Monday, October 31, 2005


Have a happy and enjoyable Halloween! Give kids lots of candy, wear a costume, and just have a good old time! You may go to Hell for it though, according to some people... The following is from . Read it, if you can, and let me know what you think of it. I think that some people just don't have enough stuff to worry about!


Every year at the end of October we are treated to the sight of excited children masquerading as witches, pirates, devils, ghosts, vampires, and other symbols of evil. From door to door they go yelling "Trick or treat" collecting candies and tidbits.But is it all fun and games? In this pamphlet we will look at both the history of Halloween and at where it has lead many children and is still leading them today.

The History of Halloween:
Halloween is a "religious day" but is certainly not a Christian day. This day has its origins in the full moon closest to November 1, the new year of real witches and warlocks. They believe that it is a tine when the "Spirits" (demons) are at their peak power.

The origin of Halloween is the Celtic Festival of Sambain, the lord of death and evil Spirits (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1988, volume 5, p. 646). Long before Jesus Christ ever walked the streets of Jerusalem, Druids in Britain, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Germany observed the end of summer by making sacrifices to Sambain. The Celts con- sidered November 1st as being the day of death because the leaves were falling, it was getting darker sooner and temperatures were dropping. They believed Muck Olla, their sun god was losing strength and Sambain, the lord of death, was overpowering him. Further they believed that on October 31st Sambain assembled the spirits of all who had died during the previous year. They believed that these spirits had been confined to inhabit animal's bodies for the past year as punishment for their evil deeds. They were allowed to return to their former home to visit the living on the eve (Oct. 31) of the feast of Sambain. Druid priests led the people to diabolical worship ceremonies in which horses, cats, black sheep, oxen, human beings and other offerings were rounded up, stuffed into wicker cages and burned to death. This was done to appease Sambain and keep spirits from harming them. HALLOWEEN HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CELEBRATION OF DEATH.

This is the origin of bonfires. The word bonfire actually comes from "bone fire" which was all that was left after the sacrificial ceremonies were ended. Remember that next time you decide to have a bonfire at a social gathering.

To obtain offerings for these bonfires, Druid priests would circulate from home to home asking for animals and humans. Those who gave were promised prosperity in the coming year and those who did not were cursed and threatened.

It was believed that all of the wandering spirits would get hungry. So you could appease them by setting out a treat, and thus avoid the pranks they would otherwise play on you. Thus we see the origin of TRICK OR TREAT.

Believing that evil spirits hate the light, it became a practice to carry a lantern made from a turnip lit with coals from the bonfire. As the people went home from the ceremony, they used these lanterns to ward of evil spirits and to mark those houses which were in sympathy with Druidic practices. Over the centuries this custom came to America, and the turnip was exchanged for the more popular pumpkin. This has become today's Jack-O-lantern.

When you give out candy to the TRICK-OR-TREAT mob you are participating in Druidic practices. In actuality you are stooping to idolatry. In setting a carved pumpkin with a light in it you are participating in the faith of witches.

Dracula, a common figure in Halloween today, does not appear to be from the Druidic tradition. The legend of Dracula today springs from the novel of that title created by B. Stoker. Stoker took some Romanian superstitions and mixed them thoroughly with pseudo-Christian errors to produce the modern Dracula. But there was a real Dracula on whom the superstitions originated, an incredibly bloody and cruel Romanian who called himself "Vlad Dracul" (Vlad the Dragon in English). His claims to infamy are based on the tens of thousands of people he impaled on large stakes and left hanging in agony for hours before they died, and the hundreds he locked in a building and then burned the building down around. Here again the reality behind the symbol is anything but Christian. (For documentation of the real Dracula, see virtually any historical book on the subject in your local library.)

As for costumes, they have their origin in Druidism also. The very people who went on the Druidic Halloween were those who were burning animals and humans to death. But these people themselves, believing their own Satanic faith, feared the spirits they thought to be so powerful on this night. So they dressed up as if they themselves were spirits to avoid being "tricked" by their look-alikes. Their costumes also served to disguise their real identity and throw fear into the inhabitants of the homes they visited. So dressing your children up in Halloween costumes is participating in a Satanic festival.

In fact, Halloween is the first introduction for most children into the occult and is a major force in the spreading of satanic ritual murder in America today.

Our forefathers recognized the harm of Halloween, associating it with the occult. The Pilgrims banned celebrating Halloween in America. This ban lasted until 1845 when thousands of Irish emigrants flooded into New York because of the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1846. They brought Halloween with them and it gradually spread throughout the country.


Let's let the Bible speak for itself on this demonic festival of Halloween.

I Corinthians 10:20-21: "But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."

The identity of the god of the real Dracula, the man who called himself a dragon, is given in Revelation 12:7,9.

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels....And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

The Bible speaks very clearly that the evil spirits that are in the world are not the spirits of departed souls, for the dead are in their graves, unconscious.

