Sunday, April 30, 2006

Poem - Gary Snyder

The last of the month in celebration of National Poetry Month. Hopefully you have enjoyed these postings as I've enjoyed rediscovering many of these. There are so many excellent poets of the world. I hardly even touched those who write music (only 1 - by Patti Smith - and for her I posted an actual poem written before she was known to the world as a rock star). I've alternated male and female poets all month and attempted to add some diversity to their backgrounds and the decades when their poems appeared. Anyhow, one last one:

December At Yase

You said, that October,
In the tall dry grass by the orchard
When you chose to be free,
"Again someday, maybe ten years."

After college I saw you
One time. You were strange,
And I was obsessed with a plan.

Now ten years and more have
Gone by: I've always known
where you were—
I might have gone to you
Hoping to win your love back.
You still are single.

I didn't.
I thought I must make it alone. I
Have done that.

Only in dream, like this dawn,
Does the grave, awed intensity
Of our young love
Return to my mind, to my flesh.

We had what the others
All crave and seek for;
We left it behind at nineteen.

I feel ancient, as though I had
Lived many lives.

And may never now know
If I am a fool
Or have done what my
karma demands.


Stephen Colbert's bit at the White House Correspondent's Dinner is getting all of the political buzz today. Editor and Publisher has a write up. Crooks and Liars offers WMP and QT files (warning - big files). Boing Boing points to a high quality BitTorrent. Enjoy!

What is it with South Carolina? First, some nut proposes a ban on sex toys and now the same nut has proposed shipping drug offenders and pedophiles to prisons in foreign countries.

Gasoline prices may not have peaked. According to the Guardian, prices may hit $100 a barrel. Using their price per liter and converting it, that may result in U.S. prices reaching about $7 a gallon. Even Hastert and crew might forgo leaving their SUVs idling when that happens. (Who am I kidding - the wealthy corrupt politicians don't care? Besides it demonstrates allegiance to their oil masters).

Recipe - Mango Ice Cream

Last week we purchased 4 honey mangos from the market without any real plan for them. I had been thinking of mango ice cream a little bit, but was open to further suggestions. Having received none, I went ahead with the ice cream. It turned out really well. Here's what I did:

2 cups ripe mango, peeled, diced
1.5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups milk
5 egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup coconut milk

1) Combine mango, 1/2 cup sugar and lime juice in a non-metallic bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2) Make a custard by scalding the milk in a 2 quart saucepan.

3) Whisk the egg yolks together with 3/4 cup of sugar in a mixing bowl so that the result is smooth. Add the warmed milk in a thin, steady stream while whisking (to do this, I put the milk into a measuring cup first). Return the mixture to the pan and continue to cook, whisking so that the mixture does not come to a boil again. Do this until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon - about 3 minutes.

4) Put the custard into a clean bowl. Put that bowl into a another bowl filled with ice and water. Put those bowls into the refrigerator and let cool completely - at least an hour. If you cannot do the ice water bath, then just put it in the coldest part of the refrigerator until it is cold. The colder it is the quicker your maker will make the ice cream.

5) Stir the mango mixture into the custard mixture. Stir in the cream and the coconut milk. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if desired (this was plenty sweet for me). Freeze in an electric or crank ice cream maker, according to the maker's instructions. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

I served mine over top shortcakes - the type one uses for strawberries. Just slice a shortcake in half. Put each half in a bowl. Top with Mango Ice Cream. Yum!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pardon my rant

A friend emailed me today. She sent me the lyric to a song which contained the following line:
in the name of democracy, in the name of freedom, in the name of liberation
you might declare it a war, but it's not in my name
not now, not ever
it's not in my name
not like this
The song is by Ember Swift and it's called Sucker Punched. It's a powerful lyric attempting to deal with racism, classism, and war all within one tune. That's a difficult thing to attempt to do and Swift deserves props for his her attempt. I do think all of these things are tied together.

But this last bit about the war not being in our name really bugs me. I've heard rock and pop stars promote similar themes and I appreciate the opposition. However, in a democracy, the actions of the majority rule and the fact is the majority supported the wars and probably re-elected crooked Republicans and Democrats in 2004. In fact, many of those crooks will be re-elected this year despite current polling trends.

My friend wrote me about the lyric. I had shared a site that is streaming (legally) Neil Young's new album and she shared with me another thought on the politics of the day. I was so ticked at the sentiment in those last lines, that I began a rant in my email reply to her. She doesn't deserve that rant. It went on for longer than I intended. I shortened it quite a bit in my reply, but I want to get some of it off my chest for now. For that, I'll take the time to publish it here, slightly edited to protect the innocent:

Only, the war was declared in our name. We were lied to - true - but not all of us believed. The President and both political parties cynically played on the good nature of the people of this republic. This public wants to believe our leaders are telling the truth. They want to provide the benefit of the doubt. And so, when politicians go before the cameras and, like Reagan before them, show abstract pictures from satellites that they say incontrovertibly contains evidence of chemical or biological weapons manufacturing buildings, the majority of the public wants to believe them. The majority of the public wants to believe that these people are like themselves, like their friends and like their neighbors. So, the majority of the public lends their support to them.

The resulting policy was a war - one that was unnecessary, one that has been costly, and one that might very well have led to increasing the terror threat around the world. Regardless of what the public now says, the majority supported that action. The majority has a right to be angry. They have a right to feel betrayed (once again, by both parties), but until we throw out all of the shills for American Empire, pull the troops out, and stop this nonsense, then the war IS in our names. Democracy, such as it is practiced here, worked prior to the war and Americans supported their leaders willingly and gladly. The public was lied to and deceived, but does that really matter at this point? Unless we take to the streets and demand that this nonsense stop, it will continue. Unless we pick up pen and paper en masse, this nonsense will continue. Because it continues, in America - with our democratic system - it is in our names. The same goes for Canada and Britain. We were lied to, but we were willing and wanted to believe. We were participants in that sense - passive, but still participants. The majority did not do the hard work to seek out other opinions and opposing views. Instead, it argued over feelings and trust of a corrupt and morally bankrupt leadership.

The sad truth is, we all have blood on our hands. Even I, who opposed the war, share in that blood. That is the consequence of a democratic system. Unless someone can prove two things - that elections were stolen and that the Democrats would have acted any differently - then the results of the actions of our government are also ours. Even if those two things are proven, I don't see massive protests in the streets. In Nepal this past week, people faced beatings, tear gas, and torture to demand democracy in their country. In America, where we have democracy, I don't see people taking to the streets to demand an end to this war and many of the other policies of this government? I don't see them taking to the streets even with the looming possibility of war with Iran, which makes me think that there's more tacit approval and complacency than I care to admit. Thomas Jefferson was right: we should have a revolution every 20 years. Near as I can tell, the current system has been in place since Truman. We're long fucking overdue.

It just irks me to hear people running away from this. Facing these problems is enormous. We need to be informed and in order to do that we have to work at it. With so many issues hitting us in our private lives, it's hard to work at these things. And yet, that's what our form of government demands, particularly now. Like everyone else, I'd like to elect a leader and let her make informed decisions that are in the best interest of the constituency, but the system is corrupted and the "leadership" is vacuous.

