31 August 2007

Funny, Sad and Frustrating All At Once

From Sherry at After the Bridge:

MEDICAL INSURANCE EXPLAINED


Q. What does HMO stand for?
A. This is actually a variation of the phrase "HEY MOE". Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Moe of The Three Stooges, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eye.
Read the rest.

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30 August 2007

Good News

Quaker Dave is back! Stop by his new place, take a look around and say hello.

28 August 2007

A Message From Your Environment



More info here.

Unhappy Anniversary



Watch these videos and dare to say this is a Christian nation, led by "compassionate" people.



From Brave New Foundation:
Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and still there are tens of thousands of families without homes. 30,000 families are scattered across the country in FEMA apartments, 13,000 are in trailers, and hardly any of the 77,000 rental units destroyed in New Orleans have been rebuilt.

[...]

There is something very specific you can do to help. Sign the petition urging the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Recovery Bill of 2007 (S1668). The bill is expected to come to a vote after Labor Day. Its passage will be an important step toward rebuilding the infrastructure in the Gulf Coast region.



That it is even necessary to have this bill in the first place is a national disgrace.

From Campaign for America's Future:



It makes me hope that there is a God, and a Hell, so that every member of the government (from [the faux] POTUS down to dog-catcher), who promised to help the people of NOLA and the Gulf Coast and then turned their back, will spend eternity in that "lake of fire". Or better yet, waist deep in a mixture of sea water, sewage, and oil (like the poor of New Orleans in the days after Katrina hit). And include contractors and developers who have used this as an opportunity to make a fast buck - make them stand on their heads.

UPDATE: I found this at Jess Wundrun's place.

25 August 2007

Quote of the ______*

In a comment at Big Brass Blog, long-time reader tali quoted someone named "imiga," who posted a comment to an article at The Washington Post about George W. Bush. This diatribe on the stupidity of the President is worthy, so it is republished in edited form below:


I can't believe there are still folks out there believing in this imbecile who has absolutely no knowledge of history...

I cannot believe how incredibly stupid he is. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid. Stupid, so stupid it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different dimension of stupid. He is trans-stupid stupid.

Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. He emits more stupid in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Nothing in our universe can really be this stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know.


* fill in the blank with whatever ridiculously long period of time you want.

(h/t to [and pre-quote quote copied from] The Dark Wraith)

Hi, My Name's Phydeaux and I'm a Bloggaholic

71%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Well, maybe not. Guess I'll have to try harder...

.

24 August 2007

Let Me Take You Higher

Fairlane, that vituperative, vulgar, venomous - and utterly wonderful(!!!) - blogger in the Bluegrass State, has bestowed upon me an award that I hardly know if I deserve:




I am honestly floored by this. (And secretly thrilled that anyone would consider me to be inspirational! [Insert happy dance here]) That the award comes from Fairlane, who inspires me whenever I read his posts is, in my humble opinion, an even higher honor.

I simply say what I have to say, hopefully in a coherent manner, and hope that my words may make a positive difference in at least some small way. Be it making a person rethink long held preconceptions, finding out exactly how strange they are, or lighting a fire under their butt to actually do something themselves to effect positive change when I jump up on my virtual soapbox (as opposed to, say, posting a Monty Python clip), this is the purpose of my online writing.

Enough about me, however.

All of the blogs I read inspire me in one way or another. The number of blogs I read daily continues to grow, as you can see from my ever expanding blogroll (and I apologize for not commenting more often - but most times I can think of nothing to add other than a "Fuck Yeah!", or a "Yup!" - and so I don't say anything) and it's much more than just something to occupy my time. So I could honestly pass this award along to each and every one of you, as, in a way, you are all responsible for me having this award.

I would like to point out three blogs in particular, though (didn't I say enough about me?).

PoliTits - DCup is the writer I wish I was. She speaks with such a clear voice on so many wide ranging topics - from politics to family life to "marital aids". Each and every visit to her place leaves me in awe, and causes me to strive harder when writing my own posts.

