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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Reagan isn't a saint, people.

He was a doddering old man with a much too active imagination (you recall how he used to recite movie plots as real events, right?).

The angry buzz over "The Reagans" has grown louder and more pointed. "Advertisers will bail on CBS' anti-Reagan movie," commentator Pat Buchanan predicted on "The McLaughlin Group" Sunday. Two days later, a conservative media watchdog group announced a boycott call-to-arms.

'"The Reagans' appears to be a blatantly unfair assault on the legacy of one of America's greatest leaders," center President L. Brent Bozell III wrote in a letter Tuesday to potential sponsors.

"Reagan is being portrayed as a hateful, half-nut homophobe," he said in an interview. "It's not that the historical record is being distorted. It's that the makers of the movie are deliberately defaming him and lying about him."

Has there ever been any presidential legacy more distorted than Reagans?

Especially troublesome, critics say, is how the script portrays Reagan's handling of the dawning AIDS (news - web sites) crisis in the 1980s. He is depicted as uncaring and judgmental toward those with the disease, according to the Times.

"They that live in sin shall die in sin," he tells his wife in the script as she begs him to help AIDS victims. The author of the screenplay's final version, Elizabeth Egloff, told the Times there was no evidence such a conversation took place.

But "we know he ducked the issue over and over again, and we know she was the one who got him to deal with that," she said, a contention denied by Reagan White House insiders.

"I never saw an ounce of intolerance," said Ken Khachigian, a senior adviser in the Reagan administration.

That should read:

Especially troublesome is how the reality of Reagan ignorning the AIDS crisis and being quite exceptionally judgemental toward gays, is dramatized.

He did ignore the AIDS crisis, and thanks to him being loathe to regulate anything, for about two years the government was well aware that the nation's blood and plasma supplies could and probably were infected but nothing was done about it so some 10,000 or so hemophiliacs contracted AIDS.

People don't realize that plasma was big, big business back in the 70s and 80s. The plasma that hemophilliacs receive today is refined to provide large amounts of the clotting factor. The technology behind it wasn't developed until the late 1960s. Plasma is still a big business but in the 70s and 80s it was dominated by a few, large global players. Their business model was essentially open up plasma centers in skid-rows, pay the drunks and whores and junkies a few bucks, reap millions in profits.

By 1983 the AIDS virus had been isolated (by the French, btw), though we knew it was blood-borne in 1982. It wasn't until 1985 that any method for screening blood or plasma for AIDS was implemented.

But, plasma being such a new, fast-growing, and extremely lucrative business, the Reagan administration really didn't bother to enforce anything, or to pay any attention, or to devote any resources to AIDS for the first 5 years or so.

Reagan didn't even refer to AIDS in public until 1987! This is 5 years after a congressional hearing was called on AIDS in 1982! This is after 19,000 people had already died!

Reagan refused to order or fund preventive education programs and never spoke out against the rampant fear and discrimination many HIV/AIDs patients faced on the job, with insurance companies or at school. Marilyn Moon, a long-time policy analyst at the Urban Institute, told me last month that there was a "great deal of fear that people with AIDS would try and qualify for Medicare or other health programs and a lot of discussion by the administration on how to keep them from bankrupting the medical system."

AIDS activists say Reagan's one concrete proposal was for widespread testing and mandatory identification of people with HIV, with the idea of enforcing a public health quarantine.

In fact, rather than providing for the public welfare, Reagan and his closest advisors effectively muzzled then-Surgeon Gen. C. Everett Koop to stop him from discussing AIDS publicly until midway through Reagan's second term. It took the death of movie star Rock Hudson in 1985 and the Oct. 22, 1986, release of the surgeon general's report on acquired immune deficiency syndrome, which advocated massive public education and a condom distribution program, for Reagan to change his personal views. Even then, his response was at best "halting and ineffective," according to presidential biographer and veteran Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon.

Reagan fucked up. He fucked up a national health crisis like no one has ever fucked one up before or since, there's really no two ways about it.

People worship this guy like he's some sort of saint. They can't even honestly assess his legacy.

He. Fucked. Up.

Even if you agree with everything else he did, like deregulate the savings & loans industry (boy, that worked out swell), create massive budget deficits that only a beady-eyed igit from Texas could surpass, overzealous tax-cutting leading to massive wealth redistrubution, or all the other things that amounted to a big tear in the social contract, you can't honestly say he handled AIDS well.

He fucked up big time. A honest portrayal would illustrate that.

[I forgot to add how much he loved right-wing death squads in Central America. Reagan's responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of people in Central America. The old fool got on TV and told us troops in Nicaragua were a 4 days march from Texas. Or how about selling arms to a terrorist-sponsoring nation to secretly fund the thugs who killed thousands of those people? See, when I don't think about Reagan I think "yeah, he basically sucked, but not hugely so", but then I remember and, goddamn, no wonder Reaganites like Bush. Reagan was a shit of a president. If an accurate portrayal were put on TV it would show him to be a nice man who didn't really concern himself with good governance, who was obsessed with right-wing death squads in Central America, who spoke out of his ass constantly, who didn't know shit about fiscal responsibility, who thought fags should suffer.]

