May 2009 Archives

I'm rather emotionally taken lately (last year or so).  It's been fucking tragic, yano?  In oh, so many ways.

I think the most tragic is being out here in Ukiah.  This place really sucks in so many ways all on it's own that it's its own tragedy just in and of itself.

I mean, how many places on Earth would you think *run* on growing pot?  Geez, they even had a law here until last year that protected anyone growing under twenty-five plants for *any* reason.  You would think they would be in favor of legalization, no?  No.

The folks here are *really* into 'healthy living' except that the food they consider 'healthy' is what smells like rotted fish and various forms of pasty balls with warm undressed salad (can't call those vegetables anything *near* cooked).

And of course, the interesting items I found relating to people's health were completely panned by the yokels since it violated their religious tenets (pointing out that, for example, radionuclides have no RDA, no matter how you get them, violated their belief that tobacco was harmful).  They also paid little attention to the mercury in soda, especially the rude fat dumbshit nerd I met who sucks them down like water and who walks about like a living advertisement for mercury poisoning, and his mother who deals with his 'problems' as if it were a mental condition--which it is, but which she is convinced is permanent (probably will be).  The PERC in baby formula likewise was ignored.  I guess it's only 'dangerous' if it's corporate (seems to be one of the themes here, that 'hand/home made' is somehow superior, which it can be, of course, in the 'hands' of experts). 

I can see how Jim Jones and Charlie Manson found it so easy to bring new recruits in from the local population.  Gullible sheep for the most part hereabouts, looking for a shepherd.

I'm dreaming of pizza and BBQ (I figure that in a metropolitan area like San Francisco, the local misuse of the term will be overridden by the derision that would ensue from trying to call 'grilled' meat 'bar-b-queued'.

I'm spending hours on 'Craigslist' and 'Trulia' looking at apartments and houses in the Bay.

I hope it works out.  I swear I'd never really appreciated the Lounge Lizards' "That Godforsaken Hellhole I Call Home" until I ended up here.  Then there's JHC&t4HotA (right theme, wrong state):

Connecticut's for fucking
That's all there is to do.
I love to listen to classic rock
and have sex with you.

Doing hole shots at the mall
Writing Ozzy on a wall
Watch the corn get tall
There's nothing else to do at all.

Goin' where we always go
Doin' what we always do
Waitin' to turn into the people
We are bound to turn into.
What else do other people do?

I hope it works out, as I said, since I've pretty much decided I enjoy living alone enough that I don't have anyone here to fuck, so I just do the hole shots.  That might change, since at least the women in SF won't have some reason that they live in Ukiah.  They all tell me how much they prefer life out here to life in town.  I've listened to all of their fearful reasons and come to think that perhaps folks in the city really benefit greatly from having someplace like this that the paranoid nutjob morons *prefer* to live.

Perhaps if there were something to do other than leave the house and go to somewhere *else* and drink, I might go do it.

I dream of the MOMA, and the iMAX, and the Apple Store.  I think about bookstores with *books* in them (books I want to read), that I can get to in under three hours and for less than fifty dollars.

I remember restaurants.  I used to go out to eat at places I liked to go to.  I have only found one here that I really *want* to go back to (the Himalayan).  Some are good enough that I will go back to them, but most of them taste remarkably less interesting than junk food from fast food joints (which I tend to go to), and likely less healthy (cleanliness may not be next to godliness, but it sure is a far piece from disease).  For instance, I love to eat gyros, so I eat at Spiros sometimes when they are open (one of the other 'features' of being out here is that people aren't open a lot, like the Post Office, which isn't open on weekends).  They are remarkably poor quality gyros, but they are the only ones for at least fifty miles, and that, only from eleven to four m-f.

I'm looking a lot at transportation maps of SF.  I want to make certain that I get someplace that has the 'OWL' (all night long transportation), if I live on the peninsula (looking more and more likely, especially after looking at places in the Haight).  Maybe I'll go all the way west and live near Ocean Beach, so I'll have the sea-breeze blowing fresh off the Pacific.

Geez.  I dunno.

In any event, I probably won't be sitting there, drinking too much, and looking at maps of there, there.

Here, it's hard to drink enough to forget I'm still here.

It's getting on summer.  It will soon be close to 110º outside (43º for you internationals).  The races are started at the race track, and it's coming on helicopter season (lots of FLIR flyover stuff looking for pot growers).  If I don't make it out of here by the Pumpkin Festival (yeah, they're famous for pot and wine so they make a festival for pumpkins and apples).

It really is like that movie, "Idiocracy" in so many ways that it would be funny if I were reporting on it from SF.

Reporting on it locally, it's not a comedy.   It's too early to start drinking, and my big-screen monitor broke, so maybe I'll got to the movie theater (my big-screen was a better quality presentation than the movie theater up until it broke).

Here, I have to figure out which monitor to buy by looking at the listings on the web sites.

There, there are *stores* (big buildings full of merchandise that *aren't* WalMart).

Given the analogy

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Letting Israel keep Jerusalem (a war prize) is somewhat akin to letting the Germans keep Poland, no?  Or the Japanese China?

My Job ...

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Often, it's simply trying to convince the bus driver that pulling over would be the best way to ensure that the tire-changing operation is a success.

Megalomaniacal bus drivers are interesting management models, yano?

My favorites are the ones that insist that, not only is driving on flats fine, but that the bridge is really *not* out just up ahead, and even if it were, our speed is easily sufficient to get across the gap w/o it.

The Force that Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower
 The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm. 

Dylan Thomas

One can see this quite clearly when one compares the ancient (*nix) operating systems with the upstart (Windows).

The ancients rely on cooperation, interoperability, and tradition.

The upstart relies on sole-source, monopoly, and 'innovation' (er, freakin' *CONSTANT* re-training).

So, for example, when I needed to find a way to make a multi-boot Windows machine (that actually multi-booted things other than Windows), I had to purchase a third-party software product (System Commander).  Of course, there are plenty of other equivalents out there, but the point is that the Windows internal isn't designed to be 'interoperable' or 'cooperative' (in fact, in many instances, the installation of Windows *destroyed* other OSes present).

So I'm looking up the info on not just 'multi-boot' but 'network-multi-boot' info, and on the *nix side, I find that not only is the setup for the PXEBOOT product clear (just some text files that define how it operates), but it's almost the *identical* syntax for two other products which do roughly the same thing (Grub and SYSLinux).

This is nearly the definition of the 'wisdom' I'm looking at.

I started on *nix in '87.  I use the same editor today to edit my code that I did back then.  It has a few more features (not a whole lot, though, since it was already a twenty-year old product when I started using it).

I was fascinated with the REGEX pattern matching language.  This language has been incorporated into nearly every product produced for *nix since then.

I have to admit there are a few 'styles' of code on *nix, but if you note, most languages on *nix are 'feature compatible' (they all can accomplish the same stuff, pretty much).  I realized this today when I started to make a 'convention' and realized that if I were to merely change my convention by one pair of characters, I'd have a 'standard' that would work fine as a template in two different programming languages (Perl and PHP).

The idea that Windows might have an equivalent to this (yeah, like they've got *another* programming language that's specific to Windows besides paper-tape-BASIC on steroids), is fruitless.

I mean, these folks *still* haven't hit the level of usefulness that AT&T System V was at in 1987 (I had eight separate screens on one terminal, could run programs in the background, could run programs in a detachable screen that I left running while I logged out and came back later--perhaps via telephone, to see the results).  They haven't come *close* to the simple disk functionality that I started out with (they offer neither proper soft, nor *any* hard links to files--they only have those lame 'shortcut' droppings).

On the new model (GUI level, 'runlevel 5') I can have 'n' 'desktops' (four by default), plus, I still have the same terminal screens available (save one for the GUI screen).  I can change it from GUI to text-only mode with a command to tell it to go to runlevel 3, or I can put it in single-user mode and change out drivers and such (all while it's running).

Of course, like all products of this age, it's by design secure (one has to 'open up' a *nix box to the network pretty explicitly, unlike Windows, which will chatter incessantly with Seattle as long as you allow it to, from the moment it's booted up the first time).  It's impossible to 'infect' one (unless one were to do so intentionally somehow, since you have to be 'root' to change software settings).

So, it's massively more capable as a machine (and there's scads of software for it), it's a much more discoverable system (as all the configuration is done in text files, which follow nearly identical syntax across both devices and products),  and this product is *free*.

So the idea that it's in third-place, still, only confirms that I live in a nation of morons.

I think it might be safe to say that the vast majority of wisdom is in the more aged, but the converse is not true (just because it's old doesn't mean it's good).

Freakin' Hilarious Mashup

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I saw 'Idiocracy' (well, the tail end) on Comedy Central over the weekend.  I was looking for a decent reference, and I came across this.

Bush explained to French Pres. Chirac that the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Mid-East and must be defeated.

reh note: I swear, they are just fucking nuts.

The revelation this month in GQ Magazine that Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary embellished top-secret wartime memos with quotations from the Bible prompts a question. Why did he believe he could influence President Bush by that means?

The answer may lie in an alarming story about George Bush's Christian millenarian beliefs that has yet to come to light.

In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France's President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they must be defeated.

In Genesis and Ezekiel Gog and Magog are forces of the Apocalypse who are prophesied to come out of the north and destroy Israel unless stopped. The Book of Revelation took up the Old Testament prophesy:

"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."

Bush believed the time had now come for that battle, telling Chirac:

"This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people's enemies before a New Age begins".

The story of the conversation emerged only because the Elyse Palace, baffled by Bush's words, sought advice from Thomas Romer, a professor of theology at the University of Lausanne. Four years later, Romer gave an account in the September 2007 issue of the university's review, Allez savoir. The article apparently went unnoticed, although it was referred to in a French newspaper.

The story has now been confirmed by Chirac himself in a new book, published in France in March, by journalist Jean Claude Maurice.Chirac is said to have been stupefied and disturbed by Bush's invocation of Biblical prophesy to justify the war in Iraq and "wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs".

In the same year he spoke to Chirac, Bush had reportedly said to the Palestinian foreign minister that he was on "a mission from God" in launching the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and was receiving commands from the Lord.

There can be little doubt now that President Bush's reason for launching the war in Iraq was, for him, fundamentally religious. He was driven by his belief that the attack on Saddam's Iraq was the fulfilment of a Biblical prophesy in which he had been chosen to serve as the instrument of the Lord.

Many thousands of Americans and Iraqis have died in the campaign to defeat Gog and Magog. That the US President saw himself as the vehicle of God whose duty was to prevent the Apocalypse can only inflame suspicions across the Middle East that the United States is on a crusade against Islam.

There is a curious coda to this story. While a senior at Yale University George W. Bush was a member of the exclusive and secretive Skull & Bones society. His father, George H.W. Bush had also been a "Bonesman", as indeed had his father. Skull & Bones' initiates are assigned or take on nicknames. And what was George Bush Senior's nickname? "Magog".

Gil Scott-Heron: Whitey On The Moon

A rat done bit my sister Nell

With Whitey on the moon

Her face and arms began to swell

And Whitey's on the moon

I can't pay no doctor bills

But Whitey's on the moon

Ten years from now I'll be paying still

While whitey's on the moon

You know, the man just upped my rent last night

Cause whitey's on the moon

No hot water, no toilets, no lights

But whitey's on the moon

I wonder why he's uppin' me?

Cause whitey's on the moon?

Well i was already given him fifty a week

And now whitey's on the moon

Taxes takin' my whole damn check

The junkies make me a nervous wreck

The price of food is goin up

And if all that crap wasn't enough

A rat done bit my sister nell

With whitey on the moon

Her face and arm began to swell

And whitey's on the moon

With all that money i made last year

For whitey on the moon

How come I ain't got no money here?

Hmm, whitey's on the moon

You know I just about had my fill

Of whitey on the moon

I think I'll send these doctor bills

airmail special

(To whitey on the moon)

Unique Presentation

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I always love it when a 'chef' gets creative.  Yesterday, I went to a restaurant here in Ukiah called "Windmills" and I ordered what I thought was this:


1 large head romaine lettuce
1 cup olive oil
3 cups French or Italian bread
2 large cloves garlic
8 anchovy filets
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse ground salt
2 egg yolks for large eggs, at room temperature*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved

Now, that's what I thought I was getting (with chicken, in fact).

I got chicken, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, cucumbers, parmesan (grated and shredded), and what tasted like some kind of almost poppyseed dressing (probably mostly guar gum), with a lemon wedge on top and croutons.

Now, it wasn't actually bad, but I have to wonder why they thought they would name it a Caesar.

BTW, here's Cesar's actual recipe (looks like they Anglicize his name now), and *of course* it's got anchovies (duh!):

















May 22, 2009

SEN. MAX BAUCUS: We've got an extremely open process and I just urge everyone to respect the views of others but not interrupting those who are speaking. There will be plenty of time to be with everybody. This is a long haul process. And so, those of you in the audience who are not panelists and wish to be heard, I urge you just to contact my office, we'll figure out a way to talk to you. I'll figure out a way to listen to you. I'll be there, personally, to listen to you.

BILL MOYERS: So just who has been getting the chance to testify before Congress? A quick look at this panel of witnesses appearing before the Senate Finance Committee, it tells you all you need to know. The Business Roundtable. The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce. The conservative Heritage Foundation. Representatives of the insurance industry, including Blue Cross Blue Shield - all in favor, more or less, of the status quo.

Progressive groups have been heard from, too - the Center For American Progress, the labor union SEIU, Families USA - those who largely support President Obama's goal of a public health insurance plan to compete with the private sector. Hopefully this competition would create a real market that would bring down costs.

Once upon a time, a young Barack Obama thought single-payer was the answer. Listen carefully:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care plan.

BILL MOYERS: That was State Senator Obama, who said there was just one big obstacle standing in its way.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We may not get there immediately, because first we've got to take back the White House, and we've got to take back the Senate, and we've got to take back the House.

BILL MOYERS: Fast forward six years. President Obama has everything he said was needed - Democrats in control of the executive and both houses of Congress. So what's happened to single-payer?

For one thing, as President, Obama is now looking for consensus, peace among all the parties. There was a big pow-wow in Washington last week. The president asked representatives of the health care business to reason together with him at the White House. They came, listened and promised to cut health care costs voluntarily over the next ten years.

Some of us looking on at this charm offensive - some of us who'd been around a long time - were scratching our heads. We've heard this call for voluntary restraint before.

Way, way back in the 1970's Americans were riled up over the rising costs of health care. As a presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter started talking about how the government would be clamping down.

JIMMY CARTER: We've built a haphazard, unsound, undirected, inefficient non-system, which has left us unhealthy and unwealthy at the same time. So we must plan, and decisively phase in, simultaneous reform of services and refinancing of cost.

BILL MOYERS: When Carter got to the White House, the very industry that only a decade earlier had tried to strangle Medicare in the cradle, seemed uncharacteristically humble and cooperative. "You don't have to make us cut costs," they promised. "We'll do it voluntarily." So Uncle Sam backed down, and, you guessed it, pretty soon medical costs were soaring higher than ever.

By the early 1990's, the public was once again hurting in the pocketbook. Now Bill and Hillary Clinton, feeling our pain, tried once more.

HILLARY CLINTON: Universal coverage has to be the bottom line and do not let anybody tell you any differently.

BILL MOYERS: This time the health care industry acted more like Tony Soprano than Mother Teresa. It came after the Clinton reforms with one of the most expensive and deceitful public relations and advertising campaigns ever conceived.

MAN: Find what you like in the President's plan?

BILL MOYERS: Who could forget America's sweethearts, Harry and Louise?

WOMAN: It doesn't have the choice we want, look at this. The government picks health plans, then we have to pick a plan from their list.

BILL MOYERS: Paid for, of course, from the industry's swollen profits.

As the health care business dumped the mangled carcass of reform into the Potomac, they said once again, "Don't worry, we'll cut costs voluntarily." Sure. Now health care costs are rising 6 percent a year. Anyone with a memory could be excused for raising their eyebrows at these latest promises.

But leaving nothing for granted, the industry is pouring big money into lobbying, more than half a billion dollars last year alone, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. They're also shelling out megabucks for a publicity blitz and ads attacking Obama's public plan or any health care reform that threatens to reduce the profits from sickness and disease.

TV ADVERTISEMENT: With Congress starting on health care, let's remind the politicians, Americans know what works.

BILL MOYERS: This is from a group calling themselves Conservatives for Patients' Rights. They've been spending more than a million dollars on ads like this in the month of May alone. They've hired a conservative public relations firm called CRC. You remember CRC - the same high-minded folks who brought you the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the gang who savaged John Kerry's service record in Vietnam. Just who runs Conservatives for Patients' Rights?

RICHARD L. SCOTT: Let's have real reform that puts patients first.

BILL MOYERS: The guy in the ads. His name is Richard L. Scott, an entrepreneur who took over two hospitals in Texas and built the largest health care chain in the world, Columbia/HCA.

In 1997, Scott was fired by the board of directors after the company was caught ripping off the feds and state governments for hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus Medicare and Medicaid payments, it was the largest such fraud in history. The company had to cough up $1.7 billion dollars to get out of the mess. Scott got off - you should pardon the expression - scot-free. According to published reports he waltzed away with a $10 million dollar severance deal and $300 million worth of stock. So much for lower overhead.

Rick Scott and other like-minded industry representatives have made their views known. Meanwhile only a handful of expert witnesses in favor of the single-payer option have been allowed to testify in the many congressional hearings on health care reform held this year...

One of them was Dr. David Himmelstein, who is with me now. Dr. Himmelstein is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and serves as head of the Division of Social and Community Medicine at Cambridge University, where he practices as an internist.

He and his partner Dr. Steffi Woolhandler founded the advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program.

Also with us is Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the acting president of the non-partisan group Public Citizen. He's been director of that organization's health research group since its creation in 1971. Dr. Wolfe also teaches internal medicine at Case Western Reserve and is a senior associate in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University. He edits the website

Welcome to you both.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Nice to be here.

BILL MOYERS: Dr. Wolfe, I am puzzled as a journalist as to why this subject of single-payer, whether one is for it or against it, seems totally out of the debate in Washington. It's just not on the table. And it's not in the- on the radar screen of the press. Why do you think that is?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: I think the reason is, unfortunately, simple and frightening. Which is the power of the health insurance industry. Whereas, only about one out of 14 people trust the insurance industry as being honest and trustworthy.

BILL MOYERS: That's a poll?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: It's a Harris poll last fall. One out of 14 people think that the health insurance industry is honest and trustworthy. On the other hand, in Washington, they're in bed with the health insurance industry. Just as Wall Street and the banks have bought the Congress to get what they want in terms of the bailout, the health insurance industry has bought and influenced members of Congress and the President so much that they don't even consider the possibility of a plan that doesn't have a health insurance industry.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: That's the big problem here is people want to find a solution that they can get through without a big fight with the insurance industry. Unfortunately it's economically and medically nonsensical - you can't actually have a health care program that works, if you keep the insurance industry alive.

BILL MOYERS: Well, then how do you account for the fact that so many people in other polls say, "We're satisfied with what we have for health care, and we don't want it taken away from us"?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, people are satisfied many times with their doctor and with the hospitals they go to. And most Americans aren't sick and don't actually have experience of their health insurance. But when you get sick, and actually have to use your insurance, that's when people find out the dark side of the policies they have. Huge co-payments, huge deductibles.

We did a survey of people filing for bankruptcy in courts around the country. Half of the bankruptcies are medical bankruptcies in this country. And of those medical bankruptcies, three quarters of those people had insurance, at least when they first got sick. But people have insurance that goes away after they actually need it.

BILL MOYERS: But why in the dozen or so hearings that I've tracked in Washington recently on health care reform have there been so few advocates of the single-payer?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: The seats at the table, or the witnesses at the hearing are, in a sense, controlled by the health insurance industry. They don't want someone essentially saying, "We don't need a health insurance industry. We can do what most other countries in the world have done. Have the government collect the money and pay the bills and get rid of all these people who are wasting $400 billion a year on excessive administrative costs."

So, we have got a fragmented health insurance industry. And it thrives on being fragmented. The drug countries make much more money with the fragmentation, because there's no price control. The insurance companies make much more money, 'cause they can push away people who aren't going to be profitable. The only people that suffer are the patients.

It's- 1968, I was one of a group of physicians that disrupted the American Medical Association's convention, because they were saying then, and in, for all practical purposes it's still true, "Health care is not a right. It's a privilege." And we said, quietly, as we took over the microphone, "That's wrong." We're now 41 years later, and it's still a privilege. And too many people in this country don't have that privilege. It's resulting in huge numbers of people being ill, sick, and almost 20 thousand people dying a year because they don't have health insurance.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: And there's big money being made. I mean, that's the basic problem here. There are billions being made from the private health insurance industry, from the drug industry, and that gets spread around Washington. The biggest recipients of insurance money, of drug money, are the powerful people who chair the committees, who decide what witnesses testify. President Obama himself received huge amounts of insurance money.

BILL MOYERS: But then let's establish what single-payer is. Can you do that succinctly?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: It's what we used to call national health insurance. So government collects the money for health care from taxes, you don't pay premiums, instead you pay taxes, and pays all the bills. Hospitals remain privately owned and operated. Doctors remain mostly in private practice. But their bills go to the government insurance program, just as they do today with Medicare, but we'd be able to streamline the payment system if we had only one payer instead of Medicare being one among many.

So a hospital would get paid like a fire department does today. You have one check a month that pays for the entire operation. And that means you can eliminate the huge billing apparatus of the hospitals and the doctors offices where we're employing many people to do our billing. And fighting with insurance companies. You save $400 billion a year that way.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Here's an example of what David's talking about. Over the last 30 plus years there have been maybe two and a half, three times more doctors and nurses. Pretty much in proportion with the growth in population. There are 30 times, 3-0 times more health administrators. These people are not doctors. They're not nurses. They're not pharmacists. They're not providing care. Many of them are being paid to deny care. So, they are fighting with the doctors, with the hospitals to see how few bills can be paid. That's how the insurance industry thrives by denying care, paying as little out as it can, getting the healthiest patients, and yet getting reimbursed as though these patients were sicker than they really are.

So, it's a system that is guaranteed to waste a lot of money. And what we've said is that the amount of money that's just being wasted in one year is enough to pay for more than enough of the premiums for those that are uninsured and the people that are underinsured. So, it's not a matter of bringing more money. I mean, the industry is now saying, "We could save $2 trillion over the next ten years. Let us. Trust us. We will lower our costs and everything." The amount that can be saved over the next ten years by just eliminating the health insurance industry is $4 trillion, in one fell swoop.

BILL MOYERS: I've heard you say that several times. I've read you're saying it. We can do away with the health industry. I mean, them's fightin' words, a very powerful part of the economy, and they're a powerful part of the political statute, as David said.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: It absolutely is. And in Canada, back in 1970 or so, they were spending the same percentage of their gross national product as we were on health. They had huge numbers of uninsured people. They had the same insurance companies. Blue Cross Blue Shield. They decided to just get rid of the health insurance industry. That it was the only way to go. They had experimented with it in Saskatchewan ten years earlier. It worked so well, they couldn't wait to do it nationally. So, where there's a will, there's a way. There is no way we are ever going to get to having good health insurance for everyone, as long as there's a health insurance industry, in the way, obstructing care.

