Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dr. George Tiller, RIP

You may not know the name.

I certainly didn't until today.

Dr. Tiller practiced medicine in Kansas, which from the start is probably not a good idea. With the statewide moratorium there on thinking, science and modernism, I think witch doctors are the major medical practitioners.


Dr. Tiller performed abortions; specifically, late-term procedures and only if there was a compelling medical reason such as the mother's life being in jeopardy. His clinic even had a chapel so that the fetus' passing could be mourned.

That cut no ice with the anti-abortion domestic terrorists in this country of ours. They protested outside the clinic, bombed it in 1985, shot him twice in 1993. They've regularly vilified him on Bill O'Reilly's and Glenn Beck's disgusting 'shows,' and they've threatened to kill him repeatedly.

Well, someone finally got to him, killing Dr. Tiller as he was in church.

Some fine Christian terrorist pulled a Pazzi on him.

Shot him dead. In church.

This "Christian," this hateful little animal, is a domestic terrorist. Yes, I said it, and I'll shout it from the damned rooftops.

Of course, Operation Rescue and the other front groups for these domestic terrorists offered the usual mushmouthed 'condemnations,' even though they support killing doctors and have done everything but put the gun in the killer's hand.

And you know what?

I agree wholeheartedly with The Rude Pundit. It's perfect.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

One Big Problem ...

... with capitalism - unregulated free-market capitalism - is that after a while everything becomes a commodity and the marketplace mentality produces a mindset where everything can be bought and sold.

Like children.

Or even pictures of children.

When will it stop?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Early Obligatory Friday Sex Post

Brought to you as a public service:

It Would Be a Great Shame

Here in sunny Flori-duh there is some movement in the news on the political and criminal fronts.

The former Speaker of the House, Ray Sansom (R-No! Really?) has been indicted for perjury regarding his misappropriation of funds to build an airplane hangar for Northwest Florida State College. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, as most of the politicians here in the Sunshine State - on both sides - are so crooked they have to screw their pants on in the morning.

Which leads me to Governor Charlie "No, Really, I'm NOT Gay, Honestly" Crist. Crist is going to cut his first term as Governor short in order to run for US Senate to replace the outgoing incumbent, Mel Martinez (R-Cuba Libre). His timing is okay, considering that his acceptance of Federal stimulus money and his friendliness toward President Obama hardly endear him to the right-wing yahoos and other members of the Florida GOP. So he's going to try to run for Senator.

Good Luck, Charlie. You're going to need it, as another former House Speaker, Marco Rubio (R-Dumbass) is also interested in the job, and the word is that he's collected two big endorsements. One is former Governor John Ellis "Jebbie the Hutt" Bush, the other is former Governor-Reverend Mike "Maria" Huckabee. The Hucklebuck is a heavy hitter with the Taliban Wing of the GOP, while Jebbie can wheel and deal with the slightly less foolish in the bunch.

(Me? I want no part of any of these rubes, which puts me in a decidedly oppressed minority within the GOP.)

State Senator Paula Dockery (R-Anita Bryant Legacy) is the subject of some water-cooler gossip that she might fight Rubio for the Gubernatorial prize (Rubio might go there if the idea of becoming Senator doesn't pan out). I approach this with the same sick fascination I would have for witnessing a fight between a snake and a mongoose.

Of course, hard to tell which is which in this case.

It'd be nice to think that Dockery and Rubio both wanting to be Governor would guarantee a Democrat getting elected to the big chair up in Tallahassee, but I'm not optimistic, considering most of the people I talk to on a regular basis are somewhere to the right of Martin Bormann and are about as religiously tolerant as the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

The Mouse that Roared

And I don't mean the delightful movie starring Peter Sellers in a triple role, either:

I'm talking about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (a/k/a the DPRK, or North Korea).

A few days ago the DPRK busted out into the ranks of the Big Boys by detonating a nuclear device in the 10-20 kiloton range, which is about what we dropped on Japan and is the standard size if you want to nuke a city. How many more arrows they might have in the quiver is unknown to me, and if anyone else knows they're keeping it under their hats. My best guess (based on a published report that the DPRK had about 70 kilograms of bomb-grade fissionables) is about ten.