Psalms 146:4: "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to the earth, in that very day his thoughts perish."

Isaiah 26:14: "They are dead, they shall not Iive; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish."

John 5:28-29: "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (If the dead could be alive somewhere they would not need to be resurrected at all!)

Psalms 6:5: "For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?"

Isaiah 38:18-19: "For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth."

Snave's Note: Scheise... I guess I had better go to and order pamphlets for the trick-or-treaters, to give them instead of candy. THAT will surely keep the little snot-nosed beggars from coming back next year! Bwahahahaha!!!


The following is from :

The Legend:
The average person swallows eight spiders each year.

Behind the Legend:
You'll be pleased to hear that this is not true. The only way one could reasonably say that a person eats eight spiders a year is by assuming, a) that you can add up all the spider parts found in typical foodstuffs (e.g., vegetables, rice, hamburger buns) until you reach the mass of a spider and call that one spider, b) that all spiders are as large as medium-size tarantulas, when in fact most of the spiders eaten each year are significantly smaller, and c) that spiders that crawl into your mouth while you are asleep don't count as having been eaten. But without making such wild assumptions, one can only say that the average person eats 10-12 whole spiders a year, and some two to three pounds of miscellaneous spider parts.

Saturday, October 29, 2005




If you are interested in reading customer reviews of what may be one of the greatest books in the history of American literature, go to:

Thanks to J. Marquis for alerting me to this gem. I may have to order a used copy of this one.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


I think the fact that Harriet Miers has withdrawn herself from consideration for the open Supreme Court positions raises about as many questions as it answers. I simultaneously feel relieved and maybe more afraid about the next nomination that I was about Miers...

I believe that choosing Miers in the first place was a pretty dumb move on Dubya's part. He picked someone who was unqualified for the job, and this quickly became painfully obvious to all who watched the fiasco unfold. I think it got to the point where something had to be done, or the administration and the Republican party would have had to suffer the embarrassment of the president's nominee not getting enough votes. The administration did not need a defeat like that, not when they are down as low as they are due to the Katrina aftermath, the unpopularity of the Iraq war, and potential indictments for some of the administration's top bottom-feeders.

Was Miers asked to withdraw by Bush, Rove, etc. in order to try and "fix a mistake", or did she do so on her own accord after receiving a communication from Senator Arlen Specter that pretty much told her she would have to answer all kinds of questions he knew she wouldn't be able to answer?

For the sake of the United States of America and for her own sake, I am glad Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination. I believe we need someone with some actual qualifications as the next nominee.

On the other hand, I see her withdrawal as something that will help the GOP to re-unify itself. I think Bush will now nominate someone like Priscilla Owen or Karen Williams, or at least someone with a well-established anti-abortion record.

Why? The "Religious Right" (which is neither), of course! They were terribly upset by the Miers nomination, because they could not be certain of her moral purity or whatever. So in order to continue his shameless kissing of the arses of the Dobsons, Falwells and Robertsons of the world (and their followers), Dubya will pick a real doozer this time. It will be someone who is about as far to the right as can be, and unless moderate Republicans stand up and vote "No", not making a "party uber alles" thing out of it, we could get a genuine kookball as our next Supreme Court justice.

Which would be worse? An unknown commodity (but probably a right-wing whacko) with no judicial experience, or... a certified (certifiable) right-wing whacko?

This is from an MSNBC article:

“Let’s move on,” said Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi. “In a month, who will remember the name Harriet Miers?”

Sorry, Trent. The Democrats won't forget, and the Republicans will be trying to forget.

I can't wait to hear the GOP folks start saying "We're not talking about Harriet Miers anymore, we're talking about __________" (insert name of right-wing whackjob here).

Our Democrat response should be "Yes, we are still talking about Harriet Miers, because her nomination illustrates a larger problem. In nominating her, Dubya made one more bad decision in a series of many. How are we supposed to trust that this nominee is better than the last one?"

How are we to trust Dubya when it comes to matters which involve making intelligent decisions based on the analysis of facts? If we can't trust him to do that, how can we trust him at all?

My opinion? We can't, plain and simple.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


How Scary Is This?

By Bob Herbert

The New York Times

Monday 24 October 2005

The White House is sweating out the possibility that one or more top officials will soon be indicted on criminal charges. But the Bush administration is immune to prosecution for its greatest offense - its colossal and profoundly tragic incompetence.

Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, addressed the administration's arrogance and ineptitude in a talk last week that was astonishingly candid by Washington standards.

"We have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran," said Mr. Wilkerson. "Generally, with regard to domestic crises like Katrina, Rita ... we haven't done very well on anything like that in a long time. And if something comes along that is truly serious, something like a nuclear weapon going off in a major American city, or something like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence."

