Friday, November 24, 2006


What a day! It began with me waking at 3AM and thinking about the cooking that I had to do. I got up and went downstairs to finish the bread recipe. This was a long rising No Knead Bread recipe culled from the NY Times. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to properly attend to the recipe and so when I finally pulled it out of the oven, it had fallen flat - considerably flat. The flavor was fine and the texture was pretty good. I had used Whole Wheat Flour instead of All-Purpose Flour. I also substituted some active yeast instead of instant yeast (increasing the amount of the former as one normally does). Coupled with a long rising time and my inability to monitor it, these changes resulted in one fairly flat loaf. I was saddened, but it was nothing that a trip to the store couldn't cure (assuming that we wanted a loaf bread instead of a quick roll). The co-signer had made up some flavored butter for the occasion. I decided that we'd wait and decide together once we got to our friend's house where the meal was to take place.

Next up was a chocolate pecan pie. I had made the pie dough on Wednesday and had it chilling in the refrigerator. It rolled out well. I toasted up the pecans, then preheated the oven. The directions call for making the chocolate sauce while the crust was pre-baking. I threw the crust into the over with foil on the bottom, holes punched into the bottom, and chickpeas acting as pie weights. While the crust cooked, I prepared the chocolate sauce using butter, bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), corn syrup (light, organic from Whole Foods - flavored with vanilla), brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and rum. Once that was done, I checked in on the pie crust. Despite my efforts, a bubble had formed on one side of the crust. I quickly poked through it, but having risen with that bubble, the crust fell on all sides a little. Damn, one failure (bread) and one not as nice as I'd like (pie crust). The crust finished and I through the pecans and chocolate sauce into the pie and baked it.

By this point I was really tired. My sinuses had been acting up all week. I had a hard day at work the day before. Even though I normally rise early, 3AM is a little too early for me, my cooking day wasn't going well, and I suddenly felt as if all I really wanted to do with my day was to stay at home, have someone cook for me, and relax. In other words, I was in a bit of a pissy mood. Time for my audio recording of William S. Burroughs' "A Thanksgiving Prayer" (see video link in the post below). While that cheered me up a little, I was still a bit crestfallen.

The co-signer finished making another flavored butter. Her dishes and mine were strewn throughout the kitchen. I had one more task which was to make some mushroom powder from ground porcini mushrooms. It would only require the use of the spice grinder, but as I looked at the dishes, I realized that I didn't want to face them when I got home. *sigh* I grunted and dove into the task of cleaning them up. By the time I finished, the co-signer had gone upstairs to take a shower. I made the mushroom powder and followed her up. I fell onto the bed, closed my eyes, and curled up with a cat. Though I didn't sleep, the rest did me some good.

Through some miscommunication, we got out of the house a little late. I had taken a pill for the sinuses before we left. We grabbed a coffee and headed out of town. About 10 miles down the road, the co-signer realized that she forgot to pack the flavored butters. Too late, we were going to our friend's place.

Arriving at our friend's home, I dropped off the co-signer and then went to find parking. Luckily, I got a spot just around the corner. Our friend was calm and collected. I gave her the sad news about the bread and we decided bread (and therefore butter) were not necessary as there was plenty to eat. Our friend had asparagus with a mustard sauce prepared already. She also had stuffed mushrooms and stuffed tomatoes prepared (stuffing made with whole wheat crumbs and topped with a small amount of cheese). Now, what wine to choose? We settled on a French Rose. It was a lovely match. While we ate and talked, the rain stopped falling and I actually saw the sun poke up. We finished the wine and decided to take a walk to a nearby park. It was a lovely time. The walk took about 45 minutes. By doing this, it really went a long way towards righting my slightly sour mood.

When we got back we began organizing the main meal. This called for more appetizers and more wine. The co-signer and our hostess put together a plate of goat cheese topped with a fig glaze and toasted hazelnuts. The co-signer made some seared scallops, using the mushroom powder as a topping. The hostess brought out a bottle of Eroica Riesling. The pairing of the goat cheese with the wine was to die for! The wine was good with the scallops, but a Chardonnay might have been a better choice for them. Still, it was incredible.

The main meal was planned. We dove into prep work. The co-signer sliced truffles and peeled potatoes. I prepared green beans. Our hostess prepared ginger and garlic for the beans. The hostess and I prepared Salmon Wellington. We took smallish salmon fillets (cut to 1/2 inch thickness), buttered some whole wheat phyllo sheets, placed a salmon fillet on each square of phyllo, butter the salmon, topped the salmon with truffle slices, then wrapped the phyllo around the salmon fillets. Place the wrapped salmon into a baking dish and place the dish in a 500 degree oven.

