Monday, November 12, 2007


Get one as soon as you can, regardless of your current immigration status! Best of all, they are free! This gringo has one!

Before I get a bunch of hate mail, the 'Green Card' I refer to has to do with good Mexican food and helping the environment and nothing to do with INS.
Let me explain:

Tania's Flour Tortillas
has a promotion called the "Green Card" to help the environment, save you some money, and get you hooked on some great food. Here is how it works: You get your green card when you make a purchase. on your next visit, if you do one of several things on the card to help the environment, you get either a 10% discount, free cold plate, free chips and salsa, free valu burrito, or a free drink.

This is not just about promoting a business that is helping the environment. The food there is great.

Go get your "Green Card"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Back to where this all began...

When I first created my blog, over 2-1/2 years ago, my first post wasn't about politics. Heck, I wasn't even living in Tucson at the time. It was a rant about the lack of originality of movies coming out of Hollywood. I was sick of seeing trailers for remakes of movies and movies based on old tv shows.

Well, everyone must return to his/her roots every once in a while.

I heard this morning that they are going to remake one of the greatest guy flicks of all times: The Dirty Dozen. That just goes too damned far. How in the heck can you remake that classic without completely f-ing it up? You can't! That movie is a timeless classic with a great cast, ok storyline, and great action. It is such a classic that it is even referenced in one of the greatest chick-flicks of all time, Sleepless in Seattle.

The Dirty Dozen has some classic lines that just won't sound the same with someone else saying them:
-Killin' generals could get to be a habit with me.

-Shoot any officers you see in there.
-Who? Ours or theirs?

-Doesn't give me anything. But along with these other results, it gives YOU just about the most twisted, anti-social bunch of psychopathic deformities I have ever run into! And the worst, the most dangerous of the bunch, is Maggott. You've got one religious maniac, one malignant dwarf, two near-idiots... and the rest I don't even wanna think about!
-Well, I can't think of a better way to fight a war.
(from IMDB)
Worse than remaking the Dirty Dozen is word that they are making a movie based on Land of the Lost, a campy Saturday morning tv show from the 1970's. You remember, Marshall, Will and Holly, don't you? Surely you remember the Sleetaks!

Didn't these morons in Hollywood ever read a book? How many great, or even mediocre books have never been made into a movie?? I bet there is a library full of them.

I know that remakes of movies is nothing much when one thinks about 4,000 dead soldiers and countless dead Iraqi civilians, but I feel that the issue is a reflection of a serious problems we face in America: laziness, no originality and a lack of creativity, and/or a fear of trying something new.

Maybe instead of remaking an old movie like the Dirty Dozen, we could learn something from them. Let's take a bunch of thugs and ne'er do wells,, give them guns, and send them to Iraq!
Oh, wait, we already did that. They just call it Blackwater instead....

borrowing an idea from the old USSR..

One federal agency was working to create their own news agency, not unlike TASS. Seems FEMA can't be bothered with calling in reporters for a press conference, so they brought in their own employees to ask questions the other day: FEMA under fire for faking news conference. Softball questions, Pollyanna answers, and stress-free time for all involved.

The White House chastized the effort, but said they don't think there was any "mal-intent"
Really, now???

-Press Conference called with only 15 minute notice
-reporters could listen in via phone, but not ask questions.
-employees asked the questions.

No, no attempt at deception attempted here. All that was missing was a 'great job, brownie'.

I guess having fake reporters is better than jailing real ones. Wonder if Sherrif Joe and his buddy Thomas up in Maricopa will try and follow this example for their pressers in the future...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ok, how much for him to NOT run??

Fred Thompson took his sweet time before finally jumping into the Republican fray, leaving Newt Gingrich as the last remaining candidate who was not a candidate in the GOP. Well, Newt has made a move takes him one step closer to becoming a candidate. He wants money. If he gets enough of it, he will run. Specifically, he wants $30 million over the next three weeks and he will get into the race.

Gingrich: $30 million will get me into presidential race

MARIETTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told supporters on Thursday that if they pledge at least $30 million to his campaign over a three-week period starting Monday, he will compete for the GOP 2008 presidential nomination.
This should make things on the Republican side quite interesting. Will there be enough folks out there that have looked at the current crop of Republican candidates and said to themselves, "eh, don't like a one of 'em"? Will these folks cough up enough dough to entice Newt? I suspect that they will in the far right that doesn't trust a Romney because of his religious beliefs and don't buy Johnny-Mac and his sudden shift to the right. We know they don't trust Guliani because of his abortion stance.

And if it appears that the Republicans won't give him enough money to get in, will some anonymous democrat step in with big bucks to get him in, if just to watch the fireworks?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

4th Amendment is ALIVE!!!

Portions of The Patriot Act have been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

The man behind the suit that challenged the constitutionality of the law was the Oregon man that was wrongly accused in the Madrid bombing. This man found out first hand how intrusive this law is.

(CNN) -- A federal court on Wednesday struck down two provisions of the Patriot Act dealing with searches and intelligence gathering, saying they violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures with regard to criminal prosecutions.

"It is critical that we, as a democratic nation, pay close attention to traditional Fourth Amendment principles," wrote Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in her 44-page decision. "The Fourth Amendment has served this nation well for 220 years, through many other perils."

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, set up to review wiretap applications in intelligence cases under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, "holds that the Constitution need not control the conduct of criminal surveillance in the United States," Aiken wrote.

"In place of the Fourth Amendment, the people are expected to defer to the executive branch and its representation that it will authorize such surveillance only when appropriate."

The government "is asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. The court declines to do so," Aiken said

Aiken ruled that FISA, as amended by the Patriot Act, permits the government to conduct surveillance and searches targeting Americans without satisfying the probable-cause standard in the Fourth Amendment.

"Prior to the amendments [to FISA], the three branches of government operated with thoughtful and deliberate checks and balances -- a principle upon which our nation was founded," Aiken wrote.

But the Patriot Act, she said, eliminated "the constitutionally required interplay between executive action, judicial decision and Congressional enactment."

"For over 200 years, this nation has adhered to the rule of law -- with unparalleled success. A shift to a nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised," she wrote.

Aiken noted that FISA does not require that the subject of a search be notified, although the Fourth Amendment ordinarily does. In addition, she said, the Fourth Amendment requires particularity -- authorities seeking a search warrant, for example, must list what they are looking for and where they are looking for it.

Break out the champaign, at least for now. This ruling will very likely be appealed. The article mentions that this judge is a Clinton appointee and is very liberal. However, the points raised by this judge seem solid.

Monday, September 24, 2007

No homosexuals in Iran

In his speech today @ Columbia University, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that Iran doesn't have any homosexuals:

Asked about widely documented government abuse of women and homosexuals in his country, Ahmadinejad said, "We don't have homosexuals" in Iran. "I don't know who told you we had it," he said.
Could it be because they 're-educate' or execute homosexuals in Iran??

And you thought that the United States Military "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy was harsh!

Scott Adams: 'spot on' with his Dilbert Blog

I am a big fan of Dilbert creator Scott Adams, and regularly read his Dilbert blog. His posts are usually funny, almost always thought provoking, often full of satire, and regularly controversial. In his September 22nd Post, A Feeling I'm Being Had, he is all of that and more.

A Feeling I'm Being Had

I was happy to hear that NYC didn't allow Iranian President Ahmadinejad
to place a wreath at the WTC site. And I was happy that Columbia
University is rescinding the offer to let him speak. If you let a guy like
that express his views, before long the entire world will want freedom
of speech.