The investigation of Karl Rove, Scooter Libby et al. is the most sensational story coming out of Washington at the moment. But the story with the gravest implications for the U.S. and the world is the overall dysfunction of the Bush regime. This is a bomb going "Tick, tick, tick . . ." What is the next disaster that this crowd will be unprepared to cope with? Or the next lunatic idea that will spring from its ideological bag of tricks?

Mr. Wilkerson gave his talk before an audience at the New America Foundation, an independent public policy institute. On the all-important matter of national security, which many voters had seen as the strength of the administration, Mr. Wilkerson said:

"The case that I saw for four-plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to the national security decision-making process. What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made."

When the time came to implement the decisions, said Mr. Wilkerson, they were "presented in such a disjointed, incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn't know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out."

Where was the president? According to Mr. Wilkerson, "You've got this collegiality there between the secretary of defense and the vice president, and you've got a president who is not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either."

One of the consequences of this dysfunction, as I have noted many times, is the unending parade of dead or badly wounded men and women returning to the U.S. from the war in Iraq - a war that the administration foolishly launched but now does not know how to win or end.

Mr. Wilkerson was especially critical of the excessive secrecy that surrounded so many of the most important decisions by the Bush administration, and of what he felt was a general policy of concentrating too much power in the hands of a small group of insiders. As much as possible, government in the United States is supposed to be open and transparent, and a fundamental principle is that decision-making should be subjected to a robust process of checks and balances.

While not "evaluating the decision to go to war," Mr. Wilkerson told his audience that under the present circumstances "we can't leave Iraq. We simply can't." In his view, if American forces were to pull out too quickly, the U.S. would end up returning to the Middle East with "five million men and women under arms" within a decade.

Nevertheless, he is appalled at the way the war was launched and conducted, and outraged by "the detainee abuse issue." In 10 years, he said, when this matter is "put to the acid test, ironed out, and people have looked at it from every angle, we are going to be ashamed of what we allowed to happen."

Mr. Wilkerson said he has taken some heat for speaking out, but feels that "as a citizen of this great republic," he has an obligation to do so. If nothing is done about the current state of affairs, he said, "it's going to get even more dangerous than it already is."

Snave's note: Maybe the Hydra doesn't have as many heads as we think. What would a Bush administration be like without Rove, Cheney, Libby and Rumsfeld? It likely won't turn out that way, and is probably just wishful thinking... but let's play "what if" with this one.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Karl and Scooter's Excellent Adventure
By Frank Rich
The New York Times Sunday 23 October 2005

There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda on 9/11. There was scant Pentagon planning for securing the peace should bad stuff happen after America invaded. Why, exactly, did we go to war in Iraq?

"It still isn't possible to be sure - and this remains the most remarkable thing about the Iraq war," writes the New Yorker journalist George Packer, a disenchanted liberal supporter of the invasion, in his essential new book, "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq." Even a former Bush administration State Department official who was present at the war's creation, Richard Haass, tells Mr. Packer that he expects to go to his grave "not knowing the answer."

Maybe. But the leak investigation now reaching its climax in Washington continues to offer big clues. We don't yet know whether Lewis (Scooter) Libby or Karl Rove has committed a crime, but the more we learn about their desperate efforts to take down a bit player like Joseph Wilson, the more we learn about the real secret they wanted to protect: the "why" of the war.

To piece that story together, you have to follow each man's history before the invasion of Iraq - before anyone had ever heard of Valerie Plame Wilson, let alone leaked her identity as a C.I.A. officer. It is not an accident that Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's very different trajectories - one of a Washington policy intellectual, the other of a Texas political operative - would collide before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury. They are very different men who play very different White House roles, but they are bound together now by the sordid shared past that the Wilson affair has exposed.

In Mr. Rove's case, let's go back to January 2002. By then the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan had succeeded in its mission to overthrow the Taliban and had done so with minimal American casualties. In a triumphalist speech to the Republican National Committee, Mr. Rove for the first time openly advanced the idea that the war on terror was the path to victory for that November's midterm elections. Candidates "can go to the country on this issue," he said, because voters "trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." It was an early taste of the rhetoric that would be used habitually to smear any war critics as unpatriotic.

But there were unspoken impediments to Mr. Rove's plan that he certainly knew about: Afghanistan was slipping off the radar screen of American voters, and the president's most grandiose objective, to capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," had not been achieved. How do you run on a war if the war looks as if it's shifting into neutral and the No. 1 evildoer has escaped?

Hardly had Mr. Rove given his speech than polls started to register the first erosion of the initial near-universal endorsement of the administration's response to 9/11. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup survey in March 2002 found that while 9 out of 10 Americans still backed the war on terror at the six-month anniversary of the attacks, support for an expanded, long-term war had fallen to 52 percent.

