"We'd better not find out you're having a good time" says State Department

Once again, we are supposed to change our normal behavior so that government incompetents can have machines do their jobs for them.

Under new rules for visa photographs that began this summer, the State Department may permit smiling but no teeth showing...

'The subject's expression should be neutral (non-smiling) with both eyes open, and mouth closed. A smile with a closed jaw is allowed but is not preferred,' according to the guidelines...

Smiling 'distorts other facial features, for example your eyes, so you're supposed to have a neutral expression... The most neutral face is the most desirable standard for any type of identification,' said Angela Aggeler, spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, which handles travel-document guidelines.

... Last year, the organization announced standards for machine-readable passports which would include physical characteristics that computers could use to confirm people's identities.

'To allow for best possible comparison, if you smile or blink your eyes or turn your head, there would be fewer comparison points. So when you go to the counter, you will look at the camera in neutral face to offer the best comparison to the matching points on the picture in the passport,' said Denis Chagnon, a spokesman for the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal.

Some photo shops and even immigration attorneys say they were blindsided by the prohibition against flashing pearly whites.

Mark Knapp, an immigration attorney with Reed Smith in Pittsburgh, said ... he learned about the new guidelines from a colleague whose client's photo was rejected because of a toothy smile.

'You can't make this stuff up, honestly,' Knapp said.

'What is interesting is the idea that you can't smile anymore and that they're rejecting photos. The idea that you can't smile is what most immigration lawyers find absurd,' Knapp said.

What was the old line?

"No laughing, no talking, no showing of the teeth."

Or the other old line --

"It seems that, somehow, defying the laws of nature, we have many more horse's asses than horses."



What to do now? Is there anything I can do towards saving the world, making it a better place for everyone to live in?

Anyone who's read my postings in this corner of the blog universe knows I think that the current (and apparently future) resident of the White House is, if not the unholy one himself, at least his moronic cousin, the animatronic fellow. And that things are getting worse and worse and who knows where it will all end? Certainly not me.

But, as someone most pointedly said to me in my open comments, instead of complaining and etc, how about taking some positive action to make it better?

As Swami Vivikenanda pointed out:
"Once we know that all life ends in the grave, what shall we do?"

I think sharing this recipe for the amazing side dish my sister served at Thanksgiving dinner last night is a positive first step. Thank you, Judy. It was superlative.

Cranberry, Ginger and Lemon Chutney

(My sister thinks she recalls the author's name as B. Smith.)

Serving Size : 12 (Or one or two or three people, depends)



1 medium lemon

12 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup crystallized ginger -- finely diced

1/3 cup onion -- finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper -- seeded, minced

1 clove garlic -- minced

1 stick cinnamon

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt


Grate yellow zest from lemon. Cut away and discard white pith.
Halve the lemon crosswise; pick out seeds.
Cut into 1/4" dice.

Combine all the ingredients in a stainless steel pan.

Bring to a boil, stirring to help dissolve sugar.

Reduce heat; simmer until sauce is thick and cranberries have burst.

Remove cinnamon stick just before serving.

Serve at room temperature.

Will improve the disposition of anyone -- even Republicans who are STILL unsatisfied.
And it keeps for a long time.



A new simile for feeling mellow, fine, happy:

"Smiling like an American expatriate after our recent election."




The Democrats -- traditionally considered "tax and spend"

The Republicans, on the other hand -- "borrow and spend"



"People don't get what they deserve. They get what they resemble." William Blake

So perhaps we blame the so-called "religious right" because we just do NOT want to consider the possibility that the guys who sat in the back of algebra class laughing at each others' farts and drawing pictures of aerial dogfights, breasts, vulvas, and giant penises ARE the electorate. directed us to this Reuters article in the New York Post:


November 22, 2004 -- LOS ANGELES — A new video game to be released today allows players to simulate the assassination of President John Kennedy.

The release of "JFK Reloaded" is timed to coincide with today's 41st anniversary of Kennedy's murder in Dallas, and was designed to demonstrate that a lone gunman was able to kill the president.

"It is despicable," said David Smith, a spokesman for Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the late president's brother. He was informed of the game on Friday, but declined further comment.

Kirk Ewing, managing director of the Scottish firm Traffic Games, which developed the game, said he understood some people would be horrified at the concept.

"We believe that the only thing we're exploiting is new technology," said Ewing, a former documentary filmmaker and senior executive with Scottish developer VIS, responsible for games like "State of Emergency."

Traffic Games said the objective was for a player to fire three shots at Kennedy's motorcade from assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's sixth-floor perch in the Texas School Book Depository.

Points are awarded or subtracted based on how accurately the shots match the official version of events as documented in by the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy's assassination. Shooting the image of Kennedy in the right spots in the right sequence adds to the score, while "errors" like shooting first lady Jacqueline Kennedy lead to deductions.

Each shot can be replayed in slow motion, and the bullets can be tracked as they travel and pass through Kennedy's digitally recreated body. Players can choose to see blood by pressing a "blood effects" option.

On the other hand, perhaps it isn't so bad. It's not a best-selling game, not yet. The news is only that someone thinks it can be. The depressing part is they're probably right.



Reading The Fulcrum today, Charles' comment about watching Clinton on TV at the dedication of his library:

All my wife and I could say last night... was, man... I really miss him." The comparisons with Bush are immediate and unavoidable; here is a man who has a genuine warmth and a broad and deep intelligence. This was a man worthy of the office.

It made me laugh, if a bit ruefully, and I remembered the concluding paragraph from an article I wrote that was posted on Crapshoot in May of 2001. The article was titled Arsenic and Old Lays and played on the relation between Orwellian and Warholian, superficiality and celebrity.

As the sun slowly sinks below the western horizon, and the

focus on Billy's Willy is gradually supplanted

by attention paid to Bush's Blunders,

an image keeps running through my mind:

Bill Clinton is watching an episode of I Claudius,

the same scene, over and over.

The episode is the one where Tiberius, widely and publicly

castigated as a sexual degenerate, is sick and about to die.

Caligula, impatient for the throne, has just poisoned the dying man.

He looks up from his bed at Caligula and says,

"With you as emperor, they'll make me a god within a year."

And Tiberius laughs.

And Bill Clinton laughs.

The rest of us may find it a little more difficult to laugh.


On the request line:

Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One says, "I've lost my electron?
The other says, "Are you sure?"
The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive..."

A baby Harp Seal crawls into a bar.
The bartender says, “What’ll you have?”
The baby Harp Seal says, “Anything but a Canadian Club.”

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

Two cannibals are eating a clown.
One says to the other:
"Does this taste funny to you?"


Ahhh, the Holy Roman Church -- time for them to pay their taxes

When I first came to San Francisco, I went to the historical collection room of the Main Library and read through old newspapers. I was appalled to see some of the late 19th century headlines:


I attributed it to moronic thugs of the (only incidentally) Protestant variety.

I thought about that this past autumn as the Catholic bishops followed the lead of the Falwell, Robertson et al coup of the last 20+ years (Reagan, Bush, a brief hiatus during Clinton's embattled administration, and the Bushy-Bush again) and crossed the line from religion into politics.

"Don't vote for anyone who is pro-choice," they said, thereby giving up their right to be tax-exempt organizations, if not the entire Church, then the diocese whose bishops pushed their crucifixes into our ballot boxes.

Of course they have no sympathy for a woman who finds herself unhappily, terrifyingly, and quite possible life-threateningly pregnant -- they spend too much time either putting it up the bums of little boys or covering up for the ones who do.

They don't impregnate their sexual targets with fetuses -- just with spirit-destroying terror that somehow identifies god with horrible hiney-pain from the swollen member of some Holy Joe guy wearing a basic black dress. Try ever untangling THAT Gordian psyche-knot.

So -- whoa -- before you put away that checkbook that you're using to pay of the little boys with whom you interefered, it's time to pay off the electorate with whom you interfered. You know the rules --- if you meddle in the affairs of state -- guess what? We get to meddle in the affairs of Church. Sounds good to me? How about you?

