecutors' budgets.

Without the additional money and help with murder cases, Lamar said he may be forced to "cheapen our handling" of lesser crimes such as burglary and auto theft.

One person hoping for additional money and prosecutors is Lori Ilgenfritz, the sister of snack-company deliveryman Gary W. Vaughan of Gotha. The 51-year-old was shot and killed during a delivery in Parramore last month.

"We were appalled that the two individuals arrested in my brother's murder had extensive juvenile records," said Ilgenfritz, who attended the news conference with her husband. "Had they been dealt with before, maybe his murder could have been prevented."

Jim Leusner can be reached at or 407-420-5411. Sarah Lundy can be reached at or 407-420-6218.
For complete chart, see printed copy.
Copyright © 2008, Orlando Sentinel]
(emphasis added)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Honoring MLK AND R E. Lee?


Hold on to the War Between the States as long as y'all ignorqnt, cousin marryin' fools want to ; the rest of us in real word know it ended long ago.

The War did, but racism lives on even today.

[In Arkansas, Gen. Lee gets his day, too

12:00 AM CST on Sunday, January 20, 2008
From Wire Reports

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas state employees will have Monday off, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. – and General Robert E. Lee, commanding officer of the Confederate Army.

DANNY JOHNSTON/The Associated Press
Arkansas Capitol doors indicate that offices will be closed Monday for both leaders' birthdays. Every year, the doors of the state Capitol bear notices that offices will be closed the third Monday of January to honor Dr. King and Gen. Lee. Arkansas is one of three states to commemorate both men with a state holiday. The others are Alabama and Mississippi.

"I know my students that come to the university seem to come with a bit of nostalgia for the Old South ... particularly Robert E. Lee, who has the mystique of being the man who only reluctantly seceded," said University of Arkansas history professor Jeannie M. Whayne. "He's become, well, one book's title says it all, The Marble Man, the ideal of the Southerner..."

...Commemorating Gen. Lee's birth dates to 1943, when Arkansas legislators declared it one of several "memorial days" the governor would commemorate by a proclamation. It became a legal holiday in 1947.

In 1983, lawmakers voted to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official state holiday but required state employees to choose two out of three holidays – Dr. King's birthday on Jan. 15, Gen. Lee's birthday on Jan. 19 or the employee's birthday. In 1985, they voted to combine Dr. King's and Gen. Lee's holidays. Employees got to keep their birthdays as a holiday.]
(emphasis added, just got to love old south nostalgia when blacks had no rights and only counted under Constitution as 3/5 of a person for representation in US House.)

hat tip Field Negro

Can FL get high tech biz with crappy colleges?


[TALLAHASSEE - Associate history professor Matt Childs needs to spend another four to six months in Cuba to finish his second book on the country's slave history, but Florida's 2-year-old ban on research travel to the communist country prevents him from going.

He has received just one merit raise in his six years at Florida State University. He's married with one toddler, and another baby and endless bills on the way.

So when the University of South Carolina recently came calling, Childs answered.

Starting in the fall, he will teach and pursue his Cuba research from USC's Columbia campus.

"I have made my name now as a scholar of Cuban history, but I can no longer do my job here if I can't go to Cuba to do research," Childs said. "Also, I just did not see a viable financial future in Florida with a growing family. This is what pushed us out."

State university system leaders fear more will follow, as the budget situation worsens and political tensions between academics and lawmakers rise.

They say Childs and his wife, an elementary school teacher who stands to earn at least 25 percent more in South Carolina, are an example of the brain drain threatening the state's public education system.

Already, Florida's $2-billion budget deficit has the 11 public colleges considering layoffs and program cutbacks - and that has professors thinking twice about their futures here...

..."This budget crisis will put USF back five years."

Florida universities have been in similar straits before, during the recession of the early 1990s. Then, an FSU professor traded her classes of 100 students for classes of less than 20 at the University of Southern California - and at double her FSU salary.

"Now I worry about not only losing the quality of the professors, but also our faculty-student ratio," said Carolyn Roberts, chairwoman of the board that oversees the 11 public universities. "When you look at some of our universities, it's to a critical level already."