The Dark Wraith Forums - Dark Wraith is a master of many things, including History, the English language, the history of the English language, and legal issues. His posts are such that you have to read slowly, and often repeatedly, to absorb the meat of the issue upon which he is expounding. And the comment threads are always a lot of fun.

Teh Portly Dyke - What can I say about PD? Awesome? Yep. Intelligent? Uh-huh. Rapidly overtaking my SiteMeter count even though she's been blogging for half as long? Hell yeah. But there's a reason for that. Whereas, as has been pointed out, I post lots of tests and videos and other fluff items, almost all of PD's posts are on truly important subjects. If you haven't visited, do so now and you'll see what I'm on about.

As I said, there are many upon whom I could have bestowed this award. But the nature of the internet is such that others will do so. And maybe along the way, introduce me (and you) to someone new and inspiring. For example, two of the four other bloggers that Fairlane chose were, up to that point, unfamiliar to me. That has now been rectified, to my benefit. Thanks again, Fairlane....

Lamp Induced Wanderings

There was a time, not so long ago, when all a person had for light at night was a few candles, a lamp if he were lucky, and the light from the fire on the hearth. Back in those days, people rose early and retired to bed not long after the sun set in the west - not because they had worked hard all day on the farm, which they most assuredly did - but rather because there is not much one can do in the semi-darkness of lamplight (and most of those things take place in bed anyway - wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean?).

These words which you are reading have been transcribed from paper and were written - late at night - by lamplight. For over three hours now I have been sitting in the semi-darkness our ancestors experienced every night of their lives. A storm blew through these hills - a primeval force of wind, rain and lightning - and the electricity that we all take for granted vanished in a flash. [Transcribing note: I understand that thousands of folk in the Chicago area are currently without power due to a similar storm]

As I sit in the lamplight, I stare at the darkened screen of my monitor and - as often happens when the unexpected occurs - I am forced to see things in a different... well, light.

The light, in fact, of a hurricane lamp, which I keep at hand for just such occasions. When one lives out in the boonies, one has a recurring experience of being without power. Especially during a time of drought, when trees are weakened and the wind is more likely to topple one onto a power line.


Darrell King (Rev. Isaiah Sims), Wes Martin (Dan'l Boone) and Mark Woodard (Dr. Geoffrey Stuart) in Horn in the West


Some years ago I lived in Boone, NC and for several summers was a cast member of the outdoor drama Horn in the West. Horn tells the fictionalized story of the first European settlers (meaning, in actuality, invaders) in the mountains along what is now the North Carolina - Tennessee border, and how they joined the cause of Liberty against the tyranny and oppression of the British Crown - in the person of George III.

I wonder, do many people in America today ever think about how solitary the existence of these mountain folk was? And not just the people living in these ancient mountains, but the vast majority of the people on the continent?

Today, we think nothing of getting in our cars and driving to the next town for business (or pleasure). We travel at 65 (or more) miles per hour on the Interstate highways. For example, I have dear friends who live a little more than 40 miles from the Secret Lair (aka '73 Winnebago), and I try to visit them as often as I am able (and have the bucks for gas to get there and back). It takes about 45 minutes to get from here to there.

Back "in the day" it would have been a full day's travel - or more. And yet our forebears, despite the extreme isolation under which most lived, banded together and fought for freedom.

The settlers living in the High Country and the easternmost Cumberland plateau were relatively untouched by the war raging in the flatlands to the east until the British major Patrick Ferguson issued a statement that said, in part, "Therefore, if you do not desist in your opposition to the British arms, I will march my men over the mountains, hang your leaders, and lay waste to your country with fire and sword." Under the leadership of Col. John Sevier, they formed the Overmountain Men(wiki link, but it's accurate), marched across the mountains and were instrumental in the defeat of the British at the battle of King's Mountain ( a bit west of Charlotte).

Today, by contrast, we sit at our computers, log on to “friendly” blogs, and bitch and gripe about the oppressions and repressions of our current government - in the person of our very own George III.

The spirits of the Overmountain Men, and all others who have fought (and died) for the cause of Liberty, are angry at us for our relative complacency. What will it take for us to get off our McAsses and do something?

