Sunday, July 31, 2005


This page has information not only on all the state governors, but you can also find out about Representatives and Senators. Listed are names, party affiliations, plus homepage and e-mail links as well as phone numbers... AND office addresses for those in Washington, D.C. Check it out!


Unless Dubya finds a way to repeal the 22nd Amendment, he won't be running for office in 2008. Of course declaring martial law might be a way for him to get around that, but that's something we won't comtemplate at this time. Instead, let's look at some of the most frequently-named Republicans who are considered possibilities for the GOP nomination in 2008. Dick Cheney apparently won't run for president, so for the first time in a long time the GOP won't have either an incumbent president or a vice-president running for the presidency. Most of the following information is from Wikipedia:

GEORGE ALLEN - Age 53. Son of legendary NFL coach George Allen. In Congress from 91-93, Governor of Virginia from 94-99, elected Senator in 2000. "In a survey of 175 Washington insiders conducted by National Journal's "The Hotline" and released April 29, 2005, Allen was the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the 2008 Presidential election." "Allen is extremely fond of using football metaphors, a tendency which has been remarked upon by journalists and commentators."

NEWT GINGRICH - Age 62. Well-known for bringing ethics charges against Speaker of the House Jim Wright in 1987, leading the GOP to control over Congress in 1994 and defining the "Contract With America" that same year, and for his efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton. He was Speaker of the House from 1994-1999. Reprimanded in 1997 and fined $300,000 for using tax-exempt foundations for political purposes and subsequently lying to the House ethics committee. After poor Republican congressional election results in 1998 he received much of the blame for the poor showing and basically ended his congressional career. He has authored several books since then and "he is a senior fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, focusing on health care (he has founded the Center for Health Transformation), information technology, the military, and politics. Gingrich has publicly questioned the decisions and motivations for some of the policies, particularly foreign policies, of the Bush Administration. Specifically, he has challenged policy of the State Department, calling for a transformation of the department due to numerous diplomatic failures. He has also called the State Department 'ineffective and incoherent' in its resolve to persuade members of the UN Security Council or a second resolution for military action against Iraq. In early December 2003, Gingrich, although generally supportive of the Bush Administration, took issue with the administration's strategy in Iraq, stating that the U.S. had 'gone off the cliff in Iraq' and that 'Americans can't win in Iraq. Only Iraqis can win in Iraq.' Despite this, he remained broadly supportive of President Bush's re-election campaign."

RUDY GIULIANI - Age 61. As mayor of New York (1/94 to 12/01), he was "widely hailed for his calm and effective leadership in the crisis" at that time. "Giuliani is often mentioned as a possible candidate for statewide office in 2006, either challenging Clinton in the Senate race, or running for Governor of New York if George Pataki decides not to seek re-election. He is also widely reported to be considering a run for the Presidency in 2008. One obstacle to such a national campaign would be his pro-choice stand on abortion. The vast majority of Republican voters and officeholders support more restrictions on abortion than are currently permitted under the Roe v. Wade decision. Members of the Christian right bloc have already announced their intention to oppose Giuliani or any other pro-choice candidate, though anecdotal evidence suggests that even among these voters, he enjoys some support. Early 2008 Presidential polls show him with one of the highest levels of name recognition and support.

SAM BROWNBACK - Age 49. Senator from Kansas. Was a Representative from 1994-1996, won special Senatorial election in 1996 when then-Senator Bob Dole ran for President. "Brownback is an outspokenly socially conservative politician. He opposes embryonic stem cell research, favors capital punishment, is adverse to same-sex marriage, and is strongly pro-life on the issue of abortion, having compared it to the Holocaust. Should Brownback be a candidate in the 2008 presidential election, he would have broad appeal among conservative Christians. Although Brownback has little name recognition outside of Washington, D.C. and his home state of Kansas, he has been working to garner public support since his re-election to the Senate in 2004."

MIKE HUCKABEE - Age 49. Currently is Governor of Arkansas. "In 2003, the courts in Arkansas declared that the state's school funding procedure was unconstitutional and ordered the state to produce a fair system. Huckabee proposed a controversial plan that would consolidate many of the state's smaller school districts. School consolidation is very unpopular in rural Arkansas and may be the "third rail" of Arkansas politics. The court order has not yet been satisfied. Huckabee has also made use of his authority as Governor to pardon or commute the sentences of felons. The most (in)famous of these was Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist who would later commit murder in Missouri. However, a thorough anaylsis of his actual commutations by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette actually found that the commutations he issued were equal to or even less than most governors in recent times. ring the 2002 elections his wife, Janet Huckabee, ran unsuccessfully for Secretary of State, and both received criticism for the dual election effort.

JOHN McCAIN - Age 68. Of course his name is always in the mix. Arizona Senator since 1987. Ran for president in 2000, was defeated by Dubya in the primaries. McCain was a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and a Vietnamese prisoner of war. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1981. "Despite his earlier rivalry with Bush, McCain was one of the President's most vocal supporters in the 2004 US Presidential Election. He often praised Bush's leadership and continuing zeal after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and in that light less important issues could be pushed aside. McCain's reputation as a moderate appealed to many voters who found Bush too hard-line conservative. There was some speculation that McCain's long time friend and colleague, and also the Democratic Presidential nominee, John Kerry of Massachusetts would ask McCain to be his running mate to help Kerry shake his "liberal from the northeast" label, but McCain rejected Kerry's inital overtures, and so Kerry never officially asked him. This prompted Bush to run an ad called "The First Choice" showing clips of McCain praising Bush. Furthermore, the GOP used this information to ridicule Kerry's eventual running mate, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. Because of his quick temper and independence in the Senate, he is sometimes called a 'maverick senator.' McCain doesn't fit neatly into any one political wing. He is conservative on many military and social issues, but more liberal on fiscal issues. Some Republicans have called him a Republican In Name Only."

GEORGE PATAKI - Age 60. Currently the Governor of New York (since 1994). "Pataki has always been moderate on social issues but by his third term many social conservatives simmered over his continued support of abortion rights as well as his heavy lobbying in favor of a gay rights bill which had languished in the state senate for many years due to the opposition of (State) Senate Leader Joseph Bruno. In 2003 Bruno finally gave in and the bill passed the senate and was signed into law by Pataki." It is widely speculated he will run for either Senate or President in 2008.