I hate Ahmadinejad for all the same reasons you do. For one thing, he
said he wants to "wipe Israel off the map." Scholars tell us the correct
translation is more along the lines of wanting a change in Israel's
government toward something more democratic, with less gerrymandering.
What an ass-muncher!

Ahmadinejad also called the holocaust a "myth." Fuck him! A myth is
something a society uses to frame their understanding of their world, and
act accordingly. It's not as if the world created a whole new country
because of holocaust guilt and gives it a free pass no matter what it
does. That's Iranian crazy talk. Ahmadinejad can blow me.

Most insulting is the fact that "myth" implies the holocaust didn't
happen. Fuck him for saying that! He also says he won't dispute the
historical claims of European scientists. That is obviously the opposite of
saying the holocaust didn't happen, which I assume is his way of
confusing me. God-damned fucker.

Furthermore, why does an Iranian guy give a speech in his own language
except for using the English word "myth"? Aren't there any Iranian
words for saying a set of historical facts has achieved an unhealthy level
of influence on a specific set of decisions in the present? He's just
being an asshole.

Ahmadinejad believes his role is to pave the way for the coming of the
Twelfth Imam. That's a primitive apocalyptic belief! I thank Jesus I do
not live in a country led by a man who believes in that sort of
bullshit. Imagine how dangerous that would be, especially if that man had the
launch codes for nuclear weapons.

The worst of the worst is that Ahmadinejad's country is helping the
Iraqis kill American soldiers. If Iran ever invades Canada, I think we'd
agree the best course of action for the United States is to be
constructive and let things sort themselves out. Otherwise we'd be just as evil
as the Iranians. Those fuckers.

Those Iranians need to learn from the American example. In this
country, if the clear majority of the public opposes the continuation of a war, our
leaders will tell us we're terrorist-humping idiots and do whatever they
damn well please. They might even increase our taxes to do it. That's
called leadership.

If Ahmadinejad thinks he can be our friend by honoring our heroes and
opening a dialog, he underestimates our ability to misinterpret him.
Fucking idiot. I hate him.

This great piece of satire expresses how I feel. I think that Ahmadinejad and Iran in general are not to be trusted. But I think that it was wrong try and exclude him from speaking at Columbia. Our country is supposed to have this little thing that we call freedom of expression. Some feel that this little freedom should not be extended to foreign leaders that disagrees with us. (well, for that matter, they also want to stifle the free speech of Americans that disagree with the current Administration).

I think that America can prove that it is a great nation by allowing Ahmadinejad to speak freely and openly. We need to show him and the world just how democracy is supposed to work. (Hell, it would be nice to show Gee-Dubya how democracy is supposed to work)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Looks like a flake VS Flake inCD-6

Russel Pearce making moves towards running against Jeff Flake:

Pearce takes step toward run for Congress

MESA - State Rep. Russell Pearce has announced the formation of a Congressional campaign exploratory committee, the first formal step toward a run for Congress.
The move allows the Mesa Republican to raise money for a run at Arizona's 6th Congressional District while retaining his office in the state House of Representatives.
If he chooses to go for it, Pearce would face Jeff Flake, a fellow Republican who will be seeking a fifth term in the seat next year. The 6th District includes parts of Mesa and Chandler, plus all of Gilbert, Queen Creek and Apache Junction.
If the flake beats Flake, paint CD-8 blue.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Spinning Wheels got to go 'Round

As I predicted, McCain says that he was just joking around with the NH high schooler when he called him a "little jerk".
McCain: Little jerk Comment Made in Jest

Speaking with CNN about the remarks, McCain added that "especially with young people, but with everybody, you got have a sense of humor and exchange."

McCain added, "He's entitled to his views and I respect them and that's why I made sure he was able to respond three or four times. I think that's what young people expect."

Gee, I thought that young people wanted to be respected, especially one that asks a very serious and valid question. McCain is like that old man that knows everything and gets pissed when you point out that he is wrong, often going into a tirade about something completely different to change the subject. You don't dare question his knowledge or his view of the world.

This is why Johnny-Mac can't see that his campaign is all but dead.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Senator to make AZ proud!

I thought Idaho had a reason to be embarrassed about the actions of one of their Senators, until today's news from our very own Senator McCain.

Seems Johnny-Mac thought it was OK to begin answering a relatively serious question from a New Hampshire high school student with some humor, which would have been fine had he stopped there. But the senior Senator from the great state of Arizona decided that he needed to finish his answer by saying “Thanks for the question, you little jerk … you’re drafted.”

I am sure that the McCain spin doctors will claim that he was joking. Watch the video. McCain starts out with some humor, gets to a serious answer to the question, then calls the kid a little jerk. There was nothing in that exchange that would lead the Senator to insult a student.

Clearly, this man does not have what it takes to be President. Another student at the event had an exchange with McCain about gay rights. McCain reiterated his stance opposing gay marriage. Here is the next bit of the exchange:

"You want to take away someone's rights because you believe it's wrong," Sleaster followed up.

"I don't put that interpretation on my position, but I understand yours," McCain responded, seeming to enjoy the back and forth.

It seems to me that John was trying to imply that the student is gay. The student, however, did not get upset, he got in the last word:
"I came here looking to see a good leader. I don't," Sleaster said before leaving the microphone to some boos and gasps from the audience and an eventual scolding by a school administrator.
I like the fact that these students asked tough questions of a candidate and unwilling to back down. Shame on the administrators for chastising a student for speaking his mind and defending himself against a veiled insult.

Sleaster was right, he didn't see a leader, he saw the true Johm McCain. A man who insults and puts down those that question him, his abilities, or integrity. I have been on the other end of McCain's wrath too. I didn't respond as well as Sleaster.

Arizona, normally considered a red state, today, we are just red-faced. At least Craig has some very credible deniability.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Johhny-Mac's travels take him far and wide

John McCain has gotten around quite a bit these days. He's been to Iraq, Iowa, points east, west, north and south. Now he travels to a place he doesn't seem to get to very often (besides the Senate floor).

John McCain is visiting Arizona.

Novel idea, a senator visiting his home state. It is amazing what a Presidential candidate will do to get elected these days!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ah, more from the "Family Values" party

You've gotta wonder what is up with Republicans and restrooms these days:
Senator pleaded guilty, reportedly after bathroom stall incident
A Republican senator pleaded guilty earlier this month to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge stemming from his arrest at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to state criminal records.
Roll Call newspaper reported Monday that Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was apprehended June 11 by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd behavior in an airport men's room.
He claims his actions were misconstrued and that he shouldn't have pled guilty.

Maybe he was more like those other stand-up Republicans and was looking for a payoff or bribe, and not sex.

Gonzo Gone!

Three Down*, countless more to go:

A.G. the AG has resigned!

Attorney General Gonzales resigns, officials say

President Bush is expected to make a statement about Gonzales at 11:50 a.m. from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he has been vacationing.

Gonzales aides at the highest level and other top-level officials knew nothing about the announcement in advance, Justice Department sources indicated to CNN.

They were not informed until a meeting this morning, sources said, when Gonzales acknowledged he would be reading a statement at 10:30 a.m. ET.
According to the article, Gonzo and his wife had lunch with G-Dub and his wife in Crawford. Bet that was an awkward meal, as word is that the AG phoned in his resignation on Friday. (from a radio report I heard this AM).