23 August 2007

22 August 2007

Strange, I Thought I was Abby Normal

You Are 67% Strange!

Based on your score, it seems you do have a healthy dose of strangeness. You aren't THAT far out, but you are somewhat bizarre. Congratulations on being different and having some quirks. It makes you an interesting person!

How Strange Are You?
Quizzes for MySpace

As the Drumbeat Builds to a Crescendo....

The latest video from Brave New Films (Robert Greenwald).



Go here to sign the petition.

17 August 2007

Tagged By a Monkey!

Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein, that is. And several days ago, as well. That's what I get for not spending all my time online, reading blogs....

Don't get me wrong, I lurve Teh Interwebs - and all the great blogs. It's just been so fucking hot this week, and I've had real world (personal) concerns keeping my attention.

Okay, I've been playing Rise of Nations pretty much non-stop. That's just the way I roll - when I play a game, I play a fucking game and woe be unto anything that interferes with that (you know, like earning money, etc....).

Aaany-way, I've been well and truly tagged by Dr. Monkey with a four-square meme. Here 'tis:

Four jobs I've had or currently have in my life:

1 - Landscaper: I needed work and a friend of mine said, "Come to work with me. I know how to get you hired." Turns out the owner of the company was so scatter-brained that when my friend told him that I'd been working for the "Not A Clue" Landscaping Company for the last two months, he just nodded and asked how I liked it. I worked there on and off for six years....

2 - College Tutor: At a community college, I was the "infield utility" tutor. Which meant, I knew a little about everything (as opposed to a lot about any one thing), so when a student needed tutoring in a subject that none of us tutors really knew a lot about, I got the gig. I tutored a group of nursing students in Anatomy and Physiology (hey, I've got both!), Business Math to a Haitian exchange student who spoke only French (which I don't speak - but, as "they" say, math is the international language) - and also taught him the basics of English, and other odd subjects.

3 - Bartender: Another job I got just by being there. I was sipping my screwdriver at my favorite watering hole, when the owner found out that one of the bartenders left town. He asked, "Do you know how to mix drinks?" "Sure," I lied. The next night I started work. I worked there on and off, the same six years I worked (or didn't) for Not A Clue Landscaping.

4 - Head Shop Operator: I was driving down Blowing Rock Road in Boone, NC one day, and a pink Jeep forced me into a parking lot. It was the owner of the local head shop, who wanted me to work for him and open a new location in the city of my choice (which is how I ended up in Asheville). The best thing that ever happened at that gig was when I added "Ask about our naked shopper discount" to the ad copy one week, in an attempt to generate some buzz. I had no idea there were so many people willing to get naked for a discount on a purchase. Good times....


Four countries I have been to:

1 - USA! USA! USA!

2 - Can - a - da! Can - a - da! Can - a - da!

3 - ....

4 - I hain't never been nowhere else.


Four places I'd rather be right now:

1 - Some place cold.

2 - Seriously, I've always had an urge (as yet unfulfilled) to live in Alaska.

3 - Or Canada ( BC or the Yukon). Yeah, I'm fuckin' crazy, why do you ask?

4 - The Scottish Highlands is also very appealing, and I like mutton, which would be a bonus.


Four foods I like to eat:

1 - Take two slices of homemade bread, a huge tomato fresh from the garden, slather on some Duke's Mayonnaise (yes, I'm a true Southerner) and a little bit of salt. Fresh food from the garden is the only thing I like about Summer.

2 - Barley's Taproom in Asheville has the bestest Beefalo burger! They also have an awesome White Pie (that's a pizza for those not in the know).

3 - I really like rice. If I were forced to eat only one food item, well... rice.

4 - Sweet corn, if prepared correctly. To properly prepare sweet corn, one must have the water boiling in the big iron pot hanging over a fire next to the garden before the corn is picked. When the boiling's done, add a little bit of butter, little bit of salt. If you've never had truly fresh sweet corn, I feel sorry for you.


Four personal heroes, past or present:

1 - Mahatma Ghandi. Producer of fine rice - oh, wait, that's not right. Ghandi (and those who have followed in his footsteps, such as Martin Luther King, Jr.) was able to effect change through non-violent means. We are sadly lacking in people of that caliber these days.