Still, ten 1945-era Mark II devices can raise a lot of havoc when fitted to short- or intermediate-range missiles (provided, of course, they've been sufficiently downsized). When your primary targets are right on your border or a loud shout across the Sea of Japan, that's about all you need, really.

So there's a great deal of viewing with alarm at the latest screeds from Pyongyang. The spokesmen for Little Kim have stated that they will fire upon any ship that dares stop and search one of their freighters, that South Korea's joining in a Proliferation Security Initiative is tantamount to a declaration of war, and that they will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War.

All in all, a rather bellicose series of threats. The DPRK has the second-largest army in the neighborhood, right behind China, so the United States and South Korea have their troops on alert, as do the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

Needless to say, every square inch of North Korea is probably being fed into targeting computers for cruise missiles as I write this. If the Korean People's Army (KPA) comes over the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, we can expect a very nasty conflict. Seoul is the closest large city and well within range of the KPA's artillery and missiles.

Why are they doing this? I hear people asking.

Well, let me have a go at it.

A State Department analyst has suggested that the saber-rattling and the nuke test were all for domestic consumption, as a clique of generals are posturing for dominance in the event Little Kim dies or steps aside in favor of his youngest son, Kim Jong Un. Jong Un is reportedly Kim's successor, although how his older brothers feels about this is unreported but is easy to assume.

Another reason might be that the sanctions imposed are hurting the DPRK to such an extent that the military and political hierarchy feel that it is better to die on one's feet rather than live on one's knees. That is a very dangerous mindset, people.

A third reason might be that they are trying to convince the other powers in the neighborhood (including their biggest friend, China) that they have to be respected and treated like adults at the bargaining table. This is a nation-sized version of Wee Man Syndrome, where a small person will attempt to bully bigger people to show that he's unafraid of them.

Considering the size of the DPRK and the fact that Little Kim is about five feet tall (he wears platform shoes), this is not outside the realm of possibility.

And right now, everyone's waiting to see if that other platform shoe will drop.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Breaking News

The AP is reporting that North Korea has detonated a nuclear weapon in the northeast of their country. CNN reports a Richter 4.7 earthquake in that same region (which is consistent).

Stand by for confirmation and estimated yield.

UPDATE (1540 local):

Well, it's been confirmed. North Korea announced the 2006 test for a few days before setting it off; this time the Chinese and the US had an hours' notice before the pedal was put to the metal. Everyone's condemning it and there's a great deal of Viewing with Alarm (CDT 19-g) about it. According to a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, the device was similar in yield to the Mark II bomb we dropped on Nagasaki - that is, it was in the 10-20 kiloton range, probably closer to 12 KT.

That makes it a city-killer.

Now, the DPRK can do several things. It can (and probably has started to) refine the design to make it deliverable by missile, and it could try to sell it to whoever bids highest. See, the DPRK needs money, has none of its own and has two national philosophies. Neither are compatible with a command economy and a lot of hungry mouths to feed.

Things just got very interesting, folks. And before anyone starts bleating about Obama's failed diplomacy may I remind them that the DPRK's first test was in 2006.

Memorial Day, 2009

In search of a water-filled truth

I was the soldier supreme
rough and ready
with the sleeves of my sunburned arms
carrying an appropriate tattoo
and short filtered smokes
kill or be killed
this desert is hot
anything that moves at night is enemy
fire in the hole
doesn't that child have a gun
what an empty canteen in search of cold water
don't worry about my buddies around
the campfire cry
it only takes one to kill you
let no man beware
charge charge of
the light marine brigade
Kipling was no veteran
let other bewares
the price of victory is a politicians soul
and a sentry's nightmare
plus the head of a little boy
forever lost.

Copyright, William "Wild Bill" Taylor,
June, 2004

A Week's Worth of Weirdness

For starters, let's go to the top of the news. Former Vice-President and Supreme Douchenozzle of the Bushite Junta Dick Cheney has been making the rounds of all and sundry, holding forth on the efficacy of nearly drowning people in an effort to extract information. The Dick, as always, has ulterior motives - he's shopping a book deal, and trying as hard as he can to poison any potential jury pool in the event the justice system mans up and starts prosecuting.