BILL MOYERS: What do you say to the argument, though, of people who've gone to Canada, and looked at that system. "Well, there are long waiting lines. You can't choose your doctor." In fact, conservative critics say that this will lead to what they dread which is socialized medicine. Would single-payer in fact mean I could not choose my doctor?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, in Canada, actually, you can go to any doctor, any hospital in the country.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Much more choice than here.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Yeah, Canadians have better choice than we do. They spend half as much per person on health care as we do. And if you're going to cut our budget by 50 percent, we'd have to have some waiting lines. But if we're willing to keep spending at our current levels, we could cover everybody with first dollar coverage with terrific access to care.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean first dollar coverage?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: No co-payment, no deductible. You go to the doctor. The whole bill is paid. Any doctor, any hospital in the country. That's the model. And that's not just me who says that. The Congressional Budget Office has said that in the past. The Government Accountability Office says we're spending enough to do that. And we're really talking about social insurance, like Medicare is social insurance. But doctors and hospitals remaining privately owned.

BILL MOYERS: That's a good point. Because we're struggling to manage Medicare's costs. Great alarm bells going off about the rising cost of Medicare. And are you here proposing more of the same?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, Medicare actually takes care of the sickest, most expensive parts of the system. And in a way, they subsidize the private insurers. They take the unprofitable patients off the private insurer's hands. But also Medicare has adopted the private insurance method of paying for care. So, instead of paying hospitals in a lump sum, without the bureaucracy, they subcontract with Blue Cross, basically, to pay the bills, band aid by band aid, aspirin by aspirin. And that's an inefficient way of doing it, that we ought to do away with. We could save Medicare huge amounts of money, as well as the rest of the system.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: I mean it's interesting, aside from the obvious health benefits keeping 18 thousand or 20 thousand people from dying every year, because they don't have insurance, they also- it's good for business. Because they are essentially taking some- it's not like a bailout for business, but its money that is going to relieve business of worrying about escalating costs, having to drop workers.

I mean, in this country, the response to these escalating costs is a number of employers say, "We just aren't going to have health insurance anymore." So, Canada has been a very good model. It's been going on for 38 years. Canadians would revolt, literally, if someone said, "We're going to take away your health insurance system."

BILL MOYERS: Am I correct in thinking on the basis of what I've read that with single-payer, the benefits would be publicly financed, as you just said, but that the health care providers would, for the most part, remain private?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: They certainly would. As would the hospitals.

BILL MOYERS: They wouldn't work for the state.


BILL MOYERS: They wouldn't get their salaries some...

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: In fact, private practice is more common in Canada than it is here in the U.S. And in the U.S., we're seeing more practices being taken over by big corporations. And people, basically, doctors becoming employees of large bureaucracies. In Canada, private practices remain the norm. And that's what we're saying ought to continue in the U.S.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: I mean, essentially it's socializing the financing. So, I mean, when people use this scare word "socialized medicine" I don't know what they mean. We have socialized libraries. We collect taxes, and we have libraries, we have socialized police. The financing is socialized. In those cases, they are working for a city. In this case, the doctors are in private practice. The hospitals are operating privately. And any patient- it's interesting the system is called Medicare, and so, everyone in the country has a Medicare card and that allows them to go wherever they want. They don't have this limited number of providers, which is getting more and more limited, as everyone who has health insurance in this country knows.

BILL MOYERS: Let me show you a video of what President Obama said in New Mexico the other day.

BARACK OBAMA: If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That's the kind of system you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we're not starting from scratch. We have historically a tradition of employer based health care and although there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their health care, the truth is that the vast majority of people currently get their health care from their employers, and you've got this system that's already in place. We don't want a huge disruption as we go into health care reform where suddenly we are trying to completely reinvent 1/6th of the economy.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: When I hear something like that, you sort of have to say, "What about all the people whose health care is so disrupted that they can't even get in the door at all? What about the people that are underinsured?"

It's interesting, because before Medicare passed, which is in 1965, we had older people, either uninsured or going to private insurance. And within a year of the time Medicare passed, the disruption, meaning that they were actually able to disrupt not having health insurance or having under insurance, 90 percent of them were already in Medicare. So, we already have a model in this country of how non disruptive it is.

When you hear the word "disruptive" what you're really hearing is code for "it would disrupt the health insurance industry." And that's exactly what needs to be done. So, disruptive is the wrong word.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: And for doctors, patients, nurses, it's not disruptive. It actually frees us to do our work. But for the insurance industry, for people making $225 thousand a day as CEOs of insurance companies, yes, it's disruptive for them.

BILL MOYERS: You are both doctors, but are there many doctors like you in support of single-payer? Is there any evidence of their numbers?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, we actually started our group, Physicians for a National Health Program with just a few of us. But we now have 16 thousand members. So, there are a lot of doctors who are activists on this issue. But more than that, surveys are showing that most doctors support national health insurance-


DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: this point. Because our lives every day taking care of patients drive us to it. The paperwork, the bureaucracy, the game of mother may I we play with the insurance companies. All of those are not what we went into medicine for. We went into medicine, most of us, 'cause we wanted to take care of people. This system doesn't let us do that. And even my conservative colleagues, our organization has Republicans in it. There, at this point, single-payer supporters, 'cause they say "Let me practice medicine."

BILL MOYERS: I want to get your thoughts on President Obama's plan. As I read it, it's very difficult, at this moment, to know the details of it.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: 'Cause there aren't any details.

BILL MOYERS: There aren't any details. But he seems to be advocating a public option that would compete with the private insurance-driven sector, as a way of lowering the cost. What do you think about it? Is that- am I reading his plan correctly?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, most of the cost savings he's talking about are really illusory, I think. And my research group has done most of the research work on administrative costs in health care. And the administrative costs he's talking about saving are a tiny fraction of the potential savings under single-payer. 'Cause hospitals have to keep their bureaucracy, if you're dealing with hundreds of different plans. And doctors have to keep the bureaucracy in our office. You don't actually get the streamlining that you get from having one payer that has one set of rules and can pay lump sum budgets to hospitals. But more than that, we're worried that the public plan actually becomes a dumping ground for the unprofitable patients. As it's happening in Medicare.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean? How would that happen?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, the private insurers have all kinds of tricks to avoid sick patients, who are the expensive patients. So, you put your signup office on the second floor of a walkup building. And people who can't navigate stairs are the expensive people.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Get rid of the heart failure patients.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Or you have your signup dinners in a rural area at night, where only relatively healthy people are able to drive and stay up that late. So, there's a whole science to how you sign up selectively healthier patients. And the insurance industry spends millions and millions of dollars on that. And would continue to as they've done under Medicare. Selectively recruiting healthier patients, who are the profitable ones, leaving the losses to the public plan.

And there's really, despite regulations in Medicare that says you can't do that, that's continued to happen. And it means that every time a patient signs up with a private plan under Medicare, we pay 15 percent more than we would pay if that same patient were in the Medicare program.

BILL MOYERS: We the public?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: We the public. But it's not been efficient. It's been effectively a subsidy. And that's what we fear will happen with this public.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Well, we also have some experience. Because in seven states, ranging from Washington to Minnesota, to other states, Maine, they have tried what amounts to a mixture of a private and a public plan. And it's way too expensive as David mentioned. As long as you have private plans in there, everybody still has to do all the bookkeeping.

So, it has failed. I mean, as Einstein has said, the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and over again, and expecting to have a different result. We've seen the same unsatisfactory, unacceptable result, in state after state after state after state after state, why mess up the whole country with it?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: And I'm suffering through it as a doctor in Massachusetts, where we've done really the closest model to what Obama is proposing. And our plan is already starting to fall apart. They're already draining money out of the community clinics and public hospitals that have been the safety net.

BILL MOYERS: Let me read you a quote from this current issue of "National Review," which is quite critical of a public plan. "That failing Massachusetts experiment, like the failed Clinton health plan of 1994, relies on coercion, mandates, price controls, and government rationing. If comprehensive health care reform happens in 2009, it will follow suite and perhaps go even farther..." Here's the concluding punch line. And it seems to me to go to the concern of many people. "Universal coverage is impossible without coercion..."

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Well, if coercion means, just as for libraries, the policies you have to pay, hopefully progressive taxes. That is a minor amount of coercion. In return for which you get: everybody covered. I mean, it isn't as though the United States is right and all the countries that have provided health insurance as a right are wrong. We are wrong.

So the right wing can be all kinds of scare tactics everything, sounds exactly like what the same groups were saying in 1964. If we provide health care for older people in Medicare it's going to lead to socialized medicine and pretty soon we're going to have coercion and all that kind of stuff. They've lost that argument but so far they've won for the last 44 years in keeping it form going farther and farther means everyone needs to be covered. As Tony Mazzocchi, a former friend, who died a few years ago, said, everybody in, nobody out. And that's what we're talking about. And right now...

BILL MOYERS: Everybody in and nobody out.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Nobody out. Right now we have millions, tens of millions of nobodies, our friends, people who need health care, who are out. That's unacceptable.

BILL MOYERS: I don't want the two of you to get out of here without wrestling with this very fundamental question. We're going to have to set limits, are we not? I mean, President Obama said recently that a decision was made to go forward with a hip replacement for his grandmother, even though she was in the last stages of life. But he knew that whether a hip replacement, when people are terminally ill is a sustainable model, is a very difficult question. He was saying we have to make some tough choices about limiting care, don't we?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Somewhere down the line, we do. But at this point, we do so much useless and even harmful medical care. And we waste so much on bureaucracy. That we could actually do everything that we know is useful for every American for what we're now spending. Ten years from now, with my colleague's inventiveness in figuring out expensive new things to do. We're going to have to come to grips with that. But right now, we could reform this health care system. Do everything that's helpful for every American for what we're now spending.

BILL MOYERS: So, what would you like to see in Obama's plan?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Well, we'd like to see Obama remember where he came from. And not only say, "If we were starting now from scratch, we would have a single-payer, but it's too disruptive." Instead of saying, "We are starting out from scratch, because we need to start out from scratch. There are too many people dying, being sick, ill, because they don't have insurance." And so, we would like Obama to espouse a single-payer program. The majority of people in the Congress would vote for it, if there were some leadership. Instead of saying, "It's politically impossible." It's politically impossible if everyone agrees that it's not possible, it won't happen.

If instead they say, "It's not only politically possible, politically feasible, and it's the only practical way it would happen." Anything short of that is essentially throwing billions of dollars at the insurance industry. And if you're afraid of the insurance industry, than you're afraid of doing the right thing.

BILL MOYERS: What makes you say, Sid, that the Congress would vote for this? Because there is a bill in Congress, under 100 members of the House have signed it and not very many Senators. And just this week, you mentioned Maine, Olympia Snowe, Senator from Maine, says, I think we ought to take any public option off the table for several years. I mean, what gives you the confidence that Congress would go along?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: If we had leadership. If Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama said, "Let's be realistic. The only realistic way of taking care of this problem is to have a single-payer." We would get it. There is absolutely no barrier other than the insurance industry.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: I guess the question is: do politicians actually want a legacy that's more than we got elected and made a lot of money for our later lives. So, you know, Tommy Douglas, who started the Canadian national health insurance program, his grandson is Kiefer Sutherland, the well known actor, was recently, in a Canadian survey, voted the greatest leader in Canada's history.

BILL MOYERS: The founder of the national insurance program?


DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: And that's the kind of legacy that Barack Obama and the leaders of this Congress have an opportunity to create.

BILL MOYERS: So, what are you up against? Where is the balance of power in this fight in Washington right now?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: What we're up against, essentially, is the health insurance industry. They pick who sits at the table. They pick who votes. And so forth. I mean, we have a real absence of leadership. John Conyers, to his credit, has introduced HR676, which is a single-payer bill. Bernie Sanders has introduced a single-payer bill in the Senate. But the people who are on top, who could have an enormous amount of influence are too afraid of the insurance industry, the health insurance industry. And in some serious ways, they are as in bed with them as Wall Street and the banks were in bed with the Congress and have gotten their way, with their kind of bailout.

BILL MOYERS: What do the politicians have to fear from the industry? Does it come down just to the power of to the power of money? To the fact that campaign contributions really determine how elections go in this country?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, I think there are going to be campaign contributions. There are going to be massive TV advertising campaigns. There is going to be an avalanche of resources put into the field to try and protect the billions of dollars of profits they make each year. So, I think the politicians really are afraid that they're going to lose their elections. And lose the pot of gold at the end of their political careers.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Money buys Washington, as you know. So I think we need a whole new culture there, we need a culture of courage, as opposed to a culture of cowardice. We need people who feel the pain of families who lose 20 thousand, 18 thousand people a year. And those are probably conservative estimates, which are probably much higher right now. This is a serious thing. It is a war on the American public being conducted, orchestrated, and thus far won by the health insurance industry.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: I've been working on this for 30 years, and the encouragement is that the American people are much more mobilized than they were the last time we debated this issue. I'm old enough to remember that it looked like civil rights legislation was a lost cause, until we had Presidential leadership on it.

BILL MOYERS: Given that hope and these realities, what do you think will happen between now and August when Congress said it's going to act on health care reform? What should happen between now and then?

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, I think the American people need to be very vociferous in standing up for what they need and what they want. And that means calling their Congressmen. It means demonstrations. It may mean civil disobedience. It means doctors in white coats coming down to Washington and letting them know that, in large numbers how we feel. And frankly, we need the President and we need the Speaker of the House and the Leader of the Senate to find their voice for the American people.

BILL MOYERS: Sid, you've been watching this and involved in this since 1971. What happens if they pass comprehensive health reform that is really just more of the same in disguise? What happens to health care after that?

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Well, the country, whether it's the employers who have to pay for it, or the patients who are paying for it, is going to go bankrupt much more quickly. It is not economically feasible to pass anything other than a single-payer, government collecting the money and paying the bills, and provide health care. It's never been done in any country. Taiwan, of all places, said, we don't like the fact that 40 percent of our people are uninsured. They passed, essentially, single-payer plan and within a few years 90-95 percent of the people were covered.

So, we have lots of models to draw on. Learn something from Canada, learn something from Taiwan, from a number of other places. It's inexcusable that we do anything but that. Anything that passes is not going to work. I guarantee that, 100 percent. And David will agree with me.

DR. DAVID HIMMELSTEIN: Well, and what happens is that the health care system gets worse and worse, fewer and fewer people can actually afford the care they need. And we will be having this debate again, unfortunately, relatively soon. And I guess I fall back to Winston Churchill's quote that you can always rely on Americans to do the right thing after they've exhausted every other possibility. So, that's what we're working on.

BILL MOYERS: David Himmelstein and Sid Wolfe, thank you again for being with us.

DR. SIDNEY WOLFE: Wonderful talking with you.


JULIE ROVNER: The supporters of single-payer health care point out that their plan is not on the table.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS: That's true. They do. They make that quite clear.

JULIE ROVNER: And, as they... so what do you say to them as they point out that they have significant support, and yet their plan is the one thing that is not on the table at the moment.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS: Well, just to be honest, it's not on the table - the only thing that's not - because it cannot pass. It just cannot pass. We can't squander this opportunity. We can't spend - we can't waste capital on something that's just impossible. 

My neighbors had some guests who had dogs.  I assume from the configuration that it was dykes with bitches.  I got along with the critters immensely.  I think their names (forgive the spelling) were Izzi & Lexi.

In any event (name-wise) the brown one was terribly friendly, but eventually got caught in my patio (because the owner left the leash on her).

I tried to convey this info (don't leave the leash on her around here, unless you get a much thicker leash), but the required volume was misinterpreted by her (assumed) partner as some kind of 'attack' (terribly curious).  In any event, I think the message was gotten across.

After I'd realized I'd been bitten by the second of the dogs in the entourage, I tried to get my neighbor to let me talk to the owners to assure me that they had their shots.

I had the most interesting interchange.  It was terribly 'territorial'.  It sucked in oh so many ways.

You'd think that even locals might understand why one might wonder about rabies.

The most interesting thing is this broken wood item (which broke during our 'interchange' though I don't recall it and the accuser didn't explain how I actually 'broke' it).  It's the handrail in the front.
This is why one has to take an approach more akin to surfing than to bridging.

Bridges fall.

Ships sink.

Tunnels collapse.

And nothing on the surface of the ocean survives the 'rogue wave' but a decent surfer.

A surfer excels with competence in three things: his knowledge, his skill, and the quality of his equipment.

One of the movies I watched sometime back (about the Hopi prophecy rock) pointed out that when the flood arrives, many will attempt to cling to the bank, but this will prove futile, since the most turbulence occurs at the boundary conditions.  The safe thing will be to stay in the middle and float with the stream.

Both in life, and in 'real life', one needs to adopt the agility and cunning of a wave runner if one wants to stay on top.


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2 days left until Towel Day!

Douglas Adams 
Douglas Adams, picture by Jill Furmanovsky

Towel Day is an annual celebration on the 25th of May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001). On that day, fans around the universe proudly carry a towel in his honour.

Please join us in this very worthwhile celebration

Q: Are there blood banks in England?
A: I don't know. But there's a liver pool. 

Q: How do alligators make phone calls? 
A: They croco-dial! 

Q: What do you call a bunch of chickens playing hide-and-seek?
A: Fowl play. 

Q: What did the lobster major in at the police academy? 
A: Claw enforcement. 

Q: What do you get if you cross a snake and a Lego set?
A: A boa constructor!

Q: What do you call a snake who works for the government?
A: A civil serpent!

Q: What would you get if you crossed a new born snake with a basketball?
A: A bouncing baby boa! 

Q: How do you stop a snake from striking?
A: Pay it decent wages!

Q: What do you call a stolen sausage? 
A: A missing link. 

Q: What does the gorilla call his girlfriend?
A: His prime mate.

Q: What do you get when you cross a lobster with a baseball player? 
A: A pinch hitter. 

Q: What knight has extra goods to sell? 
A: Sir Plus! 

Q: Which Knight makes pottery? 
A: Sir Amic. 

Q: Why don't you ever see chickens in the zoo? 
A: Because they can't afford the admission. 

Q: Why are there fences around cemeteries? 
A: Because people are dying to get in.

Q: Why did God make only one Yogi Bear?
A: Because when he tried to make a second one he made a boo-boo.

Q: Who's a bee's favorite singer? 
A: Sting.

Q: What do you get if you cross a turtle with a porcupine? 
A: A slowpoke. 

Q: How do you know when a train is eating? 
A: You hear it chooing. 

Q: Why didn't the teddy bear eat dessert? 
A: Because he was stuffed. 

Q: What did the chicken do at bat? 
A: It fowled out. 

Q: Why does it take longer to run from second to third base than it does from first to second?
A: Because you have a short stop between second and third.

Q: How did Mary's little lamb get to Mars? 
A: By rocket sheep. 

Q: Why are there no brunette jokes? 
A: Because blondes would have to think them up. 

Q: Did you hear about the dead blonde in the closet? 
A: She was last years hide and seek winner. 

Q: What happens if you get a gigabyte? 
A: It megahertz. 

Q: How does a lumberjack start his computer? 
A: By Logging on

Q: What do you call a piece of wood with nothing to do? 
A: Bored! 

Q: How do you kill a circus troupe? 
A: Go for the juggler. 

Q: What happened when a mother put a fire cracker under her pancakes? 
A: She blew her stack. 

Q: What happened when a guy got some vinegar in his ear? 
A: He suffers from pickled hearing. 

Q: How do camels hide in the desert? 
A: With camelflage. 

Q: How did the chewing gum cross the road? 
A: It was stuck to the chicken's foot. 

Q: What did the mommy volcano say to the baby volcano? 
A: I lava you. 

Q: Did you hear about the man who wore glasses on his butt? 
A: He had terrific hindsight!

Buddha Boxes

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So, the hate-mongers over at Human Events sent me an ad.  It's actually for a pretty nifty knife.

They left out a *major* feature, however.

Passes through *all* metal detectors w/o setting off any alarm (it's not metal).  

Evidence of Revision

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Dead video?  try this link

It's rare that I really appreciate direction in a movie.  I mean, most movies have a director, and they often have 'styles', but I rarely care for a director's 'style' so much as I like the story.

It's rare that a movie about 'conspiracy theory' would be absent of theory.  This one has no opinion at all.  It's just a mash-up of archival footage.

But, BUT, *BUT*, it's the 'other' footage, the stuff that didn't play on the network news.

By fifteen minutes in (it's 1:40 long, and it's the first of a series), I was *sure* it was going to end up here in the blog.

By forty-five minutes in, I ordered the series (forty bucks at Amazon).  I'm that sure that the rest will be as well done and thoughtful, and I'd appreciate not having to 'google video' it.

I'd give this one every thumb and star possible.  It's beautifully crafted, makes an important point, and sheds light on the (now, patently obvious) deception that was perpetrated on us.

And, it doesn't theorize a bit.  

It's not about 'who done it'.  It's about, "What did they do?" (how does history get revised).

Henry David Thoreau said "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil for every one striking at the root."

This one hits the root.  It's not who lies, it's how do they get away with it in the first place?

I think the answer is best phrased in Latin: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


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By Doctor Blue:

some people
should only date themselves!
but some people
can only date elves
romance is always
right around the corner
true love alwas near
pay no dating services
just look in the mirror!


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I'm somewhat popular, in a particular set of folks.

They are the 'pay for play' crowd.  My dad suggested I check out 'The Ladders' (which I'd considered).  I've not paid.  They've sent me lots of 'good leads' that pan out into a possibility of 'signing up'.

I joined quite a few of the other sites (just to check them out) of the same sort, but with girls.

I joined 'Ashley Madison', 'eHarmony', 'FastCupid' (Village Voice/LA Weekly personals),  'XXXBlackBook' and OKCupid.

OKCupid doesn't charge anything, and it's the best site in a lot of ways, and they are constantly sending me 'suggestions' but never any mail indicating that I've got anything special going on.

The ones that charge always seem to send me something every week or so that indicates that one of their members (or jobs) finds me personally interesting (terribly curious as I've barely got any info listed at any of them).

I actually paid at FastCupid at the outset to see what a real dating system was like.

It has better video chat than OKCupid, but other than that, nada.  So I let the membership lapse.

Last minute blurbs:

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Marine Mammal Brains Are Full of Contaminants

From the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution:

<<The most extensive study of pollutants in marine mammals' brains reveals that these animals are exposed to a hazardous cocktail of pesticides such as DDTs and PCBs, as well as emerging contaminants such as brominated flame retardants.

A Day in the Life of a Neanderthal

Please be sure to check out this week's Discovery News story concerning evidence that a modern human may have eaten a Neanderthal child. 

