Sunday, November 30, 2008

GIVE ME ANOTHER DRINK


He knawed at his own mouth to tear it away, like a tree with a gangrenous bark.
Gabriela Mistral


"If there's nothing to see in your soul, there's no reason to look."
December 2, 2008
Keith Olbermann on George W. Bush



***


What is George W. Bush doing with his mouth?

Is he clearing his throat (or sinuses) when he’s talking?

The photo above shows how Bush‘s mouth “contracts”.

Or maybe I should write "sips and sucks".

The Decider didn't do this before.

It’s as if Bush is trying to get saliva into his mouth.

Or he’s reacting to something else that’s going on inside his nasal-mouth cavity---

Or inside his mind---

Or inside the deep, dark caverns of his conscience.


It’s a little hard to describe, but you’ll know what I’m talking about the next time you see Bush doing this on live television.


Maybe he just needs another drink.





IT'S THE EVIL STUPID!

Friday, November 28, 2008

FACES










Pareidolia
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

The term pareidolia (pronounced pæraɪˈdoʊliə) describes a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant.
Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse.
The word comes from the Greek para- —"beside", "with" or "alongside"- meaning, in this context, something faulty or wrong (as in paraphasia, disordered speech)—and eidolon—"image" (the diminutive of eidos—"image", "form", "shape"). Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.


***


I’m not one who lives and breathes superstition.

I don’t dine on dogma or drink religion.

I’m as at home with Lewis Thomas, Poe, Shakespeare, Vachel Lindsay, Emily Dickinson, Yeats, Baudelaire and Sandburg as I am with Stephen King.

But there are many bumps and curves on the Road of Existence.

What may appear to be true may not be.

What something seems may be something else.

I am quite skeptical when cute little faces of Jesus or the Virgin Mary (as if we knew what their faces looked like) appear on (or in?) objects and food.

The powers of human projection can put people on pleasant paths of self-fulfillment and delusion.
“That cloud looks like a poodle”.
“It sure does. Yesterday I saw a cloud that looked like an elephant.”

We see what we want to see whether what we see is there or not.

What we think we see may not be seen by others.

If it makes you feel good…

Then see it?

Nonetheless, as the above pictures indicate, I am a observer and collector of strange, weird, and arcane images.


P.S.

I began a serious search for answers about the enigma of UFOs in 1982, buying every book I could find on this phenomenon.

One book with the word phenomenon in it---Anatomy of a Phenomenon by Jacques Vallee---was my primer on the entire subject.

When time and relevancy to the curriculum permit, I give my English classes a short presentation on UFOs.

[I just wrote a letter to Gore Vidal, telling him that I always have my English classes read his play Visit to a Small Planet.

In my letter I asked if he had the Roswell crash in mind when he wrote his play.

I hope Mr. Vidal answers my question.]


***


There is an universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object, those qualities, with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious. We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice or good- will to every thing, that hurts or pleases us.
David Hume

Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct. For example, in the discolorations of a burnt tortilla one sees the face of Jesus Christ. Or one sees the image of Mother Teresa or Ronald Reagan in a cinnamon bun or a man in the moon. Under ordinary circumstances, pareidolia provides a psychological explanation for many delusions based upon sense perception. For example, it explains many UFO sightings, as well as the hearing of sinister messages on records played backwards. Pareidolia explains Elvis, Bigfoot, and Loch Ness Monster sightings. It explains numerous religious apparitions and visions. And it explains why some people see a face or a building in a photograph of the Cydonia region of Mars. Under clinical circumstances, some psychologists encourage pareidolia as a means to understanding a patient, e.g., the Rorschach ink blot test. Astronomer Carl Sagan claimed that the human tendency to see faces in tortillas, clouds, cinnamon buns, and the like is an evolutionary trait. He writes: “As soon as the infant can see, it recognizes faces, and we now know that this skill is hardwired in our brains. Those infants who a million years ago were unable to recognize a face smiled back less, were less likely to win the hearts of their parents, and less likely to prosper. These days, nearly every infant is quick to identify a human face, and to respond with a goony grin.”

[From http://skepdic.com/pareidol.html]


***

"Why do people see faces in nature, interpret window stains as human figures, hear voices in random sounds generated by electronic devices or find conspiracies in the daily news? A proximate cause is the priming effect, in which our brain and senses are prepared to interpret stimuli according to an expected model. UFOlogists see a face on Mars. Religionists see the Virgin Mary on the side of a building. Paranormalists hear dead people speaking to them through a radio receiver. Conspiracy theorists think 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration. Is there a deeper ultimate cause for why people believe such weird things? There is. I call it 'patternicity', or the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise."

"Traditionally, scientists have treated patternicity as an error in cognition. A type I error, or a false positive, is believing something is real when it is not (finding a nonexistent pattern). A type II error, or a false negative, is not believing something is real when it is (not recognizing a real pattern—call it 'apat­ternicity'). In my 2000 book How We Believe (Times Books), I argue that our brains are belief engines: evolved pattern-recognition machines that connect the dots and create meaning out of the patterns that we think we see in nature. Sometimes A really is connected to B; sometimes it is not. When it is, we have learned something valuable about the environment from which we can make predictions that aid in survival and reproduction. We are the ancestors of those most successful at finding patterns. This process is called association learning, and it is fundamental to all animal behavior, from the humble worm C. elegans to H. sapiens."


From

Patternicity: Finding Meaningful Patterns in Meaningless Noise

Why the brain believes something is real when it is not

By Michael Shermer

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=patternicity-finding-meaningful-patterns


I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS STUPID!















Thursday, November 27, 2008

READING BETWEEN THE FOWL LINES






President Bush Visits Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
November 25, 2008

[This is an extremely abbreviated and edited version]

THE PRESIDENT:
Thank you. Please be seated -- unless, of course, you don't have a seat.
[Or a conscience like me]

(Laughter.)

