Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy new year to the Republican Party!

click image to enlarge
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Chinese President Hu Jintao promises open development and work for peace

Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a New Year's speech that ". . .China's development is peaceful development, opening development, cooperative development and harmonious development."

"The Chinese people will develop ourselves by means of striving for a peaceful international environment, and promote world peace with our own development," Hu said in the address broadcast by China Radio International, China National Radio and China Central Television.

This doesn't seem like a bad way to start the New Year.

Click on the title of this post to link to the article on The Drudge Report.
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Lobbyist Jack Abramoff about to cut deal with prosecutors

Federal prosecutors are wrapping up a plea deal with lobbyist Jack Abramoff that could be announced early next week, according to sources close to the negotiations.

The Associated Press reported the plea agreement "would secure the Republican lobbyist's testimony against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients."

This deal has to make a lot of congress pretty nervous. The lobbyist contributed millions in casino income to congressional campaigns, routing the money through political action committees (e.g., PACs) to conservative lawmakers. Abramoff also provided trips, sports skybox fundraisers, golf fees, meals, entertainment and jobs for lawmakers' relatives (ed. note: and probably prostitutes, shares of stock, bets, drugs, sex trips to Bangkok, and other illegal activities, as well).

Sources have speculated that up to a couple dozen legislators may be caught in Abramoff's snare when he finally rats out his old pals. He has greased congress up one side and down the other, and congress is experiencing an extreme case of the willies at the thought that Abramoff is about to begin singing.

This may be wishful thinking, but is this just the first nail in the coffin for a Republican-dominated Congress? I think we're up to the first row of nails by now...
---o0o---

Drawing: Lines

Click drawing to enlarge. . .

I've worked on this drawing called Lines sporadically over the last couple of months...
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Poem: Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy Theory


There's a conspiracy in his cerebral cortex
Our friend is trapped in the middle

Caught on the barnacled reef
Of his skirmishing selves

He swings at the circle of gnashing teeth
His oars are chomped down to the stub

He sends mass prayers
To all the known deities

Up to and including old God himself
who remains characteristically silent.
---o0o---

Friday, December 30, 2005

Presidents Bush and Chirac, and Queen Elizabeth II F*** For Peace!

Following up on the EuroPART scandal we (and a couple dozen others) reported yesterday, another picture has surfaced depicting the world leaders Chirac, Elizabeth II and W, having a grand old time while keeping Anglo-Franco-American relations on track.



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Alien Lore 56 - Washington, D.C. invaded by UFOs



Not long after the events of Roswell, the Mount Rainier UFO sightings, and Socorro, UFOs made a showy presence for the leaders of the free world. In 1952, UFOs buzzed the White House, the Capitol building, and the Pentagon. Yes, these UFOs, presumably piloted by aliens, or Greys, seemed to be thumbing their noses (if they had noses) at the institutions we thought kept us safe.

Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base picked up a number of UFOs on their radar screens on July 19, 1952. These sightings seemed to trigger a wave of sightings that no one has ever been able to explain.

At Washington National Airport, air traffic controller Ed Nugent [Ted's dad?] saw seven blips on his radar screen. No planes were supposed to be there. He brought in his boss and said jokingly, "Here's a fleet of flying saucers for you." In the tower's glass-enclosed top floor, another controller saw a strange blip streaking across his radar screen. It wasn't a bird. It wasn't a plane. What was it? He looked out the window and spotted a bright light hovering in the sky.

From the Washington Post, July 19, 1952: "Air Force spokesmen said yesterday only that an investigation was being made into the sighting of the objects on the radar screen in the CAA Air Route Traffic Control Center at Washington National Airport, and on two other radar screens.

"Methods of the investigations were classified as secret, a spokesman said. 'We have no evidence they are flying saucers; conversely we have no evidence they are not flying saucers. We don't know what they are,' the spokesman added. "


click newspaper to enlarge

From the Washington Post, July 28, 1952:

"Military secrecy veils an investigation of the mysterious, glowing aerial objects that showed up on radar screens in the Washington area Saturday night for the second consecutive week.

"A jet pilot sent up by the Air Defense Command to investigate the objects reported he was unable to overtake the glowing lights moving near Andrews Air Force Base.