2 - Albert Einstein. He was so far outside the box in his thinking, that for all practical purposes there was no cardboard in his universe. We seem to be lacking people like that in today's world as well.

3 - Nikola Tesla. A scientific genius whose discoveries are still not appreciated fully, he was more concerned with invention than money. This is an attitude that is nearly dead in today's world.

4 - George W. Bush. Seriously. He's proof positive that no matter what a moronic, immoral imbecile you are, you can still (pretend to) be President of the United States.


Four books you've just read or are currently reading:

1 - Bard by Morgan Llewellyn.

2 - Hamlet's Mill by Goirgio de Santillana and Herta von Dechend.

3 - Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan.

4 - The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.


That's it, friends.

Oh, I tag DCup, Teh Portly Dyke, Jennifer, and Icaia.

12 August 2007

Unexpected

Thanks to Teh Portly Dyke's post, Trollz Antidote: Part #2, I am in a Python mood (go read her post to find out why). In honor of the moment, I present the following classic of comedy:

Bad Choices in Advertising

I was just checking my SiteMeter stats and this was the top banner ad (click image to enlarge):



It's never a good idea to have the word "rollover" included in an ad for a car...

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11 August 2007

Welcome to the Peerage!

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Exalted Highness Duke Phydeaux the Evanescent of Yockenthwait Walden
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title


UPDATE: I forgot to tip my fedora to JackGoff (yes, that's his real name) whence camest this gem. Also, I'm trying to decide whether "Peculiar" is meant to mean 'odd' or 'particular'. Whaddya think, folks?

10 August 2007

Constitutional Convention in the 21st Century

So I have decided to further develop my previous post, as I honestly believe that something must be done to correct the "ship of state" as it continues to wander off the course that the Founding Fathers intended. Freedom is being attacked from both outside and inside the country, and, while I don't have children of my own, I fear for the next generation (this, despite claims by the Christianists that agnostics have no morals).

An aside on "Christianists": why do they ignore or deny the words of Christ? As regular readers know, I do not ascribe to any religion and, as an agnostic, believe that one cannot know whether 'god' exists. I do, however, have a working knowledge of the teachings of JC - having been raised in the home of a Methodist minister, how could it be otherwise - and, to a lesser extent, knowledge of the teachings of non Judeo-Christian belief systems. As I have said before, one can believe the message without worshiping the messenger or subscribing to a set of religious rules. The Christianists (and all fundamental extremists) just don't get this....

Anyway, that is a topic for another post. I'm here today to expand on the possible topics for a new Constitutional Convention. First, let me restate the ideas that I put forth in the previous post:

  • Re-establish the limitations on the Executive Branch (meaning, destroy the idea of a unitary executive).
  • Reform and, hopefully, eliminate the Electoral College (vote totals are no longer carried via horse courier to Washington).
  • Codify term limits (a total of three for Representatives and two for Senators, thereby eliminating the "professional politician"). Jefferson, Adams, and other Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, not careerists.
  • Re-establish pre-existing Constitutional guarantees that have been usurped by the Current Occupant and his malAdministration.
  • Alter the term of office of the President to no longer than four years and establish the concept of "no confidence" votes.
  • Ban all private (personal and corporate) donations to political campaigns. One person, one vote - no extra clout for being wealthy.
  • Require that media outlets provide free, equal, and limited time to all candidates during the campaign cycle.
  • Reform the party system to eliminate the built in safeguards against the formation of viable additional parties. Democracy is not binary!
  • Shorten the length of the election cycle. No candidate may express an intention to run for office more than one year before the election date, and may not file for office more than six months before the primary; primaries are to be held no more than two months before the general election.

Taking them one (or so) at a time, we have:

Re-establish the limitations on the Executive Branch (meaning, destroy the idea of a unitary executive).


This nation was created out of a rebellion against the excesses of a king. 231 years ago, the majority of the colonies in North America rebelled against their oppressive ruler, King George III of Great Britain. In their Declaration of Independence, they compiled a long list of grievances to explain this action.