TIM PAWLENTY - Age 44. Governor of Minnesota since 1/03. "The governor has pushed a number of proposals to increase state income without officially raising taxes ("user fees" for various services have been raised instead). One option was the development of a new casino in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, or the enhancement of the Canterbury Park racetrack to a "racino", which would be operated in cooperation with Native American tribes from the northern part of the state. Minnesota has mandated a 10% mixture of gasoline and ethanol (gasohol) since 1997, and Pawlenty pushed to increase the mandated level to 20%. While this was well-received by some, many expressed concern because most cars in the U.S. are only designed to handle up to a 15% mixture. The bill was signed into law in May 2005, but will not take effect until 2013."

MIKE PENCE - Congressman from Indiana since 2001.

MITT ROMNEY - Age 58. Governor of Massechusetts since 2003. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Romney was heavily involved in national and statewide attempts to block the Massachusetts' Supreme Court's November 2003 ruling which legalized same-sex marriage. In December 2004, Romney announced plans to file a death penalty bill in early 2005. The bill, filed April 28, 2005, seeks to reinstate the death penalty in cases that include terrorism, the assassination of law enforcement officials and multiple killings. The legislation would require corroborating scientific evidence, multiple layers of review and a new "no doubt" standard of proof. During the 2002 governor's race, Romney stated he would honor a "moratorium" on abortion in which he would not attempt to change state abortion law. Although he told voters that he was personally opposed to abortion, he said he wanted to keep abortion "safe and legal in this country."

TOM TANCREDO - Age 59. From Colorado, member of Congress since 1999. "Tancredo is noted for his outspoken criticism of illegal immigration policies and his support for general immigration reduction. His critics claim he is xenophobic. Tancredo founded a political actio committee named Team America in order to collect contributions for immigration-restrictionist inclined congressional representatives and candidates. Due to campaign law he had to resign after founding it. The current chair is Angela "Bay" Buchanan, sister of politician Patrick Buchanan. In 7/05 Tancredo responded to a question asking about a potential U.S. response to a nuclear attack on U.S. cities by al-Qaeda by saying that one response would be to retaliate by "taking out" Muslim holy sites (specifically, Mecca) if it were clearly proven that Islamic terrorists were behind such an attack. Days later, in an interview on CNN together with James Zogby, Tancredo claimed he meant the comment as merely a threat to retaliate and refused to apologize. In February 2005, Tancredo announced he will seek the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States if all other candidates fail to address the illegal immigration problem."

CONDOLEEZA RICE - Age 50. National Security Advisor during Dubya's first term. Has been U.S. Secretary of State since 1/27/05. Rice for her part has repeatedly said she has no desire or interest in becoming President.

Snave's notes: Poll results are fairly consistent in suggesting that John McCain or Rudy Giuliani would have to be considered co-favorites for the GOP nomination at this time. Hillary Clinton is listed as the favorite among Democratic contenders in just about every case. Of the people I listed above, I find Brownback and Tancredo to be the scariest, but I can't say I'd be in favor of any of them. In any case, being a lefty, I would like to see the GOP choose a candidate that is pro-choice! Heh!

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Now that's an intriguing question.

Here are some of the most frequently-mentioned "possible candidates". The information is mostly from Wikipedia.

EVAN BAYH - Age 50. Son of Birch Bayh. Former Governor of Indiana, now a Senator from that state. He serves on six Senate committees: Banking Housing and Urban Affairs, on which he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance; Armed Services; the Select Committee on Intelligence; Energy and Natural Resources; the Special Committee on Aging; and the Small Business Committee.

JOE BIDEN - Age 62. Senior Senator from Delaware. Supporters note he has a friendly, down-to-earth personality that generates widespread, bipartisan appeal, and that he has years of experience in the Senate dealing with national security and other high profile issues, advantages that distinguish him from most newer, less-experienced potential candidates. Bowed out of 1988 presidential campaign due to controversy over plagiarising others in his speeches.

HILLARY CLINTON - Age 57. Former First Lady, currently Senator from New York. entered the world of politics in 1964, at the age of 16, by supporting the presidential bid of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater! As a Senator, she has attempted to counter her polarizing celebrity by keeping a low public profile and by learning the ways of the institution while building relationships with senators from both sides of the aisle.

JOHN EDWARDS - Age 52. Formerly a skilled trial lawyer whose efforts during the Clinton impeachment proceedings helped lead to the president's adquittal. Served as Senator from North Carolina. After an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2004, he ran as vice-president on the Democratic ticket. He is now employed as a part-time faculty member at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC, where he will be director of the Center On Poverty, Work and Opportunity in the university for studying ways to move people out of poverty.

RUSS FEINGOLD - Age 52. Wisconsin Senator since 1993. Americans For Democratic Action, a liberal advocacy group which rates members of Congress on a scale of 0 to 100, with zero being totally conservative and 100 being completely progressive, gave Senator Feingold a lifetime average rating of 96, tying him with California's Senator Barbara Boxer for the title of the "most progressive person" in the Senate, according to ADA.

AL GORE - Age 57. Won the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election. currently serves as President of Current and Chairman of Generation Investment Management, sits on the board of directors of Apple Computer, and serves as an unofficial advisor to Google's senior management. Although speculation about a possible presidential run in 2008 will not surcease, he has claimed publicly that he considers his re-entry into politics to be very unlikely.

JOHN KERRY - Age 61. We know about Kerry already, and he is planning to run for president again in 2008.

BARACK OBAMA - Age 44. Defeated GOP candidate Alan Keyes for Illinois Senate seat in 2004. Some remarks from his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention: "When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world." "...there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America." "We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States, and yes, we've got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq."

BILL RICHARDSON - Age 57. Governor of New Mexico, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., former U.S. Secretary of Energy. Some local observers in New Mexico have criticized that he has a somewhat imperial style and seeks to impose his vision rather than respectfully consult and patiently build consensus. He has also been criticized for expanding and perhaps enjoying too much the perks of his position. So far his national reputation, polished by smooth major media appearances, remains rather unaffected by some of this bad local press.

MARK WARNER - Age 50. Governor of Virginia since 2001. Ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 1996. He has been regarded by some Democrats as a Bill Clinton-like figure. Was able to build a power base in rural Virginia to help him win his gubernatorial race.