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Attention Loyal Readers!

All both of you.

Moveon.org has a 30 second commercial about Bush contest going on. Make a commercial about Bush, send it in, yadda yadda.

I'm going to submit something, but having just learned of this I don't have any brilliant ideas yet.

If anyone who visits has a good idea for a 30 second commercial that:

will engage and enlighten viewers and help them understand the truth about George Bush.

and you want to share it, send me an email.

Or, enter the contest yourself.

I want to make clear though that any idea you might pass along to me (I expect to get a total of zero, to be honest)- if it's precious to you please don't send it. If it is precious to you then you should enter the contest yourself because (disclaimer) if you send me something and I use part of it or all of it or the spirit of it it's not going to be yours anymore. I'm a nice guy so I'm going to be very thankful and, if appropriate, let people know someone helped, but that's it.

So... gosh I'm re-thinking this whole post... I always over-think stuff like this.

Anyway, I'm going to submit something. If you think you have a great idea that you'd like to give me, feel free. I'd appreciate it.

Or you ought to submit one yourself- no filmmaking skills are required.

And no, one 30 second shot of my ass while I scream "Fuck You Bush" won't make it on TV.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Get. Out. Of. My. Head!

This guy speaks like he's in my head sorting out all of my brilliant, nascent theories for me:

Well, the progressive worldview is modeled on a nurturant parent family. Briefly, it assumes that the world is basically good and can be made better and that one must work toward that. Children are born good; parents can make them better. Nurturing involves empathy, and the responsibility to take care of oneself and others for whom we are responsible. On a larger scale, specific policies follow, such as governmental protection in form of a social safety net and government regulation, universal education (to ensure competence, fairness), civil liberties and equal treatment (fairness and freedom), accountability (derived from trust), public service (from responsibility), open government (from open communication), and the promotion of an economy that benefits all and functions to promote these values, which are traditional progressive values in American politics.

The conservative worldview, the strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong. The only way to do that is through painful discipline — physical punishment that by adulthood will become internal discipline. The good people are the disciplined people. Once grown, the self-reliant, disciplined children are on their own. Those children who remain dependent (who were spoiled, overly willful, or recalcitrant) should be forced to undergo further discipline or be cut free with no support to face the discipline of the outside world.

So, project this onto the nation and you see that to the right wing, the good citizens are the disciplined ones — those who have already become wealthy or at least self-reliant — and those who are on the way. Social programs, meanwhile, "spoil" people by giving them things they haven't earned and keeping them dependent. The government is there only to protect the nation, maintain order, administer justice (punishment), and to provide for the promotion and orderly conduct of business. In this way, disciplined people become self-reliant. Wealth is a measure of discipline. Taxes beyond the minimum needed for such government take away from the good, disciplined people rewards that they have earned and spend it on those who have not earned it.

Man, how many times have I tried to say just that? Well if I bothered to look through my archives I'd say at least 5 or 6 times here, countless times in other people's comments sections.

The phrase "Tax relief" began coming out of the White House starting on the very day of Bush's inauguration. It got picked up by the newspapers as if it were a neutral term, which it is not. First, you have the frame for "relief." For there to be relief, there has to be an affliction, an afflicted party, somebody who administers the relief, and an act in which you are relieved of the affliction. The reliever is the hero, and anybody who tries to stop them is the bad guy intent on keeping the affliction going. So, add "tax" to "relief" and you get a metaphor that taxation is an affliction, and anybody against relieving this affliction is a villain.

Testify brother!

There's actually a whole other way to think about it. Taxes are what you pay to be an American, to live in a civilized society that is democratic and offers opportunity, and where there's an infrastructure that has been paid for by previous taxpayers. This is a huge infrastructure. The highway system, the Internet, the TV system, the public education system, the power grid, the system for training scientists — vast amounts of infrastructure that we all use, which has to be maintained and paid for. Taxes are your dues — you pay your dues to be an American. In addition, the wealthiest Americans use that infrastructure more than anyone else, and they use parts of it that other people don't. The federal justice system, for example, is nine-tenths devoted to corporate law. The Securities and Exchange Commission and all the apparatus of the Commerce Department are mainly used by the wealthy. And we're all paying for it.

I've said that exact same thing (well, exact same idea) so many times over at Calpundit. A lot of people hang out there that think taxes are akin to theft and I always say the same thing- you got everything you have, this whole country owes everything it has to generations of taxpayers. Taxes are what have made this country great because it's taxes that built this country.

Hell, I said it just a few days ago. Sure I was cursing a lot... anyway

[A]re you paying your dues, or are you trying to get something for free at the expense of your country? It's about being a member. People pay a membership fee to join a country club, for which they get to use the swimming pool and the golf course. But they didn't pay for them in their membership. They were built and paid for by other people and by this collectivity. It's the same thing with our country — the country as country club, being a member of a remarkable nation.