While the fish baked, I got the green beans started. I had parboiled the beans and put them into ice water. To finish them off, I put some oil in a hot skillet. Into the skillet went a couple of cloves of minced garlic and a tablespoon and a half of grated ginger. Swirl once, then add the green beans. Stir to coat the beans with the ginger and garlic oil. Heat through and remove to serving plate. The skillet work took all of about 3 minutes.

The hostess then prepared a sauteed cabbage dish. It was really simple as she sauteed the cabbage in a little apple juice and oil. She cooked it down so that it was just wilted, but still crisp. As she finished this, the potatoes she had started were done boiling. The cabbage was removed to a serving dish. The Salmon Wellington came out of the oven and was placed on the table. Our hostess finished the potatoes with a slight mashing, cream, and a little butter and salt. By "slight mashing" I mean that there were still nice chunks of potato left in the pan.

By the time the hostess came to the table, we had the food dished up. The cabbage was laid down first and topped with a Salmon Wellington. Green beans, potatoes, and cranberry sauce (homemade by the co-signer the night before using orange peel and Grand Marnier along with fresh cranberries) rounded out the plates. To drink with dinner, I had brought a bottle of Ken Wright Pinot Noir, Abbey Ridge Vineyard, 1999 (Oregon, decanted an hour and a half before dinner). The flavors were astounding. The truffle flavors really shined through and the salmon was cooked to perfection. The Pinot melded with these earthy flavors adding a bit of herbaceous fruit to the meal. (I don't think I would have enjoyed this wine on it's own as much as I did with the food). The green beans were crisp, but cooked. The ginger and garlic were nice, light touches to the flavor. The cranberry sauce was, as usual, as marvel. The potatoes were delish. They added an extraordinary earthy tone to the flavors. Oh, and the cabbage nicely complimented the salmon fillets, adding a bright note to the fish, phyllo, and truffles. The whole wheat phyllo was perfect for this meal.

Drinking, eating, and conversation ensued. A good time was had. We rested a bit and then pulled out the chocolate pecan pie for dessert. Our hostess made some decaf coffee to go with the pie. The pie turned out well. The pecans were a little tough (I'll roast them a minute longer next time), but the chocolate filling was tasty. The crust turned out to taste well, even though it was a tad off on it's shape. The hostess had a second helping as did the co-signer (small slivers, each).

This was a very nice Thanksgiving. No fuss. No weird family issues. The courses were tasty and easily thrown together. No laborious calculating of timing of the dishes to make certain everything was cooked and ready to go on the table warm. The food was fantastic. The company and conversations were wonderful. The wine pairings were especially delicious and rewarding.

A little over 7 hours and 3 bottles of wine after we arrived, we took leave of our hostess and came home. The co-signer and I ended our evening together (for she stayed up a little longer than I, as is usual) by watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special on DVD. We each slept in today. Practically perfect.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

It's a tradition in my home to listen to this every year around this time. It's essential to my "soul", for lack of a better phrase. Now, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I share it with you.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


What is THAT, you might be asking. Relax. It's a new kid's toy. Of course it is, you might be sighing with mock relief...

RIP Ruth Brown. I came to her music late, but I'm so glad that I got to it at all. A Million Miles Away has 3 samples.

Al Jazeera English has it's first scoop: Blair admits that Iraq has been a disaster.

After seeing Borat last night, it's probably not surprising that this story of US troops seizing Iraqi homes for months at a time (a successful technique for winning wars and friends, no doubt learned from many other occupying forces throughout the ages) has not gotten much play here.

Taylor Marsh has a guest poster on her blog who delivers a caustic analysis of what the Baker Commission Report is likely to say (hint: the poster suspects a political cover-up that will allow the President to "stay the course" in all of the important ways). A quote:

The next six months will be critical (Where have we heard that before? As we have been in Iraq for over 42 months, there have been at least 7 inflexion points where "the next six months will be critical." These are Fabian tactics).

The Iraq government needs to get its act together (Do tell. But how can the dummy solve problems created by the ventriloquist?).

The Iraq government must be given a timetable/benchmarks/some other euphemism (This finding will challenge the creative writing skills of the commission staff).