He even went so far as to offer a rebuttal (on slim evidence, as even the CIA contradicts him) to President Obama's speech at the National Archives, a venue that had the chattering classes of the Right braying that Obama's trying to destroy the Constitution.

Where were these assholes the last seven years, I have to ask.

Anyway, rightist radio DJ Mancow - well, here's the video. We report, you decide:

Paying attention, Sean Hannity?


Further along in the news, a guy was getting ready to jump off a bridge in China when a 66-year-old man broke through the police lines, walked up to the guy, shook his hand -

And pushed him off the bridge.

No one's dead; the erstwhile jumper fell onto a partially-inflated cushion, and the pusher was arrested.


Used to be the prevailing wisdom about Komodo dragons was that their bites killed not by poison, but through the toxic bacteria in their mouths. Komodo dragons, the largest lizards in the world, eat mainly dead and rotting things and they don't floss, so the theory had some credence.

Well, that theory's been exploded.

It's been reported that the dragons aren't just the biggest lizards in the world, but are also the largest venomous lizards in the world.

You learn something new every day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Are We Surprised?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that the CIA lied to her, and several other people have said the same thing.

I say this:

How can anyone who lived through the Vietnam Era in this country ever be surprised that the Central Intelligence Agency lies to people? How can anyone who's read even a bit of American history be surprised by this?

Casting a Shadow

"Between the Idea and the Reality ... falls the Shadow."

T.S. Eliot wrote that, and it's the stone, Gods-honest truth: There is always a gap between the Real and the Ideal that sometimes makes people feel the inadequacy of reality.

Take campaign promises as an example. Politicians have made promises to the voters since the heyday of Athenian democracy (and that was a durned long time ago, buckaroo) so people shouldn't place too much credence in campaign promises.

President Obama promised a lot of things - getting out of Iraq quickly, among others - but the touch of reality makes demands on a promises. Instead of twelve or sixteen months, our departure from the debacle that is Iraq will be deferred to eighteen months or so, dependent upon the developments in that country. The important thing is that we're leaving.

For a great deal of the Ideas that became campaign promises the Shadow that falls between them and Reality is the shadow of a man.

Not just a man, but an administration.

George W Bush's administration.

Now, before anyone starts telling me to get over the "Bush derangement syndrome" (whatever the blazing fuck that is, because there is no adequate explanation), the first year - even in some cases the first two years of any new presidency is directly affected by the activities of the previous tenant of the Oval Office. There was speculation way back in January that the Bushite Junta was deliberately poisoning all the wells so that Obama's freedom of action would be severely constrained.

And, thanks to the Shadow, the Reality is that we're going to see compromises. Detainees will still be held at Guantanamo, military tribunals will be conducted.

Time is needed. Bush and his cronies cast a big shadow, and it'll take time to dispel it and move out from under it in order to make Ideas become Reality.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Value of Time

This is my 1,000th post to this blog. I started writing down bits of my political philosophy, views, opinions and other things (recipes, poetry, reviews, etc.) back in June 2005, six months after George W Bush's second term began.

I was fed up then - fed up with the direction the country was going, fed up with a useless war that should have never been allowed to start, fed up with the brassy braying of all the "America, love it or leave it!" types who now are seriously favoring secession from the country they putatively love so much, fed up with not being able to vent, fed up with not having a forum to make my opinions known.

The last straw then, as I recall, was the rejection of an anti-war poem by my local paper. The local paper publishes poetry, but unless it has Jesus in it they really aren't too interested in anything that, you know, might make people uncomfortable, or think.

So I started to blog.

After a while I was invited to post as a guest blogger on Blondesense, which gave me a somewhat wider audience. I'm indebted to you, Liz, for giving me the opportunity and for encouraging my behavior.

The range of subjects I've posted on illustrates my polymathic bent - food, literature, religion, politics, history, general science, etc. I've posted vacation pictures, and have by and large received favorable comments.

I've gone so far as to make political predictions (notably on the 2008 elections), and I'm happy to say that I've been right more often than not.