Or you could pay your taxes and learn to keep your religion to yourself. Which, I seem to recall, is pretty much the way Jesus said it should be practiced.

Income taxes, property taxes -- the whole deal. Wow -- it should pay off both the deficit AND the debt. Enough to finance public schools for everything they need. It's going to be a BIG bil because -- oh, we're hiring every kid any of you ever buggered as Tax Assessors. Wait till you go in for THAT audit.



Joanna Terpstra. Artist

A nice thing about a blog -- you get to hear from people you'd otherwise have no way of knowing.
Some are harsh, some are gentle, but their presence breaks the "typing with one hand" nature of the traditional persona web site.

Had a comment the other day from an artist in Australia, a woman named Joanna Terpstra.
Went to her blog and found some very interesting artwork, landscape and rainforest paintings, well done and capturing much of the spirit of what she's seen.

But it was her sculpture that really caught me. Flowing torsos almost abstracted into pure motion. When I was about 7 years old, I was stunned by 2 pieces of sculpture in the Philadelphia Art Museum, both were Constantin Brancusi's birds.

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They amazed me, expecially the one in bronze. He had done something impossible -- what the critics called "reduced the bird to pure flight..." but in fact had "enlarged the bird into pure flight," pure motion in frozen awe. I seem to recall my thought as "I didn't know you could do that."

Large view of Bird in Space

I spent at least a hundred Saturdays or Sundays with my family at that museum in the following years, often because they showed classic silent films or nature films. But every time, no matter what that week's focus, I couldn't leave without even a brief visit to the Brancusi Birds. (Later, my required viewing was to also include Morris Graves' Fox with Phoenix Wing, a painting that has never been reproduced. Still, his other birds, the Spirit Birds, can be seen here.)

Because they were so overwhelming to me, and because I spent so much time in that gallery, I came to know other artists being shown there -- Marcel Duchamp, Salvador Dali, Picasso's early cubism. If the birds took my breath away, Duchamp's Why Not Sneeze, Rrose Selavy? made me ponder and meditate.

marcel duchamp-why not sneeze rrose selavy (1921/64)
But I digress.

When I saw Ms Terpstra's sculptures -- torsos -- once again there was that feeling that someone had distilled motion into a frozen object. Pure motion almost abstract but amazingly full and physical, Brancusi with breasts.

It doesn't hurt that they're also very sexy.

Definitely worth looking at.

My thanks to you Ms Terpstra, for linking up and for sharing these works. Godspede, good health to you, and continued insights and ecstasies.

(For anyone having trouble viewing Ms Terpstra's work on this blog, try this link directly to her studio:)


The question is this:

Did Colin Powell know what he was saying, concerning his resignation, when he said that he and the president "had frank and fulsome discussions about it?"

fulsome \FUL-sum\, adjective:
Offending or disgusting by overfullness, excess, or grossness; cloying; insincere or excessively lavish; esp., offensive from excess of praise

Or, since Bush and his henchpersons love to use codes such as "strict constructionist" and "Dredd Scott," did Powell decide to use a word that would bring a smile to the literate folk in America, and pass right over the heads of the morally and verbally dyslexic perps of the administration?



Amazing, the administration people and the "impartial media" are tearing achilles tendons and ripping themselves hernias in the rush to try to explain how "all second administrations have turnover."

None of them really want to say the nasty word "purge," except, of course the media conduits already discredited and marginalized.

Okay, I guess I'm one of them -- these Freikorps graduates of the inner circle have gone on an hysterical "Death to all traitors" rampage. Colin Powell and the top officials are being allowed to resign, not unlike the good old Stalin-Kruschev Era self-castigating statements -- not out of respect for their service but out of ass-covering spin.

Ann Coulter will be the new Inspector General.

Disagreement will not be tolerated.

And the press will pretend that half a dozen cabinet members heading for the hills the week after the election is business as usual. Time for the plunder to REALLY get going.


"Christians" on Arafat

Well, there are all these people out there who call themselves "Christians" and posture as if they own the franchise...

And they're all dancing and happy and amazingly crude and publicly insensitive to the people of Palestine who damn well know that without Arafat, no one would have ever even discussed the possibility of an independent Palestinian State ... hell, the Israeli Government still won't even acknowledge the dispossesion of Palestinians' from their land in the 40's --- but that's politics -- this is about the amazingly unseemly behavior of these people.

If they actually believe in that God, then they might remember, when Pharaoh's soldiers were drowned after the Children of Israel passed through the parted waters, and they celebrated --- and the Big Guy, the one these Little Guys claim to worship and obey, The Big Guy said:

"Put a cork in it, you assholes -- those Egyptian soldiers -- they're my children too. This is not a time to celebrate."

So too, you so-called Christians, whether you're blind, bland, stupid, short-sighted hypocrites like Jerry Falwell, or raving psychotic venom-spewing mean-spirited demons like Pat Robertson, or nasty purveoyors of hatred like Bob Jones, or even pyrotechnically brilliants intellectuals like Vanderleun -- if you claim to worship that God but still feel obliged to cheer the death of a man who meant a lot to many many people (even if not you), maybe you should stop someone on the street and ask what a "Christian" is. My guess was always it had something to do with mercy and compassion and behaving toward your neighbor as you would choose to have your neighbor behave toward you (even if he isn't doing it).

And don't get too upset when someone you love and revere dies -- someone like Ronnie Reagan or Falwell or Robertson -- and we of other points of view publicly suggest y'all put a stake in the fellow's heart, just to make sure he doesn't get up again.

(Oh, by the way, Mr. BJ University Jones -- we don't hate people who love Christ, as you claim -- but we really have seriously potent contempt for hypocrites such as yourself -- a hate-monger who dresses in the flag and the cross, a so-called Christian whose sin of Pride is so huge and egregious as to be a source of evil wonder to everyone, a so-called Christian who has no love, tolerance, or compassion for anyone who doesn't agree with your amazingly arrogant attitude that you and you alone know what the Omniscient God of your faith thinks and wants, and that you know exactly how that God created every little thing.

(Yeah, I know -- hit us with The Book to prove you're really humble and so much like Jesus. Hold it up high to prove to us that you're absolutely right about everything, and to even question you is a great and terrible sin, hold up the Book and use it as a club instead of a spiritual guide, even if you can't actually read it the way it was written, in Aramaic, or even Hebrew or Greek.

(You might want to know that many of us actually know real Christians, people who actually try to emulate that man you call Lord, instead of selling him to the poor people who so desperately need comfort and hope, for your own wealth and self-aggrandizement.

(One other point, a correction for the persistent lie you tell over and over: The Founding Fathers were NOT Christians -- they were Deists. They believed in a god that had no Brand Name -- and they had a healthy contempt and distrust for people like you, people who have your unwholesome hunger for power over others.)



This bit of insightful wisdom from H. L. Mencken via my friend Dick's cousin Paul --

"[W]hen a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental--men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... [A]ll the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre--the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920

He knew.
Any questions 84 years later?


Watching Jerry Falwell on CSPAN

I happened to watch Reverend Falwell this morning (his name always reminds me of Lucifer's pride and throwdown, only not nearly so beautiful) and I still wonder several things about him:

1. How dumb does he think we are?
2. How dumb is he?
3. How dumb are his congergation members?


asked by a caller if he thought there should be a "litmus test" for supreme court appointments, he said:

"No. John Kerry said he would never appoint a pro-life justice -- THAT's a litmus test, but President Bush said he would appoint "strict constructionists," which means justices who will over turn Roe v Wade, because that's a misreading of the constitution."

So again -- does he think we're too dumb to understand that "strict constructionists" is code for an anti-choice litmus test?

Or is he dumb enough to actually think there's a difference?

And do the members of his congregation think he makes sense?