"The CAA reported reported the objects traveled at 'predominantly lower levels'--about 1700 feet. "

---o0o---

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Painting: Lines 2


click painting to enlarge


This painting comes from a drawing I did recently, that I ran through a couple of photoshop filters... /jack
---o0o---

Sex Pictures Of President Bush, President Chirac, And Queen Elizabeth


Click image to enlarge

400 Vienna billboards showing Britain's Queen Elizabeth "performing The Act" with U.S. and French Presidents Bush and Chirac are causing a bit of consternation as Austria prepares to assume the rotating European Union leadership. I can't tell from several sources how many of the billboards actually contain this, or the two other supposedly offensive images.

The posters show two naked female models with President George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth, and a male with a President Jacques Chirac in masks, engaging in an act they appear to wholeheartedly enjoy.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel begged the artists to pull the billboards(that's going to happen, eh?). The euroPART series posters were created by EU member country artists to "reflect different social, historical and political developments in Europe." It seems like they did their jobs!

The poster contest sponsor received $1.2 million from the Austrian government to commission the art. 3/150 images have triggered the media/political backlash. The poster series will be shown throughout January, 2006. Let us see the other two!
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Spying and Lying: ACLU Demands Special Counsel Investigate President Bush

The ACLU ran the following advertisement in today's New York Times, demanding a special counsel investigate illegal domestic spying against President George W. Bush:


Click image to enlarge

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Painting: The Missing Link, Or, Another Piece Of Intelligent Design

This painting reflects on Intelligent Design, Darwinism, our (alleged!) cousins the chimps, apes, monkeys, and orangutangs, and on women in bathing suits and how men would probably still be attracted to them even if they came with the head of an orangutang...

Click image to enlarge
---o0o---

Painting: Self-Portrait No. 8

Click painting to enlarge
---o0o---

Poem: The Moon Race



The race was on
Movie star Jack Kennedy
Vs. shoe pounding Nikita Kruschev

We raced 226,000 miles
Toward that pale toenail
Charging hell-bent for leather

To claim title
With Old Glory or the Hammer And Sickle
And impale the moon on a dusty pole

The paramecium of the Milky Way
We wind in time and untick in the heavens
Under the weather and under the gun.
---o0o---

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

President Bush Says "F*** You!" To The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

A United Press International story dated December 26, 2005 says that POTUS decided to blow off warrants for international wiretaps "because the court was challenging him at an unprecedented rate. " Click on the post title to go to the UPI article.
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President Bush drunk at Camp David


Photograph: unknown source. If it's yours, let us know!

All This Is That News Wire Camp David, MD 12-26-2005.

President Bush's Christmas retreat at Camp David devolved into a troubled, drunken "bender," according to sources close to The White House. Unsubstantiated rumors have circulated throughout the year that The President has begun drinking again. These rumors seem to be corroborated by this video hosted by http://www.wimp.com..

Rumors of Presidential tippling died down in December, following the Scooter Libby indictment and The Administration's double digit bump in the polls. However, revelations of massive domestic spying and renewed talk of special prosecutors and impeachment have let the cork out of the bottle, so to speak.

Sources report that the President is drinking frequently as he struggles to map a strategy to survive his next three years in office, as well as attempting to secure a place in the history books, possibly without his close advisors Andrew Card, Rumsfeld and Cheney, as well as a faltering majority in The Senate.

On Christmas morning, the Secret Service unexpectedly cancelled a photo-op and cleared the press from Camp David, allowing only a small pool of reporters and photographers in a cabin half a mile from the presidential compound.

Numerous White House staffers willing to talk off the record, painted a picture of an administration under siege, led by a man who declares his decisions to be "God's will" and tells aides to "f**k over" anyone opposing the administration's nebulous goals.


12-26-2005 The President Appears To Be
Suffering The Aftermath Of The Previous
Day's Binge

On Christmas Eve, after a long evening drinking bourbon and eggnog [1] with his inner circle, The President reportedly broke down in tears, complaining that Vice-President Cheney "is supposed to have my back, he's supposed to be the brains of the f***in' outfit!. He was supposed to be the grandpa everyone loved. . .and all he's done in the last year is bring a s***storm down on us! Even our f***in' friends are racing for the exits!"

Later the same evening, The President allegedly tried to have his team kneel and "pray for the deaths of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Rep. John P. Murtha, John McCain, Harry Reid, Arlen Specter, Howard Dean, and one more f***in' Supreme Court Justice. . .to fix those pinko bastards and ACLU treehuggers. . .once and for all!"