TOM VILSACK - Age 54. Governor of Iowa. Increased the number of Iowa children covered by health insurance by 300%. From Wikipedia: "One of the main problems Vilsack has is that he has a reputation of being a "tax and spend" Democrat in the state. Those who see him that way have pointed to the fact that general fund spending had increased during his term at about 8 percent per year during the first two years in office. Critics feel that overspending by the state caused the current budget crisis. He also approved expansion of expenditures dealing with salaries despite the fact that the budget crisis was already in full force. Also, he has called for the use of bonds for some projects, which critics feel would give the state an unnecessary debt burden."

Snave's note: The problem with this list is, these people are all politicians. That aside, I think I like Obama, Edwards and Feingold about the best as potential candidates. I like what I have read about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich too. An Edwards-Obama ticket, or maybe Edwards-Feingold or Edwards-Blagojevich would be fine with me. Let me know who you think might make the best Democratic candidate in 2008!

I will post a list of frequently-mentioned GOP candidates soon.

Friday, July 29, 2005


Snave's note: I have always felt that Bush views Congress and the Senate as a couple of obstacles to him getting his way. I have never felt that he is a person who likes the idea of checks and balances. Maybe he was joking when he said "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." But I doubt it.

I vote for the Congressional and Senatorial candidates I want to see representing me in Washington, D.C., and if my candidates don't win, I still want whoever gets elected to look out for the interests of all the constituents in my state. When a president does something like this, regardless of their political party, it makes my blood boil. I believe he is disregarding the people of the country by causing their votes (and the efforts of their duly elected members of the Congress and Senate) to not mean anything; he ignores everyone, and imposes his own will.

Anyway, I'll cut the rant short and show you the first few paragraphs of an article about what he plans to do re. sending John Bolton to the U.N. Enjoy it, if your stomach can handle it:

"Bush plans to sidestep Senate on Bolton"

Sources: President to make recess appointment of U.N. ambassador

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush intends to announce next week that he is going around Congress to install embattled nominee John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, senior administration officials said Friday.

Bush has the power to fill vacancies without Senate approval while Congress is in recess. Under the Constitution, a recess appointment during the lawmakers’ August break would last until the next session of Congress, which begins in January 2007.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the president had not made the announcement and Congress wasn’t in recess yet, said Bush planned to exercise that authority before he leaves Washington on Tuesday for his ranch. The House recessed on Thursday and the Senate’s break was scheduled to begin later Friday.

The rest of this sad story can be read at .


Snave's note: I have three cats but I love dogs too. I think there are some amusing truths about both sides of the debate in the cartoon above. To see a slightly larger version, there is one at !


Snave's note: I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I read this article. The entire article and Senator Frist's statement can be read at . I have to give the guy some credit here. I don't agree with most of what he does or says, but I give him credit for placing some trust in science in regard to the stem cell issue, and for standing up and disagreeing with Bush on something. At this point, my guess is that Frist blew his chance to run for president in 2008 when he got so involved in the Terri Schaivo matter... so he may feel a bit more free to express what he really feels, and to break with the right-wing fundamentalist rank and file. The fact that he isn't just pooh-poohing science out of hand is something I find very encouraging. On a personal 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being great, 5 being in the middle and 1 being lousy, he just elevated himself from a 1 to about a 3 or 3.5 in my estimation. Good job, Senator.

If you would like to personally thank Frist, you can do so here:

Anyway, enough from me. Here is the first part of the AP article:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Friday threw his support behind legislation to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, breaking with President Bush and religious conservatives in a move that could impact his prospects for seeking the White House in 2008.

“It’s not just a matter of faith, it’s a matter of science,” Frist said on the floor of the Senate.
Frist, a heart-lung transplant surgeon who opposes abortion, said modifying Bush’s strict limitations on stem cell research would lead to scientific advances and “bridge the moral and ethical differences” that have made the issue politically charged.

“While human embryonic stem cell research is still at a very early stage, the limitation put into place in 2001 will, over time, slow our ability to bring potential new treatments for certain diseases,” the Tennessee lawmaker said in his speech.

“Therefore, I believe the president’s policy should be modified. We should expand federal funding ... and current guidelines governing stem cell research, carefully and thoughtfully, staying within ethical bounds,” he said.


Thanks to Fred of "Truth Serum" for posting this link first on his weblog. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I took a Star Wars test to find out which character I am, and this... THIS... was my result. If you take the test too, I HOPE YOU DO MUCH BETTER THAN I DID!

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


If you can't read the words with the pictures, you may be able to see them better at: !


I have. I was inspired by something I read recently on Fred's site, "Truth Serum" (see links below). It takes our local paper (The Observer) a while sometimes to put letters on its website, but when the author to whom I am responding is on their site, I will either print his letter here or provide a link to it. His letter was basically a complaint about "liberal media bias" and about George Soros and Peter Lewis contributing large amounts of money to the Democrats in 04. I wrote:

To the Editor:

Regarding “Liberals Pay For PR, Too” (The Observer, 7/26), the author portrays media conservatives as victims of persecution by a “liberal media”. This is an opinion often stated by conservative media figures... who are frequently heard! Here are just a few of them:

Rush Limbaugh, Thomas Sowell, Ann Coulter, Rich Lowry, Bill O'Reilly, William Safire, Robert Novak, William F. Buckley Jr. , George Will, John Gibson, Michelle Malkin, David Brooks, Tony Snow, Brit Hume, Larry Kudlow, Sean Hannity, David Horowitz, William Kristol, Oliver North, Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan, John McLaughlin, Cal Thomas, Joe Klein, James Kilpatrick, Tucker Carlson, Michael Savage, Charles Krauthammer, Tammy Bruce, Bernard Goldberg, Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, Pat Robertson, Andrew Sullivan, Neil Cavuto, Mike Rosen, Dave Kopel, Matt Drudge, Mona Charen, Linda Chavez, Lars Larson, conservative bloggers, and various writers of letters to the editor of The Observer.

Democrat donors George Soros and Peter Lewis did contribute at least $48 million in 2004, but conveniently forgotten by the author is Republican sugar daddy Richard Mellon Scaife, owner-publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Over the past four decades, “Scaife and his family's charitable entities have given at least $340 million to conservative causes and institutions – about $620 million in current dollars, adjusted for inflation” (Washington Post, 5/2/99). He was very active with his GOP contributions in the 1990’s. Scaife is a major shareholder in Newsmax Media, defenders of the Bush-administration-paid pundit Armstrong Williams. Go figure. After all, President Bush himself says:

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” - George W. Bush

Before automatically assuming that the media is “liberal”, maybe we need to consider who is telling us that, and how often they repeat it.