Today, we, the inheritors of that rebellion, suffer under the oppression of another George III. First, there was George Washington, then George H. W. Bush, and now George W. Bush. It is time to once again take up the banner of rebellion.

Just as in the first American Revolution, this rebellion must be initiated by those most effected by the excesses of the "monarch". The most wide reaching effect of the current morally bankrupt malAdministration is the attempt to establish a "unitary executive". This is an unconstitutional idea nurtured by
Dick Cheney ever since his old boss Richard Nixon overstepped the bounds and was cut off at the knees (politically speaking).

I can't say that I know Cheney's mind on this matter, but I believe he wishes to establish this precedent in order to further increase the profit margin of his cronies - and himself. And without the interference of those pesky little Congresscritters, the executive branch can award no-bid contracts and create signing statements to further fill the overflowing coffers of Halliburton, Exxon/Mobile, etc., etc..

How is this any different from a king granting charters or bestowing nobility (with the concomitant overlordship of the serfs in the Duchy) to his preferred pals?

Hand in hand with this goes the following proposal:

Re-establish pre-existing Constitutional guarantees that have been usurped by the Current Occupant and his malAdministration.


Most of the desecration of the Constitution that has occurred during the reign of the new George III is directly related to the attempt to establish the doctrine of the unitary executive. Even the implementation of the "Patriot" Act (and has ever there been a more oxymoronic name?) by the compliant - and cowed - 107th Congress was a bowing to the wishes of the Executive Branch (and Cheney).

Nearly every single thing that has followed that questionable decision (and the list is way too long and depressing for me to go into) has been a slap in the face of, if not a downright illegal attempt to subvert, the Constitution - up to, and including, the recent syncophantic update of the FISA laws. If these corruptions of the Constitution are not rectified, it will mean the end of the nation that Washington, Jefferson, Adams, et. al established 231 years ago - even though the name, United States of America, will live on.

Reform and, hopefully, eliminate the Electoral College (vote totals are no longer carried via horse courier to Washington).


This one is, I believe, a no-brainer - especially in light of the Great 2000 Election Month Debacle. For those of you who may have forgotten, more people voted for Al Gore than for Dumbya. The Constitution, as it stands, grants the "several states" the ability to allocate electoral votes as they wish, and 48 of the 50 have gone with a "winner take all" system. This has had the effect of disenfranchising a huge minority of voters in those states.

As a personal example, my (blue) vote for President has never really counted - simply because I live in a red state. And it wouldn't count even if 49.999% of the population of North Carolina voted for the Democrat - the Republican candidate would still get all fifteen electoral votes.

There are those who criticize this idea because it would mean that the mega blocks of California (which, pet peeve, is not the "largest state" - that would be Alaska - but rather the most populous one) and New York electoral votes would no longer be cast for the Democrat. Tough shit, I say. If the majority of the country votes for a specific candidate, that candidate wins!

The reformation/elimination of the Electoral College also ties into this proposal:

Reform the party system to eliminate the built in safeguards against the formation of viable additional parties. Democracy is not binary!

As I said in this post, the two-party paradigm has got to go. The George Washington farewell address linked in that post is very informative with respect to the desire of the man who some people view as the Founding Father of the country.
If anyone objects to this idea, simply point them to Washington's own words.
The "money" quote from Washington's speech is:

However combinations or associations of the above description [of the rise of political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

An objection I foresee to the implementation of these two alterations to the political process would be that no candidate would ever receive a majority of votes in a Presidential election. My response is: So what? In today's political landscape, less than half of the potential voters even bother to go to the polls, so the President is elected by a portion of a portion of the population of the United States.

What would be more accurately representative of the desires of the nation as a whole would be a Parliamentary setup, such as Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, and India, etc. have. We could either go with the option of coalitions (as those nations do) in order to choose the next head of state, or simply say that a plurality "wins" the election. Personally, I would prefer the former to the latter.

Codify term limits (a total of three for Representatives and two for Senators, thereby eliminating the "professional politician"). Jefferson, Adams, and other Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, not careerists.