Oh, and one other thing --- he and his pals are so involved in political matters and campaigns and elections, they make a wonderful case for the Libertarians:


they don't even follow the special rules made on their behalf, to keep the hell out of politics, but those rules should not exist at all, not if one likes "strict constructionists"

A "strict constructionist" interpretation of the First Amendment, i.e., "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion" should mean, no prohibition, no support, and especially no exemptions from taxation that allows them to flourish at OUR expense (SOMEONE is going to have to pick up their share of the burden.) We're paying Falwell's salary, the property taxes on the buildings he and his front organizations own -- and if the feds refuse to pay for abortions because some religious folk don't approve, then we CERTAINLY do not have to pay for a fat scold to have enough money to spend his time castigating us for the way we live our lives.

TAX THE CHURCHES -- WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR THEIR OPPOSITION TO WHAT WE BELIEVE IN -- i.e., science, personal choices in our lives, etc.



Of course we should all support President Bush...

...same way the Republicans supported President Clinton.

Hire Alan Dershowitz to prepare the Articles of Impeachment.

At least they'll be better written than the last ones.

Hell, I think he's actually read the Constitution!

Of course, if he has to investigate them all -- the Texas Rangers deal, Arbusto Oil, the Texas Air National Guard Frauds, and all the rest, it could take years.

Nahh, do it the fast way -- squeeze Cheney and he'll rat them all out in a Blue State Minute.


Ein Reich, ein volk, ein Bushie

Ashcroft Condemns Judges Who Question Bush


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush's decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday.

In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday, Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called ``a profoundly disturbing trend'' among some judges to interfere in the president's constitutional authority to make decisions during war.

--Would someone please sit this evil clone of the Pillsbury doughboy down and read the Constitution to him?

``The danger I see here is that intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our nation in a time of war,'' Ashcroft said in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers group.

---Conservative? If they didn't rise as one and throw feces at that man, they're obviously more radical than Stokely Carmichael, even if less literate or coherent.

The Justice Department announced this week it would seek to overturn a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who the government contends was Osama bin Laden's driver.

Robertson halted Hamdan's trial by military commission in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rejecting the Bush administration's position that the Geneva Conventions governing prisoners of war do not apply to al-Qaida members because they are not soldiers of a true state and do not fight by international norms.

---If we ARE "at war,"that catch-all justification for whatever wet dream of absolute authority this fool is fondling, then THEY ARE prisoners of war.

Without mentioning that case specifically, Ashcroft criticized rulings he said found ``expansive private rights in treaties where they never existed'' that run counter to the broad discretionary powers given the president by the Constitution.

``Courts are not equipped to execute the law. They are not accountable to the people,'' Ashcroft said.

--Again, would someone read him the Constitution. Courts were not intended to be accountable to the mob, which is pretty much what he means when he says, "The people." Hell -- "The People" -- he brings to mind Jerry Rubin on speed.

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, compared Ashcroft's remarks to those the attorney general previously made indicating that opponents of administration counterterrorism policies were assisting terrorists. ``It's entirely in line with his overt hostility to dissent, debate and judicial review,'' Romero said.

-- So whaaa? Apparently, he's lobbying for one of the Supreme Court Draft Picks, otherwise, why would he still be giving public blowjobs to Georgie when he's out of the game?



Just in case you wondered what happened to Bert -- moved to a Red State, joined a club.


Can this man be elected president?
I think I'd vote for him.
Depends who he's running against.
Might do better than the one I voted for this time.


"Do not fear, I only vant to drink your Mango juice."

Pteropus vampyrus -- Malayan Fruit Bat, a score of them,
6-foot wingspread and all, at the Oakland Zoo.

Misnamed -- they eat only fruit, but, to be fair, this one, in particular, sure does look a lot like he could be the Count himself, cape wrapped around, being charming with a Transylvanian accent.

If you're within driving distance, check them out.
There are also 11 Island Fruit Bats in there with them, smaller fellows -- wings only 4-feet across, but it's the only place west of the Mississippi to see either species.


My tax refund.


A local Democratic committeeman just rang my doorbell and asked me if I was interested in running for president in 2008. I told him, "Stop trying to imitate the Republicans."


When Cornwallis surrendered to the American insurgents, his men lowered their flag and had the band play "The World Turned Upside Down."


So now let's all forgive and forget and get behind the president and support him? Really?


How about the president gets behind me -- and kisses my ass, even if I'm not a big-time bribery-monger ... uhh, contributor.

The expression is "My country right or wrong" and -- oh, forgive me, I know it's sexist and nasty, but I can't resist playing the pun with the English pejorative -- and not "That cunt in the White House right or wrong."

Well, actually, we're still waiting for him to be right at least as often as a stopped clock.

The President is NOT the country.

L'etat c'est moi is French.

(What Would Jefferson Do?)

The patriotic, America-loving thing to do, when we see this strutting prancing fool taking us over a cliff, the patriotic thing to do is resist him, obstruct him, interfere with his destruction of our land and out people, loudly, aggressively, and unremittingly.



Congress can't do it all, not enough of them and they're all mostly on the same money-spigot.

But there ARE enough of us to examine and resist and attack EVERY action he takes, EVERY action Cheney takes, EVERY action any one of his people takes ---

If he nominates a man for Attorney General who has NO principles other than "My capo, right or wrong," resist.

If he nominates some sociopathic religious freak who's channeling Torquemada -- resist!

If he decides 100,000 dead Iraqis are NOT enough to satisfy his bloodthirsty deity -- RESIST!

There are millions of us, enough for a few or more to get on his case on every move he makes.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Most of all -- make fun of him.

Publish outrageously insulting drawings of him on your blogs.

Photoshop pictures of him and his pals.

Resistance is the first step but it won't go all the way.

Mockery and laughter are the next step.

None of them can stand it when people make fun of them.

Ain't no law against laughing at a fool.

Expose him --- over and over again -- for the terribly bad joke he is.

Unless someone has a better idea, I think this be useful.



Just in case you wondered how people could claim 100,000 Iraqi deaths -- here's the data

This article from The Lancet, one of the few publications in the world the Bushleaguers can't discount as a liberally-biased political attack publication. They're not known for making wild assertions they can't back up.

Two weeks ago, Noam Chomsky used this death total on the Bill Maher Show and was denounced in killer-crazed terms by Andrew Sullivan as a liar. Sorry Andrew, it's you and your GOP pals who were the ones living in fantasy...

Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey
Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, Gilbert Burnham

October 29, 2004

Background: In March, 2003, military forces, mainly from the USA and the UK, invaded Iraq. We did a survey to compare mortality during the period of 14·6 months before the invasion with the 17·8 months after it.

Methods: A cluster sample survey was undertaken throughout Iraq during September, 2004. 33 clusters of 30 households each were interviewed about household composition, births, and deaths since January, 2002. In those households reporting deaths, the date, cause, and circumstances of violent deaths were recorded. We assessed the relative risk of death associated with the 2003 invasion and occupation by comparing mortality in the 17·8 months after the invasion with the 14·6-month period preceding it.

Findings: The risk of death was estimated to be 2·5-fold (95% CI 1·6-4·2) higher after the invasion when compared with the preinvasion period. Two-thirds of all violent deaths were reported in one cluster in the city of Falluja. If we exclude the Falluja data, the risk of death is 1·5-fold (1·1-2·3) higher after the invasion. We estimate that 98000 more deaths than expected (8000-194000) happened after the invasion outside of Falluja and far more if the outlier Falluja cluster is included. The major causes of death before the invasion were myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accidents, and other chronic disorders whereas after the invasion violence was the primary cause of death. Violent deaths were widespread, reported in 15 of 33 clusters, and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children. The risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher (95% CI 8·1-419) than in the period before the war.

Interpretation: Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. We have shown that collection of public-health information is possible even during periods of extreme violence. Our results need further verification and should lead to changes to reduce non-combatant deaths from air strikes.

100,000 people have died in Iraq since we went in there to give them freedom and democracy.

Attention: George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice and all the remora parasites who follow you around for the crumbs that dribble from your slurping jaws:

Those piles of dead bodies are what we and history will remember you for -- lies, evasions, murder and mayhem. No one in history will ever think you were anything but vile, vicious, insane monsters. That will be your legacy.