As with all good news out of this administration it seems, there is some bad news to follow: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is to be Bush's nominee to replace him. Chertoff has the qualifications on paper, but this country does not need another Bush puppet in such a critical position.

Even worse, Bush will then nominate a deputy director from the OMB to replace Chertoff at DHS:

Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, would replace Chertoff, the officials said.

Johnson, a longtime friend of Bush, served as the president's chief of staff and appointments secretary when Bush was governor of Texas and was executive director of the Bush-Cheney transition team. (CNN.COM)

This guy seems to have no qualifications for this position at all, other than be a Bush crony. This move seems to be a set up for some type of 'October Surprise' from Homeland Security.

*Rumsfeld, Rove, and now Gonzales.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A plan for withdrawal

Getting out of Iraq is something that needs to happen, but needs to happen under a well thought-out plan, not just a middle of the night move ala the Baltimore Colts in 1984. Now, it has been reported by many, including Sen. Clinton, that the Pentagon has not plan to get out of Iraq. Many pundits, including several of my fellow Liberal Drinkers, feel a full pull out could and should happen promptly. I happen to disagree, and have been chastised on several occasions on Thursday nights at the Shanty. One criticism has been, 'what would you do?'

Well, I have thought about this and here is how I would start.

  1. Promptly begin bringing home ALL National Guard troops.
    It was never envisioned that the National Guard would serve oversees in combat missions when the security of US soil isn't threatened. These troops have served far and above the call of duty. They have sacrificed more personally and financially than they ever should have. Their families have had to bear far too much of a burden. The men and women of our National Guard are often called weekend warriors because they serve only part time. they have full-time jobs. Some joined th NG to supplement their incomes. Now they find themselves making less money and away from their homes and families. Many go on welfare/foodstamps just to get by. Replace the NG troops with regular (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force) to cover critical positions/roles. This can be part of the overall strategy to reduce the number of troops in Iraq.
  2. Phase out all Reserve forces.
    The Reserves were designed to fill in when US troops are stretched thin. Now, I know that they are stretched thin, but they won't be for long if we can get out of Iraq. Like the NG, these troops have regular civilian jobs. Their families are also forced to pay a heavy price. Again, this can be part of an overall troop reduction.
  3. Remove troops from other nations.
    Troops from other nations should no longer be responsible for our fuck-ups.
  4. Change our role.
    Troops should no longer be providing coverage for commercial ventures (ie convoys). They should provide protection to military installations. They should only respond to attacks on US installations/troops. They should no longer be involved in securing oil fields, providing police/security services.
  5. Close installations.
    As we get to step 4, we should begin closing and consolidating bases.
  6. Get completely out.
It may not be a perfect plan, but hell, at least I have a plan. (Pentagon??)

Making the turn safely

I had an interesting experience in traffic this afternoon, and I think that it illustrates my philosophy on how we should handle (and should have handled) things in Iraq.

Now, I know many of my fellow Democrats feel that the only thing to do now in Iraq is pull all of our troops out and do so quickly. I happen to disagree with an immediate pull-out. I feel that a complete immediate pull-out poses several problems and risks, ones that could result in making things worse in the Middle East.

on to the analogy:
As I was heading west on East Broadway approaching Kolb road in the middle lane I noticed that traffic in my lane ahead, so I moved into the far left lane. As I got closer to the light, I noticed a copper colored PT Cruiser in the middle lane with what I assumed at first to be its hazards flashing. I seemed like the car had stalled, backing up traffic, forcing people to change lanes and thus creating . As I passed the vehicle, I realized that it was the left turn light that was blinking. as I proceeded down Broadway, I watched in my rear-view mirror as the PT Cruiser proceeded to go from the middle lane into the left turn bay. Apparently the driver wanted to turn into the shopping center there.

The driver had found herself (yes, the driver was a woman, but this is not about gender stereotypes and driving) going in the wrong direction and decided to make an immediate correction in her course without regard for the safety and well-being around her. She should have assessed her situation, realized that she couldn't safely or legally make the turn from her current location. She should have proceeded a bit further, made sure she had the right-of-way and then moved into the left lane then the turn lane. A legal U-turn would have then had her heading back towards her destination, all with only a minor delay in reaching her goal but doing so in a manner safer for her and all around her.

This is a clear analogy to our present situation in Iraq. It applies to both how we ended up in this mess and how we should work to make our way out of Iraq. Bush (et al), like the driver, had a specific goal they sought to achieve. Both then proceeded to go after that goal, ignoring the safety of those in the area, the law (international law in Bush's case, traffic laws in my analogy) common sense.

As in our current situation, the driver found herself on the wrong course, and decided to make an immediate correction, ignoring potential dangers and common sense.

As we look to change course in Iraq, we need to carefully assess the best way to change direction, not just make that impetuous left across traffic. It is more than just a handful of drivers at risk, it is potentially the stability of a majority of the middle east at stake.

(as far as a turn to the left for Congress and the White House goes, the sooner the better)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rovermort Resigns!

Karl Rove resigned this morning! He says he was not forced to resign but feels it is time and wants to spend more time with his family.

From CNN.COM: Rove says he was not forced to quit

Story Highlights
  • NEW: Rove says congressional scrutiny did not force him out
  • Rove, Bush to speak Monday at 11:35 a.m. ET
  • It's the "right time to be giving more time to his family," spokesman says
  • Top White House adviser Karl Rove to quit at end of month, CNN confirms
Since he will no longer be an a member of the Administration, he will be subject to Congressional subpoena. Things could get interesting. (Now, if you really believe that Rove will no longer act as an adviser to GeeDub, I've got ocean-front property in Yuma to sell you).

The real question is, can we get Gonzales to follow suit?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Beyond hawkish..

Now I am used to Republicans being hawkish, it is the nature of the beast. But just what would you call Tancredo when he makes statements like this?

“If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina,” Tancredo said .
From CNN Political Ticker: Tancredo: Threaten to bomb Muslim holy sites in retaliation

Does this moron even think trough what he is saying? He must want an all-out war with all of Islam. Haven't we done enough in Iraq to make the Muslim world hate us??

This idiot would have most likely bombed Mecca after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. What nice little 'whoops, my bad' that would have been.

Friday, July 27, 2007

This goes too far, even for the likes of Sheriff Joe and Hang 'em High Thomas!

There is talk of charging the car-jacking suspect with the deaths of the 4 killed when their respective news helicopters collided while covering the chase:
The suspect who led police on a vehicle chase could face murder charges after two television news helicopters filming the pursuit collided in midair, killing four people aboard.
Now this goes too damned far. There is some precedent for charging fleeing suspects when innocent civilians or law enforcement officers are killed due to the pursuit. This, however, is very different. These were not innocent civilians who just happened to be on the road when a hot pursuit crossed their path. This is not a case of a police helicopter following the suspect and crashed.

No, this was a case of news organizations competing with each other to get the best angle of what they hoped would be something spectacular like a big crash, shootout or an arrest they could show live. They were not innocent bystanders who happened to be caught in the pursuit, they were actively pursuing the action because that is what the public seems to crave. Look how often such chases are broadcast live on TV, interrupting programming even if the chase is in a different state.

It could very well be that one or both of the pilots made errors that led to the crash or mechanical failure is partially to blame.

Clearly, the man on the run is not to blame for this crash, we are.

