Monday, November 30, 2009

This is so sick and disturbing in so many ways.

From the Seattle Times.

Four officers were shot and killed at 8:15 a.m. as they worked on their laptops at Forza Coffee Company in Parkland. The first two officers were "flat-out executed," while the third tried to stop the gunman and the fourth fired at him, Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Those killed were identified as Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Gregory Richards, 42.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar has scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference today to discuss the officers and the shooting.

Clemmons has a long criminal record in Arkansas and Washington. He was released from custody in Pierce County just a week ago, and was facing a charge of raping a child. Family members described him as being in a state of mental deterioration. Last spring, he was also accused of punching a sheriff's deputy in the face.

I have so many questions about this... Where did a guy with documented criminal history like this and who was released from prison only last week get a gun? I have seen other stories that said this guy believed he was a "messiah" and President Obama was going to visit him, personally, to verify this. This guy was obviously unstable. Why was he released? Why did he get clemency in Arkansas? (No, I am not blaming Mike Huckabee, even though this is the second time this has happened with someone he let loose from the Arkansas criminal justice system. If anything, it's the system at fault. A Democrat could have just as easily let this violent lunatic go.)

I am so sick about this. These people were doing their jobs and they lost their lives for it. Their families will never see them walk back in the front door.

I am so sick of this country right now...

American politics as seen as a Japanese giant monster movie.

I wish I had written this.

From Vagabond Scholar.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I've have concluded two things about politics in the U.S..

1) The U.S. government is essentially and forever broken. It's broken-ness is forever and will never return to a government "for the people, by the people." It is sort of "directed" (but not totally run by) by Big Money, War-Mongers, Egomaniacs and Fundamentalist Religionists. The U.S. government does not have the best interests of its citizens in mind. Only when those best interests coincide with the interests of at least one of those other groups does anything actually happen.

2) The citizens of the U.S. deserve exactly the kind of government we are getting, because we let this happen and we did not push back when it was hijacked by these special interests. We're screwed, and it is now too late to do anything about this. The only thing that I can see that a single person can do is keep his/her head down and hope the unpleasantness doesn't sweep him/her up.

So, that summarizes everything I could put in a political post, I think. Everything else is just more details about those two points above.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

No, still haven’t thought of anything to write about….

Thanks for checking in, though.

I do know that I don’t really like what this blog has become, which is very much a one-trick pony complaining about the insanity of the conservatives of this country right now. I think this feeling about the blog reflects my general feeling about this country as a whole. I don’t like where it is going and what it has become. To quote the immortal Joel Robinson, "It stinks!" No amount of complaining about it is going to change that fact. Pointing out the insanity isn’t really even cathartic anymore. It’s boring. And when you admit your own blog is boring, then it’s time to go in a different direction.

I thought I hit a pretty decent stride about a year and a half in, and I was actually doing writing some interesting stuff and getting some interesting things from elsewhere to collate here. Maybe I need to try to get back to that. It is really difficult to gather up the enthusiasm to actually write an interesting and coherent entry, especially when my job entrails a lot of reading and writing.

Check back periodically. Maybe I will find myself a muse somewhere. I tried to pick one up on eBay last week, but was outbid at the last moment. I hate when that happens.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I am considering giving up political blogging.

It's just too damn depressing. When the Bushies were in charge, blogging about the outrage of the day was easy (as, I suspect, it was for many other bloggers). All us liberals were just really pissed off. Now that the Dems supposedly have the reins, it's just depressing. There is too much insanity out there to even wrap my head around. There are too many people whose reality is just completely different than mine, and I cannot reconcile this fact. I can deal with differing opinions, but a totally different view of reality? This is the "reality" where Obama hates America and is actively trying to destroy it and where Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck not only makes sense, they are somehow holders of great wisdom they are dispensing upon the masses. The reality where God really hates Barack Obama. The reality where healthcare reform is really just like what the Nazis did in WWII.

Not only am I considering giving up political blogging, I am considering not even watching MSNBC in the evenings and reading all the blogs every day. Again, it's too depressing.

I have said this before, and I lasted all of about two weeks. But it might be nice to concentrate on some intelligent writing again, which I believe I used to do in the past, rather than just rant about the latest stupidity from the right-wing of American society. So, we will see how long this lasts. The only thing that will probably occur is that I will just get really bored at work if I don't take 10 minutes off every once in a while a look in to see what is going on that day.