The university system in Florida has one of the worst student-faculty ratio in the country: 30 students for every tenured instructor. ]

emphais added

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jr's Mideast trip a failure

McClatchy News Service

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- President Bush wraps up a weeklong tour of the Middle East Wednesday, leaving many Mideast political observers mystified as to the purpose of the visit and doubtful that the president made inroads on his twin campaigns for Arab-Israeli peace and isolation for Iran.

Bush is heading back to Washington mostly empty-handed, said several analysts and politicians throughout the region. Arab critics deemed Bush's peace efforts unrealistic, his anti-Iran tirades dangerous, his praise of authoritarian governments disappointing and his defense of civil liberties ironic.

''There is no credibility to his words after what the region saw during his presidency,'' said Mohamed Fayek, the Cairo, Egypt-based director of the nonprofit Arab Organization for Human Rights.

He cited the war in Iraq, the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the Abu Ghraib detainee abuse scandal.]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Muqatada al-Sadr:"Get out of our land and it will be safe"

12 January 2008 post by by Al-Sayyid Muqatada al-Sadr titled: "His Eminence Al-Sayyid Issues a Statement denouncing and condemning in it the visit by the leader of US evil, Bush, to the Middle East." The following is text of the statement:

[Since the United States put its stamp on the Middle East and came with its plan, which it called "democracy", the Islamic and non-Islamic peoples have been suffering from a situation that is deteriorating from bad to worse: Poverty is spreading, unemployment is rife, ignorance is prevailing, enmity and hatred are common, and environmental pollution is increasing day after day.

We wonder, will visit by the leader of evil (Bush) to the Middle East be a lever lifting the sufferings of others. No and a thousand no. It came to impose US domination and hegemony on the rest of the states so that their fate will be the same as the fate of others before them.

While we denounce and condemn this visit, which will only spread corruption and wars, we tell him: You brought us wars, and the bringer of war cannot bring peace and the bearer of corruption cannot spread wellbeing. Go away with your freedom and spread it among your own people, who suffer from your suppression. Spread peace among your own people who suffer from fear and hatred of others due to you. Get out of our land and it will be safe.

I also address myself to the Arab rulers and say: Don't forget your people's blood, which is being spilled by the armies of darkness under their leader (Bush). Do not be partners in spilling your people's blood. If you accepted his visit to you and you received him here, this would mean your cooperation with him in spilling the blood of your brothers in Palestine, Iraq, and many other countries. If your thrones cannot continue except by receiving him, then they are not important. It is the people who come first after God. Do not be unfair to your people so that you will be one hand to put an end to US influence; in fact, the ominous troika (al-thaluth al-mash'um) from our land so that we can preserve our people, religion, and territories from the filth of the West and its thoughts.]

(Signed) Muqtada al-Sadr, issued on 29 Dhi al-Hijjah 1428 Hijiri "

From informed comment.

Quote of the Day

Conservative. noun. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from a liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914), The Devil's Dictionary

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum (I think that I think, therefore I think that I am.)
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
US author & satirist (1842 - 1914)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Amazon links for previous post

Added Amazon links for very first post but bloggered now. Go figure.

Jesus Action Figures: Holy overcommercialization of Chri$tma$, Pastor Dan

A recent editorial in the West Palm Beach Post by Jac Versteeg alerted me to the existence of Jesus action figures

My reaction came instantly: visceral and gut wrenching, made me want to picket Wal Mart with a sign reading, "Don't toy with Jesus!"

Nevertheless with a log in my own eye and a judgmental streak a mile or more wide, it behooved me to step back and not judge parents’ choices to bring up children in the Way, even Jesus action figures.

Yet in 2006 days before Christmas in front of a Orlando Public Library branch in a strip mall on Colonial Drive, a man reached into a garbage can to get a McDonald's wrapper out and ate what remained. The strip mall has Bennigan's and Friday's. To the west lies restaurant row with Barney's Steak House, Chan's Chinese where ethnic Chinese people go to eat, and little further you'll find Little Viet Nam with a plethora of vietnames restaurants, all to say Orlando abounds with abundance.

This man, not shabbily dressed nor dirty, had to eat garbage because of hunger.

Many misconceptions abound about “the homeless”: all alcoholics, addicts, derelicts, or lazy. Even the term "the homeless" robs human life of dignity, so much so that beating homeless people to death becomes sport around the country, not just Orlando. Presumably these young men, maybe raised in churches, became imbued with an all to common view and began to see homeless people as dregs or even subhuman.

