Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yet another glaring example of how Republicans operate.

There are several things that Republicans and their wingnut supporters do that just drive me crazy. One is that every little dirty trick, every method they attempt, they will accuse the Democrats of doing, and they will do so with a straight face. I hate that. If I were a Republican and saw what happened in the presidential election in 2000, I don’t think I would ever mention the words “stolen election” again.

Another habitual behavior of Republicans is to beat on the table with their shoe (figuratively, of course, as far as I know), lobbing criticism and outrage at something or other, and then when they have shown to be either a) wildly incorrect, or b) a huge hypocrite, then whatever they were on about is to be completely forgotten. But until that happens, they become more and more outraged that no one is actually paying any attention to their outrage.

Here is a great example of that (via Mahablog). Karl Rove was on Face The Nation recently, and here is what he had to say, at the time, about Obama’s choice for his Vice President.

“I think he’s [Obama] going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice,” Rove said. “He’s going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he’s going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He’s not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president.”

Rove singled out Virginia governor Tim Kaine, also a Face The Nation guest, as an example of such a pick.

“With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished,” Rove said. “I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America.”

Rove continued: “So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States.”

Right. Got that. This point is SO damn important that he has to go on a national “news” and talk program to make it. See how this choice will reflect badly on Obama’s decision-making ability? The man obviously is not ready to be President! (Insert sound of shoe banging here.)

So, now that McCain has made HIS choice of someone who looks very unqualified to be president and who looks to be McCain’s choice for the sole reason that he might pick off a bunch of unhappy Hillary Clinton supporters, is Rove going around and highlighting this point that he made just weeks ago? Of course not! It’s like he never said this! And the national news media keeps on aiding and abetting him in his ability to keep making stupid pronouncements like this. He gets high paying jobs with a national news magazine AND a national television network, and he goes around shooting off his pie hole about crap like this. Once it is proved absolutely incorrect by BOTH Obama’s and McCain’s choice for Vice President, then this statement is supposed to be relegated to the ash bin, never to be seen or heard again.

Jeez. What IS it with our society today? Why are we continually subjected to this nonsense?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

South Korean Body Art Festival

These photos are from a couple of different sources, such as the AP and Getty, via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Photos of the Week. Here is the copy that goes with one of them.

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA - AUGUST 29: Models participate in the 2008 World Body Painting Festival Asia at World Cup Stadium on August 29, 2008 in Daegu, South Korea. The festival is the largest in the field of body painting and introduces the art form to thousands of visitors each year.

There are a lot more photos, so go to the PI web site and look under "Featured Galleries" for World Body Painting Festival. Otherwise, scroll down to the "Week's Best Photos" galleries and then look through the pull down menus for the same selection. Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a direct link. Clicking on the photo just starts a slide show. Anyway, if you find these photos interesting, check it out.

UPDATE: I think that probably the link for the Seattle PI doesn't work anymore. However, for those who find the subject of body art interesting, check out some of these links. Warning, there is some nudity involved. The first link has a link back to this page, so I figure I owe them a return link.

Arte Corporal Body Art

12 Zodiac Sign Body Paintings

Jim Jam Zoo Body Art

Jim Jam Zoo Bed And Body Paints

Friday, August 29, 2008

That was a very impressive performance, all the way around, by Barack Obama last night.

There has been a lot written and said about Obama’s performance last night already. I don’t have that much to say that really adds anything to the conversation. He certainly is a very good, if not great, speaker. I was going to say “orator”, but then I am not sure if that is really what he was doing. Perhaps… Anyway, great stuff. It must have been very electric to be there. I was also struck by this history of the moment. Here is a non-Caucasian speaking in front of a multi-racial audience of about 85,000, and there were huge numbers of white people, both old and young, who were on their feet, cheering and quite a few with tears in their eyes. I lived in Mississippi and Alabama in the 70’s, and although it is more than obvious that the United States has a very long way to go to make race a total non-issue in our society, I think this is a huge step forward.

Here is one of my favorite quotes that I have seen so far about last night. This is from a story in the Seattle P-I.

"You young ones, you think this is natural," said Mimms, the octogenarian. "But to see old white men in red ties saying, 'I pass on a legacy to a 46-year-old black man,' it's unbelievable to me. He is talking about being president of the United States. It just blows me away."

That’s pretty cool.