[1] The Camp David bartenders used the potent recipe for eggnog created by the northwesterner Dean Ericksen, a former bartender, and ironically, a prominent environmental activist.
---o0o---

Monday, December 26, 2005

Poem: Mr. Flue's Grave At Hillcrest Cemetery In Kent, Washington



Planted here is the victim of our best pranks
Who tried but never caught up with us (thanks!)

Magic mushrooms pop up around his grave
That you could never eat and still feel safe

Nurtured in the soil of his bones and rage
It would be like a room with Death or a cage.
---o0o---

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Painting: Genetics Tests Reveal That Joseph Is Not The Father

Click painting to enlarge. . .
---o0o---

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Scrooge!

If you get a chance tonight, listen to Lord Buckley's version of Scrooge. If you want to read his version, the story appeared right here last year. You can probably find the MP3 if you scrounge around enough, or if you use a music file sharing program. If not, you could just buy it:

Originally recorded at World Pacific Studios, 1960. Released with "Maharajah" as side two of World Pacific WP-1849
Bad Rapping of the Marquis de Sade, CD released in 1996 World Pacific, CPD 7243 8 52676 2 8
Lord Buckley Live: The Tales of Lord Buckley, Shambala Lion Editions, SLE 20, released 1991

It's not Christmas until I've heard Scrooge by Lord Buckley...
---o0o---

Check Out Google Labs



Google Labs is a fascinating sandbox of ideas in development by Google. It's where you test drive their ideas in progress. Some of the stuff is amazing, some of it is silly. A lot of it works, some of it is still getting there. I've been impressed with what Google has lobbed over the wall this year. . .Google earth (fantastic program that originally cost about $30 a month to use. It's free now.), Google maps, etc. Google web accelelerator is a new tool that looks interesting..it claims to have saved me ten minutes over the last couple of days. It does make things snappier.
---o0o---

Friday, December 23, 2005

Poem: The World Seems Especially Calming And Verisimilitudinous Today

Swim run fly crawl creep
The animals don't kill time
And time loves them back

Threading high fidelity cirrus
The sun unloads the last of its rays
And blesses the mountain palisade

So much depends upon
Keeping this up
(And a red wheel barrow).
---o0o---

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Poem: Kent, Washington



The truck farms
Are still there

Buried down a layer now
beneath tilt-up warehouses

Fin fur flesh and feather
Sustain a faint presence

A robin waltzes in 3/4 time
Around a stranded nightcrawler

She turns and dances
A schottish in 2/4 time

A pale moon hangs
Almost humming overhead

The only thing of beauty
Left in town.
---o0o---

Photograph: Goin' My Way, Fella?


click photograph to enlarge


In 1975, we were hitchhiking to Seattle from our college town, Bellingham. We found all these great clothes on the side of the road (where they were possibly hucked from a car window in a passionate moment). Of course, I had to put on the tights, stuff the bra, and see if anyone would stop. Fortunately for you, dear reader, we had a camera.
---o0o---

Photograph: Shore Leave During World War II


Click photograph to enlarge

This is John Brummet, Jr., and some of his navy friends, maybe on Shore Leave in San Diego, where they made it down to Tijuana for some cheap thrills. . . The picture was taken sometime between 1942 and 1945. I probably don't have to point this out, but my dad is the ham in the middle of the photo.
---o0o---

The Best Of All This Is That: Fishing With The Old Man


Jack and John Brummet, Jr., approximately 1957
click photograph to enlarge

From All This Is That, January, 2005

Fishing With The Old Man

We always went to a promising, well-stocked lake on opening day and then hit various lakes every week or two while the lake season was open. I wasn't often included on Steelhead [1] fishing because of inclement weather, the treacherous stretches of the river, and my uncanny ability to fall into any proximate body of water. We didn't fish saltwater, unless you count crab pots and clamguns.

On a Serious Fishing Trip, you needed men, mountains, fly-fishing gear, canned food, and a good load of John Barleycorn. For serious fishing, we headed east, to the Bumping River. We drove far south in the Green River Valley, and then cut up into the mountain foothills and circled around Mount Rainier, to the Cougar Flats campground. The closest towns were Goose Prairie [2] and the little town of Naches.