Not even "white rednecks" voted for us, says Republican Adam Putnam, who wants to chair the GOP conference.

A man used an mp3 player to tap into ATM records and bilk customers for over 200,000 pounds. Genius! Or, um, horrible security.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Supertelevangelistic Sex-and-drugs Psychosis

Lyrics and the mp3 file for Pastor Ted here.


Japan's lower parliament passed an education reform bill that would require teachers to instill patriotism in their students. I thought that's what Godzilla movies were for.

The U.S. predicts increased violence in Afghanistan (remember them?). They expect it will double over the next year. Double is the new "quadruple" for the military.

Afghan women are increasingly turning to self immolation to avoid their harsh lives.

Read about the plight of Brazil's Guarani Indian population. Apparently they have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The story is not really much different than other native populations in the Americas, which is to say that it's tragic and should be a crime.

Laura Rozen is putting together the pieces of what the Bush administration is considering for it's new Iraq policy: letting the Shiites have the country.

Hezbollah's leader is predicting the collapse of the Lebanese government. Israel is much safer today, I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How bad can it be?

Very bad: Tom Delay's staff quit - en masse - when his temporary replacement showed up and pitched a fit. I predict an American remake of Absolutely Fabulous featuring Sekula-Gibbs and Katherine Harris.

Trent Lott, Minority Whip

Anyone else find that redundant? Ah, the zeitgeist in it all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The reason Republicans lost the election? Mistresses whining about being throttled. The lesson? Don't throttle mistresses. Karl Rove? Still a genius according to at least one nut. (Yea, he and James Carville, Democratic "genius").

Why is illegal immigration happening? Too many abortions, according to folks from Missouri.

The greatest threat to Israel's right to exist, with the prospect of devastating violence, now comes from Iran. For too long, leaders of both political parties in the United States have not done nearly enough to confront the Russians and the Chinese, who have supplied Iran as it has plowed ahead with its nuclear and missile technology.

Proliferation represents a clear threat to Israel and to America. It must be confronted by an international coalition against proliferation, with a commitment and a coalition every bit as strong as our commitment to the war against terror.

Quick - who said the quote above? Nancy Pelosi, May 24, 2005 to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Is she implying military strikes against Iran? Maybe she'll be invited, along with Cheney to the Iran Enterprise Institute. It would bode well for bipartisanship in Washington.

President Bush falls back on foreign policy. Trouble is, he has no interest in the subject nor is he any good at it. But as a lame duck president, he is following a time honored tradition paved by Clinton and Reagan. Worse, it's one of the few areas that presidents can actually have an effect without consulting Congress.

TPMmuckraker picks out it's top 4 corrupt Democrats: Allan Mollohan, Jack Murtha, Alcee Hastings, and Steny Hoyer. While none of them have throttled their mistress, 2 are running for House Majority Leader and two appear in line to gain a committee chairs. Bonus coverage on Murtha.

We'll end today with something that's not political: cool watches from Tokyo.

Iraq Study Group

Does anyone else think that this name is rather lame? It sounds like a bunch of people getting together to discuss art, history, biblical significance, music, food, and literature of the country. Or a bunch of frat boys getting together to cram for the final exam. Note to Bush: You've already failed the final exam and it's unlikely that your Daddy can buy you better grades this time around.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Bruce Schneier has an excellent essay on the pitfalls of electronic voting.

From the comments section below, a DIY to Impeaching the President.

Abusing the wax Bush may feel like a good outlet, but it accomplishes nothing. On the other hand, at $25,000 in damage, it may be the first case of a replica being worth much more than the original.

Rummy has been in denial about the war...wasn't that a newsflash from 2003?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