Then came a rapid barrage of unhelpful news for a political campaign founded on supposed Republican superiority in protecting America: the first report (in The Washington Post) that the Bush administration had lost Bin Laden's trail in Tora Bora in December 2001 by not committing ground troops to hunt him down; the first indications that intelligence about Bin Laden's desire to hijack airplanes barely clouded President Bush's August 2001 Crawford vacation; the public accusations by an F.B.I. whistle-blower, Coleen Rowley, that higher-ups had repeatedly shackled Minneapolis agents investigating the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, in the days before 9/11.

These revelations took their toll. By Memorial Day 2002, a USA Today poll found that just 4 out of 10 Americans believed that the United States was winning the war on terror, a steep drop from the roughly two-thirds holding that conviction in January. Mr. Rove could see that an untelevised and largely underground war against terrorists might not nail election victories without a jolt of shock and awe. It was a propitious moment to wag the dog.

Enter Scooter, stage right. As James Mann details in his definitive group biography of the Bush war cabinet, "Rise of the Vulcans," Mr. Libby had been joined at the hip with Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz since their service in the Defense Department of the Bush 41 administration, where they conceived the neoconservative manifesto for the buildup and exercise of unilateral American military power after the cold war. Well before Bush 43 took office, they had become fixated on Iraq, though for reasons having much to do with their ideas about realigning the states in the Middle East and little or nothing to do with the stateless terrorism of Al Qaeda. Mr. Bush had specifically disdained such interventionism when running against Al Gore, but he embraced the cause once in office. While others might have had cavils - American military commanders testified before Congress about their already overtaxed troops and equipment in March 2002 - the path was clear for a war in Iraq to serve as the political Viagra Mr. Rove needed for the election year.

But here, too, was an impediment: there had to be that "why" for the invasion, the very why that today can seem so elusive that Mr. Packer calls Iraq "the 'Rashomon' of wars." Abstract (and highly debatable) neocon notions of marching to Baghdad to make the Middle East safe for democracy (and more secure for Israel and uninterrupted oil production) would never fly with American voters as a trigger for war or convince them that such a war was relevant to the fight against those who attacked us on 9/11. And though Americans knew Saddam was a despot and mass murderer, that in itself was also insufficient to ignite a popular groundswell for regime change. Polls in the summer of 2002 showed steadily declining support among Americans for going to war in Iraq, especially if we were to go it alone.

For Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush to get what they wanted most, slam-dunk midterm election victories, and for Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney to get what they wanted most, a war in Iraq for reasons predating 9/11, their real whys for going to war had to be replaced by fictional, more salable ones. We wouldn't be invading Iraq to further Rovian domestic politics or neocon ideology; we'd be doing so instead because there was a direct connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda and because Saddam was on the verge of attacking America with nuclear weapons. The facts and intelligence had to be fixed to create these whys; any contradictory evidence had to be dismissed or suppressed.

Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney were in the boiler room of the disinformation factory. The vice president's repetitive hyping of Saddam's nuclear ambitions in the summer and fall of 2002 as well as his persistence in advertising bogus Saddam-Qaeda ties were fed by the rogue intelligence operation set up in his own office. As we know from many journalistic accounts, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby built their "case" by often making an end run around the C.I.A., State Department intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Their ally in cherry-picking intelligence was a similar cadre of neocon zealots led by Douglas Feith at the Pentagon.

This is what Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell's wartime chief of staff, was talking about last week when he publicly chastised the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal" for sowing potential disaster in Iraq, North Korea and Iran. It's this cabal that in 2002 pushed for much of the bogus W.M.D. evidence that ended up in Mr. Powell's now infamous February 2003 presentation to the U.N. It's this cabal whose propaganda was sold by the war's unannounced marketing arm, the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, in which both Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove served in the second half of 2002. One of WHIG's goals, successfully realized, was to turn up the heat on Congress so it would rush to pass a resolution authorizing war in the politically advantageous month just before the midterm election.

Joseph Wilson wasn't a player in these exalted circles; he was a footnote who began to speak out loudly only after Saddam had been toppled and the mission in Iraq had been "accomplished." He challenged just one element of the W.M.D. "evidence," the uranium that Saddam's government had supposedly been seeking in Africa to fuel its ominous mushroom clouds.

But based on what we know about Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's hysterical over-response to Mr. Wilson's accusation, he scared them silly. He did so because they had something to hide. Should Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove have lied to investigators or a grand jury in their panic, Mr. Fitzgerald will bring charges. But that crime would seem a misdemeanor next to the fables that they and their bosses fed the nation and the world as the whys for invading Iraq.

Snave's note: If any of this is true, it is just shows us how far some people will go to win elections... even to war!

Friday, October 21, 2005


Rats Jump Off a Sinking Ship Called Bush
Capitol Hill Blue
Sep 26, 2005

That sound you hear is the stampede of Republicans running like hell from George W. Bush.
The GOP faithful head for the exits, finally aware that close association with the President and his failed Presidency could spell doom for them in the midterm elections next year.

