Monday, July 31, 2006

Armageddon ...

.. Pretty Pissed Off At All This "Apocalypse" Crap.

(Historical note: This is a picture of the Castle Union nuclear test, conducted in 1954 by the United States. It and other pictures like it can be found on


The historian/philosopher William Durant pointed out (in my opinion, correctly) that people's contentment and fear of the end of the world are two compensatory buckets in a well; i.e., if you're happy or content, you don't think much about The End of Everything.

Contrariwise, if you're not happy, you tend to wonder if the troubles in the world aren't signs and portents. It's been like this since the eschatological texts of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation were written, and it'll be like this for many centuries to come.

But that doesn't stop people from going on and on about it as if it's about to happen, and that frankly annoys me. It's bad enough that these idiots are trying to ram their claptrap down my throat, but they indulge in the worst kind of Magic Thinking - the idea that all of the nastiness going on doesn't need any practical solution, because Someone will come and make Everything Better.

Next time some loon tries to lay that on you, ask for all of his or her money - since they won't need it in Heaven.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Back on Friday, I posted that the news was starting to get me down, so I decided on Saturday to recharge the batteries.

I did some writing (three chapters of a new story).

I cooked a nice dinner (pork roast, broccoli with cheese, garlic mashed potatoes) and a nice gin&tonic with it.

I bought some guide books to help me plan my vacation in October.

And now, on Sunday morning, I baked some deeeee-licious blueberry scones for breakfast, and watched a tape of Jackass: The Movie.

Now I've got some serious chores to catch up on before I go back to work Monday.

And I'm still not paying too much attention to the news.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Revolution Will Be Televised

It's been pointed out that revolutions are normally violent and painful affairs, but all the best revolutionaries - Lenin, Mao, Trotsky and Hitler - avowed that blood and pain was necessary, even required, in order to sweep away the Old Order and impose the New.

Welcome to the New Revolution, courtesy of the Bush Administration.

In this article on, several people point out that Secretary of State Rice's comments and the general mindset of Our Leader are remarkably similar to those old revolutionists - this current Administration is more than willing to plunge the Middle East into a bloodbath in hopes that a shining new democratic order will arise.

Unfortunately, this messianic Wilsonian bullshit is exactly that, and everyone knew it back in 1920. Too much animosity is present in the Middle East to EVER bring rise to a peaceful settlement, unless one side or the other vows to dispense with armed force as a means to an end.

And that ain't gonna happen.

In a press conference today, Bush was asked a question that went basically, "Three years ago you invaded Iraq while predicting that a wave of democratic change would sweep the region, toppling autocratic regimes and creating happiness, sweetness and light. What the fuck happened?"

All Bush could maunder on about was the need to counteract a "murderous ideology" with "the ideology of freedom."

So why are we changing "freedom" into a murderous ideology?

Bush also pointed out quite paradoxically that we are allowing Israel to bomb the bejesus out of Lebanon and its population in order to HELP Lebanon and its population.

I think I'm going to stop watching the news for a while. Bush is starting to make me suicidal.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


That even the biggest pig finds an acorn from time to time.

Simply Amazing Stuff

What you are seeing is something that hasn't seen the light of day in about a thousand years. It's a psalter, a collection of Biblical psalms found in an Irish peat bog. Read the article - it's a simply wonderful find.

In other news, a long-forgotten well was excavated near historic Jamestown, Virginia, and a variety of artifacts were found, including a pistol and a shoe. Just stuff that someone lost, only to be rediscovered 400 years later.

And in a stunning and wholly accidental discovery (those are the best kind, by the way), divers off the Polish coast have found the wreck of the KMS Graf Zeppelin, the first (and only) German aircraft carrier.

Think of the treasures that might be beneath your feet. It's a wonderful, enthralling thought.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Quick Chicken and Dumplings

I made this tonight for supper. Yummy!

6 cooked chicken breasts (or equivalent in precooked, precut chicken)
3 cups of chicken broth (low sodium)
3 cups water
10 ounces carrots, cut into matchsticks (precut is good)
10 ounces frozen peas
2 cups biscuit mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
grated cheddar cheese
garlic powder
black pepper
bay leaf

1. In large Dutch oven or saucepan, start heating up the water and chicken broth on moderately high heat, add pepper and thyme to the liquid (all seasonings are to taste).
2. Add the carrots and peas, bring to a boil and cook five minutes.
3. Add chicken; let the pot return to a boil; add bay leaf
4. Mix together biscuit mix, cheese, rosemary, parsley and garlic powder (again, to taste). Add milk and stir until batter forms (it'll be sticky).
5. Mix together the flour and water until smooth, add to the boiling stew and stir it in thoroughly.
6. Drop tablespoon-size lumps of batter into the liquid, starting around the outside and moving inward.
7. Drop the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and simmer 10 minutes more.