Snave's note: I had lots of fun writing it.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


This morning on George Stephanopolous' show on ABC, there was talk about what Lance Armstrong would do now that his cycling career is supposedly over. One possibility? He might run for governor of Texas. Anybody know what his political leanings are? Any chance Armstrong might lean to the left?

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Rove and Racicot image from:

Karl Rove's America


Published: July 15, 2005

John Gibson of Fox News says that Karl Rove should be given a medal. I agree: Mr. Rove should receive a medal from the American Political Science Association for his pioneering discoveries about modern American politics. The medal can, if necessary, be delivered to his prison cell.

What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern.

I first realized that we were living in Karl Rove's America during the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush began saying things about Social Security privatization and tax cuts that were simply false. At first, I thought the Bush campaign was making a big mistake - that these blatant falsehoods would be condemned by prominent Republican politicians and Republican economists, especially those who had spent years building reputations as advocates of fiscal responsibility. In fact, with hardly any exceptions they lined up to praise Mr. Bush's proposals.

But the real demonstration that Mr. Rove understands American politics better than any pundit came after 9/11.

Every time I read a lament for the post-9/11 era of national unity, I wonder what people are talking about. On the issues I was watching, the Republicans' exploitation of the atrocity began while ground zero was still smoldering.

Mr. Rove has been much criticized for saying that liberals responded to the attack by wanting to offer the terrorists therapy - but what he said about conservatives, that they "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," is equally false. What many of them actually saw was a domestic political opportunity - and none more so than Mr. Rove.

A less insightful political strategist might have hesitated right after 9/11 before using it to cast the Democrats as weak on national security. After all, there were no facts to support that accusation.

But Mr. Rove understood that the facts were irrelevant. For one thing, he knew he could count on the administration's supporters to obediently accept a changing story line. Read the before-and-after columns by pro-administration pundits about Iraq: before the war they castigated the C.I.A. for understating the threat posed by Saddam's W.M.D.; after the war they castigated the C.I.A. for exaggerating the very same threat.

Mr. Rove also understands, better than anyone else in American politics, the power of smear tactics. Attacks on someone who contradicts the official line don't have to be true, or even plausible, to undermine that person's effectiveness. All they have to do is get a lot of media play, and they'll create the sense that there must be something wrong with the guy.

And now we know just how far he was willing to go with these smear tactics: as part of the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson IV, Mr. Rove leaked the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason.

But what we're getting, instead, is yet another impressive demonstration that these days, truth is political. One after another, prominent Republicans and conservative pundits have declared their allegiance to the party line. They haven't just gone along with the diversionary tactics, like the irrelevant questions about whether Mr. Rove used Valerie Wilson's name in identifying her (Robert Novak later identified her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame), or the false, easily refuted claim that Mr. Wilson lied about who sent him to Niger. They're now a chorus, praising Mr. Rove as a patriotic whistle-blower.

Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker.

Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?

Friday, July 22, 2005


What if, in the seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, author J.K. Rowling has Harry die in order to save all humanity from the evil He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named? Will a religion spring up during the following thousand years? It might not be too difficult in a hundred years from now to convince many Americans that Harry Potter was real, and that he really died to save them.

Harry Potter, the Chosen One! The series is full of miracles, after all. And it is all about good versus evil.

Heed the word of Harry! Boox Six, Scholastic Hardbound Edition, Chapter 5, page 98, lines 21-23: " seems as though I always knew I'd have to face him in the end..."

I love America. And because of that, I'm glad I won't be here in a hundred years to see how kooky it will be by then. Anyway, here's hoping that Harry Potter is crucified in the seventh and final installment of the series. I think it would really make things interesting if Rowling has chosen to go that route, don't you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Spy vs. Spy

By Bill Piper, AlterNet. Posted May 18, 2005.

Neighbors spying on neighbors? Mothers forced to turn in their sons or daughters? These are images straight out of George Orwell's 1984, or a remote totalitarian state. We don't associate them with the land of the free and the home of the brave, but that doesn't mean they couldn't happen here. A senior congressman, James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is working quietly but efficiently to turn the entire United States population into informants--by force.

Sensenbrenner, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, has introduced legislation that would essentially draft every American into the war on drugs. H.R. 1528, cynically named "Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act," would compel people to spy on their family members and neighbors, and even go undercover and wear a wire if needed. If a person resisted, he or she would face mandatory incarceration.

Here's how the "spy" section of the legislation works: If you "witness" certain drug offenses taking place or "learn" about them, you must report the offenses to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution" of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence, and a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Here are some examples of offenses you would have to report to police within 24 hours:

You find out that your brother, who has children, recently bought a small amount of marijuana to share with his wife;
You discover that your son gave his college roommate a marijuana joint;
You learn that your daughter asked her boyfriend to find her some drugs, even though they're both in treatment.

In each of these cases you would have to report the relative to the police within 24 hours. Taking time to talk to your relative about treatment instead of calling the police immediately could land you in jail.

In addition to turning family member against family member, the legislation could also put many Americans in danger by forcing them to go undercover to gain evidence against strangers.
Even if the language that forces every American to become a de facto law enforcement agent is taken out, the bill would still impose draconian sentences on college students, mothers, people in drug treatment and others with substance abuse problems. If enacted, this bill will destroy lives, break up families, and waste millions of taxpayer dollars.

Despite growing opposition to mandatory minimum sentences from civil rights groups to U.S. Supreme Court Justices, the bill eliminates federal judges' ability to give sentences below the minimum recommended by federal sentencing guidelines. This creates a mandatory minimum sentence for all federal offenses, drug-related or not.

H.R. 1528 also establishes new draconian penalties for a variety of non-violent drug offenses, including:

Five years for anyone who passes a marijuana joint at a party to someone who, at some point in his or her life, has been in drug treatment;
Ten years for mothers with substance abuse problems who commit certain drug offenses at home (even if their children are not at home at the time);
Five years for any person with substance abuse problems who begs a friend in drug treatment to find them some drugs.

These sentences would put non-violent drug offenders behind bars for as long as rapists, and they include none of the drug treatment touted in the bill's name.

At a time when everyone from the conservative American Enterprise Institute to the liberal Sentencing Project is slamming the war on drugs as an abject failure, Sensenbrenner is trying to escalate it, and to force all Americans to become its foot soldiers. Instead of enacting new mandatory minimums, federal policymakers should look toward the states. A growing number have reformed their drug sentencing laws, including Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York and Texas, and they have proved it is possible to both save money and improve public safety.