Credit: Knut Finstermeier


I recently spoke with Gerrit Dusseldorp, an expert on Neanderthals and early humans who is at the University of the Witwatersrand's Institute for Human Evolution. Here's what he had to say about these puzzling hominids who may have been our relatives, our dinner or both.

<<JV: Your research suggests that Neanderthals and hyenas occupied the same top carnivore place on the early European food chain. But didn't Neanderthals edge them out by being superior hunters?

GD: First, hyenas, like Neanderthals were capturing very dangerous animals. However, it appears (from the few sites that I have looked at) that, if circumstances allow, hyenas prefer to focus on smaller game. In this case: At a French hyena den (called Lunel Viel) located in a forested environment, deer were the most common prey, followed at some distance by horse and aurochs. In a den (Camiac also in France) located in a Mammoth Steppe environment, bovids and horse are common, followed by woolly rhinoceros while cervids are rare. From extant spotted hyenas (of which we know that they are genetically indistinguishable from European cave hyenas) we know that they prefer to forage alone. When foraging in groups they are able to take much larger prey. However, since there is a strong dominance hierarchy, especially low-ranking animals may take part in hunting a large animal and not profit from the kill at all. It appears that in forested environments, where prey is dispersed, foraging alone is successful. On the mammoth steppe, prey is concentrated in large herds. Therefore foraging in groups becomes necessary and this leads to larger prey being represented at sites.

Gentle Sharks & Murderous Cows

May 07, 2009

Mysteries have a way of balancing out. Today one mystery about the gentlest of sharks died and was promptly replaced by another about a near fatal attack by cows.

The long-standing shark mystery, as reported in Discovery News, regards the secret migrations of basking sharks. Turns out they are pretty sensible and head to the tropics in the winter. But let me tell you something about basking sharks from personal experience. These are some curious animals. Although they are filter feeders -- eating whatever small stuff in the water they swim through -- they are still big; tens of feet long. What's more, when they have their gaping mouths shut, baskers bear an unnerving resemblance to their closest living shark relation: The Great White.

This similarity struck home for me while I was in the water with some basking sharks off the Isle of Man about nine years ago. I was there for Discovery Channel providing a series of web postings about the gentle giants. The sharks I swam with were just babies, perhaps 12-feet-long. They were circling, getting a good look at the humans, when one of those humans (me) had a moment of trepidation: "Are you SURE these aren't Great Whites?," I asked myself. "They sure LOOK like Great Whites." 

Basking-shark-540x380Now about that cow attack mystery. Turns out it unfolded right there on the Isle of Man, wouldn't you know. Talk about synchronicity. Last Friday a bunch of perfectly healthy cows attacked a woman out for a walk, according to Manx Radio. The woman was hospitalized after the cows apparently used their bulky bodies to shove and crowd the woman away from their newborn calves. The woman reportedly thought she was going to die. She survived, thank goodness, but the same might not be said for her taste for veal.

The mystery in this case is not, of course, that cows would defend their babes from what they perceived to be a threat. Oh no. That's just a basic animal instinct with a very good evolutionary explanation. What is really mysterious is that these cows, after untold generations and centuries of domestication and breeding, managed somehow to preserve enough sense to finally attack a human. That is mysterious and must be a little worrisome to cowboys and dairy farmers everywhere, don't you think?

The 'Indispensable Man'

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Yes, one can think of oneself as 'indispensable' if one has learned something else that nobody else knows, but one would be incorrect.

The truly 'indispensable' man is one who who is the extroverted autodidact.

That is, one who learns on their own and then spreads that knowledge about.

Rare birds them.

And you know what 'they' say about autodidacts: "The autodidact is truly the theodidact."

This Friday evening (May 22) the Bill Moyers Journal on PBS at 9 p.m. EDT will feature a discussion with Dr. David Himmelstein, co-founder of PNHP, and other single-payer advocates, asking the question "why isn't a single-payer plan on the table in Washington?"

This important media event is emblematic of a recent surge in media interest in the single-payer alternative (see below) - a surge in large part fueled by the bold and courageous acts of civil disobedience undertaken by PNHP members and others before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month.

  • Yesterday the conservative editorial board of the Times-Union in Albany, N.Y., made an impassioned appeal to Congress to put single payer on the table.

  • Dr. Margaret Flowers, one of the first persons arrested by the committee for speaking up for single payer, explains why she did so in this op-ed in the Baltimore Sun. She has given radio and newspaper interviews almost every day since her arrest.

  • Others who took part in the D.C. actions have been profiled in the media, too: see, for example, these portraits of Dr. Judy Dasovich and Dr. Carol Paris.

  • Dr. Paul DeMarco, writing in the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald Journal, explains why, as a conservative, he supports single payer and the principle of mutual aid. (His op-ed ran directly alongside an opposing view by Sen. James DeMint, R-S.C.).

  • In their May 16 letter to The New York Times, Drs. Arnold Relman and Marcia Angell, past editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, explain how "We don't need more money; we need a new system." In another recent NYT letters column, Dr. Laura Boylan writes, "As long as the logic of our system is set by a huge for-profit multi-payer bureaucracy, we will continue to get low value on the health care dollar."

  • This is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, Dr. Himmelstein was on NPR's Diane Rehm Show Monday, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others.

What PNHP members can do:

  1. Tell your colleagues and friends about this Friday's Bill Moyers program, watch it yourself, and post your comments about it immediately afterward on the program's web site (look for the feedback button). Note, too, that the entire program will be available on the program's web site after a day or two.

  2. Now is the time for each of us to speak out, to write op-eds and letters to the editor, and to muster the strongest arguments we can for the only effective remedy for our nation's health care crisis: single-payer national health insurance. Slides are available (password is fein), along with a tip sheet on how to write letters and op-eds.

  3. Rallies and other events in support of single payer are taking place in over 40 cities nationwide on or about May 30, and in some cases physician speakers are still being sought for the programs. Find out more about how you can participate in this National Day of Action for Single Payer here.

  4. Contact your members of Congress. We recommend these four "asks" or requests of your representative or senator: (1) that the single-payer model be represented at all health care reform hearings, (2) that the Congressional Budget Office study the cost-effectiveness of a single-payer national health system alongside other proposals; (3) that there be a full hearing to assess the merits of a single-payer system; and (4) that he or she co-sponsor H.R. 676,  The United States National Health Care Act, or (in the case of senators) S. 703, the American Health Security Act of 2009. Aguide to lobbying is also available.

Dogma: Opening Scene

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They came by at lunchtime.  They were very nice.  I pointed out that God forgives our sins when we want to get close to him simply because He can't stand the smell (just like He points out in Isaiah 43).

I also explained why I wasn't particularly afraid of 'the afterlife'.

I don't think they caught the whole noösphere thing, but they weren't really prepped for Isaiah.

God has such a sense of humor sending these folks to me.  I gave them both cards:


Does The CIA Lie

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Does the Pope shit in the woods?  Is a bear Catholic?  From FAIR:

... as Adam Serwer noted at the American Prospect's blog Tapped (5/15/09), a recent book on the CIA by New York Times reporter Tim Weiner recalled several examples, including former CIA directer Richard Helms telling the Senate in 1973 that the CIA had no involvement in that year's coup in Chile, a lie that led to Helms pleading guilty to perjury in 1977. Weiner also described CIA director William Casey's frequent dissembling in the Iran/Contra scandal.

In 2001, a plane carrying Baptist missionaries from Michigan was shot down in Peru as part of a drug interdiction program run by the CIA and Peruvian officials. The victims' cause was taken up by Republican lawmakers, and an ensuing internal CIA investigation "concluded that agency officials deliberately misled Congress, the White House and federal prosecutors" about the incident (Washington Post
11/21/08). "CIA officials in front of my committee may have allowed incomplete or misleading statements to be made," Rep. Pete Hoekstra told the Post (R-Mich.). Hoekstra's concerns are ironic considering, as the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence committee, he has emerged as one of Pelosi's chief antagonists, calling the speaker's charges that she had been misled by the CIA "outrageous accusations" (CNN American Morning, 5/18/09). 

As Jason Leopold recalled (Truthout
5/15/09), the Washington Post reported in 2006 that Mary McCarthy, the CIA's former deputy inspector general, believed the CIA was lying about its interrogation practices when it briefed lawmakers. As the Post reported (5/14/06), McCarthy "became convinced that on multiple occasions the agency had not given accurate or complete information to its congressional overseers."

It's about fans of the recent war criminal:


So, it made me curious.  Here's what I found:

President George W. Bush buys 8,501-square-foot house in Dallas' Preston Hollow neighborhood

President George W. Bush has purchased an 8,501-square-foot house in Dallas' Preston Hollow neighborhood.

We know this story was all over the news last week (in fact, it was so many places that we're not even going to bother crediting anyone on this), but we wanted to weigh in on it (and provide a lot more details for our readers) before it got too out of date.

And in the ensuing week since this story broke, we have to say that even given its size, something about Bush's new house still feels to us to be a little....small. And underwhelming. We realize that the soon-to-be-former president doesn't have a lot of money right now, and we also realize that the man already has himself a gigantic ranch on 1,580.22 acres at 43 Prairie Chapel Ranch on Prairie Chapel Road in Crawford, Texas, which he purchased through his Lone Star Trust in 1999 for an estimated $1.3 million.

And yet, at the same time, this house, which is in the Mayflower Estates sub-area of Preston Hollow, just feels something less than presidential to us.

Before discussing Bush's new house, let's talk about the New York Post's Cindy Adams' ridiculous and error-filled report back in September that Bush had purchased a house on five acres in Preston Hollow. (Although Bush did go ahead and buy his house the following month, it's certainly not on five acres!) Local media immediately debunked the report.

The following month, however, Bush did go ahead and purchase a house in Preston Hollow, which is at 10141 Daria Place, which was built in 1959 and which sits on a 1.13-acre parcel, according to public records. The house had not been on the market, and Bush made the purchase in the name of his accountant, Robert McCleskey, closing on the deal on October 1, 2008 (deal recorded on October 3, 2008). Local officials do not require that property sale amounts be made public (which is incredibly annoying for celebrity real estate snoops like us). However, the good news is that mortgage amounts there *are* made public, and records show that the president took out a $3,074,239 mortgage. Bush reportedly will be buying the 4,684-sqare-foot house next door, at 10151 Daria Place, ostensibly for the Secret Service's use, but records do not show yet that a sale has closed on that house (that house had been listed for $1,679,900, and its longtime owner, Joan Northway, died in October 2003 at age 76; the house reportedly is empty at present).

The adjoining homes that Bush has bought back up to homes owned by Gene and Roxanne Phillips (at 10300 Gaywood Road) and Tom Hicks, who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball team from Bush in 1998. Hicks' home, at 5555 Walnut Hill Road, is more like a mansion, measuring a whopping 28,996 square feet.

Before becoming governor, Bush lived just a short distance away from his new digs, owning a 3,397-square-foot house at 6029 Northwood Road in Preston Hollow. Bush purchased that house in November 1998 for $320,000 and sold it for $348,000 in January 1995 -- when he moved into Dallas' governor's mansion in Austin.

Both Bush's 1988-1995 residence and his new house are in areas that have had restrictions barring non-whites. The Northwood Road house did, and the specific part of Preston Hollow that they're now buying in, the James Meaders Estates subdivision, has been widely reported to have had a neighborhood association covenant from 1956 until 2000 barring any non-whites from owning property in it.

Check out a tax record for Bush's new house.

European official: Israeli strike likely if sanctions fail

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- An Israeli strike on Iran is likely if sanctions fail, a senior European official said.

The official said Wednesday, on a visit to Washington to wrap up a fact-finding mission, that an Israeli strike was "in the air" after meeting with senior Iran policy officials in Middle Eastern and Western capitals, including Washington, to discuss among other issues Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.

However, the official conveyed an impression that Iran was likely to buckle under to enhanced sanctions. Enhancements that the Europeans - including possibly Russia - might favor would target Iran's banking sector and the export of refined petroleum to Iran.

The official also said that a face-saving offer that Iran might accept would be to allow the Islamic Republic to maintain its current levels of uranium enrichment as long as a probative inspections regime was maintained.

The official said there was sympathy in Europe for Israel's perception that an Iran with nuclear weapons posed an existential threat to the Jewish state.

Were diplomatic outreach and sanctions to fail, the official said, an Israeli strike would likely not raise "enormous negative reactions" or even "outright condemnation" in Europe.

I've realized a bit of a conundrum.  As we move more and more towards 'off the grid' circumstances, we become more decentralized, more disconnected, etc.

And we make it *easier* for this plague of human flesh to further it's domination of the planet.

The point, folks, is *not* to get the people in the third world to have power, lights, running water, full medical/dental/etc.

The point is that if they want to live out there in the forest, they need to live by the rules of the forest.  They shouldn't be allowed to have any tools that they can't produce in the forest, and they SURELY shouldn't have what amounts to divine intervention (in a forest) in the case of modern medical chemicals.

If we help them, they will turn the forest into condos, eventually.  Overpopulation drives agriculture which drives housing which drives utilities. 

The previous question, city or country, was more biased in favor of the country (since cities were hotbeds of multiple diseases).  Since cities fixed that little problem (not like any 'farms' are noted for their doctoral programs), they grew (which wouldn't be bad if they were limited by the food coming in from the countryside).  But they transferred that knowledge to the country folks and allowed *them* to multiply and take over more of the Earth than they were capable of doing before (since they didn't die off like they used to).

Many of the neo-luddites hereabouts favor the 'off-the-grid' idea, but really, they are advocating turning the rest of the Earth from wilderness into 'real estate'.

I have great admiration for aboriginal peoples.  I want to ensure that there is plenty of space for them to be aboriginal in.  I would like to ensure that they don't do what the earlier aboriginal people did (turn into us).

I mean, do you *really* want to go to the Amazon and end up at some kind of Disney 'Amazon' theme park run by Oompa-loompa looking 'aboriginals' and featuring all sorts of 'native foods' in a little cart next to the roller-coaster?

Seriously, that's where we're going with this.

If we don't start 'withdrawal' from vast sections of the Earth and let it heal; if we don't intentionally pull ourselves into cities (as is the *proper* form for a human culture, IMHO), and make those cities the 'sustainable' items (someplace we're happy to be, and someplace that doesn't pull from other systems overreachingly), it will never heal, and those parts will die off.
Buffalo are really only on nickels, sometimes.  But they could return to being whole herds like they used to (and support the systems they used to) if we merely relocated the midwest.  All the critters would come back.  The Earth would cool off.  

Of course, that would cut our food supply, but we apparently make too much of that anyway.

And if you want to live out there (outside of the cities), you *shouldn't* get city care.  

You are trying to game both systems (natural, and unnatural).  You should pick.  Be a nature boy, or be a city kid.  But don't leverage the city kid's resources to be a nature boy, since it does nature exactly *no* good at all.

If you don't want to die, there needs to be *substantially* fewer humans as a percentage of Earth's biomass.

It's that simple.

It should be treacherous to go out into nature.  

It should *not* be possible to start infecting the boonies with humans en masse, but, if you think about it, that's *exactly* what this sustainable off-the-grid stuff offers.

That's our death knell, if you haven't heard it.

When you hear about the 'starving millions' somewhere, that's Mom Nature knocking.

The real question is whether it will be Armageddon (we die) or Ragnarock (everything dies).

If I had money to lay bets (and thought that there *could* be a return on that bet), I'd put everything on Mom to pull through.  We might be her biggest 'problem child', but she's pretty creative.  I can see perhaps insects that sense radiation as a natural evolutionary next-step (if we don't kill all the plants).  

You see, once all the big critters are dead, the oxygen level starts rising from plants' respiration.  When it gets to 30%, you can get back to insects that are six feet tall (they have a problem with their lungs that makes them shrink at 20%).

I'm actually thinking it's gonna be spiders next time, but that's likely a prejudice from my spirit guide.

Simple Study

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Some days it just pays to be short on sugar (leaves more space in your thoughts to hear God).

That's why fasting got to be so popular, I suppose.

I tend to feel somewhat trippy when I'm not all sugared up.  I'm pretty sure Huxley was correct in asserting that the main function of the cerebral cortex isn't gestalt but filtering.

I'm normally quite a bit less 'filtered' than most folks.

In any event, there's a simple, cheap study of already existent data which would tell whether or not DCA cures cancer.

It's a by-product of water chlorination.  Now, we all know how top-notch our 'scientists' are in ensuring that people keep away from industrial chemicals like asbestos, hexavalent chromium, PERC, and such (um, MIA?).  So we can conclude that their ability to distinguish DCA from other industrial chemicals is a moot point, and that people who work around DCA are exposed to it on a regular basis.

So, we look at the health records of people who work around this.

If it's a cancer-cure, we should see a *remarkably* (REMARKABLY) lower cancer rate amongst this subset.


Ugly Girls

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Now, I just remembered that I had a lot of 'ugly girl' friends back in high-school.  I wasn't particularly interested in them romantically, but they were kinda fun to hang with, and they liked me.  We played a lot of cards.

I realized that my interaction with a lot of my gay friends is similar, but often their mustaches are thicker.  We've done a lot of more productive things than play cards.  I had the most fun being a cameraman for the drag-queen Christmas Extravaganza.  It's a hoot, if you've not seen it (most of them are, but they seem funnier, perhaps drunker, at Christmas).

Some of their titles:


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I realized yesterday that a great deal of my latest bout with allergies has been in correlation with my work in the moldy radio station.  I decided after yet another massive migraine with a snot waterfall accompanying it, that I'd stop going in that building.

Of course, there are many other benefits from not having to interact (or not, as the sad fact was) with that somewhat dysfunctional assemblage of folks, least of which is that I'll be released from having to report on the mindless fear-fest echo chamber that seems to be their preferred state.

Dave? (Dave's not here)

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So, today, I got my 'high-speed' internet service turned on.  It's supposed to be double the last speed (6m).

It was failing from the moment it was turned on, so I called repair as soon as I got free.

The girl on repair asked if I was sure I had the filter on the DSL line.  

What she meant (I hope) was whether it was on the PHONE line, of course.

The situation degraded rapidly after this action, so she was going to have to send a repair person.

Later, I realized the error, took the filter off and put it on the phone instead.  I called them back to discuss that aspect of the error detection phase, and I asked them how far I was from the office.

I'm seven thousand odd feet away.

6m only goes to five thousand feet.

I suppose that answers that just fine, no?

I'm calling tomorrow to downgrade my service.
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Stranded Cable

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Ok, so I did my homework.  I got email from a librarian at the Hatfield Marine Science Center about cetacean stranding.

The concept that this is related to human activity, at this point, seems to be more hubris than anything.

The idea that we are somehow 'causing' this is refuted by any number of facts, notably the unchanging rate, but also supporting this is the issues of internal damage to organs in cetaceans being historical (to the eighteen hundreds).

You see, they used to try to *use* the parts (long ago, yano, whale-oil, whale-bone, etc.), so they noticed when they were damaged.

In fact, one of the more curious mass 'strandings' I read of concerned a pack of 'false killer whales' that 'stranded' on a beach with an old one who they protected from being 'saved' until he died, then they all left.

Now, one can't possibly project anthropomorphic thoughts onto another species, but just consider this one thought:

Perhaps, just perhaps, they were hoping for the 'old' humans on the shore.  The ones that showed up immediately and put the elderly out of their despair (and then had a *big* feast).

For five hundred thousand years, that's been the 'norm'.  We (sympathetic humans) are the 'difference' in this equation.

Perhaps even (in their theology) this 'stranding' is their attempt to get to heaven.

Yano, our tradition holds we'll get 'wings'.

Why shouldn't theirs think of getting legs?

Here's the info:   This is the International Whaling Commission's 2008 (latest) State of the Cetacean Environment Report, and does have a lot on strandings.

Graph of "Total Number of Cetacean and Pinniped Strandings  in U.S. 1990-2000"  (separate listings) and 1999 and 2000 list of Cetacean strandings:

Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) Annual Report Archive at gives stranding stats for regions of USA:

NOAA Regional Stranding Coordinators:       gives Stranding Coordinator in California

stranding empiricism.pdf

encyc marine mammal sci.pdf

At least in the church I belong to they do.  We *are* the only mono-theistic religion that believes this, BTW.

So, if you were unfortunately a member of this local Catholic parish, I'm sure your theology class teachers (is it still called 'CCD'?) are incorrect on this point.

From Troll:

This is literally a 'church signs' debate, being played out in a Southern US town, between Our Lady of Martyrs Catholic Church, and Cumberland Presbyterian, a fundamentalist church.  From top to bottom shows you the response and counter-response over time. 

The Catholics are displaying a much better sense of humor!  You get the impression that the Presbyterians are actually taking this seriously and are getting a bit upset...



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It's the bane of all boycotts (forgetfulness).

Neil Diamond is an anti-pot-smoker.  I downloaded stuff and forgot that.

I didn't note it in the last list in perusing it.

I'm looking for the one where the momma bird builds her nest on the island to ensure the babies' survival, and then (in succession) takes each baby back across until she is barely able to carry them, asking "will you take care of me when I'm old?"

And each baby (fearful for it's life) complies and says "Yes!"

And each baby is dropped in the drink in succession.

Until she gets the baby that says, "Hell no, when I'm old, I'll have my *OWN* babies to take care of that will take precedence over you!"

And she takes that one baby to the shore knowing her kind is replenished and dies from exhaustion.

And her kind was replenished.

In a Nutshell, Æsop

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Yeah, I should have been working, but it's Saturday, and I'm splitting the mean.

I always feel better when I do the work beforehand, but I thought this damn thing was a 'show' and it was a freakin' miniseries.

Now, to say that this was the single *most* predictable drama I've seen in ages doesn't mean I didn't like it.  It was somewhat like slipping into some old blue jeans.

I thought it notable for another reason, however.

All through this movie was lines about how one can't trust one's government, how they have lots of secrets, and the only thing they are good at is covering stuff up.

Now, the reason it's notable isn't the topic, which I'd expect on one of the 'cutting-edge' channels.

No, this was 'Hallmark Channel'.
You just have to re-apply the terms in your own religion, but the principle here remains the same:

BTW, I just cracked up when I realized it was GERMAN subtitles (when I clicked, I figured it was the standard guy in a sheet-hat with English translation underneath).  It was hearing his English (with the first German underneath) that did it.  The boy sounds like he's from somewhere near Tyler, TX.

Angel of War-Yusuf Islam

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My Rasta Master

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I mention a great deal of the time my esteemed Zen Master, Alan Watts

I hardly mention my Rasta influences, since they are somewhat peculiar.  It's not like I ever got 'converted' to this.

I was a Roman, but they taught me, and I paid attention, and ultimately came to realize I was actually a Copt the whole time (a heretic).

So I was primed.

But it was when I first got out on the 'web' (I've been on the 'internet' since 1988, but the web was this 'new' thing), and met a most fascinating woman (sisu).  She had her master's thesis on the web at that point, which dealt with the method by which Rastafarian parents transfer their understanding to their children.  It's a fascinating work, and she's a fascinating woman.