John Ashcroft -- still lying as he's leaving

John Ashcroft resigned yesterday and this is a bit of what he had to say:

" 'The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved,' Ashcroft wrote in a five-page, handwritten letter to Bush.' "

The man can't even say a straight goodbye without lying through his false teeth...

Either Ashcroft is lying, or Bush and Cheney were lying just last week.

So what is this crap about Christians (the ones who think they have a copyright on that label) being simple, straightforward, honest folk. I get the feeling these people wouldn't know the truth if it came up and bit them on their collective asses.

But, from that statement, I guess the war against terror is over, like a bad dream that has passed.

And now we awake to the real nightmare -- four years of the Bushleague no longer needing our votes.

Fasten your seatbelts -- it's gonna be a bumpy ride.



Just because we predicted it doesn't mean we're enjoying it

So ok, many of us foresaw this -- the inevitable disintegration of our presence in Iraq.

The Sunni's have left the government we set up, probably meaning nearly half of the country won't participate in the elections we've scheduled, probably meaning civil war.

More dead.

More maimed.

More families and villages destroyed.

More of our soldiers and Marines dead or broken.

More than a dozen of our people dead the first day into Falujah, and God knows (any God will do) God knows how many of their people blown to bits.

More people who were just trying to live their lives seeing their family ripped apart by "collateral damage," shouting the Arabic equivalent of "You motherfuckers!" and joining the nearest insurgency group.

It's been like watching a wheels-locked head-on skidding car crash in sloooww motion, hating it every second, certain there was only one way it could finish, and insanely furious that the people in charge didn't see it coming, or refused to see it coming, or denied they saw it coming (although few people really want to deal with that last possibility, with the magnitude of inhuman monstrosity that says about the Bushleague administration).

We hoped we were wrong, but we weren't.

"Nine Hundred Thousand pounds of steel, out of control,

She's more a roller coaster than the train I used to know."

Grateful Dead -- Tons of Steel

Anybody got an idea?


At the risk of being mistaken for someone who does not love America (as distinct from those who plunder it, waste the lives of the most patriotic, crimp and impinge on the basic freedoms, etc.) I must recommend Al- Jazeera online in English.

People who read the news there are shocked to find that much of the reporting seems to be more neutral and objective, told in a less hysterical tone than that of many, if not most, of our American news conduits. Not what I expected.

Of course the selection of articles is more concerned with events in the Middle East, events that relate to the Arab and/or Muslim word. That's their world -- except that their view seems to encompass more of the non-local world than ours generally does.

And of course they favor outcomes which will be good for the Arab/Muslim world. Wouldn't you?

They don't tell us the things we want to have told to us, things which reinforce our preconceptions. They do tell us things it might be important to know, at least if we wanted to understand what the world looks like from that perspective. Since we have people killing and dying over there, learning how it looks to the people who live there might be a good thing to do.

It's unsettling to recognize that we don't seem to have a "Free press" over here as much as we have a "Popular Press." Giving mental hand-jobs to consumers is ALWAYS popular. I don't know enough about the Middle East to know if that's what they're also doing, other than their animated cartoons, which, like editorial cartoons here, are definitely opinionated, but if it is, at least their tone of voice is, as I said, more reasoned, less hysterical.

Give it a click.

You want something a little less exotic? Try BBC World News Online. After all, it's from one of our coalition partners (Don't forget Poland .. oops, oh, sorry, they pulled out, pissed off at being lied to about WMD.) It's somewhat sobering to find out how little of the news of the world involves the United States. Oh, except for the stuff where we're shooting people and blowing them up.


Note to Red-State Bush Voters -- regarding "Civil Unions"

Civil Union.

Ahhh, the good Old Republican White middle-class Chrrrristians --

Leadbelly said it just fine in Bourgeois Blues:

The Old GOP Middle-Class:

"Lots of folks in this here town, call a man a nigger just to keep him down..."

The NEW, Improved GOP Middle-Class:

"Lots of folks in this here town, call a man a faggot just to keep him down..."

It doesn't matter if it's 1964 and the Klannishistas are saying, "But it would destroy our traditions to let the nigrahs have all the privileges the white folk do..."

or 2004 and the children of those same assholes saying: "But it would destroy our traditions to let gayyyyy people have all the privileges the white folk... ahh, I mean the decent folk, do...."

It's still petty, mean-spirited, terrified, chicken-shit viciousness and I can only hope, as in the metaphysics of some Christian orientations, that they find, at the last, that they've created a God just as mean and nasty and vicious as they are. Ahhh, no I don't -- that was a petty, mean-spirited thing to wish for.

People always come up with what they think is a good reason to crap on someone else.

I really liked Bill Clinton, still do, but quite frankly, he behaved like a craven piece of shit when he backed away from equal rights for gay persons, whether in the military or by refusing to stand up against the Defense of Marriage Act. There are some things worth the sacrificing of your presidency.

I watched his show-hearing on gays in military, and I remember a young sergeant testifying that it was "the same thing as integrating the Army."

To which some cornpone hypocrite like Jesse Helms gave him a hostile mushmouthed, "Why that's not so at all -- this is a sin according to the Bible, and no one ever said integration was a sin..."

The young sergeant was too young to remember, but I wasn't -- immediately to that senator's left was Strom Thurmond, and I yelled, "Oh no? That man sitting next to you said EXACTLY that-- that mixing races was a sin, when he opposed the Civil Rights Acts in 1957 and in 1960 and in 1964." Of course, years later, we discovered he did a bit more than just social mixing."

So get over it, you Christian hypocrites. Grow up. You have no problem bombing hell out of people of color around the world, but your big bad soldier boys are terrified some guy in the shower might pop a bone looking at them. Or are you more terrified that you might really want to direct your own willy toward that fellow in the shower.

I susbcribe to Herman Melville's position of religious tolerance, Moby Dick, Chapter 17:

"...I cherish the greatest respect towards everybody's religious obligations, never mind how comical, and could not find it in my heart to undervalue even a congregation of ants worshipping a toad-stool..."

But giving basic human respect to sincere fools is not the same as wanting to embrace their fantasies. You people don't seem to have any respect for those of us who have different spiritual fantasies, always acting as if we've never thought about such things, never read many books considered holy, including yours.

When we politely decline, you keep on and on, not accepting our own rights to our own spiritual beliefs, and when we finally lose temper and tell you to just fuck off, you whine and cry that we treat you with attitude and disrespect. (A point, did Jesus whine and cry that Pontius Pilate was treating his with bad attitude and oh boo-hoo, disrespect?)

So keep it to yourselves, even as is instructed in that same Bible to practice it in your home and not in our faces, and certainly not when you use it as a club, as is ALSO tradition, to justify mean-spirited self-aggrandizing cruelty.

What you're saying when you so generously offer Civil Union is "We do not want to let faggots walk around like decent folk. We want them to have SOME stigma.

I am married to one wonderful woman, and we've been together some 30 years, and if two men or two women want to share their lives together and marry each other, it is not going to debase, diminish, or on any way degrade my own marriage.

I have absolutely no idea how anyone could possibly think it might do that to their marriage.

Maybe you're just terrified that, if it becomes acceptable, you'll be able to accept something about yourself you didn't want to know?

Basic Freudian smart-ass aside -- look in the mirror.
Recognize meanness when you see it.
You believe in a God of forgiveness, so forgive yourself for being such a shit and get over it.

Grow up.




Note to Red-State Bush Voters -- Get Over It

Listen, all this self-pity is fine for Saturday-night-alone country songs, but it is unseemly as a political-religious-social philosophy.

First of all, as a Jew who has lived in the South, I find it absurd and even pathological to hear Christians whining about how the Yankees mock them and look down on them. Maybe you deserve it.

Two words: Emmet Till.

Two hundred plus years of violence, virulence and lynching doesn't just fade from American memory because YOU would rather we forget it -- any more than y'all wanted us to immediately forget the Jim Crow prevention of dark-skinned Americans from voting in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

You're still doing it, only a bit more covertly when fat sheriffs laughed publicly at the idea of equal rights only 30 years ago.