The fishing expedition included me, my dad, and at various times, Al Sorenson, his son Jack and his friend, Sonny, Bill Cavanaugh (a notoriously besotted bartender), Big Bob Hansen, Al Simms, my Uncle Romey (Raw' mee), his son Jimmy, a couple of station wagons, a jeep, and a pickup. The men were salt of the earth, blue-collar, Democratic, card carrying Teamsters. Not a one of them graduated from high school, or even completed junior high. Most of them lied about their age to get into the service during The Depression. They were now furnace repairmen, sheetrockers, drivers, mechanics, and cabinet makers in their mid-thirties.

We headed into the mountains after a stop in Auburn or Puyallup at the state Liquor Store. We bought whiskey (Four Roses or Seagram's Seven Crown), and cases of Olympia Beer and Honeydew or Shasta soda for the kids.

One whiskey mishap is seared into my brain--a senseless outrage I committed upon an innocent jug of Four Roses. We hit a rest stop. As I opened the door, I smurfed a half gallon jug of whiskey onto the sidewalk. It broke. Five men raced into action. One guy held the bottom of the jug upright to prevent any further diminution of its contents, another one tried to dam up the little brown river. Someone might have licked the concrete downstream of the disaster. I almost remember some misty eyes. I was in the doghouse and, henceforth, the jug was stored wherever I wouldn't be, preferably in another vehicle entirely. I don't know how many miles we backtracked to replenish the Four Roses, but I do remember Bill Cavanaugh telling me I "was about as handy as a cub bear handling his p**ck."

In the grand scheme of things, I merely postponed our arrival, and cocktail hour, at Cougar Flats. It's not like any lines were going to be wetted the first day of the trip. There was plenty of time to get the Seven and Sevens [3] poured, and to feed the kids, and themselves, cooking dinner on a Coleman Stove and over the campfire.

There was Dinty Moore Beef Stew waiting, and Chef Boy R Dee's Ravioli, Bar-S Hot Dogs, Vienna Sausages, Franco-American Spaghetti-O's , Rice-A-Roni, Chili con Carne, Tang[tm], the space age Kool-Aid, Honeydew Strawberry, Olympia beer chilling in a fishing net in the river, Spam, Pork and Beans, Canned Tamales, hot cocoa, candy bars, and beef jerky.
Even at the age of seven, the excitement of the road trip was infectious. There was swearing, farting, loud laughter, and a general relaxation of all rules of decorum. The place names were magical: The Bumping River, Cougar Flats (I don't remember ever hearing a bobcat/mountain lion/cougar), Goose Prarie, and Naches. Mount Rainier was another magical name, and we were so close, you could almost touch it. There were deer, fox, beaver, raccoon, coyotes, squirrels, bear, crows, woodpeckers, owls, badgers, marmots and river otters.

We camped among thick stands of Douglas Fir, in old oiled canvas tents with a fine tang of mildew. The woods were lush with salal, Oregon Grape, nettles, strange mushrooms, ferns, banana slugs, and moss. Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout were our quarry. At least in theory; I don't much remember the fishing part of the trip. I remember hikes to see the bears, seeing men in the middle of the river in their khaki-colored waders, fried baloney sandwiches, hot cocoa, beer pancakes and chili with oyster crackers for dinner. I remember the stories that were spun as the adult beverages made the rounds.

Around the campfire, they told endless, improbable stories punctuated with guffaws and snorts of disbelief. They spun World War II yarns of army and navy shenanigans, being on a thirty day run of KP for fighting, or breaking into the supply huts to make off with the torpedo juice [4]. They didn't talk about fighting the Germans and the Japanese. They told shaggy-dog stories of run-ins with the Military Police while on shore leave, and being put in the brig for some minor offense or "misunderstanding." There were elaborate tales of the German Girls, the French Girls, the Australian girls, the Philllipine girls, and the Japanense girls, none of which made sense to me. Tales of outwitting the sociopath drill sargeant, or pulling pranks on their entire army company were favorites.

Every night, we secured the camp against the bears and the squirrels by hoisting the food up in bags and dangling the bags far out on a tree limb (or locking it in the cars). We kept the campsite far cleaner than we kept ourselves. A pan of grease poured onto the ground injudiciously could easily attract a momma bear and her two cubs. We often heard the bears rummaging around outside the tents at night. More than once, we would wake up to find a loaf of bread we had forgotten with a neat squirrel hole burrowed straight through the middle. The bears mostly kept their distance since the fishing was good and there was a garbage dump a couple of miles away.