Mainstream media outlets don't help either, which makes things even more difficult. As media has proliferated in our country, as more outlets for reaching people have become available, the country in particular, and the world in general has gotten more conservative. This has happened under rule by Republicans and Democrats. There has been a steady pace over the last 60 or 70 years. Even in the late 60s and early 70s, when people discuss a more open society, it was really a rather small, but vocal movement. The majority of the public didn't go in for the rebellion, but it did open some eyes and ears for a short time period to more possibilities in the world. The trouble is, those ideas were ultimately discarded by the baby boomers. And all of this was happening when media was expanding. It seems to be a paradox. More local television, more local radio, more newspapers, more magazines, satellite, cable, VCRs, DVDs, the Internet...Why is it happening? One could place blame on the conglomeration of the media and I certainly would agree that this is part of it, but I think the answer lies more deeply in the human condition: our desire to be liked, to be popular, to belong, to move the culture together results in a homogenization that is ultimately reflected in the media which aids in the reinforcement in our country and around the world. It's clear how this affects our own culture, but our trends are being share around the world much more easily now. The cultural exchanges happening (the world is flat again) are resulting in a mash-up of cultures with America's melting pot being more open to absorbing the best of other traditions. As we tend to skew towards homogenization, we tend to be quick to snap up radical trends (such as body piercing and slow food campaigns) and adapt them to our paradigms. There are some benefits to this: the rather quick acceptance that is happening for gay partnerships in the last 15 years is a good example. But there are negative consequences as well as we tend to wall our minds in from ideas that might further challenge us and shake up the powers that be (how many people actually listen to Chuck D's words anymore, let alone Bruce Springsteen or Neil Young's?). The result is a profoundly conservative culture that does not like when things stray from the norm. It's reflected in our relationships, our clothes, our architecture, our finances, and our entertainment. Have we become Edward Scissorhands' world? We were before then, but we've only refined the dream since thanks to our desire to be (a)like(d).

Poem - Jessica Hagedorn

In celebration of National Poetry Month

Something About You

this is for ntozake
of the painted sacred monkeys
on the beaches of the caribbean
the chinese ladies weep
into their ivory fans
as she dances the bomba

and this is for pedro
in brooklyn and puerto rico
and the beautiful blueness
of the water of my voice
the music will save you
from madness
if you listen

and this is for the rose who is dead

and thulani with the moon in her hair

this is for the cartoon lady ifa
of the planet venus with the green eyes
and the darkness of her
that all new orleans weeps
as she dances for lena horne
and dorothy dandridge
who is dead

and this is for the wizard
who swallows his tears
like diamonds
lost in the caves
of his gentle throat
the music will consume your sadness
if you keep singing

this is for the one whose aura was silver

and this is for the man
who chases butterflies and alcoholics
in latin nightclub dreams
and kisses me with zoom lenses
on the beaches of the hollywood freeway
all the hibiscus bloom
as you devour iguanas

and this is for the men who loved me

and the one i loved

and the child who is a mirror

this is for the one who bears light
who is the color of egypt
the cuban drummers are joyous
when nashira moves across the floor
of crying laughter

something about you
all of us
with songs inside
knifing the air of sorrow
with our dance
a carnival of spirits
shredded blossoms
in the water

Laura Rozen on Cunningham, the CIA, and prostitutes

Laura Rozen has some excellent thoughts on the prositutes, the Watergate hotel, the CIA, and certain Congressman. Clip:
Or was it about the semi deniable policy within the policy, run by those who had proved themselves over time, from Central America and Afghanistan to cigar-smoke filled Watergate suites, to be reliable members of the club that doesn't overly concern itself with the law? More than that: it's about this club's conviction that the law is an impediment to the national security cause, that the way to run things is through these informal networks. One can imagine over time the kind of arrogance, recklessness and contempt for the law, democratic governance and just simple standards of morality that might breed among those who have operated in this milieu. It's hardly a surprise that people who have done business for years with those who share these convictions would use prostitutes, pay bribes and take bribes; in a deeper way, they have been the go-to guys for policies that were incompatable with the law and democracy all along, from arming the mujahedeen to Iran contra to extraordinary renditions, but which they may have believed were worthy.
More here.

Friday, April 28, 2006

How to uninstall IE7 beta 2

I never did hear back from the Microsoft free support line for IE 7. After assuring me that he'd call me yesterday between 2 and 4 PM, I got a follow up email from the tech that let me know his hours ended daily at 1:30 PST. In other words, he was never going to get in touch with me. That's too bad because I think he honestly wanted to assist me. Assuming that this was just a timing error on his part, why have I not heard back from him? No worries as I found the "solution" and will send an email back outlining the solution after I post to this here blog.

Quick recap: While installing IE 7.0 Beta 2, I got several pop up messages from my antispyware software (Microsoft, Zone Alarm, Spyware Blaster, and Ad-Watch). During one of those messages, I refused to let IE's install program reset the start page. When the install finished, I got a message declaring that the install had failed. I needed to do a reboot and the browser would be rolled back to IE 6. After rebooting, IE 7 was still on the machine. Apparently (I found this out in research), instructions for removing IE 7 were supposed to be posted on the desktop, but were not. So, a complete cock up.

From Microsoft's site, I found the following suggestions for properly removing IE 7.0

  1. Go to Start
  2. Go To Control Panel
  3. Click Add/Remove Programs
  4. Click the check box next to "Show Updates"
  5. Locate IE 7 Beta 2 in the program list and click "Remove"

I followed these instructions and got an error indicating that only the user account that installed the program could uninstall the program. To uninstall, log in as that user and then follow the procedure. The problem was that I was logged in as that user. I tried logging in as administrator, just in case and got the same results. Another method supplied by Microsoft:

  1. Go to WINDOWS\$NtUninstallie7beta2$\spuninst\spuninst.exe and run the program

The result was the user error once again. Blech! That's when I called Microsoft support. As noted, I spent 77 minutes on the phone with them and got nowhere. Then, he never called back - a tech support dumping. I felt ashamed, used.

Today, I have tackled the beast. I got advice from a couple of different sites. One was a forum and the other site I don't recall. Both options seemed reasonable. The first one is this:

  1. Go to Start and click Run
  2. Type in regedit
  3. Go to HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer
  4. In the right hand pane right click the mouse and choose New>Key
  5. Name the new key InstalledByUser then create it
  6. Right click on the new key and add the following value: the name of your user account
  7. Close out of everything
  8. Now, follow the Microsoft instructions above for using Add/Remove programs

Doing this worked for me and it rolled back IE to version 6. During the uninstall, a scary message popped up noting all of the programs that were installed after IE7 that might not work if I continue the uninstall. Actually, the list of programs went back to my original install on my machine of Windows. So, the list was long and bogus. Microsoft probably feels justified posting it from a legal standpoint (a cya if I ever saw one), but it seems to me to be more of a scare tactic, especially in light of the fact that it rolls back the browser to IE 6. An example? Spider Solitaire was on the list and it does not rely on IE in the least. Bad move.

Another suggestion I saw, but did not try (read: use at your own risk) though it did make sense was to navigate to the following location:

  1. \WINDOWS\$NtUninstallie7beta2$\spuninst\spuninst.inf
  2. Open the spuninst.inf file in Notepad.
  3. Find the term "Prerequisite".
  4. Delete the entry for the prerequisite.
  5. Save the file and try Add/Remove.