Damn straight, brothah! I really, truly have no patience anymore for anyone who takes that "taxes are evil" line. Fuck them and the horse they road in on, is what I say.

What about the phrase "free market"? Is that an example of framing?

Yes, but one that's so deeply embedded that it's difficult at first to see how. You have to start with the metaphor that the market is a force of nature, which comes from [the economist] Adam Smith, who says that if everybody pursues their own profit, then the profit of all will be maximized by the "invisible hand" — by which he means nature. There is also a metaphor that well-being is wealth. If I do you a favor, therefore making things better for you, then you say, "How can I ever repay you? I'm in your debt." It's as if I'd given you money. We understand our well-being as wealth.

Combine them, and you get the conservatives' version that says if everybody pursues their own well-being, the well-being of all will be maximized by nature. They have the metaphorical notion of a free market even in their child-rearing system. It's not just an economic theory; it's a moral theory. When you discipline your children, they get internal discipline to become self-reliant, which means they can pursue their self-interest and get along in a difficult world. Conservatives even have a word for people who are not pursuing their self interest. They're called "do-gooders," and they get in the way of people who are pursuing their self-interest.

OK, but how is that a frame, rather than a guiding ideology?

Because the "free market" doesn't exist. There is no such thing. All markets are constructed. Think of the stock exchange. It has rules. The WTO [World Trade Organization] has 900 pages of regulations. The bond market has all kinds of regulations and commissions to make sure those regulations carried out. Every market has rules. For example, corporations have a legal obligation to maximize shareholder profit. That's a construction of the market. Now, it doesn't have to be that way. You could make that rule, "Corporations must maximize stakeholder value." Stakeholders — as opposed to shareholders, the institutions who own the largest portions of stock — would include employees, local communities, and the environment. That changes the whole notion of what a "market" is.

OK. This guy is a genius, and not just because he articulates perfectly everything I hold to be true and therefore reinforces my beliefs.

The article (read both parts) is about how the Democrats don't know how to frame issues correctly, and his attempts to rectify that.

It's great. Go read it and it'll remind you that we live in a great country despite all the so-called conservatives, not because of them.

What does this have to do with the bible?

A team at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said they had shown materials in clay were key to some of the initial processes in forming life.

Specifically, a clay mixture called montmorillonite not only helps form little bags of fat and liquid but helps cells use genetic material called RNA. That, in turn, is one of the key processes of life.

OK. Neat. But why...

Science backed up religion this week in a study that suggests life may have indeed sprung from clay -- just as many faiths teach.


Among religious texts that refer to life being formed from the soil is the Bible's Book of Genesis where God tells Adam, (King James translation), "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

Why when the scientists are clear to point out:

"We are not claiming that this is how life started," Szostak stressed.

"We are saying that we have demonstrated growth and division without any biochemical machinery. Ultimately, if we can demonstrate more natural ways this might have happened, it may begin to give us clues about how life could have actually gotten started on the primitive Earth."

Really, what the fuck?

This is a simple scientific discovery, why on earth would the authors of the article frame it in a religious context?

First of all, it's not surprising that a religion would say man sprang from earth. After-all, things grow out of the earth, you know, they're called plants? And it wouldn't be insane for some dudes way back when, when they're making their myths up, to say people came from the earth like a plant. I mean, the earth is from which all things grow so...

Weren't men fashioned from mud in Greek mythology? Didn't plenty of native american creation myths deal with springing out of the ground?

Why the hell would this observation of science be cast in theological terms?

I don't like it. It's not right. This discovery has nothing to do with religion (science never has anything to do with religion, they're two completely different, unrelated things) and we should not be measuring science against religion as a society.

This is fucked up. It's as if they're specifically trying to explain the world via the bible. Folks- the world works according to the bible only for people who have faith in the bible's text. Faith is belief in things that cannot be proven or observed. It is so fucking utterly wrong to subject those who do not share your faith to your vision of the world- because that vision is completely arbitrary.

You may believe it, but it's for you and you alone, it's meaningless to anyone and everyone else (unless of course they decide to agree with you).

Article here.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Hands up whoever can't wait for this guy to die.

Justice Scalia, defender of all things base and repugnant:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ridiculed his court's recent ruling legalizing gay sex, telling an audience of conservative activists Thursday that the ruling ignores the Constitution in favor of a modern, liberal sensibility.

The ruling, Scalia said, "held to be a constitutional right what had been a criminal offense at the time of the founding and for nearly 200 years thereafter."

Scalia adopted a mocking tone to read from the court's June ruling that struck down state antisodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere.

Where in the constitution does it say fags are criminals? Someone want to point out the part that specifically and clearly addresses queers?

On Thursday, Scalia said judges, including his colleagues on the Supreme Court, throw over the original meaning of the Constitution when it suits them.