In the morning, after bacon, beer pancakes hot cocoa and coffee, we would fish. I was usually tied to a tree on the bank, just like when I "fished" for Steelhead on the Green River [5]. I was tethered so they could keep track of me, and because if there was a body of water nearby, I would fall in.

There must have been dozens, but my only memory of seeing a fish was when Jack Sorenson and his friend, Sonny (they were about 15 or 16), jumped in the river and grabbed a couple of cutthroats. They had been fishing all day and finally gave up and snagged the fish with their bare hands like they do catfish in the south.

On the return trip, back to the west side of the mountains, I was given strict instructions to watch my language and not tell any tales. It was an early lesson in the motto "what you see here, stays here."

I went fishing with my dad many more times. Usually we fished the nearby lakes for trout, and sometimes on the Green River for the elusive Steelhead Trout. My father's desire for me to excel at fishing ran head-on into my utter inability to sit quietly and fish. Sitting in his pram on a lake, it was very difficult to sit still, and even more difficult to remain quiet.

No matter how many times they told me, I never really believed the fish could hear me, and even if they could, that the babbling of a seven year old would seriously disturb them or prevent them from lunging for the eggs on our hooks.

I drove my old man nuts when we fished. In the boat on the lake, his pole would most often sit unattended as he cussed and attempted to either untangle my fishing line, fix my fishing reel, or rig a new leader, sinker, hook and bait when I tore mine off in snags at the bottom of the lake. When my line wasn't twisted around the anchor, I was talking, and if I wasn't talking I wanted lunch, and if I'd had lunch, I needed to take a pee, and if I didn't have to pee, I got my fishing line hopelessly entangled with his.

Despite hectoring him with demands, and preventing him from ever actually fishing, he brought me along every chance he had[6] . All he wanted to do was drop a line in the water and wait for the fish to bite. All he wanted to hear was the slow lapping of the lake against the boat. But his spawn was a hopeless motormouth, utterly uncoordinated and tempermentally unsuited to the fishing life. He got it.

After returning from one of my earliest trips (I was in kindergarten), I landed in hot water at school. The fishing story I told during "Show And Tell" was peppered with C***sucker, sonofabitch, and other choice scatalogical references. I must have learned to keep my mouth shut after that. I do not believe the men mended their ways.
---o0o---


[1] Steelhead Trout are an ocean going rainbow trout, considered to be one of the great sport fish. They are extremely tasty.
[2] Home of the great Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who wrote about the area in his bestseller Of Men and Mountains.
[3] One part Seagram's Seven and one part 7-Up, over ice. Mmmm.
[4] An alcoholic beverage in World War II, made from the high grain alcohol fuel used in torpedo motors. The poisons in these liquids were passed through makeshift filters (e.g., they poured it through a loaf of bread).
[5] Yes. That Green River. I grew up two blocks from the river where Gary "The Green River Killer" Ridgeway dumped the bodies of his 50+ victims many years later.
[6] John Newton Brummet II died six months after JFK, on May 19, 1964.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Painting: A Jury Of Your Peers

click on the painting to enlarge

This is a painting I did in the 90's. . .I only have a Polaroid of it. I think my friend Maureen Shields owns the actual painting.
---o0o---

Poem: Rollover

The sun didn't rise today
But the sun doesn't rise

The last cricket
Falls asleep

The birds begin their rounds
Earth rolls over

Like a dog
And we're back in the light.
---o0o---

Pres. Bush's Polling Numbers Soar

Bush's Support Jumps After a Long Decline

More Americans Upbeat on Iraq, Economy


The world is tumbling down around his shoulders, with new revelations every day about some new sleazy policy, an executive shortcut, or an Administration misadventure . And nothing happens to this Teflon Don. We've read about his depression, chaos in his personal life, heartbreaking departures of old friends, and treachery, fear, and backstabbing in the West Wing. It's been a brutal six months for The President. Then about three days after some of the spookiest revelations have popped up...the ones about domestic spying. . .the latest polling numbers come out. The numbers caught a rising bubble. The numbers from next week may tell another tale entirely. We can think pretty thoughts, can't we?