In the first instance, you are specifically entering in the registry key needed to make the uninstall work. In the second instance, you are deleting the need for that entry to exist in the first place. FWIW, after rebooting I did the install for IE 7 again. This time I turned off Ad-Watch (just to eliminate one of the programs communicating with me) and accepted all of the new entries that IE 7 wanted to add. I got a message saying that I had a successful install. After rebooting, I've confirmed it.

If you want to try IE 7 without cocking up your machine, I recommend the IE 7 standalone launch script. It really works.


Hypothetical: Let's say you're a Republican Congressman from New York. You've attended a wake in the district next door. It's depressed you, so you go to a bar and throw down a couple. Maybe more than a couple. The bar's about to close up for the night, you're drunk, shouldn't be driving, so what do you do? Why not go across the street to the frat house and have a good old college bull session talking policy with the boys at the party? Better yet? Let them take pictures.

The Iraq War costs more than the Vietnam War and it accomplished that in less than half the time. Of course, look at all we've done for the Iraqis. Got to admit, we're getting better at this. About the time our Empire falls, we'll have it down pat. Remember Rummy saying that the war would cost about $50 billion? Remember the administration firing people who said it would be 4 times that much? Hey, even those folks were low-balling it. Just for grins, this clip from the article:
The Bush administration is desperate to announce a reduction in the 130,000-strong US force before November's mid-term elections, where public disillusion with the war threatens disaster for the Republicans.
OK, back to Congressman, scandals, and hookers. Clip:
Two of Wilkes' former business associates say they were present on several occasions when Shirlington Limousine & Transportation Service of northern Virginia brought prostitutes to the suite. They say they did not see lawmakers in the suites on those occasions, though both had heard rumors of congressmen bringing women to the rooms.
In law schools, I hear, they call that sort of thing - where you transport someone across state lines for sexual acts - "trafficking". That's a notch above plain old vanilla "prostitution". Hey, it gets even better. From the same article:
Last year, Shirlington won a $21 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security.
Whaaaaaaa? Those are some mighty high quality hookers. We'll get back to this issue in a moment. First, let's read on in the same article:
Several of Wilkes' former employees and business associates say he used the hospitality suites over the past 15 years to curry favor with lawmakers as well as officials with the CIA, where both Wilkes and Wade sought contracts...

People who were present at the games said one of the regular players was Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo, who has been Wilkes' best friend since the two attended junior high school in Chula Vista in the late 1960s. In October, Foggo was named the CIA's executive director – the agency's third-highest position...

One of Wilkes' companies, Archer Logistics, won a contract to provide bottled water, first-aid kits and other supplies to CIA agents in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company had no previous experience with such work, having been founded a few months before the contract was granted.

Critics familiar with the contract, valued at $2 million to $3 million, say the CIA overpaid for the work. The contract was approved by the CIA office in Frankfurt, Germany, where Foggo oversaw acquisitions. Foggo did not personally sign the contract, however, said unnamed CIA officials who spoke with Newsweek.
Who believes this was on the up and up? Seriously. OK, back to that contract that the limo service was awarded by the Fatherland Security Department. Harper's reports this:
It gets even more interesting: the man who has been identified as the CEO of Shirlington has a 62-page rap sheet (I recently obtained a copy) that runs from at least 1979 through 1989 and lists charges of petit larceny, robbery, receiving stolen goods, assault, and more.

As to the festivities themselves, I hear that party nights began early with poker games and degenerated into what the source described as a "frat party" scene—real bacchanals. Apparently photographs were taken, and investigators are anxiously procuring copies. My heart beats faster in fevered anticipation.
So, you can have a 62-page rap sheet and still land a $21+ million contract with Fatherland Security? Of course, it's all on the up and up. And what is it with Republicans, frat houses, and photographs? Didn't think I'd tie it all in, did ya?

Great. Remember those disc drives being sold at Afghan bazaars? They've been on sale there for up to 4 years and some contain names of informants. Guess what? Taliban members are killing alleged informants? Of course, no direct ties can be proven, but it looks suspicious, doesn't it?

Finally, something not political - the first online review I've read of AllPeers, complete with snaps. Lucky devil...I'm awaiting my beta invite with increased antici.....pation.

Monolithic enema

Um, that's not a misprint. Sadly, no uses the phrase "monolithic enemy", but I feel like we really got hosed. Only, now, thanks to the above mentioned link, we now know for sure that we got hosed. Clip:
Francis Fukuyama, the apostate neoconservative, says that in the 1990s, neocons tried to manufacture an enemy, because they felt that the Republican Party "didn't do as well" when there wasn't a ruthless, monolithic pinkomuslimcommienihilist threat to America...

Fukuyama relates that the Kristolmethodists -- Bill Kristol's clique of neoconservative fucktards whose journalistic mouthpiece is the Murdoch-funded Weekly Standard, and whose particular lab-cooked product of wingnuttery Higher Republicans snort by the kilo -- decided to make China the new Monolithic Enemy. Of course, most everyone can remember the obvious desire of wingnuts to christen China as the new Evil Empire; plainly they missed the Cold War and all its attendent happy happy funtime of impending Nuclear Armaggeddon. And indeed the first foreign policy crisis of the Bush administration involved China. But then 9/11 happened, and it was a godsend for the wingnuts. No need for China now. Finally, there really was an enemy: it was Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. Finally, a new Bad Guy to replace the Soviet Union! Fukuyama doesn't go much farther than that, but -- thanks, Dear Francis -- we can take over from here and apply his candid admission of wingnut strawman manufacturing to the current crisis.

Poem - Ted Berrigan

In celebration of National Poetry Month

Red Shift

Here I am at 8:08 p.m. indefinable ample rhythmic frame
The air is biting, February, fierce arabesques
on the way to tree in winter streetscape
I drink some American poison liquid air which bubbles
and smoke to have character and to lean
In. The streets look for Allen, Frank, or me, Allen
is a movie, Frank disappearing in the air, it's
Heavy with that lightness, heavy on me, I heave
through it, them, as
The Calvados is being sipped on Long island now
twenty years almost ago, and the man smoking
Is looking at the smilingly attentive woman, & telling.
Who would have thought that I'd be here, nothing
wrapped up, nothing buried, everything
Love, children, hundreds of them, money, marriage-
ethics, a politics of grace,
Up in the air, swirling, burning even or still, now
more than ever before?
Not that practically a boy, serious in corduroy car coat
eyes penetrating the winter twilight at 6th
& Bowery in 1961. Not that pretty girl, nineteen, who was
going to have to go, careening into middle-age so,
To burn, & to burn more fiercely than even she could imagine
so to go. Not that painter who from very first meeting
I would never & never will leave alone until we both vanish
into the thin air we signed up for & so demanded
To breathe & who will never leave me, not for sex, nor politics
nor even for stupid permanent estrangement which is
Only our human lot & means nothing. No, not him.
There's a song, "California Dreaming", but no, I won't do that
I am 43. When will I die? I will never die, I will live
To be 110, & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
who am always & only a ghost, despite this frame, Spirit
Who lives only to nag.
I'm only pronouns, & I am all of them, & I didn't ask for this
You did
I came into your life to change it & it did so & now nothing
will ever change
That, and that's that.
Alone & crowded, unhappy fate, nevertheless
I slip softly into the air
The world's furious song flows through my costume.