Simply put, there is no way H.R. 1528 can be fixed. The only policy proposal in recent years that comes close to being as totalitarian as this bill is Operations TIPS, the Ashcroft initiative that would have encouraged -- but not required -- citizens to spy on one another. Congress rightfully rejected that initiative and they should do the same with H.R. 1528. Big Brother has no business here in America.

Bill Piper is director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.


The title of this post was inspired by Jolly Roger of . His site is worth checking out!

A "MUST READ" ITEM... to be found at "Truth Serum"!

Fred has a great blog. The must-read is just below the Tom Tomorrow "Karl Rove Talking Points" cartoon. The post is titled "It's the Liberal Media". Excellent stuff!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Homeland Security Self-Examination

by Ray Lesser in The Funny Times

Homeland Security is the job of all patriotic Americans. Although the FBI, CIA and hundreds of other government agencies are spending millions of man-hours and billions of tax dollars trying their best to root out terrorism, Americans are still in danger. It is impossible for the Homeland Security Department to interrogate every single person in this country (and torture an occasional squealer) to sort out the good citizens from the evildoers.

That's why we've created the following Homeland Security Self-Examination. There's no longer any need for invasive and expensive government agency procedures to determine whether or not you're a terrorist. Now, you can do it yourself (as required by sec. 2476, sub-paragraph B, of the USA Patriot Act).

You may have thought all people who get infected by terrorism eventually die, either by blowing themselves up or rotting in a concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. But early detection can help prevent terrorism. By taking this simple Homeland Security Self-Exam, you can find out if you are in danger of becoming a danger to yourself and others around you.

The Homeland Security Department recommends that all Americans over the age of 12 examine their patriotism once a month. If a change should occur in your patriotism level let your local FBI agent know, so that you can receive free government monitoring.
Homeland Security Self-Exam:

Every American should own, and know how to use a gun because:
a. We may be called upon at any moment to fend off a jihad of foreign invaders.
b. We may need to protect our valuables from millions of newly unemployed slum-dwellers.
c. It's fun to shoot things.
d. We may be called upon to overthrow a tyrannical leadership that has stolen an election and usurped our freedoms.

Every American should be fingerprinted because:
a. After all good Americans are fingerprinted, only the evil ones will be left to round up and lock away.
b. It will prevent thieves from stealing my identity, and using it to rack up my Victoria's Secret credit card.
c. If you're ever kidnapped by terrorists, it'll help the authorities find and identify your body.
d. No American should ever be fingerprinted, unless they have been convicted of a felony.

My religion is:
a. Fundamentalist Christian awaiting the Rapture.
b. Christian, with a major in business.
c. Non-Christian, but seriously considering converting.
d. None of the government's business.

I fly the American Flag:
a. On both sides of my SUV.
b. In front of company headquarters.
c. On three-day weekends.
d. At half-staff to mourn for the death of our democracy.

If I find that my neighbor, a subsidiary of a multi-national corporation, is stockpiling hazardous waste in their backyard I should:
a. Ask the company to hide the waste by burying it, so that no terrorists can possibly attempt to use it for some evil plot.
b. Contact the Environmental Protection Agency, which takes care of all environmental problems, so you don't have anything to worry about.
c. Shut-up and mind my own business.
d. Warn other neighbors and the media about the danger.

I am most afraid of:
a. Islamic Fundamentalists.
b. An IRS audit.
c. Getting SARS, smallpox, or anthrax without health insurance.
d. The Republican Party.

The Bill of Rights:
a. Is no substitute for the Ten Commandments.
b. Only applies to generous campaign contributors.
c. Is worth sacrificing to protect my family from terrorists.
d. Guarantees the rights of the people against the abuses of power by the Federal government.

In regard to foreign countries, what should a patriot do?:
a. Do onto others pre-emptively, before they do onto you.
b. Through bribery, assassination, and subterfuge, install puppet governments that will allow us to extract all their natural resources.
c. Bomb'em if they mess with us.
d. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.

Most of my money is:
a. Spent supporting people who believe in salvation.
b. In oil and defense stocks.
c. Spent on rent and groceries.
d. In a glass jar on my dresser.

When I shop I look to see:
a. A Made-in-the-USA label.
b. Where the designer section is.
c. Where the security cameras are.
d. Whether the goods were made by sweatshop labor.

Every American deserves an equal opportunity to:
a. Pray for forgiveness for their sins.
b. Inherit all their family's wealth, free of taxes.
c. Work hard, and party hearty.
d. Employment, regardless of race, color, weight, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime?:
a. No, Daddy arranged things with the judge.
b. Yes, but I paid a substantial penalty to the SEC, so it's all been cleared up.
c. Yes, but I didn't do it.
d. Yes, for protesting in a "non-free-speech" zone.

I would be proud to serve my President:
a. As a missionary to the heathen hordes.
b. By accepting multi-billion dollar contracts to rebuild any country he wants to bomb.
c. By enlisting in the Marines, if it wasn't for my anal cysts.
d. A subpoena to appear in court.

Now total your points: Each a. = 1 point, b. = 2 points, c. = 3 points, d. = 1000 points.

Your Patriotism Level:

Less than 15: A Loyal American! (Report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood.)
15-30: A Friend of The President (Get out your checkbook).
30-39: Born in the USA (Watch more Fox News).
Over 39: Terrorist or Terrorist sympathizer (You're either with us, or you're against us. Consider this your final warning.)

Snave's note: My score on this quiz was 11,006. This places me squarely in the company of bad people. Sorry to have disappointed you!


The above items are available at .


"I don't remember much about college, but I'll bet those were the good old days."

- Snave, during his recent and wonderful semi-lost weekend in Seattle

Thursday, July 14, 2005


FreeFileHosting.Net has screwed me on this animation! For those of you who were lucky enough to experience in all its glory, thanks for your comments! I am unable to get it to appear as it should when I use Blogger tool, so. Rest in peace, little angry computer man!


For those of you who haven't read The Funny Times, it's definitely worth a look. Check it out at !

Friday, July 08, 2005


I'll be back next Wednesday (the 13th) or so. Come back then, and we'll talk!

In the meantime, be sure to check out some of the excellent blogs in my list of links at the bottom of this page! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


PITTSBURGH (AP) - James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite spot: in a recliner, in front of a TV showing his beloved team in action.