My dour pills - email excerpt

A friend and I were conversing about this week's election results via email. I wrote a reply to her about some stuff that was bouncing around in my head this week. The reply is pretty good and was written this morning around 4AM. I reprint it here with some changes made to protect the innocent. I do so in part because I want to get it off my mind and because I'm too tired right now to change it into a different format for publication:
Funny thing this past week. After the election, while a great number of friends were celebrating (and, I admit, there was a part of me celebrating as well), I was accused by one or two of "taking my dour pills" (as one of them put it). Now, this was beyond the "B.D.'s typical cynicism" chant. See, many of them wanted to just bask in the glow of finally having a Congress that would be in opposition of the Commander and Thief, but I was not having it. Sure, the morning afterwards, I was basking in the same showers of light. But then I got to thinking about the Democrats and how they have voted as part of the minority of this country and suddenly, those showers seemed more golden than light. As I recall, the Democrats authorized the spending for the war in Iraq and gave Bush the power to invade (passed House: 296 - 133; Senate: 77 - 23). Some Democrats have renounced that decision (Kerry, for instance, but only after his 2004 run) while others have not (Cantwell, from Washington, for instance which became one of the reasons that I did not vote for her during this election - I voted Libertarian). Democrats voted overwhelmingly for the Patriot Act (passed House: 357 - 66; Senate: 98 - 1). Democrats voted with Republicans in high numbers for the Patriot Act renewal (passed House: 280 - 138; Senate: 89 - 11). Democrats, albeit in smaller numbers, voted to support faith based initiatives (passed House: 233 - 198; Senate: 58 - 33). And while Democrats have opposed the President significantly on some legislation (torture resolutions, for instance), they haven't exactly pursued the President about those signing statements everyone whines about. More so, Democrats have done this with a large support of the American public.

Many of my progressive friends see this election as a rebuke of the most egregious policies of the Bush administration, but I doubt it. I wish that it were so, but there's no evidence of that. Sure, support of the Patriot Act and the War are waning, but not necessarily because they were bad policies as much as the feeling is that the administration has been incompetent in handling those policies and Congress has been at least as incompetent and corrupt when overseeing the policies. Do any of my progressive friends really think that the vote would have gone this way if King George and his Humpty Dumptys had been able to achieve a less volatile outcome in Iraq? Say, for instance, that a semi-stable government held and that much less chaos ensued. The policy would have been the wrong one in the first place, but the American public would still have been much happier with it. That didn't happen, of course, and onto it was piled the corruption, the torture, the continued lies, and the lack of oversight which eventually weighed heavily against Republicans.

And, I ask my progressive friends, exactly how do they think the new Democratic Congress is going to respond in Iraq? Near as I can tell, it's 1972 all over again: no one wants to admit defeat and no one is sure where to go. A draw down of troops seems inevitable to most of us, but many Democrats are hedging their bets almost ensuring that more people will die as we draw this out for months and maybe years to come. Bush is still saying that the next President will be the one to make that decision.

Impeach? Ha! That's a good one. I'd LOVE to see it happen. We'd have to get Bush and Cheney, though, to make me feel good about it. The Democrats have only a slim majority in the Senate, making it even that much more difficult. Plus, as noted above, the Democrats were complicit with some of the worst decisions (hell, they've even papered over the torture rules with the latest version of the so-called Patriot Act).

So, yea, I may have taken my dour pills, but I remind my progressive friends of the votes taken. I remind them that Democrats achieved this election success in part due to new, conservative Democrats joining their ranks. And I remind them of the slim lead in the Senate. Then, I ask the difficult questions: Sure things will be different, but given the past, exactly how different and where are we headed? Will the American public support it? Will Bush be dumb enough to make the mistakes it will take to sway the public to demand a trial (or will his father's people: James Baker, Bob Gates, and Kindasleazy Rice - she's always been more of a supporter of BushCo, than W - prevent such missteps)? Has the country really changed all that much? I don't think so, but I'd love to be proved wrong.
As I've often said, the country tends not to vote on issues, but rather on gut feelings. There was a lot for America to feel bad about by the time they began to look at the election (usually about September). There was incompetence, a feeling that we were being ripped off in Katrina and the War by corporations padding their bills, corruption in Congress via Jack Abramoff as well as the Foley scandal, incompetence in managing the war in Iraq, lack of oversight by Congress, a Congress that met fewer days than any other since 1950, a Congress that accomplished little and bickered more rather than work to resolve issues for America, and a feeling that the economic gains were not trickling down to the average American while health care costs were rising and pensions were being cut. America did not feel good about itself, so it voted out the leadership of Congress, speaking in the only way it can in this election year.

Democrats will crow about the "meaning" behind this election. Some will say our ideas won over the Republican ideas. Some will claim that the Democratic party has regained the mantel of moral values from the Republicans. Some will claim single issues like the war in Iraq were the focus. Like the Republicans of 1994, 2000, and 2004 (remember when Bush declared that he and the Republican Congress had a mandate? - should that have been "man-date"?), the Democrats will be caught in the delusion of their own self importance.