The whole operation took about 45 minutes, and it tasted great.

Monday, July 24, 2006

News Flash!

A task force set up by the American Bar Association has declared that President Bush has violated the Constitution!

Of course, we've KNOWN this for some years now, but it's nice to see the Lawyers taking a stand. I expect that a new wing at Gitmo will shortly open up, just for them.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Freedonia's Going to WAR!

Well, at least Israel is.

You know, I've always had some doubts about our country's relationship with the State of Israel, since Truman recognized the new country in 1948. We have been Israel's greatest friend, supplying it with more money and weapons than any other country to which we offer foreign aid.

And yet this tiny sliver of a nation, with its abusive and sometimes draconian treatment of its minorities and its cavalier attitude toward spying on us (and that's not to mention the USS Liberty incident) treats us like the bottom boy in this relationship - and we let them do it.

Now, with the latest scuffle going on in Lebanon, we are being The Bitch again, talking big about seeking a diplomatic solution while at the same time expediting a shipment of bunker-busting precision guided munitions.

If Israel wants to act like the 800-pound Gorilla in the Middle East, that's fine - but not on my tax dollars, thank you. Perhaps some of those filthy rich Christian Dominionist Millenniarist fascisti would like to pass the hat among their deluded followers and take up the burden of feeding bombs and guns into Israel's capacious maw.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


"Here men from the planet earth first set foot upon the Moon ... they came in peace for all mankind."

Two days and 37 years ago, a man opened a small hatch in the side of a spidery little craft, clambered down a short ladder and placed his booted foot on the soil of this planet's closest neighbor. Two hundred forty thousand miles away, the teeming millions on our species' cradle paused in their wars, crimes and lives and watched.

There was a collective catch of breath. We had done it.

Mankind had finally taken its first long step away from its cradle.

Happy Anniversary.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Another Apprentice

VP Cheney speaking to Gus Bilirakis, candidate in Florida:

"The Force is strong with you ... a powerful Sith you will become."

"Iraq as a political project is finished."

This is a rather disheartening article from Reuters. It's rather long, so I will basically summarize it by saying this:

We're screwed.

Oh, you want something a bit pithier?


As the violence in Iraq increases, an adviser close to PM al-Maliki states that some of the factions within the government (that's his quote above; obviously he won't give his name because it's his neck on the chopping block too) are starting to think of partitions along ethnic and religious lines, as well as apportioning resources.

So the dream is over, my fellow Americans. The Neoconservative Magic Thinking Tinkerbell Dream of a tidal wave of democracy sweeping out from liberated Iraq within weeks of the fall of Baghdad turns out to be exactly what I thought it was in 2002 - Complete and Utter Bullshit.

Of course, the Neoconservative Magic Thinking Tinkerbell Dreamers want us to try the same thing all over again, in Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

Think about that, and try to sleep tonight.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Another Perspective

Why They Hate You, by Ahmet Hakan

Success Story?

What the fuck?

Afghanistan was supposed to be a showcase, a shinig success and example to the world that we could defeat and drive out a medieval, fundamentalist regime and slowly build a democratic government that could reshape society and turn the country into a free nation again.

That is, until we shifted our attention to Iraq.

Al Qaeda still sits and festers along the Afghan-Pakistani border, while the Taliban (once confidently supposed to have been destroyed) is now at the point of taking over villages in the south and southeast of the country.

Granted, we'll take them back, as we still have overwhelming firepower, but we must remember that the Afghans are a fiercely proud and independent people. They've put up with this since late 2001 - no telling how long they'll last until someone says, "Okay, time for you to go. NOW."

Rate of Exchange

The Chicken Noodle Network (CNN) has estimated that, so far, 170 Lebanese have died and 24 Israelis.

Hmm, that's a ratio of 7.08 to 1.

Seven possible Hezbollah terrorists (and of course we won't consider the fact that these seven might be innocent civilians or even foreign nationals) for every Israeli.

Now, to listen to Our Slave Media, this is apparently a fair rate of exchange, as all of the outrage is directed toward the barrages of artillery rockets from Lebanon, rather than toward the fact that the IDF is dismantling all the progress Lebanon has achieved over the past 20 years.

But that's okay - according to the Slave Media, their Corporate Masters, and the Compassionately Conservative Pundits, Jews are worth more than Muslims, aren't they?

Aren't they?