UPDATE: Not unsurprisingly, I guess, I am having a difficult time figuring out something I can write about that isn't politics. This is one problem with having a hobby that involves writing and also a job that involves a lot of writing. Once you sit at your desk all day, reading and writing stuff, then it's kind of difficult to gather any enthusiasm about writing more stuff for fun. If I had a job where I sat all day at a desk and assembled model ships inside a bottle, I would think it would be difficult to come home and assemble model ships inside a bottle just for grins. Of course, I am making no comparisons between blogging and model ships inside of bottles. Just a thought that popped into my head... Writing a blog seems MUCH more difficult.

Friday, November 13, 2009

This just about explains everything about the healthcare "debate."

Picture from Attaturk, who stole it from somewhere else.

Blogging? What's that?

Oh, yeah. I write stuff down for very few people to read.

Maybe this weekend. It's been a full week.

Meanwhile, here is an older photo I took of the Cascade Mountains during this time of year. If you time it just right and manage to miss the rain and snow, the Cascades are a pretty incredible sight during autumn.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Waves. Part 2

I like to post interesting or amazing photographs. I get many of them via e-mail (such as the post below with photographs of Hoover Dam or a much earlier one of a Washington State ferry in rough waters) and those e-mails usually do not include any attribution. In this case, however, I do know who took these incredible images; Clark Little from Oahu, Hawaii. These photographs are obviously under copyright. Given that this is a tiny, tiny little blog and these images have already “escaped” via e-mail, I figure these no harm in posting them if I give an attribution. It’s sort of like a commercial for Mr. Little and his work, from which he obviously earns his living… I just found these photos incredibly beautiful and hypnotic. I could stare at them for a long time.

Here is a link to Little’s official home page. Buy his book if you find these images as stunning as I do.

Here is a link to Little’s Facebook page. Go there if you want to find out more.

Waves. Part 1

I like to post interesting or amazing photographs. I get many of them via e-mail (such as the post below with photographs of Hoover Dam or a much earlier one of a Washington State ferry in rough waters) and those e-mails usually do not include any attribution. In this case, however, I do know who took these incredible images; Clark Little from Oahu, Hawaii. These photographs are obviously under copyright. Given that this is a tiny, tiny little blog and these images have already “escaped” via e-mail, I figure these no harm in posting them if I give an attribution. It’s sort of like a commercial for Mr. Little and his work, from which he obviously earns his living… I just found these photos incredibly beautiful and hypnotic. I could stare at them for a long time.

Here is a link to Little’s official home page. Buy his book if you find these images as stunning as I do.

Here is a link to Little’s Facebook page. Go there if you want to find out more.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

“Domestic terrorism” in Seattle.

I guess only the rather liberal Pacific Northwest feels free to call something what it actually is; domestic terrorism. Because, you know, terrrorists are always foreigners.

Here is a link to the story in the Seattle Times. The suspect apparently pulled up beside a patrol car on Halloween night and opened fire on two officers, killing one and wounding the other. Premediated murder. He was also apparently involved in a bombing also against police offices earlier in the month. And the clue that tied to the two crimes together? A small U.S. flag was left at both crime scenes.

When police raided this guy’s apartment, there was a confrontation and he tried to shoot at the arresting officers. He was, very appropriately, shot by three officers. He survived and is in the hospital. A search of the suspects apartment “turned up bomb-making materials, improvised explosive devices and two rifles, including a "military-style assault rifle" similar to the type of weapon police believe was used to kill Brenton and wound his rookie partner, Officer Britt Sweeney. More hazardous material was found later Saturday, and at 8 p.m. residents in Monfort's building were evacuated briefly, according to Tukwila police dispatch.”

(Note: This is about five miles from where I work. Also in the same area is the truck plant where Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer used to work and and Lake Sammamish State Park, which is where Ted Bundy first learned how to lure young women into his beat up Volkswagon bug. About 25 miles down the road in Tacoma is where the D.C. sniper bought his rifle used to kill a number of people while he was hidden in the truck of his car, modified specifically for that purpose and where he killed one of his first victims.)

This event won’t even make the national news, because it is such “small potatoes.” After all, it was only a single policeman that was killed by a lone nutjob. Nothing to see here, no conclusions to be drawn. This comes right on the heels of the horrific killings at an Army base in Texas and several killings in Orlando at a business complex.