Yes, the President's approval ratings have surged in recent weeks, reversing an extended period where they hovered directly over the toilet bowl. POTUS's overall approval rating rose to a stunning, depressing, and absolutely amazing 47 percent, from 39 percent in early November. This huge bump seems to be attributable to the shoddy two-week media blitz the White House launched recently based mainly on the new mantra:

Victory
Victory
Victory
Victory!

As my friend Jeff Clinton said in an email earlier today: "If one of these things doesn't stick soon I'm gonna go crazy."

The Think Progress blog today revealed the president speaking three years ago (could this be the impeachable lie some extremists are talking about)?:

"Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

---o0o---

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Manhattan Nightmare - The Transit Strike Is A Go/Remembering The 1980 Strike

Contract talks broke off between New York transit and union negotiators last night without an agreement (just before the midnight strike deadline). 34,000 workers have gone on strike. Seven million people a day need to find another way to get around.

A friendly subway conductor
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a "comprehensive emergency plan" to help mitigate the effects of the strike with more ferry service, only car pools allowed into Manhattan, several major streets, including Fifth Avenue, clear of all traffic except buses and emergency vehicles. I believe taxis are also required to pool riders (as they did in 1980).



We lived in Manhattan during the 1980 strike. It started on April Fool's Day and lasted 12 days.

According to nycsubway.org, the absentee rate during the strike was around 15-20%. That may be true, but those of us who actually showed up for work didn't make it in until very late, and everyone left early. It was basically a circus atmosphere all over town. Employers were glad to have us show up for even a few hours a day. Even the most skinflint of employers (and that would include mine, Carl Fischer music publishers) paid people to share cabs in to work. The cab ride from the Upper West Side to the East Village took about two hours...barely faster than walking. It was a total zoo, with gridlock everywhere, and thousands of cops on traffic duty to contain the honking, chaos, and (literally) millions of pedestrians.


Heading to work on The Brooklyn Bridge

I don't remember road rage, or riots, or people being particularly angry.
In fact, it was like anytime things went wrong: New Yorkers pulled together; they griped and kavetched, and they lived with it, and had a pretty good time doing it. I remember the endless commutes, schlepping back and forth from uptown to downstown. I remember sharing cab rides with Arthur Cohn (the cranky, funny composer and conductor known for his books on contemporary music, The Collector's 20th-Century Music in the Western Hemisphere and 20th-Century Music in Europe), Susan Lurie, a friend and excellent flautist, and at least one other person, possibly Pinky Rawsthorne. . .although if she was in the cab I think I would have remembered it, because there would have been a lot more laughter.


The New York Post Transit Survival
Guide - Click to enlarge

In 1980, the subways were dirty, dangerous, smelled, tended to catch on fire at times, had no air conditioning, and were covered with tags and graffiti. And boy, did we miss them. After returning home at night, you stayed in your neighborhood, or within walking distance anyhow. Somehow they settled it all in a couple of weeks. Good luck New York!

Kevin and Pete -- give us a report on how it is working... /jack
---o0o---

The FBI And Others Spied On Activist Groups

According to the New York Times today, "counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show."

One F.B.I. document indicates the Feebs wanted to conduct surveillance of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document discusses the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." Yet another document outlines the bureau's interest in a protest over llama fur planned by P.E.T.A. Greenpeace's name also appears in the documents. "Semi-communistic ideology" is the sort of phrase that makes you wonder if perhaps the Ghost Of J. Edgar Hoover isn't back in charge?

Click on the title of this post to read the sordid story in the New York Times.
---o0o---

Monday, December 19, 2005

President Bush Says We're Winning The Iraqi War



President Bush, in a speech from the Oval Office Sunday night, told us we are winning the war. Click here for details on the speech.

None of us are getting any younger, I'll admit. The President has been relentlesly hammered by the public, Democrats, Allies, and Press for a long time now and seems to have aged ten years overnight. We've seen this happen often before. It happens to every President, except maybe Gerald Ford, who didn't seem to age a day in his short term in office. And, of course, William Henry Harrison, who only lasted a month in office.
---o0o---

Alien Lore 55 - Bob Dylan And The Greys

"The 60s was like a UFO landing. A lot of people heard about it, but very few actually saw it."

- Bob Dylan

Where do Bob Dylan's elliptical, prophetic, and lyrical songs come from? Sean Casteel published an article: "Bob Dylan And A Possible UFO Connection." He speculates that Bob's lyrics have a connection to The Greys through his contact with aliens, or because Dylan was actually abducted. Click on the links to read the short article.