It was bound to happen

In the insatiable appetite we have for live police dramas, two news helicopters in Phoenix collided with each other today, killing at least 3 while following a police chase. Luckily, the copters crashed over Indian School Park, thus no one on the ground appears to be hurt at this time. I've often wondered how news copters managed to avoid each other when coving such moving news stories.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of those that died, but maybe this will get the FAA to re-evaluate flight rules over populated areas.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What, no Bulk Trash Pick-up in Orbit???

The International Space Station is discarding some of it's trash and tossing it to the curb, so to speak. Unfortunately for us, their curb is a decaying orbit around Earth. From CNN.COM today:
Spacewalkers take out the trash
  • Spacewalkers Clayton Anderson and Fyodor Yurchikhin toss junk
  • Space junk: A 1,400-pound ammonia tank, other outdated equipment
  • The ammonia tank was launched in 2001 to provide spare coolant
  • It will orbit the Earth for 10 or 11 months before burning up in the atmosphere
So the folks at the ISS deal with their trash, even dangerous stuff, the way most of us do: Set it out at the curb and hope for the best. Now, back here on good ol' terra firma we expect that those that haul off our trash are taking it to a land fill that meets all sorts of environmental guidelines. In space, they just let it burn up in the atmosphere. If it will burn up. Some things are just a bit too big for that to happen and thus end up right back where it came from.

Now, we aren't talking about big chunks of something like SkyLab coming back to earth in '79 in a semi-controlled re-entry, but we aren't talking about bits of used toilet paper either. NASA is hoping that the bits and pieces will end up falling into the ocean. Of course, this is the same group that smashed a multi-milllion dollar Mars mission because of of some math errors. Not a comforting thought when you think of pieces of metal hurling towards Earth at terminal velocity.

Admittedly, there is a minuscule chance that some of these pieces would cause significant damage or harm. It does, however, bring up the issue of long and short-term planning of NASA and the International Space Agency. They have to have known that they would need to get rid of some bulk items, so why not make sure that there would be room on some shuttle missions to bring some of this junk back? With China getting into the space race, private satellite launches, and other forays into low Earth orbit, eventually the odds will catch up that something bad will happen when some piece of junk comes back to earth. We dodged a bullet when the Space Shuttle Columbia burned up over Texas and Louisiana in 2003. We may not be so lucky in the future.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Nightmares can come true!

Cheney to become president…briefly

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday, and will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney during the procedure, expected to take about two and a half hours, the chief White House spokesman said.

Tony Snow said Friday that the procedure, during which a doctor looks for any signs of cancer, will be carried out at Camp David, Maryland, and the president will be placed under anesthesia.

Bush’s last colonoscopy was in June 2002, and no abnormalities were found, Snow said.

Here's hoping all goes well with the President's exam and nothing major happens while he is under. Who knows what Cheney would do if given the chance.

Hell, maybe the doctor will find GW's head while he's in there.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fear not, Rover, that water is all yours... for now.

John Kromko got the signatures he needed to get his repeal-the-garbage-fee, no-growth, conserve-water, no-toilet-to-tap initiative on the ballot, (aka "Tucson Water Users Bill of Rights") for now:

Controversial water initiative qualifies for November vote

By Rob O'Dell
Arizona Daily Star
An initiative to repeal garbage pickup fee and prohibit "toilet-to-tap" drinking water and limit future water connections has enough signatures to be placed on November's ballot. Tucson City Clerk Kathy Detrick verified Thursday that the initiative dubbed the "Tucson Water Users Bill of Rights" has the needed 11,615 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

This measure addresses two interrelated issues, growth and water. By limiting connections to Tucson Water to 9,000 new homes, Kromko hopes to make sure that there is enough water for those of us that are already here. Converting wastewater into potable water, aka "toilet-to-water", would be banned completely. As an added bonus, the $14 a month garbage fee would also be repealed.

To many, there is little to not like about this initiative, of unless you are a developer or the City Manager. Groups like SAHBA clearly don't like the idea of being limited on how many homes could be built and Hein has said that the $$ from the fee keeps the city functioning at current levels and without it would have to cut back services somewhere (law enforcement is usually mentioned first, as that is an easy way to scare folks). And no one likes the idea of paying for something that used to be free.

This initiative, however, has numerous flaws and is doomed to trash heap even before it is printed:

#1. Constitutionally, this bill is doomed because it deals with more than one issue, the Arizona Constitution limits propositions and initiatives to one issue. Trash, limiting new connections, and water reclamation are very different issues. Those groups opposed to this law will challenge it on this alone. and Win.

#2. The trash cash has become so intertwined into the city budget that cutting it cold-turkey would have some pretty devastating effects. City manager Mike Hein spoke @ Drinking Liberally last year about the trash fee and how critical it is to the city budget. Besides, $14 a month is a bargain compared to the $17 I paid when I lived just outside the city limits. As for those that feel that they can't afford it, there are programs in place to provide relief from this fee.

#3. The measure also prohibits ANY non-federally mandated advertising by Tucson Water, outside of circulars included with the bill. Sorry, but Beat the Peak worked well back in the day. You old-timers like me remember Pete the Beak, the mascot of Tucson Water's water conservation program. Who reads those stupid glossy things, anyway.

#4. Section A, Part 4 requires new connections to pay the costs of the connection. This will drive new construction prices through the roof. New house prices are already out of reach for the average working Tucsonan. This would put them even further out of reach.

#5. Limits on new connections. This could be interpreted as overstepping state laws prohibiting building moratoriums. This is something else that would make new homes too expensive for the average person. One potential positive outcome of this limit on new construction would be to push more folks into the resale market. (and drive up resale prices, again, hurting average workers).

#6. False pretenses. this may be the weakest of my arguments. Folks who were gathering signatures labeled this as a repeal of the garbage fee. It turns out that this was so much more than this. John Kromko himself referred to it as dealing with the garbage fee at a Drining Liberally meeting a couple of months ago.

There are several good things in this measure, however. The ban on toilet-to-tap is a great idea. Sorry, but the thought that Rover and I would be essentially sharing the same drinking water is just not appealing. I don't trust the technology that would clean the water to be 100% effective and running 100% of the time. And if the cleaning equipment failed, how long woult it take before they caught it and how long would we be boiling our water before they could assure us that the water was safe and that our pipes weren't contaminated???? Toilet to tap is just a bad idea.

Prohibiting additional fees for transportation construction is a good idea, also. We voted in the Regional Transportation Plan just over a year ago to cover our transportation needs.

I like John Kromko and respect him . He served this community in the legislature for years and did a fine job. He just over-reached with this one. My fear is that by over-reaching, he will allow the Toilet-to-Tap to go forward.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

McCain: 'Things are fine, just give it time'

and he is referring to both the war AND his presidential campaign!
Despite turmoil, McCain optimistic

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. John McCain described his campaign for the White House as “going well” and vowed Tuesday to continue his bid for the GOP presidential nomination even as several of his senior staffers said they were leaving the campaign.

Campaign Manager Terry Nelson and Chief Strategist John Weaver announced earlier in the day they were resigning from their posts. Within a few hours, CNN confirmed that Deputy Campaign Manager Reed Galen and Political Director Rob Jesmer were also leaving the campaign.

McCain is already under fire from conservatives for his position on immigration as well as Independents for supporting the Iraq war. His bid for the White House took a hit last week when it reported only having $2 million in the bank after raising more than $11 million in the second quarter. Major campaign layoffs followed and the resignations Tuesday of several senior staffers further fueled speculation that McCain would drop out of the race.