I am honored to be here at Fort Campbell.

(Applause.)

I have one word for you:
Hooah!
[And one word for myself: Hooey!]

(Applause.)

You know, we're getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it.
[And getting away from all of the other turkeys here in Washington]

(Applause.)

The day before my first Thanksgiving as your President, guess where I was.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:
Right here!

THE PRESIDENT:
Right here at Fort Campbell.

(Applause.)

For those of you who weren't here, I can only say that watching a bunch of Screaming Eagles tear into turkey is quite a sight.
[But that’s nothing compared to the sight of big bombs that tear into screaming men, women, and children]

(Laughter.)

Over the past seven years, folks from this base have done exactly what they were trained to do. The Screaming Eagles, the Night Stalkers, the Fifth Special Forces Group have gone on the offense in the war against these killers and thugs. You have taken the battle of the terrorists overseas so we do not have to face them here in the United States.
[That sounds a bit like what I did. My speechwriter didn’t get enough sleep]

(Applause.)

You have helped counter the hateful ideology of tyranny and terror with a more hopeful vision of justice and liberty.
[ WITH MY PRE-EMPTIVE SHOCK AND AWE WARFARE!]

You're part of the great ideological struggle of our time.
[If Voltaire were here he would ask me to define my terms]

(Applause.)

The war on terror, the war against people who would do us harm again, is being waged on two main fronts -- Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, we removed an oppressive regime that harbored the terrorists who planned the attacks that killed 3,000 folks on September the 11th, 2001.
[No fact-checking, please. We now know most of the terrorists came from my family’s oil sheikh buddies in Saudi Arabia]

Because of our men and women in uniform, more than 25 million Afghans are free.
[Free to become stoned out of their heads from opium before they're killed]

Afghanistan is a democracy, an ally in the war on terror. And as a result of your courage, the American people are safer.
[But not the Afghan people]

The other main front in the war on terror is Iraq.

(Applause.)

Because we acted, the dictator, his sons, and their regime are no more. More than 25 million Iraqis are free.
[And millions more are refugees, while hundreds of thousands of others have died]

And a young democracy has taken root where a tyrant once ruled. Removing Saddam Hussein was the right decision then -- and it is the right decision today.
[Just as your Decider, I've made the decision to keep catapulting my propagandistic clichés]

(Applause.)

You know, this is going to be my last Thanksgiving as President.

(Applause.)

So Laura and I wish you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


IT'S THE TURKEY STUPID!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

READING BETWEEN THE LINES: FROM THE PALIN AND BEYOND---OR I DIDN'T KNOW THAT SOME TURKEYS WEARING LIPSTICK WERE BEHIND ME LOSING THEIR HEADS




Sarah Palin's Speech before the Republican Governor's Association
November 15, 2008

[This an extensively edited and abbreviated version]

PALIN: Thank you so much. Honored to be here. Get to speak with and to my fellow governors.
…in the great campaign that has come and gone---and it was great---one of the nicer experiences that we had along the campaign trail was seeing so many of my RGA colleagues.
[And I’m a big fan of Reggae music]

Each gave your all to the cause and were helpmates and positive additions to Senator McCain's good run.
[And believe you me he has a heck of a lot of good runs]

You were there to help when things were looking good and you were there to help when, once in a while, things weren't looking so good.
[Except for me, by heck, because I’m lookin’ good most of the time.]

[Applause]


And where I'm from in Alaska
[Where the antelope don‘t play---Just the moose---But not for long! And where you can see Russia from your kitchen],

life would be pretty lonely if all we had were fair weather friends…
Let me add that I was honored as well to have the support of a former RGA member, and his beautiful wife, who will soon return home from the White House to Texas.
[Or Paraguay]

In politics, people sometimes go to great lengths to avoid stating the obvious [Like me], but I think it's about time that we all remembered that the greatest measure of a president is whether he protected and defended this great country.
[Like George Washington did]

America's 43rd president took that foremost responsibility, that most important charge, seriously.
He poured his life into it.
[And the lives of many thousands of American soldiers…and the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens.]

He succeeded in keeping America safe from another attack.
[Because he was warned about the first one, it was a cinch to keep America safe after that.]

When I was introduced in Ohio as our party's nominee, it was humbling
[Not humbug], and I was proud to represent all of us.
[And not just the small towns with their pregnant hockey and soccer moms]

Look, we need to be greater participants in the monumental debates going on right now with the economic crisis that we're facing.
I look forward to a debate and Republican governors participating in this debate of what and when is enough enough.
[And when to end a sentence with one preposition instead of two]

And we need to not be afraid of interjecting
[!!!!!]
[Or injecting]
the solutions that we see based on free market solutions as those that can meet these great challenges.
[You can tell I wasn’t an English major]

And, again, with free market solutions we need to start considering those, debating those, plugging in those solutions.
[And plugging in those phones… plugging in those toasters… And those, those moose roasters!]

We want America to be able to trust their federal government again.
[And their president]

Now, looking back on the campaign, it was such a journey -- such a journey for my family. It was -- it was wonderful.
[Such glamour…so many lights…so many cameras…so much clothes]

But what a nice return we've had now to a place and to a life that we so dearly love in Alaska.
[Although wolves and moose aren’t too happy about our return]


Along the trail, it was my husband, Todd, who was my right hand.
[And my left hand was his]

And among his many willing -- winning qualities is the gift that he has of optimism and just thankfulness in all situations that he finds.
[Even when he’s not working on getting Alaska to secede from the U.S.A.]

And going forward, I'm going to count on those qualities a little more, even.