This idea would do as much, I believe, towards eliminating the corrupt nature of politics as any other one thing that could be done. By implementing draconian term limits, we would tend to get candidates that have the interests of the people as a whole - rather than the promotion of ideology or corporate profits, which is what we have today. In other words, we would have a Congress made up of servants of the country rather than servants of personal power or industry.

An obvious objection to this idea would come from people who have long serving Representatives or Senators. Again, a personal anecdote. You may remember Jesse Helms, who was a Senator from North Carolina for... well, it seemed like forever, but was "only" 30 years - and he's probably no longer a Senator only because he suffers from debilitating disease and chose not to run in 2002. During an argument with a dear friend of mine, who was a Helms supporter, I asked how said friend could continue to vote for a man who represented an ideology that was anathema to the friend's personal beliefs. The friend responded by saying, "Helms has influence that benefits the state."

Basically, my friend was willing to see other friends vilified and "othered" in exchange for pork barrel benefits. To quote the Bible, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:26)"


Alter the term of office of the President to no longer than four years and establish the concept of "no confidence" votes.


In the comment thread to my earlier post, sbgypsy said (I believe in response to this topic):

I agree with everything except term limits set in stone. If we'd had them then, FDR would never have been able to give us what he did. I think that recall ability - grassroots recall ability - would be sufficient, without term limits.

I suppose I didn't make myself clear in the statement (or else I'm misinterpreting her comment). I am not proposing limiting the President to one term, but saying that the length of each single term be redefined as no longer than four years. The inability of the current Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against Dumbya is all the argument I need in favor of the concept of "no confidence" and, as she said, recall.

If, on the other hand, her comment is referring to term limits on congresscritters, I still stick with my belief that we need citizen legislators rather than professional politicians. As I said in a comment thread somewhere out there on the Interwebs, there is a plethora of good people in this country who would put the needs of the many over the wants of the few.

(If sbgypsy should return and wish to further discuss this, I would be more than happy to do so - as the (fictional representation of) Stephen Hopkins - Rhode Island delegate to the Second Continental Congress - said "I've never seen, heard, nor smelled an idea that was so dangerous it couldn't be talked about" [from the movie 1776])

Ban all private (personal and corporate) donations to political campaigns. One person, one vote - no extra clout for being wealthy.
Require that media outlets provide free, equal, and limited time to all candidates during the campaign cycle.
Shorten the length of the election cycle. No candidate may express an intention to run for office more than one year before the election date, and may not file for office more than six months before the primary; primaries are to be held no more than two months before the general election.

These three ideas all go hand in hand to reform the election process. Also from the previous post's comment thread, Lynn said:

I dont think in a general way, looking over your list, that extreme regulation is the answer to all. I dont think for example that restricting the length of time that people can campaign makes sense. Seems like it would, but a shorter campaign time benefits the rich and hurts people who need to work a long time to raise money and gain notoriety. Your idea hurts the poor and the obscure.

I disagree with that, because if all private money were banned from the system and only a set amount of government funds (from that box you may or may not check on your tax forms) were equally distributed among each of the candidates (both presidential and congressional - although I would give the presidential campaigns a much larger share, due to the national aspects of the campaign), and equal access to media provided - remember, the public owns the airwaves, after all - then the playing field would be leveled, not tilted toward the rich.

I think we're all already tired of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, and the election is still fifteen months away. Frankly, I'm surprised that someone hasn't already declared to be a candidate for the 2012 election. Or the 2016. That may sound ridiculous, but it's where things are heading. The way things are now, a five year old could declare her intentions to run for President in 2040 and begin campaigning. Imagine the name recognition she'd have by the time the election rolled around!


Keep in mind that all of this (with the exception of the reader comments quoted) is merely the ideas in the head of this old dog. What I would hope to see is a discussion among people - a trading of ideas and playing off each other's thoughts - in the hopes of actually doing something to change the corrupt and unfair system that we have now, rather than just bitching and moaning about it.

I now open myself to comments and criticisms from my adoring public (both of you).


ETA 12 August 2009: Since I originally posted this, I switched to a different commenting system. The original comments on this post are located here.