The atmosphere in the country right now is just heavy with the potential for violence. Lots and lots of angry people being egged on by their favorite radio or television “entertainer”, easy access to guns, the disintegration of all social restraint, all are contributing to this potential. In the eyes of many, it is now acceptable to take out their anger and frustration by killing people. I can’t believe that many on the right are still spouting off with implications of violence and killing. Michelle Bachmann spoke of people coming to Washington D.C. to confront lawmakers, using the following language:

"I'd love to have every one of your viewers to join me so we can go up and down through the halls, find members of Congress, look at the whites of their eyes and say, 'Don't take away my healthcare.'"

"The American people realize this is it. Just like that brand new Michael Jackson movie came out, ‘This Is It.’ This is it for freedom. If you believe in liberty, and if you’re rejecting tyranny, this is it. Dr. Mark Levin wrote a seminal book that really swept this country called Liberty and Tyranny. And that’s what this debate is about next week. Liberty and tyranny."

The last time I heard the words “the whites of their eyes” and “tyranny” used together, it was about the Revolutionary War. This was, no doubt, intentional by Bachmann. But she is using references to taking up arms against an oppressive government (which at that time was Britain). She is purposely trying to stir up the anger of people at the very government of which she is a part, and insinuating that violence is acceptable.

This is not going to end well. There are already too many angry nuts out there with guns who are more than willing to go out and kill Americans against whom they hold a grudge, real or perceived. This is why many of us rational people were aghast when people starting bringing loaded guns to town hall meetings where President Obama was speaking. Legal or not, that is an insane thing to do. There is no upside.

This is not going to end well. It may not even end at all. This may now be the normal condition of this country. And that scares me a lot.

A healthcare reform bill passes the House.

I expect to see jack-booted healthcare Nazis showing up at everyone's front door to drag away anyone over 60 at any time now.

Really soon.

Just wait a minute....

Friday, November 06, 2009

Jesus Christ, I am confused about the teabag movement.

I believe that, under normal circumstances (which does not include updating a computer), I am a very rational person. I act upon my decisions that are (usually) made in a deliberate and logical manner. This is quite the opposite of what is going on with the tea baggers.

These are angry people, no doubt. I get they are very unhappy with the government paying for stuff that they don’t like with THEIR money. I understand. I was very unhappy that the government invaded and continues to occupy a country that had nothing to do with the horrible events of 9/11. I don’t like the idea that any of what was initially my money was used for that purpose. So, great. These people don’t like the idea of “government run healthcare.” Except for Medicare. That’s apparently fine. And VA run hospitals. Those are fine, too. And all the representatives and senators like their government run healthcare system as well. But universal healthcare? Socialist! Communist! Fascism!

How about other things that the government provides for the common good of everyone? Are they upset about that as well? Take, for instance, the government spending billions and billions of dollars updating the Air Traffic Control system. To the best of my knowledge, the Constitution says absolutely nothing about the government being able to run an Air Traffic Control system, especially on the taxpayer's nickel. The current ATC system is antiquated, but does provide a very good level of safety. We hardly ever see airplanes running into each other, for example. But the government has spent, and is still spending, billions on updating this system. I, personally, am not making any judgment about this. I am just pointing out that is what the government is spending MY money and YOUR money and the TEABAGGER’S money on. Why am I not seeing huge demonstrations against socialistic Air Traffic Control? Hey, it’s protecting the lives and welfare of the citizens of the U.S. Not everyone flies on airplanes. This is really no different than the health care debate. What’s up here? Why the difference? Why the over-the-top rage at an attempt for the richest country in the world to provide basic health care to its citizens? It’s a top priority to not have our citizens die from airplanes crashing into each other or the ground, or even suffering the relatively mild inconvenience of a delayed flight due to weather, but it’s O.K. for uninsured or underinsured people to die because they can’t afford the healthcare they need, or even if they do recover, they have had to liquidate every single asset they possessed?

That’s really insane, when you stop and really consider the question. But, of course, no one ever does really stop and consider the question from a purely rational point of view. It’s all gut emotion.