Now, the manner is quite interesting, but really, what struck me was the absolute simplicity of the Rastafarian religious precept (I&IR1).  I noted a lot of linguistic characteristics that were designed to inculcate that thought in kids.

That's why (eventually) some of us started that specific church.

I didn't note any of the 'weird' Rasta crap in that linguistic study, either.  None of the 'black is better' BS, none of the 'women are property' stuff, nor that weird stuff about how H.I.M. is 'coming back'.

So at ZZCO, we try to point out first and foremost that I&I&I&IR1!

That's why our 'cross' isn't one (if you'd ever noted).

It's an Irae-boros.

The actual items (non-spinning) can be procured through our arrangement with

I suppose if you wanted to call it a 'cross' you'd have to admit it looks more like the 'wheel of torture' upon which the victims were broken.  

Yusuf's Cafe Session

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Yusuf's Cafe Session
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Yusuf's Cafe Session (2007)

Starring: Yusuf Islam Rating: NR (Not Rated) Format: DVD

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At a town hall-style event in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Thursday, local resident Linda Allison asked President Obama why the White House and the Democratic-led Congress have ruled out single payer.

Linda Allison: "My question is, so many people go bankrupt using their credit cards to pay for healthcare. Why have they taken single payer off the plate? And why is Senator Baucus on the Finance Committee discussing healthcare, when he has received so much money from the pharmaceutical companies? Isn't it a conflict of interest?"

President Obama: "If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That's the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we're not starting from scratch. We have historically a tradition of employer-based healthcare. And although there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their healthcare, the truth is, is that the vast majority of people currently get healthcare from their employers, and you've got this system that's already in place. We don't want a huge disruption as we go into healthcare reform, where suddenly we're trying to completely reinvent one-sixth of the economy."

Obama did not address the second part of Linda Allison's question about Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who has excluded single-payer advocates from Senate Finance Committee hearings. Allison says she was partly inspired to ask the question after viewing Democracy Now!'s coverage on Wednesday of single-payer advocates who disrupted Baucus's hearing.


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We have met the savior, and he is us.

Ed Show on Single Payer

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Yano, there's a *REASON* that I personally pushed for St. Teilhard de Chardin's canonization (preceding even Bob Marley).

It's because *that* is where we differ the most from the other Rasta churches.

And though I rarely mention it, I've seen the dead after death.  In particular, John Lennon appeared to me after he died and explained a point to me from the dream I'd had of him being shot earlier that day that was our assignment for class.

But, "Was he dead?"

Why, yes, I'm pretty sure he was dead.  He looked rather wispy.   I'm pretty sure that if you can't tell, ask them what they think of sex.  I'm nearly 100% sure that the dead no longer participate in sex.  If I see him again, I'll be sure to ask.

I just had a phone call from a local nutjob who wanted us to take the 'Rasta' off our church because we aren't waiting for H.I.M. to come back (Ras Tafari).  He told me he was sure that Ras Tafari was still alive, because he'd seen him.

I mentioned that the Ethiopian Crown Council had determined he was dead, appointed a new Emperor, and he died, and they are hanging back on appointing his successor until they get back in Ethiopia (apparently).  

So far, that's two (the Coptics called and bitched last year).

I mentioned to him that one of the reasons we schismed off of EZCO was the misogyny and homophobia. 

I didn't mention to him that this fascination with 'black' things was another reason.

If you hadn't noticed, H.I.M. was of Jewish descent, and was an Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox.  Genetically, he's a 'caucasian'.

Bob Marley is *at least* half Anglo (not just European, but Anglo).

Now, as a Celt, I'd have to point out that accepting Bob has little to do with his race, but really, it's easier to deal with the black half than the Anglo.

The new guy is considerably darker than the old guard (and his bio mentions it).

His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia, is the only son of His late Imperial Highness Prince Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie and Her Imperial Highness Princess Mahzente Hapte-Mariam. The late Prince Sahle-Selassie was the youngest son of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen of Ethiopia. Prince Ermias in many ways represents the unity of Ethiopia: he is of Amhara, Oromo and Guragé background.

HIH Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie

The President of the Ethiopian Crown Council, His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile-Selassie.
Click on image for enlargement.

Prince Ermias was born in Addis Ababa on June 14, 1960, and lived in Ethiopia for a considerable part of his early life, where he underwent his primary education. He continued his studies at the Old Ride Preparatory School, and then at Haileybury College, in England. He undertook a BA in social studies, with an emphasis on economics, at the University of California in Santa Barbara, from 1978 to 1981, and continued his education at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy between 1983 and 1985.

His Imperial Highness is the father of twin sons -- Princes Sahle-Selassie (Christian) and Fesseha Tsion (Rufael) -- born on February 20, 1992.

So, for those of you who are interested, *yes* our Church says this guy (when seated) is the Emperor (not of Ethiopia, but of Earth).  We will pursue our legal right to establishment of our temple in Jerusalem when it settles down over there, and ask H.I.M. to cut the ribbon on the front door to officially open it up.

We want to ensure that all 'ribbon cutting' and 'baby kissing' is done by this family, and the work of governing left to people who are better suited.

He's considerably cuter than Prince Charles, anyway.

You can say an awful lot about what's going on over there, but yano, you can't call what the Israelis are doing 'civilization'.

At least the Palestinians are raising a crop of decent folks.  Maybe their pens will be mightier than those IDF swords.

Boots & Sand

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I was traveling, boots and sand.
High bound for miracle land.
Met a man called Buckingham,
Said, "Joe, won't you join our band?"

Nickle jangled in the jukebox,
Bird of Nashville sang ... wooo

So we carried on a long, long road.
To a place, where we've been told,
all your records turn to gold.
Birth land of rock-and-roll.

As we reached the border,
seven sheriffs arrived (seven sheriffs turn-on).
Me and my girl, are standing outside.

(oh, who are you?)

Is your name this?
You're on our no-song list!
Oh no, sir, no!  This can't be so.

So they strung us to a friendly bird.
(They) flew us back to the lower world.
As we reached the morning light,
fame came overnight.

It's a strange, strange thing.
Whatever songs you had.
Some called good,
some called bad.

Now I'm back on the long long road.
One bag, and a song I wrote.
A little prayer in my hand.
Just me, boots and sand.

Many of the songs on this new album have strains from earlier songs wafting through (and complimenting) the new song.  Here's some notes.


Welcome Home: Longer Boats
To Be What You Must: Sitting
Shamsia: minored (diminished?) key version of "Sitting"
Boots and Sand: Peace Train

"Coffee Samurai: My Boyfriend is a Vending Machine"

Freakin' surreal, it is.  Some of these Koreans make Dali look kinda quaint, yano?

Told You So: NUTJOBS

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Now, how much like a 'democracy' is this?  While here in America, it might have taken a hundred years to pull the CSA Battle Flag (often erroneously called the "Stars & Bars") off many state's properties, we *never*, *ever* considered making it 'illegal' to display, or membership in the Klan (simple membership) as a crime.

Think about that.  Read this blurb about the other controlling party in the Israeli government:

Lieberman's party wants to ban 'Nakba'

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A nationalist party in the Israeli government coalition said it would propose legislation banning Israeli Arab commemoration of the Nakba.

The Yisrael Beitenu Party, headed by Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister, said the law would impose prison sentences of up to three years for marking Israel's independence as a time of "nakba," or catastrophe, for the Palestinians, Ha'aretz reported on Friday.

"The draft law is intended to strengthen unity in the State of Israel and to ban marking Independence Day as a day of mourning," said a party spokesman, according to Ha'aretz.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes during the Independence War.

The proposal is likely to encounter stiff resistance, not only in the Israeli parliament but within the government.

In the previous government, the Labor Party, which is also a member of the current coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, controlled the education ministry and published textbooks for Israeli Arab pupils that took into account the perception that Israel's independence was catastrophic for Palestinians.

Day of Rest

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Ok, this is curious, but in the long and short of things, means little.

It never occurred to me that the 'Sabbath' day might be different for Muslims.  I suppose it's the logical adaptation of what was a lunisolar system from the Jewish calendar to a solar system (day starts at sunup, not sundown).

So yano the Xians moved it (intentionally and symbolically) to Sunday from Saturday (the day starting Friday night).

Looks like the Muslims moved it the other way (from the day starting Friday night to the day starting on Friday sunrise).

Of course, we curiously consider it 'midnight' which is the 'start' of our day, so I'd suppose modern Muslims consider 'Sabbath' to start at midnight on Friday, but that's still unexplored.

In the ZZCO, we let our communities determine what day to meet on, since we figure they take precedence over the ritual commemoration of an event which (given what we know about 'the week') may well have lost sync over the years.

Not only that, but it's also a system based on a magic numbering (great write-up here).

Now, if it really was 'ordained by God', and all of us descended from people who had this same tradition, I have to wonder where the others (save the Soviets and French which both were 'Enlightened') came up with their numbers.

From Hater Events

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General Curtis LeMay: Villain or Hero?

The firebombing of Tokyo. Strategic Air Command. Dr. Strangelove. George Wallace. All of these have one person in common: General Curtis LeMay--the most misunderstood military man in 20th century history.

Until now.

In his brand-new book, LEMAY: The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay, military biographer Warren Kozak traces the trajectory of America's most innovative--and vilified--military commander.

General Curtis LeMay is perhaps the most infamous general of the 20th century. Despite playing a major role in many important military events of the last century--from defeating Japan without a costly land invasion to being on the Joint Chiefs during the Cuban Missile Crisis--historians have been content to paint LeMay as a crude, trigger-happy, cigar-chomping general who joined political forces with one of the most famous racists in American history, George Wallace.

However, in LEMAY, Kozak reveals the LeMay that only those close to him knew--a commander who was gruff yet compassionate, brilliant, and accomplished. InLEMAY, you'll learn:

  • How LeMay devised the plan to use incendiary bombs over Japan that killed hundreds of thousands but saved millions from an impending ground invasion
  • How he turned the Strategic Air Command from a dismal failure into the deadliest fighting force in history
  • Who really came up with the idea of bombing the North Vietnamese back into "the Stone Age"
  • Why LeMay agreed to be George Wallace's running mate in the election of 1968--despite loathing Wallace and most of his policies

Giving an unprecedented glimpse into the might and mind of perhaps the most controversial general in our nation's history, Kozak shows why today, more than ever, America needs another man like Curtis LeMay.

Yeah, they left something out.  

LeMay argued that the United States should launch 5,000 missiles on the Soviet Union. He was convinced this would destroy their 350 nuclear missiles and therefore prevent an attack on the United States. John F. Kennedy and Robert McNamara rejected this strategy as immoral.

On 13th March, 1962, General Lyman Lemnitzer, with the support of Lemay, presented Robert McNamarawith a top-secret memo, urging President Kennedy to order a variety of shocking incidents to create a rationale for invading Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the memo suggested that the administration should arrange a terror campaign in Miami and Washington that would create international revulsion against the government of Fidel Castro.


BTW, here's the OCR version of the Northwoods Document.

Wed, 13 May 2009 20:05:23 GMT 
French human rights activists protesting for Roxana Saberi's release
By Zhila Keshvari 

While the world seems to rejoice in the release of the journalist Roxana Saberi from an Iranian jail, and conspiracy theorists are busy weaving tales of the conspiracy for her arrest, and release, The Times of London revealed yesterday that she had indeed committed serious offences of which she had been accused. 

One of Miss Saberi's attorney - Mr. Saleh Nikbakht - made the startling revelation, on the day she was released after three months in detention. He confirmed that Miss Saberi - who was initially arrested for illegal purchase of alcoholic beverage - had later been found to have in her possession classified documents without the necessary permits. 

Her lead defense attorney Mr. Abdolsamad Khorramshahi said that during the hearing, her client had "accepted that she had made a mistake and got access to documents she should not have." 

The documents, coming from Iran's Expediency Council, were apparently secret reports of aspects of Iraq under US occupation. She had admitted the offence during interrogations, which - according to her father - did not include torture, and had apologized for her act. She claimed that she had obtained the documents "out of curiosity." 


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Has a new album out.  He was on the Colbert Report, if you missed it, you can link through.

His website is:

If you get the new album and wonder about "To Be What You Must", yes, it's "Sitting" from Catch Bull at Four

Crux of the Biscuit

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Geez, it's *blatantly* clear, now that the negotiations over the NH Gay Marriage Bill were mentioned by DNow! today.

The last minute change is to insert language protecting churches from lawsuits if they decline to marry queers.

This *is* moronic.  Think about it.  What's the *first* amendment?   And what kind of power does that give the government over religion?

Yeah, that's right, none.

But at least there's a provision in the law so that if we repeal the first amendment, the haters won't have to hang out with queers.

Of course, the idea that the queers would want to force the haters to marry them is somewhat paranoid, as you might more sensibly conclude that what the queers would *want* to do with the haters is avoid them.
American Journalist Roxanna Saberi was working as a *translator* (freelance) in Iran when she got caught buying booze (not permitted there), and in the process, was found to have internal Iranian documents regarding the American occupation of Iraq in her possession.

But of course, she didn't *show* them to anyone (right?).  And I've got some land in Florida that I can let you have for pennies on the gallon.

Jailed US journalist Roxana Saberi 'had secret document on war in Iraq'

The American journalist Roxana Saberi was jailed for espionage in Tehran after obtaining a confidential Iranian document about the American invasion of Iraq, it was claimed today.

Saleh Nikbakht, one of Ms Saberi's Iranian lawyers, revealed that a document Ms Saberi had obtained while working as a translator for a powerful clerical lobby had been used as evidence to convict her on charges of espionage.

Ms Saberi, 32, was released on Monday after an appeal court dismissed charges of spying and reduced her eight-year prison term to a two-year suspended sentence.

Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, the lead defence counsel, said that she had "accepted that she had made a mistake and got access to documents she should not have".

However, no classified information had been passed on, he added.

Ms Saberi apologised for keeping the document, and the court reduced the charge against her from espionage to possessing confidential documents.

Ms Saberi obtained the document that was used in her conviction while she was working as a freelance translator for the Expediency Council, a powerful body in Iran's ruling clerical hierarchy.

Keith's Mom Died

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It's one of the most beautiful eulogies I've ever heard:

I stand corrected

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Actually, I'm likely sitting, and I'm too often the one who catches my own 'errors'.

I said it would be hard to get a dozen libertarian M.D.s and I'm at least wrong in forgetting that Dr. Ron Paul is, in fact, a physician, as is is son (which I didn't know until tonight).

So, I'm still up by ten, but I should likely be more aware and ask my bro-in-law (booby pumper) if he'd fall on one side or the other (I should point out that booby-pumping is going to be for pay in any case, so he'd be unaffected except he couldn't do medicare booby-restorations--well, he might be able to form another 'corporation' in this environment to get around that, but he should be aware I'd be looking for and destroying that loophole as a decent systems analyst).

I should catalog the other 'errors' that I've produced on the air as an easy list:

I was suckered into the THC Oranges hoax for a few days, but yano, I still caught it before did.

I promulgated the 'Illegal Backyard Gardens' myth for almost a half a week before catching it.

I promulgated the 'Wave Energy Kills Whales' BS for a day before killing that.

Nutjobs on Parade

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Militant anti-gay church turns its sights on Jews

Westboro Baptist Church member Margie Phelps rails against Jews and Israel in a protest outside the Washington offices of the Anti-Defamation League on May 8, 2009.
 (Eric Fingerhut)

1 out of 1

Other Media

Westboro Baptist Church member Margie Phelps rails against Jews and Israel in a protest outside the Washington offices of the Anti-Defamation League on May 8, 2009. (Eric Fingerhut)

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- After years of focusing on gays and lesbians with its protests, the Westboro Baptist Church has a new target -- the Jewish community.

The Topeka, Kan.-based church, which features the slogan "God Hates Fags," protested at three Jewish sites here last Friday afternoon. The protests are part of a series of upcoming rallies that will bring members of the church to Jewish community institutions in Omaha, St. Louis, South Florida and Providence in the next few weeks, according to the church's Web site and fliers the group is distributing that list scheduled protests and proclaim "Jews Killed the Lord Jesus."

Led by Pastor Fred Phelps, the 71-member church, according to Anti-Defamation League research, first gained notoriety about a decade ago when it began picketing the funerals of gays or those they thought were gay -- including Matthew Shepard, who was the victim of an anti-gay attack.

In recent years, church members frequently have protested outside the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, or at other events that are likely to bring news coverage and, in turn, publicity to the church. One such event was the funeral of three young girls killed in a traffic accident.

While picketing outside the Washington office of the Anti-Defamation League last Friday, Phelps' daughter Margie told JTA that the group is now focusing on the Jewish community because church members have been "testifying" to gentiles for 19 years that "America is doomed" and they haven't gotten the message.

"Now it's too late," she said. "We're done with them."

Margie Phelps added, "one of the loudest voices" in favor of homosexuality and abortion is "the Jews, especially the rabbis."

"They claim to be God's chosen people," she said. "Do you think that God is going to wink at that forever?"

Deborah Lauter, the ADL's director of civil rights, said the church has always been "anti-Semitic" but never targeted the Jewish community until recently. She said the ADL isn't entirely sure what triggered the new focus on Jews, but speculated that the help the ADL provided to a school that the church picketed last month for performing the musical "Rent" could have something to do with it.

Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project tracking hate groups, said he didn't think there was any real significance to the church's new focus on Jews.

"With a group willing to picket the funerals of little girls killed in a school bus crash, it's hard to be surprised by anything they do," Potok said.

"They're the farthest fringe," he said, noting that even hard-line anti-gay groups are embarrassed by Phelps' church.

Lauter added that the protesters are not violent and don't try to recruit others to their cause. But they are provocative and are "baiting the Jewish community to respond."

"We're advising Jewish institutions not to give them the publicity they crave," she said, and not engage the protesters.

In Washington, the group first picketed the funeral of former congressman Jack Kemp, and then protested outside the ADL offices, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the city's largest synagogue, Washington Hebrew Congregation. (The group positioned itself across the street from the museum -- on the edge of the National Mall -- meaning that visitors to the museum that afternoon did not even necessarily see them when entering the facility.)

Margie Phelps and three fellow church members stood on the sidewalk and held signs stating that "God Hates Israel," "Jews Killed Jesus," "America Is Doomed," "Israel Is Doomed," and "ADL Jew Bullies." One of the four women had an Israeli flag tied around her waist that dragged on the ground; she stepped on the flag as she walked.

Alluding to prophecy in the book of Revelation, Phelps said that all the nations of the world would soon be marching on Israel, led by President Obama, whom she called the "antichrist." She said "Israel is doomed" and that only the 144,000 "righteous Jews out there" would survive the "persecution" that all other Jews will experience.


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I met a local contact who finally explained this 'Purim Jester' thing as no more than basically 'upside-down day'.  The costume isn't significant in any other way than that it's not black.

I forgot to ask her about the funny furry hats.


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the biological phenomenon, for other uses see Symbiosis (disambiguation)
Clownfish amid sea anemone tentacles

The term symbiosis (from the Greek: σύν syn "with"; and βίωσις biosis "living") commonly describes close and often long-term interactions between different biological species. The term was first used in 1879 by the German mycologist Heinrich Anton de Bary, who defined it as "the living together of unlike organisms."[1][2]

The definition of symbiosis is in flux, and the term has been applied to a wide range of biological interactions. The symbiotic relationship may be categorized as being mutualisticparasitic, orcommensal in nature.[3][4] Others define it more narrowly, as only those relationships from which both organisms benefit, in which case it would be synonymous with mutualism.[5][6][7]

Symbiotic relationships include those associations in which one organism lives on another (ectosymbiosis, such as mistletoe), or where one partner lives inside the other (endosymbiosis, such as lactobacilli and other bacteria in humans or zooxanthelles in corals). Symbiotic relationships may be either obligate, i.e., necessary for the survival of at least one of the organisms involved, or facultative, where the relationship is beneficial but not essential for survival of the organisms.[8][9]


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Does interviews with protesting doctors and nurses.

Great footage of Medea Benjamin and Desiree Farooz calling Donald Rumsfeld a war criminal at the Press Club Dinner.

And some stuff from Howard Zinn.

KMEC notes:

At this moment Govinda is downstairs making sure we can broadcast from the conference at the Sat Afternoon Club this Saturday.  This is the first act in our recommitment to being a community radio station with an emphasis on the environment.  The announcement is in the PSA box, and we will be tabling there.  Please mention the event during your program this week.

Raffle PSA:

Biking weather is here and the Mendocino Environmental Center and KMEC
RADIO are having a bike related raffle.

1st Prize is a new 24 speed (Gary Fisher) mountain bike and a new helmet

2nd Prize is a $100 gift certificate from Dave's Bike Shop

3rd Prize is a $50 gift certificate from Dave's Bike Shop

Tickets are $5 for one or three for $10

Tickets are available at the MEC(106 W. SWtandley St.) Tuesday - Friday 
Noon to 5PM  The bike is on display there.

The winning tickets will be drawn at the Ukiah Farmers' Market on
Saturday,  June 13.

Ride a bike.  It's good for you and for the biosphere.
Fox's Pronouncement Comes on Heels of California Gov. Schwarzenegger's Call for Debate on Marijuana Legalization

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 12, 2009.Contact: Ethan Nadelmann (646) 335 - 2240 or Tony Newman (646) 335 - 5384

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox said today that it is time to renew the debate to tax and regulate drugs as a strategy to deal with the increased drug-related violence in Mexico. President Fox first proposed the decriminalization of some drugs while still in office. His recent comments came during an interview with an Associated Press reporter during Fox's visit to the United States for a summit on U.S., Mexico and Canada relations.

The terrifying violence in Mexico serves as a backdrop to Fox's comments. More than 10,000 people have been killed since Mexican President Calderon launched a military offensive against drug cartels in 2006. According to the Associated Press, Fox said that strict controls and high taxes would be necessary under legalization. He said levels of drug use might remain the same but violence would be significantly reduced because cartels would no longer control the supply. President Fox said he is not convinced legalization is the answer but "...why not discuss it?"

"It's great to hear yet another former president break the taboo on talking about drug legalization," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "President Fox merely said what so many others know but still fear to say: that the only way to curtail the disastrous consequences of the failed drug war is to put all options on the table."

Fox's comments come on the heels of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighing in on marijuana prohibition last week. Schwarzenegger's response to a reporter's question at a news conference made him the highest-profile U.S. elected official to question publicly the nation's marijuana policies.

"It's time for a debate" on marijuana legalization, Schwarzenegger said. "I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it. And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs," he added.