Yet every homeless person has a story, a mother and father, a whole life that you cannot divine just seeing present circumstance. Many circumstances cause homelessness, such as the political economy which limits affordable housing and actively works to demolish such sites in the name of development: the Lamar hotel in Orlando (which you can see in the movie Ulee's Gold, see above) and the Orange Court Motor Lodge downtown for example. The working poor, even intact families with 2 wage earners cannot afford 1 st and last month rent and security.

"1 in 4 homeless people in the United States are veterans (while veterans make up only 11 percent of the general adult population)."

Indeed, with the current collapsing of the housing bubble and interest rates resetting on adjustable rate mortgages, the CEO of Freddie Mac, one of 2 government sponsored mortgage finance companies, envisions [ "pictures of people standing with furniture on the lawn" after being forcibly evicted from their homes, Syron said. "As that begins to happen, and it will happen, I am afraid of the impact that this has."] So soon "the homeless" could include humans you know: neighbors, family, friends, maybe even people who've sat next to you in your church.

My great aunt, Helen, the youngest of 8 children all born in Pilot Mountain, NC—yes, a real place you can find on Google Earth and printed maps—told a story of the Great Depression when 2 men came to the door and asked for chores to do in exchange for food.

My great great grandmother, Lillie B, went to get a chicken from the yard to slaughter for dinner—in those days that meant lunch and supper meant the evening meal—and told Helen to fetch the good china. For people of modest means, the good china served as objects of veneration rather than for use eating.

Aunt Helen, who may never have touched the good china before then and aghast at using it to serve strangers, exclaimed, "but Momma, you want to use the good china!?"

"Chile, I have 2 boys out on the road now and want them treated as I treat these boys."

So by all means, buy a Jesus action figure if you must to teach your children (see above). Nevertheless since few would welcome strangers into their house in the 21st century, consider instead donating $20 to your local homeless shelter, maybe give Subway coupons and God's blessings to a homeless person, or even buy food for your local food pantries as they have shortages all over the US.

Please consider what the Lord actually said rather than words of the action figure: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…" (Matthew 25: 35, 36)

(Permission granted to disseminate freely as long as author's email,, and place of original publication included.)

Quote of the Day

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
Dorothy Parker

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fl Homegrown Democrcacy

Go to and sign the online petition to give citizens more say in how we build and develop in the state of Florida.

We all know people want to move to FL (shhhh, don't tell Yankees about our weather this week), but we ought to develop and build in reasonable and sustainable ways for future generations, for me particularly my nieces and nephews.

For a recent example of irrational growth, please read the article below on massive development planned for rural areas straddling the Brevard/Volusia county lines. This fails the sustainable growth test on logical and geological grounds. How can building mega developments protect already protected environmentally sensitive lands?

Also. the geology of the Floridian Aquifer, which supplies much of our drinking water relies on rainwater which filters through sandy soil and then limestone. Development of any sort requires asphalt and concrete which then directs rainfall into the watershed which runs off rather than filters down.

So for the future of Fl and your descendants, sign the petition to give citizens more say in planing of development. Otherwise, the political system as usual, dominated by a seamless web of developer's and their cohorts' cash, documented at, will determine your children's future.

[50,000 homes could land on rural tract

The owner of the parcel in Brevard and Volusia is weighing development options.

Etan HorowitzSentinel Staff Writer March 23, 2007

As Central Florida officials and residents try to figure out how they want the region to grow, plans are taking shape for two massive developments in Volusia and Brevard counties that could add 50,000 homes.

One of them, a 10,000-home development on more than 6,000 acres straddling Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach, is going through a review by regional planners.

Plans for Miami Corp.'s 57,000 acres in Volusia and Brevard counties are less definite, but representatives for the company recently told county officials that they might want to build roughly 20,000 to 40,000 homes.

Together the projects signal intense new development pressures facing a rural area in southeast Volusia County.

A regional planning council is reviewing the details of a large development called Restoration, which was formerly known as Hammock Creek, just west of Interstate 95. Last year, the 6,281-acre property sold for $97 million in the largest private land deal in county history.

If approved, Restoration will have nearly 10,000 homes by the time it is finished in 2018, and its developer has said that about 62 percent of the property will be preserved.