Casteel's web site offers a couple of his (interesting looking) books for sale.
---o0o---

Sunday, December 18, 2005

One Hundred And Forty Years Ago Today, Slavery Was Abolished (More Or Less)


On December 18, 1865, after three-quarters of the states had finally ratified it, the 13th Amendment was adopted into the U.S. Constitution, saying that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude... shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

President Lincolin and other members of the anti-slavery Republican Party did not even try to abolish slavery--they just wanted to stop its extension into new states in the West.

Even this was unacceptable to Southern politicians, who believed the free states would turn against them. After Lincoln's election in November1860, many souther states seceded from the U.S., and just after Lincoln's inauguration in, the Civil War began.
---o0o---

Poem: [It's the Lee Harvey Oswald smile]

It's the Lee Harvey Oswald smile
With a touch of Mona Lisa
That makes my neckhairs stand up

His eyes sweep like searchlights
He glares with a mixture of sorrow and rage
And sundered dreams

It's there in his eyes
The last sanctuary evaporates
He can't take it in his head anymore

His fingers clutch the ancient pistol
He fires and again again
Again again again

When I hear the sixth shot
I know I'm God's boy tonight.
Amen.
---o0o---

Bush: Eavesdropping Saves U.S. Lives


President Bush delivers his live radio address in the Roosevelt
Room at the White House, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2005, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Facing angry criticism, challenges to his authority in Congress, and national outrage, President Bush defended his right to conduct secret spying in the United States as "saving American lives."

"Often appearing angry in an eight-minute address, the president made clear he has no intention of halting his authorizations of the monitoring activities and said public disclosure of the program by the news media had endangered Americans." [Associated Press]

How many lives had been saved since this domestic spying operation was deployed? So far, no one is saying.

All This Is That came up with a short (and by no means comprehensive) list of other possibilities for saving American lives.

- Revoke the Seond Amendment.
- Ban gasoline-based cars. Allow hybrids temporarily.
- Bolster Medicaid for the poor and aging.
- Require cars that sustain impacts greater than five MPH.

- Put another liberal on the Supreme Court.
- Mandate more rigorous drug testing standards by the F.D.A.
- Ban capital punishment.

- Increase medical research into AIDS.
- Increase enforcement of existing seat-belt laws.
- Withdraw all American troops from Iraq.
- Eliminate the sales of tobacco.
- Revoking the licenses of all D.U.I. drivers permanently.
- Crank up the E.P.A.'s act.
- Increase entitlements for needy children.
- Mandate national health care.
- Enact a national speed limit of fifty miles per hour.
- Ban skydiving, mountain climbing, hang-gliding, and car races.
- Eliminate motorcycles from public highways.
- Rebuild the levee system in New Orleans.

- Eliminate building in flood zones.
- More closely monitor the activities of hate groups.
- Disband the Republican party.

- Enact compulsory national conscription with no deferments.
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Taracotra - Del Brummet's Latest Movie Script



Del Brummet has completed another movie script. This one will be filmed during a film production class.

For details on Taracotra, visit Del's blog. You can download or stream the trailer he put together here.
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The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight Is Back: Patriot Act Filibustered To Death; New Spying Revelations by the NYT; Frist Under The Gun Once Again

It's been a good week at The White House. . .for the Democrats.

The President, after his aggressive round of speechmaking, got a bump in the approval polls...back up to near 40%. But then, the wheels came off the Patriot Act renewal; it was revealed that since October 2001, the National Security Agency has eavesdropped on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States without the normally required court approved warrants (All with the President's approval); Four Republicans sided with the Democrats in the filibuster; and yesterday, it was revealed Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's AIDS charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, a revelation that does not bode well for his Presidenial bid.

As for spying on thousands of Americans, the voters don't seem to cotton to this much. A few citizens expressed their approval ratings for The President to our roving photographer.

- Click images to enlarge -



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All This Is That


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Presidents to appear on dollar coins





Click images to enlarge...


In 2007, the U.S. Mint will begin minting new dollar coins featuring the pictures of dead presidents for the first time in decades. It's been a little short on Presidential dollars, with only Ike and JFk starring so far. . .

Four coins will be issued each year, beginning with The Father Of Our Country.

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