Friday Random Ten

Here ya go...the roolz: hit random or shuffle on your mp3 player and post the first 10 songs that come up - no cheating...what are yours?

01) Fantasista - Ressurreccion del Angel (Libertango Mix)
02) The Nu-People - I'd Be Nowhere Today
03) Laura Love - Can I Get A Wet Nurse
04) Holly Figueroa - God Bless'd The Child
05) Leonard Cohen - Suzanne
06) Baris Manco - Derule
07) Michael Franti and Spearhead - Love Invincible
08) Perez Prado - Tomcat Mambo
09) August Darnell - Christmas on Riverside Drive
10) James Taylor Quartet - New Dawn

Black tulips

Black tulips
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
Another shot of the black tulip.

Black tulips

Black tulips
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
Close up of black tulip

Black tulips

Black tulips
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
Black tulip bulbs that were given to us are blooming. Last year they barely got a chance to come up as we got them into the ground late.

Spring in the yard

Spring in the yard
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
A picture of the front porch. The heather is in bloom, the clematis is coming back slowly, the rose tree is coming up as well.

Spring in the yard

Spring in the yard
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
Close up of pansies

Spring in the yard

Spring in the yard
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
The Fireweed is coming up in the pot that is planted with pansies, oregano, and a variety of grasses. Fireweed plants itself and it is lovely when it blooms.

Spring in the yard

Spring in the yard
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
Close up of tulip.

Spring in the yard

Spring in the yard
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
Close up of tulip.

Spring in the yard

Spring in the yard
Originally uploaded by dv8or70.
Tulips blooming

Thursday, April 27, 2006

MSM hypes the dangers of the Internet?

Here's a wonderful flash video set to music with an opinion on the topic.

Stupid pandering

CNN reports that Senate Republicans are going to offer a plan to rebate $100 to every American for the price of gas. Um, why don't they get their president to stop his unnecessary saber rattling with Iran and make nice with Venezuela? Why don't they repeal the tax breaks they gave oil companies in the energy bill? Why don't they require higher fuel efficiency standards and add a vehicle emissions tax? Why don't they offer bigger tax breaks to consumers who buy energy efficient vehicles and eliminate the ones for SUVs? Why don't they fund alternative energy sources more fully? Why don't they lead by example and drive more efficient cars, drive less often, and fly less? Why not offer more public transportation subsidies? Why offer this "break" to everyone instead of only to those who meet certain pay scale and vehicle standards?Haven't they heard that our budget is in deficit and that we are at war?

Democrats plan to offer a competing plan so that we can watch the monkeys vie to see who can be the silliest pandering assholes on the hill in an election year. Geez, this is so fucking stupid my head is spinning. I could go on and on all day with better suggestions.

Poem - Diane Di Prima

In celebration of National Poetry Month.

Rant, from a Cool Place

"I see no end of it, but the turning
upside down of the entire world"
--------------------------------- Erasmus

We are in the middle of a bloody, heartrending revolution
Called America, called the Protestant reformation, called Western man,
Called individual consciousness, meaning I need a refrigerator and a car
And milk and meat for the kids so, I can discover that I don't need a car
Or a refrigerator, or meat, or even milk, just rice and a place with
-------------no wind to sleep next to someone
Two someones keeping warm in the winter learning to weave
To pot and to putter, learning to steal honey from bees,
------------wearing the bedclothes by day, sleeping under
(or in) them at night; hording bits of glass, colored stones, and
------------stringing beads
How long before we come to that blessed definable state
Known as buddhahood, primitive man, people in a landscape
together like trees, the second childhood of man

I don't know if I will make it somehow nearer by saying all this
out loud, for christs sake, that Stevenson was killed, that Shastri
------------was killed
both having dined with Marietta Tree
the wife of a higher-up in the CIA
both out of their own countries mysteriously dead, as how many others
as Marilyn Monroe, wept over in so many tabloids
done in for sleeping with Jack Kennedy - this isn't a poem - full of
------------cold prosaic fact
thirteen done in the Oswald plot: Jack Ruby's cancer that disappeared
------------in autopsy
the last of a long line - and they're waiting to get Tim Leary
Bob Dylan
Allen Ginsberg
LeRoi Jones - as, who killed Malcolm X? They give themselves away
with TV programs on the Third Reich, and I wonder if I'll live to sit in
------------Peking or Hanoi
see TV programs on LBJ's Reich: our great SS analysed, our money exposed,
------------the plot to keep Africa
genocide in Southeast Asia now in progress Laos Vietnam Thailand Cambodia
------------O soft-spoken Sukamo
O great stone Buddhas with sad negroid lips torn down by us by the red
------------guard all one force
one leveling mad mechanism, grinding it down to earth and swamp to sea
------------to powder

till Mozart is something a few men can whistle
or play on a homemade flute and we bow to each other
telling old tales half remembered gathering shells
learning again "all beings are from the very beginning Buddhas"
or glowing and dying radiation and plague we come to that final great
------------love illumination


Camelbert cheese coming to a store near you some time in the distant future.

The European Parliament reports nearly 1,000 secret CIA flights over Europe. They also conclude that handing over terror suspects to the organization was not unusual.

The Carpetbagger Report notes a Wall Street Journal piece on further details of the Duke Cunningham scandal. Apparently, the lobbyist involved was renting out several "hospitality suites" in a hotel under his own name, possibly setting up Congressmen with prostitutes. As readers know, I don't care about the sex. I'm more interested in the lobbying ties and the hypocrisy.

The Seattle Times ran an article today on national lawmaker's "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude towards energy conservation with regards to gasoline. Of course, they don't really care since taxpayers subsidize the vehicles and the gasoline and besides, these folks are often fairly wealthy. Note for Washington state residents: Maria Cantwell apparently drove to the press conference, but walked back making her only half as hypocritical as her colleagues. Here's the original article in the Washington Post.

Mad Kane

Oh, she could be called Sugar Kane because she makes political jibes so sweet with her limericks. (Candye Kane is an altogether different person). Her motto is "A limerick a day keeps Republicans at bay!". I dig it. She linked to me for my contributions to And They Cook, Too. I found her via Technorati. Here's a sampling of her work:

A General Gripe
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Some Gen'rals are filling our ears,
With Rummy critiques and Bronx cheers.
What a shame they're so late,
And didn't join the debate
Before Bush got another four years.

George Bush Has Been Urged To Clean House
By Madeleine Begun Kane

George Bush has been urged to clean house,
By his GOP pals and his spouse.
But the changes he makes
Can't repair his mistakes,
Cause the man in the Oval's a louse.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Poem - Pablo Neruda

In celebration of National Poetry Month

I Crave Your Mouth, Your Voice, Your Hair

Don't go far off, not even for a day, because --
because -- I don't know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don't leave me, even for an hour, because
then the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve on the beach;
may your eyelids never flutter into the empty distance.
Don't leave me for a second, my dearest,

because in that moment you'll have gone so far
I'll wander mazily over all the earth, asking,
Will you come back? Will you leave me here, dying?

IE 7 update - Still broken

After posting to the Microsoft bug board about this, I went about researching the issues. I did learn a fair amount about the logs created when installing IE 7. For instance, I learned that the error that caused all of the ruckus was indeed my denial of updating the start page. At least, that is the way it appears to me. The log tells me that the Access is Denied, but of course, permissions on the registry key in question are just fine. I just simply said, "No, you cannot update that" and this appears to have hosed the entire install. Bad, bad, bad, bad...