For years to come, I'm going to remember all the young girls who came up to me at rallies…
And I'm going to remember all the people along the way who said that they were praying for us.
And I remember folks like Joe the plumber, who -- yes, who spoke for so many
[who have their houses and bathrooms] when Joe the plumber, remember, he suggested that taking more of our families' and our small businesses' hard-earned money, what that does is stifle the entrepreneurial spirit that grew this country into the greatest country on Earth.
[Unless that money is used to pay the plumbers to unplug our gubernatorial toilets]

And thanks to Joe the plumber, people whom he was speaking for felt kind of comforted,
[to be able to sit on their toilets] like see, I'm not the only one who sees that, in this suggested policy that was proposed, that Joe the plumber kind of got out of Barack Obama that day.
[Why Joe the plumber was inside of Barack Obama I haven’t got the faintest]
That was valuable.
[I don’t think I know what the heck I’m talking about]

I'll not forget guys like Tito the builder
[And his muscular body].

And man, just these everyday hard-working Americans whom we would meet.
[Not all of our laid-back, barroom politicians]

And again, such a comfort that we had
[sitting on our toilets]
knowing that we aren't the only ones believing in America being the land of possibilities and opportunity
[with good toilets and good plumbers, like Joe the plumber],
but the federal government, man, it's got to play its appropriate role -- not get in the way of the progress of our families and our businesses
[Or toilets]---
and for their example and their love, too.
[Because there’s still plenty of love left to go around…whether it’s found inside of Airport bathrooms or brothels]

If the new Congress and president err on the side, for instance, of excess taxes, then it will be falling on us to show them a better way.
[OUR WAY IS EXCESS TAXES AND SPEND…SPEND…SPEND!]

Now, some things that we need to keep our eye on
[Myself, I like to use my right eye because I am always winking with my left eye].

If I remember correctly from the campaign, the new president and the congressional majority, they have their own ideas about energy policy. I didn't hear a lot from them about actual production of U.S. energy supplies that we need now to protect our economy and our nation from reliance on foreign cartels and dictators, those who use energy as a weapon.
[You can tell that I’m still a drill-drill, oil-addicted girl who possesses some large carbon cups…I mean footprints!]
…from the North Slope oil fields of Alaska to the outer continental shelf of Florida
[To the uranium soaked deserts of the Middle East…and to the uranium-filled cliffs of the great Grand Canyon],
we will press on with the great work of achieving energy security, and we can do this, we have to do this.
[And to heck with those inconveniences that are caused by some…OOOH…Global Warming]

We have the American energy sources, conventional and alternative.
[But you know which one I favor, because I’m your cute and cuddly drill-drill girl from Alaska!]

(APPLAUSE)

Other issues that we work on every day in our jobs in public service -- when it comes to, for instance, health care, the goal of affordable, accessible care is a goal that we all share. But there still are serious differences about how we reach this.
And I'm not going to assume that the answer if for the federal government to just take it over and try to run America's health care system -- Heaven forbid.
[Because the insurance and pharmaceutical companies are reaping far too many profits]


And, now, finally in every great reform effort there is an element of self-reform. We must see reform within
[Our homes…our bathrooms…our kitchens…our offices]

The costs of war and security alone -- that cannot explain a federal debt that's grown to more than $10 trillion.
[I, of course, have to say this to defend the Republican party who threw us into Iraq]

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)
IT’S THE OIL STUPID!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS





GOOD NEWS: Global Warming may not be happening as fast as we thought.

BAD NEWS: We may be heading into an Ice Age.



GOOD NEWS: U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy ruled that two groups [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and the National Security Archive] may pursue their lawsuits against the Bush administration to recover millions of possibly missing electronic messages.

BAD NEWS: These electronic messages are inside Karl Rove’s brain.



BAD NEWS: The Phoenix Mars Lander's mission has come to an end. “With the Sun setting and polar twilight beginning and an unexpected dust storm at the end of October, the solar-powered Phoenix rwas unable to take in enough photon fuel to keep its batteries charged. It last phoned home on November 2 and has since shut down. Later in the Martian winter, the spacecraft will become buried in carbon dioxide ice.”
[http://www.astromart.com/news]

GOOD NEWS: There is and has been life on Mars.

“Scientists now say that an ocean several miles deep once covered a third of the surface of the planet, enough water to support the origin and evolution of life. The red planet, they said, had once been a deep blue, just like Earth.” [http://blogs.physicstoday.org/newspicks/2007/06/the_wet_planet_there_was_life.html]



IT'S NOT THE OIL STUPID!









Friday, November 21, 2008

ONE BOOB ONE PRESIDENT AND A TURD

 





GWB:
This is the Decider. Give me Rove. Who? You know…Turd Blossom.

KR:
Turd Brain here. Why, yes, Mr. President, how can I help you?

GWB:
Rove, you and I have been through a lot. It’s almost the end for me.

KR:
Yes sir.

GWB:
Well, I’ve been thinking about my legacy, and I don’t seem to have much.

KR: Yes sir.

GWB:
There’s not much time left and I need to get me some of this legacy thing.

KR:
Yes sir.

GWB:
Can you get your hands on something before January 20th?

KR:
Yes sir.

GWB:
Good. What can you get me?

KR:
Boobs.

GWB:
Turd Blossom, are you trying to yank on my chain?

KR:
Nope. Boobs.

GWB:
I’ve already had too many in my administration. No, seriously, I need something different and more exciting than the same old same old.

KR:
I know that, sir. I can give you some boobs…or at least one.

GWB:
O.K. Fill me up…I mean in on what or who the heck you're talking about.

KR:
Janet Jackson.

GWB:
Is she related to Andrew?

KR:
No sir, she is Michael Jackson’s sister.

GWB:
O.k. Tell some more about this goon…I mean boob.