And, oh, Boo-fucking-hoo -- other people don't respect your version of a god. Well maybe we would if you had the Christian decency to allow us to also live here, with our own faiths, and not disrespect us, acting as if whatever we believe is crap. And not only do you give US attitude a mile long, you then bribe and intimidate elected swine to make law to allow you to decide who gets to do what according to a book you like, one that has been translated, retranslated and most likely mistranslated, and then interpreted in a literal sense that refuses to allow anyone else to feel comfortable with their own sense of spirituality and the divine.

And double-boo-fucking-hoo -- New Yorkers give you attitude.

Well if you weren't such a bunch of self-pitying assholes, you might realize New Yorkers give EVERYONE attitude -- Bostonians, New Englanders, Philadelphians -- because they live in such an monstrous Hell-pit of meanness, greed, garbage, despair, and insensitivity, because they pay outrageous prices for tiny apartments with 200-year old plumbing and are constantly surrounded by filth and criminals -- ATTITUDE IS ALL THEY HAVE.

In that way, they're kind of like ex-Marines (of which I'm one) -- the reality is so stupid and depraved, the recognition of having had your love for country perverted for no higher purpose than to allow the Bush family (and others) to make a few more millions on cocaine deals with the Contras, or oil deals with the Iraqis, or opium deals with the Afghanis, to realize the fact that you endured brutalization, maiming, and the sight of friends killed horribly for NOTHING BUT GREED leaves you -- ex-Marine or New Yorker -- with no choice but to yell as loud as you can that it is the GREATEST THING in the world, because to admit is was all a bunch of crap is too terrible to face.

So, now that y'all have what you think is the whip hand, and before that smirking chimp and his pals betray you all, cut off your balls for their own indulgence and amusement and leave you holding the empty bag, think about this insight from one of the most brilliant Protestant Christians in English-speaking history, William Blake:

"People don't get what they deserve -- they get what they resemble."

That includes the giving of attitude.


Of course there was rampant vote fraud ...

Check out the BOP Blog which has assembled all the links you need to see how much there was.

Ambidextrous, too, connects us to news of Brother Jeb's vote hacking in both 2002 ("rehearsal for the 2004 election) and this time around.

Of course, those reports are on sites or in publications the the people who are yelling "Bring it on!" to Armageddon can easily discredit. But then, for anyone interested in this planet's version of reality, it's rather startling. Damning enough to prevent Bush's coronation? (Perhaps you have heard he's having the crown above the bed in the Lincoln bedroom gold-plated and it will sit in place with purple velvet bands of cloth radiating downward and outward to surround the Little Prince's bed in regal splendor.) Probably not.

And why? Aside from the megalomaniacal insanity which infects presidents who believe the world will end unless they keep their power and get more and more (except this president who fears the world will NOT end unless he's in power to make it happen). Well, if the Demos won, they wouldn't have started a new scare war about "Here come the Iranians across the Iraqi border."

Nov. 8, 2004 | ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Islamic extremists have been moving supplies and new recruits from Iran into Iraq, say Iraqi Kurdish and Western officials, though it's unclear whether Tehran is covertly backing them or whether militants are simply taking advantage of the porous border.
Of course, the Know-nothing schmucks in Bush's version of the State Department, i.e., those State Department personnel whose opinions and information he and his cohorts do not consider heresy but ALLOW to be spoken in the halls of glory, don't seem to be aware that the porosity of the Iran-Iraq border is what had kept generations of Kurds alive (since the English cut Kurdistan into pieces to suit their needs) by smuggling and crossing from one side to another to get work. (See a brilliant film, first Kurdish movie to make it to the West -- The Year of the Drunken Horses. If you want to see what a hard life really is, what children need to go through to survive, it will both enlighten you and break your heart a bit.) The Iranians have ALWAYS been moving west and south, the Kurds have ALWAYS been moving East and North.

As to the hacking, well, we are probably stuck with the American Ayatollah in the oval Office, but at least, according to early reports:

...Jeff Fisher, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence, he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in 2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno, who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride, who Jeb beat.
Since there won't be any bread in the coming years, at least not if you're not part of the inner circle, we might at least have some circuses, i.e., we may get to see some indictments, perhaps even involving Jeb himself.

Stay tuned, if the Patriot Act lets you.



Regarding Lame Ducks

OK -- I don't expect an ignoramus and a thug like our prez and veep to know this, but shouldn't political journalists know what the hell a "Lame duck" is?

LAME DUCK refers to an elected official during the period AFTER losing an election (or, unable to run again, after a new person is elected to the position) and before leaving office.

During that time, his or her appointments, actions, etc bear no weight since all the opportunists who are still in office are looking ahead to the new ass to kiss.

For a president, LAME DUCK is the period from the election to the following January 20th -- Inauguration.

What we have now is called

"Fuck you -- I don't need your votes anymore so let's ride her till she drops --- YEEEHAH!"

Now that he's got his Man Date and a brand new suit, look out.

As they used to say in mockery of such inane Civil Defense Nuclear Attack instructions as Duck and Cover::

1. Bend over
2. Put your head between your legs
3. Grab your ass firmly
4. Kiss it goodbye.

As Bob Marley useta sing:

"Ain't no use, no one can stop them now..."

Escape litachoor and movies are the new black.


Bush doing a strip-tease of his Bubba mask, revealed as a YANKEE!

Notice the beautiful black suit, fits so damn well.
It should -- it cost as much as a new Honda Prius and was custom-made for him by a French tailor (true).

No more "Howdy, folks" shirt-sleeve good ole boy.

No need to pretend to be a country boy any more, now that he showed Mommy he could FINALLY do something Daddy couldn;t do -- get re-elected (or, at least, get a second four years in the job).

Roger Price once said: "You can't fool all the people all the time, but if you do it once, it lasts for four years." Apparently, he finally got it right on the secodn try. (First time around it just took some bribing of Scalia and his pals.)

Now he's dressing like a (gasp!) BIG CITY YANKEE!

He's dressing like someone who was born in Connecticut (a Yankee conspiracy state 'cause the ole boys can't never spell it.), like someone who went to hoity-toity private schools (the kind John Kerry went to, oh my) culminating in Yale and Harvard and that elitist or all elitist clubs, Skull and Bones (the kind of club John Kerry belongs to, oh my).

Of course, when he's dressed up, you notice his language difficulty in translating from Aldebaronian Lizard Talk to English, but hey -- how many of us can say even one or two words in Space Alien Lizard? Judge not.

(A side thought: isn't it interesting, how, if anyone criticized policies which just poured money into rich folks' pockets, the GOP hitmen and hitbitches immediately pointed and screamed like a plant person in Invasion of the Body Snatchers ---

And now, if anyone resents the fact that Mr. Bush has completely humiliated our country before the world and debased the office of president with his snide snickers and low comments, anyone who now feels a bit mauled from being accused of being traitors and worse, it's

Once again -- Fuck him.

There's no legal obligation to respect this slimebag.

There is no legal obligation to mistake the asshole in the Oval Office with the Office of President.

And certainly no obligation to let anyone get away with claiming that a soundly-based loathing of George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest is in any way the same thing as not loving America. If they're too stupid to see the difference, that's THEIR problem.

HE is the one who legally has to protect and defend the constitution.
But it looks as if that job has fallen to us.

And that's something for us to do for the next four years.



An Open Comment to Andrew Sullivan

I watched you on the Bill Maher Show last night -- I read your blog regularly -- love your wit, incisiveness, ability to acknowledge points of view not part of your general political philosophy, but I fear that trying to figure out WHY the vote went 3% up for Bush is a doomed venture.