"Most of today's experts on the Constitution think the document written in Philadelphia in 1787 was simply an early attempt at the construction of what is called a liberal political order," Scalia told a gathering of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

"All that the person interpreting or applying that document has to do is to read up on the latest academic understanding of liberal political theory and interpolate these constitutional understandings into the constitutional text."

You know, because there's no such thing as progress.

He's a lying shit. Every fuckhead in the country who hides behind the "I want strict adherance to the constitution" shield is a mendacious twit who ought to be flogged (you know, because it's old school.) It's all a big goddamned excuse to oppress groups they want to oppress. When the constitution was written the only people who had any true freedom were land-owning whites. The document was crafted with the idea that the ideal society would have no second-class citizens under the law. The founders recognized they weren't there and weren't going to be for a while so they made it open-ended and idealistic. The constitutionalist defense gives an aire of respectability, legitimacy, and historical authority to a hideously perverse agenda based upon haves and have-nots.

Fags are criminals, minorities need no protection, women are not individuals but rather wards of society.

Fuck Scalia!

You with me?!

Say it loud-

Fuck Scalia!!


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Two things you gotta' read

First is this one from Seymour Hersh, which is being broadcast widely but I just wanted to chime in as well in case you haven't read it. Read it or die!!!!

There was also a change in procedure at the Pentagon under Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary for Policy. In the early summer of 2001, a career official assigned to a Pentagon planning office undertook a routine evaluation of the assumption, adopted by Wolfowitz and Feith, that the Iraqi National Congress, an exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi, could play a major role in a coup d’état to oust Saddam Hussein. They also assumed that Chalabi, after the coup, would be welcomed by Iraqis as a hero.

An official familiar with the evaluation described how it subjected that scenario to the principle of what planners call “branches and sequels”—that is, “plan for what you expect not to happen.” The official said, “It was a ‘what could go wrong’ study. What if it turns out that Ahmad Chalabi is not so popular? What’s Plan B if you discover that Chalabi and his boys don’t have it in them to accomplish the overthrow?”

The people in the policy offices didn’t seem to care. When the official asked about the analysis, he was told by a colleague that the new Pentagon leadership wanted to focus not on what could go wrong but on what would go right. He was told that the study’s exploration of options amounted to planning for failure.

When I was working at Amazon I took their open door policy seriously for the first few weeks. There were a lot of things wrong with the place and I had drawn up a list of them along with possible solutions. While discussing the problems with the manager, Jane "ice-queen-lying-bitch" (last name), she stopped me and said "I don't want to hear what's wrong with the company, I want to hear what we can do to make it better." I tried to say something akin to "for the love of god how can one improve something if one does not first find its faults" but she cut me off again and stated flatly that she was going to refuse to hear any complaints because they weren't constructive.

[BTW- it's very mean, rude and unfair of me to name her and then label her as I did, but I don't mind doing so because her job was basically to stand in front of 150-300 people or so and lie her fucking ass off, and then later it was to not even bother lying, or caring, or addressing anything besides employee discipline. I don't care what someone's job is or who they work for, spouting absolute bullshit every day is not necessary, there are better ways to do a job that makes you disappoint people. {update- I realized she may still work there, somehow see this, and get my account cancelled or something so I removed her last name}]

What Bush and Co. did was standard corporate business practice. The people at the top have a goal. They don't care how they reach that goal. They tell people below them to "make it happen". The people below know they can't complain and can't be an advocate for anyone or anything standing in the way of the goal without risking their jobs. It doesn't matter, the people at top don't want to hear and won't entertain anything not related to the attainment of the goal.

That's how shitty corporations work (excluding the ones in a thousand not-shitty corporations- Amazon.com is not one of them BTW), and that's how shitty ex-executives would be expected to run the country.

Anyone who says government ought to be run like a business is a fucking idiot, I don't care who they are. Government is not a business. Only business is business.

Second item!

This article from Salon about a same-sex couple in a hick town.

The main reason you need to read it is because of this old freak:

"Besides, there was a time when Father Marcia wouldn't be here," Gausewitz says. "Somehow that's worked." The room erupts in laughter and the tension eases -- for all except one older woman, who is visibly shaking with anger as she stands up. "There's no comparison," she says, "between the ordaining of a moral woman and a twice-divorced man who's been living with another man. We've got to protest. I remember Germany in the '30s and nobody protested and you know what we got from that."

Before leaving, I stop the older woman. "What do I think about gay marriage?" she asks. "I don't agree with it, but we're a strong parish. We'll get through this somehow." Though I don't realize it at the time, she thinks I'm stalking her by asking this. Four days later, she has a minor heart attack -- and blames it on the stress of talking to a stranger about such a volatile subject. Such are the tensions that come with this issue in Auburn.

The stress of talking to a stranger about gay marriage? The rise of Nazism is somehow similar to gay marriage?

Lady, you're living proof that old people aren't wise and worth paying attention to by definition. If you spend your whole life being a small-minded bigot living a closed life when you get old you're just going to be a small-minded, frail and scared bigot who still don't know shit.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Killer "Sea Farts" sinking ships!