Since the beginning of this year, several high-profile figures in addition to Fox and Schwarzenegger have also weighed in on these issues:

  • Assembly Member Tom Ammiano introduced a bill (AB 390) recently to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol.
  • Facing unparalleled violence across the border in Mexico, the city council of El Paso, TX passed a resolution in January 2009 calling on Congress to debate drug legalization as a way of reducing prohibition-related violence.
  • In February 2009, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, a high-level commission co-chaired by former presidents of Brazil (Fernando Henrique Cardoso), Colombia (César Gaviria) , and Mexico (Ernesto Zedillo), called for a "paradigm shift" in global drug policy, including decriminalizing marijuana and "breaking the taboo" on open and robust debate about all drug policy options.  
  • Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, citing evidence that Mexican drug trafficking organizations get 60 percent to 80 percent of their revenue from marijuana, has suggested that national policymakers debate legalizing marijuana as a way to cripple both Mexican and U.S. gangs.


Experts suggest Mexican weapons-bust press conference may have been staged event

Mexican federal police commander Gen. Rodolfo Cruz Lopez described a weapon seized last month from one of the nation's deadly "drug cartels" as a .50 caliber anti-aircraft gun that fires 6-inch armor-piercing bullets at the rate of 800 rounds per minute.

The mainstream media coverage on both sides of the border trumpeted the capture of this Rambo-style machine gun as evidence of the increasing danger the drug-trafficking organizations pose to civil society.

A report on the seized "anti-aircraft" weapon by the Associated Press noted that "assailants have fired on government aircraft performing anti-drug missions in Mexico in the past, but apparently never with the caliber of weapon found Monday [April 13 in northern Mexico]."

But there is just one problem with this narrative. According to U.S. law enforcers, specifically the ATF, the captured weapon is not what it appears to be, or at least what it was purported to be by the Mexican police commander.

In fact, according to Bill Newell, special agent in charge of ATF in Arizona and New Mexico, the so-called 800 rpm "anti-aircraft gun" isn't a machine gun at all, but rather a WWII-era semi-automatic replica of a Browning machine gun made by a U

Oops (*big*) OOPS here

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Provacateurs: G20 Police 'Used Undercover Men to Incite Crowds'

by Jamie Doward and Mark Townsend

An MP who was involved in last month's G20 protests in London is to call for an investigation into whether the police used agents provocateurs to incite the crowds.

Liberal Democrat Tom Brake says he saw what he believed to be two plain-clothes police officers go through a police cordon after presenting their ID cards.

[Police and protesters clash in London on 1 April 2009. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA]Police and protesters clash in London on 1 April 2009. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA
Brake, who along with hundreds of others was corralled behind police lines near Bank tube station in the City of London on the day of the protests, says he was informed by people in the crowd that the men had been seen to throw bottles at the police and had encouraged others to do the same shortly before they passed through the cordon.

Brake, a member of the influential home affairs select committee, will raise the allegations when he gives evidence before parliament's joint committee on human rights on Tuesday.

"When I was in the middle of the crowd, two people came over to me and said, 'There are people over there who we believe are policemen and who have been encouraging the crowd to throw things at the police,'" Brake said. But when the crowd became suspicious of the men and accused them of being police officers, the pair approached the police line and passed through after showing some form of identification.

Brake has produced a draft report of his experiences for the human rights committee, having received written statements from people in the crowd. These include Tony Amos, a photographer who was standing with protesters in the Royal Exchange between 5pm and 6pm. "He [one of the alleged officers] was egging protesters on. It was very noticeable," Amos said. "Then suddenly a protester seemed to identify him as a policeman and turned on him. He legged it towards the police line, flashed some ID and they just let him through, no questions asked."

Amos added: "He was pretty much inciting the crowd. He could not be called an observer. I don't believe in conspiracy theories but this really struck me. Hopefully, a review of video evidence will clear this up."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has received 256 complaints relating to the G20 protests. Of these, 121 have been made about the use of force by police officers, while 75 relate to police tactics. The IPCC said it had no record of complaints involving the use of police agents provocateurs. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We would never deploy officers in this way or condone such behaviour."

The use of plain-clothes officers in crowd situations is considered a vital tactic for gathering evidence. It has been used effectively to combat football hooliganism in the UK and was employed during the May Day protests in 2001.

Brake said he intends to raise the allegations with the Met's commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, when he next appears before the home affairs select committee. "There is a logic having plain-clothes officers in the crowd, but no logic if the officers are actively encouraging violence, which would be a source of great concern," Brake said.

The MP said that given only a few people were allowed out of the corralled crowd for the five hours he was held inside it, there should be no problem in investigating the allegation by examining video footage.


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I don't mind Keith using this at all.
As they keep trying to point out, it's not 'round', it's an ellipse, and the two foci are money and power.

Health, if you note, isn't what's on that table.

COST-CONTAINMENT is what's on that table. 

You see, if they can't contain costs, they can't pay dividends.

Now, the reason I mention this again is because I caught CNN this morning lying about this event.

They said that the doctors were protesting government funding of healthcare!

Yeah, like they'd find doctors who were also free-market libertarians.

Only other profession I've run into with as many hard-core liberals in it are clergy.


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Good catch, Troll.

She passed it along, but she enhanced it with the report.

If you get this in email as the 'incredible farm machine' it's pure BS.
(CBS 5)

Test your knowledge with our quiz on the HealthWatch page - scroll down to Test Your Sugar IQ.

Sweets. Americans love 'em.

However, Bay Area musician Carlos Reyes says he grew up loving the sweet stuff a little too much.

"As a prize we get the candy bar, as a prize we get ice cream," he explains, adding that he's been heavy since he was 7 years old.

Carlos is not alone. Most Americans are either overweight or obese. A whopping third of all teens weigh too much and a fourth of all infants and toddlers are fat.

And while the obesity epidemic is a complex problem, with many causes, some experts say sugars play a role.

Nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH is a professor of food studies and public health at New York University. She says most people don't realize how much sugar they're eating, explaining how "the amount of sugars present in one large soft drink is more than most people should be eating in a day."

How much do we eat? In a new preliminary study, The USDA says last year alone, the average American consumed about hundred and thirty seven pounds of sugars and sweeteners. That's the equivalent of more than 27 five-pound bags of table sugar.

While the government says a small amount of sugar fits in a healthy diet, how did we get so awash in the sweet stuff?

Some blame the push to get out the fat. In the 1980s, 40% of our daily calories came from fat. Federal health officials, along with the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association urged Americans to cut back. Fat free foods became the latest fad.

Pediatric Endocrinologist Robert Lustig, MD of UCSF Medical Center says the push worked.

"We did it," he says. "We're now down to 30 percent. And, we have more heart disease, more obesity, more metabolic syndrome. It went exactly the opposite of what was supposed to happen."

Cutting back on the fats may have backfired.

Dr. Lustig explains, "In order to make the processed foods palatable, we had to add sugar back in."

And adding the sugar back in, or just adding sugars period, may add up to nothing but trouble. Kelly Brownell, PhD of Yale University is an expert in obesity. He explains added sugars come at a cost.

"Americans have become accustomed to a high level of sweetness across all parts of the food chain," he says. "And therefore we like the sweetness. Sweetness tends to bring calories with it and that's one thing that's probably contributing to the obesity problem."

But some researchers point to politics and farm subsidies. In the early seventies, the Nixon Administration began doling out lucrative farm subsidies. Corn farmers ended up over-planting corn. The surplus went to producing high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup became easier and cheaper to use than regular sugar. It also helped to prolong the shelf life of foods.

Even with these obvious benefits, Dr. Brownell says because HFCS is plentiful and so inexpensive, "it's been added to foods were we wouldn't expect it like mayonnaise, and ketchup, and things like beef stew"

The sugar and corn sweetener industries strongly disagree that their products cause obesity or ill health, saying the scientific evidence points elsewhere.

Charles Baker, PhD is the Chief Science Officer for the Sugar Association, a trade group that represents the sugar industry. Dr. Baker says the notion that sugar is driving our obesity epidemic is simplistic and does the American consumer little good in understanding the value of total caloric intake. He says extra calories are extra calories no matter what the sources.

Cardiologist James Rippe, MD is a consultant to the Corn Refiner's Association. He too rejects the notion that HFCS is the culprit behind America's obesity epidemic.

"Americans are consuming 27% more calories from all sources than we did 30 years ago and the increasingly sedentary lifestyle that we have in the United States, that's what causing obesity," Dr. Rippe explains.

However, a possible new culprit is now under scrutiny, It's a molecule found in all sugars and sweeteners: fructose. Eat too much of it, some researchers contend, and you'll gain excess weight, hurt your liver, and develop insulin resistance. 

Dr. Lustig says we get the same amount of fructose, "whether you're consuming it by sugar or by high fructose corn syrup. It's not where you get the fructose, it's that you get the fructose at all that matters."

Those representing the sugar and sweetener industries say the research is terribly flawed and has no absolutely no reality in our daily diet.
As for how much sugar we should eat, it depends on your age, gender, and activity level. The USDA, the folks behind the food pyramid, say the amounts of added sugars should be small, from 8 to 16 teaspoons.

And the Sugar Association maintains that Americans eat far less sugar than what's commonly quoted.

I'm watching the news (waiting on the sugar story).

Now, I'm out here in the boonies, and one expects to find crappy availability and short supplies of things in places where most things aren't sold.

So, the idea that my choices are limited is already a done-deal.

On the other hand, I've noted a problem in the 'local shop' concept.  There are so many shitty businesses in business here that aren't actually businesses (fronts for selling other stuff).

Today, I went to the folks that I thought sold tobacco here, but they forgot to order it.   Of course, in the *real* world, this would be a fatal error.

I suspect that if the 'mega-mall' becomes a reality (which I still support in the correct location), it will drive out of business the few remaining actual local 'providers' of things, while not affecting the faux retailers a whit (since nothing affects them, as their 'business' is fictitious, anyway).

In short, there will be the 'mega-mall' and there will be the BS retailers who don't actually have stock, and then,  there will be the few actual local retailers who do go out of business.

I pity them, but really, they should have been paying attention when the 'competitors' showed up.  It's still a good point, but it's a mite late in arriving.

When my mom and dad visited me some years back (after I first got stuck here), we all went wandering about.  We came across a store that the three of us concluded *had* to be a 'front for dugs' (since they didn't actually offer any 'value' at the location).

Turns out it *WAS* a 'front for drugs' and the proprietor retired.

I get an "A" for prescience and a "F" for projection (I really shouldn't be here with you morons--I mean, that's freakin' transparent if my *PARENTS* can tell it's not legit).

OTTS, the only prop that looks like it will pass right now is prop 1f (no pay raises for politicos in deficit years).  There is *record* distrust of government (79%) across all spectra.
I have to wonder, out here in la-la land, that they've come to the conclusion that tobacco smoke is somehow *more* deadly than other (actually quite a bit more deadly) types of exhaust.

I mused on this yesterday, where I met 'Professor Ping-Pong', who wouldn't share a bit of the downtown sidewalk with a tobacco smoker, though he seemed copacetic with all the cars, trucks, and motorcycles that were part of Ukiah's only 'traffic jam' (downtown, about three blocks worth).

Today, I met a woman who'd quit smoking in 1982, but loved the smell of (some) burning tobacco.

She pointed out how her friend who quit with her couldn't stand it.

I realized right then why these laws out here are so freakin' draconian and rude.

These people don't want to protect their physical health, they want to protect their mental health.

A substantial number of ex-smokers are militantly so, and it appears that my new acquaintance has pointed out the underlying cause: envy.

So that's where they get the gall to outlaw smoking on a sidewalk.

I knew it couldn't be fueled by anything sensible, since I've seen 'sensible' (Vancouver, BC).

The Canadians are *so* polite.  They realized it wasn't much more than an airflow issue.  That's what they legislated.

Simple Question ...

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Ok, so we know that the waterboarding came from the SERE program.

The SERE program came from the Korean War, when the Chinese were using it to 'turn' Americans who had been captured.

We used the waterboarding to elicit 'confessions' from many of the above.

So, what's the difference between the 'confession' of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the 'confession' of the captured Americans?

After 183 waterboardings, I expect nearly anyone would 'confess' to nearly anything.

"Sunny Buttocks Nudist Colony" is shut down by Judge Rhinehole and his band of religious zealots as an affront to the community. The nudists decide to protest by entering into a suicide pact, vowing to return one day to terrorize the people who took over their land. Five years later, a bunch of kids are sent to the ex-nudistcolony, which has now been transformed into a religious retreat. True to their promise, the nudist corpses rise from the grave, seek revenge on the zealots who condemned them and sing big production numbers (Such as "Kill Kill Kill All The Zealots," "The Zombie Rap," "It's An Inky Dinky Doo Dah Morning"), as the campers begin to experience an attrition problem.


By Jeff Duntemann

With abundant apologies to Robert Frost
Whose procs these are I'm sure I know
He lives up in the mountains, though;
He would not care to help me here--
He sold his options long ago.

My CS prof would think it queer
To pause without a breakpoint near
Down where our hackers never go--
(At least not since that mess last year...)

Now, why XOR before INT0?
To clear ES on overflow?
Why doesn't that corrupt the heap?
I'm sure that I'll just never know.

His code is subtle, fast, and deep.
But I have schedules to keep,
And bugs to fix before I sleep;
And bugs to fix before I sleep.

Ok, you might not know of this man, as he writes for a rather limited audience most of the time.  He's always been quotable (notably so, even), and I've listed both the 'Our Friend, the Beaver' and 'Shooting Yourself in the Foot' articles before (and the product that OFTB actually is).

Anyway, if you know code, and you know Eliot, this is just ROFLOL funny:

The Love Song of J. Random Hacker, 1995

By Jeff Duntemann, with apologies to T. S. Eliot
(Doctah Kurtz, he dead. A GOTO for the old guy.)

Let us go then, you and I,
For fast Chinese and talk of years gone by
Filled with random jumps and custom cable; 
Let us go, recalling joys of FORTH and MUMPS, 
The cluttering lumps
Of threaded code in frantic ten-hour hacks
To get that midterm project off our backs: 
With code that twisted, doubled-back and bent
And set into cement
But came through with an underwhelming "B"...
Oh, do not ask, "What was it?" 
I don't care what it does, just how it does it. 

On the Net the expert systems come and go, 
Bragging about how much they know. 

Over yellow chad that chattered out from teletype machines, 
Over yellow tape that rattled out encoding fever dreams
That curled into the data center trash; 
We lingered, inventing novel sort/merge schemes, 
Or ways to thwart collisions when we hash--
And seeing that we'd been logged in since late last week
Took one last slug of Jolt and fell asleep. 

On the Net the expert systems come and go, 
Bragging about how much they know. 

No! I am not Bill Gates, nor would I want to be; 
I'd rather parse the fish than own the knife; 
(Imagine! Having moby bux but chained
to ninety million lusers, what a life...) 
Am a flamer, goateed, pallid, overweight, 
Willing to pull two shifts, then (hell) a third, 
To save a session from a deadlocked state; 
At times, (to put it mildly) unrestrained--
Almost, at times, a nerd. 

I grow old...I grow old... 
dBase II and Wordstar are no longer sold. 

Shall I start a BBS? Do I dare to try to teach? 
I shall take my palmheld portable and hack upon the beach. 
I have heard the networks passing packets, each to each

They have no traffic for the likes of me. 

I have seen the Altair live and die
And software startups score on sorry score--
And millions made by men like Mitch Kapor. 

We hackers linger by our leading edge
Forgetting what is pending in the cache
Till practice hurtles past us, and we crash. 

Repost, sort of ...

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I know I at least mentioned it.  I made some silly examples, though, so that's new.  Now, I should preface this with the statement that neither of these are particularly pleasant keys for me (the first a bit high, the second a bit low), and so I wasn't terribly concerned about audio quality, as the point was humor anyway (yeah, I foul up the lyrics, too).

This one has backing by Buck Trent and Roy Clark:

Zero-G Polka.mp3

The Zero-G Polka

By Jeff Duntemann

To: "The Beer Barrel Polka"

Think of action, and reaction 
Never mind the lack of traction; 
When the band begins to play, 
Grab your partner's hand, 
Simply kick away. 
We'll be whirling, we'll be reeling 
And rebounding off the ceiling-- 
Don't pull my leg, my dear; 
I haven't one to spare!

When Stashu's saxaphone begins to blare, 
You can tell he pumps a lot of air; 
He tends to fly around the ballroom; 
That's why we've tied him to his chair. 
So if you'd like to join me in a beer, 
We could meet above the chadelier, 
And suck some Schlitz from plastic bottles 
And sing: Hurray, the gang's all here!

Turn off the G-force, 
We wanna dance in mid-air! 
No other recourse; 
Cling to the floor if you dare! 
But let us warn you: 
A foot in the face is no crime-- 
They say all is fair in love, war, sex 
And two-fourths time!

This one is backed by Glenn Miller:

Pardon me boy, 
Is this the Lair of Great Cthulhu? 
In the city of slime, 
Where it is night all the time.

Bob Hope never went 
Along the road to Great Cthulhu, 
And Triple-A has no maps, 
And all the Tcho Tcho's lay traps.

You'll see an ancient sunken city 
Where the angles are wrong. 
You'll see the fourth demonsion 
If you're there very long. 
Come to the conventicle, 
Bring along your pentacle, 
Otherwise you'll be dragged off by a tentacle.

A mountain's in the middle, 
With a house on the peak. 
A gnashin' and a thrashin' 
And a clackin' of a beak. 
Your soul you will be a lackin' 
When you see that mighty Kraken. 
Ooo-ooo, Great Cthulhu's startin' to speak.

So come on aboard, 
Along the Road to Great Cthulhu, 
Wen-di-gos and Dholes 
Will make Big Macs of our souls.

Under the sea, 
Down in the ancient city of R'lyeh, 
In the Lair of Great Cthulhu 
They'll suck your soul away... 
(Great Cthulhu, Great Cthulhu 
--- Suck your soul --- 
Great Cthulhu, Great Cthulhu) 
...In the Lair of Great Cthulhu, 
They'll suck your soul away!

The Flu

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Yano, I'm seeing a pattern here:

Avian flu, based on corporate chicken farms

Swine flu, based on corporate hog farms

Now, we've not seen lamb or cow flu yet, but we've seen mad-cow disease

Perhaps, just perhaps, the idea of letting an entity that (by definition) has *no* soul gain dominion over those that do is the error. 


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The 'illuminati' may well chide their new members with their 'knowledge' of the other-place.

And of course, they are quite correct in saying that we are all there after death, regardless (what they don't realize is that we are also, in fact, there now, as we live and breathe).

However, they miss a terribly salient point about that place.

You see, there you can *see* (everything, all at once, and at all times).

As I pointed out in my post of the spider-woman dream, the fact that my anal sphincter and my irises resembled one another (which I understood as I could see all these items concurrently) was terribly funny.

It's because the irises and the anus all contract-expand with emotion, yano?

In any case, that multi-dimensionality of the other place (somewhat like being stuck in the 'phantom zone' if you watch Smallville), is not limited to seeing all of the 'three' dimensions at once, but also seeing all time both as a continuum and also as a surface (somewhat like those neat new web photo-albums that change out the 'thumbnail' as you waft across with your mouse, like my 'mac page').

In any event, the point here is that in that other place (should you care to attend) the option is that you will be *completely* visible to everyone for all time.

So if you were, in fact, a lying SOB like a lot of these folks who used this to point out how they were 'immune' from 'hell', I'd like to posit the following circumstance:

After death, you will be immediately and ultimately visible to all your people.  Every lie, every betrayal, every compromise, will be as clear as if it were stamped "evildoer" on your head.

Now, in my case, that's heaven.

I suspect that in other folks' conditions it might not be so well named.

Some of them might actually prefer dissolution to retention of such a disingenuous form in the 'crystal city'.

I'm personally debating whether to poke the bindi in the eye and stop all this BS, since it seems near torture to make such morons try to appreciate their condition, but I'll wait till then to make that determination.

Serious Nutjobs

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On December 122001, Irv Rubin, JDL Chairman, and Earl Krugel, a member of the organization, were charged with conspiracy to bomb private and government property. The two allegedly were caught in the act of planning bomb attacks against the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City, California and on the office of U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, who is Arab-American. The two were arrested as part of a sting operation after an FBI informant named Danny Gillis delivered explosives to Krugel's home in L.A.[10]

In November 2002, while imprisoned at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles awaiting trial, Rubin allegedly cut his own throat with a jail-issued safety razor and tumbled off an 18- to 20-foot balcony. The injuries from the fall resulted in his death at Los Angeles County Hospital several days later.[13] Some people consider the circumstances surrounding his death to be suspicious and Rubin's wife demanded an investigation into the situation.[14] But defense attorney Mark Werksman said that Rubin had been despondent for months, losing 40 pounds, and that the pressure of an upcoming trial "may have pushed him over top."[15] The Rubin family launched a wrongful death suit against the government.[16] The Bureau of Prisons refused to release videotape, despite the fact that virtually all his visitors report that the entire facility is monitored by video-cameras.

Raw Deal

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Scare Tactics

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I should note before I forget that the splendid, well produced *booklet* (yes, BOOKLET), actually, damn-near a freakin' magazine, about the 'Swine Flu' replete with a *cool* green bio-hazard logo with the 'H1N1' text overlaid on it, also in green) arrived at the MEC almost instantly after the announcement of the 'emergency' (which has claimed almost 1% of the annual flu deaths in the USA, per one of my callers).

Now, this booklet (full-color) includes reprints from our local newspaper (re-typeset), what appear to be scans of official press releases from Mendocino County, as well as articles from the Huffington Post and

It's not the professionalism (although that stands out by far compared to the other lame crap that shows up at the station for the most part).

It's not even the topic (as we get regular scare tactics about all sorts of crap out here).

It's the timing.

Yano, these hicks out here are slow as molasses on a bunch of things, but it seems that whenever there's some idiotic concern to take the mob's attention and redirect it, *THOSE* things show up fast, furiously, and well-funded.

It's like they've got some kind of 'rainy-day fund' for stupidity.  It funded the nefarious map-insert 'bombing area'.  It's funding the NIMBY 'green-power' people who lie about whales to keep from having to look at energy being produced off *their* shore (much like those rich folks on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard that 'support' wind power, just not there, where they pay lots of money to 'get away' for the 'natural beauty').  Natural beauty in oceanic views are commonly found in those *very* places where wind and water wreak their greatest havoc.

Kinda sucks for the richies, eh?

Anyway, I suspect when I find such morons with such funding that there's an 'ulterior' motive (like the lies about the whales being the basis for keeping the power generators out, and bashing the Navy, as well).

The point here, if you actually listen to the presenters is quite different.  Let me clarify:

1) We paid a lot for this land to look at empty water, and we will fund any enemy of this project, in any fashion.

2) We will, of course, lie about anything and anyone to get our way.

3) We will continue to undermine anything that is in our way in every possible way.

It works the same with the drug war liars.  It works the same with the 'meat is murder' liars.  It works the same with the 'smoking is (comparatively) dangerous' liars, or the 'guns are violence' liars, or the 'queers are sinners' liars.

It works the same with *any* religious proselytization (and don't fool yourself, *all* of the above are religious cults).