But after delivering a speech on Iraq from the Senate floor, McCain sought to silence any suggestions that he was throwing in the towel.

“Of course,” McCain responded to a reporter who asked if would continue to campaign for the presidency. “With the same people who were running it before. We were a collective team and I’m very grateful for their contributions that they will continue to make.”

McCain: Troop increase showing progress

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. John McCain, who visited Iraq last week, said Tuesday the increase of U.S. forces in Baghdad and elsewhere in the country is showing signs of progress and pleaded for his fellow senators not to require they pull out until their goals have been achieved.

Departure now would “embolden radical Islamists around the world,” he said during a speech on the Senate floor. “Withdrawal must grow out of a political solution, not the other way around.”

It would also “invite further Iranian influence” in the region, which could lead to spiraling oil prices and genocide, he said.

“If we pack up and leave, the war doesn’t end, it merely gets harder,” he said.

More sheiks are siding with coalition forces against al Qaeda commanders, sectarian violence has diminished since January, and locals are increasingly giving tips to coalition forces about planned attacks, the Republican presidential candidate said.

Though there is no guarantee that U.S. forces will wind up achieving their goals, the senator from Arizona said, “you can be sure that should the U.S. Senate seek to legislate an end to the strategy as it is just beginning, then we will fail for certain.”

The war continues to flounder as does his campaign, but McCain remains optimistic. Johnny Mac needs to take a look at what someone else is writing about his campaign efforts....

From the Dilbert Blog, by Scott Adams:

I Want a Lucky President

All of the major candidates for president of the United States are qualified. They know the issues. They’re smart. They’ve all shown leadership, and they obviously know politics.

But which one is luckiest? I want the luckiest person as my president. That’s what I liked about Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. They were lucky people, and it seemed to rub off on the country. The trouble is, how do you predict who is going to be lucky?

I have a theory that everyone is born with a similar quantity of luck, but it’s distributed unevenly over a lifetime. Some people have their bad luck early in life, followed by good luck for the rest of their lives, and vice versa. If someone “up there” is planning people’s fates, a few of those decisions must have gone like this:

“You will have cancer, and one nut, but to even things out, I’ll let you win the Tour de France a bunch of times, and hump Sheryl Crow until it gets boring.”

“You will be poor, and sexually abused as a child. But to even things out, you’ll be Oprah.”

“You will be born to one of the richest families in America. You will be handsome and smart and eventually President of the United States. You will shag Marilyn Monroe and anything else with a skirt. But just to even things out, I’ll have some guy shoot you in the head.”


(how his theory applies to John McCain:)

See how this works? All we have to do is find the presidential candidate who had the worst early life experience. That’s the one who will have the most luck in the future.

Senator McCain immediately comes to mind. He was a prisoner of war. But if you read his biography, it looks like he already used up his luck by consistently being the “guy who didn’t get killed.” And his misfortune of being tortured already helped him get elected Senator. I worry that he might have already achieved breakeven.

See, even Scott Adams sees that McCain has used up his Karma. If he were elected, bad things for the US. (read the blog for more how he views the luck factor of other Presidential candidates)

The real point of this whole McCain implosion is Johnny's lack of honesty. If he can't be honest about his own campaign, how can we trust him to be honest with us about important stuff like Iraq, Iran, the economy, terrorism, etc???

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A new Jihad is declared.....

Not one to be outdone by some Shia Mullah, the Pope launched an attack on the heathen, non-believers..... meaning all that don't recognize the Pope's Authority:

Vatican: Non-Catholics 'wounded' by not recognizing pope

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -- The Vatican on Tuesday said Christian denominations outside the Roman Catholic Church were not full churches of Jesus Christ.

A 16-page document, prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict used to head, described Christian Orthodox churches as true churches, but suffering from a "wound" since they do not recognize the primacy of the Pope.

But the document said the "wound is still more profound" in the Protestant denominations -- a view likely to further complicate relations with Protestants.

"Despite the fact that this teaching has created no little distress ... it is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of 'Church' could possibly be attributed to them," it said.

The Vatican text, which restates the controversial document "Dominus Iesus" issued by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2000, said the Church wanted to stress this point because some Catholic theologians continued to misunderstand it.


The document said the Council's opening to other faiths recognized there were "many elements of sanctification and truth" in other Christian denominations, but stressed only Catholicism had all the elements to be Christ's Church fully.

The text refers to "ecclesial communities originating from the Reformation," a term used to refer to Protestants and Anglicans. Father Augustine Di Noia, under-secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the document did not alter the commitment for ecumenical dialogue, but aimed to assert Catholic identity in those talks.

"The Church is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment," Di Noia told Vatican radio.

"But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be."

What a great way to save paper and the environment! In one document, several shots are fired in a Jihad:
  1. the Pope slams all other world religions by claiming that the Catholic Church is the ONE TRUE CHURCH, thus offending about 7/8ths of the world population
  2. adds an extra slam at the Protestant movement for not recognizing the Pope's authority... (Wow, start a war with one shot and shoot your main allies with the second.... Even Hitler waited a few weeks after dividing Poland with Stalin before attacking the Soviet Union)
Seems to me that the Pope and the rest of the old folks in the Vatican seem to have forgotten a wee bit of history: It was this very type of egotism and meglomania that led to the Protestant Reformation.

You gotta love the last paragraph:

But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be."

To me, that reads "We'll talk with y'all, just as long as you know your place"...

Well, that does kinda look like a certain salute from his youth in the photo above...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Rummy et al passed on chance to get Top Al Q.

Rummy passed on a chance to get top Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan in 2005:

'05 mission to get al Qaeda in Pakistan aborted, Times says

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A secret 2005 mission to capture senior al Qaeda members in Pakistan's tribal areas was aborted at the last moment when Bush administration officials decided it was too risky and could jeopardize relations with Pakistan, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Citing intelligence and military officials, including a former senior intelligence official involved in the planning, the Times said in a story posted on its Web site that the target was a meeting of al Qaeda leaders. That conference was thought by intelligence officials to have included Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's top deputy, who was believed to run the group's operations, it said.

The classified mission was scotched even as Navy SEALs in parachute gear had boarded C-130 cargo planes in Afghanistan after then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected a last-minute appeal by then-CIA director Porter Goss, the Times said, citing the officials and the former intelligence official, all of whom requested anonymity.

Rumsfeld felt the mission, which grew from a small number of personnel to several hundred, would risk too many U.S. lives, and he was also concerned about possible repercussions on U.S.-Pakistan relations, the Times said.


So, it was OK to risk tens of thousands of lives to invade Iraq, a nation that MAY have posed a threat to the region and possibly the US (IF you want to give any credence to Bush admin claims in 2003), but it was too much to risk lives to go after the guys that actually attacked us???

It was OK to piss of most nations in the world with an invasion of Iraq, yet we worry about the opinions of ONE nation's leader??

In his speech to the US Congress, the nation and the world in September of 2001, GWB said that he would leave no stone unturned in his hunt for those responsible for those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

More proof that the war on terror is mere rhetoric aimed at stopping democracy here in the US.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Do you have what it takes to become a citizen?

Social Studies Test Time: (from MSNBC)

Do you have what it takes to become a citizen?