South of that proposed development, Miami Corp.'s enormous parcel has been the subject of speculation for years. But until last year, representatives of the intensely private Chicago-based company insisted they would never build on the property, which is used for hunting and tree farming.

They confirmed for the first time that they were exploring development options for the property, which is about twice the size of Walt Disney World.

Since then, local, regional and state officials have toured the property and met with representatives for the company. County officials said representatives for Miami Corp. have suggested building about 20,000 to 40,000 homes on the property over nearly 70 years.

The current zoning on the property, which stretches from near Deltona in Volusia to northern Brevard, allows 4,280 homes.

"It's just another proposed mega-development, and hopefully it will be done through good, green practices," said Fred Milch, a planner with the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council who toured the Miami Corp. property. "They were talking about this as a city."

But Glenn Storch, Miami Corp.'s local attorney, said the company has not decided how many homes to build on its property -- or if the company wants to develop it at all.

Storch said he wants to use a new state program called "rural land stewardship," which allows higher density in exchange for preserving large areas of environmental land. The company's board of directors may decide next month how it wants to proceed, Storch said.

Storch said that while some residents may be concerned about higher density, it's a much better option than what's allowed now -- homes spread out on large lots without any environmental protection. Michele Moen, an environmentalist who is a member of the Volusia Soil & Water Conservation District, is concerned about the ripple effects of development on the Miami Corp. property.

"When people think rural stewardship, they think all the growth will go into this one spot," Moen said. "It doesn't stop growth anywhere else." Etan Horowitz can be reached at or 386-851-7915. Copyright (c) 2007, Orlando Sentinel]

Used without permission under fair use exception to copyright law

Quote of the Day

People never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
- Blaise Pascal

"It's the rich wot's gets the gravy"

Meanwhile the middle class gets crunched and CEO's who fail miserably get enormous compensation packages. (Courtesy Americablog)

So after making piles of cash during the housing boom, one might expect the CEO, Angelo Mozilo, to face some adverse consequences after the company lost 79% of stock vaklue.


"Aside from nearly $88 million in cash, he'll have to make do with not one but two pensions, accelerated payment of stock options, free rides on the company jet and his country club bills being paid until 2011.",1,239169.column?ctrack=1&cset=true
(link from Americablog post)

What no Lakers or Clippers tickets, limousine service, or free rent?

You think I jest?

Read about "Chainsaw" Jack Welch's retirement package form General Electric which became public knowledge when his wife file for divorce. "Chainsaw" gained renown in the business world by gutting GE divisions and selling them off and putting middle class Americans out of work.

For that, he got $9 million a year plus health and life insurance benefits, plus fringe benefits.

This chunk comes from the article linked below and presented to highlight his chutzpah, hubris, greed---oh hell, I'm running out of nouns 'cause I feel such outrage.

[ GE provides a company-owned luxury apartment at the Trump International Hotel and Towers on Central Park West in New York City. Besides allowing Welch to live there rent-free, GE picks up the tab for such additional necessities as fresh flowers, wine, laundry and dry cleaning services, a cook and wait staff, a housekeeper, and every other detail down to toiletries, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, even postage. GE also pays a portion of Welch’s dining bills at the exclusive restaurant Jean Georges, which is located in the building.

Additionally, Welch receives a free grand tier box at the Metropolitan Opera, memberships at four country clubs, including Georgia’s prestigious Augusta National, court-side tickets to New York Knicks basketball games, box seats behind the dugout at Yankee Stadium plus a skybox for the Boston Red Sox, prime tickets to the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open tennis tournaments, VIP tickets to all Olympic events, and unlimited use of a corporate Boeing 737 jet. The cost of this last item alone is estimated at $291,869 a month.

The list goes on. GE pays for Welch’s limousine and driver in New York, bodyguards when he travels abroad, satellite TV installations in his New York apartment and his three other homes in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Florida. And, Mrs. Welch reports, GE contributed $7.5 million over the course of their marriage to help furnish the four homes with appliances, security systems and sophisticated computer and telecommunications equipment, with GE employees assisting with the installation.]
(emphasis added)

[One corporate governance expert called the compensation too generous.

"There is really no justification to pay for any living or traveling expenses at that level, particularly now that he is in retirement," Nell Minow, the editor of The Corporate Library, told the paper.]

