Saturday, May 19, 2007

McCain the insane

I've come to the conclusion that John McCain has lost it. The whole Iraq thing was delusional, and now this from the WaPo.

Via The Washington Post:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hasn't spent much time in the Capitol this year as he seeks the GOP presidential nomination. But one of his rare appearances this week provided a pretty salty exchange with a fellow

During a meeting Thursday on immigration legislation, McCain and
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) got into a shouting match when Cornyn started voicing concerns about the number of judicial appeals that illegal immigrants could receive, according to multiple sources — both Democrats and Republicans — who heard firsthand accounts of the exchange from lawmakers who were in the room.

McCain, a former Navy pilot, then used language more accustomed to
sailors (not to mention the current vice president, who made news a few years back after a verbal encounter with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont).

"[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room," shouted McCain at Cornyn. McCain helped craft a bill in 2006
that passed the Senate but couldn't be compromised with a House bill that was much tougher on illegal immigrants.

Overdue river pic

Heck, it's been over a week since I last posted a river pic. Here's one:
Colorado River, lower Grand Canyon.

The Food Safety Act of 2007

Here's a bill that I support. I've said repeatedly that we citizens should be able to trust the safety of our food, but that because of budget cuts, no one is checking.

(CNN) -- Spurred by deadly outbreaks of E. coli and other food-borne pathogens, a group of U.S. lawmakers is pushing to put all food safety oversight under a single federal agency.

"I believe the food safety system is broken. It's collapsing," Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, told CNN "We're unable to protect the public health. We're unable to protect public confidence in the food supply."

DeLauro has introduced the Food Safety Act of 2007, which would create a Food
Safety Administration responsible for ensuring the security of the food supply from all forms of contamination. (Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta explain how spinach can become contaminated Video )

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Chuck Schumer, D-New York, introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

The proposed legislation comes on the heels of a number of widespread outbreaks of food-borne illness.

Also, the strange split between the USDA and the FDA makes oversight sporadic at best.

The lines are not always clear-cut. For example, cheese pizzas fall under the
FDA, while pepperoni pizzas fall under the Department of Agriculture.

10 years of PNAC

An interesting read over at, where Booman follows up on the signatories of PNAC statement 10 years ago. Read it and weep, these are the architects of our disaster in Iraq. Most are doing fine.
Elliott Abrams- Deputy National Security Advisor.
Gary Bauer- current president of the conservative American Values organization.
William J. Bennett- May have a gig with CNN as a bloviator, and is riding high on the Air Force reading list. God help us.
Jeb Bush- Stole election for brother, served two terms as Governor of Florida, and currently serving on the board of Tenet Healthcare Corp.
Dick Cheney- Vice-President of the United States.
Eliot A. Cohen- US State Department Counselor, currently hopnobbing in places
like Pakistan
Midge Decter- When she isn't partying with Conrad Black she is busy being the wife of Norman Podhoretz and mother of John Podhoretz.
Paula Dobriansky- Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.
Steve Forbes- offering Republican presidential contenders advice.
Aaron Friedberg- Teaching at Princeton University and writing editorials for the LA Times.
Francis Fukuyama- repenting. Sort of.
Frank Gaffney- Doing weird shit as Center for Security Policy president.
Fred C. Ikle- apologizing for his friend and protege Paul Wolfowitz's behavior.
Donald Kagan- Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University. His son, Fred, is the author of The Surge.
Zalmay Khalilzad- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. He has already served as ambassador to Afghanistan and to Iraq.
I. Lewis Libby- awaiting sentencing for perjury, making false statements, and
obstruction of justice.
Norman Podhoretz- getting awards from Scooter Libby fans and making the case for bombing Iran.
Dan Quayle- he's still alive? Well, yes. He's chairman of global investments for Cerberus Capital Management and he's working on that Chrysler deal.
Peter W. Rodman- recently left as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs to take a job at the Brookings Institute.
Stephen P. Rosen- the Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University.
Henry S. Rowen- appointed on February 12, 2004, by President George W. Bush to be one of the "final two members of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction." He's also a member of the Department of Defense's Defense Policy Board.
Donald Rumsfeld- the less said the better. He was fired as Secretary of Defense.
Vin Weber- serving as chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit organization designed to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. He's serving as Mitt Romney's policy chairman.
George Weigel- trying to convince Catholics that the Iraq War is just.
Paul Wolfowitz- shit-canned from the World Bank.


Friday, May 18, 2007


There's a new immigration reform bill that seems to be extremely convoluted in an attempt to please all sides of the issue. One glaring hole that I see right off the bat: funding. It doesn't say a thing about paying for the changes, except for fines of $5,000 for being here illegally.
Here's what no one seems to point out about the whole immigration issue: the main reason we have so many illegal immigrants is that it has become so hard to immigrate legally. Due to repeated budget cuts, the INS now takes 3 to 5 years to process a green card application. Many, if not most, of the people here illegally would rather be legal but cannot wait that long for a green card.
One of the most frustrating things about the rethuglican philosophy of cutting spending is that they cut programs that were working to the point that the program fails. Then when faced with the problems caused by the lack of a working system, they start a new, more expensive system when simply funding the prior program would be the better answer.