In order for them to promulgate their (false) beliefs, they always have to resort to lies.

In other countries (say, Canada) where the 'free-speech' laws (as they relate to public falsehoods) are a bit more restrictive, you see much more civil discourse.

Here, the Salt Institute had to sue the Federal Government to try to *force* them to release their data upon which their product had been maligned (lovely filing, BTW), yet since it was the feds, and a fed judge, the case was thrown out for 'lack of standing' (supposedly, a citizen or corporation can't sue to enforce the "Information Quality Act").

So, basically, though the science supports the (simple) assertion that it's eating so many carbs which is the basic underlying health issue in this country (and specifically, mercury-laden carbs, and mostly fat-covered fried carbs), we will continue to have to find this through a smokescreen, under a film of animal fat and grease, after breaking through a solid layer of salt (while dodging sugar-frenzied 'athletes').

Of course, after so much mental exertion, it's nice to sit back with a glass of red wine and some almonds, walnuts and cheese, with perhaps a clove of garlic, some sprigs of culinary sage, and parsley (wormwood?) as an after munchie palate cleanser.

Or maybe just a glass of water.  It turns out that much of the time, people who aren't paying attention mistake thirstiness for hunger, yano?

Because, if your body is functioning correctly, and you have ten pounds of fat left, you should be able to go all week without eating.

If Americans fasted more often, they'd have an appreciation for such things, but really, most of them can't get past 'break-fast' w/o going into a sugar-stupor (and wouldn't think of leaving the house in any other condition, for the most part).

I find it curious that people who eat so much for breakfast that they end up having to 'work it off' don't apply this same logic to other aspects of their lives, like getting up earlier so they can drive more out of their way to get to work so they can buy more gas, or leaving the windows and doors open more often so they can spend more on air-conditioning and heating.

Goddamn Subversives!

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You know, those Architects and Engineers have succumbed to the same logic that the Arson Investigators have (doubting the 'truth' of the 911 story).

Of course, this is only because they are scientists involved in the understanding of why buildings stand or fall, and they find some discrepancies between the Hollywood version of events, and physics.

Kind of like the physicists, yano?

Anyway, here's their card (see more at

WTC Twin Towers Evidence Cards (10 pack - List Text)

Criminalizing Criticism of Israel


On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobby's bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act.  This legislation requires the US Department of State to monitor anti-semitism world wide.

To monitor anti-semitism, it has to be defined.  What is the definition?  Basically, as defined by the Israel Lobby and Abe Foxman, it boils down to any criticism of Israel or Jews. 

Rahm Israel Emanuel hasn't been mopping floors at the White House. 
As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 passed, it will become a crime for any American to tell the truth about Israel's treatment of Palestinians and theft of their lands.  

It will be a crime for Christians to acknowledge the New Testament's account of Jews demanding the crucifixion of Jesus.

It will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of the Israel Lobby on the White House and Congress, such as the AIPAC-written resolutions praising Israel for its war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza that were endorsed by 100 per cent  of the US Senate and 99 per cent  of the House of Representatives, while the rest of the world condemned Israel for its barbarity. 

It will be a crime to doubt the Holocaust.  

It will become a crime to note the disproportionate representation of Jews in the media, finance, and foreign policy.

In other words, it means the end of free speech, free inquiry, and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Any facts or truths that cast aspersion upon Israel will simply be banned. 

Given the hubris of the US government, which leads Washington to apply US law to every country and organization, what will happen to the International Red Cross, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the various human rights organizations that have demanded investigations of Israel's military assault on Gaza's civilian population?  Will they all be arrested for the hate crime of "excessive" criticism of Israel?

This is a serious question. 

read more?

 I wish to bring to everyone's attention a rally protesting the War on Drugs, held at the Ukiah Courthouse this Saturday, May 9, high noon.  The musicians Lucky Otis and Roberto Gloria will both be performing on the steps, and there will be informational videos at the MEC concerning ibogaine, an addiction interrupter from the iboga tabernanthe plant, used also for initiation ceremonies by the Bwiti, who are indigenous to W. Central Africa.
   I also wish to remind everyone that the production room, also known as the analog room, needs to be open to kmec members so that essential editing can be done, which is basic to all who need to censor sketchy material, do a valid news program, or otherwise work professionally in the realm of radio. 
   For some reason this has been a touchy subject to some board members as for the need of the space, as there have been 2 locked rooms upstairs since kmec started. Offers to replace all personal equipment with outright donations by me or others so that the room can be used have been rebuffed for nearly 3 years, and which has been given as the reason that the room cannot be used, along with the talk of moving operations downstairs (which has also been bandied around for a few years).  A switch-over so that access can be had by programmers can be done in a few minutes, with whatever needs to be locked up put in the other locked room. 
   Anyways, let's move on with the spirit of openess and joy, with faith that we're able to make positive changes in our community, and that the MEC is alive as a peace, justice and environmental conduit for the Ukiah area.

Zogby Poll Commissioned by Conservative Group Is Similar to Other Recent Surveys.

Cannabis plant
"Cannabis by Night"

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - A new Zogby poll commissioned by the conservative-leaning O'Leary Report has found 52 percent voter support for treating marijuana as a legal, taxed, regulated substance.

The survey, published as a full-page ad in today's issue of the political newspaper The Hill, polled a sample of 3,937 voters weighted to match the 2008 presidential outcome -- 54 percent Obama voters and 46 percent McCain supporters.

"This new survey continues the recent trend of strong and growing support for taxing and regulating marijuana and ending the disastrously failed policy of prohibition," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

Voters were asked: "Scarce law enforcement and prison resources, a desire to neutralize drug cartels and the need for new sources of revenue have resurrected the topic of legalizing marijuana. Proponents say it makes sense to tax and regulate the drug while opponents say that legalization would lead marijuana users to use other illegal drugs. Would you favor or oppose the government's effort to legalize marijuana?"

Documentary on PTSD Needs Help to Reach Completion (VIDEO)

The results showed a decisive majority of 52 percent in favor with 37 percent opposed and 11 percent not sure -- slightly higher than the 46 percent support reported in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released at the end of April.

In California, the respected Field poll recently found 56 percent support for making marijuana a taxed, regulated product that is legal for adults.

"Voters are coming to realize that marijuana prohibition gives us the worst of all possible worlds -- a drug that's widely available but totally unregulated, whose producers and sellers pay no taxes but whose profits often support murderous drug cartels," Kampia said.

"The public is way ahead of the politicians on this."

With more than 27,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

The Time Is Now

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Well, per, it is.  I just got the pep-talk in email from them.  Beware.

You see, the health-insurance lobbyists and the health-care and drug company CEOs have all had their hand in "Obama's" new health program and it's about ready to be pushed through the Congress.

Personally, I feel a big yawn coming on.

Please call your representative and tell them that you'd rather be sick and miserable than pay a *CENT* to someone as a 'dividend' on being able to 'cost-contain' your health-care.

HR. 676, "Medicare for All" will *not* have a co-pay for fully covering the following services:

In-patient & out-patient care, dental, vision, long-term care, preventive care, and drugs. 

It will remove the 'for-profit' status from any entity accepting medicare payments.

Yesterday morning, eight doctors, lawyers and other activists stood up to Senator Max Baucus.

And the private health insurance industry.

And the corporate liberals in Congress.

The eight activists demanded that single payer - everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital - be put on the table.

And as a result they were arrested.

And charged with a so-called "disruption of Congress."

The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Politico, Democracy Now and National Public Radio all carried stories about the protest.

C-Span carried it live.

And it was widely disseminated on the Internet.

Baucus crafted a hearing to kick off the health care debate in the Senate yesterday where 15 witnesses would be at the table to discuss health care reform.

The insurance industry was at the table.

The Business Roundtable was at the table.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was at the table.

Blue Cross Blue Shield was at the table.

The Heritage Foundation was at the table.

And corporate liberals like Andy Stern, Ron Pollack, and AARP were at the table.

But not one person who stood for what the majority of Americans, doctors, nurses, and health economists want - single payer - was at the table.

Not one.

When I heard about this corporate line-up last week, I called the office of Senator Baucus.

And politely asked that, as a matter of fairness, a single payer doctor be allowed to testify.

I was told -  no way, Ralph.

The deal is done.

So, yesterday, at 10 a.m., the Baucus Eight, led by Single Payer Action and other single payer groups, took to the Senate Finance Committee.

And directly and respectfully confronted a room full of corporate lobbyists.

And corporate controlled Senators.

And again asked that a group of doctors who were in the room to support Medicare for all be allowed to testify.

The answer again - no, no, and no.

Remember what Senator Richard Durbin said last week?

Durbin said that the banks "own" the Congress.

To which we might add - the health insurance industry and the drug industry own the Senate.

Faxing, writing, and e-mailing is not getting it done.

Enough is enough.

Time for action.

This is a winnable issue.

But the American people need to focus on 535 members of Congress.

And get mobilized.

Single Payer Action is at your service to get the job done.

So, donate now -- $8, $18, $80, or $800.

To honor the Baucus Eight - who all wore black yesterday in memory of the more than 20,000 Americans who - according to the Institute of Medicine - die every year from lack of health insurance.

And to fuel a citizen action movement that will deliver single payer to the American people - sooner not later.

Together, we can break the corporate stranglehold on Congress.

And deliver health care for all.

Single payer.

More comprehensive. More efficient. More humane. More peace of mind.

Let's get it done.

Onward to single payer,

Left out:

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1977: Dallas, Yes, Moody Coliseum 

1983: Dallas, Kinks, Reunion Arena

1983: Dallas, ZZ Top

1984: Dallas, Yes

Rot Your Mind!

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KZEW 98 FM Rocks (er, Rocked!).

This was the sticker from my back window:



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Ok, I was looking to see what time House, MD actually plays, and I found that FOX had gotten the *slickest* player so far for HDTV.  It just rocks.

Yano ...

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Just for those of you who haven't really known me all that well, and so don't know my history (of 'wreviews'), here's a semi-history (what I can recall as of this moment):

1973: Dallas, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show

1974: Dallas, "KISS: Hotter Than Hell" tour, KISS, Bob Seeger, Boston

1974: Dallas, "Rush: 2112", Rush (Dallas Opera House)

1975: Dallas, "Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same" tour, 

1975: Dallas, "Rolling Stones, It's Only Rock 'N Roll" tour, Rolling Stones, Eagles, Montrose, and Trapeze (Cotton Bowl) 

1975: Dallas, "ZOO Armadillo Festival" "Blood, Sweat, and Tears", "David Clayton Thomas", "Freddie King", "Rusty Wier", and (curiously enough) "Blue Öyster Cült"

1976: Dallas, Joni Mitchell and the LA Express

1976: Dallas, Aerosmith's 'Dream On' tour

1976: Dallas, "ZOO Goodwill Concert", Black Oak Arkansas, Wishbone Ash, Head East, and Pure Prairie League (Cotton Bowl Parking Lot)

1978: Dallas, Texas World Music Festival, Ted Nugent, Heart, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Bob Welch, Aerosmith, Willie Nelson, Kris & Rita, Charlie Daniels, & Mahogany Rush

1979: Dallas, Ramones

1982: Dallas, Queen, Billy Squier

1985: Dallas, Emily Kaitz

1985: Dallas, John Prine

1986: Dallas, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians

1993: Austin, REM

1996: Albuquerque, Rolling Stones: Bridges to Babylon, Rolling Stones (late)

1998: Albuquerque, Tori Amos: Plugged '98 tour

This Land is Your Land (almost full).

BTW, that's up on as pre-transcribed (pick your key)

Donor Organ Recital

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It's just too freakin' weird.  Donor Organ dolls (apparently, for those with vinyl fetishes, the site offers more, too).  Read more. Or go to the website.

From left to right, "The Brain", "Lecter Liver", "Black Market Kidneys", "Purple Heart", "Smoker's Lungs", "The Liver" and "White Blood Cell"
Yes, those folks who just can't seem to be happy.  It's because their amygdalas are small.  They can't *have* an emotion, they can only be consumed by them (uses up all the grey matter).

And it's genetic.

Now, when they finally tie this inadequacy to sports, so we can use them to identify these individuals early, we can clean that genetic shortcoming right up.  It's a pity, but this moronic stance is the dominant genotype in the west.

The funniest part is where they look at the individuals, see that they report that they are happier overall, and (mis)conclude that this is due to anger resolving issues for them.


Didya think, maybe, it might be because their brains are too small?

Even if you don't admit that ignorance is bliss, you gotta admit that with less grey matter to fill, even the smallest things might make some of them positively ecstatic.

Then again, one of the researchers is afflicted.  Perhaps that explains the short-sightedness.

Just for a 'reality check'.  I figured that just reading about them wasn't as accurate as calling.

Yes, they've been in the basement at Natanz.

No, they don't think they are building bombs there, like they are in the basement of Dimona.

Of course, IAEA can't comment on Dimona (since it doesn't exist).  Israel has no nuclear munitions (on paper).

So, there aren't scads of THERMO-nuke-u-lar weapons there, either.  Or those handy neutron mortars.

Just in case you actually wanted to read the IAEA report, here's a link.

BTW, that report's on Iran (like I said, Israel doesn't declare any nukes).

Ok, you tell me ...

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Hmm, ran across this in a sideways sense, and noted that I can't think of anything even remotely like this in my own gender.  Of course, I could be blind to it due to myopia, but really, this is just bitchy, I think:

Snippets white on white don't work well, though.

Jesus H Christ and The Four Hornsmen Of The Apocalypseby Jesus H Christ and The Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse

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Modern Rock | Beatles-pop

13 tracks | 37 minutes

Released Mar 2006
on Jesus H Christ and The Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse

Click Listen sample for a 30-second preview. All tracks are 192kbps high fidelity sound quality. ProtectedWMA $0.77 or unprotected MP3 $0.88.

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Bio / Background

New York-based Jesus H Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse are an eight-piece rock/pop/punk/folk/metal/cabaret band. Likened to B-52s meets X-Ray Spex meets Weezer meets Blood Sweat and Tears, the JHC "difference" is horny, thinking-person's, emotionally-bare lyrics protectively cloaked in hard candy pop. All original, stylishly diverse, stick-in-your-head songs about being bicoastal, stealing your boyfriends' Kenneth Anger and Balzac references, compassion fatigue, boobs, Old Lyme, and widower-lust, with roaring guitars and celestial horns. Poignant, laughable, awash in sound and fury, signifying nothing, but saying everything that no one usually dares to say, JHC&TFHotA are really just eager to be held and loved. At which point they'll become distant and forget to buy toilet paper.


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By Bob Marley, also sung by Sinead O'Connor (which I now understand has *nothing* to do with 'The Troubles').  Both links are 'embedding disabled' BTW:

Until the philosophy which hold one race superior And another Inferior Is finally And permanently Discredited And abandoned - Everywhere is war - Me say war. That until there no longer First class and second class citizens of any nation Until the colour of a mans skin Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes - Me say war. That until the basic human rights Are equally guaranteed to all, Without regard to race - Dis a war. That until that day The dream of lasting peace, World citizenship Rule of international morality Will remain in but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, But never attained - Now everywhere is war - war. And until the ignoble and unhappy regimes That hold our brothers in angola, In mozambique, South africa Sub-human bondage Have been toppled, Utterly destroyed - Well, everywhere is war - Me say war. War in the east, War in the west, War up north, War down south - War - war - Rumours of war. And until that day, The african continent Will not know peace, We africans will fight - we find it necessary - And we know we shall win As we are confident In the victory Of good over evil - Good over evil, yeah! Good over evil - Good over evil, yeah! Good over evil - Good over evil, yeah! 

He made an off-hand comment on today's DNow! in a segment I was cutting out to use on the air for other purposes (the Internationale).

He said that the cause of 'The Troubles' in Northern Ireland was actually the Catholic Civil Rights movement.

So I looked it up.  And I found the most charming reference for that Nutjob (capital-N) Ian Paisley (the equivalent of Rev. Fred Phelps in the UK).  Here's what I found:

In 1988, when Pope John Paul II delivered a speech to the European Parliament, Paisley shouted "I Denounce you as the AntiChrist!" and held up a red poster reading "Pope John Paul II ANTICHRIST" in black letters. John Paul continued with his address after Paisley was ejected from the hemicycle by fellow MEPs.[7][8][9][10] Some reports claimed that other MEPs assisted in expelling him from the chamber [11], and that Paisley was booed and struck by other MEPs, who also hurled objects at him, leading to his hospitalisation[12][13]. The elderly Otto von Habsburg helped to wrestle Paisley out of the room. It has been reported that Paisley brought several posters with him and when a poster was snatched away, he immediately re-commenced with a new poster[13]

That's from the wiki (names are links).

So, really, the march started in September 1968.  Now, the Protestants had already started killing folks when the Catholics started marching, but the Catholics didn't take up arms (this time) till a few marches got clubbed.

Here's what they were marching for:

In a conscious imitation of tactics used by the American Civil Rights Movement,[9] and modelled somewhat on the National Council for Civil Liberties, the new organisation held marches, pickets, sit-ins and protests to pressure the Government of Northern Ireland to grant these demands. NICRA had five main demands:

  • one man, one vote which meant extension of the local government franchise from ratepayers to all over 21
  • an end to gerrymandering, which meant Protestant candidates were elected even in districts with Catholic majorities
  • an end to discrimination in housing
  • an end to discrimination in jobs
  • the disbandment of the B-Specials, an entirely Protestant police force, which many viewed as sectarian.

NICRA was ignited by the Derry Housing Action Committee, which organized sit-ins to protest housing discrimination. The most prominent event the allocation of a home in Caledon, Co Tyrone, to a single Protestant woman, when there were many Catholic families living within one house.

"When companies begin to lose money, they start to listen."

On May 4, protesters will greet Motorola shareholders, already disgruntled by the company's losses, as they arrive for their annual meeting at the Rosemont Theater in Chicago, Illinois.

The protest, organized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, is part of a drive to "Hang Up On Motorola" until it ends sales of communications and other products that support Israel's military occupation of Palestinian land.

Inside the meeting, the Presbyterian, United Methodist and other churches will urge shareholders to support their resolution, which calls for corporate standards grounded in international law. Doing the right thing could also reduce the risk of "consumer boycotts, divestment campaigns and lawsuits."

Although Motorola executives deny it, such risks must have played a part in their decision to sell the department making bomb fuses shortly after Human Rights Watch teams found shrapnel with Motorola serial numbers at some of the civilian sites bombed by Israel in its December-January assault on Gaza.

The US protests are part of a growing global movement that has taken international law into its own hands because governments have not. And, especially since the attacks on Gaza, the boycotts have been biting. There are three reasons why.

First, boycotts enable ordinary citizens to take direct action. For instance, the New York group Adalah decided to target diamond merchant Lev Leviev, whose profits are plowed into colonizing the West Bank. During the Christmas season, they sing carols with the words creatively altered to urge shoppers to boycott his Madison Avenue store.

The British group Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine teamed up with Adalah NY and others to exert public pressure on the British government regarding Leviev. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv recently cancelled plans to rent premises from Leviev's company Africa-Israel.

There are other results. Activists in Britain have targeted the supermarket chain Tesco to stop the sales of Israeli goods produced in settlements. In a video of one such action -- over 38,000 YouTube views to date -- Welsh activists load up a trolley with settlement products and push it out of the shop without paying.

All the while, they calmly explain to the camera just what they are doing and why. They talk away as they pour red paint over the produce, and as British Bobbies quietly lead them away to a police van.

The result of such consumer boycotts? A fifth of Israeli producers have reported a drop in demand since the assault on Gaza, particularly in Britain and Scandinavia.

The second reason boycotts are more effective is the visible role of Jewish human rights advocates, making it harder for Israel to argue that these actions are anti-Semitic.

For example, British architect Abe Hayeem, an Iraqi Jew, describes in a passionate column in The Guardian exactly how Leviev tramples on Palestinian rights, and warns Israeli architects involved in settlements that they will be held to account by their international peers.

In the United States, Jewish Voice for Peace has led an ongoing campaign to stop Caterpillar from selling bulldozers to Israel, which militarizes them and uses them in home demolitions and building the separation wall.

The third, key, reason for the growing success of this global movement is the determined leadership of Palestinian civil society. The spark was lit at the world conference against racism in Durban in 2001. In 2004, Palestinian civil society launched an academic and cultural boycott that is having an impact.

In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society coalitions, organizations, and unions, from the occupied territories, within Israel, and in exile issued a formal call for an international campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) until Israel abides by international law. The call sets out clear goals for the movement and provides a framework for action.

In November 2008, Palestinian NGOs helped convene an international BDS conference in Bilbao, Spain, to adopt common actions. This launched a "Derail Veolia" campaign. That French multinational corporation, together with another French company, Alstom, is building a light railway linking East Jerusalem to illegal settlements.

The light rail project was cited by the Swedish national pension fund in its decision to exclude Alstom from its $15 billion portfolio, and by the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council in its decision not to consider further Veolia's bid for a $1.9 billion waste improvement plan. There were active grassroots campaigns in both areas.

Other hits: Veolia lost the contract to operate the city of Stockholm subway and an urban network in Bordeaux. Although these were reportedly "business decisions" there were also activist campaigns in both places. The Galway city council in Ireland decided to follow Stockholm's example. Meanwhile, Connex, the company that is supposed to operate the light rail, is being targeted by activists in Australia.

The "Derail Veolia" campaign has been the movement's biggest success to date. Veolia and its subsidiaries are estimated to have lost as much as $7.5 billion.

As one of the BDS movement leaders, Omar Barghouti, put it, "When companies start to lose money, then they listen." Perhaps governments will too.

The Prisoner

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It's what happened to "Secret Agent Man".  I was off by one prime number when I told MIke that there were thirteen episodes.

From the wiki:


The series follows a British agent who abruptly resigns his job and then finds himself captive in a mysterious seaside "village" whose leader tries to find out why he quit. Throughout the series, the unnamed prisoner, labelled "Number Six" by his captors, tries to escape while defying all attempts to break his will. He also tries to discover for which "side" his captors work and the identity of the never-seen "Number One", who presumably runs the Village. Number Six often thwarts the various individuals serving as the Village's chief administrator, "Number Two." As the series reaches its climax, Number Six's indomitable resistance and mounting blows against the administration threaten the viability of the Village itself, which forces its desperate warders to take drastic action. The series features striking and often surreal storylines, and themes include hypnosishallucinogenic drug experiences, identity theftmind controldream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination. A major theme is individualism versus collectivism.