Smith, 55, of Pittsburgh, died of prostate cancer Thursday. Because his death wasn't unexpected, his family was able to plan for an unusual viewing Tuesday night.

The Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home erected a small stage in a viewing room, and arranged furniture on it much as it was in Smith's home on game day Sundays.

Smith's body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.

"I couldn't stop crying after looking at the Steeler blanket in his lap," said his sister, MaryAnn Nails, 58. "He loved football and nobody did (anything) until the game went off. It was just like he was at home."

Longtime friend Mary Jones called the viewing "a celebration."

"I saw it and I couldn't even cry," she said. "People will see him the way he was."

Smith's burial plans were more traditional - he'll be laid to rest in a casket.

Snave's note: while this might qualify as a "news of the weird" story, I find it touching. I'm an Oregon Ducks and Seattle Mariners fan, and to a degree I can understand. "Fan" is short for "fanatic", after all. On the other hand, once I'm dead the plan is for me to be cremated, so in my case they would have to prop up the urn in front of the tube.


cartoon by Steve Bell

The Impending Decline of Saudi Oil Output
By Michael T. Klare (article found at

For those oil enthusiasts who believe that petroleum will remain abundant for decades to come -- among them, the President, the Vice President, and their many friends in the oil industry -- any talk of an imminent "peak" in global oil production and an ensuing decline can be easily countered with a simple mantra: "Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia." Not only will the Saudis pump extra oil now to alleviate global shortages, it is claimed, but they will keep pumping more in the years ahead to quench our insatiable thirst for energy. And when the kingdom's existing fields run dry, lo, they will begin pumping from other fields that are just waiting to be exploited. We ordinary folk need have no worries about oil scarcity, because Saudi Arabia can satisfy our current and future needs. This is, in fact, the basis for the administration's contention that we can continue to increase our yearly consumption of oil, rather than conserve what's left and begin the transition to a post-petroleum economy. Hallelujah for Saudi Arabia!

But now, from an unexpected source, comes a devastating challenge to this powerful dogma: In a newly-released book, investment banker Matthew R. Simmons convincingly demonstrates that, far from being capable of increasing its output, Saudi Arabia is about to face the exhaustion of its giant fields and, in the relatively near future, will probably experience a sharp decline in output. "There is only a small probability that Saudi Arabia will ever deliver the quantities of petroleum that are assigned to it in all the major forecasts of world oil production and consumption," he writes in Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. "Saudi Arabian production," he adds, italicizing his claims to drive home his point, "is at or very near its peak sustainable volume . . . and it is likely to go into decline in the very foreseeable future."

In addition, there is little chance that Saudi Arabia will ever discover new fields that can take up the slack from those now in decline. "Saudi Arabia's exploration efforts over the last three decades were more intense than most observers have assumed," Simmons asserts. "The results of these efforts were modest at best."

If Simmons is right about Saudi Arabian oil production -- and the official dogma is wrong -- we can kiss the era of abundant petroleum goodbye forever. This is so for a simple reason: Saudi Arabia is the world's leading oil producer, and there is no other major supplier (or combination of suppliers) capable of making up for the loss in Saudi production if its output falters. This means that if the Saudi Arabia mantra proves deceptive, we will find ourselves in an entirely new world -- the "twilight age" of petroleum, as Simmons puts it. It will not be a happy place.
Before taking up the implications of a possible decline in Saudi Arabian oil output, it is important to look more closely at the two sides in this critical debate: the official view, as propagated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), and the contrary view, as represented by Simmons' new book.

The prevailing view goes like this: According to the DoE, Saudi Arabia possesses approximately one-fourth of the world's proven oil reserves, an estimated 264 billion barrels. In addition, the Saudis are believed to harbor additional, possible reserves containing another few hundred billion barrels. On this basis, the DoE asserts that "Saudi Arabia is likely to remain the world's largest oil producer for the foreseeable future."

To fully grasp Saudi Arabia's vital importance to the global energy equation, it is necessary to consider the DoE's projections of future world oil demand and supply. Because of the rapidly growing international thirst for petroleum -- much of it coming from the United States and Europe, but an increasing share from China, India, and other developing nations -- the world's expected requirement for petroleum is projected to jump from 77 million barrels per day in 2001 to 121 million barrels by 2025, a net increase of 44 million barrels. Fortunately, says the DoE, global oil output will also rise by this amount in the years ahead, and so there will be no significant oil shortage to worry about. But over one-fourth of this additional oil -- some 12.3 million barrels per day -- will have to come from Saudi Arabia, the only country capable of increasing its output by this amount. Take away Saudi Arabia's added 12.3 million barrels, and there is no possibility of satisfying anticipated world demand in 2025.

One could, of course, suggest that some other oil producers will step in to provide the additional supplies needed, notably Iraq, Nigeria, and Russia. But these countries together would have to increase their own output by more than 100% simply to play their already assigned part in the Department of Energy's anticipated global supply gain over the next two decades. This in itself may exceed their production capacities. To suggest that they could also make up for the shortfall in Saudi production stretches credulity to the breaking point.

It is not surprising, then, that the Department of Energy and the Saudi government have been very nervous about the recent expressions of doubt about the Saudi capacity to boost its future oil output. These doubts were first aired in a front-page story by Jeff Gerth in the New York Times on February 25, 2004. Relying, to some degree, on information provided by Matthew Simmons, Gerth reported that Saudi Arabia's oil fields "are in decline, prompting industry and government officials to raise serious questions about whether the kingdom will be able to satisfy the world's thirst for oil in coming years."

Gerth's report provoked a barrage of counter-claims by the Saudi government. Their country, Saudi officials insisted, could increase its production and satisfy future world demand. "[Saudi Arabia] has immense proven reserves of oil with substantial upside potential," Abdallah S. Jum'ah, the president of Saudi Aramco, declared in April 2004. "We are capable of expanding capacity to high levels rapidly, and of maintaining those levels for long periods of time." This exchange prompted the DoE to insert a sidebar on this topic in its International Energy Outlook for 2004. "In an emphatic rebuttal to the New York Times article [of February 24]," the DoE noted, "Saudi Arabia maintained that its oil producers are confident in their ability to sustain significantly higher levels of production capacity well into the middle of this century." This being the case, we ordinary folks need not worry about future shortages. Given Saudi abundance, the DoE wrote, we "would expect conventional oil to peak closer to the middle than to the beginning of the 21st century."