08 August 2007

OMG Zombies!

I can't imagine that any of my visitors don't visit C&L (which means you've already seen this), but I had to post the following:


http://view.break.com/345028 - Watch more free videos

06 August 2007

In Which We Gather To Correct the Wrongs

Over at Shakesville (currently in "hurricane" mode at Shakespeare's Sister), there's an open thread on what to do now that a large chunk of the Democrats in Congress have dropped to their knees and unzipped Dumbya's fly.

My initial comment was to call for a new Constitutional Convention, and I was asked, " Fair enough, but what ideas do we bring to the convention?" These were the first few things that came to me:

  1. Re-establish the limitations on the Executive Branch (meaning, destroy the idea of a unitary executive).
  2. Reform and, hopefully, eliminate the Electoral College (vote totals are no longer carried via horse courier to Washington).
  3. Codify term limits (a total of three for Representatives and two for Senators, thereby eliminating the "professional politician"). Jefferson, Adams, and other Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, not careerists.
  4. Re-establish pre-existing Constitutional guarantees that have been usurped by the Current Occupant and his malAdministration.
  5. Alter the term of office of the President to no longer than four years and establish the concept of "no confidence" votes.
  6. Ban all private (personal and corporate) donations to political campaigns. One person, one vote - no extra clout for being wealthy.
  7. Require that media outlets provide free, equal, and limited time to all candidates during the campaign cycle.
  8. Reform the party system to eliminate the built in safeguards against the formation of viable additional parties. Democracy is not binary!
  9. Shorten the length of the election cycle. No candidate may express an intention to run for office more than one year before the election date, and may not file for office more than six months before the primary; primaries are to be held no more than two months before the general election.
Anybody got any topics to add?

Criticisms or expansions on the ones I've come up with?

Suggestions as to how we can actually make this happen?

05 August 2007

Nixon -v- Bush/Cheney

This is the latest video from Ava Lowery (Peace Takes Courage). If you're not familiar with her work, go to her site, spend some time, and, if you can, donate.




From the YouTube comment thread (commenter: freeman1888):
Ava shows us a time when the press had the COURAGE to actually report the NEWS, instead of what they have become today.... A bunch of US Magazine wannabes or, partisan hitmen/women with large salaries and no moral fiber.

I love that this is taught to us by a 16 year old!! It gives me so much faith that the future of the USA is not really doomed as long as young folks like Ava (and my kids), are around. Keep up your good work Ava, you are an inspiration to us all.


I couldn't say it better myself.

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Let's Hear it For "the Man"!


(Photo gleefully stolen from The Asheville Disclaimer, click on pic to embiggen)

The Asheville couple who were recently arrested for "flag desecration" (Petulant has the initial news report) have had all charges dropped.

For a full on write up and rant, go see Dr. Monkey's post.

The System is Broke, Long Live the System!


The other day, a neighbor asked me (in what is a major breech of Southern Decorum), "Are you a Republican or a Democrat?" Said neighbor was confused because he couldn't pin me down. Several years ago, when I was writing opinion pieces for the Rapid River magazine, the editor would share with me letters he received in response to some of my articles, wherein, on occasion, the writers would thank him for including, in his "liberal" mag, a "conservative" viewpoint.

Now, I don't believe that any of you who read my little blog would ever confuse me with a "Republican" or "conservative". Therefore, you most likely think that I am a "Democrat". And, technically speaking, you would be correct - on the advice of my father when I turned eighteen: "If you register as Independent, you will receive literature from fringe groups, and in the primaries your only option will be to vote using the "Republican" ballot (North Carolina law)" - anyway, I followed his advice.


This is a decision that I have often regretted, such as today, when things like this happen. It is also a decision that I have resolved to correct the next time I find myself in the county seat (which is in the opposite direction from where I travel for work and to visit local friends - and I'm not burning two gallons of fossil fuels just to change my voter registration).

Problem is, only the "Democratic" and "Republican" Parties are certified in North Carolina, which means that other parties - such as Green, Constitution, Libertarian, etc - have to submit petitions containing just under 70,000 certified signatures just to be included in the general election ballot. Then, assuming that a "third" party can get the proper number of certified signatures, they further have to garner 10% of the vote in the subsequent election - else they have to go through the whole petition process again.