The people who debate such issues are like many of my friends (some are my friends) in that we care about issues. We keep up on the current topics. We follow politics, culture, and their intersection. We also tend to think that everyone shares these same interests, even fleetingly, and tends to keep up in the ways we do. The fact of the matter is that in America, we're in the minority. People don't follow along. That's why they have a representative government. They vote their instinct about who is a good leader, agree to disagree on one or many issues, but trust that the person they send to Washington will, along with the others, do a good job of keeping America safe and prosperous. In these people's minds, representatives are sent to become experts and vote and that's why we put our trust in them every 2 years. In that mindset, we don't have to follow or understand the issues.

Some argue that this opinion is cynical. Some argue that my view portrays Americans as dumb or lazy. It's an old argument. Sure, I think people should be involved in the issues and follow them as much as possible. I'm a political and cultural junkie, though. People should be willing to take the time for democracy to work as efficiently as possible. But, my view is not the only one and it is outvoted time and again. That's OK...I'm grown up and can take it.

I also don't see that Americans are dumb and lazy is a sound summary of my point. There is wisdom in the collective. For all of it's faults, this is the way America has functioned for quite some time and while there have been pitfalls, we've steadily moved forward as a society. We've become wealthier. We've become more liberal (not nearly as far or as fast as I would like, but it's happened). We wrestle with policy and our role in the world and generally rebuke drastic changes. It may not always be this way and my opinion of how democracy works may one day win out. However, that doesn't lead to Americans being dumb and lazy as a portion of my argument because the evidence clearly points to the contrary.

We've got a great country. At the moment a portion of it is run by the Democrats. If they set aside their egos and attempt to run it well, then we're going to be well served by this election. Unfortunately, it is just as likely that they'll be Republican-Lite which will provide some modest gains in certain areas, but will continue down into the morass of foreign policy and economic failures of the past Congress.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

That classic scene from the Clint Eastwood film, the one where they have the triple gunfight, is a fitting metaphor for the election results. It appears to be a stalemate - a deadlocked government. That's the good news for America this morning. A divided government is the best we could have hoped for in this election since the executive branch was not up for a change. Therefore we end up with the Republicans controlling the Executive branch while the Democrats will control at least one half of the Legislative branch. Each side will work to keep in check the worst initiatives proposed by the other.

The bad news for America may be in the area of foreign policy. For one thing, that's the area that is primarily affected by the Executive branch. The Bush administration has proven so inept at foreign policy that this does not bode well for the next 2 years. To make matters worse, a lot of what the Bush administration has proposed during the previous 6 years has been supported by Democrats. The current line of reasoning from both parties is that we do need to pull out of Iraq, but on our own time line and in an orderly fashion to an Iraqi government that is stable. The translation in that is we're going to attempt the same failed strategy that we tried in the 70s in Vietnam. Very few Democrats stepped forward to demand that we bring troops home right away. Murtha has suggested a year. Kerry has said it may take a year. That's as far as most Democrats have stretched. Others have suggested that it may take longer (could they want to keep a campaign issue open for 2008?). In other words, more Americans will die in a conflict that does not hold any national policy interest for us, costs us a LOT of money that would be better spent at home, was based on lies and misinformation, and has become a recruiting tool for our enemies in the Middle East. All of which is terrible.

So what could the ugly be? Try this: watching Nancy Pelosi attempt to control an agenda with a Democratic Party that features a larger conservative block than in recent memory. Democrats won, but they did so by running conservatives in races where a liberal would not have stood a chance. Working with those conservatives can be done gracefully (as Democrats did in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s) or it can be handled poorly (as Republicans did when they locked out moderates in their party). Plus, Pelosi will need to balance that concern with ultimate negotiations with a divided Senate. On top of that, Democrats, even if they take the Senate, will not have a veto proof majority, meaning Bush can veto bills and they don't have the override votes. Looking towards 2008, it would be wise for Pelosi to focus on issues that she can work with the Bush Administration on in order to show that Democrats can govern and get things done (a major complaint of the current Congress). She can still point out differences, but the overall impression should be one of cooperation while providing oversight.

Note: It appears as if my prediction that the Senate would remain in the GOP's control appears to be shaky at the moment. It could go either way, but no matter how it swings, the margin is going to be so tight that the leaders will need to seriously negotiate in order to accomplish anything.

Suggested media headline: "Democrats celebrate, Republicans hibernate, Media salivates!"