In these, and other such assertions, U.S. oil experts always come back to the same point: Saudi oil managers "are confident in their ability" to achieve significantly higher levels of output well into the future. In no instance, however, have they provided independent verification of this capacity; they simply rely on the word of those oil officials, who have every incentive to assure us of their future reliability as suppliers. In the end, therefore, it comes down to this: America's entire energy strategy, with its commitment to an increased reliance on petroleum as the major source of our energy, rests on the unproven claims of Saudi oil producers that they can, in fact, continuously increase Saudi output in accordance with the DoE's predictions.

And this is where Matthew Simmons enters the picture, with his meticulously documented book showing that Saudi producers cannot be trusted to tell the truth about future Saudi oil output.
First, a few words about the author of Twilight in the Desert. Matthew ("Matt") Simmons is not a militant environmentalist or anti-oil partisan; he is Chairman and CEO of one of the nation's leading oil-industry investment banks, Simmons & Company International. For decades, Simmons has been pouring billions of dollars into the energy business, financing the exploration and development of new oil reservoirs. In the process, he has become a friend and associate of many of the top figures in the oil industry, including George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. He has also accumulated a vast storehouse of information about the world's major oil fields, the prospects for new discoveries, and the techniques for extracting and marketing petroleum. There is virtually no figure better equipped than Simmons to assess the state of the world's oil supply. And this is why his assessment of Saudi Arabia's oil production capacity is so devastating.

Essentially, Simmons argument boils down to four major points: (1) most of Saudi Arabia's oil output is generated by a few giant fields, of which Ghawar -- the world's largest -- is the most prolific; (2) these giant fields were first developed 40 to 50 years ago, and have since given up much of their easily-extracted petroleum; (3) to maintain high levels of production in these fields, the Saudis have come to rely increasingly on the use of water injection and other secondary recovery methods to compensate for the drop in natural field pressure; and (4) as time goes on, the ratio of water to oil in these underground fields rises to the point where further oil extraction becomes difficult, if not impossible. To top it all off, there is very little reason to assume that future Saudi exploration will result in the discovery of new fields to replace those now in decline.

Twilight in the Desert is not an easy book to read. Most of it consists of a detailed account of Saudi Arabia's vast oil infrastructure, relying on technical papers written by Saudi geologists and oil engineers on various aspects of production in particular fields. Much of this has to do with the aging of Saudi fields and the use of water injection to maintain high levels of pressure in their giant underground reservoirs. As Simmons explains, when an underground reservoir is first developed, oil gushes out of the ground under its own pressure; as the field is drained of easily-extracted petroleum, however, Saudi oil engineers often force water into the ground on the circumference of the reservoir in order to drive the remaining oil into the operating well. By drawing on these technical studies -- cited here for the first time in a systematic, public manner -- Simmons is able to show that Ghawar and other large fields are rapidly approaching the end of their productive lives.

Simmons' conclusion from all this is unmistakably pessimistic: "The ‘twilight' of Saudi Arabian oil envisioned in this book is not a remote fantasy. Ninety percent of all the oil that Saudi Arabia has ever produced has come from seven giant fields. All have now matured and grown old, but they still continue to provide around 90 percent of current Saudi oil output … High-volume production at these key fields ... has been maintained for decades by injecting massive amounts of water that serves to keep pressures high in the huge underground reservoirs . . . When these water projection programs end in each field, steep production declines are almost inevitable."
This being the case, it would be the height of folly to assume that the Saudis are capable of doubling their petroleum output in the years ahead, as projected by the Department of Energy. Indeed, it will be a minor miracle if they raise their output by a million or two barrels per day and sustain that level for more than a year or so. Eventually, in the not-too-distant future, Saudi production will begin a sharp decline from which there is no escape. And when that happens, the world will face an energy crisis of unprecedented scale.

The moment that Saudi production goes into permanent decline, the Petroleum Age as we know it will draw to a close. Oil will still be available on international markets, but not in the abundance to which we have become accustomed and not at a price that many of us will be able to afford. Transportation, and everything it effects -- which is to say, virtually the entire world economy -- will be much, much more costly. The cost of food will also rise, as modern agriculture relies to an extraordinary extent on petroleum products for tilling, harvesting, pest protection, processing, and delivery. Many other products made with petroleum -- paints, plastics, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and so forth -- will also prove far more costly. Under these circumstances, a global economic contraction -- with all the individual pain and hardship that would surely produce -- appears nearly inevitable.

If Matt Simmons is right, it is only a matter of time before this scenario comes to pass. If we act now to limit our consumption of oil and develop non-petroleum energy alternatives, we can face the "twilight" of the Petroleum Age with some degree of hope; if we fail to do so, we are in for a very grim time indeed. And the longer we cling to the belief that Saudi Arabia will save us, the more painful will be our inevitable fall.

Given the high stakes involved, there is no doubt that intense efforts will be made to refute Simmons' findings. With the publication of his book, however, it will no longer be possible for oil aficionados simply to chant "Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia" and convince us that everything is all right in the oil world. Through his scrupulous research, Simmons has convincingly demonstrated that -- because all is not well with Saudi Arabia's giant oilfields -- the global energy situation can only go downhill from here. From now on, those who believe that oil will remain abundant indefinitely are the ones who must produce irrefutable evidence that Saudi Arabia's fields are, in fact, capable of achieving higher levels of output.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency (Metropolitan Books).

Monday, July 04, 2005


How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think.
--- Adolf Hitler

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
--- Martin Luther King

The great political criminals must be made the object of laughter.
--- Bertoldt Brecht

All truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as self-evident.
--- Arthur Schopenhauer

The Church says the Earth is flat. But I know that it is round. For I have seen the shadow on the moon. And I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church.
--- Ferdinand Magellen

You did not weave the web of life; you are merely a strand in it. Whatever you do to the web, you do to yourself. You may think you own the land; you do not.
--- Chief Seattle, 1854

A world in which it is wrong to murder an individual civilian and right to drop a thousand tons of high explosive on a residential area does sometimes make me wonder whether this earth of ours is not a loony bin made use of by some other planet.
--- George Orwell
I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want, and get it.
--- Eugene V. Debs

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping the common people quiet.
--- Napoleon Bonaparte

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
--- Bertrand Russell

I can't believe that we are going to let a majority of the people decide what's best for the state.
--- Rep. John Travis, Louisiana State legislature

Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
--- Oscar Wilde

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscentious stupidity.
--- Martin Luther King