Is what the title of this story should have been.


Ocean "farts" big, deadly, scientists say.

Reel quick like

Just a note to say the film, to which I devoted so much virtual hot air here at Lemme 'Splain Industrial Concern, is coming along extremely slowly.

For some reason I'm having a very hard time capturing everything to my computer so that I only have 1 tape done so far. Something to do with not being able to get updates for my NLE because it's, uh... you know, borrowed. The footage looks good so far though.

Also, The subject had a big photo album he loaned me full of photos he took during the war but I haven't been able to scan them because my scanner won't work with OS X, so I have to buy a new scanner. Of course I'm broke though, so it's gonna be another week.

Right now I'm just sort of avoiding it and working on a few less slowly-killing-me type of things, including a Some Guy Productions store!

That's right! My "production company" under whose banner I make "films", is getting a website redesign courtesy of my girlfriend whenever she gets on the stick and makes it (I want to use Movable Type to update news on the site and she has no experience with perl and cgi so it's taking awhile).

Along with this redesign the accompanying store, surely to exist for no other reason than my own amusement, will also be launched.

Here's a very-special-just-for-you sneak peak (note, some items may change and more will be added. I know you don't care because you'll never, ever want to own any of this crap, but nevertheless there it is).

So I've been doing that. Soon, very soon, as soon as I clean off my desk in fact, I will get back on that movie horse (his name's "Stymie") and start capturing the movie I just went broke over.

Monday, October 20, 2003

D'ya like Fox News? Do you? Really? Then I've got a bridge to sell you, you slobbering idiot.

I just saw about 45 seconds or so of Fox News (my maximum monthly intake) and some pinhead was talking about the O'Really interview on NPR's Fresh Air. You know, the one where he was being picked on and so walked out?

The pinhead (actually it was a large head, the "pin" refers to gray-matter size) was saying something like 'she was mean and unfair to O'Reilly, but what made it worse was when she interviewed Al Franken she was very, very nice'. It was nearly the exact equivalent as that. [Does anyone else ever think the conservative movement is just everyone who never matured emotionally beyond the 6th grade?]

Anyway, they had a quote from NPR's ombudsman and they presented it as directly supporting their position. This is what they (Fox) quoted:

[to be read with smug self-satisfaction] But by coming across as a pro-Franken partisan rather than a neutral and curious journalist,.… the interview only served to confirm the belief, held by some, in NPR's liberal media bias.

Huh?, I thought. Sounds pretty convenient and stupid. Kind of like Fox News and modern conservatives.

So I check out NPR and this is part of what I find:

...I agree with the listeners who complained about the tone of the interview: Her questions were pointed from the beginning. She went after O'Reilly using critical quotes from the Franken book and a New York Times book review. That put O'Reilly at his most prickly and defensive mode, and Gross was never able to get him back into the interview in an effective way. This was surprising because Terry Gross is, in my opinion, one of the best interviewers anywhere in American journalism.

Although O'Reilly frequently resorts to bluster and bullying on his own show, he seemed unable to take her tough questions. He became angrier as the interview went along. But by coming across as a pro-Franken partisan rather than a neutral and curious journalist, Gross did almost nothing that might have allowed the interview to develop.

By the time the interview was about halfway through, it felt as though Terry Gross was indeed "carrying Al Franken's water," as some listeners say. It was not about O'Reilly's ideas, or his attitudes or even about his book. It was about O'Reilly as political media phenomenon. That's a legitimate subject for discussion, but in this case, it was an interview that was, in the end, unfair to O'Reilly.

Much more nuanced, of course, but he goes on to say:

I believe the listeners were not well served by this interview. It may have illustrated the "cultural wars" that seem to be flaring in the country. Unfortunately, the interview only served to confirm the belief, held by some, in NPR's liberal media bias.

It left the impression that there was something not quite right about the reasons behind this program: Bill O'Reilly often loves to use NPR as his own personal political pinata; and NPR keeps helping him by inviting him to appear.

A letter to Terry Gross from Prof. Rosa Maria Pegueros summed it up well:

I have been enjoying and learning from your show for more years than I can count, but I have to make one small criticism. Please consider it a word from a friend.

I was astonished that you had Fox's Bill O'Reilly on. I have never been able to tolerate more than a few moments of his programs. Having had a few students who came in quoting him and putting his opinions in their papers, I do know his opinions, but all his on-air shouting is unsupportable. That being said, I really think you were baiting him. Not that what you were saying was wrong or inaccurate but I had to wonder what possessed you to choose him? I guess one could say that he walked into enemy territory but I think it couldn't end any other way. Either you were going to corner him and make him admit the things that have been written about him or he was going to walk out once he realized what you were doing. I heard you do something similar with Gene Simmons. I can't believe that you didn't know how he'd react to your questions.

These louts and loudmouths deserve being embarrassed in public, I guess. But to hear you do it is somewhat unsettling. I would expect that if YOU ever went on his program, he'd do something similar to you. I guess what I'm saying is that I expect them to be that way and am generally glad that you aren't.