Conservatives lead the rats off the sinking ship. They’ve had enough to Bush’s big-spending, budget-busting antics.

“Conservatives have long been worried about federal finances,” says Republican Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida. “Now that worry is turning into frustration and anger.”

Republicans who joined in the frenzy to approve record amounts of aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina now realize they gave Bush a blank check without any notion of how he intends to pay the bill.

“It would be nice if he would at least give us some idea of how he intends to finance Gulf Coast rebuilding,” says Republican Senator Conrad Burns of Montana.

“Vision is lacking,” says GOP Senator George Voinovich of Ohio. “We’re floundering.”

Republican strategists complain that GOP dissatisfaction with Bush is reaching epidemic proportions. Senior Republicans admit privately they expect to see some GOP candidates distance themselves from Bush.

“There are so many Bush naysayers because of Iraq, there's a piling on effect going on," complains Republican consultant Chris Depino of New Haven, Conn.

Bush’s troubles, of course, leave Democrats gleefully hoping to gain seats in Congress during the midterm elections and possibly take the White House back in 2008.

Just ask Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the House Democratic campaign committee: “I think there's a lot of anger and we're gaining because of that. We could blow it. They can gain ground they've lost, but there's a big shift going on.”

Read the rest of this nice rant at !


Conservative Crackup
How the neocons have developed a political exit strategy.
By Howard Fineman
Oct. 12, 2005

President George W. Bush may have no military exit strategy for Iraq, but the “neocons” who convinced him to go to war there have developed one of their own—a political one: Blame the Administration.

Their neo-Wilsonian theory is correct, they insist, but the execution was botched by a Bush team that has turned out to be incompetent, crony-filled, corrupt, unimaginative and weak over a wide range of issues.

The flight of the neocons—just read a recent Weekly Standard to see what I am talking about —is one of only many indications that the long-predicted “conservative crackup” is at hand.

The “movement” —that began 50 years ago with the founding of Bill Buckley’s National Review; that had its coming of age in the Reagan Years; that reached its zenith with Bush’s victory in 2000—is falling apart at the seams.

In 1973, Karl Rove met George W. Bush, and they became the R2D2 and Luke Skywalker of Republican politics. At first, neither was plugged into “The Force”—the conservative movement. But over the years they learned how to use its power.

By the time Bush was in his second term as governor, laying the groundwork for his presidential run, he and Rove had gathered all of the often competing and sometimes contradictory strains of conservatism into one light beam. You could tell by the people they brought to Austin.

To tie down the religious conservatives, they nudged John Ashcroft out of the race and conducted a literal laying on of hands at the governor’s mansion with leaders such as James Dobson.

For the libertarian anti-tax crowd, they brought in certified supply-sider Larry Lindsey as the top economic advisor.

For the traditional war hawks they brought in Paul Wolfowitz, among others, go get Bush up to speed on the world.

For the traditional corporate types—well, Bush had that taken care of on his own.
But now all the constituent parts are—for various reasons—going their own way. Here's a checklist:

For the rest of the article, go to . I think it's worth a read!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Thanks to friend Joe for sending me this article.

George Will
Houston Chronicle

Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption -- perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting -- should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due.
It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's ``argument'' for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.
He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their prepresidential careers, and this president, particularly, is not disposed to such reflections.
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers' nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers' name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.
In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked -- to insure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance he would be asked -- whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, ``I agree.'' Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, ``I do.''
It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court's role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.
The wisdom of presumptive opposition to Miers' confirmation flows from the fact that constitutional reasoning is a talent -- a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest. It is not usually acquired in the normal course of even a fine lawyer's career. The burden is on Miers to demonstrate such talents, and on senators to compel such a demonstration or reject the nomination.
Under the rubric of ``diversity'' -- nowadays, the first refuge of intellectually disreputable impulses -- the president announced, surely without fathoming the implications, his belief in identity politics and its tawdry corollary, the idea of categorical representation. Identity politics holds that one's essential attributes are genetic, biological, ethnic or chromosomal -- that one's nature and understanding are decisively shaped by race, ethnicity or gender. Categorical representation holds that the interests of a group can only be understood, empathized with and represented by a member of that group.
The crowning absurdity of the president's wallowing in such nonsense is the obvious assumption that the Supreme Court is, like a legislature, an institution of representation. This from a president who, introducing Miers, deplored judges who ``legislate from the bench.''
Minutes after the president announced the nomination of his friend from Texas, another Texas friend, Robert Jordan, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was on Fox News proclaiming what he and, no doubt, the White House that probably enlisted him for advocacy, considered glad and relevant tidings: Miers, said Jordan, has been a victim. She has been, he said contentedly, ``discriminated against'' because of her gender.
Her victimization was not so severe that it prevented her from becoming the first female president of a Texas law firm as large as hers, president of the State Bar of Texas and a senior White House official. Still, playing the victim card clarified, as much as anything has so far done, her credentials, which are her chromosomes and their supposedly painful consequences. For this we need a conservative president?