But that doesn't explain why the troubleshooting guide wasn't published nor why the uninstall is failing. There is an error which reads "Installation completed with errors." Gee, thanks for the info. This is followed by this message:
Couldn't create setup troubleshooting shortcut on the desktop. HRESULT: 0x8007007f,
Then, this one:
Software Update Rollback failed and Exit Code = 0x5
And, finally, this one:
Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 has been partially updated and may not work properly.
199.922: Update.exe extended error code = 0x5
Wow, that's certainly informative! After investigating all of that, I found out that in addition to Zone Alarm and Nero popping up error messages, MSN Messenger was no longer able to connect to the Internet. Well, this was all unacceptable. All three programs pointed to the same file: wininet.dll. So, what to do? Well, I ran sfc /scannow and got original files replaced. The Zone Alarm, Nero, and MSN Messenger problems have disappeared, but I was still stuck with a non working integrated version of IE (the stand alone hack mentioned in the previous post works fine).

For kicks I decided to log in as Administrator and see if I could run the uninstall. Nope. IE was throwing up the same error message:
Windows Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 cannot be uninstalled from this user account. Please log on to the same user account from which it was installed and try again.
Except that originally I was logged in to the same user account and now I was logged in as administrator. Listen, the administrator of the machine should be able to override the user account and do the uninstall. I'm left with the impression that the problem is deeper than that. I tried downloading and installing a fresh version of IE 6, but it throws up (correctly) the error message that I had a newer version installed. Of course, I cannot uninstall the newer version, which is the problem.

Next step was to call Microsoft's support line for IE 7 beta 2. It's a free call during the beta testing. To be honest, I'm pretty skeptical of Microsoft's support lines. I had a hellish time once with MSN (not connected for 6 weeks). Today's experience was better and I learned 2 things after spending 77 minutes on the phone:
1) The support staff is as good as I am at reading Microsoft's published literature regarding the repair steps for IE 7 and...
2) Some people in India apparently have an abiding love for 70s classic rock like The Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, and the like. Who knew?
To be fair to the tech support person, this is a new product and he cannot have fielded many questions about it. He also seemed genuinely interested in helping me resolve the issues. He was patient and so was I. However, the issue remains. He's supposed to call back tomorrow afternoon after doing more research. See, he thinks it's a permissions issue on the registry. I tried to explain that it was likely not that, but rather my interaction with the install. I'm betting that if they ever find a way to uninstall the program and I try a reinstall without denying anything, then it will work just fine. I'm also betting that the uninstall will be an ugly, manual effort at this point.

More tomorrow!

IE 7 Beta 2 install woes

Microsoft's folks say that IE 7 Beta 2, even though it is a Beta product, is really quite close to a full public release. On their website, Microsoft has a big advertisement on the download page encouraging the general public to download IE 7 Beta 2 and give it a spin. Unless you are familiar with testing products and are willing to test this product for Microsoft (which means dealing with failures and frustration), then I recommend you DO NOT DO THIS.

OK, sorry for the shouting, but I wanted to make that clear. Here's my experience with IE 7.0 thus far (keep in mind, I am familiar with these things). I downloaded the hefty (11.6MB) package and saved it to my desktop. After posting on this blog yesterday about not knowing whether or not I'd do the install, I thought what the heck! Clicking on the install button brought up a nice looking install screen from IE 7.

Two nice things about IE 7's install: First, it looks for updates to the OS before doing the install. Secondly, it downloads Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool and runs it. Both are good ideas for the average user as it will assist in getting a clean system before the install which, in theory, will aid in security.

So far, so good. I let IE 7 run it's install program as normal. Now, keep in mind that I have several antispyware programs on my PC: Spyware Blaster (which locks the host file), Spybot Search & Destroy (also locks the host file, but I do not run the tea timer program), Ad-Aware (with Ad-Watch, which is another version of tea timer), Microsoft Antivirus, and Zone Alarm (up to date). I also run Norton Antivirus, but that hasn't seemed to have been an issue. Why is this important? Because as IE 7 installs, it attempts to change a LOAD of different settings that you already have on your browser. For instance, it attempts to change your start page. Sorry, folks, I know Microsoft is infamous for doing this (as Yahoo is for changing the search engine), but this is just plain wrong. A software company, when upgrading, should virtually NEVER, EVER change the user's presets from the prior install. The one caveat to that would be if it actually was a new feature or enhanced performance for the user, but the user should have the right of refusal and it shouldn't be stealth (which it would have been had I not come armed to the teeth).

Now, my homepage is set, as a matter of fact, to IE 7 attempts to change the homepage setting to..? You guessed it, Still, I read that info and decided to deny the change. What difference would it make?

With that, I was asked for a number of other changes. It seems, for instance, that Yascrew changed the search bar to Yascrew's engine (I didn't know - I never use IE except for Windows updates). Sure, I thought, IE can change to MSN's search engine. In fact, I approved all changes except to the home page.

When it was completed, I got an error message informing me that the install of IE 7 failed. I was required to restart my computer and IE 6 would be reinstalled. After restarting the computer, I noted that an error message popped up from Zone Alarm regarding the WININET.dll. Uh oh, there was the first sign of trouble.

Scanning the desktop I noted that the IE logo had changed. Clicking on the logo brought up another error for WININET.dll. In other words, IE would not start. I decided to open the control panel to add/remove programs. Sure enough, the PC indicated that IE 7 was loaded; not IE 6. I tried to remove IE 7, but got an error stating that only the user who installed the program could remove it. Well, I was logged in under the same account I used to install it, so this was useless advice.

Digging further, I attempted to find the uninstall procedure. During that time, I came across some logs and looked through them. I noted that the logs indicated that the install failure occurred when I denied the change to the start page. Assuming that is what caused my later problems, that it wrong on so many levels. Eventually, I did locate the uninstall procedure and it either failed or did nothing. *sigh*

At this point, I was/am at a loss. Attempting a system restore failed with another error popping up several times over the same dll file. Another restart and another control panel option also failed. My main concern is getting the dll problem resolved so that Nero and Zone Alarm are not popping up error messages to me. The secondary concern is getting IE up and running so that I can manage my Windows updates.

After poking around for a while and reading Microsoft's IE support pages, I've reached the conclusion that I'm experiencing 2 separate issues. First is the one with permissions and the registry. I have no idea why that is failing. In theory, I should be able to remove IE 7 or roll it back to IE 6. The registry entry that it says it failed on does have full permissions - it always has. I did try to reinstall the program (go through the whole procedure again as a repair process and then accept all of the changes and/or turn off the antispyware warnings) however the install program recognizes that I have IE 7 already installed on the machine and exits. That's less than helpful.

My second issue involves this wininet.dll file. My guess is that Microsoft changed this file for the new version of IE. In doing so, Microsoft may have inadvertently broken other third party software (in my case, Nero and Zone Alarm and perhaps their own Restore Point system for XP). If that's the case, then they should not be pressing the public to test this program for them. Interfering with third party software in such a manner is not something you want to unleash on the average user.