Which, taken all together sounds a bit like the ombudsman is saying, "Bill O'Reilly is obviously an idiot and a baby. We're better than him and if we just do our jobs as well as we can, which is tons better than Bill O'Reilly does his, he's still going to come across as an idiot and a baby; we don't need to bait this asshole."

Which goes swoosh! over the heads of any conservative who would read it, and is exactly right.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

It was hot

Real hot. Burning.

Desert was good. Had ice-cream in Amboy, CA- population 20, founded in 1858. Dug up some fossils and found about 15 well-made handaxes that, according to the Calico Early Man site info, were left by homo erectus or neandertals.


Acording to the BLM the site suggests the earliest evidence of human occupation.

The alluvial fan deposits in this area are uniquely deep stratum layers that may represent the oldest evidence of human occupation in the Americas. In 1980, Drs. James Bischoff, Richard Ku, and Roy Shellman estimated that the soils at this site may date back to over 200,000 years, using a uranium-thorium dating process on the surrounding strata.

But, the little brochure they give you says that they're not suggesting indians or paleo-indians left the artifacts, but rather a pre-sapiens humanoid.

This is fucked up. I've never heard of this before. If you know anything about new-world archeology you know it's nuts to suggest homo-erectus was in America. Homo everyone-but-us was Africa, Asia and Europe, but not the Americas. We got people crossing over the Bering strait either in one wave or 2 or 3 waves, either around 15,000 or 30,000 years ago (when and how many waves is a big issue. some mitochondrial DNA evidence suggests the whole of the Americas were populated in just 15,000 years. Other people think they started coming over 30,000 years ago).

I've been looking around the 'net and I've found a few things that indicate the 200,000 year date is widely regarded as bullshit among anthropologists even though there's been good dating done. Sounds about right, but then one could hope that everyone is just being provincial.

Loius Leakey, you know, of Lucy embedded in rock with diamonds fame?, he worked at the Calico site and he really wanted to find something like this. He sort of pushed this one site in South America, I think, as being over 30,000 years old on scanty evidence- he really wanted to find this sort of stuff so... 200,000 would make him very happy.

Anyway, if indeed all of this were most likely true it would be a huge deal and it would be taught to everyone who ever had an anthro 101 class.

I found about 15 classic hand-axe/choppers at this site (not the Calico site, which is protected, but my own secret site a ways away) and if I'm going to believe Leakey they're like 135,000 years old. I'm not going to believe him unless some data starts rolling in, which it never will, so...

Thing is although everything I found, if you showed it to any archeologist (am I spelling that right?) would definitely be considered man-made, pretty much every rock at this site looks like it's been knocked around by someone at some point. It's mind-boggling how much stuff is there. There was an ancient lake nearby and I've found good, finely worked artifacts there; stuff obviously man-made from maybe a few hundred to a few thousand years ago or so. They got their material from this area I was at this weekend because pretty much every single rock is good material. So, with so much stuff looking like it's been worked a little, you start to doubt that any of it actually has been. Natural falling and tumbling can produce flaking that can look man-made, and since every rock there is fine-grained (of tool-making quality), it's easy to imagine how most of the chipping was done naturally.

But the stuff I got, if it wasn't man-made then it was super-intelligent lizard made, or something, because they're obviously tools. But how old? They're pretty crude and mainly large hand-axes, which suggests just subsistance root-banging, bone-cracking, wood cutting sort of stuff. They're the equivalent of a cheap hachet you'd pick up at K-Mart for a camping trip. You know, one use and it's gone.

It's the same sort of stuff they say is 135,000 to 200,000 years old at Calico. How could they fuck up a dating so badly? Anyway, they could definitely be up to 10,000 years old, but more likely 5,000 or less, which is cool.


Probably not, huh?

I dunno, I'm rambling. Anyway, pretty good trip, I found some stuff, I'm really tired, and it was in the mid 90s the whole time.

Maybe I'll finally figure out how to put up photos later.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The lizards know.

Goin' to the desert this weekend. Where everything is pure and clean. The desert knows. Bones beaten by dust. Holes to hide from the sun.



I got nothing to say, I got wore out posting in the comments at Calpundit.

Say, when you look at the whole of human history and realize "freedom" (that is, freedom from oppression annd most wants) as a "natural" state of man really didn't exist until representative government, would you conclude that a libertarian state would be more "natural" than one that has some sort of distribution of wealth?

Would you look at thousands of years of hunting/gathering, thousands of years of ruler/serf, and a few years of liberal democracies, would you conclude that social security, welfare, and any other taxes you don't agree with are theft and an afront against man's "natural" state of complete individual freedom?

Or would you think you're damn lucky to have not been born 500 years ago, because for all the "natural" freedoms mankind might enjoy, you'd actually see very little of any of it?

