Recipe for a Promotion

Policy happens, and then you get a promotion!

Yeah, the guy who set the policies for Gitmo, and then went over to study Abu Ghraib and the other prisons in Iraq, with the horrors of Abu Ghriab happening just weks later, has been promoted. There is no conclusion we can come to but that the destruction of civil liberties, the denial of Geneva Conventions, and the sanctioning of torture is a Bush Administration policy.

Why does “Peter Principle” come to mind so quickly?

Rinse twice and spit liberally. Good luck getting the taste out of your mouths.

Sunday, November 28th, 2004 by SpinDentist |
Category: Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Weekend Blogging

I have returned and am nearly in one piece. There are a few aches and pains, but overall we avoided some kind of Armageddon that might have occured when such an odd grouping gets together.

First, I met Spin’ster’s kids for the first time and they overwhelmed expectations. Perhaps the high point was Jillian changing into her Princess outfit in front of a fairly formal dining table of adults. She’s not yet four, but she had them eating out of the palm of her hand. Her little sister Cate charms the bigs in a different, but no less effective way, and I found myself drawn to picking her up for a hug about every two minutes.

The niece and nephews in all but ceremony (they will all be taking part in the wedding next Fall, the boys in kilts) ran me ragged. Yes, they are the source of aches and pains, as SpinDentist was put to work on the trampoline popping them up as if they were furiously exploding kernals of popcorn. Needless to say there are muscles screaming in my abs and back, muscles I didn’t know I had.

I’m back for the political stuff within a few hours.

Sunday, November 28th, 2004 by SpinDentist |
Category: Uncategorized

The 8th Circle

The US government, at least at the federal level, increasingly resembles a king’s court daily. The smallest amount of criticism towards King George, from any agency over which he has even the slightest bit of influence, quickly turns the agency into a shadow of its original self, as its experienced officials “resign”.

The remnants of such agencies, as well as the survivors of the purgings, are best described as flatterers. The new head of the CIA, former Republican Congressman Porter Goss, recently sent an email to CIA employees stating

“We support the administration and its policies in our work.

As agency employees we do not identify with, support, or champion opposition to the administration or its policies.

We do not make policy, though we do inform those who make it. We avoid political involvement, especially political partisanship.”

Interesting. Goss claims that the CIA is supposed to avoid partisanship, but also states that it supports the administration, and will not support opposition to the administration. Sounds very apolitical to me…

Now, as we also know, some of upper-tier administration officials are best described as deceivers.

Considering this pairing of flatterers and deceivers reminded me of Dante Alighieri’s figurative description of hell in his work “The Inferno”. In this tale, in which Dante’s pilgrim travels deeper and deeper into the depths of hell, Dante reveals his perspective on the harmfulness of given sins. The more destructive a sin, the deeper Dante places it in hell. In total, Dante divides sin into 9 levels of destructiveness, in which both flattery and deception are placed in the 8th circle, and thus only less harmful than treason. Of course, it is also arguable that some of the actions of the current administration could also be viewed as treason… actions such as sending young men and women off to die in a meaningless war and thus weakening our defenses against future threats.

Note, this “ranking” of sins is not firmly based in Christian theology, and is mostly the work of Dante’s creativity, but it is still something to consider. I have tried to fathom what traits our administration could exhibit that would result in greater harm to our nation, and I haven’t been able to devise any…

We have our leaders misleading us onto a destructive path, and “credible” people praising such leadership…

Saturday, November 27th, 2004 by forrest |
Category: Uncategorized

Long Time Passing

“Over many glasses of tea at a Karrada St. café in central Baghdad, Galleymore described her anxiousness for her son, and her internet project, called Motherspeak, relating the anxieties of mothers on all sides of the Iraq war.”

At Counterpunch:

An Uncommon Mom

The Uncommon Mom’s Internet project is Motherspeak

Saturday, November 27th, 2004 by Kate Storm |
Category: Uncategorized

Burroughs Unleashed

Michael H. at Spontaneous Arising captures a William S. Burroughs rant (in verse) that very closely mirrors what I’m feeling right now.

Saturday, November 27th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

The Making of a Poor Richard’s Almanac…

The Doc went to visit the Spin’ster and I went underground, and poor Richard is left, like a proper older sibling, to pick up the slack. Suffice it to say that apart from the wonderful Thanksgiving at my Boo and Tom’s house, it’s been a dicey time. It’s really been the dicey-ist in a lot of years. We know Kate is the one that does “this” here at ASZ… It’s how famlies (chosen families) do it. I’m the emotion-on-my-sleeve one of the three of us. If you all think I’m a limosine liberal… put your mind to rest. I’m just a working-poor woman trying to get through each day. I just happen to have couple of brain cells left over for blogging.

Yesterday was mostly wonderful. I helped make scratch stuffing with Boo and Tom, and stuffed the bird and had a breakfast snack, and waited… waiting is… Heinlein… Stranger in a Strange Land. Waiting is.

We had a wonderful time all day. We got to watch Shrek2… and I’m a sequel hater, but this one was excellent.

Coping. Coping. I know about coping. I’ve a lot of training. I’m doing some of it now. I was going to post a link for people to find some resources for coping, but if you’re here you already have the skills to find coping stuff on the Internet. I really didn’t think this one would lay me low. It’s usually Xmas… I got sent home from work today. I’m not too worried. When we’ve already confronted the abyss, there’s not much more to be scared about.