So, what about the next one thousand posts?

Expect more of the same, of course.

Whither the GOP?

Or should that operative word be "Wither?"

One of the fine people over at DailyKos crafted this new logotype for the Republican Party in order to better exemplify its rather retrograde movement over the past two electoral cycles. I'm not saying that I or my fellow Republicans have their brains in their tails (although some members of the Taliban Wing act like they have the same basic brain structure as planarians), but you can't argue with certain facts.

Like the Party's current philosophical leader, Rush Limbaugh, the Party has become extremist, bloated in its own excesses and only willing to puff itself up even larger with gargantuan helpings of its own increasingly crazy rhetoric. So far we've heard members of this New GOP calling Obama Socialist, Fascist (both mutually exclusive terms, by the way), gay (which is a really interesting meme to try and bruit about), anti-American and - well, everything but the N-word.

Some of their lesser commentators go farther than that.

And if you want to argue with me about Limbaugh being the New Party Philosopher, a la Alfred Rosenberg, allow me to point out all of the GOP politicians and bigwigs who've had to publicly apologize to this globulous fraud whenever they say anything that might contradict the Party line's he laid down.

And the 'mainstream' (read: Not Quite As Stupid) brain trust that's assembled to find a "new direction" for the Party - consisting of fresh thinkers like Gingrich, Bush (Jeb!), and McCain - is currently having to tread very carefully in order to avoid the fire-breathing wrath of the Taliban Wing.

You really can't blame them, though - the Taliban Wing, I mean.

They slavishly stuck to George W Bush like gum to his bootheels, as they did to Their One True God Reagan, in hopes that their theocratic Christian Iran dream could be realized. They feel betrayed and they're likely to take it out on anyone in the Party establishment who dares try to moderate their views on such social issues as gay marriage, abortion and women's rights - issues that the bulk of the American electorate are not conservative on.

Five states - with more on the way - are passing laws to allow same-gender marriage, and it's only a matter of time before some wiseass takes a "full faith and credit" suit before the US Supreme Court in a landmark case that will make such civil liberty monuments as Roe v Wade and Lawrence v Texas look like minor squabbles.

The vast majority of the American people think that abortion and a woman's right of reproductive choice is and should remain the law of the land.

And the ancient idea that a woman should not vote, should stay in the house, and should only be a chattel servant to "her man" is long dead except in the hearts, hopes and dreams of certain people in the Taliban Wing of the GOP.

I wrote a letter a while back to GOP Chairman Michael Steele, urging him to purge the Party of these extremists. Let them go their own way and they'll soon wither away and die off.

Much like the dinosaur that has become the new face of the once-Grand Old Party.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Into the Critic's Dungeon!

Hoo boy. The Critic's Dungeon's many implements of cinematic torture and humiliation are dripping with blood and less savory fluids (like stale Coca-Cola) following my viewing of the latest sci-fi action teener flick from J.J. Abrams, Star Trek: 90210.

Right. I'm a bit of a purist regarding the Star Trek franchise (I'm old enough to have watched the original series as first-run episodes, thank you very much), so I tried - I really, really tried - to face this movie without preconceptions. All of the hype surrounding it had that it was a complete restart of the series, and even ("Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People")'s review of the movie wasn't all that bad.

For what it's worth, here's my opinion of it.

"Mr. Sulu, go to Warp Factor Suck!"

Seriously, the special effects were quite good, the action sequences were chaotic as hell (which I think is the current Gold Standard in cinema these days - if you're not giving the audience vertigo you're doing it wrong), and all of the cliches are in place and you could time their insertion with a stop watch.

And it was worth watching Spock snap and start beating the shit out of Kirk. Hell, by that point in the movie I'm amazed that the rest of the crew wasn't lining up by seniority to take their turn at him. I would have beamed aboard to join in.

My major objections have to do with certain areas, enumerated below:

1. What's the deal with Iowa having a gigantic canyon running through it?

2. Who the hell builds a starship on the ground? The Enterprise weighed out at about 100,000 metric tonnes as I recall; how the hell do you get that amount of mass out of Earth's gravity well?