KR:
I’m going to give one of them to the Supreme Court.

GWB:
Isn’t that breaking the law…and a bloody thing to do?

KR:
No sir. The Supreme Court will decide in our favor, and can reverse a lower court decision that said that CBS would not be sued for letting Miss Jackson expose her boob.

GWB:
Which one was it, again?

KR:
It was the right one, sir.

GWB:
What was wrong with the other one?

KR:
Nothing. It just didn’t come out.

GWB:
Oh. Well, it looks like my legacy just got a shot of…I mean in…the breast…I mean arm.

KR:
Yes sir.

GWB:
Alright, Turd Blossom. Keep me abreast on this case.

KR:
Yes sir.

IT'S THE OIL STUPID!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

OSAMA AND OBAMA


OBL: Salaam, Barack Obama, and congratulations on your win.

BHO: Salami to you too, Osama…and I thought you were dead.

OBL: No way José! I’m not going away just yet. I got me some new kidneys!

BHO: What about your dyed beard?

OBL: That was my punk phase.

BHO: You’re a punk, alright, and I plan to get you.

OBL: Ah, good…that’s music to my ears! My gang and I were fearful that you might not keep our JIHAD alive.

BHO: Your JIHAD will be destroyed.

OBL: No, it is you who are destroying yourselves. Bush lit the first fuse, and you will continue to light more fuses.

BHO: That is mere rhetoric. I’m speaking of reality.

OBL: Yes, I know…like “Smoke me out…Dead or Alive…all the way to the Gates of Hell”.

BHO: Now you’re talking.


OBL: No, I was quoting Bush and McCain.


BHO: Well, O.K. I’m too busy to continue this chatter. I’ve got to select a dog for my daughters.

OBL: I understand. And I can’t talk too much longer or the location of my new cave will be tracked.
Ciao.

BHO: Okey-Dokey.


***


NSA Officer: Mr. President-elect, we don’t think this was Mr. bin Laden.

BHO:
Why?

NSA Officer: We’ve traced his outgoing in New York.

BHO:
Alright. But keep a lid on this thing. We still have to keep bin Laden alive so that we can go forward in Afghanistan.



IT'S STILL THE OIL STUPID!





Indefinitely crashing around Afghanistan's and Pakistan's wild, mountainous tribal region on a ghost hunt cannot serve our interests. The longer we leave troops in Afghanistan, the worse the civil war there will become. One day Obama will need to give up the hunt — declare bin Laden either dead or irrelevant. He has more important enemies to deal with, from Iran to Russia.

From

World

When Will Obama Give Up the Bin Laden Ghost Hunt?




Saturday, November 15, 2008

HAIL TO THE SUPREME COURT AND NOT THE WHALE







National Security has prevailed over the dolphins and whales!

Because this nation is in danger---

Because this nation has enemies above and below the oceans---

Whales and dolphins will not “tell” us what OR what not to do.

Whales will just have to live (and die)....hearing

Horrible
Hominid
Howls!


It doesn’t matter if you, Mr. and Miss Whale, were here on this planet long before Mr. Man and Miss Woman.

Humans own the planet.

It is theirs.

They are the dominant species.

Humans control you---

You do not control them.

Get that through your cetaceous gray matter!


IT'S THE OIL STUPID!

Supreme Court on sonar: Navy trumps whales

http://www.sfgate.com

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Threats to national security are more important than possible harm to whales and dolphins, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in lightening restrictions on the Navy's use of sonar in anti-submarine training off Southern California despite its potential effects on undersea creatures.


The ruling, the first of the court's 2008-09 term, accepted the Navy's arguments that the limitations would hinder vital exercises in the use of sonar to detect enemy submarines. The restrictions, imposed by lower courts, would have required the Navy to reduce or halt underwater sonar pulses when marine mammals might be nearby.

"Forcing the Navy to deploy an inadequately trained anti-submarine force jeopardizes the safety of the fleet," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. The resulting damage to the Navy and the public interest, he said, outweighs the injury that environmental groups that challenged the use of sonar might suffer from "harm to an unknown number of marine mammals that they study and observe."

The ruling - endorsed by six of the nine justices, and in part by a seventh - overturned decisions by a federal judge in Los Angeles and the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco restricting sonar use during training exercises scheduled to end next month.

The court kept its ruling relatively narrow, however, and did not address the legality of an order by President Bush in January seeking to remove all legal restrictions on sonar by exempting the Navy from environmental laws. The judge in Los Angeles ruled that the order was invalid.

The case was also limited by the Navy's decision to challenge only two of the six restrictions on sonar use that the lower courts imposed. One unchallenged restriction, which remains in effect, bans the Navy from using sonar within 12 miles of the coast.

"It's gratifying that the court did not accept the Navy's expansive claims of executive power," said Richard Kendall, an attorney who represented the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups in seeking to maintain the restrictions.

Joel Reynolds, a lawyer with the same organization, said the ruling would have little effect on the Navy's one remaining anti-submarine exercise off Southern California. He also noted that the Navy is preparing an environmental impact report for future anti-submarine training, which he said had been the plaintiffs' main goal all along.

After 10 years of litigation, he said, "we have seen significant progress."

Navy officials declared victory.

"This case was vital to our Navy and our nation's security," said Navy Secretary Donald Winter. "We can now continue to train our sailors effectively, under realistic combat conditions, and certify our crews 'combat ready' while continuing to be good stewards of the marine environment."

The Navy has used sonar for 40 years in anti-submarine training off the Channel Islands and nearby coastal areas. Environmentalists say scientific studies show that sonar pulses damage the hearing organs of whales and dolphins, can interfere with their ability to navigate, mate and find food, and have caused whales to strand themselves on shore.