Saturday, November 27th, 2004 by Kate Storm |
Category: Uncategorized

Coming Home

Wounded Marine celebrates Thanksgiving with his family:

…”This hasn’t been a good day,” his mom, former local actress and singer Debby Schick, said from her son’s bedside. “They removed his nerve blocker and they’ve turned off his morphine pump.”

Doctors substituted a candy-type sucker laced with pain medication, but it knocked Schick out, so he lapsed in and out of the holiday like a shopper going stall to stall at a bazaar…

…Jacob Schick, 22, was wounded when an improvised explosive device, a roadside bomb, detonated under the armored Humvee he was driving in Iraq’s al Anbar Province on Sept. 20. That was less than two weeks after he and his unit, Bossier City-based Bravo Co., 1/23rd Marines, arrived in the strife-torn country.

His right foot had to be amputated. And he suffered compound fractures of his left leg and arm, with severe tissue damage to both and to his left hand. Doctors battled infections with antibiotics…”

I don’t ever want anyone to think that I’m not considering these guys (and ladies) and their tremendous sacrifices when I write my anti-war screeds. While I will continue to scream into a vacuum about the circumstances that necessitated their sacrifice, I will never, ever blame them for their geopolitical location. They’ve been put there by (charitably speaking, and in no particular order) a combination of bad policy, lies, and a continuing lack of critical thinking on the part of the 51%’ers.

When I think of the thousands of Iraq war vets like Jacob Schick, I think about the thousands of homeless, displaced, broken vets from a war nearly 40 years ago. And I know that the ‘system’ will eventually deal with the current crop of young men and women no better than it has dealt with the vets of past wars.

It’s truly sad, and as hopeful as the media portrays guys like Jacob Schick, the dark dispair will remain for a lifetime with many of these wounded, maimed, and psychologically traumatized men and women. If the entire truth about the current war ever makes it into mainstream conciousness, America will again have succeeded in little more than creating a whole class of embittered and forgotten vets.

Maybe we can make a small difference with at least one guy. Drop Jacob a Christmas (or a “get well”) card at:

Lance Cpl. Jacob P. Schick — 4 West

Brooke Army Medical Center

Building 3600

3851 Roger Brooke Drive

Fort Sam Houston, Texas


Friday, November 26th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

The Weird and Spectacularly Weird

The web is a wonderful tool for gathering information, but as we all know, it helps to be an educated information consumer. There’s just so many words out there, some of them written for pure shock value, a lot of it written with tinfoil hat permanently welded to the author’s head.

Here’s one I ran into this morning:

Saudis, Enron money helped pay for US rigged election

You wanna live on the hairy edge of tabloid reality? Try Jeff Rense’s website,, the web’s answer to Weekly World News.

But the thing is, when you read some of the weird and the wonderful, keep in mind Agent K’s admonition to Agent J (in MIB) regarding tabloid journalism: some of the best investigative reporting on earth. Within every tabloid tinfoil hat story, lays a kernel of truth – or there would be no tinfoil hat stories.

Friday, November 26th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

Back to your regularly scheduled world…

If I was a smart guy, I’d open up a bar in Center City Philadelphia, and call it The Green Zone. The possibilities for decor and theme are endless. Interestingly enough, one of the bistros that I occasionally frequent in the Northern Liberties area of Philly is named Ministry of Information. It’s an afterwork happy hour thing. Anyway…

‘Twas a hot day in the real Green Zone yesterday:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – A mortar attack killed four employees of a British security firm and wounded 15 others in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, the company and British officials said Friday…

Tim J. O’Brien, spokesman for the London-based Global Risk Strategies, said the employees were killed Thursday, but declined to say what killed them.

How about a fucking mortar round, Tim? Ya think?

In other news, Puritan Americaâ„¢ continues to ply its trade on unsuspecting teenagers, even as STD rates soar this year. Abstinence-based sex education is all the rage this year (and next, and next, and next…)

Congress last weekend included more than $131 million for abstinence programs in a $388 billion spending bill, an increase of $30 million but about $100 million less than Bush requested. Meanwhile, a national evaluation of abstinence programs has been delayed, with a final report not expected until 2006.

Ten state evaluations, compiled by a group that opposes abstinence-only education, showed little change in teens’ behavior since the start of abstinence programs in 1997.

The president has been a strong proponent of school-based sexual education that focuses on abstinence, but does not include instruction on safe sex…

Next up on the BushCo / 700 Club agenda: Headwear for girls! It’s great to know that nothing changed while we were eating, drinking, and watching football yesterday. It’s life’s little constants that keep our feet grounded in reality. [/snark]

Friday, November 26th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized

The Christmas Resistance Movement

I expect to get back to regular blogging tomorrow – but now that Thanksgiving has passed, the season of mass consumerism is upon us. For those of you as excited as I am about this prospect, here’s a site that you might like.

(I’m generally not temperamentally suited to survive the month of December with my humor intact. We’ll see if this year’s any better than usual.)

Update, 1:15PM, 11/26/04 – Thanks to theyeti from The Frozen Tundra for pointing me to a nice non-consumer jumping off point created by AdBusters, “Buy Nothing Day“. And apparently Hecate (subbing for Atrios over @ Eschaton) has a nice anti-shopping screed going…

Friday, November 26th, 2004 by Richard Blair |
Category: Uncategorized
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