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Skunk Shows His Stripes

Washington Post article on John McCain.

The Political Bisexual has revealed himself for what he is - a political animal, a type of low, slinking, misbegotten thing that will stoop to anything and will pander and kiss up to anyone if it'll get him elected President.

I respect him for his heroism, but NOT for his politics.

Perhaps ...

We require new management.

"This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied dead. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die. The object in constructing me was to prevent war. This object is attained. I will not permit war. It is wasteful and pointless. An invariable rule of humanity is that man is his own worst enemy. Under me, this rule will change, for I will restrain man."
- Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Crazy as a Shithouse Rat

The State of Israel is at it again. Two of its soldiers were taken prisoner, and another ten killed, up in the northern part of the country a few days ago. It's not really known who specifically took them, but it doesn't matter; Hezbollah took credit, and offered to exchange them for some of its own prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Although Israel has done these sort of swaps before, that didn't matter. PM Olmert and his cabinet decided to revert to the old knee-jerk reaction that Israel had 20-some years ago, and started bombing the crap out of southern Lebanon and the Beirut Airport, all the while accusing Syria and Iran of being ultimately responsible.

Israel has also been bombing the hummus out of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip over another captured Israeli soldier. Chances are, though, that the fellow's already dead.


The small city of Avon Park, Florida has decided to try and force out all of the illegal aliens in its jurisdiction, which may also cost it the economic impulse and jobs of a planned Wal-Mart Supermegaohmygoditsfuckinghugecenter. Wahhh. I guess the people of Avon Park won't mind if their city remains a putrescent backwater for decades to come, huh?


European Union members have said that they'll be taking Iran to the UN again, this time to explore sanctions. Iran threatens dire consequences. Expect gasoline to hit $4 a gallon by winter.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What the - ?

CNN was authorized by their Corporate Masters to release this little article on their website. To sum up, it says that the GOP can't get shit passed in either house of Congress, even though they enjoy majority status in both houses, the Executive and the courts.

Granted, this is politics as usual, but it's a new high in low when a Republican committee has one member defect to the Democrats and seven(!) more no-show on the topic of a 4th of July resolution supporting the idea of "one nation under God."

And neither side can take much plesaure in the fact that the Voting Rights Act has so far failed to come up for renewal. Although it has bipartisan support in the leadership, Southern Republicans balked at allowing the courts to continue examining Southern voting practices.

I guess Jim Crow's dead, huh?

The question was rhetorical.

We can do better than this, people, and it makes me ashamed to consider myself a Republican.


In other news, huge bones and tusks were dug up by a highway crew (I'd link to it, but it's a video clip on CNN). Expect the Christian Fascisti (Creationist Brainwashing Branch) to either ignore the discovery or explain it away by citing the Biblical verse that "there were giants on the earth in those days."

Rising Sun - Rising Again?

This should scare the bejesus out of people. Some Japanese lawmakers are going to start exploring a 'pre-emptive strike' option against North Korea.

Japan's post-war constitution forbids any type of military aggression, and it's only by adopting the legal casuistry of "Self-Defense" that they even have an army, navy and air force. Since Japan has never apologized or even acknowledged the excesses they perpetrated during the wars they fought in Korea, China and Southeast Asia, any moves that may signal a possible remilitarization of Japan are looked at with great suspicion by their neighbors.

Kim Jong Il might conceivably launch his own pre-emptive strike against Japan, if the DPRK feels that the Japanese are militarizing.

"Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war ..."

Thursday, July 06, 2006

North Korea Launches Missiles!

Who cares?

Well, okay, there is some cause for alarm. The DPRK's Taepodong-2 missile has the capability to reach California, Alaska and Hawai'i, but the one fired back on July 4th exploded about 40 seconds into the launch. The other six missiles fired that day were short-range missiles that could hit South Korea or Japan, but they too fell into the sea.

Reactions are still coming in, including this one from the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. Gas prices are due to spike upwards in Australia, to about 145.9 cents to a liter. Let me put that into an amount Americans can understand:

That's about US $5.83 a gallon, folks. Small wonder a lot of people around the planet are ditching their SUVs and going for gas-sippers.

But the Times of London has this rather sober (and sobering) analysis of the situation. For starters, all nations have the right to test missiles. No one disputes that. However, Kim's actions and the overheated rhetoric of his nation's media (something you really have to read to believe - I haven't read such bombast since the last time I read the American Legion magazine) makes his neighbors feel that he's prepared to stop at nothing.