Another thing I absolutely do not get is that the fact that the tea baggers believe that the Republicans winning two gubernatorial seats in the election this week is some big blow to the Democrats and President Obama specifically. Yet, the Dems won two congressional elections (in California and upstate NY), which is at the federal level. The Dems just picked up one more vote in the House in support of healthcare reform. Why don't those results predict the imminent collapse of the Republican Party? I have no idea. Yet, the race in NY-23, where the tea baggers succeeded in driving out the more moderate Republican, hand-picked by the local GOP, and replaced her with a far-right candidate who ended up losing the congressional seat that the Republican Party has held successfully since the goddamn Civil War, is some sort of teabagger victory? What the hell? Black is black, and white is black. Heads, I win; Tails, you lose. Every single goddamn things that happens in the universe is good news for the GOP and it’s teabagging nutjobs who are currently at the wheel. Where someone using logic looks at this situation and sees complete madness, the teabaggers see complete victory, now and in the very near future. Only about 20% of the respondents of several recent polls identified themselves as Republicans. 20%. Hardly a formula for winning national races, I would like to say. Yet, the teabaggers are now emboldened by the defeat of the official Republican candidate in NY-23, so much so that they are going to target yet more incumbents who do not meet their ideology, and in doing so, will probably produce yet more elections where the teabaggers do not win the war (the election itself), but they won the battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, and after all, that's all that matters!

This has become a common theme of this blog; the seemingly insane actions by the extreme conservatives of this country. I just can’t seem to get past the fact that I live in the same country as several million insane people.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Seattle produces yet another crazy person.

I suppose we should all just feel relieved that “Reverend” Ken Hutcherson is only a hate filled idiot and isn’t actually a mass murderer like Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer, or Ted Bundy. But I am not sure where all the insanity comes from here. Something in the water? The fact that it rains a LOT in the fall and winter and sometimes never gets past “bright twilight?” I dunno, but it’s obviously something.

Ken Hutcherson is a well-known homophobe, spewing his hatred regarding gays on a regular basis. But this rant, via Pam Spaulding at Pandagon, is pretty damn unusual, even for him, given that Hutcherson is black.

I have watched the news, I have seen television, and I have heard different commentators talk about my friend, all the while knowing the things they say are lies. I am proud to be an American and proud of the United States of America, and again this makes it personal to me. I not only see Rush Limbaugh and the conservative movement in this action being attacked, but the entire foundation of what made America great.

Freedom is under attack, and we as Americans need to wake up and stop this madness in the greatest nation ever formed.
Let’s talk about what seems to have happened to Rush Limbaugh. Here is a man who loves professional football almost as much as he loves America’s traditions, values, and heritage of liberty. Rush has dedicated his life to the study of both football and America. He understands America and superbly communicates his understanding with millions every weekday. He understands the game of football, and has influenced it positively by being its biggest fan. Yet Rush has suffered attempts to destroy him with lies, misunderstandings and a direct effort to eliminate his influence in America...over the pretext of what? A game?

I truly believe that this is brought on by what I call the Minority Thought Pattern. Let’s not mince words: the Minority Thought Pattern is the total disdain and hatred of what God has accomplished through the white male throughout history. Coming from an African-American, I know this will shock you.

I am not minimizing the accomplishments of women, African-Americans, immigrants, the religious, or anyone else who is part of America. But the white male was here on Plymouth Rock for God to use, and the Pilgrims had a great belief in that God. The nation built out of their efforts, reflecting their values (most especially their religious values), has become the light of liberty for the world and an obstacle to those power-hungry individuals who hate it.

This is extremely personal to me. It’s about a friend. When I look at Rush, I don’t see a white man; I see a friend. I don’t see a talk show host (a very famous talk show host); I see a friend, and friendship overrides color and political stances. I don’t see a controversial figure, but a man whose heart and thoughts I know, and a man who is not a racist.

My, my… A black guy defending Rush Limbaugh against charges of racism. That’s novel. But it’s his statements about white males being an instrument of God that really grabbed my attention. That’s just out-and-out creepy. If those statements were coming from an old white guy, they would be reprehensible. Racist. Egotistic to the max. Uncaring about anyone that looks different than him, certainly. But coming from a black guy as it does, well, I am sort of at a loss here. Self-hatred? Maybe. It’s also possible that Rev. Ken is so invested in the ultra-conservative dogma that he believes ever bombastic piece of offal that people like Rush throw out there. Yeah, a bunch of rich, old, conservative white guys kicking Rush out of their professional sports ownership group because they didn’t want to deal with the controversy that ensue by having Rush around is JUST LIKE attacking everything that made America great!

*Sigh* The human mind is am amazing thing. It has the most fantastic ability to rationalize away anything that doesn’t fit in with its preconceived notions.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

These are supposed to be Thanksgiving colors, in case you couldn't figure that out.

I'm not sure it totally works, but then, it's only for about a month.