Friday, January 11, 2008

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth

President Cheney and his evil minions assert the health of the US economy, with Cheney even saying the economy has weathered having oil at all time high prices and ignoring choices people must make: choosing between milk for kids or gas to get to work.

Meanwhile, Jr still believes his tax cuts for the rich have increased the economy, ignoring historic deficits (In the entire history of the United States, only the Cheney administration cut taxes in the midst of a war.) and the greates disparity in income since thee 1920's. Sure, income has gone up but the top levels shot up while the income of the middle class remained stagnant. Of course the bottom stayed at 0.

[In the newest OECD Economic Outlook, the average annual wage in the total economy of the United States was $45,563 for 2005. That's exceeded only by Luxembourg, a wealthy banking duchy, with $50,634. Britain, Ireland and Australia are not far behind the United States with incomes above $40,000.

The problem is that this is a measure of total wages, not just the middle class, and it includes the richest Americans whose incomes have risen enormously in recent years. Outside of Hungary, the United States has the most extreme income inequality in the OECD.]

So the rich get richer while the middle class gets crunched. As 1 comedian somewhere observed about Reagan's "trickle down theory of economics," it feels warm and wet and smells like piss.

MSNBC multimedia seies on middle class crunch

All the while, the Cheney administration has no clue whatsoever. Just read the quotes below, admin first followed by experts, to see for yourselves the tenuous connection to reality the people who run our country have.

January 7, 2007
Working Americans Struggling to Make Ends Meet – Families Need a New Direction


“And [my economic] plan worked. If you think about where we were coming out of 2001 and where we are today, you can’t help but say the plan worked; cutting taxes helped stimulate economic growth.” [12/17/07]


“I don’t know of anyone predicting a recession.” [1/7/08]


“Whenever someone loses a job, it is tough on them and their family. So we are not complacent and firmly believe it’s important that we continue to promote pro-growth policies such as making the tax cuts permanent…” [1/4/08]


Martin Feldstein, Harvard University economist:

“We are now talking about more likely than not [for a recession]…I have been saying about 50 percent. This now pushes it up a bit above that.” [1/7/08]

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s

“This is unambiguously negative…The economy is on the edge of recession, if we’re not already engulfed in one.” [1/5/08]

Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse Group, Inc.:

“There’s nothing heartwarming about this report…It confirms what economists have been worried about, which is a broad-based economic slowdown.” [1/5/08]

Russ Koesterich, senior fund manager at Barclays Global Investors:

“The odds of a recession have gone up dramatically.” [1/5/08]

Nigel Gault, economist at Global Insight:

“If there’s going to be a recession, it’s entirely possible that we are in it — or just beginning it now.” [1/4/07]

Victor Shum, energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz:

“Many economists in the U.S. have talked about the potential of the U.S. getting into a recession…This latest government report … has added to the concerns about the economy.” [1/7/08]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

How to lose a guerilla war

[U.S. bombers and jet fighters unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives during a 10-minute airstrike...flattening what the military called al-Qaida in Iraq safe havens on the southern outskirts of the capital...

A military statement said two B-1 bombers and four F-16 fighters dropped the bombs on 40 targets in Arab Jabour in 10 strikes. Al-Qaida fighters are believed to control Arab Jabour, a Sunni district lined with citrus groves and scarred by daily violence.] emphasis added

Certainly, 40,000 lbs of bombs killed innocent civilians.

During the Second Indochinese War (known to most Americans as the Viet Nam War) the US dropped more tons of bombs than in all off the WW2 without any positive strategic effect though many times for tactical advantage.

B-52 raids killed innocent civilians and increased hostility towards the US.

Since when do civilized people drop bombs on the basis of belief rather than knowledge? No wonder the Bush administration will not sign the war crimes convention.

In Arab Jabour, such slaughter increases insurgency and does nothing to achieve a political settlement.

These raids yield no positive effects in fighting a guerilla war; only providing keywords for headlines in US press like flatten, crush, destroy insurgents--headlines which conceal gruesome civilian casualties which come with such attacks.

"Danger=, Will Robinson. Crush, kill, destroy." Yay America!!!

If only Americans and US politicians read more foreign news sources, maybe they could see past the jingoism of headlines in the US press.