Whether it was due to anti-gay horrors (Tony Blankely on McLaughlin Report saying, "It's not anti-gay..." but not saying "...we just want to make sure they don't have the same legal rights we do, because OUR RELIGION tells us it's wrong.") rigged voting machines and/or dumped votes (as some claim might be the case in Cleveland, i.e., that pickup truck photo and all), an inability to understand what Kerry wanted to do and say even by those of us who wanted to and did vote for him, fear of Mommy thereby rejecting Teresa Heinz Kerry for the more tractable Laura Bush, fear of terrorists --- whatever.

I just want to get to the thing about hate and disdain for the religious beliefs of the "religious right", which you attribute to liberals.

Since you include Michael Moore in the Democratic mix, then I have to do the same (after all, hypocrisy, as described in the bible -- and by Noam Chomsky on that same show -- is failing to apply the same standards to yourself as to others). So --

The Swift Boat Vengefuls -- O'Neill -- same guy, just old and fat that Nixon got in 1972 to attack young Mr. Kerry, same lies, accusing him of conspiring with the enemy, betraying his country. Bush just let it all go, and all the "religious right" either joined in or said nothing.

The former POW's and other vets insisting over and over that Kerry's edited comments before the Senate were not only what he actually said, but what caused the war to go on and on and caused the public to turn against the soldiers, as if the public had not turned against the war long before that. (I guess the neatest trick Kerry did was time travel back to the Johnson administration and cause masses of young folk to chant: "Hey hey LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?")

Ok -- eight years of attack after attack on Bill and Hillary Clinton, after the Republicans in congress stopped Clinton from continuing to go after Osama Ben Ladn after one failed attempt because "You're just wagging the dog, trying to change the subject from Monica."

After accusations of murder, of Hilary being a satanic witch dyke (and to them, a dyke is not a woman wired to loving other women in a physical way as well as emotional, but a monster baby-eating demon who pees on statues of Christ)...

After years of true monsters like the Reverend Wildmon and his hench-demons appearing at the funerals of men who had AIDS-caused deaths and-- as a Christian -- screaming to the parents -- "Your son's going to burn in Hell forever because he's a fag!"

AND NO RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN THE COUNTRY EVER DENOUNCED SUCH BEHAVIOR (well, some have, actually, about his anti-semitism -- a popular thing to oppose -- but not about his raving homophobia.)

After Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell snapping out that the murders of 9-11 were the fault of lesbians, witches and women who had abortions.

After Bush et al financing ads telling kids that 9-11 was THEIR fault because the money they paid for the joint they smoked went to terrorists who were laughing behind the scenes.

And quietly passing over the cocaine use of Jeb's daughter, saying it was a personal family matter.

After years and years and years of vicious thugs calling themselves Christians and harming people they don't know and don't care about. After years and years of many many on the "religious right" using their personal beliefs as a club against anyone who doesn't adhere to the same description of moonlight, using their economic clout to buy congressmen --

You have enough memory-loss to accuse liberals of spouting hate?

Of course no one really wanted Kerry to be president except as the most likely person to defeat Bush. Although the hostility from the Bush family for Kerry's dogged pursuit of Iran-Contra and the BCCI scandal (both of which involved Bush-pere -- so should junior have more correctly said, "He's the man who tried to arrest my dad.")

When we see a man manipulate our country into invading another, killing thousands and thousands of civilians, more than a thousand US and UK soldiers and Marines, sending those people into battle the same day he cuts their VA benefits (and he CONTINUES to cut them), antagonizing our allies to the detriment of our future, antagonizing already-incensed Arabs into despair and rage, yelling "Bring it on" from the safety of the oval office to people who have lost family and friends from "collateral damage" and have nothing more left to lose, insulting anyone who doesn't agree with him (or his scriptwriters) using demeaning nicknames and not-so-subtle threats -- and all that and more tied up in a neat red ribbon called "evangelical Christian" and/or "Religious right" ---


A friend from Mississippi once complained to me that we Yankees think everyone from Mississippi is dumb and uneducated but "we've produced great minds, like William Faulkner." I had to tell him gently, "Faulkner is the main reason people think that. "

Similarly, George Bush and Jerry Fallwell (I know, not Evangelical) and Pat Robertson and Jim and Tammy Faye and Reverend Wildmon and a slew of others from Jimmy Swaggart to that Glass Cathedral fellow who dropped the dime on Swaggart --- THEY are the reason we think "Christians" -- those people who act as if they own the copyright on that word -- THEY are the reason we think that about them, and to steal THEIR hypocritical line -- "We hate the sin, not the sinner."

Is it any wonder we are alarmed when they get to write congressional agendas (Contract for America) and when we find our tax dollars going to those particular types of Christians in swing states.

I would say, from his Nazi-financing grandfathers to his own managing of his father's former-SS "ethnic consultants" to the venom quietly injected into the body politic about anyone who crosses him from John McCain on -- I think we have damn good reason to despise that smirking chimp who is going to leave America and the Republican party in ashes, and to include in our antipathy anyone who blindly commits acts of thuggery to help maintain his hold on power.

As to "America-hating," I have said it repeatedly to lurching Jesus-mongers on the street when they ask me why I hate Jesus (or God) to which I say "I don't hate Jesus -- but I really dislike YOU."

(Not You, Mr. Sullivan. I think you're wrong on this, but I admire you.)

I don't hate America -- I love America. I answered the draft call when it came way back then, unlike those Rec Room Patriots who were too goddamn precious to interrupt their careers to do the one thing their country asked of them --- I had a career in progress myself. I love America, but I despise the people who have attacked and shredded and debased the principles on which this country was founded. I am desperately in love with the Constitution.

I despise George W Bush and all the morons he rode in on.

A lot of Americans who love their country also feel that way.

Kind of the way you feel about Noam Chomsky.



"Not about gays or religious or moral values," part 2 -- Redneck Redux

Ok, I over-stated and side-stated the particulars of redneck righteousness (if side-stated, like side-stepped, can be an acceptable word) -- there are lots and lots and lots and lots of people in the south, white people, who bristle at the use of the N-word. I do not intend to suggest in any way that the south is filled ONLY with pea-brained horse's asses who consider the late Jim Varney an intellectual.

Many of those people were raised by parents who used that word casually, and not necessarily as a pejorative. It was the only descriptive they knew for colored folks. (One wonderful old fart from Houston once said to me, "I knew this country was in trouble when they shot doctor King. You know who he is, right, the Nigger preacher? One of the finest men this country ever produced, and those bastards shot him down." I remember it so clearly because of the reverberating cognitive dissonance that followed me for months.) But they, the next generations, don't like it, know it's a slap in the face and do not care to use it or hear it used.

Remember, in those so-called "Red States," Bush didn't win 100% of the vote ... hell, Texas, where they know him well, had one of the slimmer margins in the south (and those votes, some have told me, were only to "keep him the Hell out of our Texas for another four years." Some Texans have told me that if they do secede, as is their legal right, the first thing they're gonna do is "revoke that sonummabitch's passport, put him on OUR terrorist list." Ahh, fantasy -- it helps ease the pain of reality.)

When first living down thar, my wife came home from work one day and pointed out that we (both raised north of The Line) had been TAUGHT to consider anyone who has that drawl to be an inbred dummy. Well, some are. Many many many aren't. (No statistics cause any poll that asked such a question would probably meet with an introduction to Mssrs Smith and Wesson from one of those inbred dummies.)

So no, that casual use of the N-word would be passed without comment because the good folk ALSO know how a piece-packing 'neck might react.

But what is still acceptable is the casual dissing of gay people -- words like "fag" and "dyke" and "faggot" are heard a lot (and not only a little in the North, too -- remember, Bush won a lot of votes in the Blue States), used as insults to or about straight folks, i.e., "That Hillary Clinton is a dyke." And no need EVER to explain that to be a dyke is some sort of evil monstrous satanic cult where women gather together in dark rooms and pee on statues of Our Lord.

And not only slang. "Gayyy" and "Lesbian" are pronounced the way some would pronounce "Negro" in the old days, as in telling someone about the man you work with and that person replying, "But he's a neeeeegro!"