[As a totally irrelevant aside, this is post number 500 at Barking Rabbits. Three Musketeers bars all around!]

Snohomish County, WA Republicans hand out fake three dollar bills featuring Barack Obama with an Arab headdress.

Here's a local political story that has made national headlines. That's not the first time this has happened, but it is fairly rare. I first heard about this at Balloon Juice. Since then, I have seen in my local paper and also on the local newscast last night. Here is a bit of the backstory as related by the Seattle P-I.

A Snohomish County Republican volunteer was caught passing out a controversial kind of currency at the Evergreen State Fair earlier this week: a fake $3 bill depicting Sen. Barack Obama wearing an Arab headdress.

Republican leaders put a stop to the bill's distribution Tuesday, and the county's party chairwoman apologized for what the volunteer apparently believed was "just a real lark."

The bill features a smiling, shirt-collared image of the presidential candidate wearing a white headdress. It reads "the concerned states of America" and "the prince of platitudes" across the top, and bears the signatures of "Teddy Kennedy, Chief Socialism Advisor" and "Al Sharpton, New Spiritual Advisor."

There is an insignia of a camel, and the bill's serial number reads: IBD14UOK. (In other words, "I be de one for you, OK.")

Yeah, that’s not racist or lying about Obama’s religion or anything. A “real lark”. I saw one of those county “Republican leaders” on the local news last night, and this lady was a bit less apologetic than this story makes it sound. She said something like (and I admit I am paraphrasing here) the following. “Well, I am certainly not going to punish anyone for this. We told the person to stop handing them out. That’s the end of it. No one is going to get punished for something that they thought was just in good fun.”

That was pretty much the substance of the interview on the local newscast last night (Channel 5, KING TV, NBC affiliate, August 27). I heard very little in the way of an apology or an admission that this was very inappropriate. It’s all someone else’s fault for getting their little panties in a bunch over some silly, harmless joke. Except “harmless jokes” like that are used with the specific intent on spreading the notion that Obama is some scary Muslim who, when elected, will hand over control of the United States of America to some scary Muslim group.

I really dislike when someone gets caught saying something really dumb, they attempt to write it off a “just a joke.” Yeah, we Democrats never have been ones to take jokes very well. That was the same line that I heard from that insane preacher who was asking “the faithful” to pray for a “rainstorm of Biblical proportions” in Denver this week, just as Obama was scheduled to give his acceptance speech outdoors to a crowd that looked to be in excess of 80,000. Sure, that’s just a joke, folks.

I suppose I should take a bit of heart about all this. It's SO obvious that the Republicans have NOTHING to run on. Nothing. The Iraqis are getting ready to kick the U.S. military out of the country by 2011, I think. There goes our "war on terrah" and "staying until we win." The economy sucks. These people have nothing else left to do besides tear down their opponent. That's it.

As a bit of an aside, Dino Rossi is a Republican running for governor for Washington state. He had a number of commercials last night on television, on MSNBC, during the Democratic National Convention. I thought that in itself was odd. Plus, the message in his commericals was "working with both sides of the aisle", reaching out to all and solving problems, and trying to distance himself from George Bush. I thought that hilarious. Where was all this bipartisanship the last eight years? The only reason that the Republicans are bringing it up now is that it looks like a distinct possibility that they are going to get their clocks cleaning in a couple of months. Some Republicans in Washington have even dropped the "Republican" after their name on the ballot. They are putting "GOP" down instead. Yeah, that's going to fool a lot of people, fer sure. But again, it is a sign that many people WITHIN the Republican party realize, aside from their "never say die" base supporters, their brand is pretty radioactive.

I hope it happens. I should have a post up sometime today about Obama's acceptance speech last night. It was pretty electric.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What possible justification can there possibly for this? Answer: Police states don’t need a justification.

This absolutely scares the crap out of me. We are no longer acting like a civilized nation. From Digby:

He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer. Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.

But when Mr. Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to immigration headquarters in Manhattan last summer for his final interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England states.

In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.

On Tuesday, with an autopsy by the Rhode Island medical examiner under way, his lawyers demanded a criminal investigation in a letter to federal and state prosecutors in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the detention system.

Mr. Ng’s death follows a succession of cases that have drawn Congressional scrutiny to complaints of inadequate medical care, human rights violations and a lack of oversight in immigration detention, a rapidly growing network of publicly and privately run jails where the government held more than 300,000 people in the last year while deciding whether to deport them.