American politics are deeply contradictory of course, but anti-intellectualism . . . is the common strain. This includes a deep suspicion of anything that isn't simple, fundamental, traditional, down-to-earth and American in the ideological sense, and can be exploited easily by demagogues and cynical politicians of the right. The key word is freedom, which includes the freedom to own and use firearms, the freedom to trade and use the marketplace without restraint even if it means serious injury to health and decency, the freedom above all to make America's will rule all over the earth.
--- Edward Said

I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
--- Emiliano Zapata

You hear about 'constitutional rights,' 'free speech,' and the 'free press.' Every time I hear these words I say to myself, 'That man is a Red....' You never hear a real American talk like that.
--- Mayor Frank Hague, Jersey City

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
--- H.L. Mencken

Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.
--- Lois Wyse

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars
--- Oscar Wilde

I don't feel we did wrong taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themseleves.
--- John Wayne

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.
--- Mahatma Gandhi

When asked what he thought about Western civilization: "I think it would be a good idea."
--- Mahatma Gandhi

Poverty is the worst form of violence.
--- Mahatma Gandhi

The principle of an eye for an eye will some day make the whole world blind.
--- Mahatma Gandhi

Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks the whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns somersaults when there is no whip.
--- George Orwell

When I feed the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.
--- Dom Helder Camara, Archbishop of Recife, Brazil

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him whose.
--- Don Marquis

You don't have to be in jail to be doing time.
--- Tupac Shakur

The bigger the lie, the more often it's told, the more who believe it.
--- Joseph Gobbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda

Atheists do look for answers to existence itself. They just dont make them up.
--- Teller, from "Penn & Teller"

The truth is rarely pure. And never simple.
--- Oscar Wilde

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
--- Charles de Gualle
I was born a Heretic. I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows.
--- Susan B. Anthony

It's no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
--- Krishnamarti

Charity is no substitute for justice witheld.
--- St. Augustine

One cannot say that all conservatives are stupid people, one can say that most stupid people are conservative.
--- John Stuart Mill

They will do whatever we let them get away with.
--- Joseph Heller

Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; For not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.
--- Jesus Christ


From Yahoo! News:

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The owners of the other contestants in this year's World's Ugliest Dog Contest may have thought their pooches had a chance — until they saw Sam.

The 14-year-old pedigreed Chinese crested recently won the Sonoma-Marin Fair contest for the third consecutive time, and it's no surprise.

The tiny dog has no hair, if you don't count the yellowish-white tuft erupting from his head. His wrinkled brown skin is covered with splotches, a line of warts marches down his snout, his blind eyes are an alien, milky white and a fleshy flap of skin hangs from his withered neck. And then there's the Austin Powers teeth that jut at odd angles from his mouth.

He's so ugly even the judges recoiled when he was placed on the judging table, said his proud owner, Susie Lockheed, of Santa Barbara.

"People are always horrified when I kiss him. He may turn into a prince yet. He's definitely a toad," she said. "I always thought he'd be great on greeting cards or on a commercial for Rogaine."

Sam, who's pushing 15, has something of a cult following after winning the contest — and fans' hearts — for three years running. Last year, huge crowds gathered around Sam and Lockheed at a local parade and Lockheed said she received letters and calls about her pup for weeks.

"So many people have told me they've got his picture on their refrigerator. He certainly has a little cult following," she said. "I did years of professional musical theater and never achieved the fame Sam has."

Sam will appear in this weekend's Fourth of July parade in Santa Barbara, but the recent events may be the cap on a long, ugly career. Lockheed says Sam's now suffering from congestive heart failure, lung and kidney problems and has definitely slowed down in his twilight years.

Still, he enjoys regular gourmet meals of sirloin steak, cheese balls, roasted chicken and flan (so he'll swallow his multiple pills). He also passes occasional weekends at the Gaviota ranch of Lockheed's boyfriend, where the World's Ugliest Dog rides in the back of an ATV with his few remaining hairs wafting in the wind.


This picture was swiped from a very nice blog called . Now isn't this just a sweet picture? He probably won't get ratted out, but we can sure hope there is someone out there with enough cojones to get the job done!

Sunday, July 03, 2005


So Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring, and William Rehnquist probably isn't far behind. Ick. I was really, really hoping they could both hold out for a few more years.

So now, for the foreseeable future, we're faced with the ugly spectre of heated Senate battles over Supreme Court nominees.

Well... in the deal that was worked out over the filibuster issue, I think the Dems agreed not to filibuster except under extraordinary circumstances. Depending upon who the president and his buddies decide to nominate, the circumstances could range from mildly worrisome to quite extraordinary.

I think that if Bush protrays a nominee as moderate but that the nominee is someone young enough to be on the Court for another 30-40 years... I say "Look out!" I firmly believe the far-right religious fundamentalists would like nothing more than to see 2-3 more folks like Scalia and Thomas, young people in their 40's, added to the court during the next few years. A Court like that would have a blast overturning numerous rulings that rankle the Christian Coalition types, regardless of whether or not overturning such rulings would be within the boundaries of the Constitution.

If the prospect of our Supreme Court becoming irrelevant due to it becoming a blatantly politically partisan group bothers you, write to your Senators and Congressman. Call them, send them e-mails. Let them know you want a balanced Court.

And if you don't agree, go ahead and say the Court has been populated with liberals for years and years. Whether or not it has been, that is no reason to convert the U.S. Supreme Court into a politically partisan Supreme Court. Remember, everything in moderation! A "tit for tat" attitude shouldn't be entertained when we're talking about something as serious as this.

Sandra Day O'Connor was a moderate, and she was appointed by the beloved Ronald Reagan. Even he wasn't so transparent as to try and nominate people who are way far to the right. Who else will Bush nominate? Judge Moore from Alabama? Some "religious activist" judge? Heh...

Heaven help the United States of America.



"I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive." 8/4/02

"I can assure you that, even though I won't be sitting through every single moment of the seminars, nor will the vice president, we will look at the summaries." 8/13/02

"I recently met with the finance minister of the Palestinian Authority --- was very impressed by his grasp of finances." 5/29/03

"Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace." 7/25/03

"We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in doing so we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure." 5/3/03

"There's no doubt in my mind that we should allow the world's worst leaders to hold America hostage, to threaten our peace, to threaten our friends and allies with the world's worst weapons." 9/5/02

"There's no cave deep enough for America, or dark enough to hide." 8/29/02