Here's the 'Inter-Tile' (picture at the beginning/end):

Title  ↓Original airdate (UK)[1]  ↓Number Twoplayed by  ↓Plot  ↓KTEH  ↓6of1  ↓ITC  ↓1st  ↓McG  ↓
ArrivalOctober 1,1967Guy Doleman
George Baker
After waking up in the Village and discovering his captivity there, Number Six encounters a friend from the outside who may have a possible escape.11111
The Chimes of Big BenOctober 8,1967Leo McKernA new prisoner, Nadia, may have information about the Village that makes an escape attempt possible.45225
A. B. and C.October 15,1967Colin GordonA desperate Number Two tampers with Number Six's dreams to discover where his loyalties lie.9633-
Free For AllOctober 22,1967Eric Portman
Rachel Herbert
Presented with the opportunity, Number Six runs for election to the post of Number Two.52443
The Schizoid ManOctober 29,1967Anton RodgersNumber Two replaces Number Six with a duplicate to weaken the real Six's sense of identity.7855-
The GeneralNovember 5,1967Colin GordonAn important prisoner's new speed-teaching machine poses perhaps the greatest threat to Number Six's independence.8766-
Many Happy ReturnsNovember 121967Georgina CooksonAfter waking to find the Village deserted, Number Six returns to England but doesn't know whom he can trust there.6977-
Dance of the DeadNovember 261967Mary MorrisNumber Six tries to save an old friend headed for destruction at the hands of the Village.23882
CheckmateDecember 3,1967Peter WyngardeNumber Six thinks he has a means to tell the prisoners from the warders, and assembles a group for an escape attempt.341194
Hammer Into AnvilDecember 101967Patrick CargillNumber Six takes revenge on a sadistic Number Two for the death of another prisoner.14121410-
It's Your FuneralDecember 171967Derren Nesbitt
Andre Van Gyseghem
To save the prisoner who is being set up to take the fall, Number Six must intervene in a Village power struggle and prevent the assassination of a Number Two.11101011-
A Change of MindDecember 311967John SharpNumber Two stirs the Village to ostracize Number Six, and then takes even more drastic measures to cure Six's "unmutuality".13111312-
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My DarlingJanuary 7,1968Clifford EvansDeprived of his memory and placed in another man's body, Number Six travels back to England to seek a missing scientist.1213913-
Living in HarmonyJanuary 14,1968David BauerIn an Old West setting, a lawman who resigned is trapped in a town called Harmony where the Judge wants him to be the new sheriff -- by hook or by crook.10141214-
The Girl Who Was DeathJanuary 21,1968Kenneth GriffithNumber Six tells a fairy tale in which he avoids the assassination attempts of a beautiful woman while foiling the plots of her megalomaniac father.15151515-
Once Upon a TimeJanuary 28,1968Leo McKernNumber Two subjects Number Six to a desperate, last-ditch effort to subdue him, Degree Absolute -- an ordeal that will not end until it breaks one of them.161616166
Fall OutFebruary 4,1968Leo McKernNumber Six finally discovers the identity of Number One, and escapes the Village. Or does he?171717177

Here's the 'bad guy':


Distribution of radium in oil and gas industry wastes from Malaysia

Purchase the full-text article

M. Omar Corresponding Author Contact InformationE-mail The Corresponding Authora, H. M. Ali b, M. P. Abu a, K. M. Kontol a, Z. Ahmad a, S. H. S. S. Ahmad a, I. Sulaiman a and R. Hamzah a

a Malaysian Institute for Nuclear Technology Research (MINT), Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor D.E., Malaysia

b Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), Jalan Dengkil, 43800 Sepang, Selangor D.E., Malaysia

Received 12 May 2003;  
Revised 16 January 2004;  
accepted 16 January 2004.  
Available online 26 February 2004. 


Radium concentrations in 470 samples of the various types of waste from oil and gas industries were analysed using gamma spectrometers. The results showed that the radium concentration varied within a wide range. The highest mean 226Ra and 228Ra concentrations of 114,300 and 130,120 Bq/kg, respectively, were measured in scales. Overall, 75% of the waste, mostly sludge and extraction residue lies within the normal range of radium concentration in soils of Malaysia. However, some platform sludge can have radium concentration up to 560 Bq/kg.

Author Keywords: Author Keywords: Gas; Offshore; Oil; Radium; Scale; Sludge; Spectrometer; TENORM; Waste

Disingenuous Aussie

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If you were watching the MSNBC bit about 'Children for Sale' which featured a silhouette of an Australian human rights activist, you might be under the misimpression that prostitution is illegal in Australia.

It's not, of course, *WE* got the Puritans, remember?  They got the prisoners (and the Canadians got the French).

The age of consent in Australia is sixteen, BTW.
They mean, Najd:

In May 1948, Israelis ethnically cleansed Najd‎ and destroyed it completely and now it serves the Israeli public as "Park" and grazing lands for cattle, something that Israelis did to most destroyed Palestinians villages.

Eugene, Oregon

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Click to enlarge 

The Associated Press
6:26 PM EST May 1, 2009

A Jewish university professor accused of anti-Semitism for comparing Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to the Holocaust says he has received hundreds of messages of support and a bombardment of hate mail.

William I. Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said Thursday that accusations of anti-Semitism are "absolutely outrageous" and akin to claiming someone who criticizes the regime of Iran is anti-Muslim.

He sent an e-mail Jan. 19 to 80 students in his "Sociology of Globalization" class entitled: "parallel images of Nazis and Israelis."

"Gaza is Israel's Warsaw - a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians, subjecting them to the slow death of malnutrition, disease and despair, nearly two years before their subjection to the quick death of Israeli bombs," Robinson wrote. "We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide. ..."

Robinson's message included a forwarded e-mail featuring juxtaposed photos from the Nazi era and the Gaza offensive with similar subjects, including grisly photos of children's corpses.

"This is a course on global affairs. We discuss ... the most pressing," issues, including wars, he wrote.

Students claim intimidation
The e-mail set off a furor on the campus. Two Jewish students dropped Robinson's class and filed grievance letters with the university, claiming they felt intimidated by his strong and unsolicited opinion and the graphic images.

Two prominent Jewish groups demanded he apologize. The university's Academic Senate, composed of faculty members, has created an ad hoc committee to review claims that Robinson violated university policy that bars professors from intimidating students and using campus resources for personal or political reasons unrelated to their classes.

The committee will decide whether the case should proceed to a standing Academic Senate committee, which could make discipline recommendations to the administration.

"There is a process and it does have history and integrity, and I think faculty members should have some confidence in the judgment of their peers," school spokesman Paul Desruisseaux said.

Robinson said he has hired an attorney and called the investigation a "violation of academic freedom."

"I expect to be totally vindicated," he said.

'Baseless argument'
Some students at the school have formed a support committee and some outside academics, including famed philosopher-activist Noam Chomsky, have publicly sided with Robinson. The student group plans a campus forum on the matter.

Jewish leaders demanding an apology said Robinson crossed the line by using language from the Nazis' calculated genocide of Jews in relation to the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza because Israel was attempting to stop rocket attacks into its territory.

Robinson said his criticism of Israeli policies have been confused with anti-Semitism.

"That's like saying if I condemn the U.S. government for the invasion of Iraq, I'm anti-American," he said. "It's the most absurd, baseless argument."

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said Robinson delivered personal opinion without providing context, differing views or an equivalent chance for his students to counter his claims.

"This is not a question of academic freedom, it's a question of intimidation," Foxman said.

Interesting Sub-text

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I guess I should call it 'sub-pretext'.  Right in the middle of this neat video about a touch-screen table is a bunch of lies about Iran.

If you should google Natanz, you'll see that the 'perimeter fence' is actually a much larger area, and that fact is misrepresented in the video.  You'll also hear the assertion that these areas have not been inspected by IAEA Chief, Mohammed ElBaradai from the man demonstrating the table.

They have been inspected, repeatedly, at length, by the same agency that said that Iraq didn't have WMDs.

You do recall that Iraq didn't have any WMDs, right?  Well, the Iranians don't either, per the same set of experts that got that one right when American intelligence wasn't able to pin that tail on any donkey.

Here's a report from late last month from 'College News':

U.S. re-shapes its policy toward Iran

The Obama administration met with European allies to reassess their policy towards Iran

Tiffany Ayuda

The Obama administration, along with its European allies, are reassessing their policy towards Iran, which calls for Iran to shutdown its nuclear program, according to officials within the administration.

In confidential strategy sessions, officials discussed how they would pressure Iran to open its nuclear facilities for inspections.

However, unlike its previous policy, they would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for a small period of time during the talks. This significant change in strategy is a break away from President George W. Bush administration's policy towards Iran, which was to have Iran stop its uranium enrichment completely before setting up diplomatic talks. 

The proposals to change strategy are beyond what President Obama originally promised during his presidential campaign. During his campaign, Obama said that he would be willing to have open talks with Iran without preconditions.

A review of U.S policy towards Iran is still being reviewed by President Obama, and his aides say that it is unclear how long Obama would let Iran to continue enriching uranium.

However, European officials say that during Obama's visit that they all agreed Iran would never shutdown its nuclear program immediately.

Although administration officials discuss details of the confidential strategy sessions, any new U.S. policy would ultimately require Iran to stop enrichment as decided in United Nations Security Council resolutions.

If the U.S. and its allies allow Iran to continue enriching uranium, the policy would eventually have opposition in the U.S., from conservatives and the new right-wing Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. If Obama agrees to the new negotiating approach, the U.S. and its European allies would start sessions with Iran and press it to suspend its nuclear program, starting with allowing I.A.E.A. inspectors to the sites.

The first site is located in downtown Tehran, where Iran is producing next-generation centrifuges, which are going to be installed in an underground plant in Natanz.

The director general of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei said in an interview that the Obama administration has not consulted him about the new strategy , or about how I.A.E.A. inspectors would be part of the strategy. ElBaradei said that the Bush administration's approach was not practical and that pressuring the Iranians to stop its uranium enrichment was a "ridiculous" approach.

By contrast, ElBaradei said that Obama's administration has accepted the fact that Iran has already built 5,500 centrifuges and that the U.S. must create a new policy that is "sensitive" to Iran's policy.

However, Israeli officials have given Obama a warning that if the U.S. is unable to shutdown Iran's nuclear program by next fall, it would not hesitate to use force and shut down the nuclear site in Natanz. 

Roller-Derby Queen

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I actually ran across one.  I was floored.  She's quite attractive, surprisingly.  Maybe life in Ukiah isn't really as boring as it appears.

The Cases of Margo Ramlal Nankoe, William Robinson, Nagesh Rao, and Loretta Capeheart

In early April, the jury in Ward Churchill's civil trial against the University of Colorado found, in his favor, that the University had fired him because of critical remarks he made after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While Churchill awaits a hearing on his ongoing employment at the University, this victory is something to celebrate and replicate.

At the same time, however, the noxious weeds of the new McCarthyism have begun to bear bitter fruit around the country. Reports are coming in, not just about the better-known cases of harassment and firing of Norman Finkelstein (denied tenure at DePaul and banned from a speaking engagement at Clark College) or Joel Kovel (recently fired from his position as the Alger Hiss Chair of Social Studies at Bard College). Many readers will know the horrific case of Sami al-Arian, the University of South Florida professor jailed for five years without basis or charges for the suspicion of ties to terrorism.

Fewer people will know the names of four other targets of the Right's attack: Margo Ramlal-Nankoe, William Robinson, Nagesh Rao, and Loretta Capeheart. All four face harassment, threats, or potential removal from their jobs at their universities because they have criticized Israel, defended multiculturalism, and stood up as organized employees in defense of their rights as workers.

This rash of cases comes, not coincidentally, during an upsurge in college activism, from counter-recruitment demonstrations to the student occupation at New School, from the struggle for gay civil rights to the demand to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel. University campuses have always been spaces for young activists and critical scholars to demand change.

This is why the Right is still holding on by its teeth to the flag of academic freedom. In a recent attack on me in the Wall Street Journal (whose editors clearly know who benefits from policing the academy), right-wing attack dog David Horowitz condemned the recent protest of his lecture at the University of Texas. Horowitz railed against me and other protesters as "little fascists." He claimed, in a bit of over-the-top self-aggrandizing melodrama, that because of his fear of people like me, he traveled with a bodyguard named Floyd. (The only physical assault Horowitz ever "faced," so to speak, involved a cream pie.)

In his lecture, he spouted offensive nonsense: for example, that racism and sexism are not barriers to achievement, that renowned critical race scholars Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson are "buffoons" and third-rate intellects, that gender is entirely biological (and therefore so is women's inferiority at math), that Sami al-Arian is a terrorist, that support for Palestine is anti-Semitic, and so on.

He also used the podium to attack me as an alleged indoctrinator of students. I rose during discussion to make the point that my activism is separate from my teaching and that he should respect students (about whom he is ostensibly so concerned) enough to know that they can think for themselves. This intervention was met with a diatribe, along with the accusation that my appearing so reasonable is a consequence of my skill at manipulation and deceit.

The protest and Horowitz's column have garnered opprobrium from both hard conservatives and liberals, who argue that confronting Horowitz and those of his ilk is a futile violation of decorum and the affront to the principle of free speech. If Joe McCarthy rose from the dead chanting "I have here a list"--or in Horowitz's case, three books and an Internet hit list--would they shout him down before or after he ruined hundreds of people's lives and careers?

Those targeted by Horowitz, it seems, are expected to listen politely to his lies and distortions. However, left unchecked, the chilling climate that Horowitz and others have wrought results in real damage to the lives and careers of talented scholars and conscientious teachers.

His state-by-state campaign for his Orwellian-named "Academic Bill of Rights" has prompted numbers of universities--most recently the College of DuPage--to adopt vaguely-worded and potentially repressive codes of conduct that could be deployed arbitrarily against faculty who teach from their own philosophical perspective or bring political matters into classrooms, even when relevant. AAUP President Cary Nelson called the decision "a disaster for education in a democratic society."

Why, as the ground shifts under the Right and the country moves to the Left, are we seeing this proliferation of attacks on academic freedom? It could be that the Right sees the campuses as places where they can retrench. And, because state budgets are in crisis, administrators of state universities see expendable targets in area studies (women's studies, labor studies, Middle-Eastern Studies, Latin-American Studies, African-American studies, and the like), roundly condemned by Horowitz as non-scholarly indoctrination factories. In reality, these are the programs fought for and won during the 1960s and 1970s that opened up universities to the voices of the marginalized.

The coming to fruition of a decades-long assault on academic freedom (in the name of academic freedom) is the context for the repression faced by critical and activist faculty today. Faculty who have spoken out against cuts in area studies, in defense of minorities and activists on campus, or as part of their union or other organization are particularly at risk today, as are critics of the state of Israel.

Opposition to scholars who expose and critique the treatment of Palestinians by Israel has been front and center in the cases against Professors Margo Ramlal-Nankoe and William Robinson.

Margo Ramlal-Nankoe is an assistant professor seeking tenure in Ithaca College's Sociology Department. Her tenure process became became a struggle when a small number of influential faculty and administrators began campaigning against her. She became a target of their negative campaign because she spoke out against sexual harassment within her department and challenged students and community members to think critically about US and Israeli policy in the Middle East. Ithaca College's Board of Trustees has denied Professor Ramlal-Nankoe tenure and she is scheduled to be fired on May 12th.

A tenured professor in her department revealed racism behind their decision as well: "We had little or no expectations of her; she is after all a woman of color," he wrote to the Sociology Tenure and Promotion Committee at Ithaca College in 2005.

Despite the campaign being waged against her, Professor Ramlal-Nankoe's tenure review file is full of glowing letters from her students and colleagues. The Chair of the Sociology Tenure and Promotion Committee summarized the content of the numerous letters of support Professor Ramlal-Nankoe received from her students: "Most students tell us that working with Dr. Ramlal-Nankoe has transformed their views, their life, and/or their plans for the future." The letters of support Professor Ramlal-Nankoe received from her peers also note her excellence. A typical faculty letter states that Professor Ramlal-Nankoe provides a, "superior example of pedagogy and of the teaching of traditional sociology."

With the evidence of such support, Professor Ramlal-Nankoe has concluded, "I believe the underlying basis for the violations against me stem from a discriminatory bias towards me, especially in regards to my political views on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Violations of human rights and the subjected condition of the population in this area of the Middle East have long been a matter of concern in my teachings and other work. Faculty reactions to my involvement in activist organizations, such as Students for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine and Ithaca Finger Lakes Interfaith Committee for a Just Peace in the Israel/Palestine Conflict, have been extremely negative and problematic, both inside and outside of the Sociology Department."

Professor Ramlal-Nankoe's supporters have established a Facebook page for her case. Please write in protest to

Professor William I. Robinson, a tenured Sociology and Global Studies full professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been attacked by the Anti-Defamation League and two of his former students. In January of this year, he forwarded an email condemning the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The email was an optional read for students.

Within a week, the ADL wrote him a letter charging him without basis with anti-Semitism and sundry violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct. The Academic Senate Charges Officer then notified him that two of the students in the class to which he circulated the email had filed complaints against him. Acting for all intents like a co-complainant of the students, the Officer fabricated additional charges not raised by the students.

The complaints rest upon the assumptions are that any critique of Israel is evidence of anti-Semitism and that the Israeli-Palestinian issue should not be discussed in a class on globalization. These are nonsensical; a critique of Israel does not impugn Jewish people or Judaism, and of course the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is a matter of concern for everyone interested in economic and political globalization. Proceeding with these charges serves only to sanction politically motivated attacks on academic freedom, including the freedom to criticize Israel. This case alongside others may chill those who wish to present controversial and critical subjects.

The charges have reached the Committee on Committees, which is now in the process of convening a committee to assess the complaints.

The campaign for Professor Robinson urges readers to 1) email the UCSB Chancellor and responsible authorities on campus to register your protest, and 2) sign the petition. Information and links are here. Contact the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UCSB at

Multicultural curriculum and diversity are at issue in the case of Nagesh Rao, an assistant professor and post-colonial scholar of English at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), a public liberal arts institution. The English department's personnel committee rejected his tenure application and recommended that he be denied reappointment. Those close to the case believe that there are multiple political factors involved in dismissing a fine teacher and researcher who was meeting all stated requirements for promotion.

Since arriving at TCNJ four years ago, Professor Rao, who has a Ph.D. from Brown University, has taught courses that exposed students to world literatures and postcolonial studies. His students have consistently appreciated his classes for exposing them to knowledges that they would not otherwise have encountered. He is much respected and loved by his students for challenging them to think in new and different ways.

Similarly, Professor Rao's publication record has matched or exceeded the output of previous, successful applicants for tenure in his department. He arrived at TCNJ with an established record of publication and has since published two articles in peer-reviewed journals, edited a book of interviews with the late Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and developed a promising book proposal. His review letter the previous year praised his accomplishments and put him on track towards tenure if he published another article in the following year. He did so. Yet, the English Department's Personnel Committee voted unanimously to deny tenure to Professor Rao.

The background for this decision is a dispute inside of the English department over the status of a multicultural literature course in the curriculum. Professor Rao chaired a group of faculty defending the course in a deeply divided department. The TCNJ student body is significantly diverse, but this diversity is not represented fully in the curriculum. Also troubling is the fact that Professor Rao is one of the few people of color on the Department of English faculty, and the only South Asian in a state with a significant South Asian population. The fate of the multicultural literature course, along with his career, hangs in the balance of this politically-charged dispute.

Professor Rao seeks the appointment of a new, independent, and transparent committee to review his case. There is a petition in support of Professor Rao. For more information.

If conservative administrators can't get away with openly firing critics of Israel and defenders of multiculturalism, they have another tactic at their disposal. Some university leaders are attacking outspoken faculty on the grounds that university employees have no free speech rights when it comes to criticizing their own institutions.

This approach epitomizes Northeastern Illinois University's harassment of justice studies Professor Loretta Capeheart, who has been targeted by her administration for her outspokenness for workers' rights in a 2004 faculty strike, her activism against the Iraq war, her defense of student protesters, and her arguments for increased representation of minority scholars at NEIU. In retaliation, she was denied merited awards and an appointment to chair of her department--a position to which she was elected. NEIU Vice President Melvin Terrell publicly defamed Professor Capeheart, accusing her, without grounds, of stalking a student.

Professor Capeheart is suing Terrell for defamation, alongside NEIU's President and Provost for retaliation and violation of her constitutional right to free speech. Incredibly, the administrators' response argues that Professor Capeheart, as a state employee, may not sue the University or its officials, contravene their positions, question their conduct, or speak as a faculty member on matters of public concern.

Unfortunately, the administration has frightening legal precedent, according to the AAUP. The Supreme Court's 2006 decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos held that state employees are not afforded first amendment protection if they are speaking on subjects relevant to their professional duties. When UC Irvine professor Juan Hong angered University administrators by opposing the replacement of tenure-track faculty by term lecturers, he was denied a merit salary increase. The Court ruled against Hong, citing Garcetti.

In March, the U.S. District Court Judge of the Northern Illinois District agreed to hear Loretta's case, despite the university's arguments that it was "futile" for her to claim any right to free speech. She awaits this hearing.

Supporters of Professor Capeheart ask that readers sign the petition supporting her. Please include your email in your signature comments for updates on the case.

From the 1964 free speech movement to today's anti-occupation organizations, campuses have always been places where struggles for justice break out. This potential might explain why, losing ground in politics and the economy, the Right seeks to maintain its grip on outspoken faculty and students. David Horowitz, Laura Ingraham, the Association of College Trustees and Alumni, and the like have played their assigned roles in fostering a new McCarthyism that has given rise to a series of witch-hunts against both prominent and emerging critical scholars and activists.

We cannot allow Zionism, racism, the attack on area studies and multiculturalism, or the violation of labor rights on our campuses to stand. We must call to account the administrations of Ithaca College, UCSB, The College of New Jersey, and Northeastern Illinois University. Professors Ramlal-Nankoe, Robinson, Rao, and Capeheart need your support. Their cases represent only a few of the many breaches of academic freedom coming to light in this moment. And we must fight on each and every one.

Dana L. Cloud is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas. She can be reached at: dcloud@mail.utexas.eduRead other articles by Dana, or visit Dana's website.

Coinkidink theeree

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So, last week, for the first time in months, I played two items I'd played which I hadn't thought of specifically, but which exactly preceded the other "issues" at the station.

These were the Greg Palast bit on what a bunch of suckers the Californians were (and still are) regarding the *MASSIVE* rip-off by the energy companies which are still un-repaid, and the DEC Gaza Ad which was banned by the BBC.

Now, it's coincidence that I played the two before at the same time (both times) so I can't really say what the precipitant was.

But I think it's rather curious, the timing, yano?

I don't think I'll be a radio celebrity for much longer, so if you cared to listen to what little value I offer, you'd best do it while I'm still on the air.

M-F  6-8 AM PT, 7-9 AM MT, 8-10 AM CT, 9-11 AM ET, 10AM-12PM AT, 11AM-1PM BT

I do (apparently along with a few other males) have an inappropriate fantasy relationship with the e-surance girl (Erin).

It's just wrong, I know, and so I won't post the whole pornographic set as images.


here's the Zipped set:


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Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs 
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, 
The night above the dingle starry, 
Time let me hail and climb 
Golden in the heydays of his eyes, 
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns 
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves 
Trail with daisies and barley 
Down the rivers of the windfall light. 