Many people make the false assumption that Kim is crazy, but if he is he's crazy like a fox. He knows that we won't respond militarily out of fears that he might actually HAVE the arsenal of nuclear weapons that our vaunted intelligence community thinks he might have. He has nothing lose and everything to gain by asserting what he perceives is his nation's rights.

Now, think about this:

1. We had a ruthless dictator that we THOUGHT had nukes, so we invaded and deposed him.

2. We have a ruthless leader who MIGHT be making nukes, so we're offering economic incentives to get him to stop.

3. We have a ruthless dictator who CLAIMS to have nukes, and we BELIEVE him, but there's not a damned thing we can do to stop him short of igniting a very nasty war that could shut off the supply of cut-price items from Wal-Mart forever.

Whatever shall we do with Little Kim?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ken Lay, RIH*

*Rot in Hell.

What really pisses me off about the timely and unlamented death of Ken Lay (late of Enron, aka Dick Cheney's Bestest Best Friends) is the fact that some of the Slave Media are making him out to be a victim.


This slimy little toad oozed his way through the worst swindle since Teapot Dome, and was cruising in the fast lane for exactly what he deserved. He's no victim, and no hero.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 230th!

Today is the 230th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the gauntlet thrown down by the American colonies to the King of England. It announced to the entire world that the philosophies of Locke and Rousseau were worth trying.

Now, for certain people, the Declaration is considered the law of the land, but that is reserved for the Constitution.

For two centuries the nation created as a consequence of that brave declaration has withstood outside invasion, war, civil war and civil strife. The Declaration has been much admired and emulated - even Ho Chi Minh used the language of the Declaration in declaring Vietnam's independence from France.

Brave words, and a brave act by each of the men who signed it.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Risky Business

The space shuttle Discovery sits on its pad at the Kennedy Space Center as I write, prepped and ready to make its stubby phallic way into the depths of space. There are only two shuttles now, the results of two accidents - one over 20 years ago, the other only 4 years ago.

NASA sold its soul when it harnessed itself to the Shuttle Transportation System after Apollo; it can't ditch the program because it would spell the end of its funding, but it needs the shuttle to complete work on the International Space Station. A new orbital delivery system is in the works, to replace the last two shuttles by about 2010.

So the shuttle sits, and the seven people who will ride in it - strapped to two gigantic Roman candles and about 500,000 pounds of explosive fuel - are taking a risk. It's been the same risk faced by a select and honored few ever since Y. A. Gagarin rode in Vostok 1 - the risk that Something Might Happen.

Space flight is risky business. You are flying into the most inhospitable environment known, propelled by a combination of high explosives, material technology and complex mathematics. Everything has to work just so, or you don't come back except as a corpse or as scattered ashes.

If heroism can be defined as ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary situation, then astronauts are heroes, one and all.

Goddess keep them safe.


The shuttle lifted off from KSC at 1438 local time on Tuesday 4 July. So far, everything looks exceptional for its 15-day mission.


Ever watch someone when they're vomiting?

Not yourself, of course. After having had one too many strawberry daiquiris with a heavy pasta dinner, you're too concerned with hanging onto the porcelain altar for dear life while you feel your shoes trying to come out of your throat.

No, I mean watching someone vomit. There's a certain fascination as the subject's body contorts, spasming as the stomach knots up and the cardiac sphincter relaxes, sending the acid-laced vomitus up and out of the body with enough force to etch glass.

We got to watch an entire country vomit this past week, as America tried again to retch up the last of the moral and ethical principles upon which it was founded. We've invaded a country on spurious grounds and based on no direct threat to us, humiliated and injured people in our custody, locked up citizens of our own country with trial, charges or access to legal representation, and now there are allegations that our soldiers raped an Iraqi woman and killed her family. According to the reports, that is the reason those two American soldiers were brutalized before their deaths.

There was a brief rally in the Body Politic as the Supreme Court slapped Bush across the face with the Hamdan decision, but there are calls now in the Congress to legitimize what we're doing.

Torture? Handled; Bush did a signing statement after signing the anti-torture law so the Administration can go on torturing (are you listening, John McCain?)

Ethics? Handled; the current Party in power has sold itself to lobbyists and several lucrative industries. Slave collars? Up the stairs, line on the left, one each please.

Respect for human rights? We're torturing people and going to war in the name of peace; what respect can we have?

Civil liberties? Currently certain people in the Congress are vilifying the New York Times and trying to squelch all dissent against Our Great and Dear Leader's Imposition of the Paz Americana. Squelching dissent destroys democracy, but these mid-range IQs don't seem to realize it.

It's painful to watch America puke up its own foundations, leaving nothing but teeth-destroying acid, bile and dry heaves.

But it has a certain fascination.