The Navy says its voluntary safeguards protect marine mammals. Those safeguards include the posting of lookouts and requirements to reduce sonar when vulnerable creatures are nearby.

But U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of Los Angeles said in an August 2007 ruling that the protections were "woefully ineffectual and inadequate" and would leave nearly 30 species at risk, including five species of endangered whales. She also said the Navy had failed to show that a mandatory buffer zone on sonar use and other restrictions would disrupt training.

Cooper's injunction was modified by the appeals court to allow commanders to reduce buffer zones at crucial times in training. The injunction has been in effect since March, affecting several exercises in a series that began in January 2007.

The Supreme Court said Wednesday that Cooper and the appeals court had given too little weight to the Navy's concerns.

Roberts' opinion quoted top Navy officials as saying sonar training under realistic conditions would be hindered by the two restrictions they challenged: a requirement that sonar be shut off whenever a marine mammal is spotted within 2,200 yards, and a requirement to reduce sonic pulses by 75 percent during conditions in which underwater sound travels farther than usual.

Judges must defer to those expert assessments, the chief justice said, especially because the Navy has conducted sonar training for four decades "with no documented episode of harm to a marine mammal."

Dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice David Souter, said Cooper had properly used her authority under the environmental law after finding that unrestricted sonar use could harm thousands of creatures. Instead of conducting an environmental study as the law required, or asking Congress to change the law, Ginsburg said, the Navy undermined the law with a "self-serving resort to an office in the White House" for an exemption.

Ruling on whales and sonar

How the Supreme Court voted Wednesday in a ruling loosening restrictions on the Navy's use of sonar in anti-submarine training off the Southern California coast:

-- Majority: Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

-- Concurrence: Justice John Paul Stevens.

-- Partial dissent: Justice Stephen Breyer. He agreed with the majority that national security concerns outweigh possible harm to whales and dolphins from sonar use, but said buffer zones imposed by lower courts, with exceptions for critical points in the training exercises, should remain in place while the Navy completes an environmental study.

-- Dissent: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter, who said the restrictions were validly based on evidence of potential harm to thousands of marine mammals.

The full opinions in the case, Winter vs. Natural Resources Defense Council, 07-1239, can be read at links.sfgate.com/ZFJA.


***




Military Sonar Threatens Whales Around the World
http://www.savebiogems.org/whales/

Ear-splitting military sonar is needlessly threatening whales and other marine mammals throughout the world's oceans. Yet the U.S. Navy has resisted legal requirements to put safeguards in place during testing and training that would protect marine animals from avoidable injury and death. In response to this dangerous breach of our bedrock environmental laws, NRDC is waging a campaign of courtroom action and public pressure to compel the Navy to restrict its use of deadly sonar.

High-intensity sonar blasts whales with noise billions of times more intense than levels known to disturb them and can cause their internal organs to hemorrhage. Scientists have linked the use of mid-frequency military sonar to hundreds of whale strandings and deaths around the world, in areas such as North Carolina, the Bahamas, Greece, the Canary Islands and Japan. Such sonar can also interfere with a whale's hearing, affecting its ability to navigate, avoid predators, find food, care for its young and, ultimately, survive.


Friday, November 14, 2008

LETTERS AND RESPONSES

Letter:
How sad that people still believe in demons. Such a belief does wrong because it gives us an easy out -- "The devil made me do it!"
It is also wrong in that it ignores important research done in psychology, psychiatry, neurology, cognitive science and other fields. Multiple personality, psychosis, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other forms of mental illness are the result of chemical imbalances, which are often caused by trauma.
To believe that people with these disorders are possessed, and to inflict horrid exorcism on them, is nothing less than criminal.

Response:

Yes, it's sad, sad, very sad that humans still believe in demons, but it's equally sad and tragic when a president of the United States stated that God told him to bomb and devastate Iraq.
The coin has two sides.
The brain does, too.





Letter:

Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States, the first African-American president. I can appreciate the historic significance of that. However, I voted for John McCain.
That being said, I am disappointed and a little depressed today, but I am an American first, so I will respect that Sen. Obama will fill the office of President of the United States for the next four years. I was raised not to be a sore loser.
I woke up the day after this historic election to find that someone took the liberty of removing my McCain/Palin campaign sign from my front yard. I wonder, is this an indicator of the next four years: "No opposition allowed?"
Why someone felt they were justified to come onto my property and remove something that expresses my personal views offends me deeply (remember freedom of speech).
So, to the arrogant, gloating person who did this, shame on you. You got what you wanted, you got who you wanted, so be a gracious winner and let's get on with this "change" your candidate keeps telling us about.
I hope actions like yours are not indicative of what we have to look forward to in an Obama presidency.

Response:

It was wrong for anyone to remove anything off of your private property, but I couldn't avoid thinking about everything that the George W. Bush presidency has removed.
I think what the Deceiver did is far, far worse than anyone removing a political sign off of your front yard.
Still, two wrongs still cannot make one right.




Letter:

Now that Obama has been named President, people should make recommendations on how to end the war in Iraq before the government divulges its plans. I think we made some huge mistakes in Vietnam, and no one wants to repeat what happened there. The responsibility to give the Iraqis restitution for the damage done by cluster bombs should be taken into consideration. We have also damaged many sewer systems, and infrastructure there. I would like to hear what ideas other people have for responsibly exiting Iraq. I especially would like to hear what the peace community has to say.


Response:

Depleted Uranium from U.S. and British weapons is in the soil, food, and water...
Deformed infants have resulted.
American soldiers are sick from it.
This barbaric, unnecessary war based on bloody lies is a shameful sore that not even time can heal.
But the U.S. will probably remove its troops and leave Iraq to rust and rot, and then continue to fight a war without end in Afghanistan...Pakistan...Iran.... Syria...maybe Russia---but not China---they're our banker and the maker of all of our gadgets and trinkets that we so dearly love.
The mercenaries and corporations got what they wanted in Iraq.
C'est la vie...
Que sera, sera.