When immigrants want to become Americans, they must take a civics test as part of their naturalization interview before a Citizenship and Immigration Services (INS) officer. The questions are usually selected from a list of 100 sample questions that prospective citizens can look at ahead of the interview (though the examiner is not limited to those questions). Some are easy, some are not. We have picked some of the more difficult ones.
NOTES: The INS plans to revise its list of questions in 2008 (a pilot program is using these new questions at selected INS sites). Also, the questions in the test below are as asked on the official United States Immigration and Naturalization Services Web site. Candidates are not given multiple choices in the naturalization interview, which is conducted orally.

Take the Test:

Go ahead, take the test and tell me how you did! I got all but one right..... (ok, so I don't know my immigration forms.... )

I wonder if we can get Gabby G. to take the test Thursday @ Drinking Liberally

Monday, July 02, 2007

As Brad said to Frankenfurter: "What have you done to Janet?!"

I fear that Pod People have taken over the mind and/or body of our beloved Gov! It seems that she has decided to sign the Employer Sanctions Bill:

Napolitano signs employee sanctions bill

Gov. Janet Napolitano signed a bill Monday which experts say will create the toughest sanctions in the country for companies that "knowingly" hire illegal immigrants, breaking from some political allies in the business community who have opposed the measure. In a statement Napolitano said, "Immigration is a federal responsibility, but I signed HB 2779 because it is now abundantly clear that Congress finds itself incapable of coping with the comprehensive immigration reforms our country needs. "I signed it, too, out of the realization that the flow of illegal immigration into our state is due to the constant demand of some employers for cheap, undocumented labor."
She goes on to point out several flaws in the bill, including issues with potential discrimination against legal workers. She is willing to call a special session to remedy this and other problems.
I can't believe that our Governor has approved a bill she clearly admits is seriously flawed. I know she doesn't fear the legislature, she has never had a problem vetoing bad legislation before (and there has been no lack of bad legislation, believe me).

Now I agree that those employers that knowingly hire illegal immigrants should face punishment, but to put them permanently out of business on the second offense is a violation of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution. Funny how the right felt that Scooters 30 month jail sentence for obstruction of justice was too severe but yet feel a 'death sentence' is fine for a second offense.

Why would Janet acquiesce to the Dark Side? Could it be that she is hedging her bets and look for some sort of cabinet position or better in a future Democratic administration?

Come on, Janet. We were hoping that you'd keep this 'Riff-Raff' legislation from becoming law!

Bush and Scooter: Best of Both Worlds

Well, we knew he'd receive "a get out of jail free card" of some kind, so this should come as no great shock:

Bush commutes Libby's prison sentence

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush has commuted the prison term of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, facing 30 months in prison after a federal court convicted him of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.
What is a bit surprising is that Scooter didn't receive a full pardon yet. (yet, since i bet he gets one @ 11:59 AM on January 20, 2009). Many Right-wingers had called for a full pardon for Scooter, and most of us liberals expectedBush to do so. But George, oh so full of surprises, decided to just commute his sentence instead.

Smart move by a man we all (well, those of us to the left of Attila the Hun) think isn't too bright. Bush gets the best of both worlds, Scooter avoids prison thus keeping the Right happy, yet Scooter still remains a convicted felon, keeping the rest of us at bay to some extent.

Wonder if that felony conviction will keep him from getting a nice paying job on K street?
Nw, I don't think so, either!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

GWB Waives his 5th Amendment Right against self-Incrimination

The Bush administration has declassified some information in hope to justify the war in Iraq. According to CNN.COM this evening (Bin Laden wanted Iraq as a new base), the information being released shows that in 2005 Bin Laden sought to use Iraq as a training base and a launching pad for Al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. All of this information is now being released so GWB can use it in his commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy.

The meat of the proof is this:

Bin Laden and a top lieutenant -- Abu Faraj al-Libbi -- planned to form a terror cell in Iraq in order to launch those attacks, Johndroe said.

Al-Libbi was a "senior al Qaeda manager" who in 2005 suggested to bin Laden that bin Laden send Egyptian-born Hamza Rabia to Iraq to help plan attacks on American soil, Johndroe said.

Johndroe noted that bin Laden later suggested to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, that America should be his top priority. That was followed in the spring of 2005 with bin Laden's ordering Rabia to brief al-Zarqawi on plans to attack the United States, Johndroe said.

Johndroe added the intelligence indicates al-Libbi later suggested Rabia should be sent to Iraq to carry out those operations.

But al-Libbi was captured in Pakistan and taken into CIA custody in May 2005. After al-Libbi's capture, the CIA's former acting director, John McLaughlin, described him as Bin Laden's chief operating officer, the No. 3 man in al Qaeda.

Interesting that this information is just now being declassified, there is nothing here that warrants keeping this as classified information. With this administration's shaky past as far as intelligence goes and their current battles with Congress and public opinion, I find this a little suspect.

But let's assume it is true. What does this revelation truly prove???

It actually proves quite a lot, just not what George W. hoped it would.

The information clearly indicates that Bin Laden was looking at Iraq as a new base in 2005, not 2002 prior to the invasion, nor in the first year after the invasion. Had Saddam Hussein still been in power or the Bush administration not completely bungled things afterwards, there is no way that Bin Laden would have seen Iraq was a possible base. (Of course, had the same effort applied to get Saddam been applied to get Bin Laden, none of this would be relevant).

So, George Bush has constantly refuted claims that his actions haven't caused an increase in terrorism, and now he is about to give a speech that actually proves he has. Wonder if he asked for his lawyer first.

Russell Pearce bucking for a new job???

State legislator Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, held a press conference today to chastise fellow republican John McCain for missing votes. He feels that McCain should either show up for his votes or resign:

State legislator says McCain should 'show up and vote'
Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said he has nothing against the state's senior U.S. senator, even though they disagree on issues like immigration reform. And he said McCain is certainly free to pursue his presidential ambitions. But Pearce noted that McCain has missed about half of the recorded votes since Congress convened in January. And according to The Washington Post, McCain's last vote was on April 12; he has missed all 43 votes since then. "I'm calling on the senator to show up and vote,'' Pearce said Tuesday at a hastily called press conference. (emphasis mine)

Now, as painful as it is to admit, I agree with Pearce. McCain is no longer serving as our Senator. He should resign if he is not going to vote for bills that affect the future of our country. Though his absence helps out the democratic cause in so many ways, especially in regard to Iraq. (of course, not voting means he can avoid the "He voted against/for such and such a law" in campaign ads).

Enough about McCain, and onto the real reason for this "hastily called press conference." Could Pearce be trying to ride a wave of Republican dissatisfaction with McCain's support of the new immigration reform bill? The article quotes Russell:
"Or if he's going to be a full-time candidate, yes, he ought to resign and let somebody take that position that's going to represent Arizona and be there to vote.''
Could it be that Mr. Pearce is offering himself up as a replacement?

Yeah, Johnny-boy, the thought of US Senator Pearce gives me indigestion, too.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A vote of "No Confidence" for AG A.G.??

Phil Spec... oops, I mean Senator Arlen Specter says that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will resign after a vote of No Confidence in the senate: Specter: 'No confidence' vote will make Gonzales quit

Sure he will! That's all he has been waiting for, a vote from the senate. The calls from both sides of the isle, the storm that has engulfed his office are inconsequential. All he really needs is that vote.

But if on the off chance that works, I wonder if we can get a similar vote on Veep Cheney, GWB, SoS Rice, and the rest of the administration? (which is kind of what November '06 was all about)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Age discrimination or just facing reality?