Joe's note: The author of this essay, George Will, is a long time rabid right wing ideologue. It is interesting to read his more snide comments about Dubya, his long time hero. When W's followers make light of his reasoning abilities, it lends credence to something All Proud Democrats picked up on a long time ago.

Snave's note: George Will may be pretty danged conservative, but I have to admit that during the times, now and then, when he applies reason to his arguments he can be effective. Naturally, I find pleasure in reading about his dissatisfaction with Dubya and the Harriet Miers nomination. George Will isn't critical of Miers for her now-obvious opinions on the issue of abortion, that is, he doesn't seem to have a "litmus test" other than "is she qualified to do the job, or not?" He is critical of Dubya for nominating a friend who has few, if any, credentials for Supreme Court duty.

The more we see prominent conservative pundit question the conservative president, the better. It helps the country realize that... gasp... there are some conservatives who don't like Bush! Because Will seems to be an intelligent person, those who read his columns may make this association and may re-evaluate their voting tendencies during the next few years. Maybe if more people such as George Will become "traitors" and "jump ship", it will at least contribute to the GOP nominating a moderate candidate to run for the presidency in 2008.

Sunday, October 16, 2005



Donald McFarlane and his faithful dog Charley are gone. His final message can be read at his weblog, at . He was actually able to send a picture during his final moments. He will be missed by those few who bothered to visit his weblog. Thanks for all the good times, Donald, wherever you are.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


I found these wonderful curmudgeonly quotes at . By going to this website and hitting the button at the bottom of the page for the previous topic, you can access other pages with excellent quotes on a number of topics. Enjoy!

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up familiar with it. - Max Planck

Actions lie louder than words. - Carolyn Wells

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. - Andre Gide

Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting. - Alan Dean Foster, "To the Vanishing Point"

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. - Douglas Adams

I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up. - Tom Lehrer

It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear. - Dick Cavett

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. - Gertrude Stein

It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy. - James Thurber

It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them! - Friedrich Nietzsche

The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who don't have it. - George Bernard Shaw

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research. - Steven Wright

Write a profound saying and your name will live forever. - Anonymous

You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe. - Marcus Cole, Character in J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5

You know, it's at times like this when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young! . . . Why, what did she tell you? . . . I don't know, I didn't listen! - Douglas Adams, From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe.

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity. - Nick Diamos

No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it. - Charles M. Schulz

One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. - Bertrand Russell

People will buy anything that is one to a customer. - Sinclair Lewis

Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so. - Bertrand Russell

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I didn't think I would find time to add anything to Various Miseries until the weekend, but I couldn't resist this.

The following NBC-Wall St. Journal poll results are in an article by NBC policial reporter Mark Murray at . I have condensed it a bit. Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.
"Any way you slice this data, I think these are just terrible sets of numbers," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

The poll shows that Bush’s approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bush’s job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bush’s presidency.

29 percent say Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, while 24 percent think she’s unqualified. Forty-six percent say they don’t know enough about her.

"Strong majorities don’t believe that the recent charges against GOP leaders Tom DeLay of Texas and Bill Frist of Tennessee are politically motivated. Sixty-five percent say that DeLay’s indictment on charges of illegally using corporate contributions for political campaigns suggests potential illegal activity, while 24 percent say the indictment is politics as usual and has little merit."

"57 percent say Frist’s sale of stock in a company his family runs — just before the value of the stock declined — indicates potential illegal activity, compared with 28 percent who say the charge has little merit."

"With 13 months until the 2006 congressional elections, 48 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who want the Republicans to control Capitol Hill. In fact, that nine-point difference is the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC/Journal poll has been tracking this question."

But Hart argues that Democrats aren’t necessarily responsible for this margin. "It is not that Democrats have done so well," he said. "It is that people are disgusted." McInturff puts it this way: "People are very turned off and unhappy with the state of play in American politics."

Because of this generally sour attitude, the NBC/Journal pollsters doubt that Bush will be able to climb out of his standing anytime soon. "His trampoline [is] made of cement," Hart said.

And while McInturff thinks that Bush’s approval rating actually may actually hover between 40 and 45 percent, he says that’s still problematic terrain from which to govern. "It is a very difficult place to be."

Snave's note: "While the Democrats aren't necessarily responsible for this margin", here's to Democrats helping that margin increase. We Democrats need to offer solutions toi the messes BushCo. has created, and we need to relate to the American people in ways that allow us to connect with independents and moderates. It's easy to sit back and watch things implode, but if we do nothing... well, we are seen as doing nothing.