This Friday's Boobies

A masked pair.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


He hasn't resigned yet. Most politicians/diplomats would have walked away politely in the face of a controversy of this scale. He's being an asshole.
And don't get me started on Wolfie's role in the whole Iraq invasion. He's more disappointing than the guy who brings a baggie full of oregano to a High Times convention.
Update: The comb-sucker has agreed to slither away on June 30th.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Life in the tar pits

OK, this is really strange:
For years, educators at the Hancock Park site could only guess that methane gas was being released as the byproduct of oil creation 1,000 feet below the surface.

Researchers at UC Riverside have finally found the answer: Hardy bacteria embedded in the natural asphalt are eating away at the petroleum and burping up methane.

Of the bacteria the researchers isolated in tar pit samples, about 200 to 300 are previously unknown species.

And scientists are weird:
"We found some really great bacteria," Crowley said. "The types we found are all very specialized for life in extreme environments."

Living in the asphalt means living with no oxygen, almost no water and lots of toxic chemicals, he said.

But I'm wondering if this might lead to a variety of new technologies.

What makes these petroleum-eating bacteria interesting is their potential environmental application, Crowley said.

Their ability to break up complex hydrocarbons could help clean up oil spills or clear the holds of oil tankers.

Some of the species they discovered in the genus Pseudomonas, for example, could help degrade trichloroethylene, a solvent in dry-cleaning and metal degreasing that is a major groundwater contaminant, Crowley said.,0,2989385.story?page=2&coll=la-home-center

On Ethanol and Chomsky

(in response to the post by Ghandisxmas.)
Chomsky's article points to a very real problem with the current ethanol industry, which is the reliance on foodstocks for ethanol production. The simple reason for this is that foodstocks are by nature high-yield sources, and therefore more profitable. Ethanol is merely fermented sugars distilled, and the more concentrated sugar in the source the greater the profit.
But there are other alternatives. All organic material can be broken down and made into ethanol. Often called "biomass" or "cellulosic" ethanol, the process involves more complexity. Therefore, it's not as easy to make a profit. Due to the huge quantity of non-food biomass, long term ethanol production will require plants designed to breakdown these materials. As oil prices rise, the market for ethanol will continue to grow. So the business of ethanol from non-food sources will expand.
One readily available source is algae, which can be grown rapidly by infusing CO2. Algae farms are a rapidly expanding industry.
Also, before Badtux stops by to lecture me on energy efficiencies, understand that ethanol is only a small stopgap measure to meet our energy needs for the short term. In the long term we need to increase energy production from a wide variety of sources, and increase the efficiency of the ways we utilize energy.

Branding someone a terrorist...

...because they want to change governmental policy doesn't seem to square too well with our democratic foundations, does it? And so it begins....

Feds Push Terrorist Label on Arsonists
By Jeff Barnard

The Associated Press

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Their guilt isn't in question. The six men and four women already admitted being involved in a series of arson fires that did $40 million in damage to research facilities, a ski resort and other businesses in the West. But are they terrorists?

A federal judge was to hear arguments Tuesday on a motion by the government to add a so-called terrorism enhancement to their sentencing.

Prosecutors want Judge Ann Aiken to declare the group terrorists - something defense attorneys argue has never happened in 1,200 arsons nationwide claimed by Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

The defense argues that branding their clients terrorists is more about politics than sentencing.

Full article at:

I've long argued that the provisions of the Patriot Act and other legislation passed since 9/11 to "make us safer" would surely be abused, and that the idea of what "terrorism" is will be expanded exponentially. That looks to be the case here.

The government is making the case that because these arsonists set their fires in order to change or influence government policy, they are therefore terrorists. This is an extraordinarily slippery slope to be contemplating, because repercussions could influence prosecutors to more often attempt to argue that defendents are terrorists, if only because they can squeeze that angle into the case, somehow. Additionally, it sets up a completely adversarial relationship (from the get-go) between Government and the Individual, one of another of those "for us, or against us" scenarios. Not too surprising, given this administration.

If public (and institutional) buildings would install better windows, they could radically change their heating and cooling costs, being less of a burden on taxpayers as well as being more efficient and eco-friendly. Unfortunately, most public buildings get built via a "lowest bidder" process, so materials may not be the best. I think this is a short-sighted policy and I want the government to change it. So, I take lots of rocks, and start chucking them at the windows of state and federal buildings. Sure, I can get picked up for vandalism, but should the prosecutor also charge me as a terrorist? I mean, terrorist? After all, just doing my best to change governmental policy.

What if I wanted my local city council to adopt a change to make our historic downtown car free? Let's do that by having a sit-in and snarling up the traffic. Oops, bad idea, because now we're (say it with me) terrorists for wanting to change the way our government does things.

Well excuse me, but I kinda thought that was the basis for a representative democracy. I shouldn't be tried as a terrorist for wanting to change policies.