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, raises an interesting point in his blog today.

He feels that the age of a presidential candidate should be fair game for his/her opponents:
Old Presidents:
How old is too old for a president? Candidate John McCain will be 72 by the time of the election. The worst case scenario is that he gets elected, does a good job, and gets reelected. He’ll be 80 by the end of his second term.

Imagine you’re a presidential advisor and you notice him starting to lose it. Do you tell the media, and set in motion a chain of events that will end in you losing your own job and power? Or do you schedule fewer public appearances for your boss and hope no one figures it out?

Every person is different, of course. But I’d like to see some statistics on the mental and physical risks to an average 75-year old. If there’s a 30% chance of a major health problem for a 75-year old, but far less for someone the age of John Edwards, I’d like to see those stats. But I doubt the media will spend much time on that sort of thing because their customers skew older. It’s bad business to remind your customers that they are likely to lose it any minute.

I’d like to see a younger candidate address the issue directly in a debate. I think it could be done without cruelty, as in “My opponent is in excellent health. But realistically, you have to ask yourself if it’s wise to vote for a man in his seventies. At his age, his mental faculties will be declining quickly. By the end of his first term, he won’t be the same person you voted for. It’s one factor among many, but it can’t be ignored.”

We have one recent experience with an old president. Ronald Reagan was in his seventies when he served as president. Regardless of what you think of his overall performance, does anyone think his age had no impact on his decisions?

I think that he actually may be on to something. I know that it is not politically correct to discuss the age of a candidate, but we are talking about the President of the United States. The job itself is stressful enough, add age and the potential health factors that come with old age, and you are dramatically increasing the likelihood that the Veep would move into the Oval Office.

Before you jump on the age discrimination angle, we are not hiring the greeter at the neighborhood Wal-Mart. This is the person we expect (current prez excluded) to make critical decisions that impact the world. We need someone with full control of his faculties and bladder (again, current prez excluded).

If someone can be too young or too green, as many feel that Obama is, someone can be too old.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Heeeeeree's Johnny!!!!

Well, Carpet-bagger John has officially, officially declared his candidacy for President (His what, 3rd declaration??) and he has already made his first offical grab for some headlines:
McCain: Gonzales should depart 'out of loyalty' to Bush

WASHINGTON CNN) -- Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that he is "disappointed" in the performance of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and he believes it would be in President Bush's best interests for Gonzales to step aside.

"I think that out of loyalty to the president that that would probably be the best thing that he could do," McCain said in an interview with CNN's "Larry King Live."

McCain, who has been a strong backer of the war in Iraq, also said he was "surprised" and "disappointed" by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's recent statements that he believes the war is lost.
So, McCain wants Gonzales to resign out of "loyalty to Bush." I guess he sees nothing wrong with the AG's actions.

I see this as McCain wanting to have his cake and eat it too.... He want to appear as a loyal Bush supporter on one hand, and supporting a change on the other.....

So what is up with Johnny???? He just wants every Republican to love him... (and give him a shyte-load of $$)

*The use of the term Loyalty to Bush is JC's attempt to paint himself as a Bush Loyalist... and Johnny sells his soul further dwon the river

Monday, April 23, 2007

A week of thought and reflection...

Well, it has been a week since the tragic events on the Virginia Tech campus. I won't rehash the events, post the rants from a clearly sick individual, nor post links detailing the events of that day. I will just post some of my thoughts about all that has taken place and some of what has been said.

My first reaction was utter shock. But as we learned more about the smoldering fuse that this young man was, it clearly points out just the many flaws that there are in the mental health system in this country.

News coverage: I think that too much emphasis has been placed on finding flaws and fault in the system, and not enough focus on how can the system be improved. Repeatedly the focus on was 'what went wrong' in a sensationalistic way, often focusing on how he was able to buy a gun. Not enough prime time talk was about the state of mental health services and support (or lack thereof) that we have in the US. Focus on making improvements, and there is oh so much room for improvement.

2nd Amendment:
there are many on the far left that want to use this incident to help their case for banning handguns. Sorry, but no, that won't solve the many issues we have. Clearly there needs to be some tweaking of the mental health-background check. However, this probably wouldn't have prevented this tragedy. This was a well planned attack. He worked on this for months, and had plenty of time to seek out a gun by other means.

On the flip side, there have been some pro-gun folks that want to to use this tragedy as support for the right for anyone to be able to carry a gun anywhere. Please, there is no way that we want students carrying guns around campus. Remember college??? A lot of god memories, lots of good friends, and a whole shyte-load of drinking. Weren't there enough problems with drunk college students without throwing guns into the mix. Besides, most of these NRA/pro-gun types always forget or ignore the 1st part of the 2nd amendment: A well-regulated militia... (hello, well regulated doesn't mean anyone anywhere can own and carry any kind of gun he/she chooses). A few more regulations may not have prevented this incident, but they do help prevent those crimes of passion where someone who is distraught, angry or upset tries and gets a gun. More on guns et al at a later date.

I saw several reports early on where Korean students and students of Korean descent were worried about backlash because the perp was Korean. The media clearly amped up these fears as the repeatedly labeled this young man as 'the Korean gunman'. Thank God there have not been any incidents/harassment of Koreans (at least I have not seen or read about any), though you can't blame them for being concerned. Too often there have been such racist attacks after such incidents. Maybe this nation IS maturing... yeah, I doubt it too, but I can dream.. Maybe we did learn a lesson from the Amish as they forgave the man who gunned down their children. btw: the Amish reaction and actions are one of the few incidents where you can find the answer to the question: "What would Jesus do?"

Academic Freedom (or lack thereof). On Friday a professor was fired for acting out a shooting scenario in his classroom. He was asked by his university to engage students in regards to the events of 4/16. He did, but in an unconventional way. It may have been upsetting to some, maybe even a touch tasteless. Nonetheless, he did what was asked. I find the point that he may have been trying to make (that some of the deaths may have been prevented if a student was armed) a bit scary (see my rant above about arming students). BUT, just because the actions and point the professor was trying to make were controversial and/or upsetting to some or even most does not justify the firing. Academic freedom is already under assault in this nation, and any actions to hasten the demise of a critical part of our democracy must be opposed.

The stigma of mental illness. To me, this problem is at the root of the incident. The young man clearly had some serious mental health issues,m and not just recently. As more is reported about the history of this kid who called himself ?, a broad deep picture of a very troubled young man is revealed. Some news organizations covered his relatives in Korea and how they noticed from an early age how different this kid was. One news report talked about how mental illness was a stigma in the Korean community and that may have caused the parents to not seek treatment. This is bullshit. The stigma is cross-cultural, cross-ethnic, cross-SES. Society treats mental illness as something to be ashamed of and hidden. The is never enough $$ for the treatment of mental illness, often leaving those will mental illness on the fringes of society.

The kid had serious mental issues from early childhood, but they manifested themselves in ways that didn't immediately draw the attention of those around him, or maybe it did and they didn't know or have the resources to deal with it. I don't blame them. There have been a couple of issues in my own family of issues with mental health. Getting the right help is challenging when you know something is wrong and you have the resources. Education about mental health and taking away the stigma of being treated for mental illness will go a long way to preventing an incident like this from re-occurring.


....segregation tomorrow.... segregation forever???