Here’s another post from Digby on the same subject with more examples.

As I said, these are not the actions of a civilized nation. 300,000 people being held in “publicly and privately run jails”? The U.S. is now outsourcing our jail system, and you know that their “code of conduct” won’t be very strict at all. I am sure that these places are staffed with people who can’t get jobs elsewhere, who have an ax to grind with “furreiners” taking their jobs, and who like being in positions of power over helpless people where they get to practice their sadistic tendencies on company time.

Keep in mind that the only crime that most of these people have committed is being in this country without papers or overstayed earlier visas, like the very unfortunate Mr. Ng above. I just can’t imagine going in to what he probably thought was his last interview to get a green card, and ending up in shackles and being tossed in jail. Is that truly necessary? What possible danger could a person like this represent? He had been in this country for over 15 years, had a family and a steady job and was trying to do the process in the right way. And he is tossed in jail, no better than a murderer! How can this possibly make sense?

I have a personal stake in this. I don’t talk much about my personal stuff on this blog, as I doubt anyone would be interested. But my wife and I have adopted a 13-year-old girl from overseas. Since the girl’s parents are still alive, there are special rules involved. They don’t just get U.S. citizenship immediately. She has to live with us on a continual basis for two years before we can submit a petition for citizenship. We are legal, as she is here under a student visa. But I am still really worried that something might go wrong. There are some issues of timing at the end of two years. I would love to take her out of this really dumb fundamentalist Christian school she is attending, but I don’t feel I can. That school is the only private school around here will maintain her student visa, and given these stories I am seeing about how out of control our immigration people are these days, we can’t take any chances. I just hope that there won’t be too much damage done when we take her out at the end of the eighth grade.

The right wing of this country gets really upset when anyone criticizes the United States. We “blame America first-ers” are a huge problem in their eyes. They say, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just leave? We don’t want you here!” I am sorry, but I truly do not recognize this country anymore. I am ashamed of this country. This country is not the one that I came to love and trust while growing up. I know I was being very na├»ve, but I truly thought that the U.S. demonstrated that different people could live together and thrive. We actually were a moral beacon of the world, when set against the Communist countries, and before that, the Axis powers in the Second World War. We really did strive to be the best. Now, all our corrupt and sadistic tendencies are being laid bare for the rest of the world to see. I am no longer proud of this country. I can only hope that we start to turn things around after the criminals that are the Bush administration leave office. It will take a long time to repair the damage, but maybe we can. If not, then yes, leaving this country is definitely an option. I, for one, do not care to live in a society that demands everyone carry “papers”, like the movie “Casablanca”, and get to toss you in jail or worse if your papers are not in order.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Whatever happened to Iran as the next "war of opportunity"?

You don't hear much about Iran anymore. It's all about Russia, now. People like Max Boot and Bill Kristol want to go to war with Russia, apparently, in support of Georgia.

Yeah, I can't begin to express what a GREAT idea that is. Let's get into a shooting war with Russia. We can't even beat the Taliban in Afghanistan, and they want us to go "toe to toe with the Rooskies". How insane are these people, and how did they get their jobs that they have? I sure would like to have a job where I got paid to be insane.

The good point about this all is that their idea of a showdown the the Russian army is a complete fantasy, whereas there was a real possibility that we could go drop a few bombs on Iran and then sit back do see what happened. As long as these neocon pyschos are out there in the realm of complete fantasy, at least they aren't agitating for something that could really happen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We truly are a shallow country.

It’s true that our media absolutely loves to fixate on the trivial and the sensational, and ignore the stuff that really should be news. But that is also true of most of the population of this country. We require that our news doesn’t demand too much of us. It can’t really take more than a minute or two to completely digest. Deep contemplation is not something we know how to do. And what we are being told must not really upset our finely tuned but completely artificial sense of balance.

Here’s some of the things that Larisa Alexandrovna at Huffington Post thinks that should be just screaming off the headlines and be the leadoff stories on the evening newscasts.