Hopefully, the judge will see the foolishness of this type of argument, and remember that the blade swings both ways, and put a stop to it, but given the big Fear that this country has swallowed since Bush came into power, I doubt it. Look for what "terrorism" is defined as to morph as time goes on, and soon, one day we will all be terrorists.

Welcome to Ghandisxmas

Glad to see a post from Ghandisxmas, as I've been asking him to join us since our humble start. He's a very smart guy, with strong opinions, so I hope he'll post frequently.


I didn't watch the rethug debate, preferring comfortable digestion, but reading about it leads me to one conclusion: they're ALL wackos. Tancredo and Giuliani like torture, McCain loves wars, and Romney can take any position on any issue at any time.
What scares me is that a lot of people might vote for one of these freaks.
added: go to alicublog,, for a great summary of the debate. Sample:
McCAIN: We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them blah blah blah. Iraqis are disappointing.

THOMPSON: I too believe Iraqis are disappointing.

ROMNEY: Iraqis should do what I say.

BROWNBACK: Iraqis and Democrats should do what I say.

GIULIANI: Democrats and Republicans should do what I say.

TANCREDO: I agree with Bush.

PAUL: I agree with Reagan.

HUNTER: The Iraqis agree with me.

HUCKABEE: Gotta get it right the first time, that's the main thing. Wo ho, wo ho, wo ho, wo ho ho ho-o-o ho.

GILMORE: America, whattaya think about Iran?

Jeez, I Should Stop Reading 1984

What I am going to say will piss off readers, and may make some angry, but here goes:

In my book, Jerry Falwell is directly responsible for the incredible divisiveness of American society today. Period.

I have NO, ZERO, absolutely-fucking-rock-bottom-end-of-the-coal-mine, piss in your face, NONE sympathy for his death. I wish nothing but the worst that life has to offer for his family, his extended family, his extended-extended family and anybody that ever followed him. This includes AIDs, dismemberment, evil uranium-hexaflouride gas in their air-conditioning vents, Legionnaires, bird flu, and any other thing I can think of as horrible. Sorry if this makes me sound like a Nazi, but I'd pick up my Kill Bill Sword in a second to off those type of folks. Are we clear?

This, of course, I realize, makes me bad. It makes me a bad, bad person.

But, let me say, in my defense, that I was a high-school sophomore when he (Jerry) began to come to power. He, and other evangelicals like him, made a priority of certain moral guidelines - a black and white line - that infused American politics to extent that most Americans today, when they are thinking about their leaders, look at superficial bullshit, like who can have an abortion, or what is "God's" will in the Middle East.

Granted, he was a genius at mobilizing the previously non-aligned "Chrisitan" vote; pushing it into the Republican caucus, who was more than happy to welcome it after the Nixon debacle of the early 70s.

However, at what cost? To Jerry, apparently the cost had no ceiling.

So, that's why we (and by we, I mean politicians) diddle around with non-effective measures that blow-by the real problems of American society today; instead let's focus on the hot-button, "this will get me attention", ideas forwarded by the politicians and the media.

Well, that's bullshit. I will summarize my ideas in my next post, (with supporting anecdotes), but the fact is, the political force in this country is rapidy reaching a peak where most of us are not paying attention-well, that's not right, most of us are ignoring the government and believing in our own eyes about what is going on.

I'll bark about that in a further essay, but for now, that's where I'm heading....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell's death

I suppose that I should be more sympathetic, but the man was a disgusting zealot who made me say "thank god I'm an atheist". He exploited religion to make himself rich and espoused a philosophy of hatred and exclusion that I consider truly un-American.

Monday, May 14, 2007


"The biggest problem with 'doing nothing' is knowing when you've finished".

Can any of you please tell me who said that?
Sorry to be saying nothing, but today I have nothing to say. Raid the blogroll for good stuff.
added: is on fire today.
added: The quote above is Walt Kelly in the comic strip Pogo. Took me a while to remember.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I'm a lifelong baseball fan. A lifelong San Fransisco Giants fan. So when I saw today's lineup, I cringed. Looked like the worst hitting lineup imaginable. What happened? 15 runs and 22 hits, a rookie with lousy numbers in the minors hits for the cycle. Guess I don't know the game as well as I thought.

Where'd you get the coconuts?

For the Monty Python fans in the audience:

FIVE and a half thousands of people in London's Trafalgar Square have
smashed the record for the world's largest coconut

Original Monty Python Stars Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam led 5,567 members of the public and cast members from the musical "Monty Python's Spamalot" in a rendition of their classic singalong "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" to claim the Guinness World Record title.

The previous record for the largest number of people gathered in one location
playing coconuts at the same time stood at 1789 and was set in March 2002 in New
York, according to Guinness World Records.,,21722491-5012895,00.html

What a record.

Mom's day

Happy Mom's day. I'm sure my own beloved mother is having a great day, cause she's way too busy to answer the phone. Mom still thinks she's 21, and she almost looks it in her black leather biker jacket. Rock on, mom.