Now, the slightly good news. I've found 2 sites that describe how to run IE 7 as a stand alone product. Apparently, Microsoft decided not to build this functionality into IE 7 as they have done with past versions of their browser. Developers like to have this capability so that they can test their software on both old and new versions of the browser to ensure compatibility. Doing so on the same machine reduces the risk of any errors being caused by something other than the browser. So, if you're interested in running IE 7 without going through the full install and the possibility of screwing up your machine, try daydream or JonGalloway. Personally, I prefer the latter's solution.

At least I have a version of IE running for Windows updates. I still need to resolve the dll problem. My error has been reported to Microsoft in their bug base. Hopefully I'll hear back from them later today. If that happens, or if I call the support line, I'll post an update here about what resolution, if any, I find.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Toying with IE 7.0

As you know, I'm a confirmed Firefox advocate and fan. I'm not planning on switching allegiances either. However, it's always good to look and see what the competition is doing. Besides, I'm going to end up using IE anyhow for silly things like connecting to Microsoft Update and, until they add better support for FF, Live Mail Beta (grrrr - how stupid do you have to be to release a product in the wild ignoring a browser that is being used by just over 10% of the web - and more in European countries?)

So, as the world knows, IE 7.0 Beta 2 came out yesterday. I'm downloading it as I type this, but I'm not committed to loading it. After it's initial release, the browser, while more secure, has had some problems which concerned me.

Amusingly, lots of the Microsoft folks are touting the new IE Add-ons page. I just took a look at it. The page is designed to make the user feel as if this were Microsoft's method of competing with Mozilla's Extension capabilities. Looking at the pages a little deeper than the home page, it became apparent that what Microsoft had done is struck a deal with CNET's Download page. Basically, when one looks at the products, one sees a search of all of CNET's page results for IE. That's nice and all, but 3 things:

  1. Many of these products are not IE exclusive (Download Managers, for instance)
  2. Many of the products are pretty large downloads
  3. Many of the products actually cost money
The extensions that Mozilla offers for Firefox are usually only compatible with Firefox because it's architecture is designed to be extensible and IE's is designed to be closed. To display products in such a way as to make them appear to be IE only (not acknowledging other browsers) is just silly marketing. I appreciate the fact that they struck a deal with CNET and that Microsoft is trying to promote it's own product, but to ignore browser compatibility is sort of underhanded, isn't it? Example: Internet Download Manager - under it's "Supported browsers" lists IE6 and IE7. Guess what? I just used Internet Download Manager on Firefox to get IE7, but it's not mentioned as a "Supported Browser". The company's website sure makes that clear. I wonder, will companies be satisfied with Microsoft short changing the capabilities of their products in order to promote it's own browser?

Firefox's extensions are usually pretty small (often just a couple of hundred kilobytes). In a broadband world this isn't really an issue for many of us. However, it just goes to demonstrate that what IE is promoting are not extensions, but full on products.

Firefox's extensions, to this date, do not cost money. True, many of the add-ons listed do not cost money either, but many more do. Why? Well, obviously, developers want to earn money for their time and effort and I don't hold that against them. Heck, I paid money for Internet Download Manager long ago. However, it flies in the face of open source development that Mozilla was founded on and that Microsoft fights on a variety of fronts (though, in a small number of cases has embraced).

My point? Despite their best marketing efforts, we still have a fundamental difference to the approach of the browser market. Through it's sharing of source code and it's extensibility Mozilla offers an open source approach that has to date brought a more secure browsing experience with added features and excited a community of developers around it. Microsoft is improving it's browser and most likely is playing catch up rather quickly. But it's development is focused on limiting customer interaction in the name of security (kind of like the U.S. government these days). In the end, I expect Mozilla's approach (if not their browser) to rule the day.

Meanwhile, I might have a go around with IE 7.0 and if so, will report back on my findings. Firefox will remain my browser of choice.

Poem Gabriela Mistral

In celebration of National Poetry Month.

The Stranger (La Extranjera)

She speaks in her way of her savage seas

With unknown algae and unknown sands;

She prays to a formless, weightless God,

Aged, as if dying.

In our garden now so strange,

She has planted cactus and alien grass.

The desert zephyr fills her with its breath

And she has loved with a fierce, white passion

She never speaks of, for if she were to tell

It would be like the face of unknown stars.

Among us she may live for eighty years,

Yet always as if newly come,

Speaking a tongue that plants and whines

Only by tiny creatures understood.

And she will die here in our midst

One night of utmost suffering,

With only her fate as a pillow,

And death, silent and strange.

Pat Robertson

Somehow I missed this little episode when it happened on April 9th. I've heard audio of it, however, on Air America, and it's pretty damn funny. Air America has only played portions of it, so I had to find it on the web in order to put it in context.
Pat Robertson and Rita Braver on CBS News Sunday Morning April 9th.

PR: ... Well-- well anyhow, they thought she was demon possessed. And these women are in the conference, and they said, "Go cast demons out of her." And I ignored it and ate dinner and went on to the meeting.

And then the next night, they had moved this poor woman out of the hotel. She was crying out for mercy and saying, "Oh God, help me," because she had such bad asthma. So-- I had to go see her. But fortunately I had my wife with her, so we went to another hotel-- in the heart of Jerusalem and knocked on the door.

And here, this haunting woman, she looked like-- she really looked like she was terrified-- very attractive-- striking brunette, 45 years old, you know thin, 5'8" kinda thing. And-- she had this look in her eyes. And-- so I went in, and my wife was with me. And they took the two chairs and I sat on the bed.

And I said, "Tell me about your problem." And she said, "I've got this asthma." And I said, "Have you been to the (LAUGHTER) doctor?" And-- and she said, "Yes. The doctor said my asthma was caused by praying with nuns." And I said, (LAUGHTER) "A doctor?"

RB: That sounds--

PR: "A doctor?"

RB: --that sounds like-- (LAUGHTER) you should've advised her, "Maybe go see another doctor."

PR: There was-- (LAUGHTER) well see-- the-- "A doctor told you this?" (UNINTEL) said, "Yes, that's what my doctor told me." And I says, "There is no way that praying with nuns is gonna cause you-- asthma." And then I prayed. And I said, "Lord, what's wrong with her?" I just prayed silently. And the Lord said, "Ask about her sex life." And--

RB: The-- the Lord said that to you?

PR: Yes, He said that to me. And I said, "There's no way I'm going to ask a strange woman about her sex life." So I said-- (COUGHS) "Excuse me for-- being personal, but would you tell me about your marriage."

She said, "Oh, I have a wonderful marriage." I said, "You do?" She (UNINTEL PHRASE), "A wonderful husband, wonderful marriage. It's just absolutely marvelous." I said, "You do?" She said, "Yes." So I prayed again. (LAUGHTER) I said, "Lord, what's the matter?" And she-- He said, "Ask her about her sex life."

RB: I-- it's hard to imagine the Lord--

PR: The-- the--

RB: --saying this to you--

PR: --the Lord say-- well He did. And I-- and I said-- "You know, please forgive me if I'm being personal, but tell me about your sex life." And she said, "I don't have any." And I said, "Well, I thought you had a wonderful marriage." And she said-- "I do, but I don't have any sex life."

And I said, "How long has that been going on?" And she said, "Two years." And I said-- "And that's when your asthma started, isn't it?" And she said, "Yes." And I said, "Well it's obvious that you're blaming yourself-- for this condition. What's the problem?" And she said, "My husband's impotent."