1. Russia's attack on Georgia (which suggests that the US is no longer the lone super-power)

2. Revelations that the White House had ordered evidence to be fabricated in order to start an illegal war (which we are in now)

3. Evidence that the Anthrax terrorist attacks came from a US government lab (despite what we all believe about Dr. Ivin's alleged relationship to the attacks)

4. The fact that the Bush administration was more interested in blaming the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda and Iraq than in securing this nation (a pattern of criminal neglect that frankly warrants criminal charges)

5. The fact that Karl Rove was briefed that an Anthrax vaccine was making our soldiers sick and that he sought to control the damages of the "political problem" this information could pose, not remotely interested in addressing the health of our troops - the troops he claims to support.

6. The evidence that the Vice President wanted to kill Americans in order to frame Iran and start a war

7. The fact that American naval ships are starting to build up again in the Gulf region as a threat to Iran

However, what was the big story of this last week? John Edwards having an affair. The same John Edwards who isn’t even running for office anymore. Is there any mention of John McCain’s infidelity? No.

The worst biological attack in this country’s history is being ignored. The weaponized anthrax came from a military lab within the U.S., and there are all sorts of open questions about the government’s “case” against the one and only suspect, who just happens to be dead. There is no real motive given, other than he’s being made out to be a kook. There is no proof he was actually able to drive to where the anthrax letters were mailed, other than he “could have done it”. The main witness against the suspect has some real problems of her own. Several people were killed by these attacks, and it certainly looks to have some sort of political motive behind it, as the targets were prominent Democrats and media personalities.

I don’t think that the government really is interested in getting the truth of the matter out there, and I don’t really think the public, as a whole, cares much either. Like I said, pretty shallow. Given that many of the targets were media types, I might have thought that they would be a bit more interested in pursuing the matter, but given that the media is now in control of the mega-corporations and beholden to big money, that is a pipe dream as well.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Olympics Opening Ceremonies: Spectactular doesn't to them justice.

I, frankly, have never seen anything quite like that. That was truly amazing. If you saw them, you know what I am talking about. If you didn't, then words are not going to convey how spectacular those images really were.

I would also like to take this opportunity to, once again, complain as loudly as I can, about how NBC treats both the opening and closing ceremonies to the Olympics. The announcers feel that they need to give running commentary the entire time! I hate that! I cannot express how much I hate that. Most of it was inane, to boot. It added absolutly nothing, other than plaster noise all over the main attraction. They were just grasping for something to say, just to fill the "empty space". I actually just turned off the sound on the TV and watched the pictures without sound. I imagine that NBC feels they would need to provide running commentary if they were to broadcast a symphony or an opera.

Just STFU and let the audience watch and enjoy!! Yeah, you paid billions of dollars to broadcast these things, but that doesn't mean you have to insert stupidity into what was an awe-inspiring performance. YOU are not the focus. The Olympics are.


Photo from here.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I think I give up. I can’t figure out what I should blog about. I don’t really have what you might call a writer’s block. I can always whiz out some text about most anything. I just can’t seem to get past the idea that this country has just gotten too weird to even contemplate, much less write about or make fun of. To whit:

- Paris Hilton and T. Boone Pickens both have more realistic energy plans than does John McCain.

- John McCain thinks his wife ought to run in a beauty pageant in front of a bunch of bikers where past contests have featured topless contestants and simulated acts using a banana.

- John McCain first makes fun of Obama’s response to a question that suggests that keeping your tires fully inflated saves gas, and goes so far as to start selling tire pressure gauges with Obama’s name on them, and finally agrees that keeping your tires inflated is a good thing.

- John McCain, at that same biker rally in Sturgis, said that “We are going to win the war the right way! By winning!”

- Paris Hilton is actually a very good actress in her bashing of John McCain, and very funny as well, and then John McCain pretended he didn’t know that Paris punked him, big time.

- The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays may actually win a pennant in baseball.

- Conservative pundits are still trying to make Obama out as some sort of “elitist” who is out of touch with “regular Americans”, while John McCain owns approximately 10 houses and his wife is a multi-millionaire who just made even more money when Budweiser was sold to a bunch of Belgians.

- The United States just spent seven years convicting Osama bin Laden’s driver of being a driver for Osama bin Laden, with something that looks very much like a kangaroo court. With time already served, he could be out in five months. IF the United States government will let him go, of course. They still consider Hamdan an “enemy combatant”. So, we could have a situation where a person has served his time as imposed by a military court that the entire world is pretty dubious about, and the U.S. still won’t let the guy out of prison.

Like I said, too weird.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008