Letter:

Why do you people always have to bring George Bush into everything? This has nothing to do with Bush, nothing! He was not running in this election despite what some of you Libs seem to think. His presidency is almost over, get over your hate!! I am proud to say that 99% of Republican and Conservatives that voted for Bush and/or McCain, will not treat you Obama supporters like you treated them and us. We are better then that and support the President because of the office, even if we don't agree with him. Your rude comments show your true colors and reek of inexcusable hate and intolerance for others, just because they disagree with you politically. Shame on you.

Response:

The shame, misdemeanors, fabrications, lies, blood, and crimes which lie in the soul of George W. Bush's presidency should not be something we should forget, ignore, or ever get over.
This country deserves better.
He deserves to be despised as do those who followed his murderous orders.
The intolerance shown by Bush and his thieves and cronies for the Constitution and human rights is egregiously huge, abominable, and unforgivable.
History will not forgive or forget what this bungling president did to America and Iraq.
George Bush is not quite in everything, but he's in plenty of the things that have produced the BIG MESS WE FIND OURSELVES.
Let's not forget how he pillaged the American language.
That alone is qualification for a scaffold.
Obama did not do as nearly as good a job of making slanderous innuendos and accusatory personal attacks that McCain's handlers (and his cute and cuddly bimbo, moose-killing, hockey mom, running mate did).
You're lobbing stones from a glass house.





LETTER:

I love our country.
I would gladly spill my blood in her name for a cause worthy, and for the people who inhabit it.
Our country presents a magnificent dichotomy, unrestricted freedom to vote and the complete abuse of the ability to make rational or educated decisions.
Alexander Hamilton once said, "The people are turbulent and changing, they seldom judge or determine right" and never has this been more applicable than today.
America has drifted from a culture of relatively educated decisions to a country that chooses based on fear and manipulation.
This is not a partisan remark.
Bush was elected through fear, as has been Obama, and never, and I must emphasize never, has there been an election based more on emotion than 2008, and never has there been less reason in a political decision by the masses.
The sound and the fury of the campaign and election process has trumped issues and the American political decision process is irreparably damaged.
Perhaps restricting voter registration would be the only solution to the fatal virus of ignorance and emotional voting, similar to that in Germany in 1930.

RESPONSE:


George W. Bush was selected by the Supreme Court.
Fear did not have much to do with that.
But it was fear and loathing that motivated people to get out and vote for Barack Obama.
It was about time that people used their hearts instead of their heads, the way things have gone so wrong the past eight years.
Actions done in the name of reason (and National Security!) have produced a long and bloody history.
It is and was time for change.
Oh, and dictators would love it if voter registration was restricted.



IT WAS THE OIL STUPID!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

LITTLE BY LITTLE A RIVER GROWS


Kabul River
 
 
We shouldn’t allow the fumes of cheaper gasoline to go to our heads too soon.

The tide has gone out on high prices, but you can bet that when the tide returns it will bring in more expensive fish to fry.

(I’ve got to work on my metaphors.)

The petroleum companies think that they are lolling us into thinking that we can now put the brakes on developing alternative sources to slow down and end our addiction and dependence on petroleum.

“Lower the price…make them believe that the worst is over…then they won’t go green…just yet.”

But we should not swallow the bait on these wily hooks.
(I guess I have extended an already obtuse metaphor.)

Except for trees, the world probably depends on petroleum the most.

[I read this sentence again today, September 15, 2009, and realize that I was ambiguous.
What I should have written is something like the this:
"The world's dependence upon petroleum is only second to its need for trees."But this may be inaccurate, too.
Maybe we DO use more petroleum than we use trees.
Let me know.]

Plastic, plastic, plastic.

All of us on the planet must conserve.

Every moment that we can.

What do I really need on this earth?


To prevent what happens in Lord Byron’s poem called Darkness, we must get off of the carbon path.

Sooner and not Later.

Minds the equal of Edison and Einstein are needed.

American ingenuity CAN save the planet…

And the ECONOMY!

Recycle.

Turn off the lights, the TV, and computer when not being used.

One of the few Farsi proverbs I learned while living in Afghanistan is this one (and I am spelling the words the way that I remember hearing them spoken, but I‘m sure I‘ve got the words horribly misspelled…but oh, I just found the correct words online…but I‘ll still write my recollection first):

“Darya darya qatra mesha.”
OR
“Little by little a river grows.”

And the correct words are:
“Qatra qatra darya mesha."


Neither Rome, the pyramids…

Nor anything…

Was ever built in one day.

But we should start building.


IT WAS THE OIL STUPID!



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

CRIPPLE AND QUACK

GWB: Dick?
DC: Quack!
GWB: What’s up?
DC: Not me.
GWB: I understand.
DC: How about your end?
GWB: It’s ending fast.
DC: Quack!
GWB: But we still have some bullets left in our holsters.
DC: Quack! Quack!
GWB: Just because drill-drill-bomb-bomb McCain lost doesn’t mean we can’t have a little more chaos and havoc.
DC: Quack!
GWB: We can contaminate the Colorado River if my plan to drill for uranium in the Grand Canyon passes.
DC: Quack!
GWB: If I can’t completely destroy the planet, I can at least cripple it.
DC: Quack!
GWB: Obama’s going to be kept so busy jumping through my hoops that he won’t have much time to shoot any balls through his own.
DC: Quack!
GWB: Well, Dick, I’ve got to go, because Barack Obama and his bride just arrived. I’m giving him the poop on the White House and showing him where Barney does his.
DC: Quack!


