Friday, May 2, 2008

A Nation Shamed

Here's the latest evidence of the moral degradation brought about by shrub's embrace of torture. I suppose that the fact that Sami al-Hajj has been freed is a positive. But the condition of the al-Jazeera photographer upon his return to Sudan speaks volumes about the cruel inhumanity of Guantanamo:

Sami al-Hajj had been in US custody for more than six years. He was detained in Afghanistan in 2001. He arrived in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on a US military plane in the early hours of Friday morning.

After a 16-month hunger strike, Mr Hajj grimaced as he was carried off the plane by US military personnel.

"I have been so overwhelmed with happiness that I've been in tears," he said shortly after his arrival.

"I have every right to cry after I've survived these seven horrid years of humiliation, repression and injustice for no fault on my part apart from being a Muslim."

Al-Jazeera showed footage of Mr Hajj being carried into the hospital on a stretcher, looking frail but smiling and surrounded by well-wishers.

"We are concerned about the way the Americans dealt with Sami, and we are concerned about the way they could deal with others as well," said Wadah Khanfar, managing director of al-Jazeera's Arabic service.

"His detention for six years, without the most basic due process, is a grave injustice and represents a threat to all journalists working in conflict areas," said Joel Simon, executive director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Mr Hajj was working as a cameraman for al-Jazeera when he was arrested by Pakistani troops near the Afghan border in December 2001 and later handed over to the US military.

I'm outraged. I'm outraged that my country would treat someone this way in violation of international law. I'm outraged that America would hold a journalist for more than six years without evidence. I'm outraged that an innocent man was tortured and abused.

But as much as all of these, I'm outraged that this story will only be noticed by the rest of the world. The American media will ignore the story of a fellow journalist unjustly incarcerated in favor of the latest celebrity scandal or political horse race sound byte. And they wonder why we're losing respect internationally.

Our current president has brought shame and disgrace upon our nation. For this crime, and countless others, he should stand before an international tribunal and face the consequences determined. I know that will only happen after Satan takes up driving a Zamboni, but it would be the only way to restore America's honor.

May's First Boobie

A nice Red Footed Boobie for Friday.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

For the Records

Made me laugh.

What a Long Strange Trip its Been

It's a sad day for all of us aging hippies. Dr. Hofmann has left this plane of existence:

Albert Hofmann, 102, a Swiss chemist and accidental father of LSD who came to view the much-vilified and abused hallucinogen he discovered in 1938 as his "problem child," died April 29 at his home in Burg, a village near Basel, Switzerland, after a heart attack.


Lysergic acid diethylamide, thousands of times stronger than mescaline, can give its user an experience often described as psychedelic -- a kaleidoscopic twirling of the mind pulsating with color and movement.

My own experience with LSD may be beyond explanation (but I'll try anyway). I grew up in San Francisco, and first dosed at an age too young to admit. I learned early on that psychedelics were more than a simple "high" to be taken for fun, but rather an opening into areas of the mind that are usually filtered out. Aldous Huxley wrote the best description that I've read in "The Doors of Perception." During my High School and College (and Deadhead) years, I considered "tripping" every so often as necessary for my mental health. It helped that I knew a certain Berkeley chemist and could trust the purity, as there was a lot of questionable chemical compounds that were labeled LSD back in the day. One should always be careful what you put into your brain.
Back in the day there were many scare stories about the dangers of LSD, and I've encountered a number of people who had negative results. But I doubt that I'd be the person I am without psychedelics, and in the right time and place I'll still trip. And I'm still waiting for those "flashbacks" that I was promised.
Dr. Hofmann's impact on history and the world would be hard to quantify, but it was significant. He called LSD his "problem child", and was uncomfortable with it's widespread use:

Dr. Hofmann remained wary of LSD's recreational uses as well as its portrayal in the media.

"I was not surprised that it became a ritual drug in the youth anti-establishment movement, but I was shocked by irresponsible use that resulted in mental catastrophes," he told Playboy magazine in 2006. "That's what gave the health authorities a pretext for totally prohibiting its production, possession and use."

The genie can never be put back into the bottle, and the world was forever changed by his chemical discovery.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


St. Sleazy picks up the coveted Marxist Polygamist Terrorists, Inc. endorsement:

While some small-minded sorts might claim that it’s wrong to try to hold a candidate responsible for the statements of an organization he’s specifically condemned, John McCain knows better. He realizes that candidates are 100% responsible for everyone who purports to support them, no ifs, ands or buts (Rev. John Hagee, anyone?).

That is, after all, the straight-talking way.

And we here at Marxist Polygamist Terrorists, Inc. couldn’t agree more! And it is in that very spirit that we hereby proudly announce our enthusiastic and unconditional endorsement of John McCain for President of the United States!

We want to make it very clear where Marxist polygamist terrorists stand in this election! And where we stand is squarely behind John McCain!

So, as Big John McCain would put it himself . . . If Senator McCain is favored by Marxist polygamist terrorists I think people can make judgments accordingly.

Spead the word!
(h/t Gordon for the link)

Monday, April 28, 2008

It Figures

Life is full of minor aggravations and frustrations. By a certain age, we learn to cope with this.
This time it's shrub's tax rebates.
While I think that the rebate plan is really bad fiscal policy, my personal finances can use the help. I've been scraping by over the past few months, but barely, so the extra cash would be welcome. And while I had some guilty feelings about it when shrub announced that the money would be going out early, I was looking forward to the cash.
There's only one minor catch. The rebates are being processed and distributed in the order of the last two digits of your social security number. The last two digits of mine are in the high 90's, so I'm at the end of the list. If the distribution were in alphabetical order, I'd be at the front. It's not a huge deal, as I'm sure that I'll need the money later as much as I do now, but it's an aggravation when you get your hopes up only to have them frustrated.
Not that it's the worst aggravation that I've suffered at the hands of shrub.