3. Why are all of the Starfleet areas looking like sewage treatment plants, waterworks or air conditioning farms? Was the location scout a spaz or something?

4. And they brought in time travel - the lamest Deus ex Machina they could have ever dredged up - as an excuse to entice Leonard Nimoy back into Vulcan drag.

5. What's the deal with an Orion slave girl being a Starfleet cadet? Does this new vision of the Federation include geishas?

6. And what the fuck is the deal with Uhura and Spock snogging on each other?

7. Checking back to #2 above, why does every single enemy ship in the cosmos have to look like Cthulhu gone Goth? "Make it dead black so people can't see all of it! Oh, and give it all kinds of spiky bits, so everyone will know that it's evil!" Give it a rest, folks.

8. The moments of comic relief were labored, and went on for a bit too long, as did the sequences showing how much of a wild child Kirk became after his father's death. Oh, and Kirk's manipulation of the computer programming on the Kobayashi Maru scenario would have had to have been much more subtle, or it would have been caught immediately (not even Preppie Spock was that dim).

So, what does that leave us?

Well, this movie was a disappointment to me, and I spent $14.50 on it (ticket, Coke, Raisinets). The Critic's Dungeon gives Star Trek: The New Degradation three whips and a nipple clamp.

So there. I will now slather my back with Bactine and watch a cut apple turning brown.

Friday, May 08, 2009

It's HERE! The Long Wait Is OVER!

No, I'm not talking about the new Star Trek movie (although I plan on descending into the Critic's Dungeon this weekend and judging it for myself).

Readers of this blog will remember this trailer, posted back in February.

Well, dear readers, the wait is over!

The First (possibly unnatural) Act of the story The Giant Gnat of Sinatra is now posted online to amuse, mystify, outrage and offend unsuspecting readers!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

India's Internet Porn Star

And yes, it's a cartoon.

How to Make a Wingnut's Head Explode

Five words.

"Dennis Kucinich for Supreme Court."

Monday, May 04, 2009

It's the 21st Century - Where are the Flying Cars!?

Here ya go!
These pictures were taken at the Sun-n-Fun Airshow, held in Lakeland, Florida back in April. The sporty little abortion you see is the Terrafugia Transition, a road-capable aircraft.

I'm very glad that I got some people in the shot, to give you a sense of its scale.

The aircraft engine also provides the power for the road wheels. The guy hawking it told me that its wings can unfold in about 30 seconds, and it's currently under view by both the FAA and the Department of Transportation for air and road certifications.

It's only a two-seater, with very few amenities and no cup holders that I could see. No telling what the gas mileage might be.

But you have to admit it's a sporty little guy, although I can't help but look at it and think of this.


The Republican Party of the United States has a minor problem.

They lost two tough elections, the 2006 bi-election and the Presidential election of 2008, the latter by an Electoral College margin of more than 2 to 1. Latest opinion polling indicates that 70% of the country favors President Obama's policies, with the GOP lagging at a dismal 22%.

What's a party to do?


Have a pizza!

A group of the Bum-of-the-Month Club rejects who pass for Party Establishment (Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, gathered at a pizza joint at a Northern Virginia mini-mall to talk to people and find out from them what needs to be done to fix the Party and bring it back into a nationally-based organization.

I say "nationally-based," as the latest electoral demographics show that the greatest strength of the GOP is now based in the states of the Old Confederacy. Which, if you savor the rich and mellow taste of irony, is indeed an amazing state of affairs.

Pizza is regarded by some as comfort food, rich and flavorful and just what some people need to make them feel better. And that's just what these Party Stalwarts and apparatchiks got - comfort food.

A few of the people who spoke to the assembled bigwigs expatiated upon high taxes (they're against them), education (with one young man asking Jeb Bush why it's even necessary to go to school when you can learn all you need from Rush Limbaugh), and big government (against it). And, of course, how much they dislike President Obama.

Perhaps Northern Virginia was the wrong place to start looking for actual, solid advice about rebuilding the Republican Party.

But I don't think Jebbie the Hutt and the Mittbot were there to learn anything new. They were there to hear their own preconceptions validated, and to have their own positions reinforced.

They were there for comfort food.