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns 
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home, 
In the sun that is young once only, 
Time let me play and be 
Golden in the mercy of his means, 
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves 
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold, 
And the sabbath rang slowly 
In the pebbles of the holy streams. 

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay 
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air 
And playing, lovely and watery 
And fire green as grass. 
And nightly under the simple stars 
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away, 
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars 
Flying with the ricks, and the horses 
Flashing into the dark. 

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white 
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all 
Shining, it was Adam and maiden, 
The sky gathered again 
And the sun grew round that very day. 
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light 
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm 
Out of the whinnying green stable 
On to the fields of praise. 

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house 
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long, 
In the sun born over and over, 
I ran my heedless ways, 
My wishes raced through the house high hay 
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows 
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs 
Before the children green and golden 
Follow him out of grace. 

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me 
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand, 
In the moon that is always rising, 
Nor that riding to sleep 
I should hear him fly with the high fields 
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land. 
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, 
Time held me green and dying 
Though I sang in my chains like the sea. 
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower 
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees 
Is my destroyer. 
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose 
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks 
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams 
Turns mine to wax. 
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins 
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool 
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind 
Hauls my shroud sail. 
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man 
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head; 
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood 
Shall calm her sores. 
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind 
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb 
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

The Irony of Satire

Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report

Heather L. LaMarre

The Ohio State University,

Kristen D. Landreville

The Ohio State University

Michael A. Beam

The Ohio State University

This study investigated biased message processing of political satire in The Colbert Report and the influence of political ideology on perceptions of Stephen Colbert. Results indicate that political ideology influences biased processing of ambiguous political messages and source in late-night comedy. Using data from an experiment (N = 332), we found that individual-level political ideology significantly predicted perceptions of Colbert's political ideology. Additionally, there was no significant difference between the groups in thinking Colbert was funny, but conservatives were more likely to report that Colbert only pretends to be joking and genuinely meant what he said while liberals were more likely to report that Colbert used satire and was not serious when offering political statements. Conservatism also significantly predicted perceptions that Colbert disliked liberalism. Finally, a post hoc analysis revealed that perceptions of Colbert's political opinions fully mediated the relationship between political ideology and individual-level opinion.

Yeah, you probably noted me ranting on about how some folks seem sharper than others, and one of the major items I noted was their linguistic abilities--how many languages they had acquired.  This is the opposite of the 'bi-lingual' which has mostly meant inappropriate understanding of both sets of words.

The hypothesis postulates that a particular language's nature influences the habitual thought of its speakers: That is, different language patterns yield different patterns of thought. For example, concepts or ideas that are prevalent in the culture may be stated in concise ways (using one or a few words), whereas concepts or ideas that are foreign to the culture are more difficult to express (requiring many words.) Similarly, separate words may exist to express distinctions considered important in that culture, or distinctions concerning matters the culture considers important, whereas the same word may serve to refer to what is in a different culture considered several different concepts. This idea challenges the possibility of perfectly representing the world with language, because it implies that the mechanisms of any language condition the thoughts of its speaker community. The heading "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis" is used to refer to two principles. One is known as linguistic determinism, while the second followed from this and is known as linguistic relativity. These are all in strong and weak formulations.

May 1, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Prosecutors asked a judge to drop charges against two ex-AIPAC staffers accused of passing along classified information.

In a statement Friday, the acting U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia said restrictions on the government's case imposed by Judge T.S. Ellis III made conviction unlikely.

"Given the diminished likelihood the government will prevail at trial under the additional intent requirements imposed by the court and the inevitable disclosure of classified information that would occur at any trial in this matter, we have asked the court to dismiss the indictment," Dana Boente said.

The motion all but guarantees a dismissal.

"Intent requirements" refers to an earlier Ellis ruling that the government must prove that Keith Weissman, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's former Iran analyst, and Steve Rosen, its former foreign policy chief, intended not only to assist Israel but to harm the United States.

Weissman and Rosen were charged under a rarely used section of the 1917 Espionage Act that makes it a crime for civilians to receive and distribute closely held defense information. Both men were later dismissed by AIPAC, with the organization claiming the two had violated its rules; Rosen, in turn has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against AIPAC.

Reached by phone, Rosen told JTA he was "ecstatic" and was "still absorbing a life-changing moment." He had been on the phone Friday morning non-stop with family and friends.

"There was a great injustice here, but thank God we live in a country where the courts can correct this kind of injustice," he said.

For the immediate future, he said, he would focus on a book he was writing on government leaks.

Baruch Weiss, Weissman's lawyer, told JTA that the decision was a "great victory for the First Amendment and for the pro-Israel community."

Anything the defendants did "was to the benefit of Israel and the United States," he said.

The dropping of the case comes just days before the start Sunday of AIPAC's annual policy conference in Washington.

The Samson Gambit

On March 2 former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) foreign policy chief Steve Rosen filed a civil lawsuit in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Rosen accuses his former employer, directors, and outside public relations firm of libel and slander. Rosen seeks damages of $5 million from AIPAC and punitive damages of $500,000 each from former board members and the public relations firm Rational PR, L.C. An analysis of Rosen's civil complaint reveals how his "Samson's gambit" of threatening to pull down the walls of justice over the heads of the Israel lobby may prevail in getting criminal espionage charges dropped within the next two months.

In August 2005, Steve Rosen, fellow AIPAC employee Keith Weissman, and the Pentagon's Col. Lawrence Franklin were indicted under the Espionage Act for allegedly trafficking classified U.S. national defense information in the interest of provoking a stronger U.S. posture toward Israel's arch nemesis, Iran. Franklin has since pled guilty and received a prison sentence and fine. Franklin has not reported to prison, since he is cooperating with U.S. prosecutors and ready to testify when the criminal trial of Rosen and Weissman-repeatedly delayed by sophisticated defense team legal maneuvers-finally commences on May 27.

In his civil lawsuit against AIPAC Rosen maintains both his immunity from the Espionage Act and right to obtain tightly held government information for effective lobbying and public relations on behalf of Israel:

To be effective, organizations engaged in advocacy in the field of foreign policy need to have earlier and more detailed information about policy developments inside the government and diplomatic issues with other countries than is normally available to or needed by the wider public. 'Agencies of the government sometimes choose to provide such additional information about policy and diplomatic issues to these outside interest groups in order to win support for what they are doing among important domestic constituencies and to send messages to select target audiences.

One surprising inside glimpse of AIPAC information flow in Rosen's complaint reveals how special relationships cultivated with U.S. government officials yielded periodic harvests of tightly held information. This bounty was then internally circulated and funneled to outside constituencies at the discretion of AIPAC's mirror bureaucracy of self-appointed declassification agents:

To control the flow of such information, government agencies in the field of foreign policy have designated individuals with the authority to determine and differentiate which information disclosures would be harmful to the United States, and which disclosures would benefit the United States through the work of their agencies and would not be harmful to the United States. To maintain liaison with the authorized agency officials who at times are willing to provide such information, organizations like AIPAC have designated officials of their own who have the requisite expertise and relationships to deal with government foreign policy agencies. At AIPAC, Steve Rosen was one of the principal officials who, along with Executive Director Howard Kohr and a few other individuals, were expected to maintain relationships with such agencies, receive such information, and share it with AIPAC Board of Directors and its Senior Staff for possible further distribution. AIPAC, and those defendants who were AIPAC officials and/or members of its Board of Directors, knew that Mr. Rosen and others at AIPAC were receiving such information and expected that they would share it with them.

More damning to AIPAC, Rosen states unequivocally that other top AIPAC officials not only knew what he was doing, but also received classified information for which they both praised and financially rewarded Rosen and others handling and channeling classified information:

Mr. Rosen was highly successful in his job, and was regularly praised and generously rewarded by AIPAC's Executive Director, its President, and its Board of Directors, including by those named as defendants herein who are and/or who were in those positions, for obtaining and sharing such information as described in paragraph no. 18 above. Indeed at the time it was shared with them, AIPAC's Executive Director, its President, and its Board of Directors including those named as defendants herein who are and/or were in those positions, were well aware of the nature of the information obtained by Mr. Rosen as described in paragraph no. 18 above. Being so aware, they would often share that same information with others outside of AIPAC, particularly valuing Mr. Rosen for his ability to provide them with such information. In fact, AIPAC's Executive Director, its President, and its Board of Directors, including by those named as defendants herein who are and/or who were in those positions as well as others of AIPAC's staff, also obtained and shared with each other, and with others outside of AIPAC, such information as described in paragraph no. 18 above, and did so on a regular basis quite apart from the information obtained and shared with them by Mr. Rosen.

Curiously, Steve Rosen is not the only former AIPAC staffer suddenly surfacing to confront AIPAC. Another even intimates that AIPAC is a hotbed for activities of questionable legality. Former AIPAC chief lobbyist Douglas Bloomfield characterized AIPAC not as classified information bazaar, but rather as a covert foreign agent for Israeli governments bent on thwarting U.S. brokered peace deals. While simultaneously forecasting the imminent demise of the government's criminal prosecution against Weissman and Rosen, Bloomfield points to insider forces slowly arraying highly damaging information against AIPAC:

In cutting loose the pair, AIPAC insisted it had no idea what they were doing. Not so, say insiders, former colleagues, sources close to the defense, and others familiar with the organization.

One of the topics AIPAC won't want discussed, say these sources, is how closely it coordinated with Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1990s, when he led the Israeli Likud opposition and later when he was prime minister, to impede the Oslo peace process being pressed by President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

That could not only validate AIPAC's critics, who accuse it of being a branch of the Likud, but also lead to an investigation of violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

What they don't want out is that even though they publicly sounded like they were supporting the Oslo process, they were working all the time to undermine it,' said a well-informed source.

Why the not-so-subtle public threats? Both Bloomfield and Rosen clearly feel that AIPAC violated the ethic of reciprocity when it cut loose Rosen and Weissman and halted funding for their legal defense. AIPAC fired the two to avoid indictment of the entire corporation in the aftermath of two harrowing
FBI raids. Corporate criminal indictments probably would have led to AIPAC's immediate implosion. The melodramatic sense of betrayal that permeates the defamation complaint hinges on the flawed deal lead prosecutor Paul McNulty offered to AIPAC: "We could make real progress and get AIPAC out from under all of us." AIPAC subsequently put Rosen and Weissman on leave and later fired them, after, in Rosen's view, "they had approved and rewarded the very behavior which they now condemned." AIPAC also began deploying its considerable influence in the news media to carefully place stories characterizing Rosen's work and comportment as unacceptable and uncharacteristic, seemingly oblivious to the idea that the same tactic could also be turned against it. These particular slights may be the straws that broke the camel's back. Rosen's angst is palpable as he quotes AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr's harsh treatment:

[M]r. Kohr subtly tried to make this case that Messrs. Rosen's [another AIPAC employee] behavior was out of the ordinary for employees of the organization that considers itself one of the most powerful in Washington. At the same time, Mr. Kohr said he has taken steps to ensure that no lines in the future will be crossed by his lobbyists and analysts. 'I will take steps necessary to ensure that every employee of AIPAC, now and in the future, conducts themselves in a manner of which you can be proud, using policies and procedures that provide transparency, accountability and maintain our effectiveness' he said.

Rosen cites a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report to make a surprisingly frank assertion that Kohr himself not only received classified information from Rosen, but also knew it was from U.S. intelligence sources:

Further, on June 17, 2005, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported a different formulation to defame Steve Rosen: 'No current employee knew that classified information was obtained from Larry Franklin or was involved in dissemination of such information,' spokesperson Patrick Dorton said. In fact, Mr. Kohr had been told in writing that information obtained from Mr. Franklin originated from 'intelligence' sources, and Mr. Rosen knew no more about the sources or classification than Mr. Kohr.

The seemingly defeatist maneuvers of this circular firing squad partially mask Rosen's real strategy. Millions of dollars would do him little good behind bars or preserve AIPAC's reputation if he prevails. What Rosen needs most is for AIPAC to pull him 'out from under all this' as soon as possible. Otherwise AIPAC and the rest of the lobby will face the full wrath of Rosen's accumulated arsenal: access to damning AIPAC internal information and a multitude of allies who follow the credo that "divided we fall." Rosen, having recently proven his considerable powers even under indictment by derailing the nomination of Charles Freeman at the National Intelligence Council, now clearly expects AIPAC to muster the entirety of its own considerable resources to achieve concrete results before May 27. For bystanders, the key remaining question is whether Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama have the mettle to withstand the most intense maneuvers from all directions urging them to fold the Espionage Act trial before it begins.

Not since former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy ordered AIPAC's parent organization to register as a foreign agent has the Israel lobby been as existentially threatened by rule of law in America. The elite mainstream press, from the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal, has already pitched in to help by urging the DOJ to quickly march away from the prosecution. Pundits who before Barack Obama entered office saw the case as a threat to "freedom of the press" are now repositioning the trial as a vestigial legacy of the Bush administration's pervasive secrecy.

But the passage of time has not played in AIPAC's or the defendants' favor. In the economic aftermath of a disastrous war empowered by carefully channeled disinformation, many Americans are questioning how rule of law might temper selective leaks from lobbyists obliviously liquidating U.S. tax dollars and soldiers in foreign follies. The Espionage Act should function like the financial industry's Fair Disclosure regulation, which protects small investors from being victimized by larger investors trading on material inside information. If AIPAC obtains closely held information, shouldn't all Americans instantly be privy? Also, that AIPAC is a de facto foreign agent covertly injecting Israeli government mandates into Congress and the executive branch isn't quite the explosive secret AIPAC insiders presume it to be. In 2008, the DOJ grudgingly declassified all internal files detailing its earlier three-year fight to register AIPAC's parent organization as a foreign agent. Any American who checks the Foreign Agents Registration Act against AIPAC's routine activities knows it is the agent of a foreign power. Middle East historians have no need of Douglas Bloomfield's verification that the Israel lobby thwarts presidential peace initiatives-the transcripts of Sen. J.W. Fulbright's investigation of the Israel lobby in 1963 reveal precisely how such concerted actions thwarted the Johnson plan for Middle East peace. The issue is whether the Department of Justice will at long last stand up to AIPAC's obvious violations of important laws that protect the interests of average Americans. Both John F. and Robert F. Kennedy struggled mightily and failed. If Obama and Holder similarly fail, it is not for lack of evidence now being delivered on silver platters from AIPAC operatives.

For, ironically, everything Steven Rosen alleges in his lawsuit and Bloomfield in his bluff is verifiably true. As an individual actor, Rosen truly is innocent of AIPAC's protective ruse that he and Weissman alone were in any way unique at AIPAC. Yet another prior incident-also now public-substantiates this. AIPAC never adequately explained how its possession of a 300-page classified report in 1984 outlining the secret American negotiating position for the fatally flawed U.S.-Israel Free Trade Area could possibly be legal. The U.S. government, even in 2009, still won't declassify that report for an overdue public audit.

Steve Rosen's late legal gambit cannot obscure the obvious. The real issue isn't whether AIPAC failed its lobbyists by jettisoning them in a panic; it is whether the Department of Justice failed Americans when it didn't indict the entire American Israel Public Affairs Committee. If Obama and Holder resist urgent pressures from the Israel lobby, Steve Rosen's lawsuit may actually accomplish what prosecuting attorney McNulty could not-making all top AIPAC operatives finally stand trial together.

By Ron Kampeas · March 11, 2009

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Steve Rosen, the former AIPAC foreign policy chief charged with receiving classified information, is suing his former employer for defamation, JTA has learned.

Rosen filed a civil action March 2 in the District of Columbia Superior Court seeking $21 million from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, its officers at the time of his dismissal in 2005 and an outside spokesman hired to deal specifically with the case.

Should it come to trial, the civil case promises revelations of how AIPAC works its sensitive relations with the executive branch and allegedly capitulated to government pressure to fire Rosen and Keith Weissman, its then-Iran analyst.

Weissman, Rosen's co-defendant in the criminal case under way in a federal court in Alexandria, Va., is not a plaintiff in the civil suit. He and his lawyers declined comment, as did Rosen.

Both of Rosen's lawyers -- in the criminal case and in his suit against AIPAC -- did not return calls requesting comment.

The core of the case is the repeated claims by Patrick Dorton, the outside spokesman for AIPAC named in the suit, that Rosen and Weissman were fired because they "did not comport with standards that AIPAC expects of all its employees."

AIPAC's regular spokesman, Joshua Block, referred questions to Dorton. In turn, Dorton issued a statement saying that AIPAC and the others named in Rosen's suit would defend themselves vigorously.

"The complaint paints a false picture of what happened," he told JTA, adding later that "AIPAC made all decisions in this situation with a determination to do the right thing."

Rosen is not publicity-shy; he helped launch the recent successful effort to remove Charles Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, from the chairmanship of the National Intelligence Council. In his blog monitoring Obama administration Middle East policy, Rosen uncovered and highlighted a number of past controversial statements by Freeman praising Saudi Arabia and blaming Israel for the collapse of the Middle East peace process.

In seeking to prove that he was the victim of "false and defamatory statements" made on AIPAC's behalf, the complaint describes Rosen as tumbling from the heights of a cozy relationship with the highest echelons of government to being shown the door at AIPAC.

Rosen describes his own status as a high-flying conduit between foreign policy mandarins and the policy community, journalists and foreign diplomats.

In the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by JTA, Rosen says he had the "requisite experience and expertise" to deal with those "with the authority to determine and differentiate which information disclosures would be harmful to the United States and which disclosures would benefit the United States."

Rosen and Weissman allegedly received classified information having to do with Iran and its backing for terrorism. The case came to light following an FBI raid on AIPAC's offices in August 2004.

After the FBI raid, AIPAC stood by the two employees, insisting they had done nothing wrong. Rosen says he even received a performance bonus. Seven months after the raid - and just a month or so after Rosen got his bonus - in March 2005, Rosen and Weissman were fired; they were indicted in August of that year.

Rosen's suit alleges that AIPAC gave in to government pressure to fire the two staffers, casting prosecutors in the case as making threats that would not be out of place in a legal drama.

"We could make real progress and get AIPAC out from under all of us," the filing quotes a prosecutor as saying.

The filing draws its information from a motion by Rosen and Weissman to have the criminal case dismissed in 2007. The motion said the government violated the defendants' right to a defense by threatening to charge AIPAC as well unless it fired Rosen and Weissman and stopped paying their legal fees.

In sworn affidavits filed with the motion, lawyers for Rosen and Weissman quoted lawyers for AIPAC as saying that the decision to fire the two came under government pressure.

T.S. Ellis III, the federal judge trying the case, ultimately rejected the motion to dismiss but said its claims were credible. At the time of the May 2007 ruling, Dorton brushed aside the motion's claims. 

"AIPAC made all of its decisions in this case alone based on the facts of the situation and the organization's intention to do the right thing," he told JTA.

Within months, however, AIPAC agreed to pay a portion of Weissman's legal fees and later came to a similar agreement for Rosen. Weissman's legal team is still fund-raising for the defense.

Rosen's central contention is that his actions comported with AIPAC practices, and that he provided his superiors with regular briefings about his efforts to gather information from government officials. The paragraph in the complaint outlining how AIPAC works suggests that the trial would lift the veil over exchanges with the government that AIPAC has long tried to keep under wraps.

"To be effective, organizations engaged in advocacy in the field of foreign policy need to have earlier and more detailed information about policy developments inside the government and diplomatic issues with other countries than is normally available to or needed by the wider public," the complaint says. "Agencies of the government sometimes choose to provide such additional information about policy and diplomatic issues to these outside interest groups in order to win support for what they are doing among important domestic constituencies and to send messages to select target audiences."

The complaint also asserts that the statements made by AIPAC's outside spokesman "might influence a jury that will hear the misdirected case brought against him by the government." The criminal trial, which has been delayed multiple times, is now set for June 2.

The filing also alleges that "through their publication of the falsehoods about Mr. Rosen, defendant achieved an increase of millions of dollars in revenue for AIPAC, whereas had they told the truth, AIPAC might well have suffered a significant decrease in fund-raising, as well as an increase in legal costs."

Sources close to the criminal case say that Weissman and the criminal defense team are not troubled by the lawsuit, but think that making the case that Rosen had been defamed would be much easier after an acquittal or after the case had been dropped by the government.

Increasing calls on the Obama administration to drop the case include most recently an editorial Wednesday in the Washington Post.

The case is now being seen to have been an instrument of Bush administration efforts to expand secrecy laws. Prosecutors charged Rosen and Weissman under a rarely cited section of the 1917 Espionage Act that criminalizes the receipt of classified information by civilians; the section has never led to a successful prosecution.

Rosen in filing his lawsuit may have felt pressed for time, as defamation suits must be filed within a year of the offending statement.

The most recent instance of Dorton, the spokesman, claiming publicly that Rosen and Weissman did not comport with AIPAC rules came in a story by The New York Times on March 3, 2008 -- a year less a day before Rosen filed his suit. The suit contends that Dorton repeated the claim to a reporter for the Forward in October; that instance apparently was not published.

A Superior Court judge set June 5 for a hearing to set a trial date regarding Rosen's claims. By the time Rosen's civil lawsuit comes to trial, he might have a dismissal or acquittal under his belt, increasing his chances for victory.

Rosen's filing asserts that at AIPAC he "was one of the principal officials who, along with Executive Director Howard Kohr and a few other individuals, were expected to maintain relationships with [government] agencies, receive such information and share it with AIPAC Board of Directors and to Senior Staff for possible further distribution."

Kohr is named as a defendant, as are AIPAC's lay leadership at the time: Bernice Manocherian, then president; Howard Friedman, then president-elect (and a former president of JTA's board of directors); and Amy Friedkin, then the immediate past president.

Also named are alleged members of an "advisory group" set up to deal directly with the case. These names reinforce the impression that a small core of members of AIPAC's board continues to take the lead in determining AIPAC's direction. They include past presidents Lonnie Kaplan, Larry Weinberg, Bob Asher and Ed Levy.

The complaint asks for $10 million from AIPAC, $500,000 each from all 12 other defendants and $5 million collectively from all the defendants.

Our President, saying, "I don't want to be in the automotive industry" is making a fatuous claim.

The fact is we already *are* the owners of an automotive industry, by way of purchase.

Now, we are in the same stupid condition that the 401k people got into.

I don't want to be in the business of surveying my investments.  I just want to make money.

Stupid is as stupid does.

MEC Press Release

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Public Service Announcement / Press Release

For Immediate Release

The Mendocino Environmental Center is preparing a lawsuit to stop Developers Diversified Realty's petition for a regional mall from being certified as a ballot measure.  If you have witnessed possible improper behavior by signature gatherers, such as giving misleading information, please contact the Center so that a statement can be taken in support of the lawsuit.  The Mendocino Environmental Center is a nonprofit organization located at 106 West Standley Street in Ukiah.  Phone: 468-1660   Email:



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It's been days since Israel broke the truce and started murdering Palestinians again.

Pres. Barack Obama
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Assm. Wesley Chesbro


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