I usually don't like the concept of "kick 'em while they're down", but in this case I don't have a problem with it. We need to get "happy feet", people!


My apologies, I have simply been too busy (work, family) to post articles, etc. during the past few days. I will be doing some posting this weekend!

Sunday, October 09, 2005




Saturday, October 08, 2005


Friday, October 07, 2005


Tom DeLay's House of Shame

By Jonathan Alter

Congress has always had its share of extremists. But the DeLay era is the first time the fringe has ever been in charge.

A decade ago, I paid a call on Tom DeLay in his ornate office in the Capitol. I had heard a rumor about him that I figured could not possibly be true. The rumor was that after the GOP took control of the House that year, DeLay had begun keeping a little black book with the names of Washington lobbyists who wanted to come see him. If the lobbyists were not Republicans and contributors to his power base, they didn't get into "the people's House." DeLay not only confirmed the story, he showed me the book. His time was limited, DeLay explained with a genial smile. Why should he open his door to people who were not on the team?

Thus began what historians will regard as the single most corrupt decade in the long and colorful history of the House of Representatives. Come on, you say. How about all those years when congressmen accepted cash in the House chamber and then staggered onto the floor drunk? Yes, special interests have bought off members of Congress at least since Daniel Webster took his seat while on the payroll of a bank. And yes, Congress over the years has seen dozens of sex scandals and dozens of members brought low by financial improprieties. But never before has the leadership of the House been hijacked by a small band of extremists bent on building a ruthless shakedown machine, lining the pockets of their richest constituents and rolling back popular protections for ordinary people. These folks borrow like banana republics and spend like Tip O'Neill on speed.

I have no idea if DeLay has technically broken the law. What interests me is how this moderate, evenly divided nation came to be ruled on at least one side of Capitol Hill by a zealot. This is a man who calls the Environmental Protection Agency "the Gestapo of government" and favors repealing the Clean Air Act because "it's never been proven that air toxins are hazardous to people"; who insists repeatedly that judges on the other side of issues "need to be intimidated" and rejects the idea of a separation of church and state; who claims there are no parents trying to raise families on the minimum wage—that "fortunately, such families do not exist" (at least Newt Gingrich was intrigued by the challenges of poverty); who once said: "A woman can't take care of the family. It takes a man to provide structure." I could go on all day. Congress has always had its share of extremists. But the DeLay era is the first time the fringe has ever been in charge.

The only comparison to DeLay Co. might be the Radical Republicans of the 1860s. But the 19th-century Radical Republican agenda was to integrate and remake the South. The 21st-century Radical Republican agenda is to enact the wish list of the tobacco and gun lobbies, repeal health and safety regulations and spend billions on shameless pork-barrel projects to keep the GOP at the trough. Another analogy is to Republican Speaker Joe Cannon, who ran the House with an iron fist a century ago. But Cannon had to contend with Progressive Republicans who eventually stripped him of his power. DeLay's ruling radical conservative claque remains united, at least for now.

Comparisons with fellow Texan Sam Rayburn fall short, too. Rayburn was respected on both sides of the aisle for his rock-solid integrity. He and most other House speakers carefully balanced their support for corporate interests like the oil depletion allowance with at least some sense of the public good. And they had to share much of their power with committee chairmen. Today, seniority is much less important. Chairmen are term-limited (six years) or tossed if they displease DeLay. And this crowd views "the public interest" as strictly for liberal pantywaists.

How have they succeeded? A new book, "Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy," by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, explains how the GOP is simply better than the Democratic Party at the basic blocking and tackling of politics, including the exploitation of cultural and religious issues. The authors argue that even if DeLay goes down, the zealotry and corporate shilling will continue as long as the GOP controls the House. Consider DeLay's temporary replacement, Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt. The Washington Post reported last week that Blunt is respected by Republican members in part because he has "strong ties to the Washington lobbying community." That's a qualification for office?

The only reason the House hasn't done even more damage is that the Senate often sands down the most noxious ideas, making the bills merely bad, not disastrous. What next for the House of Shame? If DeLay's acquitted, he'll be back in power. If he's convicted, his proteges will continue his work. Reform efforts by fiscal conservatives determined to curb their borrow-and-spend colleagues are probably doomed. The only way to get rid of the termites eating away the people's House is to stamp them out at the next election.

Snave's note: I would have to take a look at the history of Congress from several different viewpoints before I could say whether or not I agree with the historical comparisons offered by the author. I would certainly agree with assertions that "the fringe is in charge". I have never been much of a fan of "winning through intimidation", so I find DeLay's strong-arm tactics particularly distasteful.

If "Blunt is respected by Republican members in part because he has 'strong ties to the Washington lobbying community'", then yes, it probably means he has the right qualifying credentials to replace DeLay... because he could be the most likely person to keep the fringe's power structure strong.