God I hate libertarians. No one stupider or more arrogant than a libertarian. They want to take everything this nation has built- all the infrastructure, institutions, relationships, vested interests, power, land, people and prestige and use all of it, but pay for none of it. They think it ain't right for the government to tax them for anything they don't want to be taxed for, yet can't acknowledge that everything- absolutely fucking everything- that has made this country great was built by taxation.

The fucking court system and police forces and laws and statutes and regulatory bodies that allow these assholes to enjoy enforced contracts, protected property, stable currency, gauranteed deposits and free-flowing money; the fucking roads and airways and railroads and shipping lanes and docks and ports that allow commerce to flow; the goddamn protections that keep water and land fairly clean so food can grow and people can live long; the mutha-fuckin' educating of the masses that provides for an educated work force, enlightened government and laws (in theory), etc., etc.

They want to use all that shit but don't want to pay for any of it. They want to pretend all that shit had or has nothing to do with their lives or the greatness of this nation. They want to take everything generations of tax payers built and hand it over to people just wanting to make bucks. If it weren't for taxation and the public institutions, infrastructure, etc. they pay for we'd be Brazil, man.

Fuck libertarians. I hope they do move to whatever fucking state they chose to try to fuck up.

I'd like to take a few of them pseudo-intellectual, willfully ignorant cocks out to the desert.

The lizards would know what to do with them.


Monday, October 13, 2003

Captain Craptacular Assures World of His... mumferburbrfff..nep.....

Just when you think it can't get more pathetic... it does.
President Bush on Monday rejected complaints from some members of Congress that he needs to assert more control over Iraq policy, saying, "The person who is in charge is me."

Why can't this guy speak like someone who isn't a 12-year old impersonating a doctor or a judge, affecting a boorish, drawn-out, gravely serious manner of speaking that nevertheless never uses any words over two syllables?

The interviews also reflected a determination to circumvent national media, which the administration views as too focused on the problems in Iraq. "Sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people," Bush told Hearst-Argyle Television.

Over the heads of the filter?

Over the heads, plural, of the filter (a concept or object usually bereft of even one head), singular?

OK, OK. If the "filter" is "media", then it's a plural... He still sounds half-stoned.

"In all due respect to politicians here in Washington, D.C., who make comments, they're just wrong about our strategy. We've had a strategy from the beginning, Jerry Bremer is running the strategy and we are making very good progress about the establishment of a free Iraq," Bush said.

Can you imagine what folks from other countries think when they read such poorly spoken statements as this? Sort of like the way we cringe when that Italian dude says Mussollini was just a misunderstood haberdasher?

In addition, at a time when Bush is seeking international support for postwar Iraq, Cheney gave a speech on Friday in which he said opponents of the U.S.-led war favored "doing exactly nothing."

Of course keeping him in the running for 2003 Dick of the Year Award (but in a way, he's always a Dick, I suppose).

"The person who is in charge is me."

They got you right where they want you you chimp.

Keep up the good work, you major-league asshole.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Don't blame me! I voted not to replace the sitting governor with someone elected by a plurality of votes in a... ahh, fuck it.

The Austrian Prick probably won't be a terrible governor. I agree with Tbogg that generally probably not much will change.

But! I do think the wingnuts are going to start getting even more bold and become louder and more conspicuous, which is a good thing.


Because they're out of their fucking minds, and insanity is pretty easy to spot, even for a state full of people stupid enough to elect Arnold "quit your whining little baby and let me play with your tits" Shwartzenegger.

And on that point let me just confirm that, yes, there are a lot of really, really fucking stupid people in this state.

Really stupid.

They even hold jobs and shit.

Yes. It is sometimes scary.

What bothers me about this though is I don't like it when pricks get rewarded. Arnold is a mysogynist prick. He's got your basic bully, "screw you I got mine" attitude and I fucking hate it when people like that are lauded.

People in this country basically vote along personality lines. Over the last 10 or 15 years or so "conservatives" have convinced people that to be liberal means to have no sense of humor, to always be righteously indignant, to always "blame (implied you) first", to have no morals, not be able to party, hate capitalism, etc. Nevermind there's a huge freaking contradiction there, I mean, if you got no morals, you're gonna' party hardy more than anyone, and make retarded jokes even... but anyway.

Republicans have convinced, primarily stupid people, that liberals are pussy party-poopers. Faced with that sort of opposition, people tend to overreact. So, if you think liberals are trying to take your Mexican jokes away, you'll move onto your black people jokes just to piss them off. What this has done, in a nutshell, is make the modern conservative parties (Republican, Libertarian) the parties of assholes.

Assholes vote Republican partly because they hate homeless people and taxes and Mexicans and Blacks, etc. (I mean, they are assholes), but for people who don't think twice about the politics they vote Republican because they don't want to be what they think liberals and Democrats are.

This is moving us, I think, toward becoming a nation of assholes. I mean it. If the trend continues basically the majority of this country will be assholes who cut you off in traffic and laugh, screw you when they sell you their 1993 Tercel and laugh, grab your ass/tits/whatever and laugh, lie to your face about countries having weapons pointed at us and we have to invade otherwise the first shot fired might be a mushroom cloud...