Curiously, "faggot" is used by boys on other boys in their social area, and many time, tagging someone as a "faggot" means you get to knock him down and fuck him in the ass. True. Midnight Cowboy was not created out of thin air. But of course, that doesn't mean the knocker/fucker is gay, nossir, cause he likes girls and besides, the knockee/fuckee admitted he liked it (right after being told he'd be beaten to death on the spot if he didn't say so). But this is and has been a universal phenomenon, except more common in the south because they don't have as many months each year when it's too cold to take your pants off.

So ok -- I do believe that people who voted for George W Bush in the year 2004 are either:

1. Ignorant as hell
2. Dumb as hell
3. Both
4. Terrified of evil dark-skinned people who 'hate us for our freedom"
5. Rich and expecting to get much richer in the coming four years of payoffs and kickbacks
6. Race-haters and red-baiters
7. Men scared of Mommy (i.e., Teresa Heinz Kerry, Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Barabara Boxer, etc)
8. Women scared of the wrath of the anti-choice Daddies (Pat Robertson, smiling jerry Falwell, etc) and what those kindly Jesus-loving people would do to them if they found out she voted against what he thinks is in the Bible

I believe that Bush and his venomous pack of hench-scum convinced old Vietnam vets that there had been no animosity toward that war and/or its participants before 1971 when John Kerry repeated the claims he'd heard from other vets (as if "Hey Hey LBJ, How many kids did you kill today? was not being chanted in 1967 and Richard Nixon wasn't hiding behind the curtains in the White House, terrified of the demonstrators in 1969 and 1970) that they somehow convinced the country that the man who went to war was a craven coward and the man who hid out in a safe toy flyer unit was a courageous fighter.

So yeah.

In the final analysis, people voted for Bush because they were scared, even if they despised him.

And people voted for Kerry because they were scared (mostly of Bush) even if they disliked him.

And that makes the American voting public ... what?

Chickenshits as far as I can -- a bunch of running-scared, easily stampeded chickenshits.

Welcome to the Second Bushleague administration.



Or, in other words: "Don't tread on me."


"the law of
the strong:
this is our law
and the joy
of the world." AL. II. 2

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." --AL. I. 40

"thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay." --AL. I. 42-3

"Every man and every woman is a star." --AL. I. 3

There is no god but man.

1. Man has the right to live by his own law--
to live in the way that he wills to do:
to work as he will:
to play as he will:
to rest as he will:
to die when and how he will.
2. Man has the right to eat what he will:
to drink what he will:
to dwell where he will:
to move as he will on the face of the earth.
3. Man has the right to think what he will:
to speak what he will:
to write what he will:
to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will:
to dress as he will.
4. Man has the right to love as he will:--
"take your fill and will of love as ye will,
when, where, and with whom ye will." --AL. I. 51
5. Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.
"the slaves shall serve." --AL. II. 58

"Love is the law, love under will." --AL. I. 57

Copyright © O.T.O.

Some observations and comments made be found here.


It takes a lot of work, a bizarre educational system, and lots of sitcoms.


Bush's back bulge

Call off the conspiracy freaks. Now it can be told: That mysterious bulge on President Bush’s back during the first presidential debate was not an electronic device feeding him answers, but a strap holding his bulletproof vest in place...

But sources in the Secret Service told The Hill that Bush was wearing a bulletproof vest, as he does most of the time when appearing in public. The president’s handlers did not want to admit as much during the campaign, for fear of disclosing information related to his personal security while he was on the campaign trail.

As if anyone out there who might be stalking Bush wouldn't go for a head shot.


Small comfort


It's not about gays or religious or moral values...

In 1976, when Anita Bryant was riding high in horrified indignation after "finding out what it is homosexuals do..."

(Anita Bryant told us all that she had said to her husband, confused, "but how could men have sex? Men can't have sex." And he told her. And she was shocked. "But ... but that's eating the apple in Eden. That's creating the Fall all over again.")

Hearing that, I made a prediction on my late-night radio show (KPFT in Houston) that this was the opening shots of the full-scale war of the Fags vs the Fundies.

Actually I said it after hearing her comment but dated the opening shots to a week before, when the Reverend Billy Joe Hargis [?] was busted putting it up the fundament(alism) of a 16 year old boy in a public restroom. Hearing that, I knew that his followers had no choice but to rise up as one and rain death on the gay people and DENY! DENY! DENY! (Must be THEIR fault, nicht wahr? That evil boy and his friends must have conspired with satanists and witches to give the Rev a boner he wouldn't have otherwise had, right?)

My reasoning then was as it is today:

"Whenever it's a choice between someone saying 'This is what I want to do with MY life,' and someone else saying 'This is what you MUST do with YOUR life,' I will choose the person who is choosing to live his or her own life over the person who is choosing to tell someone else how to live."


"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

I get to do my will. You get to do yours.
You do NOT get to tell me how to do mine unless I ask.

At the time, I prefaced it by saying I really didn't have a dog in that fight, being neither inclined nor a participant in either side of the battle, but there was a principle, and it had something to do with the principles on which our country was founded.

Of course, the United States of America was founded by uppity Northeasterner Yankees (like that Virginia Yankee, Tom Jefferson), and perhaps that's why the South doesn't seem to care for the freedoms represented, except for the ones which serve their prejudices.

That does not include every person in the South. I lived there. But it does describe the socio-political structure that still exists. Just go to any major city down thar and ask a white person how to get to "Niggertown." And when they tell you (without commenting on your nasty choice of words), go, drive into the area, pull over and stop and park on a main thoroughfare. Watch the interaction between black drivers or pedestrians and the police who stop them with no reason you can detect.

It still goes on. And while they've gotten a bit quiet about nasty terms for people of color (many of whom are quite large and athletic) it's still acceptable to be nasty about and discriminate against gay people.

Once again: I will give no respect (nor do I believe they deserve any) to anyone who is telling anyone else how that person must live his or her life based on some bizarre interpretation of the 'whispering down the lane' distortions of statements made in another language 2000 years ago. Or 5000 years ago.

In areas of this country where the constitution is still the law, we each have the right to choose our own paths and destinies, and anyone who would dare to try to interfere with those choices should not be offended when they are denounced as 'fascists,' 'Nazi's,' or 'Little Hitlers.'
That's what they are, in essence if not (yet) in degree.


All ya gotta do, Democrats, to win, is kneel at the cross and kiss the hem of red-faced tent preachers. Is that asking too much?

Yes, it damn well is.

Here's a Wednesday morning quarterback pressing his agenda with a snickering "See, I did it. Didn't hurt too much. Didn't need that soul anyway:"

"Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter got elected because they were comfortable with their faith," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former Clinton aide. "What happened was that a part of the electorate came open to what Clinton and Carter had to say on everything else - health care, the environment, whatever - because they were very comfortable that Clinton and Carter did not disdain the way these people lived their lives, but respected them."

"We need a nominee and a party that is comfortable with faith and values. And if we have one, then all the hard work we've done on Social Security or America's place in the world or college education can be heard. But people aren't going to hear what we say until they know that we don't approach them as Margaret Mead would an anthropological experiment.""

So Rahm Emanuel sez, in essence: "All we (Democrats) have to do is accept the USA as a Theocracy, acknowledge that you must have (an acceptable) faith to be an acceptable representative."

In other words, let's pander the fuck to everyone's short-sighted bigotries, and by the way, let's go back to whuppin slaves and choppin cotton, put up the "No Irish Need Apply" signs ... putting quotas on Jews in colleges, completely ostracize muslims, agnostics, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists and such from the public discourse ...

Maybe we do NOT have the "more perfect union" that is as described in the constitution, but is that any reason to abandon any hope (all ye who enter politics) of ever achieving it?

Lots and lots and lots of excuses and diversion away from looking at total corporate (and that includes churches) control of mind and media and government.

I'm sorry if the pea-brained faction of the American Christian Church feels abused by the smarty-pants Yankees, but it's not as if their being reluctantly dragged into the 20th Century (it's now the 21st) concerning the rights of people of color and people of other faiths and people of gender (women, gays, etc) didn't earn them a great deal of contempt.