Rumsfeld resigns

CNN has the story. Bob Gates is nominated by Bush, presumably so he can revive Iran/Contra against Ortega. Seriously, Rumsfeld - a figure in the Nixon Administration towards the end of the Vietnam War - resigns and Bush nominates Gates who had a peripheral role in the Iran/Contra scandal right after Daniel Ortega is re-elected in Nicaragua?!!? Let's do the Time Warp agaaaaaaiiiiinnnnn!

Fuck, this man is living in the past. His election result? Update by 15 years, but still living in the past...and we gotta listen to the asshat for 2 more years.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Killing Time

Ladies and gents, this blog is not all politics all the time. Rather than consider politicians on this voting day, might I invite you to spend some time considering their more honest cousins with the magazine Killing Time: The Bilingual Journal of Murderers, Monsters, and Maniacs. Via PCILinkDump.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Worthwhile video

Estate tax

In Washington, we're being asked to vote on an initiative that would repeal the state Estate tax law. The tax, under current census, will be paid by a total of just 300 individuals in our state, including Bill Gates, Sr. who supports the tax.

To qualify, your estate must be worth more than $4 million. Up to that point and it's all written off. Only monies above that high mark are taxed. So, any heirs will get at least $4 million. And I'm supposed to feel sorry about the burden and alleged unfairness of this tax? That's what proponents say in their ads and editorials.

A common argument made by proponents is that the Estate Tax is unfair because it taxes income twice. This deception is designed to further the notion implied by misleadingly referring to the tax as the "Death Tax". The inference being that the state is taxing the money of the dead individual. Seen from that view point it would seem pretty grim to be taxing a corpse.

However, that is a lie and it completely distorts what is happening. The Estate Tax does not affect the corpse which, we can safely assume, has no more use of money. Rather what it does is it taxes the income of the heirs - unearned income, mind you. In other words, say you inherit $10 million from your wealthy uncle. That's $10 million in income to your pocket. You are being taxed on your income. And, you're only being taxed on $6 million of that $10 million total. You're still getting a helluva income. You're just not getting the whole shebang. It's like winning the Lotto and taking the cash payoff in a lump sum rather than over 20 years. Sure, your original jackpot was $10 million, but because you want it all now, you get around $6 million.

To say that the state is being unfair when it taxes an heir's income is ridiculous. The claim that the money is being taxed twice is completely specious because the person being taxed is not the corpse, but rather the heir. Once that is realized, then the argument falls apart. Where's the unfairness? Hey, my income is taxed twice and I bet most people's income is taxed at least twice. For instance, a newspaper company pays taxes on it's income, right? And it uses it's income to pay employees, right? Then the employee pays an income tax as well, right? Is that money taxed twice then? And what happens when that employee makes purchases and pays a sales tax? Is that money taxed a third time?

See the ridiculousness of that argument? After dispensing with that position, there is no further argument for repealing the Estate tax other than "I'm a rich person or an heir to a rich person and I want to keep my money." In essence, that's what Seattle Times editor Frank Blethen is saying when he argues to repeal the tax. Blethen's family is only worth a fraction of what the Gates family is worth and his won't pay as much in Estate taxes, yet he whines about fairness while Gates views it as paying a debt to a society that allowed him to achieve.

To make matters worse, the money from Estate taxes in Washington is earmarked for education. At a time when Washington school districts are scratching for funding, Blethen wants to cut one source of that funding. He says it's about "fairness" but how fair is it to shift the burden of that lost funding onto the backs of people who are less fortunate than his family? The money has to be made up somehow and his paper is forever and a day claiming that the education system is under funded and in trouble.

For shame, sir, for shame.


I've been disgusted with the Republicans for ages, now. Every time I think they've stooped as low as they can go, they make that extra effort to drill even deeper in the scum of politics. It's not that I think Democrats are more virtuous or scandal free, but the Republicans sink to tactics that are truly revealing of their real character and how much they revile process, the rule of law, and fair game. Take the ad above. It's from NY and it clearly sends the subliminal message that Democrats are child rapists. How fucking despicable is that?

Or, how about the fact that Republicans are violating FCC regulations and campaign rules by using a new automated phoning tactic. The system is called "robo calls". Basically, these are automated calls with recorded messages. Under FCC regulations, such calls must begin by telling the receiver who sponsored the calls. Instead, they lead with something like, "Hi, I'm calling with an important message about" and then insert Democratic politician's name. It leads the receiver to believe that s/he is getting a call from the candidate and then it goes on to slam the candidate as being of the sort that sprinkles their Wheaties with dead babies...or rapes children. The calls are very similar to push polling, which was supposed to not be in play this year. To make the matters even dirtier, the calls are being made multiple times to the same number so that the answerer might think that the Democratic candidate is the one annoying him/her. How many times? One person reports 21 calls since October 24th.