Looking at it that way, Harriet Miers probably is one of the best Supreme Court (soon to become the Extreme Court) candidates Bush could think of, because she is a personal friend and confidant. When he says she is the best candidate he could think of, he is right: he thinks of himself first, not the country. And for protecting his interests and his power structure... why, she's probably the perfect choice.

Like just about all politicians, it's all about gaining and keeping power. I wonder from time to time if a revolution might not be such a bad thing... then again, going on what I believe about human nature, we could well end up with something worse if the revolution was successful. So, we just have to mobilize voters and have the revolution at the ballot box. The ballot box? That's another soap box entirely...

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Bless you, Dan Gibson. is a great site, that is, if you enjoy disgusting cartoons (as I certainly do!)


Monday, October 03, 2005


What a fun show this was. I learned to detest Disney during my childrens' early years, and I was ready for this show. I had a balcony seat, which provided a great place from which to urinate, throw apples, and hoot wildly.

As the curtain went up, the character of Rafiki staggered about drunkenly, slurring her words as she attempted to sing. I soon realized that most of the cast was either high or drunk. The song "Circle of Life" was barely recognizeable as members of the ensemble were breaking into fits of laughter. The orchestra gave up on playing the music to the song, and started a free-form jam session. When the crew manning the lights joined in, the moment rivaled the "space" jams the Grateful Dead used to do... fifteen, twenty minutes of psychedelic sunshine!

After that, the character of Mufasa started to ad lib his lines as he swigged from a bottle of Jack Daniels. Much to the horror of all the parents and their small children in the audience, Mufasa completely disrobed and gave himself a full-body massage. The guys in the giraffe costumes, who have to walk on stilts on all fours, swayed as they tried in vain to keep their balance, falling into each other and then sidelong into Pride Rock.

The only people on stage who seemed sober were the child actors playing Young Simba and Yong Nala. They persevered through the chaos, singing their songs as they should despite the dissonance from the orchestra pit and the on-stage bacchanalia. Having their fill of the precocious young talents, Mufasa and Scar carted them off the stage amid cries of protest from the crowd.

While Scar wasn't looking, Rafiki gave him a hotfoot! He screamed in pain and surprise as the flames quickly spread from his foot to a nearby curtain. Panic erupted in the crowd. Some of the people stormed the stage, while others stampeded for the exits. Police in riot gear arrived, waving their batons wildly, connecting haphazardly with unsuspecting fans. After half an hour, fires were out, order was restored and the show went on.

Young Simba had found Timon and Pumbaa in the jungle, and they were eating grubs. Pumbaa was letting out genuine farts, and those remaining viewers chuckled with delight. Simba, drunk and swaying, collapsed onstage as Timon, possibly on speed, began to freak out and gyrate, gibbering madly. A large yellow puddle appeared beneath Pumbaa as stagehands quickly removed the besotted actors. So much for us getting to hear "Hatuna Makata"... it just didn't happen.

During the intermission, fights broke out in the lobby as drunken theatergoers argued with those operating the concession stands. Once the vendors were subdued, the alcohol flowed freely through the crowd as several hundred wine bottles were passed around. We were all good and fired up by the time Act Two started!

As the curtain rose, about fifty wine bottles flew toward the stage. One hit Pumbaa on the left temple, and he went down like a rock. Timon strutted to the front of the stage and started swearing violently at the angry mob. Simba ran to his side, and began whispering in his ear, apparently trying to calm him down. Timon looked wildly from left to right before dashing to the stage's left edge and ascending the curtain, tugging his way crazily upward as he grabbed handfuls of material, and urinating as he climbed. The story was obviously not going to progress to the climactic fight scene.

At this point, the rest of the cast erupted onto the stage. They swayed, staggered, took off their clothes, screamed wildly, and advanced into the crowd wielding spears and swords. Having seen enough, I finished a bottle of wine and went outside the theater for some air. Within ten minutes, smoke was pouring from the auditorium. I finished my second bottle of wine, found a local transit bus, boarded, and dozed off in the first empty seat I could find.


This was a great show. We saw it at Keller Auditorium in Portland, OR. Our seats were good, and the performance was amazing! If you get a chance to see this show, it is well worth it. While the story and many of the songs are familiar, the costumes and stage sets are incredible. Kelly and I saw this on Broadway in NYC about five years ago when we went on a week-long field trip to the east coast with some of her 8th grade classmates. It was a great show then, and it was just as good this time. My wife Kit and younger daughter Katie were enthralled! It was well worth the price of the tickets and the 260-mile drive from La Grande.

Next month we'll make the drive again, this time for Paul McCartney. Sadly, our seats are behind the stage, but what the heck. If we have to look at Paul's butt for most of the show, at least it's a BEATLE butt.


Saturday, October 01, 2005


This is what the family and I are going to see this afternoon. I'll probably write about it tomorrow!