[Post-invasion death toll in Iraq put at over 150,000
By Stephen Fidler in London and Steve Negus, Iraq,Correspondent
Published: January 10 2008 02:00 Last updated: January 10 2008 02:00
At least 150,000 Iraqis died violently in the 40 months following the US-led invasion in 2003, according to an estimate derived from the most comprehensive survey yet of mortality in post-war Iraq.

The new estimate, based on an Iraqi government survey supervised by the World Health Organisation, falls in the middle of the two most commonly cited assessments of the death toll following the invasion. It is published in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.]

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Clinton's Residual Forces in Iraq

When Sen Clinton mentions leaving a residual force in Iraq--numbers unspecified and mission unmentioned--one wonders what role US forces would play after a drawdown.

Presumably, troops would guard the Green Zone, the airport, and the five mile highway to the airport, once known as 'the highway of death.';jsessionid=Z5PAVFKCAGQ3JQFIQMFCFGGAVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2005/12/10/wirq10.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/12/10/ixportal.html

While ignorant myself of force structure needed to defend such an area, the memoir of Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War, described how the Marines of the 9th Expeditionary Brigade flew into Viet Nam to defend Da Nang Airport. As the Viet Cong switched from short range mortars to howitzers with longer range, the marines had to extend the defensive perimeter.

With surface to air missiles in Iraq, one wonders about the size of the perimeter and number of troops required to defend it, much less the highway. One also may fear that however the numbers work out to defend these critical areas, it leaves residual forces stationed longer than five years subject to encirclement or having supply lines cut. If 1 factors in a number of troops to protect supply lines running from Kuwait to Baghdad, US troops face significant casualties with no time limit specified by Senator Clinton.

''Senator Clinton's comments are a stunning flip-flop — she's been saying she would keep troops in Iraq for five years, until 2013, and now she comes up with an inconsistent, incredible turnaround,' Mr. Richardson said. Mrs. Clinton has maintained that she would leave a residual force behind in Iraq to pursue narrow missions, a position that her spokesman said she still holds. As her aides have done before, the spokesman declined to say how many troops Mrs. Clinton would leave. use and distribution granted as long as Weblog and email address published.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"US staying power in the Middle East"

Ladies, please allow apologies for my half of humanity which allows (forces?) us to see life and express ourselves in terms of male genitalia. Really, you can't make this stuff up: just like during Second Indochinese war when US could not withdraw from Viet Nam 'cause would show weakness or lack of resolve.

Turning 50 and Goddess knows, the Cheney admin makes me miss Nixon.

[In an interview yesterday, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa cited recent overtures between Iran and Arab countries and said Arab nations are exercising a prerogative to set their own course on Iran. "As long as they have no nuclear program . . . why should we isolate Iran? Why punish Iran, now?" he asked.

One senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the trip said many Middle Eastern governments were "confused" by the NIE. "No Arab regime understands why the United States would publish an intelligence estimate." The official said Iran will be an important focus of Bush's conversations with regional leaders, with the president seeking to reassure them of U.S. staying power in the Middle East]
(emphasis added)

[Iraq death rate belies US claims of success
By Kim Sengupta
Published: 07 January 2008 London Indepependent
The death rate in Iraq in the past 12 months has been the second highest in any year since the invasion, according to figures that appear to contradict American claims that the troop "surge" has dramatically reduced the level of violence across the country.

The research comes from Iraq Body Count (IBC), which has extensive experience of working in the country, and concludes that deaths outside Baghdad actually rose until September.

However, the group also concludes that the number of those killed in Baghdad, where the majority of American reinforcements for surge operations were deployed, has fallen significantly.]

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Note on blog title: I mean the Johnny Cash cover version of the Nine Inch Nails song, "Hurt". Never liked NIN but Johnny redid several songs including, "Personal Jesus," the Depeche mode song, on this album.

Johnny, just with his guitar and baritone voice, brings a sense of hopeful despair and existential angst I'd not heard in NIN's words.

"What have I become/My sweetest friend/Everyone I know/goes away/In the end/And you could have it all/My empire of dirt/I will let you down/I will make you hurt." (chorus)

Any human beings in any sort of relationship, by dint of living as essentially

"alone but also as social creatures," will hurt the other/others at times--even my sainted parents married over 50 years.

No person can see through another's eye nor know their feelings--unless living life in the B. F. Skinner school of behavioral psychology and electro-shock aversion therapy.

Works "great" on autistic children, however.