Did the Iraqis elect George Wallace as governor of Iraq??
Officials downplay criticism of Wall

In his inaugural address in 1963, Alabama governor George Wallace gave us the infamous "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." line. Well, as a nation, we became enlightened to the evils and inherent fallacies of segregation, de jure segregation came to an end across the land and eventually Wallace, the poster child segregationist ideology, changed his view. Things are still far from perfect, but clearly segregation was an evil policy that just codified discrimination and racism.

So why are we actually overtly supporting the Iraqi government's plans and efforts to wall of sections of Baghdad based on ethnic/sectarian lines? Here we are, almost 53 years to the day after Brown vs this years after the landmark Supreme Court Ruling that struck down the notion of seperate but equal, Brown vs the Topeka Board of Education?

Have they gotten so desperate that they are willing to try things that failed in much of the world? Segregation walls did not bring peace to Belfast. What makes the Iraqi government, with clear support (maybe even encouragement??) from US 'advisors' think it will work now?!

Friday, March 09, 2007

A.G. the AG caught with his pants down, so to speak

Ah, nothing like a little pressure to change the mind of the AG.

AG and the justice department had waged an all-out war against the fired US attorneys and Congress, attempting to destroy their reputation as well as blasting those that questioned the firings as 'playing politics'.

Along comes some Republicans who were very concerned about these firings who more or less states that the AG himself may join them in the unemplyement line. Suddenly, the AG, who has had his pants down mooning the entire justice system and the Constitution, has a change of heart.

Gonzales rushed to the capital to meet with democratic leadership. Apparently he is backtracking.. It seems that he will not oppose legislation removing his power to appoint attorneys w/o congressional oversight. He would also allow his staff to testify w/o being subpoena as part of a deal:

White House backtracks in row over U.S. attorneys

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Slapped even by GOP allies, the Bush
administration is beating an abrupt retreat on eight federal
prosecutors it fired and then publicly pilloried.

Just hours
after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales dismissed the hubbub as an
"overblown personnel matter," a Republican senator Thursday mused that
Gonzales might soon suffer the same fate as the canned U.S. attorneys.

A short time later, Gonzales and his security detail shuttled to the
Capitol for a private meeting on Democratic turf, bearing two offerings:

  • President Bush would not stand in the way of a Democratic-sponsored bill that
    would cancel the attorney general's power to appoint federal
    prosecutors without Senate confirmation. Gonzales' Justice Department
    previously had dismissed the legislation as unreasonable.
  • There would be no need for subpoenas to compel testimony by five of Gonzales'
    aides involved in the firings, as the Democrats had threatened.
    Cloistered in the stately hideaway of Senate Judiciary Committee
    Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, the attorney general assured those
    present that he would permit the aides to tell their stories.
  • It was a striking reversal for an administration noted for standing its ground even in the face of overwhelming opposition.

    Gone were the department's biting assertions that the prosecutors were a
    bunch of "disgruntled employees grandstanding before Congress."

    And the department no longer tried to shrug off the uproar as "an overblown
    personnel matter," as Gonzales had written in an opinion piece
    published Thursday in USA Today.

    Read the entire article:

    Was it just pressure from fellow Republicans that brought this about, or is there something else afoot???

    I think that the AG is trying to broker a deal where all testimony is in closed session, and that someone under Mr. Gonzales will end up falling on his/her sword.

    But the real question is, will these guys get their jobs back? I know, no way that happens after all of the stuff the Justice Department said about them that they would take their jobs back.

    I hope Congress makes the hearings open and that they subpoena all of the records of the corrupting cases the US attorneys were working on so they can finish the jobs that these guys were fired for doing.

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    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    Like shooting fish in a barrel

    From CNN.COM:
    Bush to show soft side on Latin American junket

    This is nothing new..... we have seen GeeDub's soft side for years.....


    Yeah, I know, this was just too obvious of a punch line, but I had to post it. I've been too busy to do much blogging lately.

    Thursday, March 01, 2007

    The true religion of the Republican party??

    McCain says he misspoke when he said that American lives were wasted in Iraq:

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Sen. John McCain on Thursday became the second presidential contender to back away from saying the war in Iraq had "wasted" the lives of U.S. troops.

    During a Wednesday night appearance on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," McCain announced that he would enter the 2008 race but said a formal announcement would come in April.

    He also said the nation had paid a "grievous price" for mistakes made in the first years of the nearly four-year-old war in Iraq.

    Americans "are very frustrated," he said, "and they have every right to be. We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives, over there."

    After catching some flack (and deservedly so) he tries to 'amend' his statement, claiming he meant to say 'sacrificed American lives.'

    Interesting, calling dead US soldiers 'sacrifices'. Many of us have long suspected GWB, Rumsfeld, Cheney, McCain et al of not truly being Christians, but who knew they were Mayan or Aztec.

    Seriously, though. I find it disturbing to think of a soldier's death as being a sacrifice when there is, and never has been, a direct threat to the US or world peace in, from, or because of Iraq (well until WE got there, anyway) A soldier's life, if it ever should be called a sacrifice, should be given in defending his country, ie sacrificing his life so we can remain free and safe. His (or her) life being lost to cover for repeated mistakes and lack of planning and foresight by military and political leaders is not a sacrifice. It is a shame, and maybe even a crime.

    Hopefully McCain and all those that think we should stay the course in Iraq, as well as future leaders, will learn from the mistakes made by Rumsfeld, Bush, Rice, Powell, et al. If they don't, then truly the lives of our soldiers will have been wasted.

    Monday, February 19, 2007

    Deja Vu, all over again

    "Those who cannot remember the past
    are condemned to repeat it."

    Does history repeat itself? A question that is often asked, and often answered in the affirmative. I attribute this to the fact that as humans, we tend to make mistakes-sadly the same ones. It is not from ignorance (well, GWB may be the exception) but due to stubbornness, selfishness, egotism, and blindness. People are often too full of themselves and full of self importance to see that situations from the past apply to them.

    Take Vietnam. In 1964 Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Johnson the ability to escalate the war. Well, a few years later it came out that the administration and the Pentagon had not be completely truthful with what happened. By that time we were so entrenched in IndoChina that it took several more years, and 10's of thousands of American and Vietnamese lives.

    Fast forward, oh lets say 38 years. The current President (and hopefully LAST) Bush and the Pentagon go public with evidence that Iraq was developing WMDs, as we all know. This led Congress to give the President the ability to wage war in Iraq. After a few years, we all learned that things were, once again, not what the administration and Pentagon had portrayed. And, we are deeply entrenched in a war that is costing American and Iraqi lives. , starting to sound familiar?? Well, the scary part is yet to come, I fear....

    Fast forward to 2007. Pentagon and the Administration announce that they have conclusive proof that Iran is directly involved in supplying insurgents with weapons and explosives. (though there is some backpedaling on just exactly what they were saying and what it all meant). Questioned about whether or not they were making a case for war with Iran, Bush et al cry foul, saying there is no such plan or effort. In fact, GWB gets quite indignant, wondering why people are so skeptical (see, I said GWB was the exception).

    A quick fast-forward to today: Reports say Iranian patrol boats are making incursions into Iraqi territorial waters........

    .. it's deja vu, all over again.

    The administration HAS to know that Congress and the American people will remain skeptical of anything that it puts forward, so it will look for something more substantial to push us into another war. I feel this is being done for two reasons. 1. They really really want to 'get Iran' and 2. A means of taking the Iraq war off of the front page.