When they are willing to burn Pat Robertson in effigy, we might have a bit more respect for them. Until then, the idea of kissing their narrow-minded asses (wow, there's a mixed metaphor!) is anathema. Fuck 'em. And the Sociopathic religious fanatics they ride in on.

The simpering whimpering shit of an evangelical preacher complaining about being abused for his faith sounds a whole lot different to a Jew (such as myself) who ran from Christian kids who held onto rocks and the belief that I killed their token favorite Jew. Or to atheists or agnostics or Hindus or Muslims or Buddhists or Taoists or anyone else who has been on the receiving end of thier "conversion with a rope" attitude.

The sound of a saw cutting wood is lovely -- but it sounds different to a tree.

There must be another option than kissing the asses of the people you'd have to think about pissing on if they were on fire to get elected.

But, oh yeah, that's what politicians do.


"As far and deep as a tiger's frown, so my greetings, O leaders of the world, to you."

Kenneth Patchen


I think we've all had enough -- detox time

OK, a campaign season that somehow seems to have lasted MORE than four years, two lying sacks of shit in human form cavorting before the public promising all sorts of stuff neither has any intention of delivering, either because he knows it just can't be done regardless of his desire to implement it, or because he knows he has no intention of even thinking about the subject after inauguration.

What it came down to is this: Bush is, was, and always has been a cheerleader -- likes people, likes hanging out with, chatting superficially with, gladhanding and shmoozing with people. No interest at all in the homework or the assiduousness it takes to be an executive, which is why he's failed so completely in every venture he's ever undertaken in his life, possibly including his presidency. He glides on the surface like a happy-time water-strider. Why was it such a revelation for Democrats to decide he was a figurehead? That's the job he ran for. That's the job he likes. And that's the job of the President.

Kerry is a studier, a legislator, a serious student and servant of government. He loves the details and gets things done because he can both understand and delegate authority. He's not much of a big-screen shmoozer or party person (as in good-time Saturday night college fraternity party, not political endless discussion arguing over how many voters can stand on the head of a pin type party -- that latter one, he likes and is quite good at.) He's smart and focused and could ahve been a good president, but unfortunately for him and his supporters, he's not too aware of the salesman's absolute bottom line law -- "You can win the argument, but you'll lose the sale."

Bill Clinton is and was an accomplished example of both -- loves being with people, loves the wonkadelic realm of policy and details. And if it hadn't been for the particular type of non-sex he had with the chubby young sweetie-pie, no one would have really cared. (For many many many literalistic types who call themselves Christian, eating sperm is "eating the apple," repeating the Fall from the Garden. It wasn't just pussy -- it was blasphemy. But of course we Blue State people never bothered to find out exactly what particular fantasies those Red State people believe in -- we're too much more concerned with fondling our own -- and publicizing them so the other guys can't help but know what sort of crap we believe in.

So Bush the cheerleader (or anyone who's having a good time standing in your front yard or sitting in your living room), can ALWAYS get away with telling you the guy who's home studying is really a Klingon in disguise, because the other guy isn't around to say different, to say that he personally ISN'T the entire state legislature of Massachussetts, that he did NOT force the President to declare war on some relatively innocent bystanders, that he ISN'T a stay-at-home book-loving Terrorist-loving enemy of America and all that is good and decent and illiterate.

And in this corner -- the WINNER and STILL CHAMPEEN --- FEAR.

If Republicans think there'll be much, if any, of their party left after Monkey Boy and his aptly named "Turd Blossom" get through with it, they'll be disappointed. This is a scorched earth crew and they have no compunction about burning down the house. Their idea of loyalty is to get their pals out of the burning building, if they can, and if they can't, to say nice words over the charred corpses (but never letting photos of the coffins out in the media).

If anti-choice troglodytes think they have a victory in the offiing, I'd suggest they learn to read.

Roe v Wade did NOT legalize abortion. It declared that the government has no vital legal interest (with certain exceptions added later) in a woman's uterus, meaning the government didn't have a right to CRIMINALIZE abortion. Surprise.

So if the Court decides the government DOES have a vital interest in some teenager's womb, that means another administration in another situation could legalize FORCED abortion for one vital interest or another (potential or actual malformation of the fetus being socially and economically undesirable, faux-scientific belief in genetic passing of "criminal" genes, etc.) because -- talk about the camel's nose under the flap of the tent -- if they're allowed inside a woman's coochie to make any decisions, they'll take over and make every one they can, specifying what sorts of devices she might use to pass an idle evening, battery or solar-powered, what sort of sperm-barrier is acceptable, etc).

Have any of us ever seen the Dancing Pigs of Federal and State Legislatures ever show moderation or self-restraint in their greedy grasping of power, more power, more power? And they know they damn well they can't go after corporate contributors, so that leaves poor people and their privates.

And if the anti-choice people think that the coded reference -- the Dred Scott Decision -- actually gives fetuses pre-eminent legal rights over those of the carrying woman, I'd suggest once again that they learn to read. (Do I reveal a certain antipathy toward less-than-literate people? Hey -- I'm a writer. See some self-interest here?) The decision was closely tied to the actual constitution. He (Scott) HAD no real legal rights as a human being. The constitution had to be changed to remove the stark unfairness of it.

And if the aftermath of the decision is what they mean, I have bad news for them -- these tiny-brained moralistic finger-pointers: the Dred Scott Case is much more legally relevant to giving individual human beings the right to marriage regardless of their sex, color, social status, religious beliefs or non-beliefs, than it is to giving a fetus legal standing and a driver's license.

You ring that bell too long, folks, you're gonna be really sorry at what it calls up. Lots and lots of guys kissing guys and girls kissing girls, and churchly folks including ministers (possibly even their wives) finally recognizing their true sexual orientations. (An old partner of mine, a talented and delightful fellow -- gay -- used to enjoy calling up his talents as a raconteur and telling those of us gathered around for coffee dramatic and hilarious stories about his sexual adventures and misadventures. His favorite topic was the particular religious affiliation of the visiting southern or midwestern minister who'd either gone down on him or had given him a Howdy Stranger free pass to his naughty nether regions. What goes down in San Francisco, stays in San Francisco.)

And oh, in case I'm leaving out the Democrats, that band of nutless wonders who are so terrified of pointing out that liberal meant tolerant on behalf of the rights and needs of the less fortunate, I fully expect they'll try once again to go to the right instead of suggesting to the American public that there is another way to govern than running a payoff shop for favored corporate interests. At least -- O Democrats -- pick some DIFFERENT corporate interests for shaking down. You've committed the Cardinal Sin -- you got BORING.

Bill Clinton did not win because of his wonkiness. He won because he was/is smart and quick and delighted in people and they on him. He succeeded in accomplishing some good things because of his intelligence and wonkiness, not the same.

Hillary Clinton could perhaps be a fine president (John Kerry could have been an excellent president) but she (as he) can not get elected now, next time, never. She's a great one (despite what all the men who hate strong women say -- get over Mommy, lads) but not the kind of people-person these times demand. Amazing how many of the people who despise Hillary worship Margaret Thatcher.

So let's get over it. I don't mean let's get over the division and Olly Olly Oxen Free glad hand that band of vicious slimeballs who just got elected. Fuck them -- they're scum.

I mean let's get over giving a flying kazoo about politicians of any sort (aka our employees) or their tarnished and worthless promises. Let's think about things that actually mean something in our lives.

Here's a thought: since the subject of the Constitution has actually come up in the past year, how about this one:

"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion..."

Let's tax the churches, let them pay their fair share. Taxing them would pay for health care, better schools, VA medical care for military people who get maimed and mutilated, better fire and police protection (hey, any chance of the firemen EVER getting radios that work in places like the World Trade Center?) and everything else. Let's stop subsidizing their propaganda.


(A warning about something that should be obvious, but I'll say it anyway -- anyone who campaigns for that idea had better have bodyguards. Even the Quakers and the Buddhists might be getting their guns out.)


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