IT WAS THE OIL STUPID!

Monday, November 10, 2008

OBAMA'S PRESIDENCY

There’s no quick fix. In fact I’ll go so far to say that this is a war between those who believe that the advance of technology is the best solution for human ills and those who believe that we got off the track somewhere a century ago, two centuries ago, five centuries ago, and we’ve been going in the wrong direction ever since, that the purpose of human beings on earth is not to obtain more and more technological power but to refine our souls.
Norman Mailer


What saved the economy, and the New Deal, was the enormous public works project known as World War II, which finally provided a fiscal stimulus adequate to the economy’s needs.

From Franklin Delano Obama?

November 10, 2008



Like the light that is entering the shutter of a slowly opening camera lens, we are getting glimpses of what to expect from a Barack Obama presidency.

Not too much light and not too fast.

But Senator Obama has stepped up to the presidential plate lickety-split, carefully gathering who he believes are the best eagles to put into his Cabinet’s nest.

(This last description sounds peculiar, but I’ll let the words remain in their roost.)

Some people are saying that there isn’t much that President Obama will (or can) do that will alter the edicts and devastation left by Mr. Deceiver-Decider.

If the citizens of America used more neurons and fewer saturated fats, they would realize that trillions of dollars in deficit-spending will not be paid for by the mere making of more “Monopoly” money; nor will China always be our chief loan officer.

No gain without pain, as the saying goes.

No free rides.

The dreadful deeds and deep deficits will require raising revenues.

Today’s and tomorrow’s children will have to pay the piper and pay through their noses for all of the prodigal spending by the previous president.

More cruise missiles
---More uranium tipped bombs
---More drones---
MORE WAR WILL NOT SAVE US.

The U.S. military and its industrial complexes are moving (and have been moving) on the same strategic and geopolitical chessboard for half a century or more.

Now the question becomes whether the pieces and their newest elected leaders can or will act and move differently from the ones which preceded them.

Let us hope that there are REAL CHANGES.


IT WAS THE OIL STUPID!

***

From

November 10, 2008

Obama, Rahm-bo and the End of the New American Century

Conned Again?

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

[Below are a few quotes from the above essay]


The change that is coming to America has nothing to do with Obama. Change is coming from the financial crisis brought on by Wall Street greed and irresponsibility, from the eroding role of the US dollar as reserve currency, from countless mortgage foreclosures, from the off-shoring of millions of America’s best jobs, from a deepening recession, from pillars of American manufacturing--Ford and GM--begging the government for taxpayers’ money to stay alive, and from budget and trade deficits that are too large to be closed by normal means.

The world has tired of American hegemony and had its fill of American arrogance. America’s reputation is in tatters: the financial debacle, endless red ink, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, rendition, torture, illegal wars based on lies and deception, disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries, war crimes, disregard for international law and the Geneva Conventions, the assault on habeas corpus and the separation of powers, a domestic police state, constant interference in the internal affairs of other countries, boundless hypocrisy.

The change that is coming is the end of American empire. The hegemon [sic.] has run out of money and influence. Obama as “America’s First Black President” will lift hopes and, thus, allow the act to be carried on a little longer. But the New American Century is already over.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

READING BETWEEN THE LINES

President Bush Discusses Presidential Election
Rose Garden

10:20 A.M. EST

[This is an abbreviated and edited version]

THE PRESIDENT:
Good morning. Last night, I had a warm conversation with President-elect Barack Obama. I congratulated him and Senator Biden on their impressive victory.
[I guess those electric voting machines worked this time]

I told the President-elect he can count on complete cooperation from my administration as he makes the transition to the White House.
[But I’ll be at my ranch most of the time]

A long campaign has now ended, and we move forward as one nation.
[After going backwards for eight years]

We're embarking on a period of change in Washington, yet there are some things that will not change.
[Like my hubris and fondness for pretzels]

No matter how they cast their ballots, all Americans can be proud of the history that was made yesterday.
[In sharp contrast to my own history]

Across the country, citizens voted in large numbers. They showed a watching world the vitality of America's democracy, and the strides we have made toward a more perfect union.
[And toward a more perfect usage of the English language]

They chose a President whose journey represents a triumph of the American story -- a testament to hard work, optimism, and faith in the enduring promise of our nation.
[Not the horror story that hard-working Americans have faithfully endured under my administration]

Many of our citizens thought they would never live to see that day.
[And neither did I]

This moment is especially uplifting for a generation of Americans who witnessed the struggle for civil rights with their own eyes---
[And not just with the “eyes” of our powerful surveillance and listening devices]

There's important work to do in the months [and years] ahead,
and I will continue to conduct [and curse] the people's business as long as this office remains in my trust.
[Who do you trust?]

During this time of transition, I will keep the President-elect fully informed on important decisions.
[I'm still the Decider]


It will be a stirring sight to watch President Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their beautiful girls step through the doors of the White House.

I know millions of Americans will be overcome with pride [after being overcome with war, deceit, and deficits for so long]… at this inspiring moment that so many have awaited so long.

I know Senator Obama's beloved mother and grandparents would have been thrilled to watch the child they raised ascend the steps of the Capitol -- and take his oath to uphold the Constitution [that I have kept a strangle-hold on] of the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

Thank you very much.


IT'S THE OIL STUPID!



Thursday, November 06, 2008

DICK CHENEY OIL AND DRUGS

It is absurd to think that one man (the president) controls all oil and gasoline prices.
However, when gas was expensive, I know many people who were quick to blame George Bush for the high prices.
Well, now that that the prices have been lowered, I don't hear any thanks.
Again, it is absurd to think that one man controls it all, but I would like to hear a "thank you" from those who gave a quick "it's your fault."