At first glance, this may appear to be an attempt, by the North Carolina government, to be in accord with George Washington's admonition, in his farewell address(and if you've never read the whole thing, do so), against the formation of political parties:

No alliance, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced.... The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government....

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
[emphasis mine]

Unfortunately, the system that is in place, and not just in North Carolina, is one that seeks to maintain the supremacy of the two party dynamic. In the comments on a recent post at JONESTOWN, I said, in part: "What this country needs is a truly representational Congress. Enough of this two-party bullshit! The political spectrum is. not. binary."

I am not a "Republican". I am not, despite my official voter registration, a "Democrat". In fact, I don't know that any of the "parties" truly represent my beliefs. They are all, as Washington said, antithetical to the unity of the people. Political parties are a symptom of the, as my good friend TheCunningRunt has so eloquently put it, "Othering" which I so detest.

The time has come, my friends, to put aside the contrived labels of "party" and - here I delve into dangerous territory - "race" and even "nation". I am a human, and a resident of the Planet Earth. The fourth daughter of a Nepalese goatherd is my sister, and (as much as it may pain me) George W. Bush is my brother. Okay, I threw up in my mouth a little at that - but it is true.

We all share this Pale Blue Dot, and it is vitally important, for our continued existence, that we begin to act that way.

UPDATE: As I was adding the links above, I found that fairlane has a new post up at JONESTOWN along these same lines, which is - in my opinion - more to the point.

04 August 2007

More Fun with the Camera and Adventures in Shopping

Here's a couple of photos I took on the way home from the grocery store this afternoon.






Here's an interesting story from my trip to the store.

I needed some groceries to continue my existence on this Pale Blue Dot - so I took myself to the local big name store to get a couple of items (first and foremost, coffee and creamer). I'm a big fan of the self-checkout lane (mainly because for some reason a lot of people don't use it so there is rarely a wait). I step up to the scanner and start the process of scanning and bagging my ~$20 worth of purchases.

Suddenly the screen flashes "PLEASE WAIT". So I wait. 20 seconds... 30 seconds... Finally, I look over to the "overseer" of the self-check lanes, who says "It'll be just a moment." It seems that while I was trying to make my purchase, a couple of the "overseer's" friends walked up to her with a purchase, so she put me on hold in order to allow her friends to get a pack of Dentine without having to wait in line.

This doesn't make me happy, but after a few more seconds, my screen returns to normal mode and I continue scanning and bagging. Then, again, "PLEASE WAIT" shows up. I look around and the friends have now decided to buy a phone card. So I wait another 30 - 40 seconds for this oh, so vital purchase to go through and finally am able to scan the last item.

My total pops up as $20.48, and, since I have the coins, I begin putting the $0.48 (btw, why the fuck don't computer keyboards have the "cent" sign?) into the coin slot. I enter $0.46 worth of coin and the screen suddenly switches to "LANE CLOSED". I stare at it for a moment, then look over at the "overseer" - who is joking and laughing with her friends. I try to get her attention, but she's too involved in finding out who made out with whom at the party last night to pay me any mind.

So, I put the $20 bill I'm holding back in my wallet, put the wallet back in my pocket, grab my bags of groceries, and walk out the door.

Should I feel bad? While you decide, I'm going to go make an omelette from some of my free eggs, taters, and colby cheese.

.

03 August 2007

If It's Friday, There Must Be Cat Pictures!


I received a late birthday present this week - a digital camera! So I immediately tried it out by taking these kitty pics:

Puff - chillin' on the kitty lanai*


Callie - eyes wide open

*yes, the floor of the lanai is in desperate need of rebuilding, I knocked it together out of scrap material four years ago.

02 August 2007

An Apology

Dear Readers,

I was just looking over some of the recent comments and in the Haloscam (no, that's not a typo) window was the following:



My sincere apologies to one and all for this despicable ad choice. Ick. Really. There was no call for such a disgusting display to appear on my beautiful blog!