Or, comes the case of the Saddam verdict being read on Sunday (a real yawner because we knew what the conclusion would be as it was poorly staged theater and we also know that it won't stop bodies piling up in Iraq and may indeed have the exact opposite effect). Many people were cynically stating that the verdict was timed for the U.S. elections. In an unusual move for me, I was not inclined towards that opinion and was willing to give the government a pass on it. Perhaps there was a reason such as Iraqis announce all verdicts on the first Sunday of the month or some such. Then, this morning I read that, while the verdict was announced, the reasoning behind the verdict was not announced. Nor was the written copy available and it won't be until Thursday. Surely they could have waited another week to have all the materials available. What's a few more days for Saddam and his cohorts anyhow? Now, I am cynical...fuckers.

I voted several days ago. My county has all mail in voting. I'm content, if not always happy, with my choices. People who employ tactics such as the ones above will never get my vote - Democrat or Republican. They are a disgusting, scum sucking, cynical, democracy-hating approach to the world. People who use them are scared, unethical. sorry cowards who don't deserve to serve as my ass wiper, let alone represent myself or my country. Don't vote for such fuckwads.


In 1999, when Clinton was President (that's for the wing nuts who insist that Bush's problems are the previous president's fault), the Pentagon had a secret war game over Iraq. Some of their conclusions match exactly with what happened when we finally invaded. So much for Ms. Rice's consistent claims that "No one could ever have foreseen..." (fill in the blank). Among the conclusions: it would take 400,000 troops and the place still may fall into chaos.

The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps Times are calling for Rumsfeld to resign.

Army recruiters caught lying to get teens to enlist. That's not shocking, but telling the teens that the Iraq War is over and there's no chance that they'll end up there is bullshit. No wonder they are starting to meet their numbers again.

Maybe the teens should read counter stories like this one about an a soldier in Iraq who killed herself after objecting to interrogation techniques (euphemism for torture). Her death was subsequently covered up by the Pentagon.

Public Pension plans are collapsing. This is only the tip of the iceberg as the boomers begin to retire and the debts they've amassed come back to haunt them.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

If only...

...Kerry had been this straight forward during his presidential bid. In response to Republicans attacking him for saying this:
Sen. Kerry said that: “You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t you get stuck in Iraq.”
Note: That's the exact quote as reported in a press release from the Washington State Republican Party. It seems pretty straight forward and innocuous to me. The Republicans (Bush, McCain, Tony Snow, et al) have tried to turn it into an implication that the troops serving in Iraq are stupid or uneducated. Oddly enough, I don't read that in Kerry's statement. To my mind, he says, you can do well through hard work and education, but if you're sent to Iraq, then there you might get stuck there and not do as well (and here I assume he means, financial, family, 2.5 kids, a dog, etc).In other words, it's a dig on Bush, but of course, Republicans tried to turn it into something else.

In Seattle yesterday campaigning for Maria Cantwell (Senator), Kerry responded to the attacks:
If anyone should apologize, Mr. Kerry said, it is President Bush and his administration officials who started the ill-conceived war. He said his remarks had been distorted and called the criticism directed at him the work of “assorted right-wing nut jobs and right-wing talk show hosts.

“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy,” Mr. Kerry said in a statement. “I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed-suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq,” Mr. Kerry went on. “It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.”

Mr Cheney,

Baghdad is under siege and it has nothing to do with the U.S. elections. Sometimes, it's not all about you! Excerpt from link:

Amid all this, Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, has sought to turn the fiasco of Iraq into a vote-winner with his claim that the Iraqi insurgents have upped their attacks on US forces in a bid to influence the mid-term elections. There is little evidence to support this. In fact, the number of American dead has risen steadily this year from 353 in January to 847 in September and will be close to one thousand in October.

And there is growing confusion over the role of the US military. In Sadr City, the sprawling slum in the east of the capital that is home to 2.5 million people, American soldiers have been setting up barriers of cement blocks and sandbags after a US soldier was abducted, supposedly by the Mehdi Army. The US also closed several of the bridges across the Tigris river making it almost impossible to move between east and west Baghdad. Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, added to the sense of chaos yesterday when he ordered the US army to end its Sadr City siege.