Frank Nava



I am writing a letter of concern regarding drug traffic and how it is becoming part of our life.
Drug traffic and its tragedies are becoming part of a normal day in our port. Issues about these events are everywhere -- on TV, newspaper, radio, even in our music.
What I am concerned about is that all the events that are happening in our community are nothing new to our people and we will start not to care about it. We are getting used to feeling insecure.
We can see how this battle issue has been a constant challenge for the government.
We need help.

Ruth Cerda




Dear Frank and Ruth:

The price of oil went down because Dick Cheney's oil glands have been producing oil at historical levels.
Give Dick a hand for lower oil prices.
Drugs would not do so much "trafficking" or do such lethal harm if they were simply made available to those who choose to use them.
No, the masses wouldn't become drug addicts, because they already are.

Just read one issue of Reader's Digest to get a small glimpse of the variety of legal drugs to choose from.
Pharmaceutical companies are adamantly against drug legalization, and so are the Narco-drug lords.
Business is business.
Taxing the newly legalized drugs would help help pay off that $60 trillion debt!
It’s a tired, worn, and fallacious argument that hordes of haughty citizens would en masse start drugging themselves and put into peril the remainder of the haughty.
As you may or may not know, marijuana is America's number one cash crop.
Much of America is already in an alcoholic haze, so I suppose that a little more "stimulation" or numbing will not matter too much.
O.K.
Off to the drug store...
Have to stock up.
Below are some quotes to put into your pipe to smoke:

January 24, 1996
From Correspondent Anthony Collings and wire reports
WASHINGTON (CNN)-- The move to legalize drugs in the United States has an unlikely ally.
William F. Buckley, editor of the conservative magazine National Review, believes with illegal drugs so readily available, the war against them has been lost. Buckley would legalize marijuana immediately, then study how far to go legalizing other drugs.
Supporters claim drug legalization will ease burdens on prisons and shift billions of dollars from law enforcement to treatment and anti-drug education. Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke would go a step further: putting government in charge of distributing drugs to addicts.
"I'm interested in bringing peace on the street ...(but)... the war on drugs is simply bringing more killing rather than less killing. I'd like to take the profit out of distributing drugs at the street level."




"The legalization of drugs would simultaneously reduce the number of crimes and improve respect for the law. It is hard to imagine any other single provision which could make a more significant contribution to the promotion of law and order."
MILTON FRIEDMAN
Nobel Prize for Economics




"... we will never obtain any result as long as we are unable to separate crime from the drug business and the incitement to criminality this causes..."
GEORGE SCHULTZ
Former U.S. Secretary of State


IT'S THE OIL AND DRUGS STUPID!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

MESSIAH


c.1300, Messias, from L.L. Messias, from Gk. Messias, from Aramaic meshihamashiah "anointed" (of the Lord), from mashah "anoint."
This is the word rendered in Septuagint as Gk. Khristos (see Christ).
In O.T. prophetic writing, it was used of an expected deliverer of the Jewish nation.
The modern English form represents an attempt to make the word look more Heb., and dates from the Geneva Bible (1560). Transf. sense of "an expected liberator or savior of a captive people" is attested from 1666.



Just as I didn’t believe that George W. Bush was the anti-Christ (but the article an is apropos here), I don’t think that Barack Obama is a messiah---
Or
THE MESSIAH.

I did believe (naively) when I was much younger that President Reagan was one of the above.

America voted for---

Anointed, if you will---

Barack Obama to liberate a people who have been the captives of a very autocratic, arrogant, and meretricious Bush administration.

The election of Barack Obama was the denunication of a deceitful and inept administration.

The election of Barack Obama was an endorsement of the renunciation of eight years of woeful, wreckful, wretched, and divisive “leadership”.

When Barack Obama becomes President Barack Obama, it will probably be more difficult to write satire, but I will not give him or his administration any “free passes”.

Finally, although all of those popular polls have indicated that the Iraq war was not as big an issue as the economy, the American people had that unnecessary war on their fingertips when they voted, quite aware that this unnecessary war has had a considerable effect on the state of the American economy and the world..






Tuesday, November 04, 2008

FOUR MODES OF TRAVEL ON ELECTION NIGHT



I.
A Kangaroo
And a cute Gnu
Took a Trip to
Tasmania
And Timbuktu
In a Canoe
That was colored
Red white and blue.

II.
A Kangaroo
And a cute Gnu
Took a Trip to
Tasmania
And Timbuktu
Inside a shoe
That was colored
Red white and blue.

III.
A Kangaroo
And a cute Gnu
Took a Trip to
Tasmania
And Timbuktu
With a Poodle
Who was colored
Red white and blue.

IV.
A Kangaroo
And a cute Gnu
Took a Trip to
Tasmania
And Timbuktu
In a Kazoo
That was colored
Red white and blue.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

ON ABORTION




As Life magazine photos once showed, humans look like fish at one stage of their development, and like aliens (with those almond-shaped, black eyes) at another stage.

Humans are an ugly, pitiful, hateful, violent, and destructive species.

Why do we have such an unholy respect for ourselves who are such monsters?

China, our favorite banker and the manufacturer for nearly everything we consume, eliminates the females and keeps the males.

If the U.S. and its professed Christian rulers wanted to make a very definitive and moral statement---
Instead of showing its pomp of self-righteous puffery---
It would END ALL TRADE WITH China.

But you don’t (and can't) bite the hand that feeds you---
Or finances your illegal wars---
Even though China is not a very Pro-Life society.

Hypocrisy is a poor substitute for the truth.

Having just rattled off and ranted the preceding, I am for a woman's right to choose IF THE WOMAN'S LIFE IS IN DANGER.

Abortion DOES KILL an innocent human---

Notwithstanding how ugly and monstrous we humans are.