Oh. Nevermind. We're already there.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Two choices...

The Bush administration's optimistic statements earlier this year that Iraq (news - web sites)'s oil wealth, not American taxpayers, would cover most of the cost of rebuilding Iraq were at odds with a bleaker assessment of a government task force secretly established last fall to study Iraq's oil industry, according to public records and government officials.

The task force, which was based at the Pentagon (news - web sites) as part of the planning for the war, produced a book-length report that described the Iraqi oil industry as so badly damaged by a decade of trade embargoes that its production capacity had fallen by more than 25 percent, panel members have said.

Despite those findings, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told Congress during the war that "we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon."

Moreover, Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) said in April, on the day Baghdad fell, that Iraq's oil production could hit 3 million barrels a day by the end of the year, even though the task force had determined that Iraq was generating less than 2.4 million barrels a day before the war.

They're either incredibly corrupt or incredibly incompetent. It's one of the two.

Senior administration officials said that Mr. Cheney, Mr. Wolfowitz and Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, were aware of the oil group's overall mission, but that they could not say whether they knew of its specific findings.

Again and again and again...

It's one of the two. Take your pick.

Friday, October 03, 2003

When you're old, you can tell your kids this is what a flailing, desperate idiot looked like back in your day.

What an asshole:

Both President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell contended Friday that a vial of botulinum bacteria found in Iraq is evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons intent. But the chief U.S. weapons inspector said the vial had been stored for safekeeping in an Iraqi scientist's refrigerator since 1993. He offered no evidence it had been used in a weapons program during the last decade.

Powell's an asshole too. No more "he's a man of integrity" bullshit. He's a fucking asshole, The whole fucking Bush crew is all assholes.

Fuck 'em all and let a vengeful God who's sick of being invoked by a bunch of greedy hayseed businessmen sort 'em out.

Inspector David Kay had reported to Congress on Thursday that his team has so far found no weapons of mass destruction inside Iraq.

Kay also said American weapons hunters had found no evidence that Iraq has recently tried to import a semi-refined form of uranium from Niger or anywhere else. Bush cited that claim in his State of the Union address, although administration officials later acknowledged it was based on shaky intelligence and should not have been included.

Kay's search teams did locate documents suggesting another country in Africa — which Kay refused to identify — had offered uranium to Iraq, although it does not appear the deal went through. "We don't have any evidence it moved beyond what was probably an unsolicited offer," Kay said.

A vial of bacteria that can be found in your back-fucking-yard, that can also be used in certain medical situations, found in a refrigerator, sitting there since 1998...

This is evidence?

You fucking punk.

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out in 2004.


Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Scum Sensor 3000!

I haven't been writing about anything political now for a while for two reasons, #1, I've been so busy I've just been unable to take any time out to write about much of anything, and #2, I was starting to lose my sense of humor. Really.

See, I'm not much of a writer of prose, as if you couldn't tell, so my fabulous sense of humor doesn't really come through via this blog, but you'll have to trust me that I'm a funny guy. About 2 or 3 months ago I really started to notice that I couldn't come up with any good ideas for jokes or sketches or what-not. Basically I would try to make everything some political comment, but my humor is more absurdist and, frankly, I should stay away from political humor.

I'm off track. The point is I was slowly, but very surely, becoming quite unfunny, and it was clear the reason was because I was constantly filled with a combination of rage and bewilderment.

This Bush world was sucking the life out of me.

Well, fuck that, I thought, and so I've been purposely not reading about every shitty thing that hits the news in great detail as I did before. So end result is I'm a little less knowledgable but 50% less filled with seething rage... and the sense of humor I think is coming back.


I must point out that if there was ever a quick, easy and accurate test of scum or not scum, the Plame affair and all the no-bid iraq contracts are it. What do I mean? Lemme 'splain (Oooooh! I incorporated the title of my blog! How cheaky!).

If someone tries to dismiss the Plame affair as no big deal, or defends the administration to no end, or tries to blame the victim, etc., etc... if they don't see anything wrong with the Plame affair they're scum. Simple as that. Outing an undercover agent for pure political elbowing reasons is a terrible thing to do, no matter who's doing it, anyone who tries to make like she wasn't even undercover, or it ain't no big deal, or she had it coming, or Wilson deserved it, or whatever... they're scum.

Right now are you thinking about the comment you're going to leave me? Will it say something to the effect that she was just a pencil pusher and wasn't undercover and everyone knew and she brought it on herself and there's no proof yet there was any wrongdoing?

You're scum.

Also- if someone thinks there's nothing at all wrong with giving Halliburton and Bechtel no-bid contracts for nearly the whole of Iraq- they're scum.

Gonna' leave a comment about how they're the best equipped and it's too big of a job to allow for bidding and I wouldn't be complaining if Clinton did it or something like that?


Go back to scum-ville.

You scummo.

Whew, alright- back to trying not to care so much it sucks the life out of me.

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