And I said, "You think it's your fault." And she said, "Yes. It's-- I think it's my fault." And I said, "Well it isn't your fault. And it may be that he's working too hard. He may be having a physical impairment. But-- there's something in his life, that this isn't your fault." And she said, "It's not?"

I said, "Absolutely not." And I said, "Okay, now let's pray for your asthma. And she said, "Okay." And we prayed. And God healed her asthma just like that. And--
RB: You-- you know that--

PR: There's--

RB: --that's a tough one for people to swallow.

PR: I was there. My wife was the witness. And thank goodness she was there. I never woulda done this otherwise. But that woman went on her ma-- her way rejoicing. And it took maybe max, 10 minutes.

Monday, April 24, 2006

FDA and Plan B

Adolescent Sex Cult Survivor

The FDA is being sued for not issuing Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill. All of the internal, scientific rulings have favored the approval of Plan B, but political insiders have halted such action. Why? Newsday provides some insight:
The FDA is only supposed to consider the safety and efficacy of drugs.

In the memo released by the FDA during the discovery process, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."

Rosebraugh indicated he found no reason to bar nonprescription sales of Plan B.
The person referred to as "she" is Dr. Janet Woodcock (whom, one presumes by her last name, is perfectly comfortable with Viagra prescriptions). Adolescent sex-based cults!??! C'mon, next she'll be telling us that she believes in Satanic cults that murder and molest. I've heard rumors that once she leaves the administration she plans to write a biography on the life and times of Batboy.

I'm just saying

I never favored term limits. In fact, I don't favor them for the President. People should have the right to elect the person that they want in office. I know that Roosevelt garnered a lot of power during his unprecedented time in office, but it was a war and he was necessary for the job. Reagan, who I disliked immensely, would have been re-elected without term limits. Though I would have hated every minute of it, I supported the idea. Heck, without term limits, Bill Clinton would have prevented Bush from being in office in 2000.

However, I understand the desire for term limits. I also think that once you make a pledge and run under a term limits platform you should stick to it. So, why are at least 22 Republicans breaking that pledge? There are actually more than 22, but statistics are still being gathered. The 1994 Contract With America, with great ballyhoo, promised a return to the citizen legislature. It was a good sound bite, but where is the action? Oh, to be sure, some of these people could have changed their minds, but one wonders with so many of them changing their minds, were they just lying? Vote them out and make them stick to their words. In fact, vote for Republican challengers and let the challenger win the election, but these people should be held accountable. Here's the list for starters (Mat tip to MyDD):

Kay Bailey Hutchison, TX-Sen
Olympia Snowe, ME-Sen
Judy Biggert, IL-13
Ken Calvert, CA-44
Steve Chabot, OH-01
Barbara Cubin, WY-AL
Phil English, PA-03
Jeff Flake, AZ-06
Gil Gutknecht, MN-01
Doc Hastings, WA-04
Timothy V. Johnson, IL-15
Ric Keller of FL-08
Steve LaTourette, OH-14
Ron Lewis, KY-02
Frank LoBiondo, NJ-02
Don Manzullo, IL-16
Joe Pitts, PA-16
Mark Souder, IN-03
Tom Tancredo, CO-06
Lee Terry, NE-02
Dave Weldon, FL-15
Zach Wamp, TN-3

Poetry - Last of the make up days

Last of the make up bonus days in celebration of National Poetry Month. Tomorrow, I'll go back to one per day.

Margaret Atwood – In The Secular Night

In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It's two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.

Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it's baby lima beans.
It's necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You'd be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.

There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn't now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone's been run over.
The century grinds on.

Allen Ginsberg - War Profit Litany

To Ezra Pound

These are the names of the companies that have made
money from this war
nineteenhundredsixtyeight Annodomini fourthousand
eighty Hebraic
These are the Corporations who have profited by merchan-
dising skinburning phosphorous or shells fragmented
to thousands of fleshpiercing needles
and here listed money millions gained by each combine for
and here are gains numbered, index'd swelling a decade, set
in order,
here named the Fathers in office in these industries, tele-
phones directing finance,
names of directors, makers of fates, and the names of the
stockholders of these destined Aggregates,
and here are the names of their ambassadors to the Capital,
representatives to legislature, those who sit drinking
in hotel lobbies to persuade,
and separate listed, those who drop Amphetamine with
military, gossip, argue, and persuade
suggesting policy naming language proposing strategy, this
done for fee as ambassadors to Pentagon, consul-
tants to military, paid by their industry:
and these are the names of the generals & captains mili-
tary, who know thus work for war goods manufactur-
and above these, listed, the names of the banks, combines,
investment trusts that control these industries:
and these are the names of the newspapers owned by these
and these are the names of the airstations owned by these
and these are the numbers of thousands of citizens em-
ployed by these businesses named;
and the beginning of this accounting is 1958 and the end
1968, that static be contained in orderly mind,
coherent and definite,
and the first form of this litany begun first day December
1967 furthers this poem of these States.

December 1, 1967

More from Scott Ridder

As promised, here's an interview with Ridder in San Diego CityBeat. Clip:

I’m saying Americans don’t know enough about anything to have a well-informed opinion; this is all superficial. At the end of the day, yeah, we don’t like to get our asses kicked. We have a lot of national pride that’s based around the notion that we can kick anybody’s ass—we’re the biggest, baddest boys on the block. And in Iraq, we’re not winning, so a lot of Americans have their ruffles up. I guarantee you, had we invaded Iraq, had it gone easily—let’s say it went as easily as it appeared to go; we got rid of Saddam, we bring down the statue and peace and prosperity breaks out—there’d be a small, little element in the so-called anti-war movement; they’d be screaming about violation of law, etc. They’d be shouted down by the vast majority of Americans who would thump their chests with national pride and say, “No, we did the right thing. To hell with international law. We got rid of Saddam. We’ve instilled democracy. And it’s a good thing we did.”

Of course, things have gone sour, and now a lot of Americans are jumping on the bandwagon of “Hey, we shouldn’t have gone there.” But, again, at what point in time, I ask these newfound converts to the anti-war movement, did this become a bad war? See, that’s a key question people have to ask. I say it was a bad war the day we invaded Iraq, because it’s an illegal war. It’s totally out of keeping with my personal vision of what America stands for—you know, a nation of laws, the rule of law; we stand for individual freedoms and liberties and justice; we stand for the Bill of Rights; we stand for a whole bunch of things. But we don’t stand for planning and implementing wars of aggression.

I don’t think America represents a nation that embraces war crimes, and a lot of people were willing to sweep all this under the rug had we won, had we been victorious, which tells me that they have a superficial understanding of what the United States represents, or they don’t agree with what the United States represents and they have a new vision of what America should be—perhaps a global empire. Who knows.

I think you’ve said that you think Americans, by their nature, are violent.

What I said was that America, as a country, is addicted to war and violence. We have a national addiction to war and violence. I’ve also said we’ve devolved… into a nation—and as proud as I am of [spending] 12 years in the Marine Corps, and I love my military service, and I’m very proud of our armed forces—but they do not define us. They serve us, and they serve a larger cause. That’s why we take an oath when we join the military to uphold and defend the Constitution.

But today, pretty much the symbol of America is the military. That’s what many Americans use to define who we are and what we are. If you look at how the State Department has seen its position erode vis-à-vis its interface with the rest of the world, and how the Pentagon has become the preeminent ambassadorial representative around the world. It’s the military that’s taking the lead. M-1 tanks, F-15s, B-2s—these are the symbols of national pride. What an absurd situation to be in! I would have thought that the statue of liberty, the flag—so many other symbols out there that stand for the basic precepts of what this nation is—would be the symbols we would rally around, but it’s the military. And why? Because it’s reflective of the sad reality that America today is a society that has been militarized in so many ways, shapes and forms, staring from our economy, which has fallen into the military-industrial-complex trap that Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about, all the way to our entertainment, where we glorify war on television and in the movie theater.

So few Americans today actually share the burden of service. When you have the vast majority of Americans who don’t know what military service is about, but glorifying it, again it shows that there’s a disconnect there—because those who serve in the military for damn sure don’t glorify war.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


As regular readers may know, I use Gmail and connect to it through my Thunderbird program. I'm also a customer of Verzion's DSL service and so, have a Verizon email account. In an email I received at one of my Gmail accounts today I was informed that Paul Weller's upcoming live album will be released in the U.S. and Canada. This is great news for Weller fans in the States as we've suffered for years trying to get albums of any sort, let alone live albums. Many of us end up ordering imports.

Excited about the news, I decided to forward the email on to a couple of friends. A couple of minutes later one of the emails was returned. It was bounced, according to the return notice, because it originated as a Gmail account and Verizon is now blocking all emails from Gmail accounts as Spam. This is ridiculous, I thought. After the absurdity of Verizon blocking all emails from Europe to America, I thought that they'd not pull such a stupid stunt. First, I forwarded on the email using my own Verizon account and that worked. Next, I sent a test email from one of my Gmail accounts to my Verizon account. Sure enough, it bounced just like the previous one.

I've gone through Verizon's system and let them know that I'm unhappy with this development. Do they block email from Hotmail and Yahoo? After all, I get far more spam from those accounts. Blocking emails from domains such as these free companies or from an entire continent is not a useful way to fight Spam. I'd suggest that Verizon work with Gmail and Hotmail and find out about what Spam filters they are using because, frankly, they are getting quite good at combatting the problem. Hell, my Thunderbird program does an excellent job at filtering spam, so perhaps Verizon should talk with the Mozilla folks.

In any case, I'm pissed. This is a stupid approach to the issue. If an ISP cannot act in a more intelligent manner, then I'm left wondering what other stupid things they are doing. Geesh. OK, I'm off to warn Google about this.

Absurdity of the day, so far

From Reuters:
A 76-year-old man claiming to be a doctor went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams, and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said on Thursday.

One woman became suspicious after the man asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a purported genital exam without donning rubber gloves, investigators said.

The woman then phoned the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the suspect fled. He was arrested at another woman's apartment in the same Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood on Wednesday, a sheriff's spokesman said.

The white-haired suspect, Philip Winikoff, carried a black bag and claimed to be visiting on behalf of a local hospital.

"He told the woman that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams," sheriff's spokesman Hugh Graf said in a statement.

At least two women, both in their 30s, let him into their homes and he fondled and sexually assaulted them, the investigators said.

Winikoff was not a doctor, Graf said. He worked as a shuttle driver for an auto dealership.

I'm not condoning this in the least. The guy is sick and a criminal. But how naiive do you have to be to believe that this was on the up and up?

Scott Ritter

has been on a tear lately. I'll link to another post when the site comes back up. In the meantime, in commenting on Iran, here are some of Scott's thoughts. You may disagree with him, but he's engaging. Read more.

There has always been a complicated Kabuki-type dance occurring between the American corporation and the American citizen, with a Constitutionally mandated system of governance, replete with pre-programmed checks and balances, serving as puppet master in an effort to preserve a relative balance. But, as President Eisenhower foretold when warning America about the ascendancy of the military-industrial complex back in the 1950's, if this delicate balance is disrupted, the system is in danger of collapsing.

The American system has been in collapse for many decades now, with the rise of corporate power occurring in direct relationship with the demise of concept and reality of individual citizenship. How America as a nation reacted to the horrific events of September 11, 2001 clearly put the manifestation of this collapse on center stage. Americans for the most part remained mute and motionless as the rights of the individual were infringed on irrationally by the so-called Patriot Act. The various economic and political power nodes, once held in check by a Congress which at one time recognized its responsibilities to the individual citizen, now ran rough shod over the elected representatives of the people by exploiting the fear of the people generated by the people's own ignorance of the world they lived in. In short, the current war in Iraq, and the looming war with Iran, can be explained as a manifestation of American capitalism gone mad.

...I suggest that the pace of current events dictate a much more dramatic solution -- that the anti-war movement begin to reach out to the very institutions that it condemns and make common cause for the preservation of a way of life -- the unique blend of corporate capitalism and individual rights -- that is at risk from the policies of the Bush administration. It is not likely that there will be many points of agreement on the long-term path that America should take regarding achieving the ideal balance between these two competing, and somewhat contradictory, concepts. But one thing is certain: if the Bush administration has its way regarding war with Iran, both concepts will be put at risk in the chaos which will follow.


Continuing my penance for missing a couple of days, here are two poems in celebration of National Poetry Month.

Langston Hughes - I, Too, Sing America

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.


I'll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody'll dare

Say to me,

"Eat in the kitchen,"



They'll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

And, Angela de Hoyos - To Walt Whitman

hey man, my brother
prophet democratic
here's a guitar
for you
-a chicana guitar-
so you can spill out a song
for the open road
big enough for my people
-my Native American race
that I cant seem to find
in your poems

Earth Day!

Happy belated Earth Day, everyone. I spent mine in the yard yesterday, preparing the garden beds, planting flowers, lettuce, carrots, beets, and peas, and doing some clean up elsewhere in the yard.

To celebrate, here's a link to an article on safer, greener sex toys.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Poems - Wednesday makeup edition

Since I missed posting poems Wednesday through Friday in celebration of National Poetry Month, I've decided to double up the next three days. First off, one from Luljeta Lleshanaku:


Betrayed woman, like an outgrown shirt
like the worn hole on an old belt
like a starched collar...
Betrayed woman, who wakes from nightmares
feeling like dirt in the corner of an eye
like a kettle taken off the stove
still steaming.

Her hips sway rhythmically
in a chewing motion
as she moves diagnonally through the house.
The children, oh the children, bubbling forth!
Late at night, an aluminum lid
above a sprig of parsley—
limp nerve floating in a cold lemony broth.

There is a betrayed man, too,
betrayed by dark angels
with shoulders covered in ferns.

Betrayed men and women
accept fate nobly
as one would accept a murky glass of water
at a rest stop along the way.
Betrayed men and women
on a long journey.

Next, one by Gregory Corso:


Should I get married? Should I be Good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustaus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky--

When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap--
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?
Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son--
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just waiting to get at the drinks and food--
And the priest! He looking at me if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on--

then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
The winking bellboy knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd be almost inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climatic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy a saint of divorce--

But I should get married I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting by baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust--

Yet if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear not Roman coin soup--
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
Impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking--
No! I should not get married and I should never get married!
But--imagine if I were to marry a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and highball in the other
and we lived high up a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No I can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream--

O but what about love? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
it's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes--
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and--
but there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All in the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible--
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so I wait--bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.